Stephen Daldry Once Sat Next to a Corpse for a Nine-Hour Plane Flight

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This explains some things about The Hours. Photo: Getty Images

Billy Elliot and The Reader director Stephen Daldry has had a lot of training in grace and stoicism. But it took more of both than he had in him to handle a situation on an overnight flight a while back, when he found himself next to a most unsettling seatmate. He told us about it at last night’s spring benefit for Performance Space 122. “The weirdest thing that happened to me on an airplane was that somebody died in the seat next to me. And it unfortunately was a full flight and there were nine hours to go,” he said. “So they just put a sheet over the person who died next to me. They tried to offer me food and drinks while this poor corpse, which they couldn’t move into the toilet, just stayed next to me for all of the next eight hours.” Of course, we immediately asked whether he got any frequent-flier miles out of it. “I didn’t like to ask,” the director mused. “But maybe I should have.”