Mickey Rothenberg died on United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001.
Andrew Bernstein, Mickey’s nephew, was kind enough to speak with Sheldrake about September 11, his reactions to UNITED 93, and touched on the coverage/Talkbacks swirling around the film here on AICN.
AICN would like to offer out sincerest thanks to Andrew for sharing his time and thoughts, and to Sheldrake for his overtime coverage of both Tribeca and The Howard Stern Film Festival.
Here are Sheldrake and Andrew…
THE AIN’T IT COOL NEWS INTERVIEW
UNITED 93, PROCESS AND PREMIERE
MAY 1, 2006
Sheldrake here, reporting live from New York, NY. Today we’re meeting with ANDREW BERNSTEIN. Andrew’s a Creative Executive at Paul Schiff Productions, a production company in Culver City with a term deal at Sony. I took my literary agent to see UNITED 93 the other night, and he passed Andrew’s name on to me. “You have to talk to him about UNITED 93. You have to hear what he has to say.”
Andrew’s uncle, MICKEY ROTHENBERG, is widely believed to be the first person to be stabbed—and to die— on United Airlines Flight 93. That’s the way it’s depicted in UNITED 93.
I was going to call him over the last couple of days, but the Howard Stern Film Festival got my attention and I lost focus. Then I got Andrew’s note in the mail, which said, among other things—B>
“--So you know where I'm coming from, I've been turning down most, if not all, interview requests over the past few weeks and months...however, as a member of the entertainment community and as a longtime AICN fan, I'm certainly intrigued by the idea of speaking with you.—“
When I got that note, it meant to me that I had a certain responsibility to do this, so I called Andrew right away. He said he’d read all the reviews on AICN, had read the talkbacks and wanted to have an opportunity to respond to them from the family member’s point of view. He’s also the family member who’s actually in the entertainment industry, so he acted, as best he could, as guardian of the material throughout the process, contacting directors and producers who were handling the material as news of their involvement surfaced in the industry press or through personal contacts.
So, thanks to Jody Hotchkiss for setting up this meeting for me, and thanks to Andrew for being, as you’ll see, willing to talk about this at length. I hope this piece is useful for anyone who’s trying to get a handle on how to feel about the movie.
This is a long piece. First we talk about September 11th; then his uncle, Mickey Rothenberg, and the family; then the family’s involvement in the making of UNITED 93 and then Andrews personal memories of the premiere here in New York at the Tribeca Film Festival and one very special encounter standing in the men’s room line at the premiere…
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SHELDRAKE: Thank you for talking to us. If you read my doubts and quakings and fears about even seeing the movie…
ANDREW: Yes, I did.
SHELDRAKE: …and maybe I’m the overly sensitive type…
ANDREW: I don’t think so, I think your feelings and anxieties are pretty much status quo. People seem very skittish.
SHELDRAKE: Ok. Let’s start at the day this all happened. Were you in California on September 11th?
ANDREW: I was actually a senior at Penn State. Oddly enough, it’s about an hour’s drive from the Shanksville field, where the flight hit the ground. And, you know, it was a devastating morning. I remember waking up and getting phone calls, then I turn on the TV and there are the Trade Center towers, on fire, and I spent most of the morning with friends. We were in tears, crying, no one was going to class, the whole campus was shut down. And I remember hitting kind of a wall, where I was accepting it all.
And just at that moment, I got a phone call from my mother, saying, we’ve got some terrible news, and I said, I know! I’ve been watching the news!
And she said, well, it’s worse. You’re uncle was on one of the flights.
SHELDRAKE: I…can’t even imagine what that must have been like.
ANDREW: I…I can’t…even put it into words. It’s one of those things you think you’re never gonna say to yourself, “my uncle was killed in a terrorist attack.”
SHELDRAKE: I think it would be great take a moment here to hear a little a bit about your uncle…Mickey Rothenberg was his name…did you know him well…?
ANDREW: Yeah, we were very close, very close. He had two girls, and I have two brothers, and he was very much a guy’s guy, you know. An athlete, he golfed, he loved to throw the football around. So we kind of had that bond, my brothers and I with him, because, you know, he loved having us around. We were, I guess, the sons he never had…the family is very close, he and my aunt, Meredith, went to school with my mother and father, so the four of them were all kind of…they were very close.
SHELDRAKE: Where was he going that morning?
