Sunshine (2007 film)

Sunshine (2007 film)

Infobox Film
name = Sunshine

caption = Theatrical poster
director = Danny Boyle
producer = Andrew Macdonald
writer = Alex Garland
narrator =
starring = (see below)
music = John Murphy
cinematography = Alwin H. Kuchler
editing = Chris Gill
distributor = Fox Searchlight Pictures
released = 6 April 2007 (UK)
20 July 2007 (US)
runtime = 107 minutes
country = United Kingdom
language = English
budget = GB£20 millioncite news | author=John Hiscock | url= | title= Another bright idea from Mr Sunshine | publisher=Telegraph | date=2007-03-16 | accessdate=2007-04-05 ] / US$40 million
gross =
website =
amg_id = 1:328646
imdb_id = 0448134

"Sunshine" is a 2007 British science fiction film directed by Danny Boyle and written by Alex Garland about the crew of a spacecraft on a dangerous mission towards the Sun. In 2057, with the Earth in peril from the dying Sun, the crew is sent to re-ignite the Sun with a massive nuclear device. The crew is made up of an ensemble cast comprised of Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Cliff Curtis, Chris Evans, Troy Garity, Hiroyuki Sanada, Benedict Wong and Michelle Yeoh.

Boyle, who is best known for films such as "Trainspotting" and "28 Days Later", made his first venture into the science fiction genre with this film.Fact|date=August 2008 The script was based on a scientific back-story that took the characters on a psychological journey. The director cast a group of international actors for the film, and had the actors live together and learn about topics related to their roles, as a form of method acting. To have the actors realistically react to visual effects that would be implemented in post-production, the filmmakers constructed live sets to serve as cues.

Previous science fiction films that Boyle cited as influences included Kubrick's 1968 film "", the 1972 Tarkovsky version of "Solaris", and the 1979 science-fiction horror film "Alien". "Sunshine" was released in the United Kingdom on 6 April 2007 and in the United States on 20 July 2007. The film grossed £3.2 million in the UK over twelve weeks, and in the US, it placed #13 in the box office in the first weekend of its wide release. With a budget of US$40 million,cite news | author=Randee Dawn | url= | title=Handmade VFX warms Boyle's 'Sunshine' pic | publisher=The Hollywood Reporter | date=2007-07-19 | accessdate=2007-09-21 ] it ultimately grossed almost US$32 million worldwide.


In 2057, the failure of the Earth's Sun threatens life on the planet, compelling humanity to send a spacecraft that carries a payload intended to re-ignite it. The first spacecraft with the payload, the "Icarus I", was lost seven years previously for reasons unknown, having failed in its mission. A second spacecraft with a new payload, the "Icarus II", is sent to the sun in a final attempt due to all fissile materials on earth having been mined for the payload.

When the "Icarus II" passes Mercury on its way to the sun, communications officer Harvey (Troy Garity) discovers the distress beacon of "Icarus I". Physicist Capa (Cillian Murphy) is asked by Captain Kaneda (Hiroyuki Sanada) to decide whether to change course and approach "Icarus I". After a risk assessment, Capa decides to rendezvous with the stricken vessel in order to acquire another payload and double their chances of success, since all simulations of the explosion end with uncertain results. In planning the new course, navigator Trey (Benedict Wong) forgets to realign the heat shield to match the new trajectory, which results in damage that puts the spacecraft at risk. Kaneda and Capa embark on a spacewalk to make repairs, and an unintended automatic override by the ship's computer puts the two men at risk of fatal solar exposure.

Kaneda orders Capa to return to the ship, choosing to sacrifice himself to complete the vital repairs. The incident that causes the override turns out to be a fire in the ship's oxygen garden, started by sunlight reflected from an exposed part of the ship, dangerously depleting oxygen levels and making a return trip impossible. Trey blames himself for his neglect, and psychiatrist Searle (Cliff Curtis) sedates him, assessing him as a suicide risk.

