EXCLUSIVE: Liz Hannah, the screenwriter of Steven Spielberg’s The Post starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, has just signed on to pen Only Plane in the Sky for MGM. This one also has a political bent, based on a Politico article about the harrowing time immediately following the 9/11 attacks where President George W. Bush and his team were whisked off from a Florida schoolroom and into Air Force One and into the sky — which was considered the safest place to be.
The article, which reveals what was happening on Air Force One, was written by Garrett Graff. It recounts the uncertainty from some of the 65 passengers aboard and including key members of the Bush White House.
Only Plane in the Sky was snatched up by MGM execs Jonathan Glickman and Adam Rosenberg after a competitive bidding war last year. No producers are assigned yet, but they did grab one of the hottest writers in town right now to adapt the article.
“It’s going to follow the similar structure to the article, starting in Florida in the morning and will end with him returning to D.C.,” Hannah told Deadline. “The things that get me excited and the stories I want to tell, the No. 1 thing that attracts me is the characters. Looking to tell a person’s story as they experiencing it individually. I’m from New York and grew up during 9/11, and I never ever thought I would want to write a movie about 9/11, but this kind of tore the cloth away and showed they experienced it, too, and it humanized everyone on that plane for me. It’s very compelling and very human. Everyone was a New Yorker that day. Everyone was an American. It wasn’t about being a Republican or a Democrat. I think that is an important story to tell right now.”
The Post is about the Washington Post‘s role in journalism’s quest to reveal the Pentagon Papers in 1971. The drama is about how the Post editor Ben Bradlee (portrayed by Hanks) and publisher Kay Graham (Streep) joined The New York Times in challenging the federal government over their right to publish them. It is expected out in December.
Hannah is repped by UTA, Echo Lake Entertainment and Jackoway Tyerman.