Dennis Quaid has starred in many of our favorite science fiction movies, so we're excited that he's back in deep space with the horror movie Pandorum. He told us about Pandorum's disorientation... and the Enemy Mine you never saw. Spoilers!
In Pandorum, opening this Friday, Quaid plays Payton, one of two space travelers who awake from hypersleep aboard a massive spaceship. (The other one is Bower, played by Ben Foster.) Hypersleep always leaves travelers with total amnesia, so Payton and Bower don't know who they are. Normally, there's supposed to be someone there to help reorient you when you reawaken from hypersleep, but they're on their own. And they're locked in the tiny room they wake up in. The first part of the movie is about their struggle to escape from this room — but once they finally get out, "that's when all hell breaks loose," says Quaid.
Are we ready for the return of space horror? "I sure enough do hope so," says Quaid. "If you have a good story — and this is a great story — a good movie, a fun, exciting movie, the audience will show up." He says Pandorum is "pretty amazing, in that it's part thriller, part horror movie, I guess... it's a myth, asking who are we? Are we who we think we are?"
And even though you've seen weird white creatures attacking our heroes out of the bowels of the spaceship in the trailers and clips, there aren't any aliens in this movie, says Quaid. "The aliens are us."
In the clips we've seen so far, Quaid's character seems like the steady voice of reason, compared with Foster's jumpy, paranoid character. But "that's only what it seems like," says Quaid. "My character is hiding something that even he himself doesn't know." Besides that, all Quaid will say about Payton is, "He's not who he thinks he is, let's put it that way."
He had fun playing off of Foster's jumpy, paranoid character, but also has some "pretty interesting" repartee with Cam Gigandet, who plays Gallo.
Quaid has heard the inevitable comparisons with District 9, what with humans peeling off their own skin and slowly turning into some kind of inhuman creature, but "this is a very different type of story." The film's title, Pandorum, "actually refers to a syndrome that occurs with prolonged space flight, where one begins to lose their grip on reality."
Quaid also appears in the upcoming Biblical horror film Legion, in which people have boils bursting out of their skin, among other things. We asked him which movie was grosser to film, and he said "I think they're about even." He says special effects are much easier to shoot than they used to be — in the old days, they were all mechanical, and now "they basically just build the whole thing around you."
Enemy Mine is one of our favorite films, so we had to ask Quaid about it — many accounts say the space epic was filmed twice, in its entirety. The studio fired original director Richard Loncraine, and director Wolfgang Petersen started over from scratch. But Quaid tells us they didn't quite get to film the entire movie before Loncraine was fired:
We didn't film it completely twice. We shot in Iceland with another director, for about four to six weeks, something like that. [It was] a very different concept of the film, and then the director was fired. And we shot in Germany with Wolfgang Petersen.
Nobody's ever seen the footage that Loncraine shot, and it's rumored to have been junked. But Quaid says it still exists somewhere, "but I'd like to see it myself." Quaid Loncraine's original version of Mine was "grittier," at least partly because it was filmed on location, with real weather, and Petersen shot his version on a soundstage. "It had a grittiness to it." But it was still the same basic story of a human and an alien, enemies in a bitter war, learning to become friends.
And finally, we asked Quaid if he's still on board for G.I. Joe 2. And he says, "Yeah if they do one, i'm there."