Not to be outdone by Tom Hanks or James Franco, Matt Damon is taking the role of a lone survivor stranded far from home to the next level in The Martian, an upcoming sci-fi movie written by Drew Goddard and directed by Ridley Scott. Based on the novel by Andy Weir, The Martian is the story of an astronaut called Mark Watney who is left behind on Mars after a mission gone wrong and must find a way to stay alive and contact NASA for help.
A viral teaser for Scott's film, in which Mark introduces his crewmates to the rest of the world via a live broadcast, was released over the weekend and now the first full-length trailer for The Martian has also arrived. For those who are unfamiliar with the source material, this trailer makes it clear just how dire Mark's predicament is - and just how determined his colleagues are to rescue him.
The comparisons to Damon's character arc in Interstellar probably won't be helped by the fact that another Interstellar star, Jessica Chastain, also plays the female lead in The Martian. Her character, Melissa Lewis, is the commander of the mission to Mars, and she and Damon are joined in the shuttle by Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie and Michael Peña. Back on Earth the rest of the cast includes Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Sean Bean.
It definitely looks like Mark Watney is going to be a character whom audiences can root for. From his sincere faith in humanity's drive to help people to his determination to "science the s*** out of" the situation that he finds himself in, it will be hard not to get invested in Damon's character as he fights against all odds to survive in an extremely hostile environment.
It could be argued that the trailer for The Martian gives away a bit too much of the movie's plot, but the big question with a story like this is whether or not Mark will manage to survive for long enough to be rescued. When writing the book, Weir did a lot of research to try and make the scientific and technological aspects of it as realistic as possible, and realistically Mars isn't capable of sustaining human life for long. What's more, a manned rescue mission to Mars isn't exactly a stroll in the park.
The sight of Damon with a big bushy beard in the trailer (as well as the days that he's counting on the walls of his makeshift home) indicates that he's on the planet for quite a long time, and while the film won't necessarily be a one man show the timing of the release seems angled towards Academy Awards attention. Could Damon be making a bid for a Best Actor nomination?
The Martian arrives in theaters on November 25, 2015.