They were surprised to find life on Mars, but they never expected to fear for their own lives. When six astronauts receive a sample from Mars at the International Space Station, they discover the first example of life beyond Earth. The large, single-celled organism is “all muscle, all brain” and it’s more intelligent than they feared. They may have discovered a scientific breakthrough, but science can’t save them now. This is the idea of Daniel Espinosa’s sci-fi thriller, “Life”.
The movie stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds.
Though sci-fi horror is nothing new, “Life” presents itself in a different way. The biggest difference for Gyllenhaal was the fact that the entire movie takes place in zero gravity. “It’s a bit like Jaws, where you have a group of people trying to survive” he said. “[But] there is no up, there is no down, no right or left in the international space station. So as a result…the perspective will always be shifting, and because we’re also dealing with this creature and most of the time we don’t know where it is, or it’s a figment of our imagination — or is it? — all of those questions are at play…You’ll understand how we felt when you see the movie.”
One of the most challenging aspects for the actor was filming in simulated zero-gravity. “So we were on wires the entire time,” Gyllenhaal explained. “We’re doing dramatic scenes literally floating around on wires. As an actor in particular, you’re taught […] that finding your foundation and knowing where you are in the space with your feet on your ground is a big part of it. So to not have that was a really interesting, really fun way of conjuring feelings.”
Gyllenhaal was drawn to the project for several reasons. First was the opportunity to work with amazing artists, including director Daniel Espinosa. Gyllenhaal was happy to report he not only had fun in this production, but appreciated the creative liberty and process Espinosa granted him.
“[He] loves character and he loves his actors,” he said. “We were all very specific to him, all of our techniques and the way in which we approached a character, he was respectful of [that]. And that was so different.”
“Life” also portrays an important message about the strength of women. Gyllenhaal credited co-stars Rebecca Ferguson and Olga Dihovichnaya with the strongest roles. “The women in this movie have some of the most interesting things to do in it, and are truly the leaders,” Gyllenhaal said. “I’m not only concerned with myself and the character I play in the film; I’m interested in what it’s saying. And I love the fact that there were really good roles for women in this film and that’s a very important aspect of all film-making.”
“Life” premiered Friday, March 24.