Mena is an upcoming biographical criminal drama-thriller film directed by Doug Liman and written by Gary Spinelli and starring Tom Cruise, based on the life of Barry Seal, a former TWA pilot who became a drug smuggler in the 1980s and who was recruited later on by the DEA to provide intelligence. The film is set to be released on January 6, 2017.
Mena tells the story of Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), a TWA pilot who is recruited by the CIA to help counter the emerging communist threat in Central America. Seal’s role in this major CIA covert operation led in turn to his involvement with the Medellin cartel, which ultimately embarrassed the Reagan White House after the Iran-Contra scandal became public.
A plane crash on the set of the film in Colombia on September 11, 2015 killed two people and caused serious injuries to another member of the crew. The plane (a twin-engine Aerostar), which was carrying crew members (three American pilots), was returning to Enrique Olaya Herrera Airport in Medellín when it ran into bad weather and the crash occurred. The dead were later identified as Carlos Berl and Alan Purwin, who was the founder and president of Helinet Aviation, a company which provides aerial surveillance technology to government agencies and law enforcement, and a film pilot who had worked in top films. American pilot Jimmy Lee Garland was seriously injured and rushed to a local hospital.