And maybe the protagonist could be seated in a middle seat, and the person sitting next to the protagonist could have bought an egg-salad sandwich at J.F.K., and maybe she opens it up and just sort of lets it sit there and air for a while, and then starts eating it really slowly and loudly. And then, just when she finishes it, just when the audience thinks the protagonist's safe, she reaches into her bag, and there's a tuna-salad sandwich in there. Yeah, sure—if you like, the sandwich eater can be a strong female character.
I know the original had snakes falling down with the oxygen masks, but what if they're replaced with jazz music being played over the plane's speakers for, like, the whole flight?
And I was thinking that Daniel Day-Lewis could play one of the redheaded toddlers who kick the protagonist's seat with surprising force. Instead of the scene in which Samuel L. Jackson subdues the snakes by manipulating the ventilation system, there could be no meal included, only a flight attendant who wheels a trolley up and down the aisle selling granola bars for $34.99.
Look, Harvey—can I call you Harvey? I know that critics always jump on filmmakers who deviate too far from the original, but I think it could really work well if, instead of the part where the two pilots die and the plane needs to make an emergency landing, what about if the protagonist is seated right behind someone who just keeps reclining his seat and then changing his mind? No, see, there are no snakes inside the seat; it just goes back and forth.
And the sort of thriller element could be that the protagonist is flying to her parents' place, and maybe she and her mom haven't been communicating that well lately, and perhaps her mom didn't react the way that she had hoped when the protagonist told her that she was quitting her job as a content marketer to become a Bikram-yoga instructor. If you really like the oxygen-masks part, we could keep that bit in, but maybe it could be less about the snakes dropping down and more about the fact that, en route, the protagonist realizes that 2009 was the last time she had a conversation with her father that lasted longer than two minutes. And maybe one of the flight attendants looks so much like her old piano teacher that she starts having flashbacks to how boring her piano lessons were, so the film is sort of non-linear, like “Citizen Kane.”
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