"It Has to Be a Hoax..."
Doesn't it? Nobody would name a movie Snakes on a Plane for real. Would they?
At this point, truth and legend are so commingled that nobody knows. What is true is that in August '06, New Line Cinema is releasing a movie called Snakes on a Plane, starring Samuel Jackson.
The title/tagline is thought to have been a working title that so caught the fancy of net-fans that it became the official title. Briefly, it was on New Line's announced lineup as Pacific Air Flight 121. According to legend, it was Jackson himself who insisted on the movie returning to the working title - it was the title that drew him to the project, and that was the title it should be shown under. After all, it's Sam's world and we're all just living in it.
'Is it for real?' buzz was launched when the world read this blogpost by industry insider Josh Friedman:
Some months ago my agent called me (we'll call him...Agent). Agent says: "New Line's got a project they want you to look at. They're making the movie. They love it. It needs a little work."
...I ask Agent the name of the project, what it's about, etc. He says: Snakes on a Plane. Holy shit, I'm thinking. It's a title. It's a concept. It's a poster and a logline and whatever else you need it to be. It's perfect. Perfect. It's the Everlasting Gobstopper of movie titles.
I say to Agent: "Tell me nothing else. Get me the script and put me on the phone with those lucky bastards at New Line Cinema!"
Drawn to the koan-like perfection of the movie's title, fans gathered. They created parodies, fan trailers, teeshirts, fanfic... in short, they provided more free publicity and anticipation for a b-movie action-adventure than any production company could hope for.
What's It About?
Well, duh!!... it's about snakes. On a plane! Geddit?
Oh. Samuel Jackson plays an FBI agent, who is escorting an important witness from point A to point B, to testify against someone who doesn't want to be testified against. So somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, an assassin releases poisonous snakes on the plane, and there you have it. Snakes. On a plane. And Samuel Jackson. What could possibly be better?
Never let it be said that fan expectations are ignored in Hollywood. Principle photography was finished on SoaP (as the enthusiasts call it) in September. But New Line took the unusual step of going back to shoot new scenes in March. And because fans were already predicting that Samuel Jackson's character must at some point utter the line "I want these motherf---ing snakes off this motherf---ing plane", they took the opportunity to film a scene with Jackson saying exactly that. At least according to the current state of the Snakes-On-A-Plane mythos.
New Line also released some footage (but as yet no official trailer) as inspiration for the legions of musicians who were writing SoaP music, and is sponsoring a contest in which the lucky winner can have his music appear in the final version of Snakes on a Plane. You have until April 12th to get your song submitted, so hurry!
Is Snakes on a Plane Any Good?
At this point, it no longer matters. Fans will insist that it is either the Best Movie of All Time, or the Worst. Movie. Ever! In other words, a cult classic. And it's not even out yet. When your title is that good (or bad) and your star has played both Mace Windu, Jedi Master and super hot black private dick John Shaft, you have a definite winner on your hands.
SoaP has been picked up as a phrase meaning a sort of zen detachment or resignation. Computer crashes at the DMV and your car was towed? "Snakes on a plane, man... "