To infinity … and the set! Space movies have captivated audiences by giving them a glimpse into life beyond Earth, but they need strong lead actors to helm the journey.
Many stars have portrayed astronauts in films over the years ranging from fictional space explorers to historic figures. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney teamed up to play astronauts Dr. Ryan Stone and Matt Kowalsky, respectively, in the 2013 film Gravity. The fictional thriller, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, follows Ryan as she goes on her first space mission. However, disaster strikes when their shuttle is destroyed and the pair are stranded deep in space.
The production of the film required Bullock to be placed inside a giant, mechanical rig for up to 10 hours a day. Bullock had to communicate with everyone on set through a headset, a setup which she told Variety in 2013 affected her mental health.
“I was angry at everyone who came up to me with a laptop to tell me where my hand had to be and where my head had to end up within a certain amount of time,” she said at the time. “It was my job, with all of these constraints, to figure out how to be this person. I cut off all my sounds with ear wigs and the headpieces so I didn’t have to be aware of the technology that was happening around me.”
Ryan Gosling portrayed real-life astronaut Neil Armstrong in the 2018 film First Man. The actor explained to GQ magazine in October 2018 that the film wanted to focus on the opposite natures of exploring space while still having a domesticated life back home.
“We were so interested in the duality of their lives,” Gosling explained. “How these astronauts were using their ﬂashlight of scientiﬁc knowledge to explore the vast mysteries of space, and at the same time, they would have to come home and mow the lawn and take out the trash. We had this term for ourselves: ‘the moon and the kitchen sink.’ And I think that was something we really tried to understand, what those extremes might have been like—and to honor that.”
Scroll down to see more actors who have portrayed astronauts in films.