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The Los Angeles premiere of Passengers transformed the red carpet into the spaceship Starship Avalon with its assembly line of hibernation pods and backdrop featuring footage of space. Crowds surrounded the Village Theater in Westwood on Wednesday night as they patiently awaited the arrival of the film’s stars.
The sci-fi romance follows two intergalactic travelers, Jim (Chris Pratt) and Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence), on a 120-year journey to another planet. When their hibernation pods wake them up 90 years too early it is up to the duo to investigate the mystery behind the ship’s malfunction and save the lives of thousands of other passengers at risk.
“I wanted to tell a big epic love story in the sci-fi frame,” writer Jon Spaihts told The Hollywood Reporter. “I feel [that] hasn’t been done very often and hasn’t been done recently. I also wanted to tell a great story of the future that was not set in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic era. I wanted a future a little like the present where we’re doing well in some ways and poorly in other ways, but still admitted the possibility of hopes and aspirations and dreams coming true.”
The original storyline of the film and drive of Aurora’s character drew the attention of Lawrence, she told THR. “She is making a decision to pick up everything and leave everyone she’s ever known and loved just for a story, just for an insatiable desire and ambition,” said Lawrence of her character.
“It was an awesome opportunity to be part of an amazing story to make a movie unlike anything I’ve ever done before,” Pratt said.
Pratt and Lawrence shared a lot of laughs on the set of the film, but when it came to switching from goofball mode to serious acting Pratt admits, “She turns it on and off real quick. I had to shut it down and kind of go inward to get there. We got in a little trouble, but not too much.”
The script has been circulating Hollywood since 2007 and it was a real joy for producer Stephen Hamel to see everyone’s efforts realized after nearly a decade of hard work. “We put together something that was beyond our expectations with Lawrence and Pratt, and it was well worth the perseverance and the wait to make this happen and it’s why we do what we do,” he told THR.
Over the years the script has remained essentially unchanged, except for the ending. “What really evolved over the years since I first wrote the movie was the ending, as I and the creative team tried to find a way to culminate and pay off the love story and the crisis of the ship in the same ending,” Spaihts told THR.
Spaihts hopes the thought-provoking film inspires conversation: “I hope they come away asking themselves what they would’ve done and their relationship to secrets and to forgiveness and to redemption.”
Passengers opens Dec. 21.
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