Last summer, when director Daniel Espinosa’s Life was filming outside London, I got to visit the set with a few other reporters. The movie, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Olga Dihovichnaya, Hiroyuki Sanada and Ariyon Bakare, revolves around the six-member crew of the International Space Station as they come into contact with the very first evidence of biological life on Mars: a small, single-celled organism. As they begin to research the specimen, however, this “life” proves far more dangerous than they could have ever imagined. Life was written by Deadpool’s Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese and produced by Skydance’s David Ellison and Dana Goldberg along with Bonnie Curtis and Julie Lynn.
During a break in filming I got to participate in a group interview with the cast. It was a very fun and playful conversation where they talked about why zero gravity planes are the scariest, making a submarine movie in space, how the entire film takes place in zero gravity the entire time, why they wanted to be part of the film, and so much more. Check out what they had to say below.
But before getting to the interview, I’d suggest you watch the trailer for Life so you can get a feel for the tense thriller. Life invades theaters March 24, 2017.
What was your reaction when you first read the script and what made you want to be a part of this project?
RYAN REYNOLDS: All at once guys.
JAKE GYLLENHAAL: I read the script and I was through it in, like, an hour. I actually read things…I sorta slowly pace myself through something. I’m not really sure why, but it just tends to be how I have always read. Ocassionally I’ll read a script that I sort of like, really blow through. I got to the end, I was…legitamitely you could picture yourself terrified when you read something and there are those experiences where you are actually like, “Oh! F*ck!” And there were a number of times reading this script where I thought, admittedly I felt like you hear about what it is or when I was told about it I was like, “Oh, OK.” Then as I read it I was like, “This is cool!” Sorry, that’s so abstract but I guess that’s to say, I liked it.
REYNOLDS: I only read my parts. *laughter* No, this process contained two…Daniel Espinosa is one of my favorite people I’ve ever worked with, and Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who are actually my life partners. So, it was kind of a match made in heaven and an amazing cast. It’s hard to find great stories these days like this one. Great stories that contain real tension. Not just because of elements that are in the film but also because of you’ve drawn these six incredibly distinct charcters…
GYLLENHAAL: …that allow for actual human behavior in something that’s already structurely super tense. So we could actually act in the scenes with the thing holding us. We didn’t have to be *gasp* all the time. It was actual human behavior and how we are…
REYNOLDS: …and pretty tough to do a film that takes place on the ISS in which the human are the most interesting element. That’s hard to write.
REBECCA FERGUSON: I had a good combination of reading the script whilst having Daniel on the phone. I think for me it was the combination of hearing where he wanted to take this script that was really, really exciting and fun. But I love the collboration of the producers, of the directors, of the writers – this could be a really fun, new enviroment to be in. I liked it. Actually, it’s pretty cool.
OLGA DIHOVICHNAYA: When I read the script, beside this obvious sci-fi thriller, permits a very important idea in the script, about this common reflex people feel to any unknown, any new something they faced. For us it’s life on Mars. For a stranger, foreigner resprented something very religious. You feel this fear. And you respond with defense and you cause for attack this something unknown. And it causes many problems. From the mental it causes many problems, but in the film it’s like a step for a really intriguing story.
FERGUSON: Good answer.
REYNOLDS: Very good answer! Just put my name down to hers.
GYLLENHAAL: “I said that.”
HIROYUKI SANADA: It was very unique. That was my first impression. We are discovering some strange creature on behalf of all human beings. It’s so exciting mission. It’s all about the creature but I think it’s a great human drama into the ISS, all international crew working together, everybody has own thoughts and mission – totally different. I felt it was a great ensemsble drama. Great entertainment. Also, good warning for the future for us, I thought.
ARIYON BAKARE: I didn’t read it. *laughter* No…when I read it I had this visceral, immediate reaction to it. One of the things is just like, how you interpret the creature and how you respond to it in its own way and for me, I have my own personal journey with it. It just seems to jump off the page really, really quickly. Then on top of that, also the fact that people were from different nations – How are we all going to come to together and how’s that going to work? You think, “Wow, this is a world, out there, that no one else is really going to see.” Because our own world is so contained and we’re just in it. We’re in this box together. How are we gonna communicate? The script just allows that to breather a lot. It allows us to have that…it’s almost as if I wasn’t playing a slave story. It’s as if I’m playing an intelligent man. An intelligent black man. He has a journey – beginning, middle and end. Which represents life as we know it now. I felt that was a very simple part and I felt that was the most exciting thing about it, for me. How am I going to get to the underbelly of it? Am I going to be able to make this real in some way?