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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