News

    'Amelia' Tells Story of Life, Tragic Disappearance of American Pioneer Aviator

    <!-- IMAGE -->

     
    The life and tragic disappearance of pioneer aviator Amelia Earhart are dramatized in a new film starring two-time Oscar-winner Hilary Swank and directed by Indian-born Mira Nair. Here's a look at Amelia.

    "When I was a little girl, I'd spend hours just dreaming that someday I would go to strange faraway places."


    Amelia Earhart would get to those places at the controls of her aircraft, becoming one of the most famous flyers in the world of the 1920's and 30's.

    She discovered her passion for piloting at an early age and by 23 was one of the few women then licensed to fly. Her enthusiasm and a bit of daredevil attitude led her to achieve numerous 'firsts' in the young field of aviation. It was on an attempt for another 'first' - a flight around the world - that Amelia Earhart disappeared over the Pacific Ocean in July 1937.

    Hilary Swank has done movie characters based on real people before; but the actress found playing "Amelia" especially challenging.

    "It's a big responsibility to play someone who really lived [and] it's a big responsibility to play somebody as iconic as 'Amelia' too," Swank says.  "We all have such a great idea of who she was and what she looked like, so there wasn't a lot of room for fictional license and [I think] we had to do the best we could to do honor to that person and try to navigate the best we could."

    "I'm a flier pursuing my passion for the fun of it. There's more to life than being a passenger."


    <!-- IMAGE -->

    "You can't play Amelia Earhart and not learn how to fly. That would just be wrong in every way," Swank says.

    Swank says reading biographies and watching vintage newsreels gave her only part of what she needed to portray the character. To really understand Amelia, Swank felt she needed to learn how to pilot an airplane.

    "It takes all of your senses. You are completely immersed. It is adventurous [and] dangerous," Swank explains. "It is all of the things that I love and that, I think, Amelia loved. One of the great things about my job is I get to do all of these things that I may not have experienced had I not been an actor. I think saying that I learned how to fly to play Amelia Earhart is pretty great."

    In 1932 Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, four years after her first trans-Atlantic flight on which she had only been allowed as a passenger. It was among many events that thrust her into the media spotlight. Director Mira Nair says she came to understand how Amelia Earhart used that celebrity status to pursue her aviation dreams.

    "For me, the real window onto understanding who she might have been was her own writings; and she wrote with a very interesting turn of phrase. 'There is more to life than being a passenger.' ' Why do you fly? I fly for the fun of it.' She had simple, pithy, but really pretty contemporary ways of writing and speaking," Nair notes. "And, I must say, what really attracted me was what I thought was a sense of great humility. She did all of this hoopla of publicity and whatever in order so she could fly. Humility is not a real American trait and I come from a place where we are taught to be humble; so I thought 'that's interesting' …that she has consistently got that humility. Whether she is getting medals or flying in the cockpit, she has a sense of "I'm really here for the ecstasy of this flight" rather than for the awards or the accolades."

    Amelia does not attempt to solve the enduring mystery of exactly what happened when Earhart, flying with navigator Fred Noonan, disappeared on their globe-circling attempt in 1937. The film portrays the final flight using transcripts of the actual radio transmissions and other verified facts to suggest the chain of events that occurred. Star Hilary Swank believes, despite the pilot's tragic ending, Earhart's dream survived.

    "Think about it: we fly all the time," Swank says. "There are hundreds of planes in the air right now and they're going to be there tomorrow and they are flying all of the time. When Amelia was doing it, it was a sport and she hoped that someday it would be a way of transportation."

    Amelia co-stars Richard Gere as publisher George Putnam who turned Amelia Earhart into a star and, along the way, fell in love with and married her. Ewan McGregor plays Earhart's sometime lover Gene Vidal, who partnered with her to establish one of America's first commercial airline companies. Rather than rely upon computer-generated images, director Mira Nair insisted on real aircraft, so the flight scenes in Amelia feature faithful recreations of the planes she flew, including the bright red Lockheed Vega with which she crossed the Atlantic (and which is on display at the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum) and the twin-engine Electra from that final, fateful journey.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.