SDCC Exclusive: Paul W.S. Anderson on Pandorum

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Producer calls it “relentless and terrifying”

When the Travis Milloy’s script for Pandorum reached Paul W.S. Anderson – who operates Impact Pictures with Jeremy Bolt – he was in the mixing stage of Aliens vs. Predator. He didn’t want to direct the picture himself, but certainly felt it was strong enough to produce.

“It immediately hooked me,” he told me just before taking the stage to talk about the film at Comic-Con. “We developed it a little bit and it went through some changes, but what never changed was the opening of the film where Ben [Foster] wakes up on this giant spaceship and something terrible has gone wrong. He wakes up Dennis [Quaid] and it’s just the two of them on this thing that’s mile and miles and miles long. Then Ben has to go off on his own. I found the opening so gripping. I loved the concept.”

Anderson and Bolt enlisted director Christian Alvart to put this tale on the screen. The reason Anderson didn’t take the helm? “I felt for me it was going back to territory that I explored with Event Horizon, so as a fan, I really wanted to see the movie. But as a director, I didn’t want to go back into another big abandoned spaceship. I didn’t want to revisit that.” Like Event Horizon, Pandorum mixes two of Anderson’s favorite subjects, science fiction and haunted house movie. “I love the isolation in space. There’s a great line in the movie where Dennis says, ‘Out here there is no rescue and there is no turning around.’ It ups the ante. So, I liked all of those things. We worked away diligently at making the script better and we brought Travis in and he did everything.”

From the sounds of it, Anderson has an unofficial series, in the thematic sense, on his hands – similar to what John Carpenter did with his “apocalypse trilogy.” So when I called him on this parallel and asked if we’ll see one more sci-fi/haunted house hybrid film from Anderson, he laughed and said, “Probably.”

For now, it’s a waiting game until Pandorum‘s theatrical release on September 18. “We haven’t done the DVD version, but we definitely had to trim some stuff to get the R rating in America. So I’m sure there will be a…I hesitate to say slightly more intense version because the movie is really intense. There will be a bloodier version, that’s for sure, more entrails and stuff. But certainly one of the movie’s strengths is that it’s relentless. Relentless and terrifying. I’ve watched it with an audience twice and it’s either really quiet or the air is filled with them screaming. Both good things.”

The film co-stars Antje Traue, Cung Le (interview), Norman Reedus and Cam Gigandet. For stills and trailers, including the footage presented at Comic-Con, click here!

Source: Ryan Rotten, Managing Editor