It was hard to tell who was more excited in the Zach Theatre for SXSW’s closing night world premiere of “Life,” Saturday night in Austin, Texas: the electrified audience or its colorful stars. Hundreds of people lined up to see Daniel Espinosa’s new space thriller, and even stayed afterward for a hilarious Q&A with the cast, director, and writers of the film.
Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, Rebecca Ferguson, and the rest of the cast walked the carpet for fans before watching the tense flick in front of an audience for the first time. In the film, an international group of astronauts are overjoyed to find microcellular life in a dirt sample from Mars, but are horrified to find that the organism is more hostile than initially suspected.
Gyllenhaal and Reynolds, who walked the carpet together and were cracking jokes all through the panel discussion afterward, expressed their excitement for the film and their admiration for their director and the rest of the crew.
“[Espinosa] opened his heart to each one of us individually and really loves his actors and wants to understand us as individuals, not just as a community,” said Gyllenhaal. “These guys really placed the most incredible department heads in every position in this film, so everywhere you looked you were working with a legend both on and off the camera,” added Reynolds.
It was clear that, despite the tension of the actual film, there was a true sense of camaraderie on set. The cast laughed about constantly bumping into each other while hanging around on wires while mimicking zero gravity during filming. “There were numerous times when I went right into Rebecca’s backside,” Gyllenhaal recalled.
“We were laughing all the time. None of us, with the exception of me, takes themselves that seriously,” the actor added. “So there was a really wonderful spirit on set the whole time.”
Ferguson echoed that sentiment. “I saw the film a couple weeks ago and I realized that whatever I saw was not what I felt while shooting the film,” she said. “It was a very homey, fun environment. A lot of jokes, a lot of practical jokes, and then you put a bit of sound on it and Bob’s your uncle, you have a thriller.”
After the Q&A, most of the cast and crew followed the premiere with an after-party at Geraldine’s in downtown Austin.