Amazon Prime’s ‘7500’ is a hijacking movie that follows the events from the perspective of a pilot who finds himself in a precarious situation where one wrong decision on his part can lead to severe outcomes. The film takes place inside the cockpit of the plane and keeps the audience on edge for the entire runtime. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the lead role and allows us into the headspace of his character, who struggles to keep his calm while the hijackers terrorize the passengers. The story keeps itself grounded and plays with a lot of technical details, which makes us wonder if it is inspired by any true events? Is ‘7500’ a true story? Here’s the answer.
Is 7500 based on a true story?
No, ‘7500’ is not based on a true story. It is based on an original screenplay written by Patrick Vollrath, who also directs the film. After the success of his short-film ‘Everything Will Be Okay’, which also received an Academy Award nomination, he was approached by several producers to work on a feature film project. During this time, he had the outline of a movie shot just inside the cockpit of an airplane. The idea was not to redo the same version of hijacking that portrays a typical Hollywood action hero saving the day, but to focus on the tension and the claustrophobia of a pilot who has to make difficult decisions in such a high-pressure environment.
To prepare for the film, he read up on real-life hijacking reports and had to bring himself to speed with the technical aspects of an airplane and the protocols required for the pilots. He received a great asset in the form of Carlo Kitzlinger, the actor who plays the pilot alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character. Kitzlinger had worked as a professional pilot for Lufthansa and helped Gordon-Levitt, who had to also train on a simulator, in preparing for the role. Having an expert on the set helped the filmmakers keep things as close to reality as possible.
Apart from making a film that leaves the audience breathless, Vollrath also wanted to add more depth and dimensions to his characters. He didn’t want to create a strict line between good and bad and wanted to refrain from stereotyping the roles. While focusing on the pressure faced by the pilot, he also wanted to give us a glimpse into the fear felt by a young person who gets caught up in a situation he did not sign up for.
In an interview with Variety, Vollrath explained how he came upon the character of Vedat. “There was a time in 2015 when a lot of really young kids mostly from Europe left their homes and tried to join ISIS. I watched a report about this kid who was 18 and he came back after joining ISIS…totally disillusioned and de-radicalized…I felt I want to make a film about a kid who becomes de-radicalized the moment when he’s got blood on his hands. And from there on I wanted to tell the story of a kid who was becoming that. But he’s not just a victim, he’s a perpetrator or a mixture of both. The thin line there is what really interested me,” he said.
But in exploring this territory, he also had to acknowledge the need for revenge that creates an unending spiral of violence. “While I was writing, the Paris attacks took place and the German attacks. And I stopped writing and asked myself: ‘should I go on telling a story about this situation?’ I told myself that we need to try to give an answer about how we can get out of this [spiral]. How we can break this circle of countering violence with more violence,” he added.
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