In all forms of modern fiction, there is a fascination with airplanes being involved in mysterious circumstances, from Oceanic Flight 815 in Lost to Stephen King’s aurora-crossing plan in The Langoliers - and there’s a Bermuda’s Triangle full of other relevant examples.

Somewhat surprisingly, writer/director Billy Ray will take on this subject matter for his third feature, directing Good Universe’s sci-fi romance Departure, based on an original screenplay he wrote. Ray’s previous films were 2007’s politically charged Breach and 2003’s Shattered Glass, a tense drama focused on the Stephen Glass article fabrication, which make a sci-fi romance kind of an unpredictable choice.

According to the press release, Ray’s script was inspired by Martin Caidin’s 1994 book Ghosts of the Air: True Stories of Aerial Hauntings. A brilliant FAA investigator in Miami obsesses over a 727 that inexplicably disappears, only to reappear in the same spot ten minutes later. Miami becomes a hub of mysterious aircraft activity that takes a personal turn when the investigator’s wife is on one of the planes involved.

Now, when you take into consideration that Ray was a co-writer on last year’s The Hunger Games, 2004’s Suspect Zero and 1997’s Volcano, this project doesn’t seem quite as strange. Oh, and remember Flightplan, where Jodie Foster had a mysterious incident on an airplane? Ray co-wrote that, too. He also wrote the scripts for Scorsese’s proposed Sinatra biopic and Paul Greengrass’ Somali pirate drama Captain Phillips. Let’s hope Departure feels as serious as those films probably will.

Good Universe is fast tracking the project and says that casting will begin right away, so wait for that information to appear on Cinema Blend when it happens. No disappearing, either.

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