Jennifer Lawrence in Passengers

It’s been a turbulent week for Sony but the studio is moving forward full-speed ahead on the long-awaited realization of Jon Spaihts‘ sci-fi script Passengers. Director Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game, Headhunters) just came on to direct earlier this week, a couple months after Sony grabbed rights to the script following failed development efforts at other companies. And now Jennifer Lawrence is in early talks to play one of the two lead roles, which instantly turns Passengers into a top-tier project — assuming her schedule allows her to sign on.

Update: Just after we published this, another report revealed Chris Pratt as being in early talks for the second lead role, opposite Lawrence.

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new Passengers director

We’ve talked about the script Passengers for years. The Jon Spaihts-penned script landed on the Black List back in 2007, and has wound through a very long development process ever since. It revolves around a man who is accidentally awakened during a long voyage to colonize a new planet. Faced with the likely possibility of living and dying alone on the ship, he wakes another passenger for companionship.

In the past couple years Passengers had Keanu Reeves attached to star, at one point with Rachel McAdams in the other lead role. But things have continued to change. Now The Imitation Game and Headhunters director Morten Tyldum (above, right, on the set of The Imitation Game) is in talks to be the new Passengers director, and he’ll put together a new cast.  Read More »

Morten Tyldum directing The Imitation Game

Jon SpaihtsPassengers is one of those scripts that’s been kicking around Hollywood for years, attracting lots of attention but never quite getting off the ground. Up until recently, it was going to be directed by Bryan Kirk with Keanu Reeves starring.

But now that that’s no longer the case, The Imitation Game director Morten Tyldum will be the next to take a crack at it. More on the Passengers Morten Tyldum project after the jump.  Read More »

Scott Derrickson Dr Strange

25 years ago, Tim Burton showed people how it was done. His Batman, unlike almost every superhero movie that’s been released since, started with the character already in action. It was not an origin story. Sure it briefly explained how Bruce Wayne became Batman, but he’s Batman the entire movie. That’s radically different from Batman Begins, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Man of Steel and even this month’s Guardians of the Galaxy. On almost every occasion, the first superhero movie of a series is an origin story to let the audience know how and why the characters are who they are.

That may be changing, however. According to one source, Marvel Studios doesn’t want to do origin stories anymore and Doctor Strange, directed by Scott Derrickson, won’t be one. Read More »

Doctor Strange writer Jon Spaihts

Ant-Man? Who’s that? The latest newsmaker for Marvel is strange. Dr. Stephen Strange, to be exact. Marvel recently announced Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose) as director of Doctor Strange (or Dr. Strange; we’re not certain which title will be used) and now one more piece of the movie’s puzzle has been revealed. Jon Spaihts, best known for writing the first draft of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, and also for the sci-fi / romance / thriller Passengers, has been hired to script.

After the break, we’ve got a few more details on that hire, and also Derrickson’s own comments about the project.  Read More »

Andy Muschietti

Universal’s reboot of The Mummy hit a big snag earlier this summer when director Len Wiseman dropped out due to scheduling conflicts with his Fox series Sleepy Hollow. But the studio, still determined to get the film in theaters sooner rather than later, scrambled to snap up a replacement, and now it appears they’ve found one.

Mama director Andres Muschietti has entered talks to helm the horror pic, which was scripted by Jon Spaihts. Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Sean Daniels are producing. More details after the jump.

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A space-based drama called Passengers is the script that led to Jon Spaihts scripting the Alien prequel that became Prometheus. Popular as Passengers was with those who read it, the project has languished for years in a sort of development hell.

The script is built around a great concept in which a malfunction on a ship transporting sleeping humans through space wakes one passenger. Unable to go back to deep sleep and frightened of spending his entire life alone, the man wakes a female passenger.

Now, after stalling out some time ago the film is finally moving forward once again, with Keanu Reeves starring and Game of Thrones director Brian Kirk set to make his feature debut. Read More »

The Black Hole

A few years back, Jon Spaihts became popular in Hollywood thanks in part to his still-unproduced sci-fi screenplay Passengers. That led to a gig writing what became Prometheus. Most of us don’t know precisely how Prometheus would have played if Spaihts had been the lone writer on the project; his draft has never been read by many fans. (We can, however, get some idea about Spaihts from The Darkest Hour, which he wrote.)

Now Spaihts has been tapped to write another modern take on a well-known piece of filmed sci-fi. He’ll rewrite the Travis Beacham script for Joseph Kosinski‘s remake of The Black Hole. Read More »

Damon Lindelof

The end of Ridley Scott‘s Prometheus is just the beginning of a new story. As Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) flies up into space it’s obvious that the prequel (of sorts) to Alien has more ground to cover. Some of the film’s questions were answered by the time the credits rolled, but many were not. The unresolved story points became a topic in criticisms levied at the film.

Further answers seem likely to come in the form of a sequel. While Prometheus wasn’t the gargantuan blockbuster many thought it would be, the director, screenwriter, and star all confirmed a follow-up has long been discussed and is currently in-development. That’s where things have sat for the past few months.

Now a report says Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox are “freaking out” trying to figure out how to continue the franchise. They’re reportedly “taking pitches from basically anyone who can crack the story,” and blame for the problems is placed squarely on the shoulders of screenwriter Damon Lindelof. The report says Lindelof came on board, altered Jon Spaihts‘ original script from a one-shot to a trilogy and then abandoned the franchise to work on Star Trek Into Darkness and Tomorrowland.

I asked Lindelof about this accusation on Twitter, and he responded with a long e-mail. You can read that below, along with a few other thoughts. Read More »

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