"It's totally, totally ridiculous, but within the confines of the frame, you can't tell," said Damon

By Jeff Nelson
Updated September 11, 2015 05:40 PM
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Credit: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

Fake it ’til you make it!

Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain and Kate Mara say they did just that while shooting some of the zero-gravity scenes for the upcoming space epic The Martian.

While the Ridley Scott-directed film involved its fair share of CGI and “invisible” wires to make the actors appear as though they were floating about in space, sometimes they used simpler means to achieve the weightless look.

“In some of the tighter shots, sometimes it makes sense not to do elaborate wire work,” Damon, 44, told reporters at a Toronto International Film Festival press conference on Friday, where he mimicked floating in space for a chuckling crowd. “You’re ‘in space,’ and you act while you’re standing on one foot and moving slowly. It’s totally, totally ridiculous, but within the confines of the frame, it totally works, and you can’t tell.”

Costar Mara, 32, added that there’s a certain art to making it look plausible.

“It feels very much like a dance, and there’s choreography to it, but then once you’re doing it, you really do feel like a little kid,” she said.

Chastain, 38, said the floating scenes were her favorite – and one of the reasons she signed on to the film.

“The zero-gravity stuff I was really looking forward to. When I got on set, I realized how many people are involved in that because there’s all these people in the pulley system that are controlling your movements that you then have to make look like you’re doing it, and it’s choreographed,” she said of working with the wires, which are eventually edited out of the final cut. “We’re just kind of along for the ride learning it, and I had so much fun.”

Donald Glover, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor also star in The Martian, which makes its global debut at the Toronto International Film Festival Friday evening.

For full coverage of the 2015 Toronto Film Festival – including the hottest premieres, the biggest stars and the buzziest films – check out people.com/tiff, instyle.com and ew.com