SLIPPING INTO PESSIMISM
However, something happened in between, and our collective attitude about what's to come has soured for many. "That idea of you being personally responsible for your own future — where that future is potentially fun — has started to slip away," said Lindelof, who was born in 1973. Bird added: "We've been gradually prepared for the idea that the future is going to stink. It's happened so slowly that we haven't really noticed it."
That's where the Disney movie "Tomorrowland" kicks off. In a story developed by Lindelof, Bird and longtime Entertainment Weekly writer Jeff Jensen, a boy genius turned pessimistic adult grump (played by Clooney) gets entangled with a driven and bright dreamer, Casey (played by Britt Robertson), who endeavors to go to "Tomorrowland" and fix what's been lost: Optimism. Part of that involved Clooney taking a back seat to the young female protagonist in the film. "In my 30s, I got to punch the guy and fall on the ground and walk away and there are explosions behind me as I'm walking toward the camera. Now I'm the guy who gets socked in the face, who falls on the ground and who whines a lot," said Clooney.
In many ways, "Tomorrowland" is a response to modern cynicism, often most evident on social media. When "Tomorrowland" was under development, for example, it used the code name "1952." By embracing an original idea with "Tomorrowland," Bird also believes the film is a response to the standardization of summer movies — all superheroes and sequels. It's a brave thing to go against the mold, especially this earnestly. "Not everything is based on a comic book," said Bird. "People say that they want to see something original and there is a way to do that," he added, even though "Tomorrowland" is technically based on an area in a theme park.
Doing that meant fully committing to the spirit of optimism, even if it is a bit retro, simplistic and possibly naive. But that's their point: To inspire a new generation of hopeful innovators. "We're not afraid to make a movie that could be perceived by some as corny or hopeful or unrealistic," said Bird. "You have to have the dreamer in order to do the dream."