Mr. and Mrs. Robert Downey Jr. Are Teaming Up With ‘The Pacific’ Writer to Tell a Tale of Sunken Ships and 11-Year-Old Boys

In a story that contains several layers of film geek cool, Robert Downey Jr. and his wife Susan have teamed their production company Team Downey up with Warner Brothers to tell a story that’s inspired by an 11-year-old boy, who was inspired by a speech that Quint gave in Jaws, which was inspired by the sinking of a World War II warship named the USS Indianapolis. The boy’s name is Hunter Scott, and Warners recently picked up the rights to his life story which saw him going from a 1996 viewing of Jaws at 11 years old to testifying in front of congress in 2000 and getting some legislation passed.

The sinking of The Indianapolis is a horrific story, and it needs somebody proven at writing about World War II era naval awesomeness to do it justice. To that end, the Downeys and company have tapped Robert Schenkkan for the adaptation. He got nominated for a writing Emmy for HBO’s The Pacific. So, yeah, guy knows his stuff. After being torpedoed, The Indianapolis sank over the course of five days as its crew was slaughtered and eaten by a group of bloodcrazy sharks. It’s a real life event that inspired this scene in Steven Spielberg’s shark horror Jaws:

Scott, inspired by Jaws’ awesomeness, decided to focus on The Indianapolis for a National History Day competition and quickly learned that the ship’s captain, Charles McVay, perhaps unjustly received a court martial for his part in the sinking of the ship and the death of his crew. After interviewing several survivors and learning that the Indianapolis being unprotected in dangerous waters wasn’t McVay’s fault, Scott took his research all the way to the steps of congress, where eventually McVay was exonerated and had all wrong doing wiped from his record.

Unfortunately, McVay committed suicide in 1968 and never really got to enjoy his redemption, but at least the story is now set to be immortalized for generations to come. It must suck being known as the guy who got a bunch of people eaten by sharks. Now we can focus our energy on vilifying those actually at fault in this story: those bloodthirsty, remorseless, killer sharks. [THR via /Film]

Weaned on the genre films of the 80s. Reared by the independent movement of the 90s. Earned a BA for writing stuff in the 00s. Reviews current releases at

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