The "Icarus II" rendezvous with the "Icarus I", and the lost spacecraft is explored by four men of the crew: Harvey, Capa, Searle, and engineer Mace (Chris Evans). While the "Icarus I" has a functional oxygen garden, the ship's operational computer is found to be sabotaged, rendering delivery of the payload impossible. Mace finds a video left behind by Captain Pinbacker (Mark Strong), who states the mission was purposely abandoned, thinking it was the 'will of God' that humanity should die. The crew of "Icarus I" is found dead in the unshielded observation room, having immolated themselves. During the group's exploration, the airlocks inexplicably decouple, stranding the crew members on the "Icarus I". In a risky move, Searle stays behind to jettison the three men using the coordinated vacuuming of the airlock to propel them to the airlock of the "Icarus II". Harvey is knocked into space and freezes to death, and Searle, trapped on the "Icarus I", submits himself to the same fate as the original crew in the observation room, exposing himself to the sun.

Five remain on the "Icarus II": Capa, Mace, Trey, Cassie (Rose Byrne), and Corazon (Michelle Yeoh). The survivors check the "Icarus" activity file and discover that someone must have manually decoupled the airlock as there was no hardware failure. While Trey -- now the prime suspect for sabotaging the airlock -- is elsewhere, the four other crew members discuss that the remaining oxygen reserves would only allow them to reach the sun to deliver the payload if there were only four people. Everyone except Cassie decides Trey must be killed, but when they go to Trey, they find he has apparently committed suicide.ref label|Trey|A|A During a final inspection some nineteen hours before the delivery point, Capa discovers with surprise from the spacecraft's computer that even without Trey the reserves would not last for them because of an unaccounted-for fifth person on the spacecraft. He discovers that Pinbacker is still alive and had made his way onto the "Icarus II" observation room.

Pinbacker attacks the crew members, killing Corazon in the oxygen garden (with a scapel), and then attempts to sabotage the spacecraft so it would not complete its mission, removing the mainframe computer from its cooling system. Mace attempts to undo Pinbacker's sabotage, but is trapped in the coolant reservoir and freezes to death there. Capa is trapped in an airlock but manages to manually uncouple the bomb from the rest of the spacecraft. He then travels to it via spacesuit shortly before the bomb's booster rockets are activated, taking it out of solar orbit. He finds a badly wounded Cassie in the payload section, having been pursued there by Pinbacker. Both evade this saboteur long enough for Capa to commence setting off his bomb. Pinbacker, once again goes to stop them and he and Capa struggle as they speedily descend straight down towards the surface of their sun. Just before point of impact, Capa overpowers Pinbacker, then detonates his bomb in time to re-ignite the sun.

On Earth, Capa's sister reviews her brother's last words on video while her children build snowmen. Suddenly, the sky brightens, an indication of the mission's success, revealing that they were building snowmen near the Sydney Opera House.


In March 2005, following the completion of "Millions" (2004),cite news | author=Edward Douglas | url= | title=In the Future With Danny Boyle | | date=2005-03-05 | accessdate=2007-01-13 ] director Danny Boyle was briefly attached to direct "3000 Degrees", a Warner Bros. project about the 1999 Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse fire in Massachusetts, but due to opposition from surviving victims and firefighters, the project did not enter production. At the same time, Boyle received a script from screenwriter Alex Garland, who had paired with Boyle for "The Beach" (2000) and "28 Days Later" (2002). Producer Andrew Macdonald, working with Boyle and Garland, pitched the script to 20th Century Fox, who were reluctant to finance the film based on its similarities to the 2002 remake "Solaris", which performed dismally for the studio. The project was instead financed by Fox's specialized film unit Fox Searchlight Pictures. Since the preliminary budget at US$40 million was too demanding for Fox Searchlight, Macdonald sought outside financing from British lottery funds, U.K. rebates, and outside investor Ingenious Film Partners.cite news | author=John Horn | title=Danny Boyle feels the heat with 'Sunshine' | publisher=Los Angeles Times | date=2007-07-01 ] With financing in place, Boyle entered pre-production work for "Sunshine", for which he planned to commence production by the following July. Since Boyle had previously worked with Fox Searchlight on "28 Days Later", the existing relationship permitted the director with freedom in production, working in a small studio. [cite news | author=Kurt Loder | url= | title=Danny Boyle's Space Odyssey | publisher=MTV | date=2007-07-12 | accessdate=2007-07-24 ]

