One Strange Rock launches around the world

26 Mar 2018

Nutopia's newest production, One Strange Rock, launches across the globe this March!

National Geographic's new 10-part documentary series, One Strange Rock, takes a look at both the wonder and fragility of our planet in some of the most extreme and remote places on the Earth. They tell that story through the lens of eight American astronauts Chris Hadfield, Jeff Hoffman, Mae Jemison, Jerry Linenger, Mike Massimino, Leland Melvin, Nicole Stott and Peggy Whitson.

Jane Root, Nutopia (America The Story of Us, The 80s: The Decade That Made Us) and filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (Mother!, Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream) create a cinematic documentary that tells the visual story of why life exists on earth despite and through its 'destructive good fortune'.

The series is narrated by Will Smith, and each episode is hosted by an astronaut who looks at the events that shaped the planet and life: genesis, cosmic violence, the cycle of life and death, human intelligence, alien life, sacrifice, oxygen, survival versus destruction.

The crew spent a full year filming covering 900,00 miles in 45 countries across six continents in 195 locations with 139 shoots on every possible terrain out there, including space. They captured enough footage to make a 22-year movie.

The camera crew also had some firsts. They were the first non-natives to film Magha Puja festivities at Thailand’s Wat Phra Dhammakaya Temple and received special access to shoot inside the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave in Belize, home to the crystal maiden.

They captured massive speeds in space and on Earth including filming from an F15e Strike fighter jet which was chasing the shadow of the 2017 total eclipse, and they shot in space at maximum speed on the International Space Station (ISS) at 17,500 miles per hour. And they even co-opted European Space Agency astronaut, Paulo Nespoli to film for them in space. The crew also filmed in extreme depths and heights such as shooting in the Lechuguilla Cave in New Mexico which is 1,604 feet underground and on the ISS at of 230-286 miles above Earth.

Arif Nurmohamed, Showrunner, One Strange Rock, said to understand the uniqueness of the planet and the interconnectedness of life on earth, we needed to have storytellers who have seen the planet from a different perspective.

"There are only 550 humans alive who have had that experience, and we wanted to bring together science and emotions through their storytelling," said Nurmohamed. "Science plays on a totally different set of emotions, you're either in shock or blown away by wonder, so to create the full package of nature, natural history, science, insight, dramatic stories with excitement we had a three-pronged approach to making One Strange Rock."

That approach was blending the personal storytelling of the astronauts which give a greater understanding of the planet; with the narrative of Will Smith, who provided that everyman accessibility and sparkle to the story; and contributors, like Guillaume Néry, who through his relationship with the earth as a free diver, brings a viewpoint that offers another way to look at the planet.

"We took this approach because we wanted to build a real story that creates a beautiful tapestry of emotion around science, space, and natural history,"  adds Nurmohamed. "Before you can save the planet you have to fall in love with it."

Jane Root, Executive Producer, One Strange Rock and Nutopia, says the series is an emotional, beautiful, sensual experience.

"Science and the world should appeal to your body and mind, and we had to make that relevant to viewers, what better way than to get astronauts to tell their story, they are the only ones who have ever left the planet to see it in a new way," said Root.

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