Aronofsky, Will Smith and One Strange Rock

Darren Aronofsky, Will Smith, and experienced astronauts join forces to tell the extraordinary story of why life as we know it exists on Earth. Via FastCompany:

Born in Brooklyn in the 1960s, the decade that saw Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin make history as the first human beings to walk on the moon, Darren Aronofsky, like many kids of his generation, idolized astronauts. “My favorite book was this pop-up book on Spacelab that I leafed through so many times, I eventually had to tape up the book to hold it together,” the filmmaker recalls.

Call it early training for One Strange Rock, the new 10-part documentary series about Earth that marks the Oscar-nominated director’s first foray into television. Produced by Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures, Jane Root’s Nutopia, and Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment, the ambitious docu-series premieres March 26 on the National Geographic Channel. It’s narrated by Smith and explores life on Earth, looking into the origins of life, how all life is interdependent, and what it would take to foster life on another planet. One Strange Rock features commentary from astronauts who have had the experience of observing, from way up in space, the big blue ball that we humans call home. Among them: Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian astronaut to command the International Space Station; Mae Jemison, a member of the first class of astronauts to go into training after the 1986 Challenger accident and the first African American woman to go into space; and Peggy Whitson, who recently returned from her third trip to space during which she set a NASA record for the most cumulative days in space–665 total–for any American astronaut.

Aronofsky wanted to make a cinematic doc series that would combine footage shot in space and on Earth. He was able to tap European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli’s to serve as cinematographer and film Whitson during her recent stay on the International Space Station. “He knew how to shoot,” says Aronofsky, who equipped Nespoli with a RED HD camera. “I more gave him the visual language that we were looking for that would differentiate the footage you normally see from the inside space station.”

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