Director Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Ring) and writer Steve Conrad (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) have lined up their first feature since their North Korea comedy Pyongyang fell through in the wake of the Sony hack. Deadline reports that Sony pictures has acquired an action-adventure comedy pitch from the duo, centered on a transcontinental race between autonomous cars.
The race begins as a beta test comparing the vehicles of competing start-up companies looking to dominate the world of driverless cars, but quickly spins out of control when the passengers of the test cars reveal their competitive nature and try to take control of the experiment.
Essentially, we are going to take the funniest comedic actors of this generation and slowly unleash them as we examine the very notion of ‘passengers’ who fundamentally cannot remain passive.
Conrad explained that the film will seek to invert the premise of the “road trip” movie genre.
We want to invert the whole premise of a road trip where the promise has always been, ‘anything can happen’, and say, ‘what if anything can’t happen’? What does that do to the test subject? What are the breaking points?
Verbinski also talked about how the film will address evolving technology and his belief that people will never truly be comfortable in driverless vehicles.
At a time when we give more and more liberty away for the benefits of technology, there is nothing more primal and direct as this specific physical abdication of control: Removing a steering wheel from the grasp of human being,” he said. “The driver-less car is coming, It’s right around the bend, and it represents an immediate and relevant opportunity to explore the classic ‘Man against Machine’ genre spliced into a large scale Automotive Rally. Stating the obvious – Things are going to get out of control.
The film is on the fast track, and doesn’t yet have an official title, but it seems likely this is the Verbinski/Conrad team up that was being called “Passengers” as of last October.