‘Phoenix’ to fly again

Fox strikes deal for remake of '65 Aldrich pic

Twentieth Century Fox is attempting to raise from the archives Robert Aldrich’s 1965 survival thriller “The Flight of the Phoenix.” Tom Rothman’s Fox film division has struck a deal to develop a remake of the film to be produced by the helmer’s son, William Aldrich, and John Davis.

Jim and John Thomas — the sibling duo who scripted “Behind Enemy Lines” for Fox — are in final talks to pen the remake.

The original film, an adaptation of the novel by Elleston Trevor, was a gritty tale of a small group of men whose plane crashes during a sandstorm in the North African desert, and their desperate efforts to build a single-engine plane out of the wreckage of their twin-engine job.

Stewart in original

Pic was highlighted by performances by James Stewart (as the pilot of a desert oil company cargo-passenger plane who flies by the seat of his pants), Richard Attenborough, Hardy Kruger, Ernest Borgnine, Peter Finch and Ian Bannen (who earned a best supporting actor Oscar nomination for his role).

While Fox originally distributed the film, the studio had to negotiate the remake deal with the Aldrich estate, which co-owned the rights. Aldrich pere — who died in 1983 — also produced “Flight of the Phoenix,” in association with his company, Associates & Aldrich.

The Thomas sibs earlier adapted for UA another Trevor book, “Quiller Solitaire” — which the author penned under his oft-used pseudonym, Adam Hall. The duo is repped by Endeavor.

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