“I’m sorry to get sententious on you,” James Gray says around the midpoint of our interview. The director of “Ad Astra” is apologizing for keeping things highbrow, which is no reason to apologize at all.
Gray has been arguing astronauts are bad at talking about the wonders of space travel. His theory is that art gets the metaphysics of space in a way that many who’ve been there cannot express. He’s moved through a decent Neil Armstrong impression, “The Empire Strikes Back” and Vermeer, and now he’d like to stir Japanese printmaker Hokusai into the mix. Gray paraphrases a quote from the artist, about art and age’s ability to distill the vast scope of life with simple expressions, steering himself back on course.
Talking with the director it’s clear each answer starts with its destination way out of sight. Some tie off neatly, others trail off in a semi-rhetorical “Am I making any sense?” Either way, it’s a journey packed with big ideas and lashings of introspection.
Anyone who has watched a Gray movie, which he writes or co-writes as well as directs, will know this extends to his filmmaking. It’s why the American has become known as a director’s director; one who attracts big-name actors looking to him to coax out career-best performances.
Gray’s last movie, 2016’s “The Lost City of Z,” was a reflective character study that sent real-life British explorer Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) into deepest Amazonia on a quest which consumed body and soul. Now he has returned to fire Brad Pitt into the cosmos on much the same trajectory.
“Ad Astra,” Gray’s seventh feature, sees the director handed a significantly larger budget than usual to realize his ambitious near-future sci-fi thriller. Pitt, Gray’s friend and producing partner, leads as Roy McBride, an astronaut following in the footsteps of his missing-presumed-dead father (Tommy Lee Jones). After a burst of cosmic rays from deep space threatens life on Earth, Roy must venture to the outer reaches of the solar system to find the source, where clues about his father’s disappearance may also lie.
Category: Ad Astra
Brad Pitt stars in upcoming science fiction film “Ad Astra” about an astronaut’s journey throughout the solar system to find his missing father.
Now the actor is getting the chance to talk to someone with real-life experience in space.
Pitt had a conversation about life in space with Nick Hague, who has been an astronaut since 2013 and is currently part of the Expedition 59 and 60 crew on the International Space Station.
On the video call, the two discussed everything from Hague’s day-to-day life to his relationship with NASA’s team on the ground to what the astronaut thought of “Ad Astra.”
As NASA prepares to send the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024 under the Artemis program, Brad Pitt is playing an astronaut in his latest film. Now the actor will have the opportunity to discuss what it’s truly like to live and work in space with a NASA crew member living aboard the International Space Station.
Pitt’s Earth-to-space call will air live at 11:35 a.m. EDT Monday, Sept. 16 on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
NASA astronaut Nick Hague will answer questions from the actor. For nearly 20 years, astronauts have continuously lived and work on the International Space Station, testing technologies, performing science and developing the skills needed to explore farther from Earth.
VENICE, Italy, Aug 29 (Reuters) – Brad Pitt has fought in wars, pulled off robbery heists and confronted rivals in the boxing ring during his career, but the Hollywood star says his most challenging film yet is playing an astronaut on a life-saving mission in the space epic “Ad Astra”.
The 55-year-old actor takes audiences to the far reaches of the solar system in his role as Roy McBride after a new threat causing disastrous power surges threatens Earth.
McBride sets off to find his pioneering astronaut father, played by Tommy Lee Jones, who went missing more than a decade earlier while on a mission to Neptune.
Set in the near future when mankind has set up living stations and research centres on the moon and Mars, McBride makes his way into the vast abyss journeying through spectacular landscapes and empty space.
The trip soon becomes a journey of self-discovery.
“This has been the most challenging film I have ever worked on,” Pitt, also a producer on the movie, told a news conference at the Venice Film Festival, where “Ad Astra” premieres on Thursday.
“The story … is so delicate and any clip of a frame too early or music cue or voiceover could easily tip the thing over or be too much or be too obvious. It was a constant effort just to try to maintain this balance and try to keep this story unfolding in a very subtle and delicate way.”
I know I am rather late with the latest updates, but eh real life happens. Anyways, as you can see I have been catching up with all the Brad goodies. Stay tuned! Here is a lovely video of Brad arriving at the Venice Film Festival last week, promoting Ad Astra! Be sure to read the amazing reviews posted at the SB Forum!
In James Gray’s Ad Astra, Brad Pitt plays an astronaut traveling to the farthest reaches of our solar system to find his lost father and grapple with existential questions. And at the heart of the film, Pitt said at its Venice press conference earlier today, was the exploration of what constructs of masculinity mean and whether they need to be broken down.
“Having grown up in an era where we’re taught to be strong, not show weakness, don’t be disrespected,” Pitt said, “There’s a certain value in that, but there’s also a barrier that’s created with this kind of embracing of the self, because you’re denying, in a sense, those pains or the things you feel shame, whether real or imagined.
“We were asking the question, is there a better definition for us? Does being more open provide you with a better relation with your loved ones and with yourself? At the end of the day, that’s certainly what we were after.”
Of the film’s more technical aspects—particularly the zero gravity sequences—Pitt said he consulted with friend George Clooney, who had starred in Gravity. “Doing a space film is a little bit like a Peter Pan stage production, hanging from wires,” he explained. “George and I exchanged some discomfort stories.”
Gray said Pitt’s vulnerability as an actor leant itself to exploring those themes. In creating the character, he explained, “The key is you cannot worry about being liked or hated or sympathetic or unsympathetic. You can only worry about being honest to who you are, and about being willing to be vulnerable or open. Sometimes that will lead you to dark places and people will love it or hate it, but you can’t worry about that. I tried to establish that dialogue with Brad, Brad certainly did with me, and you let the chips fall where they may.”