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Approaching the Unknown (2016)

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A U.S. astronaut prepares for a mission to Mars.
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mark Strong ... William D. Stanaforth
Luke Wilson ... Louis 'Skinny' Skinner (CapCom)
Sanaa Lathan ... Emily Maddox
Anders Danielsen Lie ... Greenstreet
Charles Baker ... Worsely
Steven Brower Steven Brower ... Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
Stephanie Gould Stephanie Gould ... Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
Franziska Lamprecht Franziska Lamprecht ... Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
Amanda Larson Amanda Larson ... Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
Whit K. Lee ... Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage (as Whitney Lee)
St. John McKay St. John McKay ... Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
James O'Connell James O'Connell ... Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
Michael O'Connell Michael O'Connell ... Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
Clare O'Connell Clare O'Connell ... Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
Neel Patel Neel Patel ... Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage


Captain William Stanaforth is on a one-way solo mission to take the first steps in colonizing Mars. Like all pioneers throughout history, Stanaforth will face insurmountable odds and life and death decisions as he rockets bravely through space.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

3 June 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Caminho do Desconhecido See more »

Filming Locations:

Hudson Valley, New York, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Worsley (Charles Baker) and Greenstreet (Anders Danielsen Lie) (the crew of the refuelling station) are both named after members of the crew of Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated Antarctic expedition of 1914-1917. They were the Captain and First Officer respectively, as they are in this film. See more »


Neither the Delta rocket shown nor any other has anywhere near the payload capability to launch a vehicle of the size shown. Even if the craft is assembled using a number of launches, the living module that Stanaforth uses appears to be similar in size to those on the International Space Station, but those along the main axis are much larger and cannot be launched from Earth. See more »


William D. Stanaforth: Our bodies are more space than matter. There's an unfathomable distance between each atom, each particle. What keeps us solid? Why don't we dissolve?
See more »

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User Reviews

Wish it did more than just approach an idea.
5 June 2016 | by subxerogravitySee all my reviews

I was told that this movie was going to be better than Gravity. Man, that's big shoes to fill and Approaching the Unknown could not fill them. For the most part, the film is total propaganda for all of us who support getting to Mars. In that sense, the film has a great concept.

Mark Strong plays an astronaut who willingly signed up for a one way trip to Mars not just so that he could get to Mars, but so that we as a whole can finally get to Mars.

It will appeal to you regardless, if you are a fan of the recent campaigns to go to Mars, but I need to warn you, if you heard the same rumor that this was as good as Gravity, it's not at all.

The story is exciting but the film making is not. I don't want to judge the filmmakers harshly on what is a low budget film with some cool art direction (I did like the space suit Strong wears), but this movie does nothing with the little they had.

All the actors in it who also include Luke Wilson and Sanaa Lathan seem to be phoning in their performances, this may have a lot to do with the bad writing to a cool story. The movie counts on a lot of dialogue that is not that interesting and puts me to sleep.

Mark Strong in Approaching the Unknown is not as interesting to watch for 90mins as Matt Damon in the Martian for over two hours. It's pretty much the same film in a lot of ways, but Strong, who I like, was not as charismatic and could not grasps me enough to keep me interesting.

I'm on the same boat as Approaching the Unknown as I would love to see Mars even if it means never coming back to Earth, and I wished this movie was better, but it's boring.

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