Excellent! Keanu's back in sci-fi: 5 reasons why we're stoked

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Dec 14, 2012, 4:31 PM EST

Keanu Reeves has been tapped to star in Passengers, in which he plays Jim Preston, a colonist on a 120-year interstellar voyage to a distant planet; it's a project that's been in development for a while.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, a glitch causes Preston to wake up 100 years early from hibernation, leaving him awake and alone on the ship except for a few robots. So he takes it upon himself to rouse another passenger—a beautiful female journalist—but problems soon develop with both their relationship and the malfunctioning ship itself.

The movie will be directed by Gabrielle Muccino (The Pursuit of Happyness), and the producers describe the $90 million movie as "Adam and Eve in space." Although some of the other comments from producer James Robinson were a little sketchier ("I think of the picture as having the aftertaste of Titanic"—what does that mean?), here's five reasons why this project still sounds intriguing to us:

1. Keanu Reeves has a natural affinity for science fiction: He's had his misses, for sure (The Day the Earth Stood Still, anyone?), but when Keanu has scored—as with The Matrix or A Scanner Darkly—he's scored big-time.

2. It's the lighter side of Moon (above): Several bloggers have pointed out that the plot shares some similarities with Moon, last year's excellent indie sci-fi movie starring a lonely Sam Rockwell. But it sounds like this one may have a lighter, romantic edge. That's OK; we've had a lot of dark sci-fi films lately. (Hello, Pandorum?)

3. It will look really cool: According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie will feature "set designs created by some of the wizards who worked on Avatar." Will they be blue and glow at night?

4. Space is cold, but the script is hot: The screenplay for Passengers made the 2007 "Black List," an annual tally of the best unproduced scripts floating around Hollywood. Writer Jon Spaihts has also worked on the upcoming alien-invasion saga The Darkest Hour and was recently hired by Ridley Scott to write his Alien prequel.

5. The title Passengers deserves some love: A supernatural thriller with that name starring Anne Hathaway (above) was dumped into theaters late last year, while David Fincher was once slated to direct a film based on a Robert Silverberg story with that title about aliens who hijack human bodies (we'd still like to see that one). It's an evocative title—someone should make good use of it!

Are you psyched to see Neo in space?

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