WILLISTON, Vt. — The captain of the American cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates four years ago returned home from sea to another hero’s welcome — this time for a sneak peek of the Tom Hanks movie about the ordeal.
“Captain Phillips” got an early screening Tuesday night at a benefit in Richard Phillips’ home state of Vermont, ahead of the film’s national release in theaters on Oct. 11.
Phillips got a standing ovation after he addressed the packed theater. He said the movie was entertainment, but the benefit showing also was an opportunity to raise money for a Champlain College scholarship in honor of a 2012 graduate who died. The event also gave him a chance to honor the military and say thanks to his crew and Vermont community, who he said helped him and his family in a time of need.
“The military — they are the true heroes in my story,” said Phillips, who was introduced by former Gov. Jim Douglas.
Hanks plays Phillips in Paul Greengrass’ docudrama adapted from the captain’s memoir about the April 2009 hijacking..
Phillips spent five days as a hostage of Somali pirates on a lifeboat after the Maersk Alabama was hijacked. He was beaten, tied up and threatened before he was rescued days later by Navy SEALs, who shot three of the pirates.
The sneak peak in Williston was a benefit for a fund created in honor of Sarah Elizabeth Ramsey, who died in June after being struck by a car in New York City. Ramsey had dated Phillips’ nephew.