Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Robinson Crusoe in a Spacesuit; Ridley Scott's Movies Always Create a Buzz, but When the Director of Alien and Blade Runner Releases a Sci-Fi Film, Excitement Reaches Fever Pitch. to Mark the Opening of the Martian, Susan Griffin Gets the Lowdown from Cast and Crew on His Latest Space Odyssey

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Robinson Crusoe in a Spacesuit; Ridley Scott's Movies Always Create a Buzz, but When the Director of Alien and Blade Runner Releases a Sci-Fi Film, Excitement Reaches Fever Pitch. to Mark the Opening of the Martian, Susan Griffin Gets the Lowdown from Cast and Crew on His Latest Space Odyssey

Article excerpt

The screenplay for The Martian, in which an astronaut is accidentally left stranded on Mars, is based on the novel by former computer programmer Andy Weir. Initially it existed as an online series then as an ebook before its hardcover publication in 2014. Meticulously researched and packed with science and maths, he'd intended the book to be "a technical book for technical people. I had no idea mainstream readers would be interested, let alone like it".

MOVIE-STAR MARTIAN The producer, Simon Kinberg, who'd worked with Matt Damon on 2013's Elysium, sent the script to the star on a Friday and received an enthusiastic response by the Sunday."Matt responded to the story in the same manner the studio and I did," notes Kinberg. "He thought it was original, funny, exciting, and with a uniquely different take on a survival story."

The film was originally going to be directed by Drew Goddard, who'd successfully adapted the book with its rigorous scientific and mathematical problem-solving, numerous characters and layered storylines, but the scheduling reportedly didn't work out, which left the director's chair empty.

THE SCI-FI MASTER SIGNS ON When another project was delayed, Ridley Scott, the man behind Alien and Blade Runner, became available, and the script was immediately sent to him. "I was fascinated by the near impossibility of [protagonist] Mark Watney's task and the team effort required, not only from NASA, but also international partners," notes Scott, 77. "This is the ultimate survival story. Mark Watney is placed under unimaginable duress and isolation, and the movie is how he responds. His fate will be determined by whether he succumbs to panic and despair or chooses to rely on his training, resourcefulness and sense of humour to stay calm and solve problems."

CHASTAIN JUMPS ABOARD The two-time Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain appeared as a brilliant scientist in Christopher Nolan's epic Interstellar, but admits she was a little jealous to see her co-stars Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway in their spacesuits. …

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