One of the more unusual projects being pitched at this year’s Cannes Film Festival is “The Vanishing Act,” Indian director Rupesh Paul’s drama based on missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.
On Saturday afternoon, Paul presented his film idea to financiers with a 90-second teaser trailer, which features a cast of terrified passengers aboard a turbulent jetliner. He also had a poster with the tag line, “The untold story of the vanished Malaysian flight.”
After Flight 370 disappeared on March 8, Paul said that he was contacted by a Malaysian journalist with a theory about what happened. Paul then spent 20 days working on a screenplay with an ending that incorporated this idea. According to Paul, the journalist, who insists on anonymity for now, is one of the film’s investors.
Paul shot the teaser trailer in six days in an Aerobus parked in Bombay, India. He estimates that the budget of his film will be about $3.5 million, with a 35-day shoot using more than 200 actors. He plans to release the pic in August.
“People ask me one thing,” Paul said in an interview with Variety. “If you’re saying a theory and suddenly the flight is found and it’s totally the opposite, your investment will be wasted. We will be fools. That’s the biggest challenge I’m facing.”
He also said he doesn’t think the families of the missing plane would find his film insensitive. “I will make sure no passengers will be hurt because of this,” Paul said.
Paul acknowledged that his film is partly a work of fiction, as there is still no evidence about what happened to Flight 370 and its 227 passengers or crew members.
Even though his advertising material featured images with the Malaysian Airlines logo, Paul said he would likely obscure that in the finished film due to copyright laws. He didn’t reveal the ending of his script, but did say that it doesn’t involve guns or aliens, two theories that have been floated by CNN.
“Everyone in the world, they want to know what happened,” Paul said. “Personally if you ask me, I want the truth to come out.”
Paul directed “Kamasutra 3D,” which was announced in Cannes in 2012 and will be released this year.