Walt Disney Pictures has just dished out plenty of clams to pay for the rights to the bestselling book The Finest Hours (reports put the deal in the six to seven-figure ranges, which translates to a lot of lobster rolls). The fact-based book, written by Casey Sherman and Michael J. Tougias, was published in 2009 and recounts the tale of a Coast Guard rescue attempted off the coast of Cape Cod in 1952. The rescue involved two oil tankers so damaged by waves during a blizzard that they were actually ripped in half. The Coast Guard launched no less than four different rescue attempts, including a sort of last ditch effort that included the use of wooden lifeboats.

The story sounds like a combination of The Perfect Storm and that terrible Coast Guard film that inexplicably starred Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner (I am speaking of The Guardian, a nightmare on the high seas surely to be topped only by Battleship), which basically means that it sounds really excellent.

The studio has already set up Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson to pen the script (the pair most recently contributed to the scripting of The Fighter with Scott Silver and Keith Dorrington). While Johnson made his feature debut with The Fighter, Tamasy saw a real change of pace when he took up the project, because he’s the man who invented Air Bud. That’s really all you need to know about the guy – he invented the character of Air Bud and he helped pen a film that was nominated for Best Picture. I am on board with this man’s career forever. It does not hurt that The Finest Hours sounds actually compelling, though of course not as compelling as Air Bud: Spikes Back. [Deadline Nantucket]


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