What Does Andy Weir Think Of 'The Martian' Movie? The Author Hasn't Stayed Silent
The Martian is an absolute box office success and an awards season darling. Theoretically, the film's accomplishments should be just as satisfying to the author of the novel The Martian is adapted from as it is the movie's cast and crew. The modification of source material — the writer's baby, really — is a process that can turn sour when opinions aren't heard or worse: the writer is shut out completely. But judging from what it seems Andy Weir thinks about The Martian movie, it appears that the development of the film from stage to screen was an all-around positive experience. In a statement to Bustle, Weir says, "I'm very happy with the film! Yeah, they made some changes. They had to pull things out, or the film would be 5 hours long. But overall it's a very faithful adaptation of the book and I'm thrilled with how it turned out."
Writing a novel is usually a solitary act. And even if a writer can dream of the Hollywood glory that may lay ahead, it must be difficult to put that work into the hands of others, trusting that they'll do it justice. It was definitely a first time experience for Weir; The Martian is his debut novel. The son of a physicist and an engineer, Weir has worked as a software engineer and programmer. The Martin was predated by a few science fiction short stories, mostly well-received. Then notoriety came quickly and all at once. Weir closed on the publishing deal for The Martian (which had previously been available for free on his website and then as an e-book) the very same week that 20th Century Fox purchased the film rights. The rest is history.
In an hour-long interview with Mythbusters host Adam Savage on "The Talking Room" filmed while The Martian was in production, Savage questioned how the movie could possibly do justice to the incredible detail of Mark Watney's survival methods as written in the book. "You'd be surprised," Weir said, praising an early version of the screenplay. After the film's release, he talked to The Daily Beast about his participation in the script, which hinged mostly on settling scientific arguments in order to make a piece of Mars fiction as real as possible. Weir said:
Drew Goddard, who wrote the screenplay, called me almost every day for a while. He had a bunch of technical questions. In cases where something would cause scientific inaccuracies, I would say there was a problem.
The author was also in support of the film's casting, including Matt Damon as the stranded botanist lead. "I'm thrilled with the casting. It's an unbelievable cast," Weir said in an interview with IEEE Spectrum. He also addressed a few issues where the actor selected for the role didn't match the character's ethnicity in the book. In the case of one vital character, a scheduling issue meant that Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor replaced Indian actor Irfan Khan as Vincent Kapoor (Venkat Kapoor, in the novel). Said Weir, "They couldn't get him [Khan] in" do to his other film commitments, but "everybody's happy with how that turned out."
The right building blocks don't always make for a quality final product, though. Weir expressed his confidence in the cast, director, and the screenplay. But what does he think of the final cut of The Martian? "Matt Damon totally nailed the character," Weir raved to The Daily Beast of the star's Golden Globe winning performance. His vision of Mark Watney was preserved and realized.
Andy Weir's biggest issue with The Martian film? He took to his Facebook page after Oscar nominations last week to congratulate everyone involved with the movie on its six Academy Award nods. He also took the Academy to task for overlooking director Ridley Scott, admitting to being "baffled" at the filmmaker's lack of nomination.
Andy Weir's experience with having his novel adapted to the big screen proves that ceding creative control doesn't always have to be a painful process.
Image: 20th Century Fox