Jessica B The Amityville Horror

Rob Cohen’s upcoming thriller Stealth blends air force action with sci-fi themes as a plane flown with artificial intelligence becomes a threat to world safety. Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx and Josh Lucas play pilots going after the plane after it goes renegade. Biel said this wasn’t quite an airborne Terminator.

"There is a little bit of that type of vibe," she said. "It’s very different because The Terminator just wants to kill and destroy. This plane is built to take orders and it does. It does what it’s supposed to do. It provides the security that it needs for a while but then it begins to learn more. It starts to have human characteristics that no one ever thought it was possible of having. And that’s the difference, but it is man versus machine."

Much of the film required the actors to sit in a cockpit and pretend they are flying around. "Oh, man, all day. Not all day. I mean, Jamie, Josh and I rotate. His closeup, his dialogue on camera and then I would go. We’d be going round and round. It was at least five or six hours a day. It’s very hard. It’s all in front of a green screen because it’s all going to be computer generated. And let’s see, a big yellow X over here is Jamie and Josh is over here and the other plane is over here and something’s crashing over there and there’s explosions going on over there. You’re reacting to these X’s which is very hard because it’s looking at an X. you really have to create the reality for yourself and really see something next to you."

Biel went in depth into the pilot training to make sure she could sell the cockpit scenes. "My pilot training wasn’t nearly as extensive as Josh’s was. I literally got done with Blade, went home for a day, packed, flew to Australia. I did not have a chance to do anything. Over Christmas break, I went to Lamore air force base and sat in a jet, talked to the pilot, put on the flight suit, did as much as I could, did the flight simulators. Also did more flight simulators while we were working. And then I didn’t have enough time, so we had a supervisor. Basically one of the pilots who used to be a pilot sat with us through the whole shoot and controlled our plane on like a little plane. If he did this, we’d go this way up there. And he would every day talk to us about what buttons we were pushing, what we were doing, what does this mean when we do this. What we should be pushing and pulling and yanking and twisting in the cockpit for which particular scene. And it’s totally important. It really helps you know. I wasn’t just flicking flicking. I was pushing this because this starts my second engine, and this one would put my flaps down. I knew what I was doing. I wasn’t just flipping buttons. It was very important for how realistic it’s going to look and what real pilots will think of us as pilots."

Working with two very different actors provided an interesting dynamic on set. "Jamie’s a hoot. Jamie’s a goofball cracking jokes, singing, laughing, just having a good old time. Josh is just a little bit more serious. He’s great. We all got along so well, but I think he’s more introverted, more reading and hanging out and Jamie’s like blah blah blah blah, laughing."

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