Matt Damon: Drew Goddard Wanted The Martian to Be a 'Love Letter to Science'

Thursday, 20 August 2015 - 11:32AM
The Martian
Thursday, 20 August 2015 - 11:32AM
Matt Damon: Drew Goddard Wanted The Martian to Be a 'Love Letter to Science'
The Martian, in both novel and film form, has been touted as one of the most scientifically accurate works of sci-fi in recent memory. In the case of the film, it doesn't hurt that NASA is consulting in order to ensure that all the near-future space technologies depicted in the movie are true to life. But the creative team behind the film was intent on honoring the science as well, as screenwriter Drew Goddard reportedly wanted the film to be a "love letter to science."



In this video, a panel including Matt Damon, Ridley Scott, Andy Weir, NASA director of planetary science Jim Green, and real-life astronaut Drew Feustel conduct a Q&A about the science of The Martian. When asked whether they intended to "inspire a future generation of scientists" with the film, Damon replied,

Opening quote
"Well it's funny, you know, Drew Goddard, who adapted the screenplay, when I sat and talked with him, that was the first thing he said. He said, 'I want this to be a love letter to science.' And we had a long conversation about that, that's a really wonderful thing to put out into the world right now. I don't have any lofty expectations, but I do hope that some kids see it and geek out on the science... [and] maybe push them in that direction."
Closing quote


Green agreed that the film would inspire real-life science, characterizing the up-and-coming generation as the "Mars generation," where the older generation is the "lunar generation." Where anyone who was alive in the 60's and 70's was captivated by the moon and the Apollo missions, young people today are captivated by missions to Mars.

Opening quote
"When we landed Curiosity on Mars, we had the world's attention. And that's the Mars generation, that's the inspiration that will propel our economy forward by bringing in the scientists and the engineers. And the movie and the book is a fabulous opportunity for us to celebrate that."
Closing quote




Green claimed that science fiction in general is important for inspiring real-life innovation, and that The Martian depicts a future that isn't very far away:

Opening quote
"Science fiction is extremely important in our culture... It really projects a vision of the future. Something that we aspire to. What I really enjoyed about the book and the movie is how close to reality it can be. It's just around the corner for us."
Closing quote


It's interesting that Green describes science fiction as "something to aspire to," when so many works of sci-fi portray a bleak, dystopian vision of the future. But to be fair, he's talking about The Martian, which is much more optimistic than most trendy sci-fi these days. And it makes sense that he would claim The Martian could take place in the very near future, as NASA aims to begin manned missions to Mars in the 2030s.

Here are some new images from The Martian, which highlight the film's focus on science:

Matt Damon Says Drew Goddard Wanted The Martian to Be a 'Love Letter to Science'

Matt Damon Says Drew Goddard Wanted The Martian to Be a 'Love Letter to Science'

Matt Damon Says Drew Goddard Wanted The Martian to Be a 'Love Letter to Science'

Matt Damon Says Drew Goddard Wanted The Martian to Be a 'Love Letter to Science'

Matt Damon Says Drew Goddard Wanted The Martian to Be a 'Love Letter to Science'

Matt Damon Says Drew Goddard Wanted The Martian to Be a 'Love Letter to Science'

The official synopsis for The Martian reads:

Opening quote
During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring "the Martian" home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney's safe return.
Closing quote


The Martian hits theaters on October 2.

Via Indiewire
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi Movies
The Martian