ANDREW: He was en route to Taiwan, which was a trip he made frequently, one a month or once every couple of months, like that. And so it was flight he’d been on several times before…
SHELDRAKE: Yeah, I did that to Baltimore and Richmond for awhile, where you’re on the same flight, you get to know everyone…
ANDREW: Yeah, there’s a chance he knew them, the flight attendants. I just found that out this weekend, that it was a flight he took frequently.
SHELDRAKE: How was it determined—and I hope this isn’t an indelicate question—
ANDREW: I think I know what you’re going to ask—go ahead, it’s ok—
SHELDRAKE: --did they determine that he was the first one hurt on the flight?
ANDREW: Well, he was a first class passenger. All of the other—my aunt did an extensive amount of research in the time period immediately following 9/11—she wanted to know for her own peace of mind…
SHELDRAKE: …your aunt, his wife---
ANDREW: Yeah. He was my mother’s sister’s husband. And so through talking to the other family members, she was very much in contact with everyone who had received phone calls from the plane, and through that several people mentioned that a first class passenger had been stabbed. So it was more of a process of elimination…and remember my uncle was someone who lived by his cell phone. She knew right away that something was wrong when she heard that other passengers had made calls and she hadn’t gotten one. What my family unanimously believes to be somewhat factual, just based on his character and who he was…well, he was kind of this tough guy from Brooklyn. He was a great family man and put families first, the most loving kind man you can imagine, but he definitely had an edge to him.
There’s a story I tell about him, there was a time we went out to dinner and he returned his hamburger seven times or something like that, he got things done and he liked them to be done his way, period.
There are three possibilities for why he was targeted first. One, it was completely arbitrary, which is almost how it’s depicted in UNITED 93. The hijackers might have just felt the need to show that they meant business. Another possibility: he was a salesman, and used to working with people from different backgrounds, and he was a negotiator: that was his nature. And there’s a good chance that he would have stood up and said, hey guys, let’s work this out, let’s talk about this. I think that’s how it was depicted in the one that PETER MARKLE directed. The A&E movie, not the Discovery movie.
And then there’s the third possibility, he could have stood up and gotten physical. That’s not outside the realm of possibility. I think the most likely scenario was he tried to negotiate. And you have to try to put yourself in a pre-9/11 frame of mind, where our idea of a hijacking was what we saw in movies, the hijackers take over and hold you ransom. It wasn’t until later on in the flight that they could even conceive of the idea that they would be used as weapons.
SHELDRAKE: I’ve always thought, one of the injustices delivered on the passengers of that flight, not only did they have to die horribly, they got to have the worst morning of their lives before they died.
ANDREW: Yeah, absolutely correct.
SHELDRAKE: Like a lot of people, when I was in the mood to be bitter about the making of this movie, I thought to myself, “oh, action/adventure, terror in the sky—join the passengers of Flight 93! See them battle the terrorists! See the final death plunge from the sky!” Kind of like the marketing of Tora, Tora, Tora that I remember from trailer reels…
Well, GREENGRASS didn’t make an entertainment, it’s quite something other than that. So let me ask you: what do you think this film does, if it doesn’t entertain?
ANDREW: We call it…memorializing. I think that’s also the word Paul Greengrass would go for. He’s a phenomenal man and filmmaker and I truly believe through dealing with him and his team, that this movie first and foremost, beyond ANY doubt—and this is part of my response to the AICN talkbacker— was about memorializing and paying tribute to the people onboard the flight.
SHELDRAKE: Ok, so this all happened. Obviously, there were devastating effects on your family. There was a recovery process you had to go through…that’s a preface to what I really want to ask. This horrible thing happened, and you all needed some space to get through some kind of healing, and I hope you got it. So here’s the question: how soon did Hollywood come nipping at your heels about the story?
ANDREW: Hmm. Let’s say this. I clearly have been in a unique position in relation to this specific event and the people involved because I do work in entertainment. And so from day one I have felt a responsibility to my family, to my uncle—to myself—to get involved in whatever way possible.
SHELDRAKE: You felt that you were a sort of guardian over the material for the family…
ANDREW: I did. Obviously, I’m not a financier, so I had no creative control whatsoever over any of these projects. But every time I heard about a new project, I found a way to get in touch with the filmmakers immediately. The day that UNITED 93 was announced in Variety I got Paul Greengrass’s email from his agent, explained to them who I was and I wrote him an email, a long email telling him basically, hey, I exist, I’m out here, and I work in entertainment – I was at Spyglass at the time – and you know what? He wrote me back a very long, heartfelt email that same day. And that, for me, kinds of sums up who he is as a person and where this project comes from internally for him.
