copyright Keith Ferris

HIGH FLIGHT - The Movie

FADE IN:

EXT. ABOVE ENGLISH CHANNEL - NOVEMBER 1941 - DAY

We are flying from England to France above scattered clouds on a beautiful November day. A single SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE MARK VB fighter aircraft (squadron markings VZ-H, serial number AD-291) comes into view with ENGLAND'S DOVER CLIFFS in the background. In the cockpit of the Spitfire, we see ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE (RCAF) PILOT OFFICER JOHN GILLESPIE MAGEE, JR., age 19. Magee has a handsome face, black hair, and a pencil-thin moustache.

CUT TO:

INT. MAGEE'S SPITFIRE VZ-H

Magee takes off his oxygen mask for a moment, and we see that he is smiling, having a great time. He looks around...

CUT TO:

EXT. ABOVE ENGLISH CHANNEL - NOVEMBER 1941 - DAY

CAMERA gradually pulls back, and three other MKVB Spitfires from Magee's 412 SQUADRON (RCAF) come into view (aircraft squadron markings VZ-G, VZ-B, VZ-K) - Magee is flying #2 position in his flight of four.

CAMERA pulls back even more; gradually more Spitfires and a flight of 12 ROYAL AIR FORCE (RAF) BLENHEIM BOMBERS come into view.

CAMERA continues pull back; we see that on the other side of the bombers are more Spitfire escorts. There are two POLISH SQUADRONS and one ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE SQUADRON in addition to the RCAF 412 squadron.  The sky is full of Spitfires; over 100 in total.

SCREEN CAPTION:

"Circus 110 Operation - November 8th, 1941"

"Royal Air Force Blenheim Bombers, escorted by Spitfires from Polish, Australian and Canadian Squadrons, on their way to attack an industrial target in Nazi-occupied France.  The "Circus" operations were designed to lure Luftwaffe fighters into action."

copyright 2007 Ray Haas

And so begins my movie.  This incident actually happened, and will be depicted with a minimum of embellishment.  The above is an early draft of the script... it has gone through many changes since 2007 and continues to evolve.

Many years of research into the life and times of John Gillespie Magee, Jr., are going into this production.  There is not one aspect of Magee's life that I have not looked into.  I am very excited to have written the script, and will be very much involved with the production. 

Stay tuned to this website.  I will be bringing you news as it develops!

Here's what a movie looks like before it gets made...

Want to get involved with the making of a movie????

I have given up waiting for a movie mogul to come along and say, "What a fantastic idea for a movie!  Here's a bizillion dollars, let's do it!"

If it's to be, it's up to me.  My intention:  To create a feature film which will portray the life and times of John Gillespie Magee, Jr., as well as the creation of the poem High Flight.

There is a good chance that this film will be independently produced, rather than through a large studio.  This will give it the best chance to retain its integrity, in my opinion.  However, putting together a movie in this fashion means considerably more work for the producer (Ray Haas, at the moment).  I am happy to do it, and have been spending much time in understanding how a film is put together.  One things is for sure, though:

I NEED HELP!

Help of all sorts.  Fund raising, script development, technical advisors, etc., etc.  It is a fairly ambitious project, making a feature film, and it is not a solo act.  Advice and opinions are welcome, as are words of encouragement.  I do NOT need any naysayers.... constructive criticism is welcome only if it will advance the project.

I am writing this the week before travelling to Oshkosh, WI, for the AirVenture show.  I hope to make one or two contacts there.  I will be monitoring email the entire time, so feel free to contact me.

In the near future, this section of the HFP website will be revamped into a website of its very own. 

Here is the working logline:

"High Flight: The Story of John Magee is the amazing true story of the teenage WWII fighter pilot who wrote one of the most famous poems ever written."

Locations

Tentatively, filming will take place in Canada (at actual WWII training fields), United States (Washington D.C., Connecticut, Pittsburgh), England and Wales.  It might be logistically/financially better to film in places other than the actual locations.  In June 2011 I toured Ontario province looking at several promising locations.

Talent

I know it is way early to even really think about casting, but I cannot help myself.  For John Magee, I need an actor who is at least 5'10" (Magee was 6'), thin, and handsome (of course!).  The accent is going to be tough, though.... apparently John Magee's accent owed something to England, Canada, and the northeastern U.S.  John could also speak Greek, Latin, and Mandarin Chinese.   The actor needs to enjoy (ideally LOVE) flying!  We will be covering John from age 16 through 19.  A couple of actors I had in mind: Skandar Keynes (from Chronicles of Narnia) and Freddie Highmore (August Rush, and a bunch of other good movies).

There are going to be a bunch of other roles: John Magee, Senior (father), Faith Magee (mother), three Magee brothers, Hugh Lyon (headmaster), and of course Elinor Lyon (the love interest!).  RCAF instructors, 412 Squadron pilots, etc.

AIRPLANES!

We will need flying examples of each of these aircraft, so as to model them for CGI:

Fleet Finch
North American Yale
North American Harvard
Spitfire MKI, MKII, and MKVB

Since this is a movie about the guy who wrote the most famous aviation poem ever written, I feel that there should be quite a bit of flying.  And there is, in the script I have written.  Please believe me when I say I am a stickler for accuracy, so any flying that is shown will be believeable, and aircraft will be correctly marked.

Audience

Air shows are one of the best attended events in the United States.  The ride "Soarin'" and "Soarin' Over California" at the Disney locations in Florida and California are extremely popular.  Aviation movies such as "Top Gun," "Twelve O'Clock High" and "Amelia" have done well at the box office.  Interestingly enough, the first Academy Award for Best Picture was given to "Wings."

The poem High Flight is known throughout the U.S., Canada and England.  High Flight is still required reading at the U.S. Air Force Academy.  Many people will recall the poem if given the first and last lines. 

Other than pilots themselves, nearly everybody knows a pilot.

I believe that there is a huge audience for this coming-of-age story which portrays courage, commitment, and love. 

Funding

Ah... money.  Gotta have it!  And to make/market/distribute a feature film is not an inexpensive proposition.  Cheaper than it used to be, it is still a multi-million dollar proposition for even a "small" film.  So stay tuned to find out how to help out in the financial arena!


Well... that's the introduction!  Please let me know if you are interested in any facet of bring the story of John Magee & High Flight to the big screen:   ray@rayhaas.com

 

© 2014 - High Flight Productions - All rights reserved.