"Captain Phillips" director Paul Greengrass took time out of his Reddit Ask Me Anything session this week to respond to allegations from unnamed members of Captain Richard Phillips' real-life crew who said the merchant mariner was complicit in the events that led to his kidnapping in 2009.
I'm glad you asked that! I saw those stories too, based upon an "anonymous crew member". Here are the facts. Shortly after the Mersk Alabama incident was successfully resolved, and Captain Phillips returned home safely, some members of the crew sued Mersk Corporation claiming they had been put in harm's way. They also alleged that Captain Phillips had ignored warnings to stay away from the coast of Somalia. When we started the film, it was a top priority for me to look into this issue in every detail. And I obviously can't comment on this lawsuit, but what I can say is that myself, along with my colleague Michael Bronner formerly of 60 minutes, with whom I worked on United 93 and other projects, we researched the background of the Mersk Alabama highjacking in exhausting detail over many months. We spoke to every member of the Alabama crew bar one, all of the U.S. Military responders that played a leading role in these events, and thoroughly researched backgrounds of the 4 pirates and the issue of Somali piracy generally. And I'm 100% satisfied that the picture we present of these events in the film, including the role playing by Captain Phillips, is authentic. I stand by the picture I give in the film, absolutely.
In a piece published by the New York Post on Monday of this week, an unnamed crew member said Phillips expressed a "willful, wanton and conscious disregard for their safety." That report can be found here. Greengrass' full-throated defense of his film and the film's subject can be found at Reddit.