On Saturday, Oct. 27, I had the rare opportunity to interview movie director Robert Zemeckis, who answered questions about his new movie, “Flight,” alongside five other people in a round table setting. He came to the seventh floor of the Four Seasons Hotel in Center City to answer questions about his latest movie,”Flight.” As I had never done anything quite like this before, I was understandably very nervous throughout the interview Zemeckis took the time to answer all of our questions, and because he gave honest, yet concise answers, the whole interview was just over 20 minutes long.
The questions asked by the round table were diverse indeed, ranging from inquiries about the time period “Flight” was inspired by, to what distinguished Denzel Washington as an actor, to how involving a screenplay should be. Interestingly enough, the movie was shot on a limited budget ($31 million according to the Los Angeles Times) and it involved, according to Zemeckis, an “anti-hero” concept, which was popular in the 1970s. An anti-hero is a protagonist who does not possess the typical traits of a hero, and has obvious moral shortcomings, yet is not evil.
I prepared eight questions for this round table interview, three of which I actually asked. Below are some quotes from Zemeckis when answering my questions:
Regarding the memorability of this movie compared to others, including the Back to the Future trilogy and Academy Award winning Forrest Gump: “Making movies is a job… so some moments of the movie are more memorable than others; and some things you don’t remember at all.”
Concerning recent high profile airplane crashes, and whether they were relevant to the movie and its timing: “He (the protagonist) could have been any bus driver… the airplane… It’s just a much more dramatic sort of way to present the issue.”
On getting his “big break” into the movie industry: “It wasn’t just one big break… the thing that was the key moment… you have to write, that I would say is the most specific and important calling card.”
Zemeckis is actually a registered pilot himself. His experience helped him lend a sense of authenticity to “Flight” that otherwise, he implies, the movie would not have had. During the round table interview, he also praised Washington’s talent and work ethic, and revealed that he is very particular about the relevance of camera angles to the movie and characters involved. In addition, he stated that a screenplay should “dictate everything” about the movie’s format.
Overall, the interview process went smoothly, and I appreciated the fact that Zemeckis did not act like he was above anyone. He genuinely enjoyed listening to and answering all of our questions. I had read about “Flight” and watched the official trailer, finding the movie interesting from the outset. However, I did not know beforehand that there had been a screening of “Flight” in New York City on Oct. 14. Having said that, as of Friday, Nov. 2, “Flight” is in theaters everywhere. The movie features Washington, Don Cheadle, and John Goodman, among others.
Chike Ezeife is a fourth-year student majoring in Professional Studies. He can be reached at CE635470@wcupa.edu.