As has been said multiple times over the last few months, 2020 has been more than just a tad bit apocalyptic. We’ve had a litany of devastating natural disasters, nearly got World War III started on Twitter, and had the world locked down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With that, we can easily imagine just how anybody who may have been isolated a year ago and is only now rejoining society, would be getting the shock of their life as to the state of our world. Because of this, I have to point out that it’s completely coincidental that this is basically the plot of The Midnight Sky, Netflix’s upcoming star-studded sci-fi thriller directed by and starring George Clooney. The difference here is that things in this film are literally apocalyptic.
Adapted from Lily Brooks-Daltons’ 2016 novel Good Morning, Midnight by The Revenant screenwriter Mark L. Smith, The Midnight Sky is set in the year 2046, shortly after a set of mysterious cataclysms have devastated Earth. An aged-up Clooney plays 70-year old Augustine Lofthouse, a lonely, dying scientist who has chosen to spend his final days at a remote Arctic research station… which he is surprised to find is not as abandoned as he suspected thanks to newcomer Caoillinn Springall’s young stowaway Iris.
But Augustine has one last task ahead of him as he and Iris have to brave the post-apocalyptic environment in a trek to an observatory to make contact with the crew of the NASA starship Aether and stop them from returning to a ruined Earth. Led by Felicity Jones’ Sully, the astronauts are completely unaware of the state of their homeworld, having been in communications blackout as they explored a newly discovered moon of Jupiter that could sustain human life as long as there are still humans capable of getting there. Check it out!
Along with the trailer, Vanity Fair also recently shared a batch of images, giving us further looks at the film’s stacked cast, which includes Kyle Chandler, David Oyelowo, Demián Bichir, Tiffany Boone, and more. These characters played by the cast are slightly different from those in Brooks-Daltons’ original novel. In most cases, these changes just involve changing a characters’ age or nationality, but for Jones’ Sully it was a rather drastic alteration brought about by the actress’ real-world physical condition, as Clooney explained.
We started shooting my stuff first, because we were in Iceland. About two weeks into shooting, I get a call from Felicity, and she goes, ‘I’m pregnant.’ And I’m like, ‘Great! Congratulations!… Oh, shit.’ So then it was like, ‘Well, what do we do?’
Originally, Clooney decided to shoot around Jones’ increasingly obvious pregnancy by filming each scene twice – once with Jones and again with a body double, then using CGI to digitally blend the two. As expected, this would have ballooned the film’s already substantial CGI budget. The ultimate solution was a simple one:
We did that for about a week, and then she felt she was trying so hard not to look like she was putting on baby weight and stuff. And I finally just said, ‘You know what? You’re pregnant. People have sex, and you got pregnant. And we’re going to just build it into it.
And that’s how Sully ended up being pregnant by fellow astronaut Adewole, played by Oyelowo, a twist on the crew dynamic that adds extra tension to this story. Not that this film seemingly needs it. Clooney has described it as Gravity (which he also starred in) meets The Revenant, and if that doesn’t get you hyped then I don’t know what would.
The Midnight Sky will debut on Netflix on 23 December 2020. Because a tale about the world being ruined is just what we would get for Christmas this year.
Last Updated: October 28, 2020