Denzel discusses new action film ‘Flight’
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
Robert Zemeckis is no stranger to dramatic, sweeping dramas. Having worked on such titles as Cast Away, What Lies Beneath and Forrest Gump, the living legend is the go-to guy when studios pick up scripts like Zemeckis’ newest film Flight.
Flight focuses on Denzel Washington’s character Whip Whitaker and the aftermath of Whitaker’s heroic landing of a doomed airliner. Zemeckis is no stranger to computer-generated imagery and special effects, in Flight, Zemeckis used the tools to his advantage.
“We have a scene in the movie where Denzel’s [Washington’s] character has to invert the airplane to move it out of a nosedive,” Zemeckis said. “That was the trickiest to do from a cinema standpoint and from a physical standpoint, because we had to weld the airplane cabin on a gimble and turn all of the passengers upside down.”
While the film may seem to focus greatly on the heroic crash landing, Flight is also an introspective character study for lead actor Washington. Washington is already garnering Oscar buzz for his portrayal of the pilot.
“Denzel [Washington] was my first and only choice [as Whitaker],” Zemeckis said. “His is pretty much one of the best actors who is alive today in the world and I just felt that he was an actor who brought all the sort of power and ability to reach down into his most inner self and pull this performance off.”
Even after his heroic landing, government officials, who claim that Whitaker had alcohol in his system during the landing, investigate Washington’s character. Whitaker is an imperfect hero, a character study Zemeckis is all too familiar with.
“Most people are imperfect heroes,” Zemeckis said. “I think that I’m drawn to those characters because they lend themselves to the most drama and we can all relate to them because nobody’s really perfect.”
Considering Flight’s source material, some critics are comparing Whitaker to Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, the airline pilot who landed a 747 on New York’s Hudson River.
“This story has nothing to do with the Capt. Sullenberger story at all,” Zemeckis said. “As a matter of fact, the screen play that I read was dated 2009 and I believe Mr. [John] Gatens wrote the first draft of the screenplay in 1999. So the Sullenberger incident has nothing to do with this story at all.”
Flight opens in theaters nationwide this Friday.