With Passengers now in theaters, I recently sat down with director Morten Tyldum for an extended video interview. During our wide-ranging conversation he talked about what it was like making his first big Hollywood movie, why he wanted to build huge practical sets rather than use green screen, how the sets had 8 miles of LED lighting that was built into the ship, his thoughts on preserving movie sets after the shoot, what he learned from early screenings, deleted scenes, and more. In addition, if you’re a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, Tyldum revealed how the bar set in Passengers was influenced by the bar in The Shining, and he also discussed how Roger Deakins almost shot The Imitation Game.
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.
- How Roger Deakins was originally going to shoot The Imitation Game and how he was star struck when meeting him.
What was it like making his first big budget Hollywood movie?
- How they built huge practical sets instead of doing green screen and how did the studio feel about it?
- How the sets had 8 miles of LED lighting that was built into the ship.
- Which set would he have loved to keep at home?
- How they inverted the colors of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining for the ships bar specifically the carpet and the coat that Michael Sheen is wearing.
- His thoughts on preserving movie sets after the shoot.
- What did he learn from friends and family screening or test screenings which altered the finished film?
- Deleted scenes talk. Reveals the biggest one was a car crash on the ship and why they cut it out of the film.
- How they originally had more of the crew waking up but wanted a more ambiguous ending.