Casting Call: Skyfall, the Hunt for D.B. Cooper

Published June 22, 2012

In which we suggest who should star in the next big adaptation, remake, or historical film.

Conspiracy theories are constant fodder for film: The Da Vinci Code; Skulls; the 1997 movie titled Conspiracy Theory starring Julia Roberts and Mel Gibson; almost all films involving Roswell, aliens, the US government and the Middle East, President Kennedy, Biggie, 2Pac, Jam Master Jay, John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Nikola Tesla, the identity and motives of Jack the Ripper, Tsar Nicholas II’s daughter Anastasia, the Freemasons, the Illuminati, the Catholic Church. You get the point. One relatively untapped conspiracy theory is that of D.B. Cooper, the only un-apprehended aerial hijacker to date.

In 1971, Dan Cooper somehow managed to commandeer a plane en route from Portland, OR to Seattle; demand and receive a ransom of $200,000 and release most of the passengers in Washington; re-direct the plane with a few hostages (pilots, air stewards) to Nevada; and parachute with the ransom somewhere between Seattle and Nevada. Cooper has never been found and the $200,000 was never recovered. Of course, he may have died in 1971—perhaps his parachute never opened, or he was injured from the fall—but where’s the fun in that? Much more exciting is the Robin Hood-esque image that emerged of Cooper: the crafty, everyman criminal; the polite, put-together robber; hero of anyone who’s ever dreamed of a little easy cash.

Over the past forty years, several D.B.s (of all genders), relatives of D.B., and neighbors of D.B. have come forward. No dice.

Journalist Geoffrey Gray joined the hunt for D.B. when he got a tip from a private investigator about a possible deceased D.B. Cooper—a former paratrooper who had lived but 40 miles from Seattle and closely resembled the FBI’s sketch of Cooper (dubbed the “Bing Crosby” sketch). Now, Easy A and Friends with Benefits director Will Gluck and writer Keith Bunin are both signed on to adapt Geoffrey Gray’s book on the subject, Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper, for the big screen. We thought we’d do our own hunt for Cooper—or, at least, a suitable actor to play Cooper.

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