For fans of Andy Weir’s novel The Martian — which should really include all of you — the book’s trip from page to screen has been an exciting one. (It actually started out as a free read online, but that’s beside the point.) The project’s latest news sees A-list actresses Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) and Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live) in talks to take over the female leads, joining Matt Damon in what is set to be Ridley Scott’s next film.
Negotiations between the actresses and Fox are still in the early stages, so it’s not quite time to thank our lucky red planets just yet. According to Deadline, Chastain looks like she’ll be more likely to sign on than Wiig, though there’s no explanations provided for this assertion. There’s also no specificity as to what roles each actress would be filling, though we can make predictions.
Published by Crown earlier this year, The Martian tells the harrowing story of NASA astronaut Mark Watney, a multi-talented botanist and mechanical engineer who finds himself the only person left behind on Mars during a massive dust storm. Thinking him dead, his crewmates are forced to perform an emergency evacuation. Not one to look helplessness in the face, Mark embraces his inner MacGyver and tries to survive in one of the most unforgiving situations imaginable. Potatoes!
The Ares 3 commander, Melissa Lewis, is likely the role that Chastain would be going for. She takes Mark’s abandonment to heart, and is even worse off when they discover he’s still alive. There are other crew members, as well as NASA Mission Control workers, so I’d assume that’s where Wiig’s potential role would come in. And if they want to change one of the male roles to a female one, I’d be perfectly fine with that.
Chastain’s career is still ascending, and she should reach her fever pitch by next year, after roles in Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated space thriller Interstellar, J.C. Chandor’s intense crime drama A Most Violent Year, and Guillermo del Toro’s gothic horror flick Crimson Peak. She’ll soon be seen in Liv Ullmann’s period drama Miss Julie, adapted from August Strindberg’s stage play, as well as Ned Benson’s fractured marriage drama The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them, which hits theaters next weekend.
Wiig, who was recently nominated for an Emmy for her stellar performance in the epic miniseries spoof The Spoils of Babylon, has her new film Welcome to Me premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival this week. She voices a role in How to Train Your Dragon 2 and will be seen opposite Bill Hader in the comedic drama The Skeleton Twins. Her future holds the raunchy animated comedy Sausage Party from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, as well as Sebastián Silva’s drama Nasty Baby.
With a screenplay written by Cabin in the Woods director Drew Goddard, who was originally tapped to direct, The Martian is shaping out to what will hopefully be one hell of a movie experience. Assuming, of course, that Scott doesn’t put it on the back burner in favor of The Blade Running Prometheus Alien 7 or another of the myriad projects filling up his to-do list.