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Manning The Flight Crew
Dennis Quaid was the first to join the crew of the spaceship Elysium, taking the part of Lieutenant Payton. Suffering from severe claustrophobia, Quaid's experienced Payton leads the younger Corporal Bower through the airshaft labyrinth of the spaceship…until the moment he reveals his true character.

In early discussions, says Kulzer, "We said, ‘It would be great to have someone like Dennis Quaid playing Payton. The fact we actually were able to get him is certainly a high point of my career.” "There are only few actors like him, with such charisma, experience and professionalism,” adds director Alvart, who, anecdotally, knows Quaid's earlier film Inner Space by heart.

Because of Pandorum's difficult psychology, it was important to have an actor who would give the audience an instant emotional connection. Quaid fit the bill perfectly – and had a great time doing so. "I'm actually having more fun acting and being a movie star now than I did when I started. I really do – I have the fire in my belly for it,” he laughs.

Quaid's own interest in space took root when he was a child. "I grew up in Texas, and that's where the space program started when I was a kid,” he says. "That immediately replaced my wanting to be a cowboy. And I read a lot of authors like Ray Bradbury in the ‘60s.”

Quaid says, "When I read a script, it's the only time I get to be an audience member and have a first-time experience of it. When I read this script, it took me on a great ride. Then I met with Christian, who told me how he was going to shoot it, and I wanted to be part of it.

"It's a thriller,” he continues, "but it's also a universal story. That's when these movies really work – when you're telling a fantastic story. Yes, we're doing things people can't relate to, but we're having human experiences that everyone can relate to – that's what makes it great.”

Quaid has worked with many great directors throughout his incredible career, but he was very impressed by working with Alvart. "He's 34, but he performs like a director who's been doing this for 40 years,” he says. "There's not a wasted shot in this film, and every shot relates to the spine of the story, to the psychology of the characters. He's created an entire mythology for this movie, which is fascinating.”

As Corporal Bower, Ben Foster plays a mechanical engineer on board the Elysium. Although he lacks complete memory of who he is and why he's on board, it's not long before Bower notices the ship is going to break down. Guided by Lieutenant Payton on radio, he makes his way through the shaft system and is confronted with the various horrors the Elysium has in store.

Foster hadn't previously given much thought to space. "I wanted to go to astronaut camp when I was a kid, but that's about as far as I've considered space,” he says. "I looked at the registration forms and it involved a lot of science and math, and I'm not good at either one of those. I don't think I'd make a very good astronaut in real life.”

Fortunately, Pandorum had him hooked. "In general, it's hard for me getting through a script,” says Foster, "but with this one I was turning pages, like ‘What's going to happen next?' There are so many great twists, it really kept my attention from beginning to end.” He found the very concept of "pandorum” fascinating; he defines it as "a psychological disorder brought on by the claustrophobic experience of being on a spaceship that has the effect of neuroses and delusions of grandeur.”

Producer Anderson describes it a bit more succinctly: "Deep space psychosis of the most terrifying kind – basically cabin fever on acid.”

The way in which the film was shot, takes were short and fast – scenes were covered from all angles in quick filming bursts. Foster found that to be one of the biggest challenges. "There

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