Wild Ride: Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando and Michael Jackson Took Epic Road Trip After 9/11

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Steve Graniz / WireImage

Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson attend the 20th Annual American Music Awards on January 25, 1993 in Los Angeles, California.

Unable to get a flight out of New York after the attacks, the trio hopped in a rental car and fled to Ohio. No, we’re serious.

It feels like a tale straight from Hunter S. Thompson. Three of Hollywood’s biggest stars crammed in a car together, driving across the country. We wish we could make up a story this crazy.

PHOTOS: See the iconic Elizabeth Taylor

In this month’s Vanity Fair, Elizabeth Taylor’s friends and colleagues sounded off about her life and legacy after Taylor passed away in late March. And fortunately this gem of a story emerged – perhaps the ultimate proof of Liz Taylor’s eccentricity.

As the tale goes, Taylor and Marlon Brando were visiting New York City for Michael Jackson’s concert tour that rolled through Madison Square Garden on Sept. 10, 2001.  When the terrorists struck the next day, the three pop culture icons looked to flee the chaos that descended upon the city, perhaps fearing they’d be targeted as well. But with a strict ground order for all planes, even the elite couldn’t take off. And that’s when they decided to hit the road.

PHOTOS: See the devastation of Sept. 11, 2001

Michael Jackson led the group across the Hudson into New Jersey, where they snagged a rental car and began their 500-mile odyssey westward. Jackson’s former assistant says that Michael and Marlon split the driving duties, with Elizabeth taking the backseat. Brando annoyed his travel companions by stopping at every KFC and Burger King along the way — so that explains his rather portly appearance in his later years. Eventually they reached a mystery destination in Ohio, where they presumably were able to get a flight.

NewsFeed can’t imagine the heads that turned when the three celebs strolled into truck stops along Route 80. This has all the drippings of a Hollywood rendition. Scriptwriters, the ball is in your court.

(More on TIME.com: See the greatest movie car chases)