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Science fiction fans, the day you have all been waiting for is here, and no one had to sell their souls to the robot devil: post-ubiquitous stand-up comedian Dane Cook is joining a genre flick! Rejoice! This website is shamefully free of ticker tape, so get on that. In the meantime, set your calendars for a random time in the future to check out New Artists Alliance and XLrator Media’s upcoming thriller 400 Days, which will also star former Superman Brandon Routh and a few more recognizable names. Though we started off with snark, this flick sounds genuinely compelling and right up our alley.
A psychological slow-burner, 400 Days is the story of four astronauts who take part in a simulated space mission to a distant planet. They’re cordoned off from the rest of the world for the titular span of time to test the effects of deep space travel on the human psyche. But is it really just a test? The group loses communication with the outside world and their health and wellbeing soon show signs of wear and tear, which is when they figure out their mission may not be so simulated after all. I certainly hope that’s not a twist, since it’s laid out there in the Deadline article.
Though no roles are detailed, we know that Routh and Cook will be joined by Arrow‘s Caity “Black Canary” Lotz, Ed and Mike and Tom Eat Snacks co-host Tom Cavanagh, Mad Men‘s Ben Feldman, and Defiance‘s Grant Bowler. That’s a good squad for an indie production, and it’ll be interesting to see the comedy-tethered Cook and Cavanagh take on a suspenseful spacey pic. 400 Days is the second feature from director Matt Osterman, whose 2010 debut Ghost From the Machine was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. But I’m not carrying any grudges.
“Matt has penned a mind-bending screenplay that reminds us why we make movies to begin with.” says New Artists Alliance’s Gabriel Cowan. “Its complete sense of awe, mystery, and character grabbed us right away. And the crazy reality is that NASA and the European Space Agency are conducting these types of psychological experiments in preparation for the manned mission to Mars right now.” He’s referring of course to the Mars One simulation currently being planned for the upcoming one-way Mars mission.
You can hear Cook soon in Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue, while Routh can be seen on the Crackle original series Chosen. Cavanagh recently had a recurring role on Fox’s cult thriller The Following, Lotz starred in the dark indie The Machine, and Feldman will soon be seen in John Erick Dowdle’s promising catacombs horror As Above, So Below.
To me, 400 Days kind of sounds like Sphere, by way of Contact, in mixing a disastrous trip into the unknown with someone pulling the wool over our eyes. Let’s just hope it takes on the more enjoyable aspects of both of those films, although I could handle two hours of Samuel L. Jackson trying to read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea inside a faux spaceship.