EXCLUSIVE: Rachel McAdams is in talks to join Keanu Reeves in Passengers, the science fiction film that The Weinstein Company bought in one of the biggest deals of the last Cannes. The film, scripted by Prometheus scribe Jon Spaihts and to be directed early next year by Game Of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire helmer Brian Kirk, was sold with Reese Witherspoon as the female lead. Because they will shoot the movie in Germany, she was unable to work out the schedule, and that opened the door for McAdams, whose deal is in the process of being negotiated right now.
What a fortuitous time it is for this film, prepping for production in the wake of the grosses of the Alfonso Cuaron-directed Gravity. Like that film, this is set in space, and it is primarily the interaction between two lead characters. The plot: A spacecraft transporting thousands of people to a distant colony planet has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result, a single passenger (Reeves) is awakened 90 years before anyone else. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he eventually decides to wake up a second passenger (McAdams), marking the beginning of what becomes a unique love story. I read the script back when buyers were bidding on it, and it was east to see why the bidding got heated among three distributors. TWC won it, committing to a multimillion-dollar minimum guarantee and a P&A commitment in the $25 million range, and at the time they were looking at a 2014 wide release late next year. Wayfare Entertainment is financing and producing the pic. The script was developed by Stephen Hamel and Reeves at their production shingle Company Films. Hamel is producing with Wayfare CEO Ben Browning. Start Media’s Michael Maher and Lynwood Spinks are executive producing. CAA brokered the domestic sales rights; Exclusive Media will rep the international rights at the upcoming AFM. McAdams is repped by Magnolia’s Shelley Browning.