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The Alcoholic Pilot in the Movie "Flight"

Updated on November 15, 2012

The flight path in the making of "Flight", starring Denzel Washington, had a perilous journey that like aircraft production was delayed and cancelled over a period of 10 years. Yes, 10 years. The movie itself is riveting and provides great entertainment about is more about the alcoholic pilot portrayed by Washington and his back story than him saving his airliner from a crash, which is a great scene. Its director, Robert Zemeckis, himself a pilot has 1600 hours of flight time.

The project first began in 1999 just as an script that Hollywood was reluctant to complete because it was a character study of the alcoholic pilot, not the best subject matter, who pilots a passenger plane full of people while drunk or near that, yet, manages to be the hero by averting a disaster. Was the pilot's drinking the cause of the airplane crash?

The film cost $31 million and in order to get Paramount to sponsor it, both the director and Washington had to forgo their usual multimillion dollars fees. When the director had reached page 10 of the script, he was hooked and started to look for a way to make the movie. Washington, had read the script even before the director had and immediately wanted to do it. This was 1999. But the movie even goes back further, to 1997 or so, when the screenwriter was flying back from Europe came up withe the idea that what if a pilot was wasted while flying a passenger plane and it crashed. What if flight 1549 flown by Capt. Sullenberger was wasted when he landed in the Hudson River with no loss of life, how would the story unfold?

The cheapest part of the film was the plane crash sequence done in CGI. Despite its long birth, the movie, "Flight" has soared to box office heights!

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