Damon Lindelof has been making the rounds to promote Star Trek Into Darkness, but now that the film has opened in North America, it's time to start talking about his next mysterious project, Disney's Tomorrowland (formerly 1952).
He's working on the script with former Entertainment Weekly writer Jeff Jensen for Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol) to direct. George Clooney, Hugh Laurie and Raffey Cassidy are set to star, but we still don't know much about the film.
Lindelof recently spoke to Grantland, dropping a few hints as to what the story will be about. As you might expect given the title, the film was inspired partially by the writer's interest in the Disney theme parks.
"I’ve always been fascinated by Disneyland and Disney World, and my favorite part of the park was always Tomorrowland," he said. "But there’s no story there. Like, if you go into Fantasyland, there’s just story happening all around you everywhere, whether it’s sort of a direct kind of connection to a movie that you know or a fairy tale that you know, and the same with, like, Frontierland, or when you go in the Haunted Mansion. My son, who’s 6, when he went on Pirates of the Caribbean for the first time, Jack Sparrow is a part of that ride. He’s going to see the movies in two years, when he’s old enough, and he’s going to think that the movies were the inspiration for the ride, versus the other way around. I would love to do that for Tomorrowland, you know? I would love to give Tomorrowland a story, because right now, Tomorrowland is kind of being taken over by Star Wars — which is great, but it’s called Tomorrowland. Star Wars is a galaxy a long time ago, far, far away. Star Wars is not about our future."
While crafting the film, Lindelof also took inspiration from other sources, like renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown. "And there’s this Neil deGrasse Tyson speech — you can YouTube it — and he gave an eloquent and beautiful talk about how the abandonment of the space program after we landed on the moon is responsible for the fact that we no longer have an optimistic view of our future," Lindelof said. "I just said, 'There’s a movie in there somewhere.' And that was the beginning of me curating this rather fascinating 'is it or isn’t it?' Disney history in this kind of Dan Brown, Da Vinci Code way. Like, all these things that I didn’t know about, the history of Tomorrowland in the park, and could that be the basis of something? Even though the movie is not about the park — I will say this exclusively to you, that none of the movie takes place in a Disneyland park."
The writer also talked about the box pictured above that Bird tweeted in January. "This box is — ironically or fortuitously or coincidentally, or maybe this is why I was interested in it, it’s another infamous mystery box, except this mystery box can be opened and displayed and shared," Lindelof said. "I will say that by the end of this summer, summer of ’13, we will be giving an explicit sort of curation of what inspired the movie, and then people will at least have a sense of what we’re excited about doing, if not the story.
"That history of the company is really amazing, particularly the history of the parks. The Disney company went public, and then Walt started WED, which was his little black-ops division. He hired these guys to start developing these really interesting ideas, some of which got made and some of which didn’t, some of which have been seen, some of which h"aven’t. This stuff — it’s a little bit like that Ark of the Covenant room, except it’s not just one room; it’s spread out over these three campuses in Burbank. And nobody’s going through this stuff. There’s just not enough time in the day. Like, if it’s the original cel art for Lady and the Tramp, that stuff is fiercely guarded and catalogued, but if it’s just random miscellany that nobody knows what to do with, it’s just kind of sitting there. So this particular box, the box we tweeted — Disney was developing 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. [David] Fincher’s developing it now, but before that, I think McG was developing it, and I think he requested all the design work from the original ride in Disneyland, the Nautilus ride. And this box was in with that stuff. You know, what was it doing there? Who knows — but what’s more exciting is there’s probably, like, 50 boxes like that waiting."
Tomorrowland opens Dec. 19, 2014.