“wr i t i n g t h e b o o k wa s a l a b o ur o f l o v e ”


How long did

take you to write?

About three years. That in­cludes the re­search. I didn’t sit down to do all the re­search and then write it. It was in­ter­spersed. Also it was a labour of love so I was do­ing it in my spare time and post­ing it to my web­site. I’d some­times go months with­out touch­ing it. It went from web­site to Kin­dle to a pa­per­back best­seller to block­buster film. Did you ever imag­ine such a jour­ney?

You fan­ta­sise about that stuff, in the same way you fan­ta­sise as a kid play­ing Lit­tle League Base­ball about be­ing in the World Se­ries. Trans­lat­ing that to Bri­tish, when you’re a kid play­ing football, you fan­ta­sise about play­ing in the World Cup! Were you in­cluded in the film­mak­ing process much?

They don’t have to in­clude me; my only job is to cash the cheque! But they chose to in­volve me, which was great. Drew [ God­dard] talked to me a lot. He was then of­fered the Sin­is­ter Six movie, which is a dream come true for him. That was about the time that Matt Damon signed on. The stu­dio were like, “We have a very se­ri­ous ac­tor, so let’s see which other di­rec­tors are in­ter­ested.” And Ri­d­ley Scott ex­pressed in­ter­est! For a science fic­tion buff like you, that must have been a dream!

Of course. I love Alien and Blade Run­ner. I have not ac­tu­ally seen Prometheus, so I have no opin­ion on it. I’m also a big fan of science fic­tion TV shows. Any par­tic­u­lar favourites?

Oh yes, ab­so­lutely. I think you might have heard of it: Doc­tor Who! The cor­rect an­swer by the way is the Fifth Doc­tor, Peter Dav­i­son. He’s the best! Does Matt Damon sat­isfy your vi­sion of Mark Wat­ney?

When I saw the vi­ral trail­ers, I got re­ally ex­cited. That was the first time I saw Matt Damon be­ing Mark Wat­ney and he’s nailed it. It’s ex­actly how I imag­ined Wat­ney’s speech pat­tern, body lan­guage, af­fec­ta­tions. Were you on set at all?

I was in­vited but I have a sig­nif­i­cant fear of fly­ing, which I know is ironic! I live in Cal­i­for­nia and they were film­ing in Bu­dapest, so that was too much for me to con­sider. I would not have been able to han­dle it. Have you watched other re­cent space movies, like and

I re­ally liked Grav­ity. There were some sci­en­tific in­ac­cu­ra­cies but that’s fine, it’s a movie. In­ter­stel­lar I didn’t think was that great, be­cause it was all pretty cool science up un­til the end, when it starts to get re­ally es­o­teric, and I’m not as into

that stuff. Does it bug you when films get the science wrong?

You can vi­o­late phys­i­cal law all you want in a movie as long as you’re in­ter­nally con­sis­tent about it. That’s all I want. So, if you say “We have a warp drive and it lets us go 100 times faster than light”, I’m like, “Fine”. But if you can do that, it should not take you 10 hours to get from Earth to Mars. It should take you sec­onds!

Jamie Graham

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