Bruce Greenwood portrays Charlie Anderson, a National Transportation Safety Board agent and Whip’s longtime friend. The actor has had roles in films such as “Capote,” “Super 8” and “Star Trek.” Working on “Flight” was a reunion of sorts for Greenwood and Washington. They both had roles in the 1980s medical drama “St. Elsewhere” and the 2006 film “Déjà Vu.”
“It was really nice getting back and seeing him again,” Greenwood said of Washington. “It was a real treat. He’s a tremendous pro, and it’s fun to work with him.”
However, working with Academy Award-winning director Robert Zemeckis (“Forrest Gump”) was a first for Greenwood, as well as filming in Georgia. Images from downtown Atlanta are easily recognizable. Film locations also included areas such as Covington, Peachtree-Dunwoody and Hampton.
Greenwood said he was able spend time touring while in Georgia.
“I had the best time there. The people were so warm and so nice,” he said. “I came back and shot another film there, ‘Devil’s Knot’ with Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth.”
The conflict, drama and questions embedded in the script are what attracted Greenwood to the role. As a result of the crash and subsequent investigation, toxicology reports indicated Whip had drugs and alcohol in his blood. Although Charlie has a personal connection with Whip, he still has a job to do.
“That’s what is compelling about the script. In order to his job, he is an enabler. He doesn’t really do an intervention,” Greenwood said. “But at the same time, look at it from Charlie’s point of view. Say 10,000 people lose their livelihood because the airline failed as a result of Whip being exposed. What’s more right? (The answer) would be different for everybody.”
Screenwriter John Gatins based the story on transcripts of real flights but the emotions involved vary from person to person. Greenwood said “Flight” is about a rough ethical terrain that the characters are navigating.
“That’s what so interesting about the movie. There are all these questions that are not black and white,” Greenwood said. “(Whip) has this tremendous addiction and these demons that he’s fighting. He does something heroic but does that excuse the fact that he was under the influence?”
He adds, “The movie does a brilliant, clear job of letting you know there are no clear answers. And that’s a little bit like life.”