Muccino in talks to direct ‘Passengers’

Sci-fi romance pic star Keanu Reeves

ROME — Italo helmer with Hollywood credentials Gabriele Muccino is in advanced negotiations with Morgan Creek to board Keanu Reeves starrer “Passengers,” a sci-fi romancer he described as “a love story set on a spaceship.”

Muccino, whose English-language pics include Will Smith starrers “The Pursuit of Happyness” and “Seven Pounds,” said he expected to start shooting “Passengers” this summer.Developed by Reeves and producer Stephen Hamel via their Company Films banner, “Passengers” has been greenlit by Morgan Creek, where James G. Robinson will produce.

Mid-budget sci-fier is penned by Jon Spaihts, who also penned Ridley Scott’s untitled “Alien” prequel project.

“Passengers” is set in the future on a spacecraft making a centuries-long interstellar voyage to a new planet. Due to a computer glitch, a single passenger (Reeves) awakens from cryogenic sleep 90 years before anyone else. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he, in turn, awakens a beautiful woman.

Muccino described the love interest of the character played by Reeves as being a “lesser-known” talent.

Muccino announced his plans for “Passengers” during the Rome press conference for his return to Italian-language filmmaking, “Kiss Me Again,” a sequel of sorts to his hit “The Last Kiss” 10 years later. Produced by Domenico Procacci, “Kiss Me Again” will bow wide in Italy Friday on 600 screens via Medusa.

(Tatiana Siegel contributed to this report.)

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