SHELDRAKE: Had you seen Bloody Sunday at that point?
SHELDRAKE: A remarkable film.
SHELDRAKE: You must have felt some kind of reaction when you found out Greengrass, the director of Bloody Sunday—it must have made you feel there was at least a chance the material would be handled in the right way.
ANDREW: Absolutely. I think I told Paul that directly, there was nobody else I could think of in Hollywood I would have felt as comfortable with.
SHELDRAKE: How did you feel…everybody even remotely connected with entertainment, which nowadays with AICN and others, is everybody on the web in America—no sooner had the planes hit the towers and I guarantee you, the second afterward it was SOMEONE’s thought, this is gonna be a movie at some point. It’s just the way it works. A name that sprang to mind, Ken Burns—not a really cinematic name, but who subsequently made a very good WTC documentary—the final two hours in particular. I saw it ONCE and afterwards said, “Ok, never watching THAT again.” Because I was in shock. Why put yourself through that. How did you feel about the idea that this thing would be fictionalized, as opposed to told in a documentary fashion?
Let me explain where I’m coming from here. In traditional Judaism and Christianity, there’s a single version of reality, the one issued from God’s mouth—the Word, the Logos—and any OTHER telling of the story is blasphemous, right? Because it may tell a version that contradicts THE version. It’s why both religions prefer music as opposed to sculpture, fiction and so on—words can get away from you, create an untrue—by the tradition’s standards—reality.
Ok, so why did I bring that up. Because in the secular society, the idea is still there, that creating a fiction is somehow creating an untrue version of things that is not THE version, that the only way to tell the truth is to show what happened, archival footage and recordings—because that’s really all there is, and everything else is just the imagination at work, and one man’s telling is as good as another. I mean, we already have three cinematic accounts of Flight 93, and they already contradict each other in the details. They have all had to make stuff up to fill out the story. There’s no “agreed upon set of facts.” Or at least, we’re in the still in the process of consensus, not at the endpoint.
ANDREW: I honestly don’t remember ever thinking about that. It wasn’t a concern. I was familiar with Paul’s style of filmmaking… Something I don’t think the public, and even the entertainment community doesn’t understand, especially looking at most of the posts on Ain’t It Cool about how things were made up, on the AICN bulletin boards—the painstaking, detailed amount of research these guys did. The actor playing my uncle was wearing the same shirt, color, make, everything, that my uncle was wearing that day.
SHELDRAKE: You’re not going to believe this, but that’s a question I had for you, how they picked his shirt! For some strange reason I was obsessed with that shirt—that bright royal blue.
ANDREW: They would ask such specifics as: would your loved one have been reading the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times, or a comic book, or nothing. Would they have ordered coffee, would they have gotten something to eat or not? What food would they eat on their plate? That’s the amount of attention the detail got. And that stuff was just for the families, ‘cause obviously no one else would know. He’s not enlarged, watching the film, because Paul very purposefully did not single any one passenger out. It was very much about a collective group and not focusing on any smaller set of individuals.
SHELDRAKE: Not picking out a “hero” for the audience to identify with, in other words. Let me ask this—did he do the same thing for the terrorists? Was he trying to get the same level of detail for the terrorists as well.
ANDREW: I believe so, and I believe that’s most notable in the ringleader, the one who ends up flying the plane, with the glasses. You see him have temptation—when he’s on the phone, with his German girlfriend, saying I love you. It doesn’t seem that she knew what he was doing.
SHELDRAKE: If anyone has any feelings of anger—as I do, I have tremendous anger towards the people who destroyed the Trade Center, towards the people who killed your uncle—the restraint Greengrass shows in presenting them in an even-handed manner—I’m not sure how I feel about that.
ANDREW: Yes, he humanized them.
SHELDRAKE: Which is the way a dramatist works, right? He doesn’t involved in the debates his characters are involved in, in the piece, even if in fact he is involved in them in his personal life. He just shows them debating. Otherwise, it’s polemics and is inherently dishonest. At the same time, I HAVE to ask this…do we owe these murderers that kind of honesty? I mean, yeah yeah, we have to be honest to see clearly, hatred and anger clouds your vision, and that ultimately works against you…and I STILL want to make an exception here.
