Two of the hottest stars working in Hollywood are about to fall in love in outer space. Sony Pictures has finally nailed down Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence to star in their upcoming sci-fi drama Passengers.
Chris Pratt is well known from Parks and Recreation and Guardians of the Galaxy, or from his monumental opening weekend for Jurassic World. Jennifer Lawrence is obviously known for playing Katniss in The Hunger Games – oh, and winning an Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook. The two will be teaming up with Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game), the Oscar nominated director who will be taking on creating the film.
Passengers takes place aboard a spaceship filled with thousands of people in cryogenic sleep headed for a new home planet. Pratt’s character inexplicably wakes up 90 years before the ship’s destination and he’s unable to return back to sleep. Rather than spend the rest of his days alone, he decides to wake up Lawrence’s character. As you could probably guess, the two start to slowly fall in love.
Passengers has had a bit of a rough start. The new head of Sony Pictures, Tim Rothman, who recently took over once Amy Pascal stepped down in February, has been receiving a lot of pressure to cut the films inflated budget. Much of which is coming from Lawrence’s 20 million dollar salary (against 30% of the profit after the movie breaks even), a deal Rothman tried to lower with no success. On top of that add Pratt’s new deal for 12 million dollars and you have a pretty large amount of money gone already and that’s not even adding in production costs.
Surprisingly, Rothman and Sony found the funding and greenlit the film, which is a huge gamble on their part. But who’s kidding who? With Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence attached, they’ll get asses in the seats. Yet many studios aren’t taking risks with original ideas, instead sticking with the trusted sequel, reboot, or adaption. Hollywood Reporter got some pretty interesting details on Rothman’s wager:
One source says Rothman found himself in a potential “lose-lose scenario” because he was caught between placing a big wager on untested material — and setting a pay precedent that might haunt him in his new role — and passing on a project with two of the biggest stars in Hollywood. He also could have sat on the project long enough that the stars would have had to move on to other commitments, which would have angered three talent agencies because Lawrence is with CAA, Pratt is at UTA and Tyldum is with WME.
Beside budget issues, Passengers has also seen its share of different studios and actors showing interest in it. Before finding a home at Sony, it was with the Weinstein Company and set to star Keanu Reeves and Reese Witherspoon, it was also budgeted at $35 million total. After Reese, Rachel McAdams was attached to the film. Warner Bros also showed interest in producing the sci-fi romance, but with a budget capped at $65 million.