Big Movie Zone Blog Press Releases Teacher's Guides Community
Features and Reviews

Martin Sheen to Narrate 'Straight Up'


Written by: SK Films
Date: June 6, 2002


Category: Press Releases


Acclaimed actor narrates National Air and Space Museum film slated for September 2002 release to IMAX® and other large format theaters

TORONTO, CANADA June 6, 2002 – Actor Martin Sheen will lend his distinguished voice to the first helicopter film made for the giant screen, STRAIGHT UP Helicopters in Action (Main Film Page - Trailer, Film Clips, Reviews, Interviews, etc.), it was announced today. The 42-minute motion picture will celebrate the critical yet often-unheralded roles of helicopters in a turbulent world.

Scheduled for release in September 2002, the film is produced by SK Films Inc. for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. SK will handle distribution to IMAX® and other large-format theaters worldwide.

As narrator of STRAIGHT UP, Sheen will guide audiences through a diverse series of heart-stopping flights, each one requiring the unique maneuvering and lifting abilities that make helicopters essential tools. As captured in the film’s rescue sequences, the machines not only save time—they make the difference between life and death.

Sheen illustrious career spans five decades and more than 200 productions including Badlands, the Academy Award® winning Apocalypse Now and Wall Street. He currently plays President Bartlet in the Emmy Award®-winning television series, The West Wing.

"Ever since I worked with the military and production helicopters in Apocalypse Now, I’ve been intrigued by the nature of vertical flight," Sheen says. "I am pleased to help the National Air and Space Museum draw attention to the remarkable innovation and utility of these machines and the skills of the pilots and crews who fly them."

STRAIGHT UP director and cinematographer David Douglas (Academy Award®-nominated Fires of Kuwait, Survival Island, Rolling Stones at the Max) spares no angle to provide the rich visuals Sheen will describe. Sequences include a reconnaissance mission with the U.S. Marine Corps, an air-sea Coast Guard rescue, relocation of endangered black rhinos in South Africa, delivery of humanitarian aid with the U.N. in war-torn Sierra Leone, an air-sea drug interdiction, and a dangerous high-tension power line repair. Most recently, Douglas recorded an alpine rescue and medevac sequence by Rega, the Swiss national air rescue organization, following an avalanche. STRAIGHT UP was filmed over 18 months throughout 2000-2002 on three continents: North America, Europe and Africa.

"The purpose of STRAIGHT UP is to document the many important tasks helicopters perform," Executive Producer Jonathan Barker (Into the Deep, Mission to Mir, Survival Island) says. "We are thrilled to have Martin Sheen as the voice that brings together so many vital but different missions."

STRAIGHT UP will premiere September 18, 2002 at the Lockheed Martin IMAX® Theater in the Air and Space Museum’s flagship building on the National Mall in Washington. Since its opening in 1976, the building on the Mall has been the most visited museum in the world.

Museum director Gen. J.R. "Jack" Dailey, a decorated pilot of both airplanes and helicopters, predicts STRAIGHT UP will give audiences "a strong appreciation for machines they’ve often seen but have rarely flown in. Martin Sheen’s instantly recognizable, authoritative voice is perfect for explaining the essential and often dangerous operations helicopters must perform."

STRAIGHT UP is the ninth large-format film produced by the Air and Space Museum. In addition to showing at the Lockheed Martin Theater, the film will have a featured run in the museum’s new companion facility, to open at Washington Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia in December 2003. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center will also be home to the museum’s extensive vertical flight collection, which includes the first helicopter to carry a president of the United States (Dwight D. Eisenhower), the first helicopter powered by a turbine engine and the first helicopter to circumnavigate the world.

The film is produced by Jonathan Barker and Diane Roberts. Patricia Woodside serves as Executive Producer along with Barker. The film will be distributed worldwide by SK Films Inc.

Project sponsors are EADS N.V. /Eurocopter, Agusta Aerospace Corporation, Bell Helicopter Textron, The Boeing Company, Sikorsky Aircraft, Rolls Royce North America, U.S. Marine Corps, Groen Brothers, PPL Corporation, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Customs Service. Additional financing has come from an industry group of helicopter operators led by the Helicopter Association International.

SK Films Inc. was established by feature film and television producer Shaftesbury Films Inc. to develop, produce and distribute large format films. A significant interest in SK Films is held by Robert Kerr, co-founder and former President and CEO of IMAX Corporation.

Dedicated Website:

Further information from Julie Johnston at SK Films (416) 363-1411 and Peter Golkin at the National Air and Space Museum, 202-357-1552.

Articles Archive: Newest to Oldest

Reviews Archive: Newest to Oldest