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Morgan Freeman landed safely in Toronto Friday night after suffering a grueling series of malfunctions on the private jet he was piloting from Mississippi.
The actor — due at the Toronto Film Festival for the Friday world premiere of his festival entry Ruth & Alex co-starring Diane Keaton — blamed his issues in the air on the “slats” on his plane, one of two personal aircrafts he owns and operates.
“The slats would not retract in the air,” Freeman told The Hollywood Reporter, minutes after arriving more than 90 minutes late to the film’s pre-reception party at Michael’s on Simcoe restaurant. “On the ground they were fine, but in the air they were a problem. We were about 10 minutes in the air trying to get them to retract but they didn’t so we went back and landed.”
Once back on the ground, 77-year-old Freeman, who has had his pilots license since he was 65, said he “cycled the slats located on the leading edge of the wing” a few times with success and took off again, only to encounter the same issue. Though he didn’t specify the type of plane, he’s known to have a SJ30 model.
“Once we got in the air, they still didn’t work again, so we landed,” he explained of his second, third and fourth trip in the air to no avail. “We cycled them again, and took off, they still didn’t work, so we landed. Cycled them again, and took off, they still didn’t work so we went back. Had to put the plane away and take out the other plane.”
Known for his calm demeanor, Freeman brushed off any notion that he faced peril in the air due to the malfunction. “I just didn’t know how late I was,” he explained. “I was never in any danger.”
Perhaps the more pressing emergency would’ve been missing the Ruth & Alex screening and leaving Keaton alone to brave the press and industry crowd all by herself for a Richard Loncraine-directed film about a long-married couple faced with selling their Brooklyn apartment.
Keaton even waited for Freeman so they could arrive to the Moet-sponsored bash together. Once inside, the veteran stars were swarmed by well-wishers, financiers and giddy revelers.
In between posing for selfies with fans, Freeman concluded, “If it’s a matter of flying, you don’t really have to be there.”
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