ANDREW: I wrestled with this too, believe me. Here’s what I came to. I think that humanizing them, the way he did, adds another layer to the story, at large, the macro—in the sense that it raises the question of “where does this hatred come from?” Because if you portray them as animals, then it’s like any other movie with Good Guys and Bad Guys.
SHELDRAKE: Or suddenly it’s TRUE LIES with evil Arabs.
ANDREW: You have to consider the fact that in these guys heads—and obviously this is extremely hard for me to say, given the fact that they killed my uncle—they felt they were in the right—
SHELDRAKE: --that they were heroes!
ANDREW: Just as, to us, all the passengers were heroes. Believe me., I am not in ANY way justifying or rationalizing their actions—don’t be ridiculous—and I was filled with an INTENSE, intense anger for a long, long time following 9/11.
SHELDRAKE: There’s sort of tendency in being an artist—whenever someone says, “this guy is EVIL”—to sort of back up and say—well, wait a minute. Let’s look at who he is in his daily life, at his motivation.
ANDREW: – where does that evil come from?—
SHELDRAKE: Orson Welles famously pointed out that no one believes that they themselves are evil. Perhaps that’s true, though I do believe that people can set sail on the strong winds of revenge… But where things get tricky is when this gets turned into a denial that evil exists at all. Because I believe, and I would argue everyone believes, that real evil exists. There’s no question in my mind that these men were evil, about evil business, but also participating in a truly evil system of some kind. There was some kind of systemic thinking that had twisted them.
I had to think about it for awhile, but now I think Greengrass handled it the right way—he freed the audience member to look at the actions of the characters in the movie and make up their own minds. When you depict someone’s actions, when they’re that crazy, you don’t really need the strong auctorial hand pointing and saying “this guy is evil” because you can trust people to see that for themselves. Hollywood is famous for not trusting it’s audience to Get The Point and spelling things out in dialogue and archetypes, and this movie refrains from that.
Here’s my problem with that, though. I can VERY easily see this film being shown in certain parts of the Islamic Middle East—Saudi Arabia, e.g.—and having the audience believe sincerely that the movie itself depicts the terrorists as heroes! These evil passengers burst into the cockpit and murdered our good pilots who were about Mohammed’s business! On a holy mission! The movie is SO neutral.
ANDREW: Which is what I think makes this movie special. I think that’s what takes the movie away from being another Hollwood Terror-In-The-Sky thriller, as you said before. I KNOW that Paul’s intentions were to make this as realistic, and raw, and attentive a film as possible, because that’s the only true way to tell the story. Otherwise you’re just making a movie.
SHELDRAKE: Well. yes, and I think this is one of the reasons the material had to go to Greengrass, because he has this history – and this is a lesson for young artists out there, if you really feel the call of telling the truth about the world, you have to stick to that. You have to create a reputation for yourself of telling the truth. There’s nothing wrong with having the reputation of being a great entertainer or genre storyteller, but you’re not positioned then to do this when the opportunity presents itself. The pity is, such a director COULD conceivably make a great movie, as well as anyone, but no one would trust it.
ANDREW: Yeah, you’d wonder if there was a third act twist.
SHELDRAKE: You’re not going to be able to help yourself, you’re going to be ANTICIPATING the third act twist—where as Paul’s technique here is to simply show detail after detail after detail, with this happened, then this happened, then this happened—there’s no SPIKE in the storytelling, no dead air around the big lines, it’s nearly cinÃ©ma vÃ©ritÃ© in a fictional form.
ANDREW: Yes, it is.
SHELDRAKE: So, tell me your experiences with the actors. When did you first meet them?
ANDREW: I first met them…in line for the bathroom right after the premiere!
SHELDRAKE: Really. Ha! That’s great.
ANDREW: And I turned around, and there was—and I don’t know his last name—but he was Omar (OMAR BERDOUNI) and he was the one who was strapped to the bomb.
ANDREW: I looked at him, and I could tell he felt kind of awkward…
SHELDRAKE: I’ll bet.
ANDREW: So I said to him, hi, I’m Andrew Bernstein, and my uncle was Mark Rothenberg…and I said I just wanted to…THANK you—for taking on this role—
SHELDRAKE: ---that is TRULY thankless…I didn’t even SEE the actors when I saw the film…
ANDREW: I honestly think EVERY actor in the film did an amazing job. And they all did something courageous and different and brave and something that will never be repeated. But I think especially the gentlemen who played the hijackers—really, really showed a tremendous amount of bravery in taking on those roles.
