[featured image: NASA Ames Research Center]

In a week dominated by news of the massive computer hack that affected their systems, Sony has had a success on the story front. They announced a second acquisition this week: Passengers from Jon Spaihts, who will also be writing the script for Doctor Strange.

In addition to the rights to adapt The Seven Five, a documentary about corruption in the New York City police department, into a narrative feature, Sony picked up the rights to “a big science fiction love story, set in space”. Neal Moritz and Ori Marmur will produce through the Original Film banner along Michael Maher for Start Media and Stephen Hamel of Company Films.

Passengers is set on a colony ship, transporting thousands of people to a distant world. When one of the sleep chambers has a malfunction, a single passenger awakes ninety years early. He then has to choose whether or not to live out the rest of his life alone, or wake up someone else. The result is described as “a unique love story”.

The story has been a hot property for a while, at one point attracting Keanu Reeves and Rachel McAdams along with director Brian Kirk. Prior to that, the Weinstein Company had obtained the rights, with Reese Witherspoon set for the female lead role. When the rights reverted back to Spaihts, Moritz and Sony production president Michael De Luca quickly stepped in.

The Sony hack attack has been the subject of various news stories over the past week, with infodumps consisting of board member compensation, salary information, and copies of multiple movies yet to be released. Some have been wondering if the attack had come from North Korea as a result of Sony’s comedy The Interview, in which the CIA recruits two tabloid journalists to use the cover of their interview with Kim Jong-un to assassinate the Chinese dictator. North Korean officials have denied any foreknowledge of the attack.

The current plan for Passengers is to start from scratch with casting and production plans. No release date has been scheduled as of yet.


Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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