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Mission to Mars (2000) Poster

Trivia

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The "face" is apparently based on a photograph taken from the Viking orbiter in the 1970s, showing what appeared to be a face-like shape in the surface features. Later photographs from a more advanced probe showed the same feature at higher resolution and different lighting, and it looks nothing like a face.
Many of the props from this movie, including the big turning wheel set and the spacecraft model are now on display in the line queue area at the "Mission Space" ride at Epcot in Walt Disney World in Florida.
After Mars Recovery is given the OK to enter orbit around Mars, Woody Blake says "Let's light this candle". This is exactly what Alan Shepard, the first American in space, said just before lift-off on his inaugural Mercury flight.
The original director of the film was Gore Verbinski. When the budget was upgraded, Brian De Palma started to show interest. Rewrites in the script were also done.
Dr. Story Musgrave, real life shuttle astronaut, plays one of the capcom people in the early part of the story on the space station in the Mars mission command center.
Armin Mueller-Stahl, who plays Ray Beck (commander on the space station) is not listed in the credits, nor is the character.
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The film takes place in 2020.
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HIDDEN MICKEY: Momentarily as we see the Mars Recovery vehicle approach the planet, Mars itself, the rotating circular hub of the spaceship, and the round satellite dish sitting on its spine line up to form the friendly and familiar Mickey Mouse logo.
This came out the same year as another Mars-themed film, Red Planet (2000). Both were unsuccessful, critically and commercially.
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Each one of the space suits cost around $100,000 to make. But a real NASA space suit costs between $10-$12 million.
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Gary Sinise took this "All-American" role because he'd just played a bad guy in Reindeer Games (2000).
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Tim Robbins on acting inside the suits: "You hear your own breathing. It's an interesting, very insular, world."
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Jerry O'Connell loved wearing the space suit on set: "I felt like a super hero."
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To create the illusion of weightlessness, Brian De Palma kept the camera moving.
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All of the plants are real. They were grown hydroponically - in liquid, not soil.
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Don Cheadle actually slept outside by himself to get a sense of the environment and isolation.
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The crew used over 14,000 gallons of paint to spray the soil "Mars red."
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In the movie, Luke's space suit becomes dirty. They didn't use actual space suit material, Teflon, because it doesn't ever look dirty.
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Gary Sinise's fancy convertible in the beginning of the barbecue scene is an Isuzu Vehicross convertible, a halo car produced for a very short time from '97-2001, selling only 4,153 units in the U.S.. It was never introduced as a convertible in the US. The jet sounds were added to give it a futuristic engine effect.
There were theme park attractions at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World called Mission to Mars. Both opened in 1975, but Disneyland's closed in November 1992, while the Magic Kingdom's ran until October of the next year. Gary Sinise happens to narrate the Mission: Space attraction at EPCOT.
The crew made the interior of the space station blue to mimic Earth.
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The filmmakers received NASA's most up-to-date plans for a Mars mission when making the movie.
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The crew reflected copper light onto the actors to mimic the orange atmosphere of the Martian sky.
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Chosen by "Les Cahiers du cinéma" (France) as one of the 10 best pictures of 2000 (#04)
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Monica Potter was originally cast as Terri Fisher.
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This is Robert Bailey Jr.'s first movie.
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The filmmakers created the Martian landscape in a massive sandpit near Vancouver. It was one of the biggest sets ever constructed for a movie - around two million square feet.
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Effects Supervisor Hoyt Yeatman says this is a "hardware film." Almost every location in the movie had to be created from scratch because it didn't exist in the real world
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The crew used a real 2,000 lb. rock to drop behind the astronauts.
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All the ships were based on actual NASA aircraft and used materials from real aerospace companies.
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Tim Robbins and Connie Nielsen had 35 feet of space to dance, more than any actual spacecraft.
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The crew put little film lights inside all the actors' helmets to illuminate their faces.
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In one scene, members of the crew shake the tent to create the illusion of wind. In reality, there's almost no wind on Mars because the atmosphere is so thin.
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The idea for the massive white room came from production designer Ed Verreaux. The whole structure is inspired by modern art. It's simple, clean, and minimal.
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The communication viewscreen on Mars Recovery was built by Silicon Graphics (hence the abbreviation logo of SGI).
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The wristwatch worn by the crew sent to determine what happened during the first mission to Mars is the Omega X-33.
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Jerry O'Connell took this role because he studied Brian De Palma movies in film school.
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Gary Sinise also plays an astronaut missing out on the mission in Apollo 13 (1995).
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In 1985, astronauts really did drink soda in space as part of an experiment.
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Gary Sinise was strapped in a chair that really rotated around and around until he asked Brian De Palma to stop.
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Reunites Jerry O'Connell and Elise Neal who both starred in Scream 2 (1997).
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That dust is blown by 10 massive 350-horsepower wind machines. The whole crew wore gas masks while they shot it.
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Full-body weightless shots were created by hanging the actors from wires.
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Every actor had their own "crew" to get into the space suits. It still took them 45 minutes. They also weighed 62 lbs. each.
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Reunites Don Cheadle and Elise Neal who both starred in the film Rosewood (1997).
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Between visuals, miniatures, and animation, over 400 technicians were directly involved in the production aspects of the special effects.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The appearance of the "Face on Mars", as well as the alien hologram, were modeled after the work of the famous Romanian sculptor Constantin Brâncusi, especially his "Sleeping Muse"(1910).
The rotating circles that signify the alien countdown are indeed *counting* down... in binary. The circles in their horizontal and vertical configurations correspond to zeroes (0) and ones (1) respectively, and the least significant bit (LSB) on the viewer's left. The sequence in which they turn correspond to a binary countdown. The leftmost lit circle is not part of the binary count. There is an initial pattern of "all horizontal", following which the countdown actually begins (starting with "all vertical").
Much of the films plot is similar to that of The Martian (2015) and the novel it's based on. Both are about a crew trying to rescue a sole astronaut left on Mars and both astronauts survived their years abandoned on the planet by growing food.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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