Slash Film has posted their interview with Jon Spaihts for Passengers. He was asked about what he recalled about his meetings with Keanu when discussing the project in the early stages. His answer is below.
Well, he and his fellow producer, Stephen Hamel, at Company Films were great development partners. They have a blue sky, wide open sky sensibility. I pitched them a different story from my notebook that featured the image of a man stranded in space towards the end. They liked it, but they came back and said, “Look, we’re not sure if that’s the story for us, but we love this guy stranded alone in space. Is there a story that begins there?” From that question, I started thinking about colony ships, long haul ships, someone waking up too soon, and riffed the spine of Passengers in one conversation.
As much development has gone on — it’s been going on for 10 years — the core of the story has never changed from that conversation, that first riff, and it’s stayed Passengers ever since. They’ve been ardent protectors of the story over the years that followed [the meeting], protecting it from dodgy studio notes, radical director rewrites, and other things that came along that menaced the essence of the story as we invented it. They were really great partners.