Red Eye (2005)

Fear Takes Flight.

Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) hates to fly, but the terror that awaits her on the night flight to Miami has nothing to do with a fear of flying. Upon boarding the plane, Lisa is pleasantly surprised to find that she is seated next to Jackson (Cillian Murphy), the seemingly charming man with whom she had shared a drink—and perhaps even a brief flirtation—in the airport terminal. But moments after takeoff, Jackson drops his façade and menacingly reveals the real reason he’s on board: He is an operative in a plot to kill the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security…and Lisa is the key to its success. If she refuses to cooperate, her own father will be killed by an assassin awaiting a call from Jackson. Trapped within the confines of a jet at 30,000 feet, Lisa has nowhere to run and no way to summon help without endangering her father, her fellow passengers and her own life. As the miles tick by, Lisa knows she is running out of time as she desperately looks for a way to thwart her ruthless captor and stop a terrible murder.


Rachel as: Lisa Reisert
Other cast: Cillian Murphy (Jackson Rippner), Brian Cox (Joe Reisert), Jayma Mays (Cynthia)
Alternative Title: Don’t Airport (Working Title)
Directed by: Wes Craven
Written by: Carl Ellsworth (Story, Screen play), Dan Foos
Production Status: Available on DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital HD
World Premiere: August 4, 2005 at Los Angeles Premiere, United States
Theatrical Release: August 19, 2005 (US) | September 2, 2005 (UK)
Genre: Thriller
Rated: PG-13 for some intense sequences of violence, and language
Distributor: DreamWorks
Run time: 85 min
Production budget: $26.000.000 (Estimated)
Box office: $57,891,803 (US) | $95,577,774 (Worldwide)
Producers: Chris Bender, Marianne Maddalena, Bonnie Curtis, Jim Lemley, Mason Novick, JC Spink
Original Music by: Marco Beltrami
Cinematography by: Robert Yeoman

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Production Notes

McAdams notes that when we first meet Lisa, the only thing on her mind is work. “She is focused on one aspect of her life right now, which is her job. Because of the nature of her work in the hotel world, Lisa is a troubleshooter and very resourceful; she’s used to handling all kinds of problems. But in her personal life, she’s a little closed off, a little suspicious of intimacy. She is dealing with the death of her grandmother, who was kind of her mentor, and there are problems in her past that she’s still trying to come to grips with. I think she has cut herself off from the world a little bit; she’s cast her personal relationships and even her relationship with her father aside, and her work has become her life.”

That said, McAdams adds, “Her arc was very interesting to me—where Lisa starts and where she ends are two very different places, and the journey in-between is quite gripping.”

Maddalena reveals that McAdams was the only actress the filmmakers met for the role of Lisa. “She has a wonderful quality. She’s very beautiful but, at the same time, very accessible.”

Craven attests, “I had seen Rachel in ‘The Notebook’ and ‘Mean Girls,’ and knew she was actor of enormous range and great charisma—not to mention a fantastic beauty—and working with her was an enormous pleasure. She always came in totally prepared and was able to convey the deep and powerful emotions of this complex character very quickly. From the moment you see her on the screen, your eyes are just riveted on her. She’s funny, she’s vulnerable, she’s smart…she has a combination of beauty and wisdom and talent that is quite remarkable.”

Cast opposite McAdams, Irish actor Cillian Murphy adopted a flawless American accent to play an operative in a murder plot with the unfortunate name of Jackson Rippner. “There are obvious connotations about his name,” Murphy admits, “although I never really conceived of the character entirely as a good guy or a bad guy. He is very much a professional; he has been paid to get a job done. But over the course of the movie, circumstances keep changing and we see the situation slipping further out of his control. I tend to be drawn to characters who are in extreme situations where the scope of the drama is heightened, and this is definitely one of those roles. It was such an actor’s script—almost like a chamber piece with everything so contained within these two seats on a plane. I was instantly taken by it.”

Continue to read production notes

Production Process

Early September 2004 it was announced that Rachel and Cillian Murphy had been cast to star in the movie, with principal photography beginning on November 8, 2004 in Los Angeles. The movie was filmed in Florida and California. Most of the film took part in the air plane.

