Samuel L. Jackson has faced daunting adversaries on screen: the Sith (Star Wars), genetically altered sharks (Deep Blue Sea), Vin Diesel's ego (XXX). But nothing's been as scary and potentially Razzie-worthy as his foes in next summer's Snakes on a Plane.
In the oh-so-literally titled flick, targeted for an Aug. 18, 2006, release, a Mob boss places a crate full of 400 snakes on a plane headed from Honolulu to L.A. Jackson, playing FBI agent Neville Flynn (we're not making this up), is escorting a Mob witness (Nathan Phillips) on the same jet. Once the carrier is airborne, the time-released crate opens and snake terror ensues. ''[The mobster]'s also gotten leis on the plane that have been sprayed with this pheromone that drives the snakes nuts,'' explains Plane director David R. Ellis (Cellular). ''So it's kind of like snakes on crack.''
With such tight confines on the aircraft, one might expect the snakes a mix of actual serpents and CGI creations to be moderate in size, but Ellis says not so: ''The biggest [real] one we had, which we called Kong, was about 23 feet long and about 2 feet thick.''
ER's Julianna Margulies (as a flight attendant), One on One's Flex Alexander (as a rapper), and SNL's Kenan Thompson (as Flex's bodyguard) are all on board to help Sam and Nathan survive these chemically addled adders but don't get too attached since about three-quarters of the cast wind up biting it. Ellis describes one juicy death scene in which a snake crawls up a woman's muumuu while she sleeps. We can't wait, and we already have an idea for a sequel: Bears on a Train, anyone?