Amber Sealey to Direct “Nod If You Understand,” Thriller About Plane Hijacking

Amber Sealey is tackling another film based on a true story. The director is set to follow up “No Man of God,” her Tribeca drama exploring Ted Bundy’s relationship with FBI agent Bill Hagmaier leading up to the former’s execution, with “Nod If You Understand,” a McFarland Entertainment thriller about an infamous 1971 plane hijacking. Deadline broke the news.

Slated to kick off production next year, the pic is penned by Dawn Bierschwal and Joey McFarland and will “tell the true story of the relationship between heroic NWA stewardess Tina Mucklow, the mysterious hijacker known as DB Cooper, and the only unsolved case of air piracy in the history of commercial aviation.” When Cooper boards a flight on Thanksgiving Eve, “Mucklow must cleverly negotiate his demands and the conflicting objectives of the FBI and airline, to save 42 lives. After extorting $200,000 in ransom and demanding the crew return him to the stormy skies with a series of very specific and life-threatening flying instructions, Cooper does the unthinkable, parachuting out of the aircraft with the money. Despite an extensive manhunt and FBI investigation, Cooper has never been located or identified. The incident not only marked the end of unfettered and uninspected airline travel, but also inspired a wave of violent hijackings that increased year after year – culminating into the events of September 11, 2001, and with effects still felt today,” the source notes.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to be directing this film. It’s a story that is both universal and extraordinary,” said Sealey. “Tina is just like one of us. The Hijacker is like no one we’ve ever known before or since. Together, we can’t take our eyes off their life-changing story.” She added, “This hijacking is an important piece of U.S. history, much obsessed over, and yet there are huge parts of the story that have never been shown before. The camera has never been pointed in the right direction, until now.”

Bierschwal and McFarland commented, “Though DB Cooper is an incredibly enigmatic and fascinating figure, Tina Mucklow was the real hero that day. She represents so many female heroes overlooked throughout history, and it’s time to correct that. With Amber Sealey, we couldn’t have a more powerful voice to tell this story.”

Asked what advice she’d give other women directors, Sealey told us, “I believe that this industry doesn’t have one path or way forward. What works for one person won’t work for another: You have to find your own way. There really aren’t any permanent rules. Everyone has to forge their own path,” she emphasized. “There are so many unfair things in this world that make success easier for some and harder for others, so my only advice would be to find a happy life as best you can. Cultivate good friends, be kind, be true to yourself, make mistakes, and then get back up. It’s all subjective anyway, so who really cares what others think?”

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