US Release Date: 10/2/15
Originally envisioning his story The Martian as “a technical book for technical people,” novelist Andy Weir never imagined that it would be published and adapted into a Hollywood movie starring Matt Damon.
Weir wrote the novel, in which astronaut Mark Watney (Damon), becomes stranded on Mars, as an online serial, and added new chapters every few weeks. Despite its payload of geeky science and math, a word of mouth audience, eager to discover Watney’s plight, kept coming back for more. When the novel was finally complete, Weir put it up for sale, on Amazon, for 99 cents and was soon contacted by an agent. Random House published the book, and Hollywood came calling.
“This is the ultimate survival story,” says director Ridley Scott. “Mark Watney is placed under unimaginable duress and isolation, and the movie is about how he responds. Mark’s fate will be determined by whether he succumbs to panic and despair and accepts death as inevitable – or chooses to rely on his training, resourcefulness and sense of humor to stay calm and solve problems.”
Watney, during a manned mission to Mars, is left for dead when the planet is hit by a massive storm. Back on earth, meanwhile, NASA, after learning that the astronaut is alive and well, must figure out a way to bring him home.
“Watney is a botanist and mechanical engineer, and is sent on the Mars mission to study and take samples of the soil, hopefully to learn more about its composition and the feasibility of growing crops,” says Damon. “He has the knowledge and training to find ways to survive, but time is working against him. He believes it will likely be three to four years before the possibility of rescue. In man versus nature scenarios, the smart money is usually on nature.”
Meanwhile, Jessica Chastain plays Melissa Lewis, the tough female commander who heads up the mission to Mars.
“She is such a well-written character, another in the legacy of Ridley’s remarkable women characters. Lewis came from the Navy, and has to lead a team of specialists who are very smart and have very specific tasks to perform. She is friendly and personable with her crew, but wants to leave no doubt as to who is in charge.”
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Matt Damon, includes Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Donald Glover, Mackenzie Davis, and Chiwetel Ejiofor
Screenwriter: Andy Weir (Based on his novel of the same name) and Drew Goddard
Producers: Simon Kinberg, Michael Schaeffer, Aditya Sood and Mark Huffam
Quote Source: Press Notes