Passengers, the 2016 sci-fi film starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, disappointed critics in more ways than one, but the script had been an industry favorite years earlier when it was featured on the 2007 Black List. Pratt was surprised by the criticism that arose from press screenings, and now that Lawrence has had time to reflect, the Oscar winner briefly addressed the response to the film in the latest Vogue magazine cover story.
Many film reviewers, including EW’s own Chris Nashawaty, took issue with Passengers‘ main premise: Pratt’s character wakes up from suspended animation in the middle of a colony ship’s 120-year voyage across space. Out of a desperate need for human contact, he wakes up a woman (Lawrence) without her consent, condemning her to the same fate. Nashawaty called the film “profoundly creepy,” while other critics deemed it a poorly handled story with “squandered talent” and “an interstellar version of social-media stalking.”
According to Vogue, Lawrence is proud of the film (which made more than $300 million at the global box office) but agrees with those who thought the film should have started with her character waking up. “I’m disappointed in myself that I didn’t spot it,” she says. “I thought the script was beautiful — it was this tainted, complicated love story. It definitely wasn’t a failure. I’m not embarrassed by it by any means. There was just stuff that I wished I’d looked into deeper before jumping on.”
“That was a very valuable lesson to me,” Passengers producer Neal Moritz reflected on the reception back in April. “I loved that movie. It was one of my favorite experiences making a movie… I thought the script was one of the best scripts I’d ever read.”
He further explained, “There was a weird thing that happened. We’d done numerous test screenings… that were very encouraging to us… everything was looking great. Ten days before that movie came out, the first review came out… the reviewer said that we were justifying date rape, and I was like, what? I thought back to all the screenings that we had and nobody had ever thought that, but it was weird. One guy said that and a lot of media picked up on that and it became the mantra that the film carried, and I thought it was a really unfair thing because I think it’s a beautiful film I couldn’t be more proud of.”