In the new movie “Flight,” Denzel Washington plays a pilot who climbs into the cockpit high on cocaine, chugs vodka at 30,000 feet, rolls the aircraft like a carnival ride to stabilize it during a critical malfunction and miraculously lands it with minimal casualties after clipping the steeple off a church whose members happen to be holding a prayer service outside during the harrowing event.
Following his recovery Washington’s character meets with his lawyer, played by Don Cheadle, over breakfast at the St. Regis hotel’s daily executive buffet to discuss how to dispense with the toxicology report that proves he was inebriated and on drugs at the time of the crash.
But let’s get something thing clear. The movie took a few liberties. There is no daily executive buffet at the St. Regis.
“That was artistic license,” said Dawn Truemper, the Buckhead hotel’s director of sales and marketing. (The St. Regis serves breakfast a la carte and does serve a brunch buffet on holidays).
The Paramount Pictures production, which is earning rave reviews and Oscar buzz, filmed three scenes in two days at the St. Regis about a year ago and mentions the hotel by name. Anyone who’s been there will instantly recognize the hallway leading to the restaurant/bar/wine room area; the wine room itself (rendered as a restaurant where the fictional breakfast buffet is served) and the bar.
“Logistically it worked out very well,” said marketing manager Miller Jackson. “We had room for them to stage in the ballroom.”
The movie folks were especially enamored with the wine room’s abundance of natural light, and used all St. Regis furnishings in the three scenes, with the exception of one rug brought in for the filming.
In the scene with Washington and Cheadle, though, someone decided Washington’s chair was too tall.
“We got a call saying, ‘can we saw the legs off?’” Miller said. “It wasn’t, ‘can we find another chair?’”
The chopped-down chair is in storage somewhere. (We suggested they donate it to the silent auction of one of the many charity events that hold black-tie galas in the St. Regis ballroom. You know someone would pay top dollar for Denzel’s chair!)
The St. Regis has hosted other filming projects, including a wedding scene from the Lifetime drama “Drop Dead Diva” and scenes from the Lucy Liu miniseries “Marry Me,” also on Lifetime. Stars including Owen Wilson, Robert DeNiro and Jennifer Aniston have been spotted hanging out at the St. Regis while in town filming various movies.
Jackson wasn’t aware of any future filming planned for the hotel, but is excited to see it in “Flight.”
“I can’t wait to see what 48 hours of filming translates to on the big screen,” she said.