Some little-known facts about the Harrison Ford film Air Force One

Harrison Ford in a scene from Air Force One.
Harrison Ford in a scene from Air Force One.

It's been almost 20 years since President James Marshall kicked ass in Air Force One and uttered the famous line, "Get off my plane!"

As the world waits to learn who will be the next President of the United States, we thought we'd take a look back at some little known facts from the 1997 movie:

Harrison Ford wasn't the first choice

Harrison Ford as President James Marshall is considered one of the best portrayals of a US President on the big screen.

But as Ford revealed to The LA Times, the role wasn't always his.

"This was a script that Kevin Costner originally had and he gave it to me," the actor said.

Actor Kevin Costner attends a premiere February 9, 2015 in Hollywood, California. Photo / Getty
Actor Kevin Costner attends a premiere February 9, 2015 in Hollywood, California. Photo / Getty

"Kevin knew this was a big commercial movie and his schedule didn't allow him to do it.

And he told [the producers] he would let it go only if I could do it.

"Now Kevin and I are not intimates. I've met him on a number of occasions and I like him very much. And I like him a lot more now because he really threw a winner my way."

Harrison Ford called in some favours

Harrison Ford has some very famous mates who he asked for some very big favours before the movie started filming.

"I stumbled across the President [Bill Clinton] and Glenn Close sitting next to each other at a birthday party for the President," Ford said to Charlie Rose.

Former US President Bill Clinton speaking in London, England, 2015. Photo / Getty
Former US President Bill Clinton speaking in London, England, 2015. Photo / Getty

"I asked Glenn if she would play the Vice President, which was written for a woman by the way, and I asked the President if he could arrange for myself and my fellow filmmakers to have a tour of the aeroplane [Air Force One]. Both of my desires were accomplished happily."

The planes

The producers hired a 747 from American International Airways and spent $300,000 on a paint job to make it look like the real Air Force One.

But some of the plane's features in the films didn't actually exist in real life at the time.

Firstly, President Clinton said in the late 1990s that "to his knowledge" there was no escape pod aboard the real Air Force One.

10th July 1986: US President Ronald Reagan waves as he stands at the top of a stairway, preparing to board Air Force One, Dothan, Alabama. Photo / Getty
10th July 1986: US President Ronald Reagan waves as he stands at the top of a stairway, preparing to board Air Force One, Dothan, Alabama. Photo / Getty

The real plane also didn't have a parachute deck which some of the characters in the movie used to jump to freedom.

According to Time magazine, at the time the real Air Force One didn't even have parachutes because they can't work in a 747's slipstream.

As for the other planes in the movie, such as the fighter jets, they were hired from the US Air Force.

But part of the deal with the military meant that the Air Force was given script approval and had to be shown in a positive light in the film.

Too convincing

The fake Air Force One they made for the movie was a little bit too convincing at times.

According to Paul Bishop, who flew the 747 for the movie scenes, a couple of F/A-18 Hornets were scrambled to intercept some unexplained radar targets.

1997: German-born director Wolfgang Petersen (right) instructs American actor Harrison Ford on the set of Peterson's film, 'Air Force One.' Photo / Getty
1997: German-born director Wolfgang Petersen (right) instructs American actor Harrison Ford on the set of Peterson's film, 'Air Force One.' Photo / Getty

"They came up and saw what looked like Air Force One full of bullet holes [simulated by decals]," Bishop said to Air & Space magazine.

"Once they ID'ed it, [Los Angeles Centre] told them who we were and they broke off and went home. But I can just imagine what was going through their minds."

Change the script or else!

Glenn Close plays Vice President Kathryn Bennett in the film but she had one request before agreeing to play the role.

"They had written a scene of her breaking down and crying," Close said to Entertainment Weekly.

Glenn Close during The 57th Annual Emmy Awards. Photo / Getty
Glenn Close during The 57th Annual Emmy Awards. Photo / Getty

"And I said, 'I will not do that.' Because I thought we'd be doing women a disfavour if we had that cliche moment where she breaks down."

Close got her way.

Fan theory

There's a rather 'creative' theory that President Marshall was in on the hijacking of Air Force One.

As Reddit user Aerostotle argued: "President Marshall wanted to have a policy of 'never negotiate, no longer tolerate, no longer be afraid' with terrorists, but his senior advisers chastised him for it in the limo after his speech.

Gary Oldman aiming gun at Harrison Ford in a scene from the film 'Air Force One', 1997. Photo / Getty
Gary Oldman aiming gun at Harrison Ford in a scene from the film 'Air Force One', 1997. Photo / Getty

"The national security adviser was the most harsh with him, and so of course he was the first hostage to be executed by the terrorists. His chief of staff also took a dim view of the policy, and he got shot as well. With his opponents in his inner circle out of the way, he can get on with business."

The imaginative fan believes that the whole thing was just a stunt to help President Marshall win re-election.

"Because he was victorious in capturing Radek, single-handedly defeating all the terrorists, and rescuing his family at gunpoint, he will probably win the next election. Remember his chief of staff pointed out that the Radek operation might bite them in the ass in November, so the hijacking was probably an elaborate campaign stunt."

Convinced? No, me either.

1997: German-born director Wolfgang Petersen (right) instructs American actor Harrison Ford on the set of Peterson's film, 'Air Force One.' Photo / Getty
1997: German-born director Wolfgang Petersen (right) instructs American actor Harrison Ford on the set of Peterson's film, 'Air Force One.' Photo / Getty

- news.com.au

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