The BBC and HBO are collaborating on a feature documentary about a mysterious plane hijacker that has fascinated corners of the internet and budding sleuths for years. John Dower, who directed Louis Theroux‘s My Scientology Movie, will helm the film.
The film will attempt to unravel the mystery surrounding D.B. Cooper, who boarded a Northwest Orient Airlines plane in November 1971 and hijacked the flight while it was still on the tarmac. He claimed to have a bomb in his briefcase and demanded four parachutes and $200,000, which he exchanged for the 36 passengers on board.
Cooper then ordered the flight to take off for Mexico City and somewhere on the journey, he managed to jump out of the back of the aircraft with a parachute and the money, and was never seen again. His disappearance is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in the history of the FBI, which finally closed the book on its investigation in 2016.
Mandy Chang of the BBC said the broadcaster was “intrigued” by Dower’s film from its inception, and smartly added that it captures an era when airport security was radically different from what it is today:
“John’s obsession with understanding why so many Americans identified with a mystery airplane hijacker who became a cult figure, following in the tradition of criminal icons like Butch and Sundance or Bonnie and Clyde, was infectious. His film paints compelling portraits of multiple suspects, each one as convincing as the next and in doing so asks deeper questions about memory, identity and truth”.
Considering audience’s current fervour for true crime stories, commissioning something like this is a no-brainer. Expect this film to be a major hit when it eventually arrives, and it will likely make the D.B. Cooper case even more popular.