We Challenged Jake Gyllenhaal And Rebecca Ferguson To Build A Solar System And It Was A Glorious Shambles
"Is Mercury green?"
Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson's new movie, Life (directed by Daniel Espinosa and also starring Ryan Reynolds), isn't your average space movie. It is, to put it bluntly, terrifying – you'll be on the edge of your seat for all almost-two-hours of action, and you'll come out of it even more scared of space than you ever were before (and so you should be, tbh).
But it also has its funny, relatable, and downright heartwarming moments. So when BuzzFeed met with Jake and Rebecca in London last week to promote the movie, we decided to give them a lighthearted challenge: To build a kiddie solar system set. And it immediately descended into chaos.
BuzzFeed: What first attracted you to making this movie?
Rebecca Ferguson: This. They showed me this, and I was like, “Yes, I’ll do it.” [laughs] No, um…
Jake Gyllenhaal: You do this, I’ll say it. You know the planets better.
When I read the script, it was terrifying – the pace of it, and every event that happened in it. Each one I thought, maybe, was going to potentially, in my cynical mind, lose me, but it just kept terrifying me. So I thought it had a really strong structure to begin with, and then when I talked to Daniel Espinosa, the director, his take on the whole- Are you just choosing random planets?
RF: Well, the thing is, I don’t know which colour is which. Is Mercury green?
JG: Yeah, sure. Mercury can be that colour. This is definitely Neptune, because it’s blue.
RF: Sorry, continue. I love the human behaviourism in this film as well. Oh, that could be Mercury!
JG: I feel like it’s Pluto. Pluto’s the smallest. Which one’s smaller? Or are they both the same?
BF: I feel like one of them’s supposed to be smaller.
RF: I think also what drew me to this film is-
JG: [starts laughing]
RF: [laughing] We’re still on the first question!
JG: I feel like it’s one of those cakes, you know where you can’t blow out the candles? I feel like there’s some trick being played on us. They’re like, “Look at the stupid actors trying to put the weird round balls on the sticks!”
RF: I actually do have an answer to that question. I was a bit nervous, coming into this film, because I thought, what can we do that hasn’t been done before, and how can I create a character that won’t always be compared to Sigourney Weaver’s character [in Alien]? When I talked to Daniel, he said, “If we take away the extraterrestrial life form, it should still be an interesting story, with human behaviourism and loneliness and threat and sadness.”
JG: Earth just broke off.
RF: I’m a scientist, I can make this work.
BF: I’m sure everyone’s going to ask you this, but Jake, you said you were a cynic – so do you or do you not believe in aliens? In other lifeforms?
JG: Absolutely, I do, yeah. I mean, there are other life forms. But you mean in space. [laughs] I don’t think that they’re in the form we think they’re in – commoners, not scientists who know – but I definitely think there is. There must be, there has to be. How does anything function without other life forms?
RF: I completely agree with that, and I also think it depends on how we see a life form – if we find water on the moon, we could find bacteria in the water, and for me that is a life form. If we find plants, that's a life form.
[The solar system breaks even more.]
BF: The film is really intense and scary – I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. But there are also really heartwarming, funny moments. Did you have that rapport on set?
RF: Yeah, definitely. Ryan [Reynolds] and Jake knew each other from before, and Daniel and I knew each other from before, which creates a rapport, and there’s humour, and there’s connection, and it’s very inviting for everyone to just have a relaxed environment. The entire team, I think, loved this project so much, and you can sense from the energy on set that everyone felt a part of it and wanted to make the best out of it. There were lots of jokes, and laughs, and music. I had my trailer next to Ryan’s, and there was a lot of music.
JG: Oh, yes, Ryan. I sat in silence. I asked for my windows to be covered in tin foil and I sat in silence.
RF: OK, wait, I’m close to this: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars-
RF: Is it Jupiter? Which one is gas? Jupiter, Uranus, Saturn, Neptune, Pluto.
JG: Is that right?
JG: I don’t think Saturn’s in the right place. Where’s Uranus? Saturn and Pluto are separated by Uranus.
[Everybody in the room starts laughing at the word "Uranus", because of course.]
RF: You did not just go there.
JG: It’s absolutely true though, is it not?
RF: I think Uranus and Jupiter are next to each other. Is he right? I very rarely question him, actually.
BF: Not directly. There are two between Pluto and Saturn.
RF: Would it be Jupiter and Neptune? No. I just made that up.
JG: Wait, where’s Neptune? It’s Uranus, then Neptune, then Pluto. Right?
JG: Thank you. I’m sorry. I apologise to every scientist and basically every human being apart from the two of us.