Disney’s mysterious Tomorrowland has been one of the more curious projects percolating over the past couple over years, in no small part because it acts as The Incredibles and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol director Brad Bird’s second live-action feature and boasts a screenplay from Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof. Plot details have been almost humorously non-existent, especially since production wrapped quite a while ago. What we do know is that the film has a connection to the Disney theme park of the same name and stars George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, and Britt Robertson. However, with more details poised to be unveiled at New York Comic-Con this weekend, the very first Tomorrowland images have arrived along with some exciting revelations from Bird and Lindelof about the pic.
Hit the jump to take a look at the first Tomorrowland images and to see what Bird and Lindelof have to say about this sci-fi/fantasy film and its connection to Walt Disney himself.
Here is how the basic premise of Tomorrowland is described by EW:
A Florida girl who dreams of the future while watching the launchpads of Cape Canaveral being disassembled goes exploring one day and, after landing in a bit of trouble, finds herself in possession of a mysterious pin. Touching it reveals a vision of a place that may not be a different world but simply a better one. it’s gone…and the quest to discover the real Tomorrowland begins.
That girl, Casey Newton, is played by Under the Dome star Britt Robertson, who sets the story of the film into motion. Lindelof confirms that although Walt Disney doesn’t appear as a character in the film, the story suggests that Walt built his Tomorrowland attraction after catching sight of the same otherworldly place:
“What Hogwarts is to magic, Tomorrowland is to science: They are both easy to find if you are a wizard and very difficult to find if you’re a Muggle,” says Lindelof. “Walt Disney is not a character in our movie, but he is referenced as having some involvement in this mysterious place called Tomorrowland, as a huge futurist and aficionado of space travel, rocketry, cities of the future, and space travel.”
Casey’s motivation is very much drawn from the fact that NASA has ceased all space shuttle launches, scuttling manned exploration and removing that glimmer of hope and excitement about the Great Beyond. Her journey to learn more about this vision leads her to Clooney’s character, described as a hermit and failed inventor who knows more about Tomorrowland than he’s willing to share:
“He’s at this farmhouse, and it’s probably the house he’s grown up in,” Bird says, noting that the old homestead is falling back into the past. “He hasn’t done anything to it. He’s done tech stuff inside it, but it’s not a super cool bachelor pad. It’s more like a guy who is retreating when something didn’t go well.”
Clooney’s character apparently used to be a boy genius, and in order to continue on Casey must draw out that optimism that seems to have left him. Indeed, the themes of Tomorrowland will touch on the sense of exploration and imagination that seem to have left our society, leaving behind a jaded and cynical generation that actively pushes away from any sense of awe or wonder in favor of a simple “meh” response.
“Another big influence for Jeff Jensen and I when we first started talking about this story was Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” Lindelof says. “Somehow it was able to do what no modern movies are able to do, which is tell a story that doesn’t have a bad guy who is trying to blow up the planet, or giant robots fighting, or lots of karate — though who doesn’t love karate? It was so not plot driven. It was just a pure discovery movie. It was pure what-if. Just that idea of what’s going on here? What does this mean? That was a real jumping off place for a movie like this.”
As someone who’s extremely tired of world-ending plot points and massive third act battles full of explosions and sky fighting, it’s a relief to hear that Bird and Lindelof are digging for something wholly different with Tomorrowland. I’m extremely curious about this one, and I look forward to Perri’s recap of the NYCC panel for the film this weekend. Tomorrowland opens in theaters on May 22, 2015.