Boyle and Garland worked on the script for a year, spent a second year preparing for production, filmed for three months, and spent a third full year editing and completing visual effects for "Sunshine".cite news | author=Eric Alt | url= | title=Danny Boyle Basks in the 'Sunshine' | publisher=Premiere | date= | accessdate=2007-07-24 ] After completion of filming for "Sunshine", Boyle said that he would not revisit the science fiction genre, citing production as a spiritually exhausting experience. The director said making the film had conquered his fear of the difficulty encountered in producing a science fiction film, and that he would move on from the genre. [cite news | author=Michelle Nichols | url= | title=INTERVIEW - 'Sunshine' director Boyle vows no return to space | publisher=Reuters | date=2007-07-18 | accessdate=2007-07-24 ]


Screenwriter Alex Garland was inspired to write "Sunshine" based on scientific ideas about the heat death of the universe,cite news | author= | url= | title=How to make science really shine | publisher=The Daily Telegraph | date=2007-03-13 | accessdate=2007-07-19 ] specifically "an article projecting the future of mankind from a physics-based, atheist perspective," according to Garland.cite news | author=Mark Kermode | url=,,2042102,00.html | title=2007: a scorching new space odyssey | publisher=The Observer | date=2007-03-25 | accessdate=2007-07-19 ] The article was from an American scientific periodical, and Garland had wondered about what would result from the sun's death.cite news | author=Kevin Bourke | url= | title=Flying into the sun | publisher=Manchester Evening News | date=2007-03-27 | accessdate=2007-07-20 ] Garland brought the script to director Danny Boyle, who enthusiastically took up the project due to his long-time desire to direct a science fiction film in space.cite news | author=Patrick Kolan | url= | title=Interview: Danny Boyle | publisher=IGN | date=2007-03-14 | accessdate=2007-07-19 ] Boyle and Garland worked on the script for a year, creating 35 drafts in their experimenting.

The director also considered the story of "Sunshine" as a counterintuitive approach for the contemporary issue of global warming, with the death of the sun being a threat. Originally, "Sunshine" was scripted to begin with a voiceover talking about how parents tell their children not to look into the sun, but once told, the children would be compelled to look. Boyle described the sun as a godly personality in the film, creating a psychological dimension for the astronauts due to its scale and power.cite news | author=Daniel Fienberg | url= | title=A CONVERSATION WITH DIRECTOR DANNY BOYLE | publisher=Filter | date=2007-09-03 | accessdate=2007-09-21 ] The director also described the film's villain as based on light, explaining, "That's quite a challenge because the way you generate fear in cinema is darkness." The director also sought to have the characters experience a psychological journey in which each person is worn mentally, physically, and existentially and is experiencing doubt in their faiths.cite news | author=Mark Salisbury | url= | title='Sunshine' set visit | publisher=Time Out | date=2007-03-29 | accessdate=2007-07-20 ] To capture the dangers of the voyage that the crew members went through, the director cited Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" as influential in "articulating the universe's power". [cite news | author=Jacob Ward | url= | title=The Terrifying Science Behind Danny Boyle's "Sunshine" | publisher=Popular Science | date=June 2007 | accessdate=2007-09-21 ]

The story was also written in part to reflect the existing brilliance yet arrogance of real-life scientists when the film's scientists are presented with the crisis that threatens Earth. The time period of the story, 50 years in the future, was chosen to enable the level of technology to advance to the ability to travel to the sun, but to simultaneously keep a feel of familiarity for the audience. Scientific advisers, futurists, and people who developed products for the future were consulted to shape an idea of the future.

To shape the science of the film, Boyle and Garland hired scientist advisers, including NASA employees and astrophysicists. One physicist, Brian Cox of University of Manchester, was hired to advise the cast and crew after the director had seen Cox on the science TV series "Horizon".cite news | url= | title=Dr. Brian Cox | | date=2007-08-27 | accessdate=2007-10-10 ] The physicist gave regular lectures to the film's cast members about solar physics. Cox also advised the filmmakers to scale down the nuclear device in the film from the mass of the Moon to the size of Manhattan. In the film's backstory, a Q-Ball enters the Earth's sun and begins to eat it away. According to Cox, the sun would not be dense enough in real life to stop a Q-ball, but filmmakers took creative licence in writing the backstory.

