Last week the New York Times Magazine ran a cover story, A Speck In The Sea, by Paul Tough, an amazing survival story of a man overboard 40 miles off the tip of Montauk Point. It grabbed the attention of Emmy and Golden Globe winning producer Rachael Horovitz (Moneyball, Grey Gardens), who was vacationing in East Hampton at the time. With the success of the recent Robert Redford starrer All Is Lost, as well as the more distant Tom Hanks’ Castaway, Horovitz knew a good story and immediately began to secure the film rights. Bringing in Harvey Weinstein and Jason Blum closed the deal, with The Weinstein Comapany securing the film rights for the soon-to-be-made true story.
Calling A Speck In The Sea a survival adventure hardly does it justice, but that’s what it is. John Aldridge, along with one of his childhood friends and fishing partner Anthony Sosinski, was at sea on his 45 ft. lobster fishing boat the Anna Mary. John and Anthony fished off the tip of Montauk Point, the farthest most tip on Long Island. It was 3.30 AM on July 24, 2013 when John, wearing no life vest, went to the back of the ship to start pumping water into the holding tanks of the Anna Mary. His partner Anthony was sleeping. In order to get to the tanks John needed to move some heavy ice chests that were sitting on top of the hatch. John ended up accidentally snapping the handle off one of the chests, sending him flying off the flat, slick ramp at the back of the boat.
The Anna Mary was on auto-pilot, clipping along at a brisk pace. By the time John surfaced from his spill into the 72 degree Atlantic, her lights were quickly fading in the distance.
John survived by using his boots, normally thought to be dead weight for a man overboard, as flotation devices. He removed each boot, plopped it upside down into the water (creating an air bubble inside), and stuck one under each arm. The Coast Guard spotted him nearly 13 hours later.
Said Rachael Horovitz to Deadline, “The East End is filled with people of integrity like John and Anthony – who risk their lives for one another on a daily basis. I am so honored to be a part of this film and to be working with Harvey, Bob and Jason to bring to the screen this thrilling story of the triumphant spirit of human connection and the meaning of community when it joins together.”