Is there a curse of sci-fi movies set on Mars? We don’t believe that, but there’s plenty of evidence to support that theory, with virtually every film set on our nearest planetary neighbor — from “Mission To Mars” to “Red Planet” from “Ghosts Of Mars” and “Mars Needs Moms” to “John Carter” — all disappointing critically, commercially or both. But director Ruairi Robinson ain’t afraid of no curse.
The Irish filmmaker made his name with the Oscar-nominated animated short “Fifty Percent Grey,” and has since made a couple of acclaimed live-action tinged shorts -“Silent City” with Cillian Murphy and “Blinky” with Max Records (watch both below). But despite the director being briefly attached to the live-action remake of “Akira” in the middle of the last decade, he’s been yet to move into the feature film world, but he’s about to finally get rolling on his debut.
Robinson’s been attached to a sci-fi picture originally called “The Animators,” then “The Last Days On Mars,” for a year-and-a-half now, but according to Baz Bamigboye, it’s finally getting moving, and has attracted a fairly impressive cast, with Liev Schreiber, “Happy-Go-Lucky” lead Sally Hawkins, and Romola Garai from “Atonement” all signing on to star in the picture.
The story centers on a crew of astronauts on Mars who discover evidence of bacterial life, only for them to start to being killed off when things go horribly wrong. We’ve read the script by “The Bunker” writer Clive Dawson, based on a short story by Sydney J. Bounds, back in the day, and had a good time with it, Robinson has undeniable visual chops (and WETA are doing the effects, which are sure to be superb), and we’re big fans of all three actors involved, particularly as it’s the kind of film that they rarely do. Could we be looking at the next “Moon?” Filming on the project, backed by QWERTY Films (“The Duchess“) and Focus Features, gets underway very soon in London and Jordan, so we’ll soon find out.