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With writer John Gatins and star John Goodman in the air leaving Savannah after film festival tributes there, Paramount had the highlights of its "Flight" crew -- Robert Zemeckis and Denzel Washington -- back in New York Monday to promote the film, which releases Friday. Zemeckis was set to appear on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" while Washington was all set for "The Late Show with David Letterman." Then Hurricane Sandy came a'knockin'.
Fallon and Letterman sent their audiences home as a result of the increasingly turbulent weather, opting to drop their monologue on empty theaters and tape the scheduled interviews without a crowd anyway. Given the events of the film and the rash of flight cancellations this week, it was an ironic bit of PR for the film, to say the least.
Washington hit The Ed Sullivan Theater to the sounds of Bob Dylan's "Hurricane" from the CBS Orchestra, and doubly ironic that. With Sandy's winds whipping outside, Paul Shaffer and his crew were playing a tune inspired by the titular boxer of Denzel Washington's 1999 Rubin Carter biopic "The Hurricane."
After dramatically entering the theater in a yellow raincoat and gingerly sitting into his chair, playing up the moment for laughs, Washington seemed typically loose when it came to discussing the film. "Robert Zemeckis is a brilliant director and he's just at the top of his game," he said. "I was fortunate to be able to work with him."
He also went on to praise actor John Goodman's work. "He steals the picture," he said. "He lightens the load." And when asked about preparation, he quipped, "You can go online and just YouTube 'drunks.' I tried talking to people who were buzzing, but that didn't work out so good. They didn't want to talk about that."
Over at Rockefeller Plaza, Jimmy Fallon naturally led with "Back to the Future" with Zemeckis. The director was greeted by a modest round of applause from the crew on the set there. "This is very relaxing," he said of the empty studio. "I like this, because I don't have to worry about getting any laughs."
About "Fight" he said, "I've never made a movie that's as harrowing as that one. It's really about a lot of stuff…When I was reading the screenplay, it had all these big themes in there but they're very subtle. And as the audience you have to keep adjusting your own moral compass."
Check out a few clips below.
"Flight" opens nationwide on Friday.