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WATCH: How Matt Damon Met the Challenge of Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

WATCH: How Matt Damon Met the Challenge of Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

The surprise breakout world premiere of the recent Toronto International Film Festival was Ridley Scott’s intimate space epic, “The Martian.”  The spectacular 3D movie (shot in rust-colored Jordan) is so gratifying for critics and audiences alike–it’s currently tracking at 92% on Rotten Tomatoes–that Twentieth Century Fox booked it as a last-minute Sneak Preview at the New York Film Festival. 

What does that tell you? The studio has awards in its sights for the movie, which is tracking to open huge on October 2. As well they should. Sure, tech nods are in order for screenplay, VFX, cinematography, production design and score. And I will argue that Ridley Scott delivers his best effort since “Black Hawk Down” in 2001. (That was the year “Gladiator” took home Best Picture.) Matt Damon gives his best lead performance in years. He’s been laboring in studio land as a major movie star, and sometimes that means not exercising all the muscles you can with someone like Steven Soderbergh on “Behind the Candelabra” or “Contagion.” 

READ MORE: TIFF REVIEW: With ‘The Martian,’ Ridley Scott Returns to Form

On “The Martian,” Damon gets to take full advantage of his skill set, as an actor and movie star, as Mark Watney, a botanist astronaut stranded alone on Mars. He talks to the camera, squeezes the most out of Drew Goddard’s witty, cleverly constructed script (adapted from the Andy Weir bestseller) and carries the screen. As Damon points out in our flipcam interview, though, he’s not really alone, as the movie acknowledges our connected, monitored and constantly communicative universe. 

WATCH: ‘The Martian’ TIFF Press Conference and Clips with Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain (VIDEO)

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