For much of his career, Brad Pitt has eschewed the path of the traditional leading man. A recent Buzzfeed article pegged Pitt as “a character actor trapped in a movie star’s body.” If you look back at his filmography, there’s a clear pattern of Pitt playing off other actors as a kind of co-lead or ensemble head. This summer, he did it with Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. However, this pattern dates back at least twenty-five years, to when Pitt emerged as a full-fledged marquee name alongside Tom Cruise in Interview with the Vampire.

In Ad Astra, Pitt plays Roy McBride, an astronaut whose pulse rate never rises above 80 beats per minute. His journey to far-flung Neptune’s orbit to hopefully find his father and potentially stop an Earth-threatening antimatter surge positions itself as Apocalypse Now in space. Helmed by James Gray, Ad Astra is something of an anomaly, both in Pitt’s oeuvre and in the current blockbuster landscape. It’s a mid-budget movie based on an original idea, not an existing media property, and it doesn’t have a box office friendly director (like Pitt’s last collaborator, Quentin Tarantino) attached to it.

Seeing a film of that nature open the same day in theaters around the world is refreshing, but it does place a burden of expectation on Ad Astra, as its occasionally heavy-handed script peddles thoughtfulness with thrills in an event movie marketplace. The film’s title, which it never explains, is the Latin phrase for “to the stars.” Audiences no longer look to movie stars as reliable brands in and of themselves. Here, Pitt is on his own in a way he’s seldom been in his career. He can hold the screen, but can he elevate our heart rates?

To discuss that, we’ll be rocketing straight into spoiler territory in 3, 2, 1…

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ad astra clip

20th Century Fox reveals more about James Gray‘s mysterious sci-fi drama every week, with a new Ad Astra clip debuting ahead of the film’s theatrical release later this month. But where previous trailers highlighted the more cerebral parts of the film, the latest Ad Astra clip previews an action-packed scene involving Brad Pitt and space pirates on the moon. Yes, it’s as cool as it sounds.

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ad astra special look

James Gray‘s mysterious sci-fi drama Ad Astra is set to make its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival this week, and in anticipation of that premiere, 20th Century Fox is unveiling a special look at the film. The Ad Astra special look focuses on Brad Pitt‘s astronaut Roy McBride, who is sent on a mission to find his missing father (Tommy Lee Jones). But there seems to be more to this mission than a simple recovery, as tantalizing imagery and unanswered questions are peppered throughout the teaser. Watch the Ad Astra special look below.

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IMAX Ad Astra Trailer

Even though The Walt Disney Company seems to be mostly disappointed with the movies they picked up for release this year from 20th Century Fox, there’s one that seems like it might really have the goods: the mysterious sci-fi drama Ad Astra.

Directed by James Gray (We Own the Night, The Immigrant), Ad Astra follows astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) who is sent on a mission to find his missing father (Tommy Lee Jones). Up until now we didn’t know why it was necessary to track down a man who is believed to be lost somewhere in the outer solar system, but a new IMAX Ad Astra trailer lays out the plot a little more clearly, and it also shows off some stunning visuals that make it mandatory to see this on the biggest screen possible. Read More »

ad astra trailer

James Gray, one of the best directors working right now that you’ve probably have never heard of, is back with Ad Astra. The sci-fi epic finds Brad Pitt traveling into space to find his missing father, played by Tommy Lee Jones. Gray has been working on Ad Astra since 2017, spending a large amount of time making sure the special effects were just right. Now, we finally have our first look at the film. See the Ad Astra trailer below.

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James Gray Cannes

The Cannes Film Festival won’t be sending director James Gray a nice Edible Arrangement anytime soon. The We Own the Night and Lost City of Z filmmaker has some harsh words for the fest, claiming that the folks running Cannes are stuck in the past, and “protectors of the status quo.” The filmmaker also offered an update on his sci-fi film Ad Astra, which stars Brad Pitt and Ruth Negga – a film Gray is determined to take his time working on.

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ad astra cast

Ruth Negga will be reuniting with her World War Z co-star Brad Pitt in James Gray‘s upcoming sci-fi epic, Ad Astra.

The Lost City of Z (which if you haven’t seen it, is entirely unrelated from the aforementioned World War Z unless you really stretch it) director has been building anticipation for his next movie, which will be the first genre film he tackles after working mostly on historical and contemporary dramas.

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Ad Astra cast

After years of trying to get something going, director James Gray (The Lost City of Z) and Brad Pitt are finally going to work together. Joining them for their space drama, Ad Astra, is Tommy Lee Jones. He’ll play a crucial role in the film as the father of Pitt’s Roy McBride.

Below, learn more about Gray’s next picture.

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the lost city of z review

What is it about the jungle that lures in filmmakers like a siren song? Over the years, auteurs like Werner Herzog (Fitzcarraldo), Francis Ford Coppola (Apocalypse Now), and Peter Weir (The Mosquito Coast) have married the untold beauty of unexplored lands with the obsession that borders on insanity exemplified by protagonists who go deeper into those lands. Now, we have a new entry in the subgenre: The Lost City of Z, courtesy of writer/director James Gray, telling a true story of a British explorer who’s seduced by the jungles of South America once and is unable to shake their pull on his psyche. While The Lost City of Z is perhaps not as overheated a depiction of the madness of obsession as Fitzcarraldo or Apocalypse Now, it’s no less entrancing and enormous.

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James Gray interview

For almost a decade, James Gray has been working on an adaptation of David Grann‘s bestselling book The Lost City of Z, which tells the story of Colonel Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), a man searching for a lost civilization in the Amazon. After years of trying, Gray’s lush vision has finally made it to the screen.

Told through dreamlike visuals – a blend of smoke, fire, and wilderness – captured by Gray and cinematographer Darius Khondji (Se7en), The Lost City of Z is a beautiful story about one man’s quest driven by the purest of motivations. It’s a long and arduous journey with more heart than madness. While the director behind The Immigrant and The Yards took inspiration from some of the most famous Heart Of Darkness-esque tales, he set out to make a film more poetic and transcendent, as Gray puts it.

Here is our full interview with Gray.

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