Boyle originally included romantic subplots,cite news | author=Laura Heifetz | url= | title="Trainspotting" Director: No Sci-Fi Sex | publisher=Radar | date=2007-06-28 | accessdate=2007-07-28 ] including a sex scene planned between the characters Capa (Murphy) and Cassie (Byrne) in the ship's oxygen garden. [cite news | author=Charlotte O'Sullivan | url= | title= A star is reborn | publisher=Evening Standard | date=2007-04-03 | accessdate=2007-07-24 ] However, the director considered the attempt for relationships in space too "embarrassing" and excluded the subplots. Boyle further distanced the characters from possible relationships by ensuring that the cast members wore little to no make-up to avoid any romantic overtures. The director also avoided including humor in the script with the exception of a few gags, believing that humor was a difficult fit for the story. "You get intensity of experience in space movies but not joy. So there's not much room for comedy or sex - everything is waiting to destroy you," explained Boyle.cite news | author=Jennie Punter | url= | title=Danny Boyle can't find room for love in outer space | publisher=Globe and Mail | date=2007-07-20 | accessdate=2007-09-21 ]


Director Danny Boyle chose to have an ensemble cast for "Sunshine" to encourage a more democratic process, similar to the ensemble cast in "Alien". Boyle also chose to have the cast be international in order to reflect the mission's purpose "on behalf of all mankind".cite news | author=Rosalie Higson | url=,20867,21457686-16947,00.html | title=Space riders of the apocalypse | publisher=The Australian | date=2007-03-28 | accessdate=2007-07-20 ] The space crew in the film also consisted of American/Asian nationality because of the filmmakers' belief that the American and Chinese space programs would be the most developed and economically empowered 50 years in the future. [cite web | url= | title=Sunshine Film | | accessdate=2007-05-15 ] The director had also received advice that there would be advanced space programs with India and Brazil, but the advice was overlooked to avoid creating a cast that was too disparate. According to producer Andrew Macdonald, the actors were required to speak with American accents to target the U.S. audience as much as international audiences due to the budget level of the project.

To prepare the international actors for the film, Boyle had the cast undergo method acting.cite news | author=Ben Rawson-Jones | url= | title= 'Sunshine' director Danny Boyle | publisher=Digital Spy | date=2007-04-04 | accessdate=2007-07-20 ] At the beginning of the film, the characters had been together for sixteen months, so Boyle desired to capture a sense of togetherness among the actors by assigning them to live together. He also enrolled the cast members in space training and scuba diving, as well as watching films together, such as "The Right Stuff" (1983) and the documentary "For All Mankind" (1989). [cite news | author=Garry Maddox | url= | title=Master of the cool change | publisher=Brisbane Times | date=2007-04-06 | accessdate=2007-07-24 ] Boyle also took the cast on a tour of a nuclear submarine to comprehend claustrophobic living conditions. He also had the cast experience weightlessness in the zero G environment of an acrobatic plane.

Cast members operated a Boeing 747 flight simulator and were introduced to futurologist Richard Seymour.cite news | author= | url=,,2040021,00.html | title=The sun is the star | publisher=The Guardian | date=2007-03-23 | accessdate=2007-07-19 ] The book "Moondust" by Andrew Smith, a collection of accounts of the men who had walked on the moon, was assigned reading to cast members. [cite news | author=Andrew Mueller | url=,,2046781,00.html | title=Lost in space | publisher=The Guardian | date=2007-03-31 | accessdate=2007-07-30 ] The book had been assigned by Boyle because it covered the psychological effect on the men that traveled to the moon. The director sought to manifest the effect by having the sun and its power influence the mindsets of the ship's crew.


Filming for "Sunshine" took place at 3 Mills Studios in East London. An elaborate set was constructed, containing eight stages, 17 sets, and detailed models. The filmmakers employed three film units. Filming began on 23 August 2005, [cite news | author=Fox Searchlight Pictures | url= | title= Danny Boyle's "Sunshine" Begins Filming | | date=2005-08-25 | accessdate= ] lasting for 15 weeks, with August and September being difficult months due to the heat and the cast's requirement to wear spacesuits for their roles. Cinematographer Alwin H. Kuchler chose to film in anamorphic format to capture a physical sense of the light. "We shot certain sequences in a very dark environment, which you get used to, so when the Sun plays a role, we wanted the audience to have a physical reaction to it," Kuchler said.cite news | author=Emanuel Levy | url= | title=Sunshine: Danny Boyle Fashions the Future | | date= |accessdate=2007-07-24 ] Due to filming with the actors taking place on a stage, director Danny Boyle constructed live effects so the actors could realistically respond to computer-generated effects that were later implemented. [cite news | author=Jason Silverman | url= | title=Q&A: Danny Boyle's "Sunshine" Makes Sci-Fi Smart Again | publisher=Wired News | date=2007-07-17 | accessdate=2007-07-24 ]

