See how Ridley’s interstellar thriller & immersive VR experience came to life.
It seems like yesterday that we followed Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) into space, watched him cheat death with wit, then make his way home from the Red Planet. Today we celebrate two years since our Director Ridley Scott brought Andy Weir’s best-selling story to life, by giving a behind-the-screen look at how he created the captivating world of The Martian.
“I think that I’ve always tried to approach filmmaking from the standpoint of creating an immersive experience.” said Director Ridley Scott in reference to shooting the Scott Free Productions film. “From the set location to the rover to the habitat, on The Martian we went to great lengths to ensure the accuracy of the film, including partnering with NASA’s jet propulsion laboratory. When it finally came time to shoot, you didn’t have to imagine you were on Mars, you felt you were on Mars.”
While Ridley’s produced and directed many sci-fi thrillers, they are often complemented with dystopian and extraterrestrial elements. The Martian is an exception that focuses deeply on the human condition. When asked why he made the film, he responded:
“I think the film is about how no one is ever alone,” he told the LA Times in a phone interview. “When you see an earthquake in Nepal and people coming to help, you realize that. When you see any tragedy around the world and all the efforts to do something, you realize that. That’s what I think the movie is about.”
Storyboards from The Martian
To help communicate the vision of The Martian, Ridley storyboarded the entire thing. Take a peek above to see a few storyboards from the archives.
On the subject of storyboarding, he once told Variety: “Never take your notes into a pitch, because you’ll turn a good film into a development deal. Once you’re green-lit you can change it then. I storyboarded the entire film, right through everything. they aren’t stick figures, they are wide shots, mediums, etc. With the power of the board — we doubled the budget [of Alien] — we went to 4.2m to 8.4m.”
Thanks to Ridley’s meticulous notes and production savviness, the shoot went relatively quick. “We shot The Martian in 72 days.” Ridley says. “Normally it would be 100 to 110. Part of that is multicamera, part of it is knowing what you’re doing. You can’t walk in every morning and say, ‘Let’s talk about this scene.’ Are you kidding me? You can’t do that.”
“Mr. Scott is a brilliant assembler of casts, and he knows how to organize groups so they seem to naturally fit, and can bob and weave in unison with his roving cameras,” said the New York Times.
To accompany the launch of The Martian, we partnered with the creative team at Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Innovation Lab and the Virtual Reality Company to create the multi award-winning companion piece, “The Martian VR Experience.”
Executive produced by Ridley and directed by Robert Stromberg, the 25-minute immersive entertainment experience places the viewer in stranded astronaut Mark Watney’s very capable spacesuit.