Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt are two of Hollywood’s hottest stars — and that’s not just a commentary on their good looks, either. Both actors have emerged as proven box office powerhouses that can juggle multiple successful franchises at a time. For Lawrence, The Hunger Games and X-Men have capitalized on her popularity. Meanwhile, Pratt is connected with the successful launch of three tentpoles: The LEGO Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Jurassic World (while still having appeared in more high-brow fare in between).
Passengers, an outer space-set story that follows Lawrence and Pratt’s characters after they’ve accidentally awoken 90 years too early during a trip to a new colony, hopes to bank on both their appeal and talent. From the looks of the newly-released first images from the film, Passengers will be filled with the chromatic and geometrical trimmings that typically signify such futuristic space narratives.
Teaming Lawrence and Pratt up for an intergalactic romance that’s appears to be as doomed at the outset as Jack and Rose from Titanic certainly seems like a smart move on paper, and Passengers director Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) couldn’t be more thrilled with his film’s leads. He told EW “They’re so great together, and both of them are so hard-working. They take the characters so seriously and bring so much charm and intelligence and charisma.”
The production on Passengers, which took place in Atlanta, Georgia last fall, is described by the director as “very technical,” but he assures that the center of the story lies in its delivery of the romantic, dramatic, and more comedic elements by the two leads:
“You will laugh and cry and hold your breath and be at the edge of your seat. It has chills. It will also make you smile and laugh a lot. We wanted a playful movie. And if you have Chris and Jen it’s impossible not to have – they’ve come up with a lot of stuff on set. They’re both extremely funny … In this day of sequels and reboots, I think it’s refreshing that it is a completely original story with two of the best movie stars in the world.”
Lawrence, who’s been thrice nominated for Academy Awards (and won one), previously teased that her writer character Aurora is compelling for her intelligence and wit. Pratt added that his Jim Preston a more salt-of-the-earth sort of guy who’s a gifted mechanic. They’re “opposites,” they agreed, but as the old saying goes, opposites do attract.
The big differentiation for Pratt’s on-screen alter ego in this space pic, as compared to his part as the Star-Lord, is that he’s also a little bit of a slimeball in at least one way. It’s reported that his character is woken up early alone but decides to have Aurora join him out of fear of being lonely. (For a guy who’s spent so much time being cryogenically frozen, that’s a decidedly uncool move.)
In addition to Lawrence and Pratt, the film will also star Laurence Fishburne, Michael Sheen, Aurora Perrineau, Kimberly Battista, and Jamie Soricelli. Tyldum (who was nominated for an Oscar for his direction on The Imitation Game) directs from the script written by Jon Spaihts (Prometheus, Doctor Strange); a screenplay that had been kicked around Hollywood for years and once had Keanu Reeves and Rachel McAdams onboard to play its leads.
Passengers will hit theaters in the U.S. on December 21st, 2016.