Jon Spaihts' Sci-Fi 'Passengers' Project Finds New Home Base at Sony
Some good news for a science fiction project we've been following for years, and hopefully this means it may happen. A spaceship script by Jon Spaihts (a talented writer of work on Prometheus, The Darkest Hour, The Black Hole, The Mummy remake, Doctor Strange) titled Passengers has found a new home at Sony Pictures, amidst all the chaos of the Hollywood studio's hacking this week, they did actually win a bidding war for the rights to develop and distribute. Deadline reports that Sony is picking up Passengers, with production president Michael De Luca, and producers Neal Moritz and Ori Marmur of Original Film plus Michael Maher of Start Media and Stephen Hamel of Company Films, producing. There's a few changes, too.
The original version of the project had Keanu Reeves attached to star, and along the way bounced between studios like The Weinstein Company for the most time, with Focus Features considering it at one time, too. "Game of Thrones" director Brian Kirk was attached to direct for a while, and the lead actress switched between Reese Witherspoon and Rachel McAdams. It was supposed to shoot earlier this year, but just never got the money and fell apart. You see, the film is just about two people on a gigantic spaceship - it could be outstanding if done right. So now it's in the hands of Neal Moritz & De Luca, which we hope is a good thing.
A spacecraft is transporting thousands of people to a distant colony planet that has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result, a single passenger is awakened 90 years before anyone else. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he eventually decides to wake up a second passenger.
The report says that with this new version at Sony "they are starting from scratch with the elements as none of those stars or the filmmaker is attached now." Nothing. Not even Keanu? Interesting. Apparently, ever since 2012, Moritz has been "tracking" the project Passengers and is now jumping on it, mostly for Spaihts script to work from. They explain: "All the while, Moritz had been tracking it and when it became free, he and De Luca were all over it." So, now, Sony has "emerged from a competitive situation with the rights to Passengers". They even have a statement from Michael Maher: "I am thrilled to be working with Neal and Sony, the project has found the best possible studio to bring it to life." I am hoping that's the case.
I'm honestly anxious to see this movie, described as "a big science fiction love story, set in deep space", the script is fantastic and it'll make for a wonderful sci-fi movie, whenever it gets made, and hopefully in the right hands. I was sad to hear it fell apart earlier this year, but I'm glad it's together again at some studio. I'm more concerned with the right director being chosen than the actors, but I'm sure starting from scratch means they want to go fresh, and build this project the right way so it doesn't run into funding troubles this time. Perhaps a young up-and-coming director? We'll see. Stay tuned for all the updates in the meantime.