Any Which Way But Up

US Airways Flight 1549, January 2009. Photo by By Greg L — originally posted to Flickr as Plane crash into Hudson River, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5723340

In 1981, Clint Eastwood was reeling from the commercial failure that was Bronco Billy and the critical failure of Any Which Way You Can. Eastwood then spent most of the spring and summer of that year working on a screenplay that Clint believed would bring a more sensitive side to his macho facade, while bringing his action movie bona fides into the 1980’s. The resulting project, SULLY, was shelved for over three decades until Chesley Sullenberger, III landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in January 2009. As Mr. Eastwood was over 80 years old by the time the rewrites to the long-shelved script were complete, Tom Hanks (who was once considered to play Flight Attendant #3 after Eastwood saw him in “Bosom Buddies”) took on the role, which was modified drastically to fit the career arc of Mr. Sullenberger.

For the first time, we are proud to present these leaked excerpts from the 1981 SULLY screenplay.

Chesley Sullenberger III (Clint Eastwood): I DIDN’T SPEND EIGHT YEARS AND FOUR MONTHS AT THE HANOI HILTON, JUST TO WORK FOR SOME TWO-BIT OPERATION LIKE USAIR. MY OWN FAMILY DOESN’T EVEN RESPECT ME ANYMORE.

Airline CEO (Pat Hingle): Now USAir is a fledgling organization, that coul-

Sully: I COULDA STAYED HOME TO FLY FOR PAN AM, EASTERN, BRANIFF, AND BE SET FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, BUT NOW I FLY 7–2’s FROM LaGUARDIA TO A-B-E AND BACK. THAT’S NOT HOW A SULLY SHOULD LIVE.

***

Sully: BUT CLYDE, I TOLD YOU THAT PLANE COULDN’T MAKE IT BACK TO THE AIRPORT.

Clyde The Orangutan: *smiles and flings poo*

***

Sully and the crew are on the wing of the 727, waiting for the Coast Guard to pick them up. Sully is smoking a pack of Marlboros.

Flight Attendant #1 (Sondra Locke): Sully, I have to tell you something. There are 145 kilos of uncut Colombian snow in the cargo hold.

Sully: *lighting up* LET IT SINK TO THE BOTTOM OF THE HUDSON. WE’LL DEAL WITH ESPINOZA WHEN WE REACH THE SHORE.

***

Reporter: You heard it here first. Sully The Orangutan saved the day.

Sully: I’M SULLY, YOU IDIOT. ME, SULLY. I’M SULLY.

***

Espinoza (William Smith, and/or Henry Silva): Sully. We meet again.

Sully: YOUR DEATH IS ARRIVING AT CONCOURSE B, GATE 2.

Sully and Espinoza fight for seven minutes, spilling out onto the tarmac at LGA. Espinoza stabs Sully, leaving him to die as a BAC-1–11 lands on runway L-23. Sully rolls out of the way from the incoming jet, which strikes Espinoza, killing him instantly.

Sully: FROM ALL OF US AT USAIR, WE HOPE YOU ENJOYED YOUR FLIGHT.

(Roll credits)

Title suggested by Jesse Hawken (Twitter: @Jessehawken )