Denzel Washington plays a heroic pilot whose miraculous efforts save the crew and passengers of a crashing commercial airliner in the new thriller Flight, and we're behind the scenes to show just how they pulled off that intense crash scene…
"We were really upside down," says Denzel about the controlled environment on the soundstage. "They built this giant thing that turned the whole plane upside down."
The Oscar winner is not actually a pilot, but got to practice in the same type of flight simulator that pilots use for practice – not to mention enduring similar conditions of a plane about to crash. Director Robert Zemeckis, who happens to also be a pilot, explains, It was a very complicated scene, and hanging about 50 people upside down is time-consuming and scary to do."
In Flight, Denzel plays Whip Whitaker, a seasoned airline pilot who crash lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe, still managing to save nearly every person on board. After the crash, Whip is hailed as a hero, but as more is learned, more questions than answers arise as to who or what was really at fault, and he soon finds himself facing criminal negligence charges.
"It's not a film so much about flying or pilots, it's about addiction; it's about a man who has issues," says Denzel, making sure to point out that the film is not an indictment of pilots. He adds, "I've got a great job. I get to drive trains one movie, and fly planes the next."
In theaters November 2, Flight also stars John Goodman, Don Cheadle and Melissa Leo.