Is Survive Based on a Real Plane Crash? Are Jane and Paul Actual People?

Mark Pellington’s ‘Survive,’ a movie version of Quibi’s series of the same name, revolves around a plane crash that leaves two survivors, who fight for their survival. Jane, who wants to die, and Paul, who wants to live, team up to escape from the snow-capped mountains of an unknown region with several injuries. They face an avalanche, climb down mountains, and jump from cliffs to make sure that they won’t perish in the region. Although the movie and the show realistically portray the challenges survivors of a disaster face, it is not based on a true story. The plane crash and the two protagonists are fictional but their connection with reality can’t be ignored!

Alex Morel’s Creations

‘Survive’ is based on Alex Morel’s novel of the same name. One of the author’s friends, who had been institutionalized in a mental health facility, told him a real-life story about two doctors who had conflicting opinions about making the former “walk out” to the courtyard of the facility. The story made Morel think about a person who is going home to kill themselves, only to confront a robber. This imaginary scenario made the author dive deep into human beings’ primary instinct to fight and survive.

“Almost all those people would fight back because the instinct to fight and survive overcomes the malaise of the depression and the suicidal tendencies. And that was sort of the real germ that inspired the story; to put a person in a situation where they want to commit suicide but then they are suddenly thrust into a scenario where they have to fight for their lives,” Morel said in an interview. When he wrote the novel, the author changed the scenario from a confrontation with a robber to a plane crash.

Mental Health and Hope

Jane is not based on Morel’s friend who lived in a mental health institution like she does. However, the character represents several real-life individuals who had or have been struggling mentally and emotionally. Sophie Turner, who portrays the character in the survival drama, is one of them. The actress drew inspiration from her own experiences to play the character authentically. Turner has a history of suicidal ideation like Jane and she opened up about it in April 2019. She tried her best to make sure that Jane is portrayed as accurately as possible.

“In ‘Survive,’ my character has been in rehab for [almost] an entire year. And I actually suffer from depression. I also suffer from anxiety and eating disorders. It felt like I knew so much of that world,” Turner told Elle. “Mentally, I knew that headspace. All I had to do was more specific research to hone in on the specificities of Jane’s mental illness,” the actress told Refinery29. She spoke with individuals who deal with bipolar disorder and PTSD to understand more about the mental health concerns the movie/show is depicting through Jane and other characters.

Due to her experiences, Turner was able to edit the screenplay of the survival drama to make Jane’s storyline authentic. “I just tried to bring as much honesty to Jane’s story regarding mental illness as possible. Having gone through a lot of the things that Jane has, I could edit the script as much as I wanted, with our director and writer, to make sure it all felt as honest as possible,” the actress told Marie Claire. Thus, the Jane we see in the movie/show contains bits of Turner herself although the former is a fictional character.

Paul, on the other hand, is a personification of hope, which is an integral part of the journey of almost anyone who struggles with mental health concerns. He not only motivates Jane to fight her urge to die to survive but also puts his own life at times to make their survival a reality. Jane, despite wanting to kill herself, sees a future, in which she lives, ahead through Paul’s eyes. The roots of his spirit to live and instinct to survive can be traced back to Morel’s inspiration behind the source novel. In the survival drama, his eagerness to escape from the mountains is infectious, which can be seen in several individuals who fight against life-threatening predicaments to remain alive.

Read More: Survive: How Does Paul Die? Does He Kill Himself?