NEW YORK—Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone said Monday that his new film World Trade Center unveils "compelling and controversial" new evidence that a single plane was responsible for all four collisions in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.
"Get ready to go through the looking glass here, people," Stone told reporters at a Manhattan press conference before an advance screening of the movie, which premieres Wednesday. "The film you are about to see is going to blow the lid off the 9/11 Commission's official report and expose a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of government."
World Trade Center, which stars Nicolas Cage as a dedicated Port Authority officer who stumbles on secret evidence amid the rubble and carnage of the terrorist attack, tells a story quite different from what Stone called "the official government line" about the event. According to the film, at 8:46 a.m., a lone commercial airliner flew diagonally through the North Tower of the World Trade Center, maintained a circular holding pattern for approximately 17 minutes, then struck the South Tower before heading to the Pentagon.
After its collision with the center of American military operations, the so-called "magic plane"—which variously and ingeniously identified itself to air-traffic controllers as "American Airlines Flight 11," "United Airlines Flight 175," "American Airlines Flight 77" and "United Airlines Flight 93"—took to the skies once again, landing at a top-secret "black-ops" Air Force base in West Virginia, where it was reloaded with a group of clones from another shadowy government program that Stone described as "shocking."
Stone, who said he did not have time to explore the clone angle in the three-and-a-half-hour film, plans to do so in the sequel, September 12.
In a gripping sequence, undercover agents transmit pre-recorded cell-phone messages intended to fool loved ones and relatives with a false cover story as the aircraft heads to its final, prearranged crash site in the fields of southwestern Pennsylvania.
Viewers of the advance screening agreed that the most striking and pivotal scene was Cage's character's discovery of security-camera footage that affirmed the single-plane theory. Showing his skeptical but supportive wife the footage frame by frame, Cage notices that the so-called "first" plane, which, according to official, whitewashed reports, detonated upon impact with the North Tower in the initial collision, actually banks "back and to the left, circling for about 17 minutes, and then diving into the other tower." He repeats the phrase over and over in increasing intensity, toggling back and forth between individual frames while the music swells and the emotional drama rises to a fever pitch.
"After seeing that sequence, there's no way anyone can ever deny again that there was only one plane in the airspace over the eastern seaboard that morning," Stone said.
"I am the most important filmmaker working today," he added.
Early public reaction to the film has been skeptical. Many 9/11 conspiracy theorists claim Stone is presenting an exploitative, far-fetched, and manipulative Hollywood version of the pain and suffering—including eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome—they have undergone during their countless hours on the Internet in the tragedy's aftermath.
Despite the controversy, Stone stands by his film. "This is a story that needs to be told, in a reality that only I can bring to the big screen," Stone said. "I realize it will be hard to accept for those unable to confront the truth, but I can't hide my head in the sand like some goddamn ostrich. To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards out of men."