Robert Zemeckis on Channeling Alfred Hitchcock, FLIGHT

Posted on October 28 2012 by Editor

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Robert Zemeckis on Channeling Alfred Hitchcock, FLIGHT

An airplane fight piloted by Denzel Washington may sound like a dream come true for most of the actor’s female fans. However, in his new movie “Flight”, it’s a nightmare come true. Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) is the pilot of a commercial airplane that maneuvers a crash landing immediately making him a hero until further investigation unearths some suspect behavior which may cost him his pilot’s license.

(L-R) Robert Zemeckis, Denzel Washington

At a recent press conference, the actors, writer, and director of “Flight” gathered to answer reporters’ questions about the making of the film. Writer John Gatins said that he has had “some crummy flights”. But, the film is loosely based on real life flight number 707. Gatins explained, “a similar thing happened where the elevator (located on the planes top wing) got inverted and they temporarily flew the planed flipped. They said at least the plane is flying. That was inspiration for me.” According to Gatins, the plane crew said that if they know what happened, they would have descended with the plane inverted, which is what Washington’s character did in the movie. They don’t have the engines to cool it inverted. But, could fly for 15-20 minutes (with no engines).

Actor Bruce Greenwood who played Charlie Anderson, Whip’s union rep said he had a frighting flight experience as a teenager that involved “ripped wings” and him swinging upside down. Greenwood that he was so panicked that he could not escape. The pilot was a friend’s dad. The plane filled with water and the dad had to rescue him. Greenwood said that he had been pulling his seat belt the wrong way the whole time.

John Goodman said that his role as Washington’s drug provider, Harling Mays, a character that he describes as “a very needy guy that carries a 7-11 around with him and has a lot of friends” was a role he followed by the script and needed little to no improvisation at all.

Director Robert Zemeckis talked about possibly the film’s most powerful scene that marks the beginning of a pivotal turning point in the life of Whip. “I always wanted the scene to be suspenseful. I was channeling one of my favorite directors which was Hitchock.” Zemeckis said that he wanted the alcohol to be a siren that was “calling, calling” Whip. He said, “When I finally put the scene together it felt perfect.” We asked Zemeckis why he chose NOT to film the scene in a way that pin-pointed someone as entrapping Whip. Zemeckis said that he had long conversations about that. “It could have been Don Cheadle, it could have been the hotel house keeper.” He said ultimately they decided to leave it ambiguous referring to maybe “the housekeeper saved his life.”

Denzel Washington with co-star Kelly Reilly

For Washington’s co-star Kelly Reilly from England, said it was her first starring role in a movie filmed in America. Washington commented on the script, saying it was one of those scripts where “I had to be part of it. It was all on the page…the pain, the tears. It was like a Eugene O’Neill play.”

Paramount Pictures’ “Flight” movie opens in theaters Friday, November 2, 2012.


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