sailzac.com / Promotional 1 / 5
sailzac.com / Promotional 1 / 5

By Melissa Hunter

A sweet, inspiring story that's been in the news today has been that of Zac Sunderland, the 17-year old who just finished a solo sailing trip around the world. People magazine writes, "Zac Sunderland dodged pirates, braved gnarly seas, and, as of Thursday, became the youngest sailor to single-handedly circumnavigate the earth in a sailboat."

Wait, was that a news story or the logline to Robert Zemeckis' newest heartstring-yanking film?

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Considering the overabundance of remakes and the lack of imagination in Hollywood, it's probably both. All they need is an exotic love affair, a near-death stormy night and a quirky animal sidekick, and BOOM! You got yourself next July's blockbuster.

So, while studios will predictably be falling all over each other for the rights to this touching news story (handed to them on a cinematic silver platter, pretty much), I thought I'd make the next steps a tad easier by giving them a shortlist for Zac Sunderland potentials. We can discuss my fantasy casting director credit later.

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The Zac Sutherland breakdown: 17, athletic, adventurous surfer and sailor raised in Southern California (shocker). Fun fact: while he was on his solo expedition, he apparently brought all his high school books and emailed his mom tests. Adventurous, intellectual, and a mama's boy. Maybe he should just forgo the movies and sign up for the "Bachelor." But I digress.

Here's the casting short list:

Candidate #1 - Emile Hirsch

As "Into the Wild" proves, he nails the brooding loner in the middle of nowhere who still manages to be devastatingly handsome and lovable (transparent crush, I know). His heartwrenching performance makes him the obvious pick, but to avoid redundance, they'd probably have to spin it as a sequel called, "Into the Wild 2: Rebirth, Reboot, Set Sail." And then there might be some sort of undead zombie element which wouldn't be as cute.

Candidate #2 - Zac Efron

Duh. Not only do they have the same name, but he has the shaggy surfer hair to match Sunderland. As he's looking for more "serious roles" and less "dancy roles," this could be the perfect opportunity for him to put his campy tween flicks aside for a juicy one-man show. And surely they can throw in a tap-dancing number with his pet parrot.

Candidate #3 - Daniel Radcliffe

Once he's done finishing his final installment of "Potter," he'll need to take a break. So how about a little sailing trip around the world? He's done enough magical stunts as Harry that he could be easily trained on adventuring in the big blue sea. All he needs is to grow his hair out and grab some of LiLo's Seven Nyne tanning spray, and he'll be good to go. And I kinda think he could pull off the junior version of crazed Tom Hanks talking to a volleyball.

Candidate #4 - Michael Cera

Not quite the sexy surfer type, but who doesn't love Michael Cera? Not only could he add a likable nerd-orable charm, but there are few teenagers (or 20-somethings who play teenagers) who could pull off this epic story and make it awkward and amazing. In fact, I think he should probably just take a year off acting to make a documentary of himself sailing around the world. I'd be there opening night.

Alright, let the mad dash for life rights game begin! Incidentally, Sunderland told People that he's looking into a Mt. Everest trip next. This could be a serious teen franchise here, guys. But he should probably become a vampire at some point, otherwise there's like a 3-movie cap for mortal teen stories.