We don’t know a whole lot about Brad Bird’s mysterious new sci-fi flick Tomorrowland, but writer Damon Lindelof has opened up about how the Disney theme parks were a major inspiration (but don’t let that scare you).
Sure, there are a fair number of well-founded rumors making the rounds about the plot, but in a lengthy new interview with Grantland, Lindelof chatted about what inspired the project and some of the intangibles that make it so interesting.
For the uninitiated, Tomorrowland refers to the “theme land” at the Disney theme parks, which is a whiz-bang futuristic world. Though the film bears the title of the kid-friendly park area, Lindelof said none of the film will actually take place at a Disney park. Instead, they used some of the broad strokes of the Tomorrowland idea to help launch the film.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
“I’ve always been fascinated by Disneyland and Disney World, and my favorite part of the park was always Tomorrowland. But there’s no story there. Like, if you go into Fantasyland, there’s just story happening all around you everywhere, whether it’s sort of a direct kind of connection to a movie that you know or a fairy tale that you know, and the same with, like, Frontierland, or when you go in the Haunted Mansion. My son, who’s 6, when he went on Pirates of the Caribbean for the first time, Jack Sparrow is a part of that ride. He’s going to see the movies in two years, when he’s old enough, and he’s going to think that the movies were the inspiration for the ride, versus the other way around. I would love to do that for Tomorrowland, you know? I would love to give Tomorrowland a story, because right now, Tomorrowland is kind of being taken over by Star Wars — which is great, but it’s called Tomorrowland. Star Wars is a galaxy a long time ago, far, far away. Star Wars is not about our future.
And there’s this Neil deGrasse Tyson speech — you can YouTube it — and he gave an eloquent and beautiful talk about how the abandonment of the space program after we landed on the moon is responsible for the fact that we no longer have an optimistic view of our future. I just said, ‘There’s a movie in there somewhere.’ And that was the beginning of me curating this rather fascinating ‘is it or isn’t it?’ Disney history in this kind of Dan Brown, Da Vinci Code way. Like, all these things that I didn’t know about, the history of Tomorrowland in the park, and could that be the basis of something? Even though the movie is not about the park — I will say this exclusively to you, that none of the movie takes place in a Disneyland park. It doesn’t, but that history became the inspiration for this amazing story. I brought Jeff Jensen in, who had come up with all these amazing theories about Lost while it was on, some of which were just so much better than what we were coming up with in the room. I said, ‘Come in and look at this stuff and talk to me about it,’ and then we started coming up with the germs of a really cool story...”
It’s interesting to see how the project developed from Lindelof’s perspective, and it’ll be interesting as well to see if he can actually pull off some of those lofty ideas.
What do you think? Will this one actually be any good?