Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet. His journey will uncover secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos.
The film, James Gray’s first directorial project since the Pitt-produced “The Lost City of Z,” has been long in the works, as the director has blown through release dates because of an extensive post-production process. With the debut of its first trailer, it appears the recently announced September release is moving forward as planned.
“Ad Astra” stars Brad Pitt as an Army Corps engineer who decides to go on an ambitious space mission to find out the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of his father, who set out on a journey to Neptune looking for signs of extra-terrestrial intelligence but never returned. The supporting cast includes Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Donald Sutherland, and Jamie Kennedy.
20th Century Fox originally set “Ad Astra” for January 11 before pushing back the release date to May 24. Gray said last December at the Marrakech Film Festival he was unsure if he could meet the May release date given how extensive the visual effects work is on the movie. “You know usually when you see a science-fiction movie there are a number of shots that don’t look very good?” Gray said during a masterclass. “I do not want to be up against a release date and have stuff looking really bad.”
Disney moved the opening to September last month following its acquisition of Fox. The new date positions “Ad Astra” as one of the studio’s potential awards contenders. The fall season has been especially strong when it comes to space dramas in the Oscar race (see “The Martian,” “Interstellar,” and “Gravity”) and “Ad Astra” will most likely premiere at one or a couple major fall festivals to build buzz.
For Pitt, “Ad Astra” is one of two buzzy upcoming premieres along with Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Tarantino’s latest earned rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival last month, with particular praise being given to Pitt’s performance as a zen stunt performer with a violent side.
In Theaters September 20.