Nightly News   |  October 12, 2013

The real tale behind Captain Phillips high-seas hijacking

Captain Phillips real-life, pirate drama is the subject of a new movie starring Tom Hanks. NBC’s Janet Shamlian reports.

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>>> new at the movies this weekend, "captain phillips " tells the story of an american cargo ship captain taken hostage by pirates before being rescued by navy s.e.a.l.s. the movie put the real life captain back in the spotlight. he sat down with janet shamlian .

>>> an american ship captain remains a hostage --

>> reporter: it was a drama that played out on the high seas over five days in 2009 .

>> we are obviously looking at our options. most in our minds is the safety of the captain.

>> reporter: the pirates kidnapped captain phillips . flee ing in a life boat before a daring rescue by navy s.e.a.l.s. three of the four kidnappers were killed.

>> the navy is not going to let you win. they can't let you win.

>> reporter: with tom hanks in the title role, the real captain richard phillips is now reliving his story.

>> i thought it was a very good portrayal of the tenselens going on. you can see the fear which was definitely there with me.

>> look at me .

>> sure.

>> look at me.

>> sure.

>> i'm the captain now.

>> reporter: phillips says this scene of the pirates taking control hit almost too close to home .

>> it was actually more intense than the movie plays out, i think.

>> reporter: some crew members say phillips was no hero claiming in a lawsuit he eng endangered their lives by ignoring warnings to keep at least 600 miles off the coast. the ship was 200 miles from the coast when attacked. the captain said they were always sailing in dangerous waters .

>> for the four-plus years i was in the area i always told my crew it's a matter of when, not if.

>> reporter: today he's still a her chapt marine. that means three months at sea, three months home.

>> we had a great life before all this happened. we decided it was the life we wanted and the life we would morales keep. i don't feel it has changed my life that much. i don't think it has changed me that much.

>> four pirates on board.

>> reporter: a captain's story of survival from the headlines to hollywood. janet shamlian , nbc news, new