Deadpool himself Ryan Reynolds stars in Columbia Pictures’ new terrifying sci-fi thriller Life as astronaut Rory Adams, an engineer and specialist in space walking. “This script had such a degree of reality and a feeling of constant tension,” says Reynolds, who stars alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson.
The film reunites Reynolds with his Deadpool writers Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick and his Safe House director Daniel Espinosa. “It begins with an air of discovery that turns to a tension that permeates the whole film as we learn more and more about this thing that we’ve put on board the ISS,” he says.
Life is about a team of scientists aboard the International Space Station whose mission of discovery turns to one of primal fear when they find a rapidly evolving life form that caused extinction on Mars, and now threatens the crew and all life on Earth.
“Rhett and Paul wrote a very scary, well-paced thriller, but it’s really fed by their investment in the characters,” says producer Julie Lynn. “These six astronauts are smart, industrious, tenacious, hardworking – and when things get hairy we care about what’s going to happen to them.”
Offers Reynolds, “Some of us are a little more excited than others. Some are incredibly aggressive, others more conservative. And these ideas are mixed together – but like a lot of human actions, we push things a little farther than we should.”
Reynolds’ character, Adams, is the spacewalk specialist, and he’ll tell you just how cool that is. (It’s f-in cool.) Just charming enough to keep from being called cocky, and way more handsome than he needs to be, Adams is the rock star of the mission.
“A mission specialist is a fancy way of saying he’s a mechanic who understands how the ship works, how to fix anything that breaks,” says Reynolds. “He’s also the guy that specializes in the spacewalk and he operates the Canadarm, a system that they use to capture the Mars capsule that is hurdling through space.”
Shooting for the space station scenes, the filmmakers created a zero G effect for the actors with harnesses and other effects. Reynolds says that while on Earth, it takes a good deal of force to stop momentum or push off of an object, it takes only a slight touch in space. “If you’re truly weightless, just applying the slightest amount of pressure in one direction will send your entire body in another direction,” he says. “The trick is not to land. Even if you’re grabbing onto something as you stop, just touching it will actually make you stop. I spoke to some astronauts going into this and they were saying that you can actually get stuck in the middle of a room, and you would perish there unless somebody comes and pushes you to a grab handle.”
On the whole, Reynolds found zero gravity an exciting challenge. “We had to do a lot of training,” he recalls. “We had an obstacle course set up in the weeks leading up to shooting where we played around on the wires and learned what the wires are capable of doing and how much we could move around. There’s no sequence in the movie where we’re not weightless. We were always on wires, always floating and slightly moving all the time. It can feel bizarre, because you get invested emotionally in the scene, and then suddenly you forget to move, you forget to float. It was a challenge, but it’s fun playing an astronaut.”
Opening across the Philippines on Friday, March 24, 2017, Life is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.