Most sci-fi fans already have December 16 marked on their calendar, since that is the date when the first Star Wars spinoff, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters. What they may or may not know is, just five days later, another sci-fi drama hits theaters, Passengers, which has a cast lead by two of the biggest stars on the planet, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. Today we have our first look at the pair in two new photos, along with details from director Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game).
The photos come from Entertainment Weekly, who spoke with Morten Tyldum about this project that's been in the works for nearly a decade. The script, written by Jon Spaihts (Prometheus), landed on The Black List in 2007, the third most popular script on that year's list, behind Recount, which was turned into a popular HBO movie in 2008, and Farragut North, which was turned into the 2011 political thriller The Ides of March. Here's what the director had to say about the script.
"Yes, it was a popular script. It's one of those stories that really grabs you and you fall in love with it. It's very smart and funny and clever and such a page turner I couldn't put it down. Every 10 pages, something new happens! At the same time it's a very intimate movie while taking place on this epic scale. For me, it's a story about what's important to live a full life. What are the things we need as humans? It's not afraid to entertain but at the same time it asks big questions about what does it mean to really feel happy. Every generation has its love story. I feel like this is it. I had to do it."
Before Morten Tyldum became attached, the project once had Game of Thrones director Brian Kirk set to take the helm in his feature debut, with Keanu Reeves and Reese Witherspoon once set to star. After Morten Tyldum came aboard, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt were set to star, just as they were on the rise as two of the biggest stars in the world. Here's what the filmmaker had to say about his two main stars.
"I honestly couldn't ask for a better cast. They're so great together, and both of them are so hard-working. They take the characters so seriously and bring so much to the roles with charm and intelligence and charisma. They really went for it and it is phenomenal to watch."
The story is set on a "luxury interstellar spaceship," with 5,000 passengers taking a journey to the Homestead II colony 120 years away. They are all travelling in suspended animation, but when Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence's characters are mistakenly awakened 90 years too early, they discover that the ship is malfunctioning, putting everyone in danger. Production took place in Atlanta last year, with the director revealing that it was quite a unique production.
"We did have full days. Most of the shooting was just with Chris and Jen. It was a very technical film with big sets and a lot of effects but at the same time, it's a character drama. It's a love story. It has the complexity of a big movie and at the same time we really had to put time aside to put into character development. And it's exhausting. They were on every day. It's big emotions: it's desperation, it's love, it's happiness, it's fear, it's anger. It was big emotions every day."
Aside from opening five days after Rogue One, Passengers will have its work cut out for it on December 21. It will open against 20th Century Fox's Assassin's Creed, Universal's animated comedy Sing and another sci-fi drama, STX Entertainment's The Space Between Us. When asked if the movie will make fans cry, Morten Tyldum had this to say.
"You will laugh and cry and hold your breath and be at the edge of your seat. It has chills. It also will make you smile and laugh a lot. We wanted a playful movie. And if you have Chris and Jen it's impossible not to have - they've come up with a lot of stuff on set. They're both extremely funny. They'd try this and that and come up with really funny stuff. They can go very dramatic but their great chemistry - they're just so good. It is just fun to be around them and fun to be on this journey. In this day of sequels and reboots I think it's refreshing that it is a completely original story with two of the best movie stars in the world. I'm very, very happy with the movie."
The supporting cast includes Laurence Fishburne, Michael Sheen and Aurora Perrineau. With the debut of these first look photos, hopefully that means we can get to see the first trailer very soon. The movie was showcased during CinemaCon in April, but that footage was never released online. While we wait for the first footage from Passengers, take a look at the first two photos below.