Article published in Dropline.biz on October 17, 2005

“Terror at 40,000 Feet”

By Regina Washinton (co-authored by Dino M. Zaffina)

Flying at 40,000 feet in a cavernous, state-of-the-art 474 aircraft, Kyle Pratt (Jodie Foster), a frantic,  but fiercely intelligent mother whose deepest protective instincts take over when she awakens during her flight from Berlin to New York only to discover that her six year-old daughter, Julia (Marlene Lawston) has suddenly disappeared.

Kyle is already emotionally devastated by the unexpected death of her husband, David (John Benjamin Hickey). Now she is faced with every mother’s worst nightmare of losing her child.  Julia is a fragile young child who is trying to cope with the loss of her father and the sudden move to the United States.

Kyle desperately struggles to prove her sanity to the disbelieving flight crew and passengers while facing the very real possibility that she may be losing her mind. While neither Captain Rich (Sean Bean), nor Air Marshal Gene Carson (Peter Sarsgaard) want to doubt the bereaved widow, all evidence indicates that her daughter was never on board resulting in paranoia and doubt among the passengers and crew of the plane. Kyle is asked the million dollar question.  “You are flying at 40,000 feet, in a new state-of-the-art airliner . . . so how on earth could a child vanish without a trace?”

Finding herself desperately alone, Kyle can only rely on her own wits to solve the mystery and save her daughter. At first, Captain Rich attempts to locate Julia, possibly playing with other children somewhere onboard this very large two-tier plane. The captain instructs all the passengers to return to their seats and has all the flight attendants searching every nook and cranny of the plane.

Adding to the growing mystery is the fact that the name of Kyle’s daughter doesn’t even appear on the flight manifest. Furthermore, neither the flight attendants (Erika Christensen, Kate Beahan), nor passengers can remember seeing the child on the plane.

The dilemma facing the passengers and crew onboard is exactly the same predicament that audiences of Flightplan will experience: “Is Kyle, mad with grief over the death of her husband or a formidably determined mother whose child is in grave danger that threatens the entire plane?”

“What is the truth behind Kyle Pratt’s distress?” “Who on board can be trusted?” “And just how far will Kyle have to go to get to the bottom of the harrowing mystery?” As paranoia and doubt mount among the passengers, Kyle is confronted with some of the most unsettling fears a mother could ever face – losing her child, having her very reality questioned and being trapped in a situation where no one can seem to help. Pushed to the edge and fighting for her sanity, Kyle finds herself willing to go to unimaginable lengths to save her daughter.

This visceral suspense thriller transports the audience into the turbulent confines of an international flight – and puts them at the very center of this chilling human mystery.

Flightplan is produced by Academy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13). The Touchstone Pictures/Imagine Entertainment presentation of Flightplan marks the first Hollywood feature from acclaimed German director Robert Schwentke and is written by Peter A. Dowling and Billy Ray. The executive producers are James Whitaker, Charles J.D. Schlissel, Robert DiNozzi, and Erica Huggins.


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