Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof Discuss TOMORROWLAND; Say It’s a “Reaction to Dystopic Sci-Fi”

     March 9, 2015


It appears that social media Q&A’s are the theme of the last few days. Over the weekend, Mission: Impossible 5 director Christopher McQuarrie took to Twitter to answer some questions about his upcoming film, and today co-writer/director Brad Bird and co-writer/producer Damon Lindelof popped up on Facebook to discuss their new film Tomorrowland, which debuted a new trailer this morning. Bird and Lindelof are big fans of J.J. Abrams’ Mystery Box approach so they (thankfully) didn’t reveal too much, but they did offer a few tantalizing nuggets of information about the secretive Disney film.

The story of Tomorrowland revolves around an optimistic young teen with scientific curiosity who teams up with a disillusioned former boy-genius inventor (George Clooney) to embark on a journey to uncover the secrets “of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory as ‘Tomorrowland.’” Today’s trailer showed off more of the film’s eye-popping visuals while revealing that the titular world is essentially an alternate dimension with major scientific advancements, headed up by Hugh Laurie’s villainous character.

tomorrowland-poster-george-clooneyOver on Facebook, Bird revealed his primary inspiration for the film:

“I was not inspired by old science fiction as much as I was inspired by how the future used to be seen in contrast to how it’s seen today.”

Lindelof also said that they took inspiration from the Disney Parks themselves:

“One of our inspirations was all the hidden Mickeys in the parks… the idea that the Imagineers themselves want to reward the super fans is something we really plugged into!”

The Lost co-creator revealed that Laurie was the only actor considered for his part because they needed someone who could:


“A. Be very, very smart. B. Be very, very funny. C. Go toe to toe with George as to who is the greatest former TV doctor.”


Bird also discussed the trick in finding the right tone for Tomorrowland:


“If each film is a creature, this film was a very finicky creature. The line between too much information and not enough was razor thin.”


tomorrowland-george-clooneyWhen asked whether he made the film with an expressed objective, Bird offered up the following response:


“I would refrain from making the movie unlike eating your vegetables. I would say it is a counter argument against the current obsessions with dystopia but I would probably rather say it’s just a good time at the movies.”


Lindelof elaborated on this idea of directly addressing the current state of dystopian sci-fi:


“This movie is really a reaction TO dystopic sci-fi… as much as I love that stuff, we really wanted to explore what happened to our jetpacks! As for making musical requests of Hugh Laurie… well, let’s just say the reason you don’t hear him speak in the trailer is because we had him sing his entire part. Take THAT, Into The Woods!”


tomorrowland-britt-robertsonWhen Bird was asked whether he views Tomorrowland as the beginning of the franchise, he admitted that the film exists in a larger universe, so further entries seem possible:


“I try to see each movie as a standalone thing but the world the movie inhabits as something much larger.”


And finally, when asked how Bird and Lindelof came to be collaborating on this project in the first place, Bird revealed that Lindelof did some script work on the ending of the excellent Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol:


“Damon was doing some uncredited writing work on the end of the last movie, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol. We started talking about what the other was doing next and it completely sucked me in.”


As a fan of original sci-fi (and original stories in general) I’m really looking forward to Tomorrowland, and I’m also happy that Disney has thus far been able to keep most of the film under wraps. For now, at least. Tomorrowland opens in theaters on May 22nd.

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