Cheadle: My surprise at Flight

Don Cheadle has confessed he was shocked at how successful Flight turned out to be.

The actor plays a lawyer in Denzel Washington's Oscar-nominated hit about a pilot who saves a plane from crashing.

"It was shocking. When I got my first cheque from the box office bumps, I was like, 'Wow, the movie actually did something!'" Don told Collider.

"I don't think anyone anticipated the kind of performance that it's had. It's not the kind of fare that usually does well, in American cinema, as we've come to know it."

Denzel has received a best actor nod for his performance as airline captain William Whitaker, while the film has also received a best original screenplay nomination.

Hotel Rwanda star Don added: "There's one big dramatic piece, but it happens at the beginning of the movie. It's really counter-intuitive to the things you see coming out of the studios, as far as it being successful or setting some sort of box office precedent.

"But, when you have Robert Zemeckis behind the camera and you have Denzel anchoring it, and there's a great cast that fleshed it out, people showed that they were ready to see something a little heavier."