In most movies about outer space, the troubles begin after takeoff, as anyone who’s still reeling from the galactic terrors of Gravity or Interstellar can attest. In Lucy in the Sky, however, it’s not until Natalie Portman’s Lucy Cola, an astronaut, lands back on Earth that she starts to lose her grip on reality.
In the new trailer for the upcoming film, Lucy only seems at peace when she’s soaring high above her family and watching the sun rise over the edge of the planet. Once gravity has kicked back in, Lucy explains, “I just feel a little off. You go up there, you see the whole universe, and everything here looks so small.” (It should be noted that Portman’s accent work here, an exaggerated Southern drawl, may be even more dramatic than her affected New England clip in Jackie.) A fellow astronaut, played by Jon Hamm, concurs: “You got to see the vast celestial everything, and it blew your mind, so now nothing makes sense.”
One thing that Lucy can’t make sense of, it seems, is her ongoing affair with Hamm’s character, which began in space and has continued on Earth, despite the fact that she’s now back in the same atmosphere as her husband (Dan Stevens) and children. She’s also shown running from a police car, holding a gun, and, throughout it all, experiencing hallucinations of floating out in space. The usual “small” stuff.
Reese Witherspoon serves as a producer and was originally supposed to take the lead role herself but decided to drop out in favor of doing a second season of Big Little Lies.
Lucy in the Sky also stars Zazie Beetz as another astronaut and Ellen Burstyn as Lucy’s grandmother, as well as Pearl Amanda Dickson, Nick Offerman, and Colman Domingo. The film, which is helmed by the Fargo and Legion showrunner Noah Hawley, is loosely based on the story of the NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak. Like Lucy, Nowak reportedly struck up a relationship with a fellow astronaut, Bill Oefelein, while in space, then was charged with attempted murder and kidnapping in 2007—mere months after returning to Earth following a successful shuttle mission to space—for an alleged plot to kill another woman, Colleen Shipman, who she believed was vying for Oefelein’s affections. (Though she claimed it wasn’t true, many outlets reported that she’d worn space diapers as she drove from Orlando to Houston to find Shipman.) The following year, she pled guilty to burglary and battery, and was subsequently given a dishonorable discharge from the Navy.