PASSENGERS World Premiere Red Carpet at Regency Village Theatre
Los Angeles, CA
December 14, 2016
Jennifer Lawrence (Aurora) and Chris Pratt (Jim) star in an exciting action-thriller about two strangers who are on a 120-year journey to another planet when their hibernation pods wake them 90 years too early. Jim and Aurora are forced to unravel the mystery behind the malfunction as the ship teeters on the brink of collapse, jeopardizing the lives of the passengers on the greatest mass migration in human history.
The film will be released in theaters nationwide on December 21, 2016.
“Passengers is about two people who were supposed to be on the trip of a lifetime – the 120-year journey to a new planet – when they get woken up 90 years too early,” says Chris Pratt, who stars in Passengers alongside Jennifer Lawrence. “But it turns out there’s a reason they woke up early. They have to solve the mystery of the malfunction, and fix a ship that is quickly failing, if they are going to survive and save the lives of the passengers on the greatest mass migration in human history.”
“It’s about characters who face extreme situations and have to make extreme choices, and I always find that fascinating – what would you have done?” says Morten Tyldum, who directs the film, his first following his Oscar® nominated triumph with the hit The Imitation Game.
Against the story of high stakes action, the filmmakers set a sensitive story of two passengers who find each other in this moment of peril. It’s a story that has attracted Hollywood for many years; writer Jon Spaihts’ script has landed on the “Black List” of the industry’s best unproduced screenplays. “One of the things that drew me to this script was the way Jon set an intimate story on such a large stage,” says producer Neal H. Moritz. “It’s an action film with epic spectacle, but it all hinges on these two incredible characters brought to life by Jen and Chris.”
Pratt’s character, Jim, decides to give up his life on Earth for very practical reasons. “He’s kind of a throwback,” says Pratt, “very much a working class guy. He’s considered a desirable trade, as a mechanical engineer, because he’ll be helping to start a civilization. If something breaks, he’ll be there to fix it.”
When Jim and Aurora wake up 90 years before reaching that destination, those skills kick into high gear. “He’s a problem solver by trade, so he’s trying to figure out how to get back to sleep or contact somebody for help. And then, it turns out that there’s something very wrong with the ship.”
“Chris is very different than Jim,” says Lawrence, who plays his fellow awakened passenger, Aurora. “Jim acts like he’s never really had a girlfriend, and he doesn’t really know how to behave around women; that’s charming and sweet, but it’s not like Chris at all, who’s married and funny. It was interesting to watch him go from Chris Pratt to a shy, insecure, romantic person.”
In contrast to Jim’s working-class hero, Aurora is part of a different social circle. She is a New York writer with a great assignment – she is making the 120-year journey to Homestead II, then will make the 120-year journey home. She will be the first person in human history to make the round trip. “It’s such a huge decision to make,” says Lawrence. “It’s a 120-year journey – when you arrive, everyone you know will be dead. You have to start a brand new life on a brand new planet that you’ve never been to. I can’t imagine saying goodbye to everybody that I know and love – I understand her thirst for more, but I don’t think I could make that kind of permanent decision.”
“When Aurora first wakes up, I think her first reaction is to feel an incredible empathy for Jim,” says Lawrence. “She’s only been dealing with this problem for a few days, and he’s been by himself, like a trapped animal, for more than a year. Seeing him react to a human being makes her feel bad for Jim.”
Tyldum says that it was apparent from the beginning that Lawrence and Pratt would be the perfect actors to bring Aurora and Jim to life. “It’s great that they are the biggest stars in the world, but first of all, I wanted to make sure that they were the right actors for these roles,” he says. “I had to get the feeling that they were going to click, that they would have chemistry. We sat for many hours – I had a four-hour dinner with Jen – and I could immediately see that they would be perfect. They’re very smart people who had a clear understanding of what they wanted the character to do. They really understood the choices, the motivations, the life these characters have to go through – so that made me feel that they really got it.”
Producer Stephen Hamel was the first to team with writer Jon Spaihts on the concept. “I’m deeply interested in original content, original voices,” he says. “There was something rather playful in Jon’s writing that I loved – he took the time to allow the characters to be human, to have weaknesses. The originality of the story seemed really appropriate.”
Ori Marmur, who works with Moritz at Original Film, agrees. “The screenplay is life-affirming and warm; it speaks to the human condition,” says Marmur. “And as a first-generation-born American, the idea of two people leaving Earth and traveling a great distance for opportunity elsewhere resonated with me personally; my parents traveled a great distance to come to this country of opportunity – they didn’t know anyone, and it worked out.”
Aurora and Jim’s different stations in life are thrown into contrast by their home: the spaceship itself. “The Avalon is part badass spaceship, part luxury cruise liner,” says Pratt. “They wake you up three or four months before you get to your destination, so you can party, swim in the pool, or rack up a big bill playing the slots or shopping in the high-end stores.”
“The ship is really luxurious, almost like a cruise liner,” says Lawrence. “There’s an observation deck, a movie theater and grand concourse and amazing rooms – well, for my character. It looked very different; everything was beautiful and interesting. It was a different atmosphere for a movie.”
“The sets were huge,” says Pratt. “We had to break down a wall in the sound stages. I was looking around, and it was like looking at a real ship. Guy Hendrix Dyas’s sets made the movie big in scope and as epic as this story needs to be. We had a great special effects team that built amazing props and toys and cars and screens everywhere. It was really cool.”