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FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX

About The Production
FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX began its journey to the big screen in 1996 when Producer William Aldrich suggested to executives at Twentieth Century Fox that together they remake the 1965 film "Flight of the Phoenix," directed by William's father, Robert Aldrich. (Remake rights to the original picture were co-owned by Fox and William Aldrich's company, The Aldrich Group.) In 1997, Fox and Aldrich reached an agreement to develop a new FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX film, and Aldrich worked with various writers for several years on the project.

Producer John Davis later joined the project. During production of the film Behind Enemy Lines, which Davis produced, he mentioned to director John Moore that Fox, Aldrich and Davis were developing a new version of Flight of the Phoenix. Moore, who claims to have a "clinical obsession" with aircraft, told Davis that he would jump at the chance to helm the film. "The project really spoke to my interest in planes," says Moore, "but more importantly it's a great human story. The characters must be at their best during the worst moments of their lives. They have the tools and expertise to build the Phoenix, but if they cannot commit to hope, the Phoenix will never fly."

Moore was the perfect choice to helm FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX. "John sees things differently than most filmmakers," says Davis. "He has his own language of storytelling, of making a film feel fresh. The camera is like an extension of his arm."

"John has a unique eye for shooting action," adds Producer Wyck Godfrey. "He delights in taking audiences to places they hadn't been before."

The film's international cast is headed by Dennis Quaid, who portrays Frank Towns, a down-and-out pilot who has been reduced to shutting down oil fields in the most remote areas of the world. "Towns is cynical and jaded," says Quaid. "Somewhere along the line, he's lost the joy of life. His journey in this film, like the other characters' journey, is to get ‘stripped down.' The story explores what happens to these people when they are stripped of everything they know."

Challenging Towns throughout the ordeal, is Elliott, a strange figure who at first seems to have no real function within the group. During the ill-fated flight, Elliott warns Towns that it is impossible to navigate through the vicious sandstorm that has appeared out of nowhere – advice that goes unheeded by Towns, to disastrous results.

Giovanni Ribisi portrays Elliott. "Giovanni is a chameleon who likes to find the idiosyncrasies in his characters," says John Davis. "He always chooses roles that are anything but typical."

"Elliott is an outsider," says Ribisi. "At the start of the picture, we don't know what his background is. We want audiences to wonder, at first, ‘Who is this guy?'" That's exactly what Towns and his co-pilot AJ are wondering when the slight, bespectacled figure boards their C-119 cargo plane. After the crash, when Elliott reveals that he is an aircraft designer, Towns and Elliott engage in an unnerving power struggle that almost derails the building of the Phoenix – the last hope of the desperate group.

This power struggle, and other dynamics between the survivors, was a strong draw for Ribisi. "I like that the story concentrates on the psychology of the characters, and what happens to people when they encounter this kind of incredible scenario," says Ribisi.

Ribisi, with his dyed blond hair and rimless glasses (both of which he adopted at Moore's request), bears a striking resemblance to actor Hardy Kruger's incarnation in the corresponding role in the 1965 film. Moore insists this was completely coincide

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