Pandorum Scares Up WonderCon


The second day of WonderCon began its film programming in the vast Esplanade Hall, giving con attendants their first look at Overture Films’ upcoming sci-fi/horror-thriller Pandorum from producer Paul W.S. Anderson (“Resident Evil” series) and German filmmaker Christian Alvart (Antibodies and the long-delayed Case 39) via a teaser trailer and appearances by some of the principal cast.

The teaser begins with Ben Foster’s character falling out of a vertical sleeping chamber, much like the ones from Alien, and he says, “There’s no one here except us.” He starts exploring an apparently vacant spaceship as a foreboding voice-over reads the title cards:

“What if you awoke with no memories?”

“What if the world you knew was gone?”

“What if you discovered…(dramatic pause) you were not alone?”

We see a lot of fast-cut clips of Foster dealing with all sorts of deadly threats as he progresses through the ship and a voice-over asks Foster’s character whether he knows the symptoms of pandorum — “shivers, itch, a slow boil, and the biological side effects of being in deep space, leading to paranoia” — before we see a brief glimpse as Dennis Quaid telling him, “Your mind has turned against itself.”

The short teaser ends with the tagline: “Fear What Happens Next.”

It was a very short clip which went by very fast, but it looked like it fell somewhere between Alien and Solaris though leaning more towards the action-horror of “Resident Evil” or the last act of Danny Boyle’s Sunshine.

They followed the teaser with a quick panel with three of the primary cast, none of whom could talk about what the primary menace of the film would be, which isn’t particularly clear from the teaser.

Ben Foster, best known for his roles in 30 Days of Night and as the Angel in X-Men: The Last Stand, talked about the journey of his character “Bower” — it actually says that on the sleeping chamber from which he awakes not knowing anything and not remembering who or where he is, nor what he’s doing there. He eventually finds Dennis Quaid’s character, General Payton, in another sleep chamber and wakes him up and they go out into the ship where they discover they’re not alone. He mentioned that the spaceship in which the story takes place is the “size of a large city” and that there’s “lots of trouble in dark corners” so that the threat escalates quite substantially.

The beautiful German actress Antje Traue plays Nadia, a member of a group of scientists on the spaceship Elysium, who discovers she’s the last survivor but has no memory of why she’s there on that ship. Four-time World Champion martial artist Cung Lee plays Manh (which he said was Vietnamese for “strength”), a character who has been away for a while, so he knows how to survive. (He joked that we didn’t see him in the teaser because he was hiding.) On this world, he’s an agriculturist who, like the others, is just trying to survive.

They couldn’t really say much more about the plot, so they all talked about working with director Christian Alvart, who fellow countryman Traue referred to as a “a genius,” but they agreed that the film ended up being a very technical and difficult shoot, Foster calling it “a grueling shoot” and “the most demanding film experiences” he’d ever had, referring to the “concussions and ripped toenails and painkillers” that went along with the experience.

Even though he wasn’t in the teaser, Le did confirm that there would be some martial arts and a lot of “general ass-kicking” in the movie with lots of stunts, and he found a new respect for stuntmen after experiencing some of the same pain the next day from doing stunts as he did after one of his fights.

Foster actually kept the panel fairly light with jokes about an accompanying sex tape and his co-star Quaid appearing in a thong–probably not true–but he compared his character’s experience to what happens when someone has a really long night where they can’t remember anything that happened… “and then you see Dennis Quaid.” The audience cracked up at that, though the moderator seemed generally confused by Foster’s response, which amused the audience even more.

Foster concluded by referring to the film as a “truly terrifying, horrific nightmare that identifies your most primitive fears, when you’re stripped of the technologies we have, stripped of your humanity and your identity and memory. We hope you dig it.”

Pandorum is scheduled to open on September 4th, but it wasn’t mentioned when that teaser trailer might debut in theaters or online.