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Stowaway

Release date: April 22, 2021
Directed by: Joe Penna
Written by: Joe Penna, Ryan Morrison
Produced by: Jonas Katzenstein, Clay Pecorin...
Running time: 116 minutes

The crew of MTS-42, consisting of commander Marina Barnett (Toni Collette), biologist David Kim (Daniel Dae Kim) , and medical researcher Zoe Levenson (Anna Kendrick), starts a two-year mission to Mars. Shortly after takeoff, Barnett discovers launch support engineer Michael Adams (Shamier Anderson), an accidental stowaway, unconscious behind a panel. The crew begins to bond with him, but Barnett soon learns that Michael's body had been entangled with, and inadvertently destroyed, a device which scrubs carbon dioxide from the air on the ship.

Cast & Characters

Anna Kendrick (Zoe Levenson), Daniel Dae Kim (David Kim), Shamier Anderson (Michael Adams), Toni Collette (Marina Barnett)

Production Notes

Conceived and shot before the novel coronavirus outbreak, the sci-fi thriller “Stowaway” resonates with the post-COVID-19 world. Joe Penna’s second feature proved to be Toni Collette’s first role in a sci-fi thriller. The film wrapped principle photography in late 2019 before the first COVID-19 wave and, despite the global lockdown, the production has kept on track. After the shoot – interior locations inside the spaceship were done in Bavaria Studios in Munich and exteriors in MMC Studios in Cologne – post-production was set up remotely. Penna and editor Ryan Morrison worked on the edit from L.A. and visual effects being handled by RISE Visual Effects Studios in Munich and Berlin. “We were always planning to do a lot of the post-production remotely but, with the lockdown, it became essential,” says Morrison.

The cast itself was compact, too, with just the four characters trapped together in this dangerous environment. “Because they are so isolated, it forced the emotionality of what they undertake onto the actors. There was nothing else to lean on,” Toni Collette said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. Luckily, the four of them were well-matched: Kendrick and Kim hit it off so well that Penna decided to add more scenes between their characters, and “we all were just in awe of Toni,” Anna Kendrick recalled in the same interview. “It helped that Toni was playing the captain. It was one of those art-imitating-life moments.” Another came in the form of Anderson as the stowaway, being newer to the scene than any of his costars, but “more than proving his right to be there,” she says.

After its theatrical release was scrapped due to the ongoing pandemic, “Stowaway” was picked up by Netflix and premiered on April 22 to positive reviews. The Independent wrote, “Collette, who makes rare use of her native Australian accent, is especially good. There’s a hardness to her performance that speaks not to cruelty, but to a knowledge that the price of leadership is often some small chunk of humanity.”