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‘Come From Away’ — based on Gander's hospitality during 9-11 — to become a movie

['“Come From Away,” musical about Newfoundland hospitality in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, has been nominated for seven Tony Awards.']
“Come From Away,” the musical about Newfoundland hospitality in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks coming to the big screen. — CP file

Will Tom Hanks’ next movie role be the mayor of Gander?

 

The stars of the “Come From Away” movie are anyone’s guess for now.

The Mark Gordon Company, producers of films such as “Saving Private Ryan” and “The Patriot,” announced Wednesday it has acquired the rights to make a film based on the Tony-winning Broadway musical “Come From Away.”

Musical creators Irene Sankoff and David Hein will write the screenplay for the movie. The Mark Gordon Company will finance it, while eOne will handle the worldwide distribution.

“Come From Away” tells the story of the approximately 7,000 airline passengers who were stranded in Gander during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the local residents who took them in.

“Come From Away” has proven a smash hit since it opened on Broadway in March, earning director Christopher Ashley a Tony Award for best direction, as well as a host of other awards across the continent. Last month, producers announced the show had recouped its $12-million investment since opening in New York.

“Irene, David and Christopher created an experience that celebrates the triumph of humankind’s solidarity and compassion in the face of adversity — an experience that is equally breathtaking, inspiring and cathartic. We are proud to create a feature film adaptation to share with audiences around the world,” said Mark Gordon.

Sankoff and Hein said their goal was to honour what happened in Gander on 9-11, and their biggest hope was that the musical would be shown in schools.

“The last year has felt like an amazing dream, with the show travelling across North America (including a stop in Gander) and continuing to play to standing-room-only audiences on Broadway,” the couple stated in a news release. “A film adaptation gives us the chance to share this celebration of the best of humanity with audiences everywhere. We are happily overwhelmed that people want to see stories about people caring for others with incredible generosity and compassion.”

Two Newfoundland natives feature in the Broadway show: Petrina Bromley stars in the cast, while percussionist Romano Di Nillo is a member of the band.

A second “Come From Away” company — including local Greg Hawco in the band — will play a four-week engagement in Winnipeg in January before moving indefinitely to Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre Feb. 13. A third company will launch a tour across North America in October 2018.

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