To increase the sense of claustrophobia in "Sunshine", Boyle refused to cut back to scenes on Earth, a traditional technique in most films about the planet in jeopardy. The director also kept a sense of confinement in "Sunshine" by avoiding filming the primary ship, "Icarus II", from the outside. He also attempted to avoid filming star field backgrounds, keeping the background pitch black, but was forced to keep stars in the background to keep a sense of movement.

A scene in a snow-covered park with three stone monoliths was a homage to a similar scene in "". The scene was filmed at a May day memorial in Stockholm, Sweden. [cite news | author=Patrick Lee | url= | title="Sunshine" Contains Homages | publisher=Sci Fi Wire | date=2007-07-03 | accessdate=2007-07-24 ] The Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia was chosen by Boyle out of six monuments that he considered universally recognisable. The Opera House, according to the director, possessed a "heat-thing" that made the location his choice. The snowy territory of the final scene was shot in Stockholm, Sweden, and a composite shot was created combining Stockholm's background and the Sydney Opera House. A slightly different ending was shot after the original, but the alternate ending was not chosen as the director felt that it did not fit the film. The alternate ending became available on the DVD of "Sunshine".cite news | author=Sheila Roberts | url= | title=Danny Boyle Interview, Sunshine (2007) | | date= | accessdate=2007-07-28 ]


The presspack says that the claustrophobic environment in the film was inspired by Wolfgang Petersen's "Das Boot" (1981).cite news | author=Katja Hofmann | url= | title=Scout's report: 3 pix poised for multiplexes | publisher=Variety | date=2005-11-27 | accessdate=2007-07-19 ] Boyle also cited inevitable visual influences from science fiction films in space by Andrei Tarkovsky ("Solaris" in 1972), Stanley Kubrick ("" in 1968), and Ridley Scott ("Alien" in 1979). [cite news | author= | url= | title=Interview : Danny Boyle | | date=2007-03-19 | accessdate=2007-07-19 ] Influences from other science fiction films also included Paul W. S. Anderson's "Event Horizon" (1997), John Carpenter's "Dark Star" (1974), and Douglas Trumbull's "Silent Running" (1971).

Filmmakers consulted NASA to design the scientific aspect of the film. Technical requirements for the ship were provided in order to be feasible. An oxygen garden was also recommended to provide oxygen for the ship and to enable a ship's crew to grow their own food rather than rely on pre-packaged food.cite news | author=Max Evry | coauthors=Ryan Rotten | url= | title= Exclusive: Danny Boyle on "Sunshine"! | | date=2007-07-16 | accessdate=2007-07-24 ] Boyle met with a department within NASA that was focused on the psychology of deep-space travel, and the department advised the director that Earth routines like preparing one's own food, eating it, and cleaning up after were activities crucial to an astronaut's sanity. [cite news | author=Reed Tucker | url= | title=ROCKET MAN | publisher=New York Post | date=2007-07-15 | accessdate=2007-07-24 ]

The gold-leaf reflective shield in "Sunshine" was influenced by NASA's satellites that are sent out to deflect heat and radiation. Director Danny Boyle chose to design the space suits to be gold along these lines, despite encouragement to model the suits after the NASA design. The helmets of the film's suits were designed to have cameras mounted in them, which created a sense of claustrophobia useful for the actors in their performances. The helmets were also limited to a slit for visibility instead of a full-face visor as further consideration to protect the characters from radiation in space. According to Boyle, the funnel shape of the helmet was influenced by the character Kenny from "South Park".

