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JOHN SUITS INTERVIEW

Interview conducted by Karin Crighton

The crew of Pangea is royally screwed. Entirely, completely, screwed. Five years into their mission of manning the refueling station between Earth and the human colony on Jupiter’s moon Europa, they’re falling apart. Either insomniac and bedridden with ennui, the crew is developing tremors, night terrors, and a serious smoking habit. Too bad Earth just blew up. Horrified, devastated, and stranded on the damaged station the crew must find a way to survive, maybe even get to Europa. Or at least survive each other.

I was lucky enough to have a few minutes to chat with director John Suits on his press tour for 3022 and get some answers to some questions and curiosities I have about the movie.

Despite a thrilling and terrifying premise, being alone in space with nowhere to return and nowhere to run, this movie faces a harsh reality: Survival itself isn’t exciting, it’s grueling and grating and full of despair knowing what you left behind. 3022 doesn’t shy away from the awfulness of existing just because you’re not dead. Captain John Laine (Omar Epps) struggles to keep his crew fighting, but his first officer and estranged girlfriend Jackie Miller (Kate Walsh) can’t recover from the loss of the daughter she left on Earth. Meanwhile, their staff doctor (Angus Macfadyen) is circling the drain of sanity and trying to take everyone else with him. Laine himself is hiding his hallucinations to keep a strong front. I asked Suits what he’d like his audience to take away from this battle of emotions; he said that it’s unpredictable but understandable what anyone would do in such extreme circumstances. That if it was him, or anyone, their emotions and actions are justified – whether it’s trying to do something insane to get back to Earth’s rubble or entirely give up.

As he also directed 2016’s Pandemic, I asked Suits what draws him to these sorts of apocalyptic, life-changing movies. He didn’t intentionally set out to do end-of-the-world films, but there is a draw in that time of scenario. He remarked there can be no higher or bigger stakes than losing the entire world, and yet this story can be told with stage-play intimacy via these four main characters.

3022 gets bogged down with its own heaviness at times, taking a long time to find something for the cast to do besides patch repairs and take sedatives. It’s a little hard to believe that each member of the crew isn’t prepared to take over the duties of another if lost or injured, but with every casualty they have less and less capabilities to fix the ship. It makes sense for building the panic that the crew would be unprepared, but it just seems unlikely. It also makes dramatic sense to start the action when they’re already falling apart, but I’d rather have empathized with the doctor more than immediately worrying he’s going to snap when he sees the death-flash of an exploding Earth. But Suits shared that the doctor falling apart first is a twist of irony; a typically stoic person is no better at handling their fate. And as the desperation mounts to an unbearable level, so does the question: Why are they still fighting? And when they discover they are not alone, why does the fighting turn amongst themselves? I questioned why one French “spationaut” turns homicidal and Suits answered that it’s again unpredictable to say what anyone would do in this situation. The spationaut doesn’t see it as homicide, rather survival. And if he can only save his friends, eliminating anyone else depleting resources is necessary.

It’s a curious thing, hope. What do we have to live for without it? Whether on a space station or on Earth, everyone ultimately dies, so why keep fighting for another way, another path, another chance? Maybe we aren’t wired to let go of the impossible.

I asked Suits how he sees the end; in the film one way is suggested (it’s pretty freakin’ cool), but does he see a zombie plague or a nuclear explosion wiping Earth out of existence? He admitted there’s a lot we don’t know about things we’re already playing with, so the end can come from any direction.

With the setup of a Europa colony, I asked if we can look forward to another installment of this story from their perspective. Suits said not just yet, but there very well could be other survivors with a story to tell. I certainly hope so; for its slow pace, 3022 is an enjoyable and gritty ride.

2022 releases in theaters, on demand and digital on Friday, November 22nd, 2019.

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About The Author
Karin Crighton 01
Staff Writer | Lunatic
Karin doesn't know anything about movies, but has a lot of time and opinions to yell into the void. When she's not directing plays in and around NYC, she's watching every horror movie on every streaming service. And probably talking to a cat.
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