Matt Damon takes a trip to Mars in the new science fiction film The Martian. The actor plays Mark Watney, an astronaut who is part of a mission to Mars that goes horribly wrong. Presumed dead by his crew, Watney is left behind and finds himself stranded. Like an interstellar Man Vs. Nature, the astronaut now has to fight for survival on Mars. It's obviously a totally made-up story, but filmmakers had to make everything look believably real — including the backdrop of the planet on which much of the action takes place. So where was The Martian filmed? I mean, even though NASA has now found water on Mars, I don't think the environment is hospitable enough for a feature film shoot...
In fact, the scenes featuring Mars were filmed not on the planet itself but in the orangey desert of Wadi Rum, Jordan. Additional filming took place at a soundstage in Budapest, Hungary, where over 20 sets were constructed for the shoot. Collider reports that Budapest was chosen for filming because it has one of the largest soundstages in the world, and also because none of the London stages were available. It seems like an amazing distance to go to shoot a film, but it's nothing when compared to the actual distance to Mars! It also isn't the first time that Matt Damon has traveled far for a film shoot — here are some other movies that took the star to exotic places.
The Bourne Identity
Filming for the first Bourne took place largely in Paris, but there were several other European locations to fit with the storyline. Prague, Imperia, Rome, Mykonos, and Zurich all served as home to the shoot for varying lengths of time.
Damon found himself stuck in space once before in 2014's Interstellar. For this film, a glacier in Iceland called Svinafellsjokull (say that five times fast) was used to portray the frozen outer space wasteland where Damon's character was stranded.
Saving Private Ryan
This heart-wrenching war drama was about World War Two, so it isn't surprising that filming took place in Western Europe. Interestingly, though, the scenes portraying D-Day were filmed in Ireland because France wouldn't allow the production to film at the beaches of Normandy. Many other parts of the film were shot in different locations in England.
Matt Damon has seen a lot of the world through shooting movies, and it doesn't look like that will be stopping anytime soon: his upcoming film The Great Wall began filming in China this past March. Maybe someday Damon's work will take him to outer space for real, but for now you can enjoy watching him on the Hollywood version of Mars in The Martian.
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