Diane Haithman is an AwardsLine contributor.
With a lean budget of $30 million, Flight is an action film that could not afford a big movie star like Denzel Washington. Then again, this morally ambivalent character study of an alcoholic pilot flying under the influence couldn’t afford not to have a big movie star like Denzel Washington if it had a shot at getting made at all. Washington, 57, sat down with AwardsLine to talk about how and why he got involved, and how the numbers added up to make the role of troubled Captain Whip Whitaker a gamble worth taking.
AwardsLine: Industry observers have said this film wouldn’t have been made without you. It has so many of what Hollywood would call negatives — it’s both an action film and a character study, and that character is not a straight-up hero, he’s an alcoholic.
Denzel Washington: It was not a struggle to get it made, but the studio wanted to do it for a price, and we ended up with (about) $28 million, and (director) Robert Zemeckis made it look like $100 million, especially the plane sequence. So he and I threw our money back in the pot, took a tenth of our salaries. (more…)