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Sony Highlights Visuals, VR for 'Passengers' Discs

13 Mar, 2017 By: Chris Tribbey

Guy Hendrix Dyas, production designer for Sony’s 'Passengers', earned an Oscar nomination for his work on the film.

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — From X-Men 2 to Superman Returns to Inception, production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas has enjoyed plenty of success over the years, putting together the visual look of big-budget action flicks.

But for Sony Pictures’ Passengers, instead of the usual several months, he had a mere 10 weeks to design the sole setting of the film, the spaceship Avalon. And despite that short deadline, Dyas’ work resulted in an Oscar nomination, a result he laughs about today.

“It was absurd, but also a blessing in disguise,” Dyas said, speaking during a promotional event for Passengers, out on disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment March 14. “I was left alone to design my pants off, and we had a director, Morten Tyldum, who was very bold, who allowed for originality. I got to design everything I ever wanted to design with a spaceship.”

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc, Blu-ray, DVD and digital versions of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Passengers all include the “Creating the Avalon” featurette, with most of the film’s few actors (Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Laurence Fishburne) praising Dyas’ work. What Dyas doesn’t share in the featurette is how important he considers the Avalon to be to the story itself.

“If you have just a few actors on a spaceship of such enormous size, that ship is going to become another character,” he said. “There was a big responsibility.

“There was no time to mull over or take long considerations over the designs. It was definitely a gut, artistic reaction to the scenes’ requirements. This taught me a valuable lesson: Sometimes you’re better off just plowing through.”

In addition to “Creating the Avalon,” every version of Sony’s release of Passengers includes outtakes, the featurettes “Casting the Passengers” and “On Set with Chris Pratt,” while the Blu-ray and digital releases of the film include deleted scenes and the featurette “Space on Screen: The Visual Effects of Passengers.”

And those who own Blu-ray and DVD versions of Passengers will also see a promotion for the Passengers Awakening Virtual Reality Experience, the first commercial release from Sony Pictures’ VR division. Available March 14, the Passengers VR tie-in has users navigating the Avalon and solving puzzles, helping to keep the ship from destruction. Priced at $9.99, the Passengers Awakening: Virtual Reality Experience is initially available for the HTC Vive and Oculus platforms, with expected support for the PlayStation VR.

“We start with the world of the story: Does the movie have something we can make unique in virtual reality? Is there a slice of the story that can we can allow you to relive in a relevant way? said Jake Zim, SVP of VR for Sony Pictures, regarding why the studio chose Passengers for VR treatment.

“What we try to accomplish is comfort, so people want to stay in there longer,” he added. “We want people to feel excited to be inside the spaceship, give them something immersive and enjoyable.”

About the Author: Chris Tribbey

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