Gore Verbinski’s directing portfolio is impressively varied, with movies like The Ring on one end of the spectrum and Pirates of the Caribbean on the other. But his latest film is his oddest choice yet, though it makes perfect sense given the fervor around autonomous cars.
Currently untitled (though at one point called Passengers), Verbinski’s newest project will focus on a team of engineers who embark on a transcontinental car race using self-driving vehicles. But the racers soon find themselves unable to sit idly by, at which point they begin taking control of the smart technology.
“Essentially, we are going to take the funniest comedic actors of this generation and slowly unleash them as we examine the very notion of ‘passengers’ who fundamentally cannot remain passive,” Verbinski said.
The funniest comedic actors, you say?
“At a time when we give more and more liberty away for the benefits of technology, there is nothing more primal and direct as this specific physical abdication of control: Removing a steering wheel from the grasp of a human being,” Verbinski added.
The point of the film will be to examine how these racers react to a perfectly uneventful race, when everything goes exactly as planned. But the thing is is that people thrive on chaos, and when that control is handed over to technology, it can make for some very helpless, and frustrated, subjects.
“We want to invert the whole premise of a road trip where the promise has always been, ‘anything can happen’ and say, ‘what if anything can’t happen?’” said Steve Conrad, who will write the film’s screenplay.
Verbinski is a smart director who has proven he is capable of dark comedy. The premise of Passengers (or whatever it will be called) is certainly strange, but with autonomous technology coming to the forefront, it could be the perfect commentary on the whole man vs. machine debate.