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Robert Zemeckis talks past films, impact of 'Flight'

January 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Robert Zemeckis makes movies he'd want to see himself, and his track record is pretty impressive.

From "Romancing the Stone," to all three "Back to the Future" films; He directed Tom Hanks in "Forrest Gump" and again in "Cast Away," and one more time in "The Polar Express," using image motion technology to tell the story.

It's one of his many tech-savvy films that also include "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" and "Death Becomes Her."

I've been interviewing Zemeckis about his movies for the past 20 years.

"I've seemed to have always understood that it's a technical art form," he said. "I think one of the jobs that a director has is to present images and stories in a way that are spectacular, and in a way that we haven't seen them before. And I'm sort of, I love the illusion of cinema, so anything that I can use to create an image, and have people see it in a way that they haven't seen it before, and be surprised by it, I find that to be a lot of fun."

His latest adventure is "Flight" with Denzel Washington as an airline pilot whose heroic acts are overshadowed by a serious problem with addiction.

"Flight" marks the first non-animated movie for Zemeckis in eight years.

"I was off just doing digital movies but I guess the community felt it was kind of like I'd gone away on sabbatical or something. So the welcome's been great," he said.

It's also great knowing his movie has made a difference for people struggling with addiction.

"I say that's mission accomplished. That's what all art is supposed to do. It's supposed to help us make sense of things in our lives that we are grappling with and try to put things in perspective for us, no matter what it is," Zemeckis said. "So movies are very powerful in that regard, and when you can do something that, like you said can help somebody, it's a good day."

"Flight" has soared to about $92 million at the box office.