On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 brought us to the moon. Exactly 50 years later, the filmmakers behind Brad Pitt's upcoming sci-fi movie Ad Astra honored the historic milestone while also sharing a featurette on the movie. "Ad Astra" means "To the stars," as film director James Gray notes in the video. Watch him talk more about the history of space travel, tying it to the September 2019 movie, in this video:
As you can see, the 20th Century Fox sneak peek includes some footage from the movie. Ad Astra follows astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt), who travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father, Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones). His journey unravels a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet, uncovering secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos. The biggest of big picture stuff!
Ad Astra filmed in 2017 and was previously scheduled for release in January 2019, and then May 2019. The first trailer came out in June ahead of the film's new release date this September 20. Ad Astra has been somewhat under-the-radar through the blockbuster parade of 2019 so far, but perhaps that will make it all the more intriguing to fans.
Ad Astra also stars Liv Tyler as Roy McBride's wife, and co-stars Donald Sutherland, Ruth Negga, and Jamie Kennedy. A second trailer for the movie was just released in mid-July, showing more of the sci-fi film:
Back in April 2017, director James Gray told Collider he was terrified of the challenge he had set for himself to make Ad Astra:
The science-fiction genre is so tricky because there are elements of fantasy usually involved, and there are also fantastical elements. What I’m trying to do is the most realistic depiction of space travel that’s been put in a movie and to basically say, ‘Space is awfully hostile to us.’ It’s kind of a Heart of Darkness story about traveling to the outer edge of our solar system. I have a lot of hopes for it but it is certainly ambitious.
Space travel movies can be hit or miss with critics and audiences. Not every movie is 2001, Apollo 13, Gravity, The Martian, Interstellar, etc. Last year's First Man was a hit with critics, but the Ryan Gosling film only made $45 million at the domestic box office. Sean Penn's Hulu series The First -- following the first human mission to Mars -- was cancelled last year after one season.
Before Brad Pitt leads Ad Astra, we'll see him on the big screen opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which opens in theaters in the U.S. on July 26. Ad Astra will be in theaters on September 20.