Dante’s Inferno famously included nine levels of Hell, and while it’s arguable that a Hollywood executive would fit nicely into any of them (Treachery, Wrath and Greed come to mind), the great Florentine never actually decided where to put unproduced movies. Yet Development Hell is where many scripts linger for years, even decades, before going into production – if at all. That’s precisely where Passengers has been for years. Written by John Spaihts, Passengers is a high-concept science-fiction romance set aboard a spacecraft transporting thousands of cryogenically frozen colonists to a distant planet.
Because of a malfunction, one of the colonists wakes up early, and rather than spend the rest of his life alone, he decides to wake up another passenger. The screenplay has been circulating in Hollywood for so long, I’m surprised the pages aren’t falling out of it. It’s one of those projects that kept on getting close to being made only to fall apart. Originally, it was to be a Universal Studios production. The Weinsteins were in charge of it for a time. Keanu Reeves and Rachel McAdams were set to star at one point. Emily Blunt‘s name was mentioned, as was Reese Witherspoon‘s. Now, however, the film has been officially greenlit by Sony and will star arguably the two biggest movie stars currently working: Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, and Morten Tyldum will direct.