First Look At George Clooney Space Drama THE MIDNIGHT SKY (IMAGES)

The Netflix sci-fi epic, starring and directed by Clooney, debuts December 2020.

This isn’t George Clooney‘s first space rodeo, but it may end up being his most acclaimed.

That’s a tall order to fill, following the likes of Alfonso Cuaron‘s Gravity and Steven Soderbergh‘s Solaris, but given that Clooney was briefly in the former while the latter was a remake of a masterpiece, The Midnight Sky could be Clooney’s most distinguished space-based prestige piece yet, especially if the early buzz is true that it could become a major Oscar contender.

Based on Lily Brooks-Dalton‘s acclaimed book “Good Morning, Midnight,” The Midnight Sky is a post-apocalyptic story that tracks two interwoven narratives: in space, a team of astronauts is on a mission to a moon off Jupiter that may be able to sustain life, and back on Earth George Clooney’s Augustine is an Arctic scientist facing the world’s devastation while trying to reach the astronauts before they return.

If it has eerie, relevant overtones of a global pandemic, that’s not lost on Clooney — but it wasn’t intentional, as filming predated our current crisis.

“There wasn’t the pandemic, and we hadn’t set the whole West Coast on fire,” Clooney told Vanity Fair in an exclusive interview. The depiction of Earth in the movie, Clooney says, “doesn’t look that much different than the satellite pictures of the West Coast right now. It’s science fiction, which unfortunately is less fictional as we move through the days.”

Describing it as a mix of The Revenant and Gravity, Clooney hired the screenwriter of the former (Mark L. Smith) to adapt the novel. As grim as it all sounds, Clooney was intent on weaving in some hope. “[It] isn’t going to be a complete bummer,” Clooney said. “I wanted there to be some hopefulness in a fairly bleak story.”

Co-starring Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir, and Tiffany Boone, The Midnight Sky will be released in select theaters and on Netflix this December (date TBA).

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