George Clooney is no stranger to the space genre. Having starred in Steven Soderbergh’s “Solaris” and Alfonso Cuaron’s Oscar-winning “Gravity,” Clooney is now attempting to craft his own space epic as the star and director of Netflix’s upcoming “The Midnight Sky,” based on the novel “Good Morning, Midnight” by Lily Brooks-Dalton. In a first look preview of the film published by Vanity Fair, Clooney bills the project as “Gravity” meets “The Revenant,” noting, “They’re not natural fits, so it was a constant balancing act.”
That Clooney’s “Midnight Sky” would resemble Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Oscar-winning adventure epic “The Revenant” is not by accident, as the project was written by “Revenant” screenwriter Mark L. Smith. Clooney stars in the film as Augustine, a cancer-stricken scientist who ties to prevent a group of astronauts from returning to Earth after a global catastrophe wipes out the planet. Augustine and a child named Iris (Caoilinn Springall) are the last survivors. The astronauts are played by Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Tiffany Boone, Kyle Chandler, and Demián Bichir.
“There wasn’t the pandemic, and we hadn’t set the whole West Coast on fire,” Clooney said to Vanity Fair about his post-apocalyptic setting mirroring the real world. “I mean, the picture we show of Earth [in the movie] doesn’t look that much different than the satellite pictures of the West Coast right now. It’s science fiction, which unfortunately is less fictional as we move through the days.”
“The Revenant” part of the script kicks in when Augustine and the girl are forced “to venture through the increasingly toxic air and melting arctic landscape to reach an observatory that has a communications array powerful enough to reach the starship.” The astronauts, meanwhile, set out on their own adventure while taking a shortcut on their journey to Earth. Working on “Gravity” prepared Clooney for the challenges of directing a space epic.
“One of the things that I learned from working with Alfonso about space is, once you’re in the antigravity kind of world, there is no north and south or east or west, because it doesn’t exist in space. Up isn’t up, and down isn’t down,” Clooney said. “So the camera can be upside down, characters can be upside down, and it’s hard to do, because you’re constantly rotating the camera, and hoping you’re not doing it so much you make everybody sick. Alfonso did it just beautifully.”
“The Midnight Sky” will debut on Netflix sometime in December. Check out a first look photo below, and head over to Vanity Fair’s website for more debut images from the movie.