Mel Gibson, Perez Hilton and ESPN's Matthew Berry among our contenders to slide down the JetBlue emergency exit
In Sidney Lumet's "Network," actor Peter Finch yells "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"
A JetBlue flight attendant launched his own remake of that seminal moment Monday after suffering one of the dangers of the job — being hit on the head with a piece of luggage. And it's only a matter of time before Steve Slater's story is optioned as a book, TV show, and/or a movie.
The question is: Who should play him?
The New York Times reports that 39-year-old Queens resident Slater (pictured left) pulled the emergency-exit chute upon landing at Kennedy International Airport and slid off the plane. It all started when a passenger ignored Slater's instructions to remain seated, then opened the overhead compartment, causing a piece of luggage to strike Slater in the head.
Slater asked for an apology but the passenger cursed at him instead. Slater then got on the plane's public address system and launched a profanity-laden tirade.
Following his mini-rant, he activated the inflatable evacuation slide, slid down, ran to the employee parking lot and left JFK in his car. He was arrested at his home and charged with reckless endangerment and criminal mischief.
Should Hollywood decide to make a movie based on this instant folk hero, who would play Slater? Here are TheWrap's official candidates:
• The Summer Action Movie – Samuel L. Jackson hates snakes on his plane … and unruly passengers who ignore the flight crew! He's just a family man trying to get home in time for his daughter's birthday party, like Michael Douglas in "Falling Down" but without the tie and glasses, because everyone knows those are for nerds. Harrison Ford co-stars as the incredulous pilot who is too drunk to notice that someone got off his plane a few minutes early.
• The Empowered Comedy – Perez Hilton (or ESPN's Matthew Berry, right, based on resemblance alone) plays a friendly flight attendant who, sick of the constant airline delays that mess with the remains of his social life, decides to jump ship while taxiing to the gate and live life according to his own schedule, not the control tower's.
• The Horror Film – Mel Gibson stars as a flight attendant with a secret … he hates everybody! No peanuts for you! Christian Bale will play the passenger (meaning "Terminator Salvation's" Shane Hurlbut won't be the director of photography since those two are DONE professionally) and Radar Online has already arranged to have the exclusive black-box recording.
• The Awards Season Drama — Oscar winner Matt Damon (it was for co-writing "Good Will Hunting" but whatever!) stars as a gay man who is tired of living "up in the air" like George Clooney and sees The Incident as the impetus to run off with his younger lover, a cancer patient who is running out of time.
• The Low-Budget Indie — "Powder" star Sean Patrick Flanery plays a suicidal, middle-aged flight attendant in this contemplative tearjerker about a man at the end of his rope and the regret-riddled passenger who tries to save him.
Should someone else play Steve Slater? Have your say in the comments section below, and let the casting game begin!