The 2014 Black List just came out this past week, running down the best unproduced screenplays of the year. There are a handful of promising science fiction entries, but while these screenplays are members of a pretty restricted club, the script for Ridley Scott’s upcoming genre joint The Martian has been somewhere even more exclusive, it’s actually been to space.
Earlier this month, when NASA launched their Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle on a its first test flight, the cover page for Drew Goddard’s script, complete with a drawing by the legendary director, went along for the ride, travelling 5600 miles above the surface of the Earth. That’s some seriously geeky cred.
Orion is the first step down the path that may finally lead the human race to set foot on another planet. If all goes according to plan, the craft will one day transport a crew of four all the way to Mars, possibly as early as the 2030s. Considering this, the connection between Scott’s film and Orion makes a great deal of sense, as the action revolves around a crew of astronauts on Mars.
Aditya Sood, an executive producer on the film, says:
NASA really rolled out the red carpet for us. In the capsule they had some personal objects that were important to people involved in the Orion project and one of the things was Ridley’s drawing on the cover page of ‘The Martian’ script. This is a movie about people who are really passionate about science and space-travel, so that was a really great moment for us.
Based on Andy Weir’s 2012 novel, which began life as an e-book, The Martian tells the story of astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon). Six days ago he became one of the first people ever to set foot on Mars. While that’s a huge accomplishment, the problem is he’s also probably going to be the first person to die there. A severe dust storm strikes, separating him from his crew, who think he’s dead and evacuates the surface. Stranded alone, with no way to signal his compatriots or Earth, his chances of survival rapidly slip through his fingers. But he’s not ready to throw in the towel just yet, and he puts his engineering skills to good use, trying to stay alive, tackling one problem after another as they mount.
Co-starring Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Michael Pena, and Sebastian Stan, The Martian is currently filming in Budapest, with an eye on a November 25, 2015 release date.