And these guys, you talk to them and they’re just…very soft-spoken…ACTORS, you know! They just happened to come from those backgrounds and fit the mold for the roles. One wasn’t there, but the three I talked to were incredibly charming, and very humble, and they really seemed as touched as I was to tell them how much I appreciated them taking on that role. They seemed equally touched to hear me say that.
SHELDRAKE: Amazing. Did it feel like you were having some kind of reconciliation with … to find yourself in an embrace with the men who were portraying these people?
ANDREW: There’s a lot there on a lot of levels. Was I trying to make peace with the guys they were portraying? Uh, no. I don’t think so. That’s impossible. I hate them more than…well, more than the average guy, let’s say. You know?
SHELDRAKE: Sure. Of course.
ANDREW: But I think that comes from my role in entertainment, understanding the difference.
SHELDRAKE: Tell me more about the experience of being at the movie premiere.
ANDREW: Without exaggeration, one of most memorable events of my life. They had all the family members sitting—sort of in the platform area, in the back of the theater—a number of people came out to introduce the film. Paul Greengrass spoke. One of the family members spoke—I can’t remember his name, he’s in charge of collecting funds for the permanent national memorial that we’re trying to build in the field.
Then JANE ROSENTHAL came on, and she said, “We have some very special guests tonight—many of the family members of the victims of Flight 93.”
Then the lights dimmed in the theater, and she said, “Will the family members please rise.”
And we rose, and spotlights lit up the entire section where we stood.
SHELDRAKE: Talk about theater!
ANDREW: The entire theater full of actors, producers, politicians, stood up and gave us a standing ovation—and as they say, there wasn’t a dry eye in our section.
SHELDRAKE: One of the things we talked about prior to the interview was the coverage on Ain’t It Cool News – what did you think of the reviews in general? (PAUSE) Did ANYBODY get it right? (LAUGHS NERVOUSLY)
ANDREW: All the reviews were very good. I think YOU got it pretty right, actually, which was why I wanted to talk to you specifically—what did you say, it’s a masterwork of filmmaking?
SHELDRAKE: Yes, it is, in the precise sense of that word. Every element is perfectly controlled.
ANDREW: The way I’ve been explaining it to people, I have to look at it in two ways. Coming from an entertainment point of view, I have to look at it cinematically, and artistically, what are its merits in that sense. AND I have to look at it as—it’s a personal story, part of my life, part of my family’s life. It’s And I think artistically it’s one of the strongest pieces of film in a long, long time.
SHELDRAKE: It’s pretty astonishing, and yet it’s not. You know, it’s right there, great tragedy provides an opportunity for great art…
ANDREW: Absolutely. I could not agree with you more.
SHELDRAKE: And here’s the result when that happens. You think to yourself watching it, why don’t I see things of this stature being produce in American films more often? It’s not just great, it’s magnificent.
ANDREW: I think it’s an Oscar contender.
SHELDRAKE: Oh, hell yes. I was watching the thing and it kept reminding me, how it felt, reading Homer—you know, they fall into the dirt and rise no more. It had that kind of grandeur and finality, the final word on the Human Condition --- that kind of feel. The same kind of beauty and distance, when Achilles is dragging Hector around the city.
ANDREW: Even that one shot, which is strangely soothing and beautiful, when the one hijacker is reading from the Koran and the shot of the fire over New York City. It shouldn’t be beautiful but it is…
SHELDRAKE: ..because it’s our mortality, who we are, that we’re looking at.
SHELDRAKE: There were two moments for me that were signal moments for Greengrass’s subtle touch. The one, I note in the review, he buries “Let’s roll,” which is a brilliant choice. Neither people nor language is allowed to spike up in the movie. Just another word whispered among many.
SHELDRAKE: But also—at the beginning of the film there’s a quick shot of the guys in the Newark Airport tower, and behind them, in the morning haze—which must have cleared because it was an absolutely cloudless morning—the most matter-of-fact shot of the World Trade Center, no big deal, in the background. And, of course, that’s how they looked to us before 9/11. No big deal. Just there. And you’re just dying inside, as you watch it, when a shot of the World Trade Center, to a New Yorker, was No Big Deal. He caught visually how it looked. It didn’t stand for a damned thing, it was just the World Trade Center.
ANDREW: I’d add a third miraculous thing he did in the film. I’ve seen it twice now. I found myself—and talking to my mother and others, several people agree—you KNOW what’s going to happen, how it ends, you find yourself rooting and hoping—
SHELDRAKE: --that these fine men and women will somehow, against all odds, pull it out. I know. Because that’s what Americans do. Especially in movies! Is it Jeremy Glick in the green ski vest who attacks the guy with the bomb first?
