According to a Tuesday story in Variety, Ridley Scott is in talks to direct the film version of “The Martian,” a science thriller by Andy Weir about an astronaut marooned on Mars and his efforts to survive. The movie already has Matt Damon attached to play the lead. The movie would be Scott’s next project after his upcoming “Exodus: Gods and Kings.” Damon’s next movie is another science fiction epic, “Interstellar.”
“The Martian” tells the story of astronaut Mark Watney who finds himself accidentally stranded on Mars as the expedition he was part of accidentally leaves him for dead. He has to try to survive in the harshest of environments while attempting to make his presence known to NASA back on Earth. The novel resembles some of the great space adventures written by such authors as Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke in its story telling quality and its strict adherence to scientific accuracy.
Ridley Scott is not a stranger to the space adventure genre. His first major movie, 1979’s “Alien,” about an unstoppable alien monster on a star ship, spawned a number of sequels and spinoffs. His more recent space movie, “Prometheus,” also mixed horror elements with science fiction. “The Martian,” provided that the movie adheres to the book, would be a purer science fiction story, more a tale of a man struggling against the elements than against face hugging, chest bursting aliens.
Besides the upcoming “Interstellar,” Damon appeared in another recent space adventure, “Elysium,” set in a future when the rich live on a space colony and the poor live on a ruined Earth. The movie, which had a considerable amount of political subtext, did not do well at the box office. “The Martian” is not likely to have any political message to speak of, except perhaps the idea that space exploration is pretty cool and exciting. It will be a story along the lines of “Gravity,” a movie starring Sandra Bullock as an astronaut set adrift in low Earth orbit.