‘USS: Indianapolis’ Shoot Set for June in Alabama (EXCLUSIVE)

Mario Van Peebles
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Naval disaster took place near end of World War II

Hannibal Pictures has set “USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage” for a June shoot in Alabama with Mario Van Peebles (pictured above) directing.

The project, which has been in development since 2011, centers on the ship being sunk the South Pacific in July 1945 after delivering critical parts for the first atomic bomb. Of 1,196 crewmen aboard, approximately 300 went down with the ship, while the rest faced exposure, dehydration, saltwater poisoning, and shark attacks as they waited for assistance. Only 317 sailors survived.

The original script was written by Hannibal’s Cam Cannon and Richard Rionda Del Castro. Producing are Richard Rionda Del Castro and Michael Mendelsohn. Exec producers are Patricia Eberle, Hayley Magouirk Arabia, Cam Cannon and Timothy Patrick Cavanaugh.

The film is financed by Patriot Pictures.

“Ultimately this is the tale of ordinary servicemen on opposite sides of the conflict who find themselves trapped in the extraordinary circumstances that war can thrust upon us,” Van Peebles said. “It is the personal stories of these men, their heroism and sacrifice I find timeless and most compelling.”

Producers said the U.S. Navy has collaborated on final drafts of the script for accuracy.

Rionda Del Castro said that producers plan to shoot at a test and training facility in Mobile, Ala., home to the USS Alabama and USS Shadwell. That facility will be used to recreate the USS Indianapolis.

Hannibal produced action-thriller “Tokarev,” starring Nicolas Cage, Rachel Nichols, Max Ryan and Michael McGrady.

Robert and Susan Downey announced a USS Indianapolis project in 2011 under their Warner-based Team Downey shingle based on the life rights of Hunter Scott. At age 11, Scott helped posthumously exonerate commanding officer Charles McVay III, who was court-martialed for the 1945 naval disaster.

Van Peebles is managed by Luber Roklin Entertainment.

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  1. Alexes Shuman says:

    Jane, I know what you mean when you say your father’s spotting of the survivors and my father’s landing the PBY get confused. Their are plenty of accurate tellings of the story in book form so there should be no excuses for not getting the whole story right. I know my father talked to several of the authors so that their books would be accurate. I suspect that your father did the same. About a year ago there was a story line published that Hannibal was going to use and it was grossly inaccurate. They seemed to think that it was necessary to embellish one of the most phenomenal disasters and subsequent rescues that has ever happened . These embellishments strayed far into the ridiculous. If it is made as they intended it will be a grave insult to the great and noble men who went into the water that terrible night. I personally do not want them to use my fathers name if that story line is used. The simple truth of our fathers participation and the amazing men who died or survived is enough.

  2. Jane Gwinn Goodall says:

    My father, Lt jg Wilbur (Chuck) Gwinn was the pilot who first spotted the survivors. It’s a critical part of the story of the Indy, as there would likely be NO survivors had there not been the miracle of the sighting. His story is often mixed up with Adrian Marks’ heroic efforts of landing on the water that followed Gwinn’s reporting of the sighting. Please make sure that your script shares their respective stories in a truthful, not skimmed over or blended storyline. There are many within the Survivors’ Organization who could be consulted if you have questions.

  3. M.T. FIsher says:

    If you don’t mind my asking, exactly what type of things does the script have him doing that are falsehoods?

  4. I read the synopsis of what was going to be in the movie, and I was horrified. My father was Adrian Marks, the pilot who landed on the water, and along with his crew picked up 56 of the survivors. The synopsis that I read has him doing things that are total lies. It is not that they cast him in a bad light, they don’t, it is that it is made up. I know many of the survivors or their family members and they are as horrified as I am. There are other egregious factual errors as well. I know several people who would be glad to set the record straight. This story deserves to be told accurately and is incredible enough without embellishments to be a real blockbuster. Do it right, or don’t do it at all.

  5. Sherry Adkins says:

    My Uncle Mac, my Mother’s younger brother, was Lost at Sea when the Indy went down. Love reading and seeing anything that pertains to the USS Indianapolis. Sad time in our history but needs to be kept alive by any means and I do what I can to do that.

  6. M.T. FIsher says:

    I hope Van Peebles does justice to the story. It deserves to be told truthfully.

  7. Peggy Fitzgerald says:

    How wonderful that this story is being told. My Father George E. Laws S1 was one of the survivors. He was the helmsman on board the Indy and was very proud of her and her crew. Being the helsman the Captian knew him by his first name. This made him very proud. He was on duty when she was hit that night fully clothed I think this may have saved his life. Bless all of her brave crew.

  8. Lorrie says:

    My father-in-law is a survivor of the sinking of the Indy. For his sake, all his fellow survivors, and those who were lost at sea, I pray that this is everything those survivors have been waiting many, many years to be told.

    • M.T. FIsher says:

      Lorrie, please give your father-in-law a BIG thank you for his service for me. God Bless him and his fellow shipmates!

  9. John Shea says:

    Also the subject of the 1991 TV movie ‘MISSION OF THE SHARK’ and of course the story told by Robert Shaw’s character ‘Quint’ in ‘JAWS’, which I did not realize was a true story until years later.

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