On a particularly cold January day in 2009, a plane made a miraculous landing on the Hudson River after a flock of Canadian geese flew into the engine.
At the spur of the moment, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger landed the plane in the river and saved everybody on board. It was a stunning moment that felt right out of a movie. So it almost feels crazy that Hollywood took so long to turn it into one.
The upcoming “Sully” is directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Tom Hanks as Sullenberger and Aaron Eckhart as copilot Jeffrey Skiles. It tells the story of the landing and subsequent investigation.
Eastwood and the actors did everything they could to be as faithful to real life as possible.
This started with the performances.
“He really embodied him, and obviously spent a lot of time with Sully, and just physically with his hair, and the mustache,” Eckhart said of Hanks in an interview with PEOPLE. “He started holding himself straight like Sully did, and his economy of speech, and all of that sort of stuff that really nailed the precision of Captain Sullenberger. It was really impressive.”
But the accuracy goes beyond the performances. According to PEOPLE, an Airbus A320, the exact plane Sully flew, was used to recreate the scene during the movie. While they filmed some scenes in a pool on the Warner Brothers lot, they also filmed parts of it in the Hudson River in New York City.
“We had all of the actual boats that were used in the rescue on the Hudson, a lot of the same people who were all there,” Eckhart said. “It was quite moving to hear them tell their tale and to get the feel of what it was like. It was very cold, and everybody said it was very quiet.”
Hanks and Eckhart went into a simulator to better understand the experience of flying and landing the plane. They had the exact flight pattern mapped out for reference.
“Then we had the transcripts and the radio conversation between Sully and the tower, to hear how calm he was and how precise,” Eckhart said.
“Sully” will be out in theatres on September 9, just in time for Oscar season.
Head over to PEOPLE to read the full exclusive interview.
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