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Hanks portrays captain to strong early reviews

NEW YORK – Tom Hanks has had enough of playing real people.

In Paul Greengrass’ docudrama “Captain Phillips,” which premiered last week as the opening night film of the New York Film Festival, he plays Richard Phillips, the captain of a cargo ship famously taken by Somali pirates in 2009.

Earlier this year, Hanks made his Broadway debut playing New York journalist Mike McAlary in Nora Ephron’s “Lucky Guy.” And later this year, he stars as Walt Disney in “Saving Mr. Banks,” about the making of “Mary Poppins.”

“I got to get out of this racket,” Hanks said sheepishly ahead of the Sept. 27 premiere. “It’s killing me.”

“Captain Phillips,” which is expected to be a major contender in Hollywood’s awards season, debuted to enthusiastic reviews and particular acclaim for Hanks’ performance.

But playing real-life people comes with various pressures of authenticity. Verisimilitude is a primary aim for Greengrass, who made the true-life tales “United 93” and “Bloody Sunday” with similar documentary-like realism.

Hanks met several times with Phillips to help prepare for the role.

“You don’t want to be an idiot,” said Hanks. “You don’t want to ask, ‘What were you feeling? What was it like? What were you feeling? Are you a hero?’ – you know, ask questions like most journalists do when the time comes.”

The crowd, composed largely of members of the media, roared.

If you go

What: “Captain Phillips” sneak preview

When: 7:15 p.m. Saturday

Where: AMC River Park Square, 808 W. Main Ave.

Cost: $10.50