Screenwriter Jon Spaihts on the Ending of ‘Passengers’ and How It Changed During Development

     January 9, 2017

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Warning: Spoilers are discussed during this interview. Do not watch unless you’ve seen Passengers or don’t care about spoilers.

While I usually post all my interviews for a film before release or shortly after opening weekend, I had to make an exception for my interview with Passengers screenwriter Jon Spaihts. That’s because when I sat down with him for an exclusive video interview, we spent a lot of time talking about the ending and the various ways the script changed during development. However, now that the film has been in theaters for weeks and a lot of you have had the opportunity to see the film, I figure it’s safe to post the interview. In addition to talking about the ending, he revealed the way the rest of the script changed during development, what it was like finding out that Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence wanted to make the movie, and a lot more. If you’re curious about the behind-the-scenes of the writing of Passengers, you’ll really enjoy what he had to say.

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Image via Sony Pictures

If you’re not familiar with Passengers, the film is a rarity in Hollywood: a bona fide 100% original sci-fi story. Prometheus scribe Jon Spaihts penned the script years ago, and after a few different permutations, the movie finally came together with Lawrence and Pratt in the lead roles.  The story takes place on a luxury spaceship bound for a human colony that’s 120 years away. Given the length of the journey, the 5,000 passengers are put into hypersleep, but when two of the passengers are mysteriously awakened 90 years too early, they strike up a relationship and quickly become the ship’s only hope of recovering from a serious malfunction. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Andy Garcia, and Laurence Fishburne.

Check out what Jon Spaihts had to say in the interview above. If you missed my video interviews with Michael Sheen or Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, click the links.

Jon Spaihts:

  • Talks about the decade long struggle to get Passengers made
  • What was it like finding out that Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence wanted to make this film?
  • How did the script change through development? Talks about omitting a restaurant set due to cost and how the script changed in a lot of little ways but not big things.
  • Reveals the ending of the movie changed from the original version of the script and why it changed.
  • Did they ever have a version where Chris Pratt’s character was killed at the end?
  • Talks about how if they were making a smaller film their choices on how they would resolve the film might be different.
  • How did the script change after Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence were cast?

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