Life interview: Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson refute Alien comparisons

‘Life’, the new sci-fi horror from Swedish director Daniel Espinosa (in cinemas 24 March), sees the crew of the International Space Station battling an extra-terrestrial that turns on them after intentionally bringing it on board.

If that sounds a bit familiar, you wouldn’t be the first to draw parallels between ‘Life’ and Ridley Scott’s seminal space horror ‘Alien’ with many of the reviews making the comparison, however two of the film’s stars say ‘Life’ actually offers something new and original.

“It is a really interesting, beautifully shot experience in zero gravity, and [it’s about the] threat of life in a space like that. And it is terrifying pretty much the whole way through.” explains Jake Gyllenhaal who plays ISS doctor David Jordan, an astronaut more at home in space than back on earth.

Jake Gyllenhaal's Dr. David Jordan has spent more time in space than any other astronaut in 'Life' (Sony Pictures)
Jake Gyllenhaal’s Dr. David Jordan has spent more time in space than any other astronaut in ‘Life’ (Sony Pictures)

“There are so many aspects of it that are like movies that we’ve seen,” he adds. “It’s a horror film in a lot of ways and I think in that way it’s like a lot of really good horror films. The similarity [with ‘Alien’] is that it’s set in space and there’s a creature, but I could also name a hundred other movies that are like that as well.”

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Watch Life’s international trailer

‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’ star Rebecca Ferguson (ISS newcomer Dr. Miranda North) also thinks the crews attitude to the alien creature is different to that of the Nostromo crew.

“We actually, in the name of science, we take this little thing from its natural habitat and we bring it on board… because of curiosity,” Ferguson tells Yahoo. “But it starts responding to our methods, so if we’re kind, it’s kind. But if we start provoking… of course it’s going to want to survive and defend itself, and gradually we create our own disaster, and I think that’s a massive difference from ‘Alien’.”

'Girl on the Train' star Rebecca Ferguson plays ISS newcomer Dr. Miranda North in 'Life' (Sony Pictures)
‘Girl on the Train’ star Rebecca Ferguson plays ISS newcomer Dr. Miranda North in ‘Life’ (Sony Pictures)

Another key aspect that separates ‘Life’ from ‘Alien’ is the International Space Station. Although set in the near future, there’s no false gravity like we’ve become used to seeing in sci-fi films like ‘Alien’ or ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, with all the events unfolding in zero gravity.

“We had stunt coordinators, we had movement coaches, we did rigs,” explains Ferguson. “We did pilates balls, we did graceful toe pivoting, and then [DOP] Seamus McGarvey wrapped it all up in his incredible camera work and how he moved around us. It’s a team collaboration beyond words.”

“We were on wires most of the time,” adds Gyllenhaal. “It’s really unique and original as a result of that.”

However, don’t sob stories of actors in discomfort from Gyllenhaal. He admits it was tough to shoot, but it’s all a matter of perspective.

“I constantly compare my work to anything else that’s going on in the world or the work people are doing and i’m like ‘really?’ Though I know people love to hear about all of our rashes and all of the numbness that we felt at times in our crotch areas, but it’s really not that hard.”

‘Life’, which also stars Ryan Reynolds, is in cinemas from Friday 24 March. Watch a trailer below.

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