““When I made the film The Invention of Lying, they gave me a private jet for getting back and forth between New York and London. I thought, ‘I will never use it’ but I ended up using it every weekend. You turn up, right, and the airport is completely empty. I mean, there’s just someone at the desk and then the pilot, who says, ‘Are you ready to go?’ and you say, ‘Don’t you want to see my passport?’ and he goes, ‘Oh yeah, I suppose I’d better.’” ”
A movie star role for a business jet
Egyptian movie star Yousef Mansour has bought a Phoenix CRJ and plans to prominently feature the large-cabin jet in his next series of films. The aircraft is a 50-seat Bombardier CRJ200 regional airliner that has been extensively converted by Dubai-based Project Phoenix into a long-range executive jet that can seat 12 passengers. With its supplementary fuel tanks, it can fly 3,200 nautical miles.
Mansour, who is a household name in Arabic countries, said he had also considered the Gulfstream G200 and the Emivest Aerospace SJ30. He opted for the larger-cabin CRJ because it will give him more scope to fly his fellow actors and production team between shoots around the world.
After delivery in September, the CRJ will be based in Cairo and operated for Mansour by ExecuJet Aviation. Most of the time, the aircraft will carry six to eight passengers. Mansour expects it to log 300 to 500 flight hours per year.
This year, the actor's production company will start filming an action adventure series that will star both Arabic and "leading" Western actors, with scenes to be shot in the Middle East and the U.S. "I want to show Western audiences that this part of the world isn't about violence and killing," he told BJT while in Dubai. Nonetheless, the films will feature extensive fight scenes, showing off Mansour's martial arts prowess.
Project Phoenix buys CRJ200s from airlines and has them extensively refurbished and modernized through its Canadian engineering partners, Aerospace Concepts, Flying Colours and Skyservice. The aircraft are thoroughly overhauled before delivery and feature new customized cabins and upgraded avionics.