Monday, 27 October 2014

Familiar Faces Star Alongside The 5th Passenger

Heard of it?

The answer is "Probably" as 5th Passenger stars four (count'em) FOUR Star Trek luminaries in the form of Tim Russ (Tuvok), Marina Sirtis (Troi), Robert Picardo (The Doctor) and Manu Intiraymi (Icheb) plus some Hellboy actor Doug Jones and even more faces from the sci-fi universe to boot.

Ok, here's the spiel in a couple of lines - Four crew, one escape pod, a pregnant officer, a lack of air and a mysterious fifth passenger who gradually picks off our well-known cast one by one. It can only mean it's going to be a race against time to get it before it gets them mixed in with a spadeful of conflict. Pre-production is well underway and the Kickstarter project is in full swing with just two weeks left to run.  $41,000 of the $65,000 has now been raised to make the movie viable and full pre-production can begin once the target has been met which looks like a real possibility.

"The fundraising is going well but we will definitely need more support if we are realistically going to make this initial goal." said cast member and writer, Morgan Lariah, "We really believe in this story and we know this film is something our audience is to enjoy."

With perks such as PDF scripts, access to donor-only groups, exclusive content, digital movie downloads, DVDs, lunches with crew and cast, names on end credits, costumes, miniatures (running out of breath...) and more and more, it's one of the more fan-friendly productions ensuring that backers are getting a lot of bang for their buck.

Explained writer/director Scott Baker, "I always have little seeds of ideas jumping around in my head. I really love The Twilight Zone and the way Rod Serling would tell stories and the core of this film is very much inspired by all the episodes of that show that I have watched."

"My friend Philip and I were chatting up ideas and bouncing different things back and forth when one of the little seeds came out. I wrote up a few scenes from it and took it to a table read session and the others really liked them, so I set in to flesh out the entire story."

Morgan was hooked very early on; "He approached me one day, told me the premise and how I would be great for the role of Miller. I was hooked!"

The big thing that will attract Star Trek fans to this project and certainly caught our eye was the unmistakable cast. "Scott met Manu Intiraymi on the set of another production and they chatted." recalled Morgan. "Scott mentioned 5th Passenger and how Manu is perfect for the role of Thompson."

Manu, who is also starring in the Tim Russ web-series "pilot" for Star Trek: Renegades loved the script and suggested the Tuvok actor for another of the parts in the movie, that of Franklin. "Tim joined us for the filming of the trailer. He recently helped to get Marina Sirtis and Robert Picardo on board as well." enthused Morgan,  "Having iconic Star Trek actors wasn't something that Scott and I initially planned but knowing these actors and their work we couldn't be happier with the cast we have. I can’t wait to see how they bring these roles to life."

Morgan herself was always slated for the key role of Eve Miller and recently started writing and producing her own projects such as the short film, 2-Star (which she co-wrote, produced and starred in) at the East End Film Festival in London and then went on to several other festivals internationally and in the United States. 

"I think we are so lucky to be living in this era where we have access to the equipment and technology that others before us could only dream of. Being on set with Tim Russ and Manu Intiraymi to film the trailer was such an incredible experience. They are such amazing actors and I loved watching their process. I can only imagine what acting alongside Doug Jones, Robert Picardo, Marina Sirtis and Hana (Molly O'Brien) Hatae (recently added to the cast) will be like but I am greatly looking forward to collaborating with them."

But it's not just about the wonderful world of Star Trek and while that is our main focus here(!) there are cast and crew who have been associated with films such as Captain America, Tron Legacy, Donnie Darko and series including Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It certainly looks like something which has brought together a bundle of experience from all corners of the sci-fi genre. Among those luminaries is visual magician Tobias Richter who has been seen bringing something amazing to the Axanar project in recent months.

The trailer itself is dark, brooding and atmospheric. If you're looking for a comedy element or a nice easy diversion then this won't float your boat but for those of you who like your sci-fi in the gritty tone rather than light and fluffy it'll be on your must-see list from this moment onwards. Seeing Star Trek actors facing off against each other rather than being all pally-pally makes a refreshing change and is out of the comfort zone in which we fans would usually see them. As trailers go there's not a lot given away but we go get to understand the filming style, a sense of the narrative and dialogue and a few shots both internal and exernal activity to keep you locked into your seats and more importantly helping fund this imaginative project.

Initially planned as a one-off ("You never know what will happen," said Scott), original movie, this was envisaged partly as a break from the explosion of superhero movies we've experienced in recent years; "Studios don't want to take chances on something new and I get that. They want safety. But that's where we come in. We are not beholden to men in suits who only see numbers." said producer Scott,  "We are looking to the fans of sci-fi and horror who want really new content. People vote everyday on what they want by where they spend their money. We're asking people to look at what we're doing, and if they like it, vote for us. We will deliver something amazing and NEW."

And on that one-off possibility, Morgan also wasn't sure if this would be the characters' only outing; "It’s funny because Scott and I know these characters so well. We know their past like our own and have mapped out their future. 5th Passenger only explores a sliver of their lives. We get to see and experience them just for this particular moment in time. If this first film is successful, we certainly can explore more of this universe with these characters."

It is still early days for the project but the Star Trek community is sure to be onboard with such a headline cast and knowing that in the background are some of the great heavyweights of the sci-fi movie industry itching to get started. I can only imagine that these characters will be worlds away from Icheb, Molly, The Doctor, Troi and Tuvok and will make compelling viewing in every sense.

Closed Morgan; "I think those who believe in the importance of strong female leads, diversity in casting and a captivating story will want to fund this project. I believe so strongly in making films that portray different aspects of the human condition, this is one of them."

Wanting to find out a bit more? Try out the 5th Passenger website or head onto their Kickstarter campaign and help fund the project.

What are your thoughts on 5th Passenger? Will you be joining their voyage? How about letting us know below or dropping by one of our (many) social media platforms...

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