Mario Van Peebles will direct from a script by Cam Cannon. Hannibal principal Richard Rionda Del Castro will produce “Men of Courage,” scheduled to be released over the 2016 Memorial Day weekend.
Hannibal will be selling international rights at the Berlin Film Festival.
Cage, who starred in “Rage” for Hannibal, will take on the role of Capt. Charles Butler McVay, whose ship was torpedoed in the South Pacific in July 1945, after delivering parts for the first atomic bombs.
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 and McVay was court-martialed, then exonerated more than half a century later.
“This is an extremely demanding physical and emotional role and Nic has proven time and time again that he can take on such a challenge and excel,” Rionda del Castro said. “We are very excited to be working together again to bring to the screen a story about the power of the human spirit and its strength to survive against inconceivable odds”
Hannibal has developed the film for five years, consulting with survivors, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Producers plan to construct a 500,000-gallon water tank. Edge Innovations will provide animatronic sharks; Silo Inc. will handle digital effects and HydroFlex will oversee underwater photography.
Hannibal principal Patricia Eberle will exec produce with Cannon, Dylan McGinty and Timothy Patrick Cavanagh.
Van Peebles, director of “New Jack City,” worked with Cannon and Rionda del Castro on the script.
“This film is about the crewmen of the USS Indianapolis, their unsurpassed bravery, dedication to each other and distinguished service to our country,” Peebles said. “It’s an honor to tell their story.”
Warner Bros.’ is developing an untitled drama about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, with Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey producing through their Team Downey banner with Tate Taylor directing. In 2011, the studio bought life rights to Hunter Scott, whose research had helped exonerate McVay.
Cage was most recently seen in “Left Behind” and is in post-production on “Pay the Ghost.”
Cage is repped in the deal by CAA, Mike Nilon of Link Entertainment and Patrick Knapp of Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal Laviolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman. Hannibal is repped by Robert M. Nau, Ray Hamrick and Martin Barab.