Triumphantly returning to live-action filmmaking for the first time since Cast Away 12 years ago, Robert Zemeckis teams with Denzel Washington on the tense and edgy thriller Flight. In a brilliant, heart-stopping sequence, pilot Whip Whitacker (Washington), after an all-nighter of booze, sex and drugs, boldly guides a crippled airliner to a crash landing that nearly all the passengers survive. Although he is acclaimed as a hero, the legal, moral and ethical aspects of Whip’s behavior before and after the accident are much more ambiguous than initially meet the public eye. A study of addiction far more complex than the norm, Flight is a compelling drama anchored by a great performance from one of our most distinguished actors. John Goodman, Don Cheadle, Melissa Leo and Kelly Reilly offer vibrant supporting turns in what is certain to be one of the most talked-about movies of the season. The Paramount Pictures release is due in theaters on November 2.
quadrust.com caught up with the cast at the New York Film Festival premiere of the film including director Robert Zemeckis, Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood, Melissa Leo, Kelly Reilly, John Gatins (Screenwriter), Tamara Tunie, Brian Geraghty, James Badge Dale, Jack Rapke (Producer), Steve Starkey (Producer), Laurie MacDonald (Producer), Walter Parkes (Producer) and Cherylanne Martin (Executive Producer). Check out what they had to say about working on Flight.
Q: Tell us about your character.
Brian Geraghty: He’s the co-pilot of the pilot in the movie and he tries to help land this plane in turbulent times.
Q: What was it like working with Denzel Washington?
Brian Geraghty: Well, it was amazing. It was a dream come true and I was really just working with one of the greatest American living actors and it was really a dream come true.
Q: What attracted you to the project?
Brian Geraghty: Well, the script that John Gatins wrote was amazing. All the characters are great. This is a great part for me. I felt like I had an idea how to play it, you know? And Robert Zemeckis…It doesn’t get any better than that. And then to be working with Denzel and Denzel only, it’s like all of these elements were just like, “Whoa!”
Q: What was it like working with Robert Zemeckis?
John Gatins: It was a dream. You have to know that I got lucky because he’s a pilot and he owns planes, so he’s always been involved with aviation and planes, so that was one thing I think that kind of drove him and he loved the character and story. So between that and Denzel reading the movie almost at the same time saying, “I will play the guy.” It kind of fell together easily after 12 years of not falling.
Q: What attracted you to produce Flight?
Steve Starkey: Well, the script. The script was so compelling that, you know, you can’t just put it down when you read it, you know. The complexity of this character was something that you’re just riveted by and that’s really what draws the sense of making movies in the first place, so that’s why…I’ve been working with Bob Zemeckis since 1986 exclusively and we just started to hit it off. Our chemistry as filmmakers hit it off and he asked me to produce his first film a few years later and I’ve been with him ever since. So, yeah, you know. I love working with Bob.
Q: What makes Denzel the perfect lead?
Steve Starkey: Well, there’s no greater actor on earth and when he puts his mind to it, you know, you’d embrace him at just about any role. But I think that he just somehow got into this character like nobody else could and you know, he’s just got such strength and stature. To watch him work is just a thrill.
Q: Tell us about your character?
Tamara Tunie: My character in the movie is Margaret and I play the lead flight attendant, the person on the flight, and my character and Denzel’s character have worked together for a long time; we’re colleagues, we’re friends. And I helped save the plane and later when there’s an investigation, Denzel’s character comes and asks me to do something morally complicated so I don’t know if I should do it or not.
Q: What was it like working with Bob Zemeckis?
Tamara Tunie: It was fantastic. He is truly one of the greatest directors in the world and on top of that he is a terrific human being. I just love him and I didn’t want the movie to end. I didn’t want to stop shooting. It was so great.
Q: Is this your first time working with Denzel?
Tamara Tunie: No. Denzel and I did Julius Caesar on Broadway a few years ago. So we worked together on the stage but it’s the first time I’ve done a movie. Well, you have to adapt, you know, I mean for the stage you’re talking to the balcony and in film and television, you know, the small world of camera, everything is so much more intimate. So you definitely have to adjust. But he’s amazing in either venue so it was awesome.
Q: Tell us about your character in the film.
Melissa Leo: Well, I come in at the very, very end of the film so I don’t like to really say what it is that I do, but I will say this: I had a wonderful time working with Bob Zemeckis and with Denzel Washington. For one day I worked with them and I’m delighted to go and see the film tonight.