James Gray’s latest movie might just have recruited Brad Pitt for a rare journey into the genre of big screen science fiction, but that’s not why we’re excited about it. Sure, the idea of a superstar like Pitt joining a new original sci-fi story is worthy of interest, but it’s some recent comments by the director that have caught our eye.
Ad Astra is a new movie project co-written by Gray (Lost City of Z, We Own the Night) and Ethan Gross (Fringe), centering on an autistic engineer who sets out on a journey to find out why his Father’s mission to find extraterrestrial life on Neptune ended in disaster. It’s an interesting project based purely on the premise, but in a recent interview with Collider, Gray revealed that he wants Ad Astra to have both style and substance in a way that so few sci-fi movies do these days.
“Yes, yes, and yes. I’m terrified by it. The science-fiction genre is so tricky because there are elements of fantasy usually involved, and there are also fantastical elements,” said Gray. “What I’m trying to do is the most realistic depiction of space travel that’s been put in a movie and to basically say, ‘Space is awfully hostile to us.’ It’s kind of a Heart of Darkness story about traveling to the outer edge of our solar system. I have a lot of hopes for it but it is certainly ambitious… It starts shooting July 17th, so not too far away. I’m filled with terror, but that’s fine (laughs).”
We’re liking what we hear from Gray, but with The Martian, Gravity, and Interstellar all raising the bar in recent years, Ad Astra is going to need some serious scientific consultancy if it’s going to live up to the director’s claim. Still, the premise sounds great, and if they can secure Pitt for the lead, this will definitely be a movie worth putting on the radar. Pitt’s last foray into the world of science fiction was in World War Z, and although we’re excited to see him return for World War Z 2, a chance to see the actor try his hand at space-based sci-fi is arguably more noteworthy.