After some studio jumping and title changes throughout the years, Joseph Kosinski’s ‘Oblivion’ based on his graphic novel of the same name is nearly in the can. Starring Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, and Melissa Leo, the story follows Jack Harper, a soldier stationed on Earth that’s assigned to clean up duty after a lengthy war that left the planet ravaged and desolate. But after discovering “a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft”, Jack begins to “question everything he knows and puts the fate of humanity in his hands.”

While the ‘Tron: Legacy’ director is busy putting the finishing touches on his new film, he took some time out to talk exclusively with Collider about what to expect from this sci-fi epic and how it came to be.

In discussing marketing a new and original property, he mentions that two of the stars are a big part of the draw, but that’s not all he can rely on:

“That’s step one, you get Tom Cruise. Step two, you get Morgan Freeman. And in the marketing of the movie I think they’re going to market in a way that tries to make it feel familiar even though it is a new property. And I think we saw a little bit of that in the trailer. Try to lean in to those trailer tropes so it feels like something that we’ve seen before even if it isn’t.”

He moved on to speak about the early development at Disney and the jump to Universal after tonal disagreements of the film:

“It wasn’t really the ratings; it didn’t come down to something just as simple as PG-13 or PG. I think when the movie comes out, it will be very clear as to why it didn’t make sense as a Disney movie. There’s some stuff in the trailer that’s very un-Disney that was always important to me to be in the movie. Obviously I have a great relationship with Disney and all the people over there and it was a totally amicable decision that in order for the movie to be what it wanted to be it didn’t make sense to be there. So we landed at Universal, which was a great place for it and now the movie’s kind of able to be what it needs to be. Disney’s clearly in the business of doing giant tentpole movies based on properties that they own. And that’s what they should be doing because they’re great at doing that.”

Finally, Kosinski revealed how Cruise came to be a part of this project without seeing a script first:

“There was no script, that’s kind of the amazing thing. I showed the ashcan, which is kind of like a little eight page preview The first thing that came out, it was at Comic-Con 2010. That’s all I had. Obviously I had the whole treatment, but in that little ashcan we just put a little opening chapter that kind of introduced the story and it had like eight pictures in it; just a little teaser pamphlet. The day after I got back from Comic-Con I got a call from his agent that he wanted to meet, that he had seen the ashcan. Somehow he had gotten his hands on it the day after Comic-Con. So we had a meeting out at his hanger and I pitched him the story — there was no script yet — and based on the pitch he signed on.”

For the full interview, head over to Collider to see what else the director has to say about his passion project, including M83 composing the score, the aimed run time, and the type of camera he chose to shoot the movie on.

‘Oblivion’ starring Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Melissa Leo will be released in IMAX theaters on April 12, and everywhere else on April 19, 2013.