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Unscripted Scene in Tom Hanks Film

Six-time Oscar nominated film Captain Phillips received widespread acclaim, but surprisingly the film's powerful final scene was improvised on set and (other than lead man Tom Hanks) without professional actors. In this high stakes thriller, Hanks plays Captain Richard Phillips, a real-life Merchant Marine taken hostage during a 2009 Somali pirate hijacking of his cargo ship. After a dramatic rescue operation by Navy SEALs, in the film Hanks (Phillips) is brought safely aboard the real USS Truxtun missile destroyer, where he's taken down to the ship's infirmary and checked out by the ship's real hospital medic—Navy Hospital Corpsman Danielle Albert.

Hanks described how they decided to run the unscripted final scene in the ship's infirmary:

It wasn't in the schedule. It hadn't been scouted. It wasn't lit. But we went down [to the ship's actual infirmary]—and we had the actual crew of the ship that we were shooting on—and said, "What would you do to someone that came in here?" And they said, "Well, we'd lay them down here, and we'd do this and this and this." So [we] said, "'Well, shall we give a try?"
We had, literally, the crew of the infirmary. They didn't know they were going to be in a movie that day. They thought they might be dress extras walking around in the background, and here they are—boom—with cameras that are going to be on them.
The first take I remember completely falling apart because these people had never been in a movie before, and they could not get past the horrible self-consciousness of everything that was going on around them. But we just stopped, and Paul said, "Don't worry about it … If it doesn't work, we won't use it. So let's just try it again and see what happens." At that point, those people were really quite amazing. The freedom in order to give it a shot was so liberating. And everybody was up for it. So it really made itself.

What the final scene here.

Possible Preaching Angles: (1) Faith; Risk; Adventure; Easter; Resurrection of Christ—Like many of us, the producers of this film had a script for how things should go. But like Abraham, Moses, Ruth, the disciples (think of Christ's resurrection), sometimes we're forced to go "off script" in life so we can follow Christ. (2) Discipline; Practice; Spiritual Disciplines—Although the scene was "unplanned," both Tom Hanks and the medic, Danielle Albert, were doing what they had been trained to do. Their practice and discipline made this final scene feel utterly natural and real.

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