Multiple Oscar winner George Clooney returns to space on Netflix The midnight sky. Based on the novel by Lily Brooks-Dalton, the last remaining scientist in the Arctic tries to warn a returning spaceship of the tragic apocalypse of the earth. He discovers that a young girl (Caoilinn Springall) has not evacuated with the others, which further complicates the situation. The midnight sky is a dramatic exploration of what matters to mankind and the culmination of our catastrophic impact on the planet. George Clooney plays, directs and co-produces the film.
Last December, Netflix held a virtual press conference with George Clooney and the supporting cast. The midnight sky Co-stars Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir and Tiffany Boone. You play the astronauts on their way home after finding a hospitable moon near Jupiter. Caoilinn Springall also plays the kid that Augustine Lofthouse, Clooney’s character, found on the Research Base.
George Clooney and the cast faced several challenges in making such a complex science fiction film. The main photography was divided into two phases. Clooney filmed the arctic scenes with Caoilinn Springall in Iceland while the other actors trained on the set. The scenes on the ship were then filmed in Shepperton Studios near London. The midnight sky has significant changes from the source material. Felicity Jones was pregnant when filming began. After trying to shoot around her pregnancy, it was decided to update the plot to reflect her condition.
Please see excerpts from George Clooney and below The midnight sky Cast about the rigors of filming, an amazing special FX scene, camaraderie on set and the message of hope in the face of destruction.
There are so many films about space. What did you hope for with this film?
George Clooney: We wanted to talk about what man can do to humanity. When I spoke to Netflix about my take on it. I thought of all the anger and hatred that has played out in our lives. Not just in the US, but around the world. And if you play this over thirty years and deny the science, it’s not inconceivable that we can screw it up in a big way. The pandemic got around. It became clear that the story is about our desperate need to be at home and communicate with the socialmediagossips we love. That was the idea of it. Unfortunately, these issues are relative.
Describe the work with George Clooney as a director. What was it like dealing with all of the technical dialogue and complicated visual effects?
Kyle Chandler: George created an environment that is calming. He expects everyone to come to the set with 110%. He listens to you and is cooperative. Everyone has a sense of ownership for what happens. He knows what he wants.
David Oyelowo: George’s experience continues HE, all that jargon on this show, say it quick, make it sound like you know what you are talking about. Don’t get into the jargon. That was the acting exercise.
Demián Bichir: It’s a beautiful film. You need to imagine all of these things as you shoot. I had just imagined a movie King Kong and Godzilla. It wasn’t always a green screen. We had monitors that showed what our planet was becoming. It got emotional.
Tiffany Boone: I was very lucky not to have to film in Iceland. I was lucky to be in a warm phase. We were lucky that a lot of things were created for us on the set. It was so lifelike. We just didn’t look at anything. It was exactly what I had in mind.
The blood sequence floating in the hold of the ship is absolutely amazing. Describe the filming of that particular scene.
Tiffany Boone: There was no blood. We all imagined what the blood was from the first droplet. It was seen in the last cut … wow! For me, that was exactly what I thought. This whole process was rehearsed for months. It’s so interesting to see it go by on the screen so quickly. We all shopped in the moment. The special effects team did a great job.
George Clooney: Basically, I went to the FX guys and told them I want this blood to be a ballet. I went to the composer Alexander Desplat, I want you to write a ballet. Everyone had to deal blindly with this sequence. Tiffany in particular, it is her blood that we watch. It’s really hard for an actor. It’s a green screen thing, but this is a personal moment. It’s about socialmediagossips who grapple with life and death. To ask them to do anything in their imagination there is no blood on tennis balls on sticks. Tiffany had to create that energy. It’s hard to do. She just nailed it.
Are you talking about the challenges of filming Felicity Jones’ pregnancy? Has your story been updated?
George Clooney: We were in Iceland for about three weeks filming. We shot all of my things first. I get a call from Felicity. I have news. I’m pregnant. I congratulated. I’m very excited for you, then there’s this long pause. So what do you want to do? She was obliged. At first we tried to deny it, pretend it didn’t happen, and we tried to shoot around them. Then it came up with the idea that the best versions of things work when you don’t see them as problems. Suddenly it became Wilbur, her son’s actual screen credit name, became a character for us. The entire crew, these wonderful actors, came together to protect them.
George Clooney: It became a family so we could write scenes about naming the child. Do an ultrasound. I think it was a breathtaking scene. They waited for a sign of life. And the only thing they heard was in Felicity. It became infinitely more hopeful. Felicity, and whatever she did, was also our responsibility.
Felicity Jones: At first I was very worried that I would be fired. It was a great relief when George felt comfortable all the way through. I have to thank him. When I tried not to look pregnant, I refused to give myself a lot of chocolate cake. When he said I looked pregnant I was relieved. Thank you God! It was an instinctive and special process. It was proof of its modernity to take what was happening. He accepted the truth instead of running away. We’ve seen pregnant characters in movies, but that was revolutionary. We were in space. It was extraordinary.
Has anything changed at the beginning of the shooting?
David Oyelowo: We have been tasked with finding a planet that can be colonized. These five socialmediagossips were asked to save the world. My character’s name was Commander Harper as it said in the book. The story takes place decades later. I realized that I’d never seen an African astronaut in a movie like this. I love the fact that there was a sense of diversity. As a person of African descent, I had a strong feeling that a crew that would save the world should have an African. I asked George if he was ready to change my name. We did it and changed it to Adewole which is the name of the tribe I actually come from in Nigeria. The name means that the king entered the house. I told George that and he said it was in the movie. I am not only very grateful to him, but also to millions and millions of Africans.
Talk to such a young actress about the difficulty of filming in Iceland. Where are you happy to be back at Shepperton Studios?
George Clooney: We made two different films. I didn’t see these guys in the first half. They trained and learned to work on wires. We were in Iceland and back in the studio. It was just Caoilinn Springall and I until the end of the year. We started in October and shot until the new year. We finished building the spaceship over the Christmas break, and then everyone came in. It was like there The revenant for the first half Heaviness for the second half. In some ways it helps when you do your homework and are prepared. Then don’t hop back and forth between two different worlds. I also edited while we were filming so we didn’t have to go back and re-shoot. Thank God. They closed us in February. I returned to LA, Grant [Heslov] was with me, my production partner, for forty years. They said this COVID thing was real, but it only affects the elderly over fifty-five. That wasn’t a thrill for me. (laughs)
George Clooney: Caoilinn Springall was ashamed. I would go to the other actors, every take that I did with Caoilinn I did in one take. It was spectacular. She would take a picture and it was perfect. She made the acting look easy.
What message should the audience take away from this film?
George Clooney: In many ways, it’s a film about the regrets of the character I play, but he is being redeemed. That’s what floods us. I think it’s a very hopeful film. I think humanity is worth the fight.
Demián Bichir: Mother Nature told us to go into your room and think about what you did. This is a billing time.
The midnight sky is currently streamed on Netflix.
Topics: The midnight sky, Netflix, streaming