Last Days Of Mars (2013) Liev Schrieber Sci-Fi


Infinity Ammo
Feb 21, 2005
Reaction score

Synopsis: On one of the first man missions to Mars, the crew of the Aurora discover evidence of life on Mars..and it’s not friendly.

Director: Ruairi Robsinson, whose short film Fifty Percent Grey was nominated for an Oscar in 2001.

Writer: Screenplay by Clive Dawson based on the short story by Sydney J Bounds.

Producers: Michael Kuhn of Qwerty Films and independent producer Andrea Cornwell.

Cast: Liev Schreiber, Romola Garai, Elias Koteas, Johnny Harris, Tom Cullen, Olivia Williams.

International Sales: Focus Features.

Finance: BFI Film Fund, Irish Film Board, Prescience, City National Bank.
Distributors: Universal for UK, Australia, Russia, Square One for Germany.

Locations: Jordan and Elstree Studios, UK.

Delivery: May 2013

Interview with Director Ruairi Robinson and Producer Andrea Cornwell
On the origins of the project:
Andrea Cornwell: The movie is based on a short story called The Animators by a British sci fi writer which was discovered in an anthology by our screenwriter and earmarked as something he wanted to adapt. He came and pitched it to [Michael Kuhn] at Qwerty Films and I then came together with Michael to produce. Ruairi joined the project at the second draft stage and was heavily involved with the whole development phase.

On choosing Ruairi to direct:
AC: We didn’t want to go down a seen it before kind of direction. We wanted to bring a sensibility that would give it a unique and personal voice rooted in character as well as the natural spectacle of doing something in space. Ruairi comes from a VFX background so we knew that that was a world he was very familiar with. But his short films are not just about the effects, his short film BlinkyTM, for instance, is very emotional. That was exactly the tone we talked about for this.

On the attraction of the project:
Ruairi Robinson: I’m a big paranoia sci fi fan, movies like The Sting and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It was a nice chance to do a kind of 70s paranoia movie but with modern toys. There hasn’t really been that kind of claustrophopic, characters at each others throats, densely packed movie in a while. I haven’t really seen it since the first Alien. What I loved was that it was set on Mars, in these tight spaces and that there is nowhere to hide. There is a whole planet but there are no hiding places.

On what makes it different from other “space” set films:
AC: I really liked the sense of looking at a group dyanmic at the end of a mission. You often see these people going out on a voyage of discovery. This starts at the point when they are packing up and leaving. They are an established group, they have been on Mars for six months, they are dreading the journey home and the dyanimcs are getting fractured.

It feels very different for a British project. There have been a few space projects like Moon and Sunshine, but nothing that recently. It has got a good strong script, an interesting breakthrough director and a strong ensemble cast with international profile so it made sense as a project.

On shooting in Jordan:
RR: Jordan is Mars with shrubbery, so we will need to do a lot of digital shrubbery removal! But it looks amazing. There are places in Jordan where you can point the camera 360 degrees and see now sign of civilisation. It’s pretty epic.

AC: By the end of our shoot it was 44 degrees in the desert. You are running round in space suits. The actors were really put through their paces. It’s not what you usually have to contend with on a British movie. But it was spectacular, and we felt priviledged to be out there making films in an environment like that. Jordan doesn’t have such an established industry as places like Morocco, but it’s been growing and getting busier. It’s quite a civilised place to make a film.

On getting the financing together:
AC: It financed relatively quickly for something of this scale. We had a really good reaction to the project generally. Universal were one of key pieces who came on early on, they picked up UK, Australia and Russia. The film was structured as a UK/Ireland co-production, Ruairi being from Ireland originally. We are doing most of our post production in Dublin at Screen Scene VFX. That brought on national tax credits and investment from the BFI Film Fund and Irish Film Board. Focus Features are selling. We are hoping to go out with a reel to markets in the autumn. At that point we will be looking to speak to US distributors.

On the cast:
RR: As a first time director to get to work with a cast of that calibre was amazing. Liev Schrieber worked his ass off all day every day until he almost collapsed. He is the kind of actor other actors want to work with.
I sort of picked cast members that never normally do this kind of film. They all do serious proper movies. I liked the idea of putting people who would never normally do sci fi stuff into a sci fi movie, because they are going to take it seriously then and people are going to take them seriously.

