Inspiration for new movie talks about ordeal

10:28 PM, Oct 11, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A new movie opening tonight is getting rave reviews from critics and even the man whose story inspired it. 

The film is called "Captain Phillips" and it documents the 2009 hijacking of the US-flagged Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates. Andrea McCarren went one-on-one with the -real- Captain Phillips.

He survived a harrowing ordeal in 2009, but the Somali pirates who held Captain Richard Phillips hostage didn't take away his sense of humor.

The down-to-earth merchant marine captain still lives in a farmhouse in Vermont.

He said, "We are indeed stronger than we even know and we can do more. A lot of times,  we fret and worry and have angst about day-to-day things and it gets done. We do it."

He rejects the idea that he's a hero. And gives that honor to the Navy SEALs who used night vision goggles to shoot and kill his three Somali captors simultaneously.

"The true heroes of this story. And the great job they do every day without getting any recognition. And indeed, sometimes no funding... and I think that's terrible," he said.

The Captain's wife, Andrea Phillip, an emergency room nurse, learned of his rescue through a few words on her television screen.

She recalls, "Capt. Phillips rescued and saved. Seeing that little ticker on the bottom of the TV screen, it was like, I couldn't believe it. Did I just read that?"

"It is surreal to have a story made out of me... I'm just a regular guy. There are plenty of captains out here who could have and would have done just as well as I," he said.

The real Captain Phillips says he thinks Tom Hanks did a nice job portraying him. He says his wife would have preferred George Clooney-but only if she could play herself.

Captain Phillip's ship, the Maersk Alabama, was the first American cargo vessel to be hijacked in 200 years.

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