Robert Zemeckis To Take FLIGHT With Denzel Washington?

With his motion captured Beatles film Yellow Submarine unceremoniously dumped at Disney last month, veteran director Robert Zemeckis, one of the biggest names of the 80's and 90's (Back to the Future, Forest Gump, Cast Away) has found himself out of a project and looking for work. Having read a dozen of scripts that could act as his next project and most likely considering some that have been long-gestating - such as his Who Framed Roger Rabbit sequel, just last week he attached himself to produce Sony Animation's adaptation of Chuck Sambuchino€™s book How To Survive A Garden Gnome Attack, but Deadline say his next film is actually going to be a live-action (thank God!) movie titled Flight and it may star Denzel Washington. Paramount are courting both men hard for the film which will be a low-budget, investigate drama for the most part. Written by John Gatins (Real Steel, Hard Ball) - the movie is very loosely based on the tale of Sally Sullenberger, the commercial airline pilot who miraculously avoided a disaster in the air when his plane terminally malfunctioned but he saved the day with some quick-thinking - ditching US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River off Manhattan. This story, a fictional one and based on a different character (Whit Whitaker) and location has been jazzed up where the pilot would be intoxicated with drugs and alcohol and he needs to hide it to stop himself losing his job and going to jail. If you can't drink and drive, you certainly can't drink and drive. Deadline suggest the movie is more about the aftermath of the flight and the investigation than the air crash itself;
The fictional tale revolves around a commercial airline pilot named Whip Whitaker. When his plane malfunctions and a crash seems imminent, he saves the day with some heroic flying and manages to land the plane with minimal casualties. He's instantly hailed as a hero, but as an investigation into the cause of the crash unfolds, it becomes clear that he was flying under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The film is the pilot's journey as he is encouraged to wear a hero label he thinks he doesn't deserve, while the pilot's union and airline try to keep the facts under cover because of the high stakes involved.
If Zemeckis does take the job, it will be his first live-action film since Cast Away in 2000, which incidentally also had a memorable plane crash which in that case kicked off the narrative of Tom Hanks being stuck on that island. You can also see why this tale would interest Washington. Certainly his movies lately with Tony Scott (Unstoppable, Taking of Pelham 123) have featured good family men who have a burden on their shoulders and perhaps have done something they weren't proud of in the past and want to redeem themselves for it and prove themselves as a hero. Shooting is penned in to take place late summer but the large fee to secure Zemeckis might rule him out of making the movie which is described as a modest, low-budget character study and perhaps Paramount might eventually decide they don't need such a flamboyant and storied helmer to make it. Having attached himself to a number of ambitious projects, it would certainly be nice to see Zemeckis go smaller with this film to ease himself make into real movies....

Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.