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Flight (2012) Poster

(I) (2012)

Trivia

When Nicole throws her purse on the coffee table, knocking over a box of drug paraphernalia, the song "Under the Bridge" by Red Hot Chili Peppers is playing. 'Under the Bridge' is about Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer Anthony Kiedis' experiences shooting heroin under a bridge in downtown Los Angeles.
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The crash was inspired by a real life disaster, the crash of Alaska Airlines flight 261. Some elements in the film are lifted nearly verbatim from the accident, such as the jammed stabilizer and requesting a "block (of) altitude" from traffic control. The pilots also, like in the film, rolled the airplane to an inverted position to try and halt the dive. Unlike the film, however, this did not assist them in recovering the aircraft. In the real life accident, the root cause was found to be inadequate maintenance that made the jackscrew that controls the stabilizer wear down and jam. Eventually the treads of the jackscrew were ripped out, the stabilizer flipped up and the plane became uncontrollable.
Denzel Washington's first Oscar-nominated role in over 10 years. His last Oscar-nominated role was for Training Day (2001).
The script was first optioned by Denzel Washington's then agent Ed Limato who'd been kicking it around Hollywood for several months until Denzel showed interest. However, in order to get the film made with the studio's modest take-it-or-leave-it $28m budget, Washington and director Robert Zemeckis accepted a reported tenth of their usual salaries.
Director Robert Zemeckis is a pilot himself.
According to producers Steve Starkey and Jack Rapke (during a Q&A session with the Producers' Guild on October 18th, 2012), the primary airplane in the film is a pastiche of several existing commercial airliners so as to not ID a particular plane or airline in the film. Also, no promotional consideration was paid by any of the alcohol brands featured in the movie; they decided to feature beer, wine and hard liquor brands for one shot only so as not to "endorse" any of them.
According to Robert Zemeckis, not a single scene was left on the cutting room floor. Instead, some scenes were merely shortened.
The flight number, 227, used in the movie is a common superstition to those flights that have crashed where the flight number digits add up to 11. A number of spectacular airline crashes also had this feature such as AA 191, the DC-10 that lost an engine in Chicago and crashed in 1979 as well as PSA 182 that nosed dived into San Diego in 1978 (where the pilots and flight attendants had been drinking and frolicking the night before as overheard by passengers who got off the same plane in Los Angeles).
According to Denzel Washington, American company Delta Airlines granted the production team access to their official flight simulator in order to learn some of the most common maneuvers pilots have to master in order to fly a commercial plane.
It took John Gatins ten years to finish the screenplay.
During his research, author John Gatins came across a black box recording where the pilots said during an inverted flight: "At least upside down we're flying!"
According to Denzel Washington, neither the AA meeting nor the prison scene were in the original screenplay.
Robert Zemeckis' first live-action movie since Cast Away (2000).
John Gatins was inspired by a pilot who happened to be a fellow passenger on a flight. The pilot went on about his family life and issues which gave Gatins pause and made him realize that whenever he is on a plane he has to entrust himself to a stranger who is only human after all.
When the audience is first introduced to John Goodman's character, he's listening to "Sympathy For The Devil". This song also appeared in Fallen (1998) which also starred him and Denzel Washington.
In the elevator with the small child, as Whip wipes his nose, a muzak version of The Beatles' "With a little help from my friends," can be heard. The verse begins, "I get high with a little help from my friends," right after Whip's friend gets him high.
When Whip first arrives at Nicole's apartment the rear license plate is visible (GA-CNH320). This is the same fictional plate used on the General Lee in The Dukes of Hazzard (2005).
This is Robert Zemeckis' second R-rated film. His first was Used Cars (1980) more than 30 years earlier.
When Nicole (Kelly Reilly) is asking Kip for some money on the set of a porn film, she is told that she should play Desdemona. Kelly Reilly once played Desdemona in a famous Donmar Warehouse production in London with Chiwetel Ejiofor as Othello and Ewan McGregor as Iago.
During the NTSB animation of the accident, the aircraft is identified as a JR-88, similar to a MD-88 (which was used for the flying and crash scenes.)
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In the earlier movie High Road to China (1983), the character of Patrick O'Malley (Tom Selleck) drinks heavily and flies a plane whilst hungover, even flying it upside-down. These combined story elements are performed by Denzel Washington in this movie, as well.
British actress Kelly Reilly landed the role of Nicole after Robert Zemeckis's casting director Victoria Burrows had seen an impressive audition tape submitted by Reilly.
Olivia Wilde and Dominique McElligott were considered for the role of Nicole.
When Captain Whip's phone goes off in the opening scene at the hotel room, the song Alcohol by the Barenaked Ladies is featured. This foreshadows his alcoholism in the rest of the film.
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In real-life Denzel Washington rarely drinks, and during an interview promoting the film he claimed he would never play a role genuinely drunk, as the results he's seen have been invariably embarrassing.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

At the end of the movie when Whip is at his trial, when asked if he thinks Catarina Marquez drank the vodka he says,"God help me.", which is the third step in the AA 12 Step program. The first, the admission that one is an alcoholic, is also voiced by Whip shortly after he speaks the first.
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