If you enjoyed the pulpy, old-style jungle adventure of The Lost City of Z earlier this year, get excited for James Gray’s next project, a mysterious film about a man on a search for intelligent life in space. The movie already has a great lineup: Brad Pitt will be playing the protagonist, and Tommy Lee Jones has also been cast. Today, they add a new member, as Oscar-nominated Ruth Negga has joined the film in an unspecified role.
When it comes to Hollywood pitches that practically greenlight themselves, “Apocalypse Now in space” has to be pretty high on the list. That’s the premise of Ad Astra, the next film by acclaimed writer-director James Gray (The Immigrant, The Lost City of Z). In February, news broke that Brad Pitt — who had served as a producer on Gray’s previous film — was looking to join the filmmaker for his science-fiction epic about a man who heads into space to pursue his missing father. And now it seems that Gray has found his film’s father figure (put your tiny haaaaand in mine), with Tommy Lee Jones recently signing on to play the vanished astrona
Less than 100 years ago, there were still uncharted areas of this planet. In an age of cell phones, satellite images, and instantaneous access to the totality of human information, it can be difficult to envision such an era — at least until a film like The Lost City of Z brings it to vivid life.
James Gray’s newest film The Lost City of Z has quietly become a hit with critics and Gray devotees ever since debuting at last year’s New York Film Festival. It’s about to hit theaters here, and its newest trailer, while the briefest look we’ve gotten of it so far, shows off the immense scope of what looks like a modern movie that dreams of being an Old Hollywood epic.
While Brad Pitt has been in a metric ton of movies over the years, it might blow your mind to learn that he’s never been in one set in space. While he’s certainly done plenty of supernatural tales like World War Z and Interview with a Vampire, Twelve Monkeys is probably the closest he’s gotten to big, brainy sci-fi, and all of those have been firmly Earthbound. That might change if, since his World War Z sequel has been put on hold and possibly cancelled, Pitt decides to board James Gray’s Ad Astra.
James Gray got played hard on his last release, the classically-minded drama The Immigrant. The film earned rapturous reviews out of its premiere at Cannes and landed a distribution deal with the power players at the Weinstein Company — who then let it languish in obscurity before quietly releasing it over a year later. The film was a triumph among critics but a huge missed opportunity from an industry perspective. Hopefully, Gray will have a better go with the less domineering Amazon Studios, who will release his new picture The Lost City of Z in April.