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Lost in Space with Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey

November 03, 2014

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kids articles

By: Lynn Barker

Why should we have a space program? Interstellar offers the ultimate reason: to survive!  Are we messing up our planet so much that before most teens and tweens today are grown up, we will need a new home?  It will probably take longer to make Earth unlivable but maybe for your children, the world as we all know it, won’t exist and it might be time to send some astronauts in search of a new home…out there.

Matthew McConaughey as Cooper explores a new worldMatthew McConaughey as Cooper explores a new worldCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey play the brave adventurer astronauts upon which the future of Mankind rests. No pressure! She’s a scientist first, he’s an ex-NASA test pilot. Did the two actors enjoy working through much of the film in bulky spacesuits? What do they think about the idea of space exploration? In the film, Matthew’s character Cooper is dad to a teen and tween. He has to leave them behind. Does Matthew worry about keeping his own family together when making a film? Check it out!

Cooper and daughter (Mackenzie Foy) dream of escaping to the starsCooper and daughter (Mackenzie Foy) dream of escaping to the starsCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: What were the challenges of working in a space suit? Did it hinder you as an actor?

  • Anne: Yeah. I think it hindered it (her performance). The first time I put it on I made up my mind that it was my favorite costume I have ever worn and I’ve gotten some pretty spectacular ones but this one was the closest I’ve ever felt to being like a kid at Halloween if you could stretch Halloween out for several months and I love that feeling. Forty pounds is a lot for me so it also helped to make up my mind that I loved it because it was the only way to move forward (in it). 
  • Matthew: The suit was forty pounds but I'm saying, I think a real space suit is closer to a hundred. They did a lot of work on making it as light as possible and as easy to maneuver in. You couldn't break out in a sprint, no. You couldn't jump as high, no. Once you got the suit on, a lot of what you could express directly, was from the neck up and sometimes through the mask. For me, it was just part of the story that made sense. There was a lot of movement. It was physically more challenging. In Iceland, wearing a space suit on a glacier with the elements, absolutely! (It was difficult).  A couple of helicopters and fifty mile-an-hour winds didn’t help.  
  • Anne: That was on a good day!

Amelia (Anne Hathaway) struggles after a water landingAmelia (Anne Hathaway) struggles after a water landingCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: Did you come to this movie thinking that space exploration was nice but not all that critical and did you change your mind after working on the film?

  • Anne: One of my first experiences with the space program was with the memorial that was built for the Challenger (the space shuttle that blew up right after launch in 1986. It was carrying teacher/astronaut Christa McAuliffe and watching it explode on TV was traumatizing for her class). When I was in 7th grade, my class spent an entire school year preparing to launch a space ship all together.
  • We all had our different jobs that we had to learn how to do and we learned the math that we needed and practical skills that we needed and I thought that was really cool. I think that if you take a tragedy and find the goals in it and turn it into something positive, that’s great and I’m hoping that this suspension of the space program is just that and that it's not a blasé matter, because I think we need it.
  • Matthew: It was something I didn't consider, in (day-to-day) thinking, but as we evolve, is the new frontier, out there, and if so, why? One of the things that I got out of this film, is that mankind's expectations have to be greater than ourselves, and that the further out there we go, the more we find out and learn that it's about you and me. Right here.
  • So it's much more a tangible idea, an obtainable thought. I'm in no way an expert on it. I can have conversations about it, now, that I couldn't a year ago, before working on this film. I have a much more four dimensional outlook, in terms of where we're going, or what the new frontier is.

Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) looks at a landing module modelCooper (Matthew McConaughey) looks at a landing module modelCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: Matthew, this is a film with very strong female characters, which is great to see. As a father of a daughter, and as someone who has to go off and film movies for a living, how did that affect your approach for your character?

  • Matthew: I'm in a fortunate position, because my family gets to come with me when I head off. It's something I thought about, because Cooper (his character) shakes off a dream that was taken from him (flying and being in the space program). He's sitting there on a farm and that dream is sort of reintroduced to him. And, for me, the question of, "Boy, what if I did have to go off for a month at a time and leave the family?", that's a much more minor situation than we have with Cooper in Interstellar.  
  • Chris (Christopher Nolan, writer/director) has a daughter. It was apparent to me early on that this film was about family, about parents and children. And I think that's obviously where the (heart) of the film lies. Even if you're not parents, you have parents, and you've been in those situations, where there's a certain kind of goodbye, nothing as extreme as this, but it’s a common denominator that runs through this that everyone kind of understands.

Interstellar PosterInterstellar PosterCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

See Interstellar in theaters starting Friday, November 7th!