Sophie Thatcher is the star of Gunpowder & Sky’s DUST new film, Prospect, slated to open November 2nd. The film follows the path of a father-daughter team as they search for riches on a dangerous, toxic planet — and whose mission turns deadly very quickly. We got the chance to ask Sophie a few questions about her role in the movie — check her answers below — but first a quick Prospect film review.
The film opens with young Cee, played by Sophie Thatcher, and her father Damon, played by Jay Duplass (“Transparent”), preparing to descend to the planet they are orbiting in their rickety space pod. The father’s plan is to collect extremely valuable amber-like gems known as Aurelacs. These gems are found in large root- or termite mound-like structures, and have to be carefully extracted lest they self-destruct in a bath of acid. The pair set course for the mother lode — a large deposit of Aurelacs known as the “Queens Lair.”
After they recover one stone at an old dig on the way to the main site, two ne’er do wells (one played by Pedro Pascal of “Game of Thrones” and “Narcos” fame) happen upon the father and shake him down for his treasure. A couple of bad decisions later, and this encounter changes from a scavenging expedition to a quest for survival and escape — one where teenage Cee has to use all of her wits and determination to try to make it back to her shuttle and rejoin the mothership.
This movie is, atmosphere-wise, like no other film I have seen before, truly otherworldly but grounded in reality — if that makes any sense. Production design is fabulous, from the realistically-lived in capsule whose rickety instruments are covered in gritty, grimy breath, oils from fingertips and palms, and who knows what else. Wardrobe, hair and makeup convey a feeling that everything and everybody in this film needs a good hot shower. There’s plenty of little details to appreciate, especially in the space capsule. Particles of dust float around and there’s a barely perceptible layer of ice on the window which they could have skipped, but didn’t. The 8-track aesthetic of just about every switch and mechanism further lends credibility to the world created here by the filmmakers.
The film is described as a sci-fi western, but it also has a strong steampunk vibe. None of the weapons fire lasers, but projectiles from rather primitive-looking weapons. This coupled, with the flimsiness of the suits everyone wears in order to breathe on the alien world, raises the stakes of every shot discharged and every step taken for that matter. Little protects the characters from a tear or rip which would lead to a quick death — and when you compound with bullets and high speed foot chases through an environment full of brambles poised to ensnare breathing tubes –you end up on the edge of your seat.
My biggest complaint is the off-putting poetic dialogue used by a few characters. Its hard to follow and a bit melodramatic and goofy, but it’s not a dealbreaker. Other than that–this is a movie I definitely recommend and I hope it finds its audience as a cult hit.
As evidenced by her acting in Prospect, plus her unique personal style, Sophie Thatcher has the potential to be absolutely huge. Excited to see where her career takes her!
Now let’s get to the interview! p.s. Is it just me or does she bear a resemblance to Emma Watson?
Hi Sophie, nice to e-meet you! Before we get into your role on Prospect, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m an actor, musician, artist and a Chicago native!
Thanks! You have an extensive theater background, having studied since age 4 and with performances in The Diary of Anne Frank and several others in Chicago. How was this, your first film, a different beast?
It took me a while to transition from stage to screen because I was used to the repetition of doing a full show every night. In contrast to theater, film is shot scene by scene and I never realized there was so much time waiting around on set! Ahh! But this process helped me to grow with the character. I was drawn to the natural aspects of the film world.
What helped you manage the pressure of being a newcomer, yet carrying the film as the lead character?
The whole cast and crew were very kind and made me feel safe and that if I made a minor mistake, it wasn’t the end of the world. Everyone was so warm and made me feel comfortable. Zeek and Chris trusted me with the character and that helped me gain confidence.
How did you book the role—traditional audition process or something different?
I was sent the sides from my agents and manager and put it on tape, then recorded the callback myself. After that, they flew me out to Seattle to see the workspace, meet the directors and work through a couple different scenes. I remember feeling like I had bombed the audition somehow, but an hour later they invited me back to the workspace to tell me I was cast. I remember feeling relieved and tremendously excited.
Why do you think teens are going to want to watch this movie?
I think it’s rare to have such a powerful young female lead in a film. I hope that young women, or any outliers in society can be inspired by Cee’s character trajectory.
What was the most memorable part about filming it?
Definitely the night shoots. It really messed up everyone’s sleeping schedule so we were all suffering together. I was exposed to a bunch of the cast and crew’s looney side and we all formed a tight bond.
What was it like to wear that space suit and helmet – any claustrophobia? Was it crooked on purpose or did it just slip to the side like that?
The first week of filming was stressful because they were still working on the helmets, and I felt like I could barely breathe. Of course they fixed that and once the helmet was on, it helped me dive into the Prospect universe. I fully became Cee.
The clothes you and your dad wear on the ship look very lived in, almost like you guys were directed to sleep in the clothes for a couple days and show up to set without doing your hair. Am I close to the mark—or were the hair and wardrobe people that good?
The hair and wardrobe people were exceptionally talented! They often kept to a very minimal makeup look on me- or sometimes they would add under eye circles as the story progressed and Cee’s circumstances became more difficult.
Why do you think fellow teenage girls are going to like your character, Cee?
I think a lot of teenagers can relate to a bunch of different aspects of Cee. First, I’m sure kids can relate to the feeling of being an outsider in one way or another. Also Cee uses music and books as an escape. I, and I’m sure many other people my age can heavily relate to this.
Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you?
I have a twin sister who’s an artist! I also make music too and someday would like to focus on that more.
Biggest pet peeve?
People pleasers and wishy washy people.
Favorite place you’ve traveled to and why?
I adore New York City and all the possibilities and artists that live there. I would love to move there one day to work on music and art.
Sushi or any kind of Japanese food.
Just Kids written by Patti Smith (my biggest inspiration) and Heart of Darkness written by Joseph Conrad.
Most attractive thing in another person?
Creativity and individuality.
Most embarrassing moment IRL you wish you could do over?
The first time I was kissed I couldn’t stop laughing because I was so nervous, so he ended up kissing my teeth.
What else are you working on or have coming up?
I have a few projects up in the air! Would love to focus more on music and art too and put some stuff out there into the world!
Could we get a selfie of whatever you are doing at the moment? It’s something we ask to keep it real for the fans!
Me, drinking my morning coffee
Sophie Thatcher Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/soapy.t/
Watch the original short film on which the new full-length movie is based: