Actress feels role was fated
By Ed Blank
Friday, April 28, 2006
Wilkinsburg native Jodie Lynne McClintock can tell you something about
chance, or whatever you choose to call it.
"It's been life-altering -- the synchronicity of all these things coming
together," McClintock says. "I firmly
believe there are no coincidences."
After dozens of theater productions in Pittsburgh and New York City, she's
making her movie debut at age 51 in "United 93" as Marion R. Britton, one
of the 44 people killed on the Sept. 11, 2001, flight that crashed in
Shanksville, Somerset County.
Why that film at this time after 30-some years of acting? The answer
begins with her own Sept. 11 story. The Westminster College alum was
living with Arthur Pearson, her husband since 1986, at the Sunnyside,
Queens, home they occupy to this day.
"I thought my husband was dead on 9/11," McClintock says. "I had gotten up
with a horrible migraine at 5 a.m. that morning and was just going back to
bed when Arthur left for work. ... I knew he had a meeting in Manhattan.
"I woke up at about 9:30, 9:45 and noticed the answering machine was
flashing. There was a cell call message from Arthur trying to awaken me.
He said, 'I have just seen a plane hit the World Trade Center from my
"I ran to the television and turned it on. ... I was transfixed. And then
the second tower fell. It occurred me Arthur might have been in his car
under the rubble. I sat here on the floor and cried.
"Six hours later, he walked through the door. His cell phone had been
dead, and it had taken him six hours to get out of Manhattan. At 9:30 that
night, Arthur turned on his computer while I was watching the coverage on
TV. He said, 'Oh, my God' and fell to the ground sobbing. 'Look at the
"It said his friends Linda Gronlund and Joe DeLuca were on Flight 93."
A few years passed before English writer-director Paul Greengrass began
putting together "Flight 93," a film renamed "United 93" in
"Paul was exceedingly concerned that we all look as much like our
characters as possible. I went in with red hair, and they stripped it on
the sides and took all the color out so it would be white and then dyed it
McClintock was cast as Britton, a native New Yorker, and phoned the
woman's next of kin. Surviving family members had been encouraged to share
anything that might be of use in making the movie accurate.
"Her brother Paul is a Lutheran minister out on Long Island. Her nephew
Wren lives six blocks from Arthur and me.
"Wren was very close to his aunt. When I met Paul and Wren after the
filming, Wren said it was Marion's dream that she and he would share a
little house together one day -- one floor for each of them -- in this
(part of town)."
In between conversations with Britton family members, McClintock made her
She had had a lot of acting experience even before she left Western
Pennsylvania. She'd performed here at and with Sherwood Forest, Pittsburgh
Laboratory Theater, Lovelace Marionette Theater and The Metro. Her many
roles in New York include the maid Kathleen in the 1986 Broadway revival
of "Long Day's Journey Into Night" with Jack Lemmon, Bethel Leslie, Peter
Gallagher and Kevin Spacey. The production moved to London and then was
taped and shown on TV in 1987.
McClintock returned to London to shoot "United 93" at Pinewood Studios,
"the home of James Bond," as she says.
Some of the picture was filmed before her arrival. The air traffic
controller scenes were done afterward.
"We (passengers, crew, hijackers) were there for six weeks in November and
December." Filming was done with two handheld cameras in overlapping takes
that sometimes ran as long as 55 minutes nonstop.
"Paul wanted strong actors who could be silent and still. We had to
improvise in our auditions. Some screamed and jumped up. When it was my
turn, I just took out my cell phone and made a quiet phone call." The
reserved actors tended to be the ones selected, they noticed afterwards.
"In the beginning we had a bonding experience. With the hijackers we did
the full 45-minute run" -- roughly the final 45 minutes of the movie.
"Everyone went full out. It was hard to turn off.
"I was seated in the back of the plane. I noticed one of the (actors
playing the) hijackers was sobbing. He was touching each of the actors
passing him and said, 'I'm sorry. I'm so sorry what this man did to you.'"
"I said to him, 'You're an actor doing a job, and you're doing it very
well.' And then we did it three times a day for the next month.
"The last thing filmed at Pinewood was Linda Gronlund's phone call. I
became great friends with Lorna Dallas, who played her. The most
heartfelt, true work I have ever done was watching my new friend Lorna
film Linda's phone call. It finally brought me closure."
Ed Blank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
'United 93' is intense, compelling filmmaking
By Ed Blank
Friday, April 28, 2006
You watch United 93 from fist frame to last with a knotted stomach, a
level of real-world dread that I can remember having with no other movie.
Well, maybe the ones about John F. Kennedy's assassination. But they
weren't so intense from the opening seconds.
Sunnyside actress debuts on screen in 'United 93'
By Nathan Duke
For Sunnyside's Jodie Lynne McClintock, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11,
2001 - especially the fate of the passengers aboard hijacked United Flight
93, whcih crashed near Shanksville, Pa. - hit close to home. Not only were
two of her husbands' closest friends aboard the Newark-based flight, but
the 51-year-old Queens actress can now be seen portraying passenger Marion
Britton in the film 'United 93', which was released in theaters Friday.
On board Flight 93
By Shaun de Waal
August 11, 2006
A film about the ill-fated 9/11 flight brings the horror to life as not
even a documentary could.
"Parts of the film are an attempt to create a believable truth from what
we can't know," Greengrass says. "Parts of it, of course, are what we
absolutely do know. It's a melding of the two. In the air, much can be
learned from telephone calls made by passengers - and there were a lot of
them - cockpit voice recorders, the Common Strategy For Hijacks (how staff
were trained to behave) and information from what happened on the other
By David Denby
As an ensemble, the players are stolid, but in a good way - they exhibit a
combination of incomprehension and intelligence, befuddlement and
alertness, that feels right. They live within the moment without
Ain't It Cool News
By Derek Flint
April 13, 2006
There are certain seminal film going experiences in your life… movies that
you never forget the first time you see them: “Psycho” or “Jaws,” “The
Godfather” or “Star Wars.” Depending on who you are, the experience of
sitting in a darkened theater and seeing a classic unspool before your
eyes becomes permanently engrained in your memory. That’s the way I feel
about a movie I've just seen: “United 93.”
London Sunday Times
All that survives is love
Martin Amis finds "United 93", a film about the passenger revolt aboard a
9/11 flight, unremitting, stark and utterly moving:
Of the 3,000 who died on that day, only those on board the fourth
plane had no doubts about the fate intended for them. The director of
"United 93", Paul Greengrass, is right: they were “the first people to
inhabit the post-9/11 world”. They rise up, and the plane comes down. At
this point, 106 minutes in and with only seconds to go, you will find
yourself, I am confident, in a state of near-perfect distress — a distress
that knows no blindspots… Your mind will cast about for a molecule, an
atom of consolation. And what you will reach for is what they reached for.
Like the victims on the other three planes, but unlike them, because they
knew, the passengers called their families and said that they loved them.
It is an extraordinary validation, or fulfillment, of Larkin’s lines at
the end of An Arundel Tomb:
Our almost-instinct almost true:
What will survive of us is love.