'Passengers' trailer: Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt find romance in space

With no star wars in sight, Passengers firmly focuses on being a sci-fi trek with romance, cool technology and two Hollywood stars lost in space.

Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt play a couple of space travelers who find attraction and action in the intergalactic tale (in theaters Dec. 21). Aurora (Lawrence) and Jim (Pratt) are among the 5,000-plus passengers resting in suspended animation on the Starship Avalon during a 120-year journey to the Homestead II space colony.

When their hibernation pods open 90 years too early, Aurora and Jim are left to explore the luxurious spaceship's high-end pools and huge dining rooms as they fall for each other — though more things go wrong and they have to work on saving their sleeping peers. Watch the trailer and see USA TODAY's exclusive photos from the film below.

Director Morten Tyldum, whose 2014 World War II drama The Imitation Game snagged him a best director Oscar nomination, had always wanted to do a massive sci-fi action movie but found more than that in Passengers.

“It’s about what is important to live a happy, fulfilled life,” says the Norwegian filmmaker of the screenplay, written by Jon Spaihts (Prometheus). Plus, he adds, “it’s a romance, it’s a love story, it’s about forgiveness.”Tyldum won’t reveal much about how his main characters’ relationship shakes out: “We want people to be surprised and live it when they get to the cinema.” But he allows that moviegoers will find Aurora and Jim an intriguing and charismatic duo from the start.

He’s a mechanic who wants to leave Earth and bought “the cheap ticket” for his space adventure, Tyldum says. She’s a writer from New York who's interested in cosmic travel but also “trying to get away from her past a little bit.”

 

Lawrence and Pratt have a chemistry that results in a definite playfulness, Tyldum says.

“When you’re doing a love story, you’re most afraid that the actors playing the couple won’t like each other. But they became so close and work so well together,” the director says. “They have the same quick sense of humor and they’re both phenomenal actors, so there are sparks between them, which is what you want.”Though it seems like a rather intimate film with just two people, the script is full of twists, says Tyldum, and flashbacks will show what happened before Aurora and Jim came aboard the Avalon. (The supporting cast includes Laurence Fishburne and Michael Sheen, who co-stars as a robot bartender named Arthur.)

Tyldum didn't want the look of Passengers to place it in a certain era, instead combining familiar fashion with spacey stuff “to create a really unique and beautiful world,” he says. “You never think it’s far into the future. You feel like this movie can happen now, even if it can’t.”

 

“You have to feel for these characters, you have to be with them, you have to cry with them, you have to be scared with them,” the director says. “You have to go on this roller coaster because that’s where the movie becomes interesting.”


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