Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Donald Glover, Mackenzie Davis, and Chiwetel Ejiofor
Director: Ridley Scott
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Genre: Fantasy/Science fiction
Aspiring screenwriters take note, not all is lost. We may soon be looking at a new category at the OSCARS – Screenplay adapted from an eBook. I am not saying that The Martian is OSCAR worthy but what I am telling you is that the screenplay for this movie can trace its’ heritage back to an eBook that only existed in series form on Amazon at one time. Random House did eventually publish a hardcover version of the eBook – last year! And here we are with The Martian on the big screen starring Matt Damon a year later.
In researching this movie the story behind its creator is very fascinating. The writer is Andy Weir, a computer programmer-turned-writer who resides in Northern California and has no prior connection with the entertainment industry. Andy is no spry chicken; he had been a computer programmer for 25 years. Weir posted new chapters every six to eight weeks for a growing word-of-mouth audience, completing the story in three years, at which point he put the book up for sale – for 99 cents – on Amazon, and was contacted by an agent. This led to communication with Genre Films and the beginning of what Weir calls “every writer’s fantasy come true.”
His book is technical masterpiece, heavy on research and what-ifs and director Ridley Scott dynamically brings that to the big screen in believable fashion. The long and short of the plot is Matt Damon’s character, Astronaut Mark Watney, is left deserted on the surface of Mars presumed dead. When his crew, who has departed for their return voyage to Earth and NASA, realize that he is alive they put in motion plans to return to Mars to rescue Watney. In the meantime, with limited supplies, Watney must figure out how to grow food on a lifeless planet.