Tron 2 director says Oblivion is the anti-Alien (in a good way!)

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Jan 14, 2013, 2:52 PM EST

Standing out in a crowded galaxy of sci-fi flicks ain't easy. To get your attention, Tron: Legacy's Joseph Kosinski wants geek fans to cozy up to his new Tom Cruise tentpole and lays out a sunny welcome mat that's both familiar and strange.

How do you lure rear ends into movie seats for an original genre flick devoid of recognizable logos from the recent realms of comics or videogames? First, grab Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman to star. For his big-budget action fable chronicling the life of a dreary drone technician stranded on a barren, post-apocalyptic Earth, writer/director Joseph Kosinski is opening the blinds and letting the sun shine in.

In an interview with Collider, Kosinski digs deep into the genesis of the Disney-turned-Universal project and how the marketing campaign seeks to distinguish it as a fresh entry against the darker sci-fi fare of yesteryear. Instead of the dark future a la Alien, he's aiming for something a little brighter:

"You've got to build awareness early because we don't have a built in fan base, you know, we're not Star Trek or Batman or Superman and we've got to build from scratch ... I spent about a year just writing treatments and bidding on project after project with no success, and in order to keep myself from going insane I wrote this treatment for this small character driven science fiction film that I knew I had to keep contained if it was ever going to be my first movie.

So I modeled it thinking back to Omega Man or Silent Running, these very character driven stories that had a small cast of characters but set against an epic backdrop with big ideas. In terms of the look and my vision for it I felt that I wanted to do something that I hadn't seen in a while, which was a daytime science fiction film. After Alien, which is one of my favorites, science fiction kind of went into a very dark place for a long time and I thought it would be an interesting challenge to bring it into the daylight. So this aesthetic of taking this kind of very clean refined technology set against a rugged backdrop, which ended up being Iceland."

From the highly stylized hardware and polished sheen depicted in the trailer, Kosinski clearly has optimistic sights set for Oblivion and hopes hardcore fans and newbie audiences will applaud his efforts to deliver a bright science-fiction baby for the new year.

Oblivion opens April 26, 2013. Is it on your must-see list for 2013 or shoved under the couch cushions until the next Marvel miracle?

(via Collider)