ANDREW: I think so…
SHELDRAKE: My girlfriend’s son goes to school with his nephew. There is NO one in New York, in my circles, anyway, who doesn’t know someone who died. At least once a month since I’ve met someone new who lost someone.
…Now, our AICN talkback is famously up and down in quality. You sort of indicated there were some particularly egregious misrepresentations you’d like to address. You have the floor and the broom. Please feel free to sweep away!
ANDREW: The biggest thing that people don’t understand—and there were a number of very accurate and intelligent remarks on the site—but there’s a number of people who clearly felt they weren’t going to see the movie because it was Hollywood exploiting the lives of the family members and the victims for their own personal gain. And I think that if I could speak to those people, I would say…
…that couldn’t be further from the truth. UNITED 93 was something that, from the very start, it was clear that everybody was going to be ALL in, or it wasn’t going to happen. And I honestly believe that they wouldn’t have got far with the project without the cooperation of the families.
SHELDRAKE: No doubt. And yet, and yet. It cannot be denied that Greengrass and the studios will make many, many millions of dollars off this for many years to come. EVERY school and library will own this on DVD, MOST homes will have a copy of it, and the many people will see it in the theaters as well.
ANDREW: Absolutely! But something that most people don’t’ know, that Universal is donating 10% of the opening weekend box office to our permanent memorial! Which is phenomenal! And I’ve been telling this to people who are too skittish to see the movie, well fine! But buy a ticket anyway, because we’re trying to raise $30 million dollars! And that’s going to be a big portion of that money. And you know, as the family members, we owe it to each other and to the victims, we owe it to them to get a permanent memorial made and to get it done right. And that’s something that Universal doesn’t need to do, but they are. It’s hard to put into words – the whole TEAM of people have just been so warm and genuine and sincere, and it’s almost as if they suffered with us.
SHELDRAKE: It couldn’t have been a fun movie to make. There couldn’t have been a lot of great times on that set. It must have been excruciating.
ANDREW: Yeah, yeah. One of the actors, a guy named Jamie who played one of the hijackers—in fact, the one who stabbed my uncle—expressed that he was really struggling, coming home every night from the set and dealing with fact that he was portraying this person that he HATED.
SHELDRAKE: It’s pretty clear from the black box recording that there was no battle with the terrorists in the cockpit at the end. How do you feel about that?
ANDREW: Ok. I didn’t hear the recordings. I had relatives there who heard the recordings. I haven’t read the 9/11 Commission Report either. From what I understand, as far as the recordings: they’re something of a Rorschach. You hear what you want to hear, and everyone comes away with something different. My aunt went and she said that it was completely unintelligible. I don’t want to take away from others who say they heard a loved one’s voice—I respect that. I can’t comment accurately, but it was very hard even with subtitles on a screen showing what was allegedly being said, it was impossible to form a concensus.
SHELDRAKE: I don’t doubt that that’s true. It’s hardly surprising given the chaos…
ANDREW: It’s clear there was a chaotic moment, and it’s clear that that plane was meant to crash somewhere else. Whether it was because the cockpit was breached, or it’s because it was about to be breached…we won. They DID it. God knows how many lives they saved. I’ve been to the crash site and it is just the most…remote, scarce area you can imagine. I can never find quite the right words to say this, but…
… if the plane HAD to go down, anywhere..
… if it HAD to…
… it couldn’t have gone down in a better place.
SHELDRAKE: And thank God, because of that, no one else had to die that day. Andrew, thank you for speaking to us today. Let me speak, somewhat boldly, for everyone in New York City, and say out hearts out to you as the movie opens this weekend.
ANDREW: Thank you very much. It really means a lot to me.
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I lost about five minutes from the rest of the interview, where Andrew said again how the team at Universal had walked him through the process, how Paul and producers Kate Solomon and Lloyd Levin had stuck with him through the entire process.
So now, AICN fans and Talkbackers, you have a family member’s thoughts on the movie, and his reactions to what he’s seen in Ain’t It Cool News. New York and the entire nation have been going through the stages of recovery for the last few years, and the release of UNITED 93 is, among other things, one more step in that process.
If this interview contributes to your individual understanding of what happened and how it came to be a movie, then I’ve done my job tonight.
New York, New York
May 1st, 2006