On film-making influences:
RR: There’s a bit of Paul Greengrass in there, Sergio Leone, Michael Mann maybe. A weird muddle of influences. It’s a movie that starts austere and stately and crumbles to handheld and panic. There is a shift in tone in the visuals that matches the characters’ journey.

On what’s next:
RR: I’ve still got to work on this until May. So this and this.

AC: I am producing a small budget film, Here Comes The Summer, shooting in the Autumn, directed by Ron Scalpello. And I am financing a film set in The Philippines, Invented Eden, with BBC Films. As a cinema lover I like going to see different types of films, as a fiilmmaker, it’s the same thing. I like to do a wide variety of projects.

On the lure of Hollywood:
RR: I’m a sci fi guy, that means scale. So yes, hopefully!
2013 is shaping up to have a little Space based Science Fiction movie renaissance with Europa and Last Days Of Mars.
Last edited:
I hope this movie delivers. I like Liev Schrieber.

I'm willing to put money that at some point Johnny Harris character is going to go nuts in this movie.

This movie is based on the 1975 short story The Animators by Sydney J.Bounds

Plot spoiler

The plot of Last Days on Mars follows a scientific expedition on Mars. Collecting rocks and other specimens, they are on the verge of a making a significant discovery. Stumbling across colonies of bacteria on the surface of the Red Planet proves that there is microscopic life there. In their waning moments on Mars, a pair of astronauts—Harrington and Pugh—heads out for one last job, one last chance to gather even more evidence. That’s when things go south. When the ground opens up, Pugh falls to his death. That’s bad. What’s worse is that he won’t stay dead. That’s right, the very bacteria they were hunting infests the corpse and reanimates it. You can imagine things devolving from there, as the remaining team tries to hang on until a rescue ship arrives

So its a little like John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars or the Doctor Who episode The Waters Of Mars with but done in a style thats a cross of 28 Days Later and Moon.

Alien Bacteria turning people into Space Zombies also happened Prometheus. A Randomly popular niche yet horror sub genre.
Man, space zombie's? I didn't like that Ridley put one in Prometheus. Doesn't mean this will be a bad movie though.

The first google search I did for Europa gave me a movie from the 90's I think lol. I see it's The Europa Report, but it's still another movie about finding extratrerestial life, man we get a lot of those. Hopefully that'll be good. It's good seeing more sci-fi movies being made though.
I've wanted to see a feature debut from this guy in a while, Blinky TM was disturbing as sh**, in a good way lol.
Hmm! Interesting! Weta are stars in their own right.
Damn, this cast is just full of underrated talent. Not just Schreiber, but Williams, Koteas, Cullen and Garai as well. I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this one. :up:
Why have I not commented in this thread, citing my everlasting love for Liev?
The only film I've seen Liev in was Phantoms...
Watch Ray Donovan on Showtime. Dude is beyond crazy in that.
And he's one of my favorite CBM villains as Victor Creed in the otherwise terrible XMOW. Plus, he's just plain cool in the Scream Trilogy.
He did Blinky?
Such a shame he didn't cast Max Records here. That kid not only need a career, he deserves it.
Much of the press on this calls the movie "Last Days of Mars" but I'm seeing reviews (and an imdb page) for "Last Days on Mars"
First Trailer

I'm down for some 28 Days Later in Space action!
It looks and sounds similar to that other mission-to-Mars movie a few years ago only with a better story behind it.
So I watched The Last Days On Mars and thought it was a good film. It is very straight forward film without any big twists but it is well shot.

I thought the film was way better than Europa Report.

The special effects, sets and vehicles look great considering the budget.

The film is a little bit of Doctor Who episode The Waters Of Mars, Moon, 28 Days Later, Sunshine and Prometheus. I've not read the 1975 Animators short story the film is based on but I imagine it sticks rather close to the source material.

The film is gory as you would expect when dealing with
but not over the top.

The ending is straight out of the first
alien film (sucking the zombie/alien out of a airlock)

The Jordan location doubles well for Mars but I would of liked if they made it look a bit more Martian by perhaps giving the dusty landscape a red or orange tint and adding a few huge mountain peaks in post production.

Oliva Williams is badass in this film even though her character is a major jerk. I loved when
see tossed acid in the zombies face

Zombies who are alien bacteria based seem to be alot harder to kill than your average movie zombie. Even if they decapitated or stabbed/shot them in the head they would still be moving in this film.

Johnny Harris as per usual
plays the closest thing this film has to a villain.

Users who are viewing this thread

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Latest member
Arnold Rimmer