'Toxic' avenger tries his hand at fiction

Ex-pilot Tristan Loraine preps 'Shadows in the Sky'

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BERLIN -- Former airline pilot Tristan Loraine, whose investigative documentary "Welcome Aboard Toxic Airlines" taxied into U.K. theaters last year, is finalizing plans to shoot "Shadows From the Sky," a scripted feature on the subject.

Loraine, whose documentary about contaminated air supplies on commercial airlines sparked a public inquiry into the issue, has been dubbed the Erin Brockovich of aviation. He told The Hollywood Reporter that, after being medically retired from flying, he signed up to the National Film and Television school and "retrained to become a filmmaker."

The former pilot has penned "Sky" based on his own novel, "Toxic Airlines," and already has attracted development cash from U.K. film agency Screen South.

Loraine's production banner Fact Not Fiction Films is partnering with Australia's Courage Films to produce the picture as a U.K./Australian co-production. It's being taken to buyers here after raising financing in Australia toward the $7 million budget.

So contentious is the issue that talent has been getting in touch with the filmmakers to get involved, Loraine said, adding that Talia Shire, John Rhys-Davies and Marina Sirtis are all attached.

The movie details the story of the aftermath of a fictional airplane crash which sees two of the passengers look into the circumstances. The air quality in the plane emerges as the cause as the mystery unravels.

In the last year, Loraine's production banner, Fact Not Fiction Films, helped Australia's Channel 9, King 5 in Seattle and the BBC in the U.K. make programs on issue. Earlier this week the WDR German Plus Minus program and Swiss TV both broadcast programs.