(Kaz Sasahara)
(Kaz Sasahara)
(Kaz Sasahara)
(Kaz Sasahara)
(Kaz Sasahara)
(Kaz Sasahara)
(Kaz Sasahara)
(Kaz Sasahara)
Ad Astra: A Conversation with Brad Pitt, James Gray and NASA Officials
On Sept. 16, Brad Pitt sat down with The Washington Post Live to discuss his new film, Ad Astra. He was joined by writer and director James Gray, as well as NASA officials, Dr. Sarah Noble and Lindsay Aitchison.
Ad Astra is a science fiction, adventure film that was created with the intention of presenting “the most realistic depiction of space travel that’s been put in a movie” to date. The filmmakers worked with experts to fully capture and convey the dynamism and power of the astronaut experience in outer space.
Highlights
Ad Astra follows Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) on a mission across the solar system to uncover the truth about his father and his doomed expedition. Pitt says the role has changed his perspective of space. “I can’t look at space the same way…the mystery of it all is indelible. It makes me believe in something bigger than us all.’
  • 2 days ago
To create a realistic depiction of space travel, Ad Astra Director James Gray says he avoided using a green screen to create special effects. “We built the set horizontally. We built the same set vertically…and then two weeks later, you’d have Brad hanging up from wires,” Gray explained. “You gotta suffer a little bit,” Brad Pitt laughed.
  • 2 days ago
With Brad Pitt acting alone in many of Ad Astra’s scenes, Director James Gray and Pitt said they used narration to help convey the movie’s message about ones ability to connect with others. ‘You needed that interior voice to make the moments as clear as they could be.,’ Gray said.
  • 2 days ago
NASA’s Lindsey Aitchison and Dr. Sarah Noble say the Artemis program aims to get ‘the first woman and the next man’ on the Moon. “...We’re not just going back to the moon, we’re going forward to the moon,” Noble said.
  • 2 days ago
NASA’s Lindsey Aitchison, a spacesuit designer, shows off a glove from a spacesuit and explains how the design has evolved over the years to make the suits more mobile. ‘They still look big, but they’re actually much smaller and much easier to move than they were for Apollo,’
  • 2 days ago
In a final question, Brad Pitt asked NASA officials Lindsey Aitchison and Dr. Sarah Noble who was believable in a space movie: Clooney or Pitt.
  • 2 days ago
Full Program
Ad Astra: A Conversation with Brad Pitt, James Gray and NASA Officials
On Sept. 16, Brad Pitt sat down with The Washington Post Live to discuss his new film, Ad Astra. He was joined by writer and director James Gray, as well as NASA officials, Dr. Sarah Noble and Lindsay Aitchison.
Speakers
Brad Pitt
Award-winning Actor and Producer
Brad Pitt is an American actor and film producer. He has received multiple awards and nominations including an Academy Award as producer under his own company, Plan B Entertainment. He produced The Departed (2006) and 12 Years a Slave (2013), both of which won the Academy Award for Best Picture, as well as The Tree of Life (2011), Moneyball, and The Big Short (2015), all of which garnered Best Picture nominations. He’s stared in dozens of films including Fight Club (1999) and the heist film Ocean's Eleven (2001) and its sequels, Ocean's Twelve (2004) and Ocean's Thirteen (2007), Troy (2004), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), World War Z (2013), and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019).
James Gray
Writer, Director and Producer
James Gray is an American film director and screenwriter. Since his feature debut Little Odessa in 1994, he has made five other features, including The Yards (2000) and We Own the Night, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg, which played in competition at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
Dr. Sarah Noble
Program Scientist, NASA
Dr. Sarah Noble is a program scientist at NASA Headquarters. She earned her BS in Geology from the University of Minnesota and her MS and PhD in Geological Sciences from Brown University. Something of a “NASA nomad”, Dr. Noble has also spent time working at multiple NASA centers across the country, as well as a brief stint working for Congress. Her scientific research is on space weathering processes on the Moon and other airless bodies. At Headquarters, she is the Program Scientist for the Psyche mission and runs several research and analysis programs, including PDART (Planetary Data Archiving, Restoration, and Tools) and SSERVI (Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute). She is currently working on finding payloads to send to the Moon’s surface through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract. Asteroid 133432 Sarahnoble is named in her honor.
Lindsay Aitchison
Extra-Vehicular Activity Strategy Lead, Advanced Exploration Systems Division at NASA
Lindsay Aitchison is an Extra-vehicular Activity (EVA, otherwise known as "spacewalks") Strategy Lead within the Advanced Exploration Systems Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Lindsay Aitchison is Extra-vehicular Activity (EVA, otherwise known as "spacewalks") Strategy Lead within the Advanced Exploration Systems Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Her team is creating the plans to send humans back to the lunar surface as part of the Artemis lunar exploration program and ultimately, on to Mars. Previously, Aitchison spent 14 years as a spacesuit engineer at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. In this role, she focused on the development and testing of spacesuit pressure garments for surface exploration, gaining extensive hands on experience- as both test director and test subject- in the lab, at remote test sites, and in reduced gravity analogs including the Neutral Buoyance Lab and NASA's reduced gravity aircraft.
Moderated by Ann Hornaday
Movie Critic, The Washington Post
About Washington Post Live
Washington Post Live is the newsroom’s live journalism platform. Top-level government and business leaders, emerging voices and newsmakers discuss the most pressing national and global issues of the day.