Melissa Leo, James Badge Dale Booking 'Flight' (Exclusive)

Robert Zemeckis will direct the Paramount drama, with Denzel Washington set to star.

Robert Zemeckis continues to nail down his cast for Paramount’s Denzel Washington drama Flight.

Oscar winner Melissa Leo and James Badge Dale are in negotiations to join the drama, which is being produced by Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald.

The script by John Gatins centers on an alcoholic and drug-addicted pilot (Washington) whose plane engine malfunctions, forcing him to rescue the aircraft and its passengers, becoming a hero in the process. When the FAA investigates and finds evidence of drug abuse, it tries to sweep the evidence to the side to help preserve the image of the captain, who is trying to change the course of his life.

Bruce Greenwood just closed his deal while Don Cheadle, and Kelly Reilly are in various stages of negotiations to join the cast.

Leo is playing an investigator who is determined to expose the pilot and find in guilty of negligence.

Dale’s part sees him playing a gaunt dying cancer patient.

Leo, repped by ICM and Untitled, won an Oscar for her work in The Fighter and was also Emmy-nominated for her performance in HBO’s mini-series Mildred Pierce.

Dale, repped by CAA and MJ Management, was a breakout actor from HBO’s The Pacific who went on to star in AMC’s Rubicon. While the series was short-lived, Dale is seeing his feature career picking up, booking parts in movies such as Joe Carnahan’s The Grey, World War Z and in the upcoming sex drama Shame.