Last month a group of elderly pensioners cruising the ocean before death fought off a potential pirate hijacking in the Gulf of Aden. With a "dagnabbit" here and a deck chair thrown there, the feisty septuagenarians scared the Somali pirates into submission, and the latter withdrew their assault.
That's just the kind of gumption that Hollywood is hoping to turn into box-office gold next year when it brings the Somali Pirate saga to the big screen.
Film producer Andras Hamori (Big Nothing; The 51st State) has secured the rights to the life story of Andrew Mwangura, who's sometimes referred to as the "Pirate Whisperer"; as the director of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Program, he and his outfit have an uncanny knack for tracking and breaking the news of pirate activity.
And Samuel L. Jackson will be cast in the lead role.
Opposite the hero will probably be a villain in the form of Ali Mohamed Ali, the infamous pirate negotiator and some say the mastermind behind the so-called chaos of Somali piracy. Wily, crafty and a step ahead of everyone, Ali is the perfect nuanced mirror-image of Mwangura.
Tuque Souq casting suggestion: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Other actors needed: Winona Ryder (as the investigative journalist), Sean Astin (as her cameraman), Jack Black (as hostage #1), Mos Def (as hostage #2), Harold Perrineau (as the Somali pirate captain), Jean Reno (as the President of France), Chris Cooper (as the arrogant captain of the Shipriders), Tilda Swinton (as the UN negotiator), Paul Sorvino (as Colonel Muammar Qaddafi), and a cameo by Denzel Washington (as the reclusive philosopher pirate king).
Producer Hamori will also need a director with thriller cred and experience crafting multi-layered stories.
Tuque Souq directing suggestion: I know a lot of people would say Tony Gilroy, but for slightly understated action that preferences dynamic storytelling, let's say Stephen Gaghan.
The hard part will be writing a script that respects both the elegant complexity of the whole institution of Somalia Piracy and the inane simplicity of a band of shoeless Somalis hopping an outboard with an RPG and taking down a two-million-tonne freighter.
Tuque Souq screenwriter suggestion: J.D. Zeik, aka Ronin-writer.
Not a bad lineup. But if the Tuque Souq is hired as a consultant, we'd be tempted to lob the entire project to Noah Bombach, celebrated writer/director of Kicking and Screaming, The Squid and the Whale, and Margot at the Wedding. To the delight of audiences, this would result in a respectably concise and verbose 97-minute film in which the pirates all live together after their heist and figure out what they want to do with their lives, realizing after some agonizing personal reflection that the world might just be as messed up as their worst fears, and that this is okay, really, because it is the process of the discovery of one's own flaws and insignificance that is the true essence of... piracy.
Not to mention this scene:
Hostage #1: "Oh, I've been to Mogadishu. Well, I haven't 'been to Mogadishu' been to Mogadishu, but I know that thing, that, 'Stop shaving your armpits, buy a matching set of RPGs, date a warlord, now I know how bad American imperialism is' thing..."
Hostage #2: "They have good coffee there."
Hostage #1: "... 'how bad American coffee is' thing."