Everyone can always use another rom-com, but one set on a spaceship headed for Mars is something we never knew we needed.
Cole Sprouse plays a funny, determined boy named Walt, whose only dream has been to go to Mars — he’s applied for the Mars program 36 times no less! This time, the night before the ship is scheduled to depart Earth and leave Walt behind again, he meets the so-called “girl of his dreams.” Queue Lana Condor’s character, Sophie, not the girl of Walt’s dreams but the girl who could help him achieve his dreams. Sophie is a driven, plan-oriented girl who has a fear of flying. The two of them end up on the ship to Mars together and well, we all know what happens in a rom-com after that. Lots and lots of bickering!!
The movie itself is full of fun tropes, like enemies to lovers, sharing a room and unrequited feelings. The two don’t necessarily get off on the right foot, so being stuck on a ship together makes for some really fun situations.
But what you don’t expect is the amount of relatability these characters have.
Sprouse’s character Walt has some killer comedic timing and a really optimistic outlook on life, but what we learn from watching him interact with others is he’s extremely insecure and doesn’t think highly of himself. Condor’s character Sophie is almost the polar opposite. She thinks very highly of herself, almost to a fault. She’s very type-A and loves a plan.
As the movie progresses, viewers get to see these characters learn more about themselves and each other. The love story really begins to unfold.
VALLEY was able to attend a student journalist roundtable with Warner Bros. and heard from Sprouse and Condor about what they wanted viewers to take away from the movie.
When asked about what preparation they went through to get into character, Sprouse stated that he wanted Walt to feel super approachable.
“I wanted him to feel like your old best friend,” says Sprouse. “The really annoying guy that used to hang around at the edge of the group.”
This is also somewhat of a coming-of-age story but set in a version of the future that could possibly happen.
“Us young people, we’ve grown up in this space where video conferencing, especially during the pandemic, is very normal now,” says Condor. “I think there’s aspects of that in our movie that’s very relevant to how young people these days have to coexist online.”
There is also the sought-after question of what the movie teaches people and what do the characters go through that forces the viewer to learn from. When asked about what they want viewers to take away from their characters, both Sprouse and Condor agree that one of the major themes around this movie is control and the fear of losing that control.
“Relieving yourself of this fear of loss of control, becoming a by the wind sailor and allowing things to just happen and going with the flow instead of against the grain,” says Sprouse, when talking about the fears of not only his and Condor’s characters, but also the commonality of it to the younger generation. “I think in that way it actually resonates with everybody.”
“Presentness becomes really important and that’s really what this movie is about, how present are you? Are you thinking about here or are you thinking about Mars?” says Sprouse.
Condor also spoke up about a conversation that she had with a professor at the University of Arizona and how it mainly focused on the fact that people, college kids mainly, are scared to dream and get their hopes up. Because of everything that has happened in the last few years in the world, kids are scared to look hopefully towards the future and actually make plans for themselves.
“She [the professor] was talking about the importance of making sure that you don’t lose your sense of wonder and adventure and your sense of wanting to dream,” says Condor. “And I think in our film, Walt has these grand aspirations that even though they seem so grand, it works out for him!”
At its core this movie is about adventure and following the dreams that you have. While there is a great romance story that ensues as well, a major aspect of this film is not letting life get in the way.
Also, if anyone was wondering how Sprouse and Condor think they would die if they were trapped on an abandoned Mars colony alone, we have that answer!
Sprouse says he would want his story to go on. “I would build the greatest mystery around it so whoever came for some reconnaissance or to recover my body would go on a small adventure. I’d lean in, I’d chop off one of my fingers and leave it in one spot of the colony and be like ‘well how did this happen.’” He went on in greater detail about writing messages on walls and even bringing his body to the desert. “I’d want to paint a tale you know.”
Condor was more straight to the point. “I think I’d die of loneliness. Or just be so hungry.”
“Moonshot” is a funny coming of age story that brings its two main characters to the world of Mars and you don’t want to miss it.
“Moonshot” will be premiering on March 31 exclusively on HBO Max.