Houston, we have a problem. From 1979's Alien to 2013's Gravity, the high drama of space travel has been captivating audiences for decades. The latest is Ridley Scott's The Martian, a thriller about astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) and his struggle to survive on Mars after a storm leaves him stranded. Watney's fearless spirit buoys the film, but his devoted crew mates also inspire as they rally to bring him home.
And with all of that team spirit in place, we weren't surprised to hear how tight-knit the cast became on set. "We really were like a family that was always there for each other," Jessica Chastain (a space commander in the film) told InStyle when we caught up with her and the rest of the cast at the Toronto International Film Festival. Though many of the movie's scenes were intense, it didn't stop the group from letting loose after-hours. "Sometimes we would go out to dinner, share bottles of wine, and just laugh," she says. Are you feeling the infectious feel-good vibes? We are, so mission accomplished.
Watch the trailer for The Martian below.
On if he would ever want to go to space in real life
"No, but it was fun to do it in a movie! Astronauts have to be incredibly brave. It's really humbling to be around them, but you have to have that adventurous spirit. I think people really love my character because he has a great sense of humor too and it would be kind of fun to be stuck with him on Mars. He’s in this horrifically dangerous situation, so we had to walk the line of making it funny and entertaining without losing sight that he is in danger."
On her role as an empowering female space commander
"Nothing would make me happier than a 7-year-old girl sitting in the audience and saying, 'I want to do that when I grow up. I want to be an astronaut.' For some reason in my generation, I didn’t grow up thinking that. It wasn’t even part of the conversation. But now it seems like we, as a community, are more interested in space travel. It is a hope of mine that after this film, we will have more women in these roles."
On co-star Matt Damon
"Matt doesn’t make bad movies. When you get a chance to be in one with somebody like him you know it will be another quality piece of work. And that’s before you even show up. He brings that kind of an energy to it and I was thrilled to be included."
On why everyone can relate to the story
"This film has such heart. It is a very unifying concept to watch this group of people, this science community, attempt to save one of their own. It all started with a great book and we ended up with a great movie, and I think that is lovely."
On why the film is special to her
"When they said Ridley Scott wants you to be in his movie, that was special in and of itself. His movies have shaped our collective consciousness and our idea of sci-fi, so no matter what he was doing I wanted to be involved. It has such a great script and everyone in it is so talented. It was a dream to be a small part of this large cast."
—Reporting by Sharon Clott Kanter and Karen Levy