Screenwriter of The Martian
One of the first things that strikes you about Mark Watney is that he’s really funny. Was that an important side of the character for you?
I grew up around scientists, and they’re very funny people. I’ve been thinking about it a lot as to why that is, and I think it’s because scientists have to deal with failures so much – 90% of the time you’re going to screw up – and if you’re going to be failing all the time, you can’t help but develop a sense of humour about it.
Was there a “Eureka” moment when you came up with the idea of using Mark’s vlogs to deliver his internal monologue?
That was one of the things I struggled with very early, because so much of the story is just first- person diary entries – it’s past tense about things that have already happened, and that’s not good for cinema! But I wanted to protect that internal monologue. Thinking of it as vlogging helped, but I think the thing that really cracked it was when we realised that it’s not just that he’s recording things, it’s that this is what’s keeping him alive. He believes in the mission so much that he’s still doing the project, living to pass this information on. Richard Edwards