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Sci-Fi Romance Passengers Adds These Two Big Stars In The Lead

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movies-the-hunger-games-catching-fire-jennifer-lawrence-katniss-everdeenPassengers 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.

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Prometheus Writer’s Next Space Flick Finds Oscar-Nominated Director

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prometheusAfter Prometheus became a hit in 2012, it seemed like screenwriter Jon Spaihts was destined to find steady genre work, but none of his follow-up scripts have been produced just yet. One of those screenplays, the sci-fi love story Passengers, has had some setbacks over the last two years, but it’s finally moving forward with a solid filmmaker at the helm, as The Imitation Game director Morten Tyldum has signed on to right this (space)ship once and for all.

Tyldum, who is currently in the running for Best Director at this year’s Academy Awards, is quite an interesting choice for Passengers, as it will be both his first science fiction film and his first project for a major studio. Luckily, this isn’t some massive effects-driven flick that will take a decade’s worth of post-production before seeing a release.

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Prometheus Writer Jon Spaihts’ Sci-Fi Romance Passengers Finds A New Home

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PrometheusIt’s been a bumpy ride for Passengers, but it looks like the Jon Spaihts-penned script finally has a home at Sony, despite all of the studio’s recent troubles with being massively hacked and having a ton of their upcoming films leak out online.

Written by the Doctor Strange and Prometheus scribe, Passengers is a described by Deadline as a science fiction romance that is set in deep space. The story takes place on giant spaceship that carries thousands of citizens on their way to a distant colony. When a sleep pod malfunctions, one passenger wakes up a full 90 years before anyone else, which basically means he’s going to grow old and die completely alone well before anyone else is there to join him. Instead of just living out his days by himself, he wakes up another of the travellers, which kicks off what definitely sounds like a different kind of love story. Despite the setting and premise, this seems like a small, intimate tale, with essentially two characters.

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Rachel McAdams Joins Passengers, Yet Another Sci-Fi Romance

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Rachel McAdamsRachel McAdams may be perky and adorable and all that, but she’s got some genre nerd in her as well. Not only did she make the time jumping romance The Time Traveler’s Wife, next week sees the release of yet another time traveling love story starring the 35-year-old Canadian, Richard Curtis’ romantic comedy About Time. And if that isn’t enough, she’s on the verge of joining yet another science fiction-themed love story, Passengers, for the folks at the Weinstein Company.

According to Deadline, if McAdams signs on to Passengers, which she is reportedly in talks to do, her part will pit her opposite Keanu Reeves. As you might recall, he also has ample experience when it comes to traveling through time, via both his excellent adventure and bogus journey with his good friend Bill. From the description, though, it doesn’t sound like they’ll be doing much time traveling, by phone booth or otherwise, in this film.

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Reese Witherspoon Will Fly Through Space With Keanu Reeves In Passengers

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reeseGround Control to Major Tom. Check ignition and may Keanu Reeves be in someone else’s ship. Dammit, he’s in this one. We recently reported on Reeves returning to the sci-fi genre. I’m not going to lie to you, I cannot wait to see his directorial debut, the martial arts fest Man of Tai Chi, for reasons both unironic and, yes, ironic. But anyone is welcome in the sci-fi game, and The Matrix and — by extension — the Bill and Ted films are three of the most memorable films within the context of my life. (tears up)

Reese Witherspoon, however, has not been in any film that I hold dear to my heart, as much as I enjoyed Election and Freeway. In any case, she is in talks to join Reeves in Wayfare Entertainment’s Passengers, directed by Brian Kirk (Game of Thrones), with a screenplay written by the Prometheus screenwriter who isn’t Damon Lindelof (Jon Spaihts).

So far as I can tell, sci-fi just isn’t a genre that Reese Witherspoon gets into, other than voicing Ginormica in Monsters vs. Aliens. She is currently starring in Jeff Nichols’ off-kilter drama Mud with Matthew McConaughey, and has a couple of high-profile films coming out in Devil’s Knot, the drama about the West Memphis Three case, and Philippe Falardeau’s The Good Lie, in which she’ll play an American woman taking in a Sudanese refugee.

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Keanu Reeves Will Wake Up In Space For Brian Kirk’s Passengers

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reevesSay you’re in the middle of the deepest sleep of your life, and you’re drawn out of it well before you’re supposed to wake up. What’s the last thing you want to see? Okay, so a Jar Jar Binks sizzle reel is probably the worst, but having one of Keanu Reeves’ characters standing above you would be pretty awful as well. But that’s the central idea of his next project, his first in the science fiction genre since Scott Derrickson’s The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Wayfare Entertainment will be financing and producing Passengers, a sci-fi romance to be helmed by first-time feature director Brian Kirk, who has directed lots of TV episodes for series such as Game of Thrones and Luck. The script was written by Prometheus co-writer Jon Spaihts, who was recently attached to the Black Hole remake. And, of course, it will star Keanu Reeves. Will a Reeves/Spaihts collaboration be the kick in the pants that science fiction needs? Make sure that’s a big basket you’re putting those eggs in.

So what story will Passengers tell? Some kind of spacecraft is transporting thousands of citizens across the galaxy to colonize a distant planet. While in route, one of the sleep chambers messes up, and Keanu Reeves wakes up 90 years before he’s supposed to. And because staying awake for that long by yourself can be a total shitshow, he decides to wake up a female passenger, and a strange romance begins to form. The female has yet to be cast.