Interview: Matt Damon
When astronauts blast off from the planet Mars, they leave behind Mark Watney (Matt Damon), presumed dead after a fierce storm. With only a meager amount of supplies, the stranded visitor must utilize his wits and spirit to find a way to survive on the hostile planet. Meanwhile, back on Earth, members of NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring him home, while his crew mates hatch their own plan for a daring rescue mission.
Do you find yourself watching most movies on Blu-ray or DVD because you are so busy?
Yes, we do end up watching a lot of stuff on Blu-ray or downloading. The good thing about watching on Blu-ray or DVD is that you get away from all the kind of publicity around the movie on opening weekend. You end up hearing from friends, which movies are the best to see. So our selection is much more streamlined as a result.
What do you hope the audience will take away from The Martian?
It’s a really optimistic movie, about the best of human beings and what happens when we cooperate and we come together. This is particularly great as our political season kicks off in America, it’s a nice thing to put out there to remind ourselves that while everyone is trying to divide us, we do much better when we work together.
Did you grow up with an interest in science fiction?
My interest in sci-fi really was nourished and created by Ridley Scott. Alien and Blade Runner are seminal movies in my life. Ridley is so great at sharing stories and talking about those movies too. People come up to him all of the time and try to engage him in a conversation about a film and particularly those films and he’s just incredibly generous about it.
How did you bring the humour of the film to life?
Watney has this amazing sense of humor, along with anybody that I’ve met doing really dangerous work, they all tend to have phenomenal senses of humor. I think if you go down the dark hole of what could possibly go wrong, you could never get out. They just approach the incredibly dangerous situations with unbelievable wit and that’s fun to watch and what I wanted to bring to the role.
What level of research went into the film?
We had a technical advisor on set, particularly because we wanted to get the science as accurate as we could. The whole question of the movie is ‘could a person really do this?’ The bulk of the work that I did in pre-production was with Ridley. It was sitting down with him and going through the script moment to moment and referring to the book, making sure we weren’t leaving anything out. It was really about capturing the spirit of the book and just figuring out our game plan for the whole thing. That was the most valuable part of pre-production for me.