With international borders now reopen, air travel is reclaiming its status as a multi-billion-dollar industry and Virgin Airlines continues to be a major player. What you might be unaware of, however, is the fascinating and shocking story of how the fabled airline came to be. Back in 1984, enigmatic entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, who assisted in the creation of Virgin Records, turned his sights from the sound waves to the airwaves, becoming the sole proprietor of Virgin Atlantic Airways. What started as a micro-business propped up by just one aeroplane quickly grew and it wasn’t long before Virgin Atlantic Airways found itself in a bitter feud with British Airlines.
For Branson fans, the saucy story serves as a testament to the business mogul’s willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed and for the first time, it’s set to be played out on screen. Bringing the unique backstory to life, Universal International Studios is set to release a six-part series titled Hot Air. Written by Jon Crocker, the new miniseries will star Spider-Man‘s Andrew Garfield as a young and brash Branson, as reported by Deadline.
The story is based on true events and is inspired by Martyn Gregory’s book Dirty Tricks, which details the sky-high scandal with British Airlines. At its core, the plot fixates on the underlying cutthroat nature of the airline industry which borders on downright ridiculous at times. At one point, British Airlines employees were accused of impersonating Virgin Airlines staff in an effort to smear the start-up and dwindle public interest. The ill-fated attempt did little to stop Branson, however, as he later sued for damages, winning a whopping $945,000.
Garfield dives into the project fresh off a Golden Globe win for his stunning performance in tick, tick…Boom! and the reprisal of role as Spider-Man in the 2021 hit Spider-Man: No Way Home. By all accounts, Garfield will also handle the reins as executive producer with David Leitch set to direct. Best known for his high-impact, action-packed films, Leitch is the mastermind behind hits like Atomic Blonde, John Wick and Deadpool 2.
As for business phenomenon Sir Richard Branson and his meteoric rise to the top, this new take might just make you reconsider everything you thought you knew. Not that it will bother him. When he’s not creating billion-dollar airline companies, you’ll find Branson taking a cheeky break at the very edge of space.