Brad Pitt wanted his tears to be replaced in Ad Astra

Ad Astra Brad Pitt

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Set in the near future, Ad Astra stars Brad Pitt as Astronaut Roy McBride on a mission to find his missing father across the Solar System while also trying to save the world. During a panel for the film featuring guests from NASA and JPL, director James Gray had the chance to talk about his film, including his fear of using stunts and Brad Pitt’s tears in space.

In Gravity, there was a scene with Sandra Bullock where her tears floated in space. During the panel, Astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson talked about how her tears bubbled up in front of her eyes. However in Ad Astra, Pitt’s tears were real, but it wasn’t affected by zero gravity, which was a conscious decision by the director.

James Gray: [Does Pitt impersonation] “You know, you have to replace my tears because it’s not what zero gravity does.”

“I know, but I’m leaving it in. Sorry. Your tears are too good, buddy.”

Ad Astra features intense scenes involving action in space, and Gray was asked about the stunts.

James Gray: I will say that [Brad Pitt] has a lot of guts. He wanted to do a skydive.

[Impersonates Pitt] “I’m going to do it.”

“Naaah. Let me explain this to you. Let’s get somebody else to do this.”

Skydiving is kind of dangerous. There’s a lot of danger. I always feel terrible about it. Let’s be honest, there’s no movie that’s worth someone dying for it. So I always hate seeing the stuntmen and women doing their thing. I kind of have to look at it through a cloth, because I can’t stand to look at it.

Brad Pitt stars in “Ad Astra”.

Astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson recounts her time seeing the difference between stargazing in space and on Earth.

Dyson: You’re looking at stars that are solid, bright objects. You’re not looking at the light blinking like you do here on Earth. It has to pass through an atmosphere to get to your eyes. Up there, you see these solid lights, and if you look long enough, you can actually sense depth between the stars. Whereas here you’re looking at an atmosphere and everything looks two-dimensional. Everything looks like it’s on the same plane basically. You see some stars bigger and some stars smaller, but in space, you actually can sense that there are some further than others. It’s breathtaking and it’s emotional.

Since most of us won’t have the chance to go into space, hearing stories from astronauts is the next best thing. Dyson felt emotional during this experience.

Dyson: In fact, I remember the first time I saw that view. It got blurry fast, and I didn’t know what was happening. It turned out that I was crying and didn’t realize it. In space, the tears don’t fall. I’m actually crying. It brought me to tears without understanding the emotion behind it. There’s nothing here on Earth that could replicate the view that you get when you’re off of it.

And for you Mars fans reading this, the panel had a lot of intriguing information about what Mars is like including the sunset and sunrise appearing blue.

“Interestingly the sunset and sunrise on Mars are blue,” said Steven Lee, Deputy Project Manager
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“That, we didn’t get right,” Gray replied about the film’s use of Mars.

“The red dust of the atmosphere actually absorbs all the red light, so what you have left is blue,” Lee continued.

Ad Astra hits theaters on September 20, 2019.

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John Nguyen
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