Columbia taps writer for pic based on true story

Billy Ray has been tapped to pen Columbia Pictures’ Somali pirate pic.

Based on true events that unfolded earlier this year, the untitled film centers on captain Richard Phillips, who was held hostage by four Somali pirates and was subsequently rescued by a group of Navy SEALs.

Col picked up the cargo ship captain’s life rights in May, weeks after his dramatic capture by armed Somali pirates, his attempted escape and eventual rescue. At the time, the studio also optioned the film rights to Phillips’ upcoming memoir, “A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs and Five Dangerous Days,” which will be published in April by Hyperion.

Michael De Luca, Kevin Spacey, Dana Brunetti and Scott Rudin are producing.

Ray’s recent writing credits include “State of Play,” “Flightplan” and “Breach,” the last of which he also directed. He is currently writing “Gears of War” for New Line and “Motorcade” for DreamWorks.

Ray is repped by ICM and Management 360.

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