Wednesday’s world premiere of Sony’s sci-fi thriller “Passengers” represented a rite of passage for star Jennifer Lawrence, widely known for playing Katniss Everdeen of the “Hunger Games” films and Mystique in the “X-Men” series.
“This is kind of a huge step for me, sort of like graduating from ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘X-Men,'” she admitted. “It’s scary to make that first step but I have faith in this material. I’m not nervous and that’s a very strong indicator.”
The premiere, held at the Regency Village Theatre, drew several astronauts to the red carpet including Mike Massimino, who spent a month at the Hubble Space Telescope. “I like movies where the astronauts seem like cool people,” he noted.
Lawrence portrays a writer on a spaceship on a 120-year journey with 5,000 others in hibernation. She and Chris Pratt, who plays an engineer, are awakened early. “My character has to make a lot of very tough decisions,” she added.
Pratt asserted that Lawrence has a talent for being able to quickly change from a goofy to a serious performer when cameras are rolling. “She turns off and on real quick,” he mused.
Director Morten Tyldum noted that he went backwards to keep the themes familiar. “Chris’s character reminded me of a young Marlon Brando, a young Steve McQueen, so we dressed him like that,” he added.
Producer Stephen Hamel, who spent a decade developing “Passengers” with screenwriter Jon Spaihts, said that a 1974 comedy-drama provided the basis for the movie. “I was most inspired by Lina Wertmuller’s ‘Swept Away’ with Giancarlo Giannini — two people stranded on a desert island.”
“The movie is very close to what we envisioned nine years ago,” Spaihts added. “It’s very rare. It was shot very faithfully. I’m over the moon.”
The premiere also drew music group Imagine Dragons, who supplied part of the soundtrack after seeing a rough cut. “You could tell it was missing a few things but we got what it was about right away,” said vocalist Dan Reynolds.
“Passengers” is produced in association with LStar Capital, Village Roadshow and Wanda Pictures. It opens Dec. 21.