Any film set on a space station or an equivalent brings the best out of its ensemble. The cast of Alien, The Martian, Interstellar, Apollo 13, Serenity, and Prometheus each excelled because of their tight quarters and the fact that any tiny problem is immediately exacerbated when you're in a tight, metal abode thousands of miles from any other human being. The upcoming drama Life is set to follow this trend, especially because it has assembled a tip-top array of actors that will undoubtedly thrive in such conditions.
Of course, after a solitary gaze at who's appearing in Life, the likes of Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal are bound to immediately stand out. There's every chance, though, that come the end of the movie, they'll have been eclipsed by one or all of their co-stars, which includes Rebecca Ferguson, Olga Dihovichnaya, Ariyon Bakare, and Hiroyuki Sanada, each of whom are riddled with acting moxie.
During my visit to the set of Life back in August, I had the chance to sit down with all of the cast alongside a group of other journalists. During our chat, they each broke down their roles on the International Space Station, and their revelations gave us a quick insight into the dynamic that we'll see in Life. Here's what they had to say,
Ryan Reynolds - Rory Adams
Since he's in Life let's start with one of the biggest movie stars on the planet right now, Mr. Ryan Reynolds. During our chat, Reynolds revealed that he plays Rory Adams, who is "an engineer, sort of a generalized mechanic." Reynolds continued, "My specialty is the space walk and the mechanical arm, which extends beyond the ISS and serves as a giant catcher's glove, basically." When we chatted to production designer Marc Holmes, he teased an "outside sequence ... kind of a rescue sequence," which suggests Rory Adams' skills will be put to the test.
It turns out that Adams' tasks extend beyond the mechanical arm, though, as Reynolds added, "That's my sort of mission up here, is to operate those things... and to just fix crap that breaks." Being so gosh darn charming, Reynolds will undoubtedly find a witty and charismatic way to fix a toilet.
Olga Dihovichnaya - Katerina Golovkina
While Reynolds' Rory Adams is in charge of keeping everything on-board the ISS in working order, Olga Dihovichnaya's character, Katerina Golovkina, is its commander, telling everyone what to do. Olga Dihovichnaya revealed that Life's ensemble is broken down to "two teams: Grey and Brown. Brown is about science." The other team is for doctors. It doesn't sound as though everything goes too smoothly for Katerina Golovkina in her role, as Olga Dihovichnaya noted, "I'm a commander and I think I'm the protector, but sometimes I make mistakes. So it makes the story more interesting."
Olga Dihovichnaya also revealed that "conflicts" arise throughout their time on the ISS, because of the crew's "different approaches to the station." While Reynolds insisted that the pre-destined "hierarchies sort of dissolve when you get up there. Because you have a commander and you have all these other things, but then they all sort of vanish. It's like a family."
Rebecca Ferguson - Miranda North
After her starring turn in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Rebecca Ferguson shot up the Hollywood echelon almost over night. Having nearly eclipsed Tom Cruise in Rogue Nation, she's all set to do the same to Reynolds and Gyllenhaal in Life as Miranda North, who she insists is "very smart" and is the "Center of Disease Control" on the International Space Station."
Rebecca Ferguson continued, "My job is basically to, whatever we find, to protect Earth from it and to protect it from us." Clearly Rebecca Ferguson wasn't satisfied with this description, though, as she quickly came up with another analogy for her role in the film, "I'm like a giant condom ... I have to make sure firewalls are up. Everything is safe ... I'm the protective shield." When the life-form from Mars gets on-board the International Space Station I think it's going to take a little more than a passport check to make sure that he doesn't make it down to terra firma, though.
Ariyon Bakare - Hugh Derry
In a film like Life, there always has to be someone that's a little too attached to the mystifying and slightly terrifying discovery. From the sound and looks of things that individual in Life is Ariyon Bakare's Hugh Derry, who has the first proper interaction with the specimen. During our roundtable with the actors, Bakare insisted that his character is "very excited" about this first alien contact. Which is understandable, considering that Hugh Derry's role on the ISS is as the "microbiologist," and he is the one that analyses the life-form before then bringing his findings to the rest of the team.
Just one glimpse at the trailer suggests that doesn't go quite so well for Hugh Derry, though. Still, Bakare insists that Hugh Derry has "a journey - beginning, middle and end" during the film, while there's every chance that he just got a flesh wound in the trailer.
Jake Gyllenhaal - David Jordan
Another actor that you might have heard of in recent years, the pairing of Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds is what makes Life such an appealing prospect. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the Dr. David Jordan to Ryan Reynolds' Rory Adams. Discussing his character, Jake Gyllenhaal remarked, "He's a doctor, sort of the internist on the ship and he's been there the longest. He's just the doctor and makes sure that everybody's healthy."
Sounds pretty run of the mill, but considering that some kind of alien life form infiltrates the International Space Station and soon starts wreaking havoc, it's safe to say that his skills as a doctor will be stretched to the limit. The trailer for Life has already suggested that Reynolds and Gyllenhaal come into some conflict over how to deal with quarantining both the alien and those that come into contact with it. How will that be resolved?
Hiroyuki Sanada - Sho Kendo
Hiroyuki Sanada doesn't just play the most experienced astronaut in Life, but as an actor, he's also had previous experience in a film of a similar ilk. That's because Hiroyuki previously starred in Danny Boyle's Sunshine. Of course, that's pretty much where the similarities end, with Hiroyuki Sanada explaining to us that his character of Sho Kendo is "an experienced astronaut" that's on his fourth mission on the ISS. Sho Kendo is thinking about making this his last mission, too, as he his wife gives birth to a "newborn baby during the mission."
Sanada continued, "So that changed my mind and I start fighting against myself and that sort of thing ... In his mind, maybe the next mission is go back to the earth safely and then spend time with the family. I have two missions now." Of course the discovery of the specimen soon means that he has a completely new challenge to contend with, which puts his entire future in jeopardy.
We'll see how things unfold for the above sextet when _Life _is finally released on March 24.