Chris Evans

Freefall

Before filming on ‘Sunshine’ started over one year ago now, director Danny Boyle was keen to give the eight actors a taste of what it would be like to be a real team of astronauts.

As we join the film, these characters have been together for many years- both on their mission in space and previously in training on Earth- and Danny wanted to make sure that when filming started the actors operated as a team. He also wanted to school them in science and sci-fi as well as give them some real flight experience.

All eight actors lived together in one house. They spent 24 hours a day with one another in order to fast track their team bonding. They all learned to SCUBA dive and did some underwater training to give them an idea of what it feels like to float and be forced to move slowly in the way you would do in space. They each learned to fly a plane on a £15 million flight simulator. And they were each taken up, individually, in a plane to experience Zero Gravity. It worked. Within weeks they really were thinking like the crew of the Icarus II.

We’ve got a new video showing each of the actors’ reactions to being in Zero G.

A New Word

I’ve invented a new adjective. And I’m using it.

suttirat (soo’-tir-at) adj
1. Passionately concerned with details. I’m getting all suttirat about my photos.
2. Methodical in one’s approach. I need to be more suttirat in order to do it.
3. Generally just cool. That’s just so suttirat.

Suttirat Anne Larlarb is the Costume Designer on ‘Sunshine’. She’s in charge of everything that the actors wear- clothes, shoes, spacesuits, accessories, comms units.

Suttirat’s office walls are completely full of reference images- photos of astronauts, space suits from various eras, samurai warriors, club wear and bizarre dresses that even Isabella Blow would think were outrageous. There are even two pictures of lizards. Not sure what they are there for. She has several books filled with sketches of uniform, spacesuit and comms unit ideas, though my very favourite thing in one of her books is the flow chart showing what each character is wearing in every single scene. I want a large colour copy of it to frame and put on my wall. The writing is tiny and neat, and from far away it looks almost like a circuit board design. It’s beautiful.

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The comms units are a cool and geeky bit of kit. Suttirat got her inspiration for them from her Mac laptop, iPods and Army dog tags, which is evident when looking at them- two separate, but virtually identical sections with a ‘breathing’ blue light and rounded corners. They aren’t, however, just bits of plastic on string- they are actual, working communications units. The actors speak to each other through them instead of just ‘pretending’ or having someone just standing off-camera reading lines. For example in one scene, Mace in the Flight Deck might ask a question of Corazon in the Oxygen Garden. When they are filming in the Flight Deck and Chris Evans is on-camera, he asks his question then Michelle Yeoh, who may be sitting off-camera, will reply and her voice will come out of Chris’ comms unit. Though Suttirat designed them, they were made to work by the sound department.

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Suttirat had the characters’ uniforms made in a factory rather than have them made in-house. She wanted them to have an industrial feel to give the impression that they are space-agency-issued rather than film-costume-designer-designed. She said that there are little flaws in the stitching that she would have never done had they been made in-house, but, to her, the flaws give the uniforms a much more realistic look.

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The costume department is filled with racks of costumes. Each character has their own section which is divided into different stages of the film. As films are shot out of sequence, one needs to be fiercely organised in order to make sure the whole thing runs smoothly. Wanna know how just organised the costume department are? They sew little bits of embroidery floss into the different characters’ socks in order to tell them apart. They are *that* organised.

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I love that.

Twelve Minutes

Today, Chris Evans had a rehearsal with Julian Spencer the Stunts Coordinator. Julian has been coordinating fights and Zero G work on wires. Today they were rehearsing a scene in which Chris has to climb down into a tank of almost freezing water, immerse himself and ‘fix something’. This afternoon, the water was room temperature; when they film, the room and the tank will be refrigerated to 7°C. Chris certainly won’t have to act like he’s cold.

There were two medics on hand at the rehearsal today and will be there during filming as well. I asked Julian if it was dangerous for Chris to be in water that cold. He said, ‘Well, it takes 12 minutes before you have a heart attack. So, not that dangerous.’