Robert Zemeckis is at long last taking a break from creating motion-capture movies and will work next on Flight - a live-action drama that will star fellow Oscar-winner Denzel Washington and is being scripted by John Gatins (the upcoming Real Steel).
Principal photography on Flight will get underway next month in Atlanta, Georgia - and it turns out that Washington won't be the only highly-respected actor on set, when it does.
Moviehole has learned that Don Cheadle (Iron Man 2) and Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek) have both joined the cast of Flight, in yet-to-be disclosed roles. Additionally, Kelly Reilly (Sherlock Holmes) has wrapped up negotiations and is officially set to play the female lead in the film.
However, to say that all three of those thespians are known solely for their work in the aforementioned blockbusters would be rather like... well, claiming that Washington is best known as the star of Unstoppable.
Cheadle, for starters, snagged an Oscar nod for his turn in Hotel Rwanda and played a part in award-winning titles like Traffic and Crash; Greenwood previously appeared in critically-acclaimed historical dramas such as Thirteen Days and Capote - not to mention, he recently delivered a mo-cap performance as "the creature" in Super 8; and Reilly is a decorated actress, having starred in well-respected period productions like Mrs Henderson Presents - along with Joe Wright's Pride & Prejudice adaptation.
That's all to say: the supporting cast for Flight - plus the always-great Washington in the lead - reads as pretty fantastic. Combine that with Zemeckis' involvement and this is already looking like an awards-contender, come next year.
Here is Paramount's official synopsis for the film:
["Flight"] tells the redemption story of “Whip” (Washington), a commercial airline pilot who pulls off a heroic feat of flying in a damaged plane, saving 98 lives on a flight carrying 106 people. While the world begs to embrace him as a true American Hero, the everyman struggles with this label as he is forced to hold up to the scrutiny of an investigation that brings into question his behavior the night before the doomed flight.
No one has ever doubted Zemeckis' technical expertise (his love affair with mo-cap tech, on the other hand...) and there's no reason to think he won't deliver a marvelous set piece - in the form of the almost-plane-crash mentioned in the synopsis - for Flight. Gatin's screenplay also sounds like a complex character-driven piece, with a lead role that calls for someone of Washington's caliber. So, again, the signs are good that this could be a worthy new addition to Zemeckis' impressive filmography.
Side note: the last time Zemeckis made a live-action movie, it was the critically-acclaimed box office smash, Cast Away - another character-oriented film that featured an Oscar-winner (Tom Hanks) in the lead role. Maybe lightning will strike twice-?
We shall see when Flight arrives in theaters, presumably by the fourth quarter of 2012.