'Lucy in the Sky' stars Natalie Portman and John Hamm promise a unique, boundary-pushing experience with space movie
Talking about the film at a press conference, Hamm and Portman explained how the movie pushes the boundaries of what is expected and brings a unique existential conversation to the table that we don't often get to have in Hollywood.
Natalie Portman and John Hamm are starring in one of the most interesting films of the year, 'Lucy in the Sky' by Noah Hawley ('Legion'). The film is loosely based on the real-life experiences of NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak.
Portman's character, Lucy Cola, travels to space as an astronaut and witnesses the humbling magnificence of the universe. But after she returns to Earth, she is troubled by how small and insignificant everything down here is compared to the vast reaches of space. The questions that Lucy is forced to ask herself about the meaninglessness of her own existence set her on a downward spiral that culminates in the total breakdown of her life.
Talking about the film at a press conference, the actors explained how the movie pushes the boundaries of what is expected and brings a unique existential conversation to the table that we don't often get to have in Hollywood.
"I think it was really about this existential crisis that Noah and I talked about a lot," Portman said. "Of what happens when you have this experience that makes you feel more alive than ever and have more meaning than ever but part of that experience is realizing how small we are and how meaningless, perhaps, everything we care about is in the universe. And this relationship she has with John's character is very much about that where he's positing this 'Nothing really matters, let's just do whatever the hell we want', which is so tempting to go into and she's kind of fighting for meaning, she's fighting for 'It does matter. I do care. I am feeling something big and even though all signs point to nothing matters I want something to matter very badly'. And it's kind of the most human thing that we can all relate to even if none of us can actually claim to have been in space."
On her return to Earth after the lengthy space mission, Lucy begins an affair with fellow astronaut Mark Goodwin. Due to her life-changing experience in space far from home, Lucy goes into a downward spiral, loses connection to her family, and when her lover begins another affair with an astronaut trainee, the bottom drops out.
"It's not just the story of a woman on the verge or this love triangle or what have you. It's not as basic as that. It's way deeper and more intellectual," Hamm said while talking about what attracted him to the film. "Everywhere I looked there was somebody whose work I really respected and enjoyed and I thought this is an opportunity to do something really interesting and fun and there's just not that many opportunities to do those things in Hollywood at the studio level anymore. It seems like it's become, like, well those movies are awesome and fun too but they're not necessarily for adults or not necessarily for people who want to sit and think and talk about a film afterwards it's more just a quick consumption, fast food kind of situation rather than sit with it and I thought 'Well this is an opportunity to do the thing that I like to do which is to sit and indulge in it for a while.'"
'Lucy in the Sky' is a unique film not just for its choice of narrative and tone but also because of its realistic portrayal of female astronauts. Portman pointed out how the film goes in a radical new direction with its portrayal of Lucy saying: "I feel like a lot of times when it's a female astronaut, they give her a child back on Earth and it's like that's the drama. Like the only drama that a woman could possibly have would be thinking about her child while she's away. So to have a woman who her main drama is having an existential crisis was kind of radical and very meaningful to me."
'Lucy in the Sky' is scheduled to be released in theaters on October 4.