By Eliana Dockterman
February 13, 2015

Director Morten Tyldum will find out next week whether he wins an Oscar for the Benedict Cumberbatch film, The Imitation Game. In the meantime, he’s already getting started on his next project — a science-fiction romance called Passengers — which will see him continuing to work with some of the most in-demand talent in Hollywood. He tells TIME that Chris Pratt has signed on to the project, while Jennifer Lawrence is still in negotiations.

The movie focuses on a man who unexpectedly awakens from cryogenic sleep while on a journey to a distant planet; he wakes up a fellow passenger, and the two begin a romance. Though Pratt has some experience filming movies that take place in space, Tyldum says that Passengers will be very different from Guardians of the Galaxy.

“This is a love story, a character drama between two people. It just happened to be in space, which is the beauty of it. It’s a very different kind of sci-fi—not laser guns and fights,” Tyldum says. “It’s a very existential film about what we need to be fulfilled as people. It goes very deep and very dark and very dramatic.”

Like another space movie, Gravity, expect the two main characters to be the only ones who get a lot of screen time. “It’s more or less just the two of them in the whole film.” says Tyldum. “There’s one other character who is woken up at the end. And then there’s an android who is human looking from the waist up and then a pole from the waist down who is a bartender with pre-programmed dialogue. Those are the only people in the whole movie, so it’s really fascinating.”

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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com.

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