Mars has fascinated astronomers and filmmakers in equal measure. Ever since 1918’s “A Trip to Mars,” filmmakers have been eager to journey to the red planet. Some of the more memorable movies to land on Mars include “Total Recall“ and last year’s Oscar-nominated Matt Damon vehicle, “The Martian.” With President Obama’s recent declaration that a manned mission to Mars could be viable for orbit by the 2030s, our overall renewed fascination with the fourth planet from the sun, and “The Martian” racking in more than $630 million dollars in box office receipts, it was inevitable that Hollywood’s focus on the planet would continue.
“Approaching the Unknown” is the next one in line. Directed by first-timer Mark Elijah Rosenberg and starring Mark Strong, it follows William D. Stanaforth, an astronaut who heads on a one-way mission to explore the red planet. Of course, since we’re dealing with science fiction and the unknown, something goes wrong. Stanaforth’s life support system fails him and he is left to fend on his own in the most unknown of territories. And the trailer gives off a vibe that reminds us of Duncan Jones‘ “Moon” and Danny Boyle‘s “Sunshine,” but we’ll see if it’s as visionary as either film.
“Approaching The Station” will be a rare chance for Strong to show his leading man chops, and he’ll be supported by Luke Wilson, Sanaa Lathan, Charles Baker and Anders Danielson Lie.
Director Rosenberg has good buzz backing his directorial debut as he won 2014’s Sundance Institute-NHK award, an annual honor that is designed to help and support new, up and coming voices in international cinema. Past winners include filmmakers Benh Zeitlin (“Beast of the Southern Wild“), Miranda July (“Me And You and Everyone We Know“), and Rodrigo Garcia (“Nine Lives“). “Approaching The Unknown” opens on June 3rd.