“It represents capitalism. It represents freedom. It represents everything America is about. And to bring those two buildings down would bring America to its knees.”

– Line from Nosebleed, a movie originally set to start being filmed at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001

A significant number of movies and television dramas were being produced at the time of the 9/11 attacks, which had storylines with some remarkable similarities to the events of September 11, 2001. These storylines featured incidents such as terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, terrorists hijacking a commercial aircraft, and terrorists causing a jumbo jet to crash in New York.

The movies and TV shows would have featured some famous actors, and were being made for major companies, such as CBS and 20th Century Fox. Furthermore, employees of the military and other U.S. government agencies are known to have assisted in developing the storylines of some of these productions. Unsurprisingly, after September 11, the movies and TV shows were either canceled or significantly rewritten so as to remove any resemblance to the 9/11 attacks.

The existence of these movies and TV dramas, at the very least, disproves claims that the 9/11 attacks could not have been foreseen. It is worth considering, however, whether these productions served a more sinister purpose in relation to 9/11, albeit unknown to most of the people working on them.

This article examines seven movies and television dramas that were in production at the time of the 9/11 attacks, which all had notable similarities to aspects of what happened on September 11. These proposed movies and TV shows received some attention after September 11 because of their resemblance to the attacks in New York and at the Pentagon. Newsweek even commented that the amount of movies and TV shows about terrorism being made at that time “makes you wonder if this [i.e. terrorism] wasn’t an obsessive theme in the culture even before September 11.” [1] However, no one suggested that there might have been a more sinister reason for there being so many productions about terrorism. Instead, their existence was treated like a simple coincidence.

ACTION MOVIE FEATURED TERRORIST PLOT TO BLOW UP THE WORLD TRADE CENTER
A number of movies and TV shows that were being produced at the time of the 9/11 attacks are notable because they featured acts of terrorism in New York or, specifically, at the World Trade Center.

A movie that is particularly striking is Nosebleed, which would have been about a terrorist plot to bomb the Twin Towers. [2] It was going to feature the well-known martial artist and actor Jackie Chan as a window washer at the World Trade Center who uncovers the plot and tries to thwart the terrorists. [3]

The script for Nosebleed was initially written in 1999 by Stu Zicherman and Raven Metzner, and developed after that. Zicherman and Metzner had also come up with the film’s storyline. [4]

A line reportedly in the script indicates that the fictitious terrorists intended to cause the Twin Towers to collapse–like what actually happened on September 11. A terrorist would say of the WTC: “It represents capitalism. It represents freedom. It represents everything America is about. And to bring those two buildings down would bring America to its knees.” [5]

Nosebleed would have been a major film. It would have cost $50 million to $60 million to make, according to Variety magazine. [6] In May 2000, it was reported that Renny Harlin, who previously directed action movies such as Die Hard 2 and The Long Kiss Goodnight, was in talks to direct it, although whether he was subsequently taken on as director is unclear. [7]

FILMING WAS SET TO TAKE PLACE AT THE WORLD TRADE CENTER ON SEPTEMBER 11
Not only did the plot of Nosebleed have similarities to the 9/11 attacks, but a scene for the movie was scheduled to be filmed at the top of one of the Twin Towers at 7:00 a.m. on September 11. [8] The filming would have taken place at Windows on the World, the restaurant at the top of the North Tower, according to Jackie Chan, but it was canceled. So instead of being at the WTC, Chan was in Toronto working on another movie, The Tuxedo, on September 11. [9]

Had the filming gone ahead as originally scheduled, Chan and the other people involved would likely have died, since everyone who was in Windows on the World when American Airlines Flight 11 hit the North Tower at 8:46 a.m. on September 11 was trapped and subsequently died. [10] Chan told one newspaper, “I would probably have died if the shooting went ahead as planned.” [11] He said that on September 11, after he learned about the attacks on the WTC, he was “like a walking dead man” for the rest of the day. [12]

It is unclear why the filming at the WTC was canceled. According to some reports, it was because the script for the scene there was late. [13] According to the Orlando Sentinel, it was because Chan “didn’t want to make Nosebleed without a finished script.” “The action was good, but, somehow, the script not ready,” he commented. [14] But Chan gave a different explanation to the Boston Phoenix, saying: “The studio didn’t really like the script of Nosebleed because it was not perfect yet. So my manager said: ‘Don’t worry. If you do not like this film, we can do Tuxedo. You will meet with [Steven] Spielberg to see if you like it or not.’ Then I met with Spielberg and I say I will do Tuxedo, because I trust Spielberg.” [15]

Unsurprisingly, work on Nosebleed was put on hold after 9/11 and the movie has never been made. [16]

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