Airplane Thriller Described as Speed at 35,000 Feet Sparks Intense Studio Bidding War

A bidding war is reportedly underway to bring to screens an as-yet-unreleased novel which has been described as “Speed at 35,000 feet.” Titled Falling, the novel is not set to be released until July, but studios have seen big potential in the gripping premise, with more than 14 major studios, networks, and streamers all vying to be the first to win the day and create their own franchise.

Written by first-time author T.J. Newman, Falling finds “140-plus passengers on a crowded flight from New York to LA who don’t yet know that that their pilot’s family has been kidnapped a mere half-hour before take-off. Now, in order for his family to live, the pilot must follow orders and crash their plane,” which all sounds suitably intense. While most of the story takes place in the air, there is also said to be a relentless FBI agent trying to save the family on the ground”. Sounds like a job for Keanu Reeves…

The idea for the story came while T.J. Newman was working as a flight attendant and realized how vulnerable pilots and their families could be to terrorist threats. Newman even went as far as to ask a pilot what he would do if he had to choose between his family and his passengers before instantly noticing the horror in his eyes and the mere thought of such a horrific situation. Well, seeing that horror was well worth it for Newman, as she has since signed a two-book deal with Simon & Schuster worth seven-figures.

The project certainly sounds like a no-nonsense throwback akin to Jan de Bont’s action opus, with reports stating that there are currently at least two formal offers on the table, one from a studio with plans to drop Falling onto the silver screen and another from a network that envisions the project as a limited-series.

While we wait to see what becomes of Falling, Speed director Jan De Bont recently provided something of an update with regards to Speed 3, saying that he would only consider returning to the action franchise if Keanu Reeves was also on board. “It depends on how the story is, I think. Generally, I’m not a huge fan for sequels. I had in my contract that I would do a sequel. If you have to, you have to have the cast to want to come back, too, because, otherwise, you have to tell a whole new movie,” De Bont said when asked whether a threequel was on the cards.

“Because some of the first one was so much centered around him and about him, the awkwardness a little bit in him being a hero. And that awkwardness of being in a position to be a hero is … that worked really well for him but it doesn’t work well for other actors. And it’s really hard to find that same kind of feeling back.”

Depending on what happens with Falling, it could very well turn out to be the unofficial Speed sequel that fans have always wanted. This comes to us courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter.

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