‘Pandorum’ pandemonium: Sci-fi film finally opening in theaters

SAN FRANCISCO _ Time can move slowly in the movie world — just ask the cast of “Pandorum.”

The sci-fi horror film opens Friday, seven months after members of the cast traveled to the WonderCon comic book/movie/pop culture convention to hype it. And the publicity didn’t start until months after the movie was shot.

What everyone finally will see this weekend is how two astronauts (Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster) wake up in a hyper-sleep chamber aboard a seemingly abandoned spacecraft. They can’t remember anything. The pair soon discovers _ in “Alien” fashion _ there’s more happening on the ship than they could imagine.

The sci-fi and horror genres are familiar worlds to Foster, who appeared in “30 Days of Night” and “X-Men: The Last Stand.” He says it’s not the genre but the script that attracted him to this movie.

“I can usually tell in a few pages if I want to be in a project. I knew with this one as soon as I read the first page. That whole idea about waking up and not knowing who you are seemed like something fun to do,” Foster says.

As for the lag time between filming and the opening, it’s familiar territory for Foster. The 29-year-old actor has seen plenty of movies take a long time to reach theaters during the 12 years he’s been working.

Antje Traue, who plays the character Nadia, is in a brave new world with “Pandorum.” Before the sci-fi chiller, Traue worked in small films in her home country of Germany. None of those movies involved the special effects, fan interest or the long delay to get released that she has dealt with in “Pandorum.”

“I have never done a film in this genre before ‘Pandorum.’ Now I know what it means to be in such a movie because it is so focused and done in bits and pieces. It is not like a character piece where you go into your character and stay in your character,” Traue says. “This kind of movie comes together in the editing room.”

Because of the special effects, it took months after the filming before Traue got to see exactly what was happening in the movie. (But the film was not screened for critics in advance.)

(c) 2009, The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.). Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.