Watch: Gerard Butler and Morena Baccarin discuss the relevance of Greenland
As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic rumble on, the idea of watching an apocalyptic movie might be far from the minds of many viewers in search of escapism.
However, the turmoil of a global pandemic lends an extra layer of resonance to the new thriller Greenland, in which Gerard Butler and Morena Baccarin play parents hoping to get themselves and their kids to safety as a comet hurtles towards the Earth.
“I actually think it's the best time [for this movie], but I would never tell you in the interview even if I thought it was the worst time because that's not really selling my movie well,” Butler tells Yahoo Movies UK.
In this reunion with Angel Has Fallen director Ric Roman Waugh, Butler plays structural engineer John Garrity. When the comet is detected, his skilled worker status grants him and his family access to planes heading for a refuge in Greenland.
The setup might feel a little too real for those of us who feel we’re in the midst of an apocalyptic event ourselves, but Butler says the reaction to the movie has been good.
He says: “I've watched this movie with hundreds of people in a test audience before the pandemic and it's a great movie so everybody really enjoyed it.
“Surprisingly, I've also watched it with a lot of people since the pandemic and I find that, because of the resonance and the similarity between the two stories, they have been so much more affected by it now, having had the experience.
“It's almost like they can really empathise with what's happening to these characters because we're all going through it.”
Butler’s co-star Baccarin says the pandemic will have only made the connection between the audience and the characters even deeper.
“I think people will feel a connection to it for that reason, and this feeling of a family doing anything they can to survive,” she says.
“Obviously our family is a little more extreme, but I hope that also offers an escapism in the spectacle of it. And then at the end, I hope it offers people hope.”
Butler notes that the prospect of a huge environmental catastrophe is “not so unbelievable” in the modern world.
“It might be something so tiny or something so big. But right now we have smoke outside from the fires because half of California is turning to ash.
“You never know what is coming next. We now live in a world where, sadly, that is just a fact of how we live.”
Alongside Butler and Baccarin — as well as Roger Dale Floyd as the couple’s son — Greenland stars Scott Glenn and Mindhunter actor Holt McCallany.
Chris Sparling’s screenplay was originally set to be filmed by District 9 director Neill Blomkamp, with Captain America star Chris Evans in the lead role, before they were replaced by Waugh and Butler.
The movie was released on video-on-demand to positive critical reviews in the USA in December, having had its planned cinema run cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Greenland is available to stream via Amazon Prime Video in the UK from 5 February.
Watch: Trailer for Greenland