Trivia & Facts

  • The framed photograph of a younger Lisa playing sports (in the first scene, when the father puts his wallet down next to it) is actually a still from Mean Girls (2004).
  • This is the second movie that Rachel has starred in that references a man named Duke. Previously in The Notebook (2004), her character’s husband in old age is nicknamed Duke. In this movie, she tells Jackson that her grandmother had a boyfriend named Duke.
  • Quotes from Rachel

    “I was flattered out of my mind that Wes Craven even knew who I was. I was so excited he wanted me for Red Eye because the thriller is a genre I’ve never done before. Ironically one of the first plays I did when I was 12 was Woody Allen’s Death. I started this acting thing out in a dark moment and it took Wes to bring me back to those themes.”
    On working with Wes Craven (Canoe)

    “Yeah, it was incredibly claustrophobic. It wasn’t as disconcerting as I thought it was going to be, but at the same time, it elevated the tension. I was literally stuck on the plane for 12 hours every day. And the cameras are really close to your face and Cillian is in really close proximity to me and I can’t get away.”
    On working in a small set (AP)

    “It was a real page-turner, obviously an actor’s piece. The character had an arc that terrified me. It’s always good when you read a script, and you’re terrified of taking on a role, but you can’t put it down.”
    On why she got involved (LA Daily)

    Quotes from Cast & Crew

    “There’s nobody better around than Rachel McAdams. I think she’s a fantastic actress which we’ve all seen before. She’s also stunningly beautiful. I think audience members immediately can connect with her.”
    Cillian Murphy, co-star (Unkown)

    “I kind of like the idea that by the end of the year they’re going to be huge stars, I’m convinced. Just with the films they have in the can including this one. But when we cast them, it was just people that were really studying who’s coming up were aware of them…”
    Wes Craven, director (IGN)

    “Enormous range and great charisma, not to mention a fantastic beauty.”
    Wes Craven, director (LA Daily)

    “Rachel was the only female actress we looked at… When I sat down with her in a room, I thought, ‘That’s her.’ I loved The Notebook and saw this is an actress who can obviously do the first part of the movie where she’s falling in love and she’s beautiful. I looked at Mean Girls and I said this is somebody who can disappear into a role and be totally different. So she’s not just one thing in every role.”
    Wes Craven, director (IGN)

    Critical Reception

    “If you don’t look too closely, if you fail to see past the lissome figure and the dimples that punctuate her smile, you might not notice how this actress holds her gaze a few beats longer than need be, suggesting a depth of intensity uncommon in most Hollywood ingénues.”
    Manohla Dargis (New York Times)

    “Rachel McAdams gives yet another first-rate performance. McAdams is stockpiling a treasure trove of Grade A performances.”
    Rebecca Murray (About)

    “Casting directors, who know what to look for, will see that she brings more presence and credibility to her role than is really expected; she acts without betraying the slightest awareness that she’s inside a genre.”
    Roger Ebert (Suntimes)

    “Rachel McAdams continues to expand her range on her climb to what will likely be A-list status. (She’s too good and too attractive to end up elsewhere.)”
    James Berardinelli (Reelviews)

    The movie currently holds a 79% rating at Rotten Tomatoes (Certified Fresh) and 71 score at Meta Critics

    Awards & Nominations

    ★ 2005 Hollywood Film Awards as Breakthrough Actress
    ☆ 2006 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films as Best Actress
    ☆ 2005 Golden Schmoes Awards as Best Actress of the Year
    ☆ 2006 MTV Movie Awards as Best Performance
    ☆ 2006 Teen Choice Awards as Movie – Choice Scream

    ★ = win ☆ = nomination | View entire list at IMDB

    Promotional Tour

    August 4th 2005 Los Angeles Premiere Images Videos
    August 9th 2005 The Early Show Images Videos
    August 9th 2005 Late Show with David Letterman Outside Videos
    August 9th 2005 The Today Show Outside Videos
    August 10th 2005 MTV TRL Images

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