Tom Hank’s Greyhound movie set on USS Kidd

The movie industry news media are talking about Tom Hank’s latest project, a World War 2 movie about the Atlantic Convoy War called Greyhound, to be shot on board the WW2 destroyer, USS Kidd.

Hanks has written the screenplay and will play the lead character. His script is based on the 1957 novel The Good Shepherd Pound sign by C.S. Forester – probably best known for his Hornblower series and The African Queen.

What is the movie about?

It is set in the winter of 1942, the height of the war in the Atlantic, and features fictional characters on a fictional convoy. Its central character is a firmly religious U.S. Navy Commander, George Krause, commanding the multi-national escort ships from his own destroyer USS Keeling (renamed ‘Greyhound’ for the movie). He doesn’t have that many escorts; just two destroyers: his USS Keeling and a Polish destroyer Viktor, plus two corvettes: HMS James (British) and HMCS Dodge (Canadian).

USCGC Spencer wallowing in a moderate Atlantic swell
Convoy duty was grueling. This is the US Coastguard cutter Spencer on convoy duty (Photo: USC public domain)

As the book starts, the convoy of 37 merchantmen is in the middle of the ‘Atlantic Gap’ where allied patrol aircraft can’t reach, and a wolf pack of U-boats is closing in on them. The book follows Commander Krause as he directs his forces over two days and nights with no sleep and little respite, as they rush around the convoy fending off attacks.

Indeed that’s one of the key aspects of the book. The pace is relentless making it almost impossible to put down. When I started reading it, I thought I’d put it down when I got to the end of the first chapter. Big mistake. There are no chapters!

So, it should make a cracking film!

So far there is no other casting news, other than Hanks, but we do know that Aaron Scheider has been signed up to direct the movie and Sony Pictures have reportedly bought the worldwide distribution rights.

So, who are they going to use for USS Keeling/Greyhound?

Well, according to Louisiana Economic Development (LED) they will start shooting in March on board the Fletcher class USS Kidd museum ship in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

US Navy WW2 destroyer underway with other ships
USS Kidd in dazzle camo in the Pacific 12 June 1944 (Photo: USN public domain)

LED estimates $29.5m of the $50.3m budget will get spent in Louisiana. Let’s hope the USS Kidd Veterans Museum gets a serious chunk of that to spend on maintenance, restoration and facilities.

UPDATE (07 Jan 2020): The release date for the movie has been changed a few times but it seems Sony Pictures are now planning to release it on 08 May 2020.

UPDATE (08 Feb 2020): The USS Kidd is overdue for some dry dock maintenance, so she is expected to move from her current site for a while.

UPDATE (05 Mar 2020): The trailer is out. It’s a June opening.

 


Feature image: USS Kidd in Baton Rouge, 2013 (CC BY-SA 3.0 By Niagara, own work, via Wikimedia Commons)

Convoy image: United States Coast Guard Cutter Spencer (WPG-36) during WWII in 1942 or 1943. Spencer sank the German submarine U-175 on April 17, 1943. Photographer unknown but possibly Bob Gates

Pacific fleet image:  USS Kidd (DD-661) off Roi Island, Kwajalein, en route to the Saipan Invasion, 12 June 1944. Anchored in the left background is the battleship USS Tennessee (BB-43), with a destroyer alongside and an escort carrier beyond. Photo taken from USS New Mexico (BB-40).

 

10 Comments

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  1. Interesting. It seems they are also looking for bits of radio, radar and sonar gear from the USS Orleck, another museum ship destroyer just down the road at Lake Charles. http://www.americanpress.com/news/state/film-director-has-eye-on-ship-s-equipment-for-use/article_0a8fdcd0-f88b-11e7-bb3d-f79410f180b4.html

    Alastair / Reply
  2. i go to the Kidd every chance i get I was aboard the uss hazelwood dd 531 a sister ship of the Kidd
    it was hit by a japanese fighter at the battle of okinawa . I am so glad it is close enough to visit you can even spend the night on the Kidd . i was surprised at how small it looked compared to when i was a 18 year old sailor. its worth the trip

    pat / Reply
    • Hi Pat, She’s a good-looking ship. I hope the movie work doesn’t stop you visiting for a while, but I also hope it generates lots of cash to keep her maintained for many years yet!

      Alastair / Reply (in reply to pat)
    • Hi Pat,
      My grandpa served on the Kidd in WWII and have been going since I was a little girl but was able to take my mom a few year’s ago and see the ship again. The gentleman that day looked up my grandpa’s name for us and told mom and I he was on the ship when the Kamikaze struck the ship. This was information mom and I had never had. Thank you for your service and thank you for just going as every amount of the money goes to help keep the ship up and going!

      Kathy Thompson / Reply (in reply to pat)
      • Good the see all this. My father served on the Hornet. I know its about DD. Just love the fact people are not forgetting our history . Ps to the Granddaughter my father wouldn’t talk about much of the bad .

        Richard Coney / Reply (in reply to Kathy Thompson)
  3. I always thought the Fletcher class DD’s were the best looking. Hope they don’t let her rot like a lot of the museum ships currently are.

    Brian Patronie / Reply
  4. Agree on both counts. The Fletcher class were flush-deck destroyers, which makes them much more elegant than their European counterparts. And agree on the need to protect and preserve historic ships like this. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, it’s impossible to have too many museum ships!

    Alastair / Reply
  5. Yeah how about getting Battleship Texas and other ships and and airplanes and other things like that from that era in movies to help preserve them. And may God bless America and Israel and other allies…

    Douglas E. Duke / Reply
  6. Indeed. God Bless the US and her allies. I’m a Limey (yeah ok) army officer who has served all over and multi-nationally. Cracking theme for a film, especially as it includes the RN, the Poles (best Squadron in the RAF – and my mums sister married a Polish navy destroyer man, mum’s other sister married a USN PO (destroyers) and moved to New Jersey after the war. My dad was Royal Marines; he spoke highly of the USMC and I can too, was with a USMC half bird colonel in Mogadishu. Semper Fi. Canadian corvettes too, incredible guys. Really looking forward to seeing Tom Hanks giving it rock all, few beers first I think then watch this movie with my two boys. I would love to visit the USS KIdd and HMCS Sackville, we have HMS Cavalier here at Chatham but to be fair she was altered extensively aft. To all allied servicemen and women out there – past and present. Bravo Zulu.

    Jules Carmichael / Reply
    • Been meaning to get down to Chatham for a while. I’ll make a special effort this year. Agree with you about the magnificent Poles. I’ve just been writing about the Montormel Memorial in Normandy (currently featured on the front page) where the heroic 1st Polish Armoured Div closed the trap on the German 7th Army in the Falaise pocket.

      Alastair / Reply (in reply to Jules Carmichael)

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