112 user 25 critic

Approaching the Unknown (2016)

2:25 | Trailer
A U.S. astronaut prepares for a mission to Mars.
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mark Strong ... William D. Stanaforth
Luke Wilson ... Louis 'Skinny' Skinner (CapCom)
Sanaa Lathan ... Emily Maddox
Anders Danielsen Lie ... Greenstreet
Charles Baker ... Worsely
Steven Brower Steven Brower ... Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
Stephanie Gould Stephanie Gould ... Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
Franziska Lamprecht Franziska Lamprecht ... Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
Amanda Larson Amanda Larson ... Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
Whit K. Lee Whit K. Lee ... Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage (as Whitney Lee)
St. John McKay St. John McKay ... Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
James O'Connell James O'Connell ... Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
Michael O'Connell Michael O'Connell ... Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
Clare O'Connell Clare O'Connell ... Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
Neel Patel Neel Patel ... Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage


Captain William Stanaforth is on a one-way solo mission to take the first steps in colonizing Mars. Like all pioneers throughout history, Stanaforth will face insurmountable odds and life and death decisions as he rockets bravely through space.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The movie certification number is #88888. See more »


There is a framework arm holding the living module and a corresponding arm in the other direction, which should have a mass counterbalancing the living module as the arms rotate about the central axis. However the other arm is only half the length and the module at the end of it only appears to be about half the size of the living module. Together this would make for an incredibly unbalanced structure as they rotated. See more »


William D. Stanaforth: Our bodies are more space than matter. There's an unfathomable distance between each atom, each particle. What keeps us solid? Why don't we dissolve?
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User Reviews

Important to go in with the right mind-set
6 July 2017 | by jtindahouseSee all my reviews

I can see why 'Approaching the Unknown' would not be to everyone's liking. It's very much a slow-burner of a film and is really more of a character study than anything else. With space movies I think people have come to expect drama filled, save-the-world type films and this is simply not that. This is the story of a man who has embarked on a mission that very few people on Earth would be brave enough to do, and the struggle he consequently went through.

I actually quite enjoyed it for the most part. A film with basically only one character is never going to be the most exhilarating watch, however the pacing of the film doesn't feel overly slow. Mark Strong in the lead role does a good job of being just interesting enough in what would have been a very tough role to take on.

As mentioned, this won't be for everyone. People who go into this expecting an 'Armegeddon' or even 'Gravity' type film are going to be let down and I suspect that is a lot of the reason why this film has not been received very well. However if you go in simply expecting a solid exploration of astronaut life and the challenges they can go through mentally, I think you will find yourself quite enjoying this one.

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Release Date:

3 June 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Approaching the Unknown See more »

Filming Locations:

Hudson Valley, New York, USA


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,476, 5 June 2016

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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