Cannes: Director Defends Plan to Make Thriller About Missing Malaysian Plane

8:59 PM PST 05/18/2014 by Clifford Coonan
AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin, File

"The controversy will help indirectly, but we are not cashing in on the flight," says Rupesh Paul of his "Vanishing Act."

Making a movie about missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is a risk, but the film will work as a standalone thriller no matter how the real-life drama plays out, its director tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Speaking of his plans to make Vanishing Act, director Rupesh Paul, who also is pushing Kama Sutra 3D in Cannes, says the film "will not affect any passengers' families."

Authorities still are looking for the Boeing 777 plane, which disappeared March 8 with 239 people onboard.

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While aware of the sensitivities surrounding the project, Pauls says "no one has complained yet."

However, the film appears to be 
generating plenty of chatter -- much of it negative -- online. Since May 17, when a trailer to promote the project was posted on YouTube, the clip has generated nearly 40,000 views, with 144 dislikes to 55 likes.

The comments have been particularly unforgiving, with many 
arguing that it's too soon for such a movie to be made and others accusing the filmmakers of cashing in. 

But the director insists that he is not exploiting the tragedy. "Our movie is a thriller," he says. "It will not be based on stupid things. There will not be a [gun], and there will not be any aliens. The controversy will help indirectly, but we are not cashing in on the flight."

Despite the sensitivity of the subject matter, Paul believes there is a market for the film, "People do not want a documentary; they want a thriller," he says. "Why should I 
make a movie on anything that does not attract people?"

The filmmaker expects to have it ready for a theatrical release in the fall, adding that there has been a lot of interest in Asian markets -- even Malaysia. "We have interest from Malaysian and Chinese companies for co-productions," he says. "The Malaysian company approached me. I didn't approach them."

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