For 10+ years now Robert Zemeckis has been knee deep in white balls and spandex, making cutting-edge strides with a technology that’s pretty much looked like shit. Eventually James Cameron busted in, swung his dick around, and made just shy of $3,000,000,000.00 with his own implementation of the technology. To make a completely unfair comparison, the Zemeckis-produced mo-cap based animation film Mars Needs Moms is one of the biggest Disney-branded flops ever, raking in just $36m from a $150m budget. Whether or not any of that has anything to do with Zemeckis circling his return to live-action filmmaking I can’t say, but his Yellow Submarine project is definitely dead, and he’s definitely negotiating with Paramount about directing a movie called Flight.
Revolving around a man named Whip Whitaker, it’s resembles a twisted version of the story of Captain “Sully” Sullenburger, who famously landed US Airways flight 1549 in the Hudson in January of 2009. The script is not said to be based on the event, but it is indeed about a commercial airline pilot who becomes a famous and lauded hero when he manages a spectacular crash landing of a malfunctioning plane. The twist though, is that instead of a flock of geese taking the big hit in the engines, it turns out that Whitaker was drunk and high during the flight. Naturally conflict arises as he’s bandied about as a hero, while simultaneously being crushed by the guilt of the deception, and caught up in the airlines attempts to hide the truth.
Interestingly, Denzel Washington is apparently “loosely attached,” presumably as the Captain Whitaker. This could be a good role for Washington who, while always delivering solid work, hasn’t had the opportunity to rock a powerhouse performance since 2007’s American Gangster. This would also be a good twist on the modest, blue-collar hero persona that he’s been refining of late. To see Washington play a character whose underlying core is guilt and failure would be a nice change of pace from the cool/calm/contained gangster, or the latent hero-in-waiting we’ve seen so much of in the last half-dozen years.
Deadline notes that Zemeckis still commands a high price, but that Paramount is eager to get the project shooting by the end of the summer. This is not the only project Zemeckis is considering in his search for the perfect return to the world of matter and flesh, but the talks have started. Screenwriter John Gatins is responsible for Flight, and has apparently looked at this as his own directorial project for some time, but Zemeckis may just swoop in and pilot it for him.
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(via Latino Review)