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THE THEORY OF FLIGHT

About The Production
Every once in a while fate brings together two people whose deficits are made whole by the other

Every once in a while fate brings together two people whose deficits are made whole by the other. In The Theory of Flight, a man who cannot face adult responsibility meets a woman who will do anything to attain adult fulfillment. Both are lost souls desperately seeking a means of escape, but through one another they learn instead to soar.

This simple, emotionally charged tale of love, levity and gravity was written by Richard Hawkins, who put his screenplay in a brown paper envelope and sent it unsolicited to the BBC. There, it joined thousands of others in the lingering slush pile - unlikely to budge. But when director Paul Greengrass uncovered the project and brought it to Academy Award®-nominated actors Helena Bonham Carter and Kenneth Branagh, it almost instantaneously took off. Both actors fell in love, not just with the story, but with the two characters floundering, funny human beings seeking connection and liberation amidst a most absurd and unusual set of obstacles.

"One of the reasons the script stood out among so many others is that it was so different from anything else around. It's not in the same gritty urban genre like Trainspotting or The Full Monty that is associated with British films these days; but it does sort of fit into another strain of British storytelling - comical, whimsical tales of great eccentrics," explains Paul Greengrass.

He continues: "It has an unexpected lightness and charm to it, even though it's also full of a sort of underlying profundity. On the one hand the script had the structure of a classic boy-meets-girl romantic comedy, and on the other it presents you with the most unlikely characters for a romantic comedy. It breaks taboos all over the place about comedy and disability. That's what I liked about it: it didn't do anything the way you would expect it. That and it seemed to have a magical ability to enchant everyone who came into contact with it."

At the center of the story's power is the character of Jane - a young woman facing the disintegration of her body due to progressive Motor Neuron Disease, known in the U.S. as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, by sharply honing her wit, directness and desires. (ALS is a fatal nueromuscular disease, characterized by degeneration of a select group of nerve cells and pathways in the brain and spinal cord which lead to progressive paralysis of the muscles. The mind is unaffected.) No ordinary person, Jane takes on the world with a fierce attitude that thumbs its nose at her physical trials. At 25 and still a virgin, she dreams about adventure, friendship, love, sex and romance with a determination to match any able-bodied woman. Helena Bonham Carter tackled the role with an intensity unusual even for the actress known for her complex performances - and brings to life a heroine who refuses to let the world's timid view of her change her unique way of looking at the world.

Helena Bonham Carter first read The Theory of Flight the night before she was about to accept a very different role in another film. "As I read on, I kept thinking 'I hope it won't carry on being this good,"' she recalls, "but it did and I felt very strongly from that moment forward that I really wanted this part." Although used to demanding roles, Bonham Carter knew she would have to recreate herself to tackle the quick-tongued but ultimately inspirational Jane.

She continues: "There was nothing in my background as an actress that would have suggested me

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