Passengers should be on your radar.
After years of development and false starts, one of the most acclaimed science fiction screenplays of the past decade finally appears to have locked down a director and a cast. And you should get excited — it’s not every day that a project like this nabs two huge movie stars and a very interesting director. Passengers still doesn’t have a release date, but since it’s expected to open next year, it’s time to make sure this movie is on your radar.
Here’s why you should be very interested in this project.
The screenplay absolutely rocks
If you know anyone who works in the film industry (or happen to have an internet connection), it’s been hard to not hear about the Passengers screenplay. Written by the always-busy Jon Spaihts, the script circled the Hollywood rounds close to a decade ago, making it onto the 2007 “Black List” of best unproduced screenplays.
It ended up earning Spaihts his fair share of high-profile writing gigs (including a first crack at what became Prometheus), but to many people he was always the guy who wrote that great sci-fi movie that no one made. And now that Passengers appears to finally be on track, we can start to get excited and appreciate just how clever the concept for this movie really is.
Set onboard a spaceship transporting thousands of people to a colony on a distant planet, the story initially revolves around Jim Preston, who is accidentally awakened from his cryo-sleep and realizes that he’s going to spend the next 90 years of space travel alone…unless he wakes someone else up. And yes, he does pull the trigger on this difficult choice, and the person he wakes up turns out to be a young woman. What follows is a blend of adventure and romance that should tap right into that part of you who is starved for craving another Titanic. It’s been too long since a romantic film has had this kind of grandiosity and scope.
The director is doing great things at the moment
If you only know director Morten Tyldum from The Imitation Game, you can be forgiven for not being particularly excited to see what he does with a big science fiction movie. But this is where you should track down a copy of the 2011 Norwegian film Headhunters and have a little faith.
Before he made his English-language debut with Imitation Game, Tyldum made this pitch black comedic thriller that feels like something the Coen brothers would have cooked up. It’s intense and violent, and It’s got a really, really great poop joke. And it stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (AKA, Jaime Lannister) as the main villain!
Now that Tyldum has gotten the Oscar-bait out of his system, it’s time for him to return to being one of the most promising filmmakers on the international stage. A unique screenplay like Passengers deserves the director of Headhunters and The Imitation Game — someone who can deliver a great genre movie that can also double as a potential awards contender.
The cast features the two hottest starts in Hollywood right now
Passengers truly rests on the shoulders of two performers, and the production has really gone and outdone itself. It didn’t just cast one of the biggest modern movie stars of the moment — it cast two of them. Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence starring in any movie together would a reason to pay attention, but them getting cast in an epic sci-fi romance is the kind of thing that brings everyone in the world to their local movie theater (and makes Tumblr implode).
It’s also a wise choice for both actors. Both found their success in sure-thing franchises, so an original movie that relies on execution and not a pre-existing fanbase should solidify their status as superstars. Passengers needs them, but they also need Passengers. Watching these two bring their A-game to this screenplay under the supervision of this director should have you intrigued. Okay, it should have you antsy with anticipation.
Passengers is expected to his theaters until sometime in 2016, so just go ahead and put it on your top 10 most anticipated movies of next year list.