For all the special effects that go into a mega-budgeted space movie like The Martian, one setting that did not need to be digitally tricked out was the film’s Mars. That’s because the red hues of the Wadi Rum in the country of Jordan bear a striking resemblance to the fourth planet from the sun.
“I added dust devils and skies, otherwise it was all real,” director Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) told Yahoo Movies about the film’s very practical location in the interview above. (“Dust devils” refer to the upward swirling busts or dust and matter common in deserts and also Mars, apparently.)
Matt Damon — who plays an astronaut stranded on Mars for more than a year — was blown away by the natural landscapes: “I was in awe of that place, it was really, really special,” he said. “One of the most spectacular and beautiful places I have ever seen, and like nothing I’ve ever seen anywhere else on Earth.”
If you recognize the Wadi Rum, you’re either an adventurous globetrotter or an observant film buff: It’s the site where David Lean, Peter O'Toole, and company shot the sprawling 1962 war epic, Lawrence of Arabia.
The Martian opens everywhere Friday.