Screenwriter Damon Lindelof's preference for subterfuge has gotten him in trouble before, when the final product doesn't turn out the way that many people expect (see: the love/hate reactions to the Lost finale and Prometheus), but that hasn't discouraged him from continuing the practice. He has spent the last two years developing another mystery project for Walt Disney Pictures, which originally went under the title 1952; that is, before it was redubbed Tomorrowland (after the Disney park attraction).
Director Brad Bird lent a helping hand to co-writers Lindelof and Entertainment Weekly's Jeff Jensen's, during the scripting process for said enigmatic sci-fi project. The more spoilery plot and character details for Tomorrowland have been kept under wraps so far. However, the three primary collaborators on the project have been more forthright, when it comes to revealing where the inspiration for the film comes from (read: the Disney vaults in Burbank).
Production on Tomorrowland secretly commenced up in Vancouver a couple weeks ago, but Disney has only just released a formal press release to announce that Bird - who directed affiliate Pixar Animation's critical/box office hits The Incredibles and Ratatouille - has begun rolling the cameras. Here is the official cast, writers and producers lineup from the press release:
Principal photography has begun on Disney's mystery adventure Tomorrowland, starring two-time Academy Award winner George Clooney (Michael Clayton, Syriana), Hugh Laurie (Monsters vs. Aliens, Arthur Christmas), Britt Robertson ("Under The Dome"), Raffey Cassidy (Dark Shadows,Snow White and the Huntsman) and Thomas Robinson (The Switch). The film is directed, produced and co-written by two-time Oscar winner Brad Bird (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, The Incredibles). Damon Lindelof (Star Trek Into Darkness, Prometheus) and Jeffrey Chernov (Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol) are also producers. The screenplay is written by Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof from a story by Lindelof & Jeff Jensen and Brad Bird.
Jeff Jensen and John Walker (The Incredibles) will executive produce with Bernard Bellew (Les Misérables, 28 Weeks Later) and Tom Peitzman, VFX producer (Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Alice in Wonderland) serving as co-producers.
More intriguing is the plot synopsis (okay, "blurb" might be the fairer term) for Tomorrowland, as included in the Disney press release:
Bound by a shared destiny, a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity and a former boy-genius inventor jaded by disillusionment embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory as "Tomorrowland."
The "bright, optimistic teen" presumably refers to Britt Robertson's character, who was described in a previous Disney press release as "a high school girl with an unconventional understanding of technology [who] is launched on a journey to reclaim her future" (sidenote: personally, methinks the latter character breakdown is the more intriguing).
Meanwhile, the "former boy-genius" line is probably referring to George Clooney's character, who - according to unofficial (read: NOT confirmed) plot details - was kicked out of a fantastical world called Tomorrowland as a child, not long after he was found out by the land's ruler (Hugh Laurie) - said to be the main antagonist of the story, who values technical gains over creative accomplishment. Lastly, youngster Raffey Cassidy is speculate to be playing a character with key ties to Clooney as a disillusioned techno-lover (one whose exterior appearance may be somewhat misleading where it concerns her true nature...).
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It sounds as though Tomorrowland will combine the subtext of The Incredibles and Ratatouille - which highlight the importance of fostering creativity and encouraging imagination - with the whiz-bang spirit of Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol and the heartfelt substance of The Iron Giant (all of which are films that were directed by Bird). There's a lot of potential in that description, where it concerns the possibility that Tomorrowland will call back to the pioneering spirit of classic sci-fi stories written by authors like Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asmiov, among others.
Lastly, in case there was any doubt that Tomorrowland will impress on a pure technical level, check out the official press release breakdown of impressive talent collaborating behind the camera:
Bird has gathered a great team behind the lens with Oscar winning director of photography Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), production designer Scott Chambliss (Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, Cowboys & Aliens), Oscar nominated costume designer Jeffrey Kurland (Inception, Ocean's Eleven) and Academy Award-winning editor Walter Murch (The English Patient, Cold Mountain).
How about it - who's willing to take bets that Tomorrowland will be a mystery project - originated by Lindelof - where the final movie product justifies all the pre-release build-up?
Tomorrowland opens in U.S. theaters on December 12th, 2014.
Source: Walt Disney Pictures