Kurt Russell played a sentient planet a couple of years ago, but it turns out that his connection to outer space runs much deeper than that. In fact, it was Kurt Russell – one of Hollywood’s best actors – who first reported one of America’s most famous ever UFO sightings, the Phoenix Lights, in between making his best movies.
Thousands of people reported seeing lights over Phoenix on March 13, 1997. It’s one of the most widely reported UFO incidents in history, though only one of those who called it in was a pilot. And that pilot? Kurt Russell, star of The Thing, the MCU, and that sexy Santa movie for Netflix.
The actor told the story on Jimmy Kimmel Live, explaining that he was flying his son to Phoenix when he noticed “six lights in the shape of a triangle” over the airport and mentioned the phenomenon to air traffic control. He said: “[The controller] said ‘do you wanna report this?’. I said: ‘Look, I can’t identify it, it’s flying and it’s six objects’.”
Russell explained that he thought nothing of this encounter ripped straight from the best science fiction movies for the next few years – after all, he had plenty of new movies to make – until he was reminded of the Phoenix Lights in an unexpected way.
“Years later, I come home and Goldie’s watching this show on UFOs and the most reported one of all time was this one in Phoenix,” he said. “On the show, they talked about 20,000 people reporting it and only one general aviation pilot. I said ‘that’s me’.”
The ‘Phoenix Lights’ incident is still the subject of plenty of conspiracy theories, though there is a legitimate explanation. The descriptions of the lights match up to a formation of military planes taking part in Operation Snowbird around an air base in Tucson – around 100 miles from Phoenix.
But it’s definitely more exciting to think that Kurt Russell had an aerial encounter with a real alien spaceship, right? Of course it is.
For more on the star, find out why Kurt Russell is responsible for the penguins in Mary Poppins and learn why Kurt Russell hates filming sec scenes. You can also see whether Ego makes it on to our list of the best Marvel villains and find out more about the Guardians of the Galaxy cast.
Elsewhere, you can get all of the info you need on the 2023 movies still to come, including the Dune 2 release date and the Wonka release date. We’ve also explained why Wonka should have more aliens in it. Kurt Russell would love it, presumably.