Robert Zemeckis in Talks for Live-Action 'Flight' With Denzel Washington Circling

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

John Gatins wrote the script about a pilot who saves a flight from an engine malfunction but is revealed to be a substance abuser.

Robert Zemeckis is back, baby. Not only that, the Oscar-winning director-producer of Forrest Gump, Cast Away and Back to the Future is returning to live-action filmmaking after years of working only on performance-capture movies like the recent bomb Mars Needs Moms.

Zemeckis is in negotiations to direct Flight, a drama for Paramount that has Denzel Washington loosely attached to star.

John Gatins wrote the script for Flight, which was originally set up as a DreamWorks project that became a Paramount title after the two companies split. Gatins was also attached to direct at the time.

Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald are producing Flight, which centers on a alcoholic and drug-addicted pilot. When his plane's engine malfunctions, the pilot manages 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 it to the side to help preserve the image of the captain, who is trying to change the course of his life.

Zemeckis, who hasn't made a live action movie since 2000's Cast Away, was due to next direct The Yellow Submarine in the performance capture medium for Disney. But that project was deep-sixed due to budgetary and aesthetics of his mo-cap animation style, which wasn't catching on with audiences. When Mars Needs Moms, which he produced, failed, it was clear the medium wasn't going to gain traction among studios any time soon, causing the filmmaker to retrench to figure out his next move.