Passengers has become something like Sasquatch over the years. A few scattered reports surface now and again, but while there’s an overall mythology, we’re not entirely sure that it’s real. There have been a number of actors and directors attached to the project, and while none of those have ever panned out, it’s starting to look like the deep space romance actually exists. They’ve locked in an interesting director, and now they’ve added two of the hottest actors in Hollywood for the leads: Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt.
Variety reports that the Oscar-winning Lawrence is in talks for the female lead, while The Wrap says Pratt will take a break from saving the galaxy from nefarious villains and is in early discussions about playing the primary male role. Keanu Reeves and Reese Witherspoon once occupied these parts, then it was Keanu Reeves and Rachel McAdams, though they all bailed for other things when this took forever to get moving.
Penned by Prometheus’ Jon Spaihts, Passengers takes place on a massive spacecraft travelling through deep space carrying a crew of colonists who are going to settle a distant world. All of the people are in some sort of deep cryogenic sleep or suspended animation, but due to an unforeseen mishap, one man wakes up 90 years before everyone else. Knowing that he’ll be long dead well before they reach their destination, he wakes up a female passenger, which seems like a dick move. She must not feel the same way, or at least is not one to hold a grudge, because a romance blooms between the two as they hurtle through the cosmos.
It sounds like these are pretty much the only two substantial roles, and as audiences will be spending a large amount of time with them, it’s important to cast actors with chemistry and that people like. While it remains to be seen if Lawrence and Pratt have a spark on screen, they’re both definitely engaging and relatable performers, so they seem like excellent choices.
After bouncing around between a couple of different homes, including The Weinstein Company, Focus Features, and Dimension Films, Passengers finally landed at Sony last December. Late last month, they lined up Morten Tyldum to helm the picture. Currently an Academy Award nominee for Best Director for his Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game, we’re more interested in his previous film, the crazy-ass Norwegian crime thriller Headhunters.
Spaihts is about to be all over the place. Not only does it look like Passengers is moving along at a nice clip, but he has a number of other projects lined up in the near future. Chief among these are Marvel’s Doctor Strange, which stars Imitation Game’s Benedict Cumberbatch, and the upcoming Mummy reboot for Universal. Lawrence reprises her Katniss Everdeen role one more time in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2 later this year, and will play Mystique again in X-Men: Apocalypse. Next time we see Pratt, he’ll be fighting dinosaurs in Jurassic World this summer, which is something we’re excited to see around these parts.