Tom Hanks got to work with real Navy medics on the set of his new film Captain Phillips when they became extras.

The captain of the ship that came to the rescue of Hanks' real-life character was a consultant on the set and when director Paul Greengrass wanted more information about what happened to merchant mariner Richard Phillips after he was rescued from the clutches of Somalian pirates in 2009, the skipper offered to give the cast a crew a tour of the infirmary - to show them.

Hanks explains, "Paul said, 'What did you do with Phillips when you first got him?' The captain said, 'The first thing we did is we took him to the infirmary and got him cleaned up'. And Paul said, 'Well, why don't we take a look at the infirmary'. It was not part of the shoot and it wasn't on the schedule but we went down there and we had the actual crew of the ship that we were shooting on.

"Paul said, 'What would you do if someone came down here?' And they said, 'We'd lay them down here and do this and this'. Then Paul said, 'We'll give it a try'. They put up some lights and we shot it at night four or five times.

"We had literally the crew of the infirmary and they didn't know they were gonna be in a movie that day! They thought they might be dress extras walking around the background and here they are with cameras right on them. The first take I remember completely falling apart because these people had never been in a movie before and could not get past the horrible self-consciousness of everything going on around them.

"We just stopped and tried again. At that point, these people were really quite amazing... Everybody was up for it, so it really made the scene."