Coast Guard Gulf of Mexico Rescue to Be Chronicled in Survival Thriller Movie

Missing Boaters
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials load spare gas cans into a truck near Marquis Cooper's boat at the Bay Pines boat ramp Wednesday night, March 4, 2009 in St. Petersburg, Fla. NFL players Cooper, Corey Smith, and former University of South Florida football player Will Bleakley, have not been seen since they left to go fishing Saturday morning. A fourth man, Nick Schulyer, was rescued Monday clinging to an overturned boat. The Coast Guard suspended the search for the remaining fishermen on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Zachary Levi, known for the DC Comics movie "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" and recently seen in the NFL drama "American Underdog," is set to star in "Not Without Hope," a film based on a 2009 boat accident in the Gulf of Mexico and the Coast Guard's search and rescue mission.

On Feb. 28 that year, former University of South Florida football player Nick Schuyler went on a deep-sea fishing trip from Clearwater, Florida, with NFL players Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith and Schuyler's best friend, former USF player Will Bleakley.

Smith had played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions. Cooper, who had played for the Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders, owned the 21-foot, single-engine boat the four men took out that day.

Seventy miles west of Tampa, an issue with the anchor caused the boat to capsize, and the four men were stranded in the Gulf of Mexico with no food, water or beacon to alert authorities to their predicament. They clung to the boat as night fell and faced hypothermia, hallucinations, hunger and dehydration as huge waves pounded the boat. Eventually the Coast Guard was called in to search the gulf and found Schuyler three days later, clinging to life as he held onto the capsized boat's engine mount and the only survivor.

The movie will be based on Schuyler's 2010 book "Not Without Hope," written with Jeré Longford. Joe Carnahan ("The Grey," "Copshop," "The A-Team" movie) wrote the screenplay and is set to direct. Production is set to begin in April 2023 in Louisiana.

"Nick Schuyler's grueling trial at sea and his ultimate survival is a deeply inspiring tale of determination and perseverance but we have a much greater responsibility with this movie as it will hopefully serve as a lasting memorial to the men who lost their lives alongside him during that terrible ordeal," Carnahan said in a release. "We have to honor their final sacrifice and never lose sight of the larger moral obligation we have as filmmakers with 'Not Without Hope.'"

"Not Without Hope" has faced a long road to the screen. Dwayne Johnson was originally set to star, but the rights to the movie were tied up for years after the company set to produce the movie went bankrupt. The film was again set to begin in early 2020, with Miles Teller (fresh off filming "Top Gun: Maverick") set to star. The pandemic ended those plans, but now things seem set with Levi.

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