Boyle included "Icarus" in the name of the film's ship to continue a theme of bleakness, saying that no Americans would give their ship such an ill-fated name. According to the director, "They'd call it "Spirit of Hope" or "Ship of Destiny". They'd call it something optimistic... in America they would sacrifice all plausibility, because there would be hope." [cite news | author=James Luxford | url= | title=Danny Boyle Discusses New Film Sunshine | publisher=Entertainmentwise | date=2007-03-27 | accessdate=2007-07-20 ] The ship's exterior was designed to look like an oil tanker. The ship's interior was influenced by the design of a nuclear submarine that filmmakers had visited in Scotland, though the space was larger due to NASA's advice that smaller quarters would affect astronauts' sanity. The corpses of burn victims in the film were modeled on the Pompeii victims from the Mount Vesuvius eruption.

Visual effects

Cinematographer Alwin H. Kuchler provided an idea to render the interior of the ship in the colors of grey, blue, and green, with no reference to orange, red, or yellow. Scenes were intended to be shot inside the ship at long intervals, and when the shot changed to the outside, yellow-starved audiences would be "penetrated" by sunlight.cite web | url= | title=The Danny Boyle Webchat Transcript | publisher=Empire | accessdate=2007-07-20 ] The visual effects of the sunlight were based on photographs from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory project.cite news | author=Dennis Lim | url= | title='Sunshine': Danny Boyle's latest visit to a vast new world | publisher=International Herald Tribune | date=2007-07-10 | accessdate=2007-07-24 ] Boyle also sought to pursue inexpensive methods in filming sequences involving actors and visual effects. In a scene in which a character dreams of falling into the sun,ref label|Capa|B|B the actor was placed in a gantry, around which 20 men slid a rig of lights.

In another scene in which a character dies from solar exposure among ashes from cremated bodies, massive blasters propelled biodegradable dust at the actor in the director's attempt to have the computer-generated effects follow the actor instead of vice versa. Boyle commented on his approach to using effects, "There is part of our brain where we admire the effect, but we put it in a side compartment of our experience because you know there's no way an actor can live through that, or be there in that moment." During the post-production process, Boyle hired one visual effects company, London's Moving Picture Company, to work on the film's 750 visual effects. The assignment of a single company was contrary to the industry trend of hiring multiple vendors to work on a film's effects. Boyle chose one company for ease of quality control, though the decision resulted in a prolonged post-production process.


When the film was mostly complete, director Danny Boyle provided the film to the band Underworld, who improvised a score for the film. Karl Hyde of Underworld was influenced by the music of avant garde composer György Ligeti, which had been used in Stanley Kubrick's "" (1968). "Lux Aeterna" by Ligeti particularly influenced Hyde. When Underworld finished recording, the band sent its work to composer John Murphy, who completed the score, resulting in a hybrid between Underworld and Murphy. The band I Am Kloot also contributed to the score with the track "Avenue of Hope". [cite web | url= | title=SUNSHINE FILM NOW AT CINEMAS | publisher=I Am Kloot | accessdate=2007-07-31 ]

Despite high praise for the score from many fans of the film, a soundtrack for the film is still yet to be officially released, in part due to 'disputes' between the lawyers of Underworld and Fox Searchlight. [cite web | url= | title=Sunshine Blog - Soundtrack Information | accessdate=2008-01-19 ] A soundtrack was still widely expected to be eventually released, until the film's producer Andrew Macdonald stated in a fansite interview that the soundtrack was "stuck" and that there were "no plans to release" it. [cite web | url= | title=Sunshine Fan Online: Interview with Andrew Macdonald | accessdate=2008-01-19 ] However, as of 9/19/08, there are plans to release the full soundtrack on iTunes. Underworld confirmed this on 9/10/08 on an internet radio broadcast. [cite web | url= | title=Official Soundtrack release is coming (for real)! | accessdate=2008-09-19 ]


*Cillian Murphy as Robert Capa is a physicist who operates the massive nuclear device. Murphy described the character of Capa as a silent outsider, which was due to the fact that only Capa understood the operation and true scale of the nuclear bomb. [cite news | author=Alistair Harkness | url= | title=Starship trouper | publisher=The Scotsman | date=2007-03-31 | accessdate=2007-07-20 ] Murphy worked with physicist Brian Cox to learn about advanced physics, [cite news | author=Jon Keighren | url= | title=Manchester scientist helps bring Sunshine to the big screen | publisher=Innovations Report | date=2007-03-27 | accessdate=2007-07-20 ] touring the CERN facility and learning to copy physicists' mannerisms.cite news | author=Rick Fulton | url= | title=DANNY'S NEW GOLDEN BOY | publisher=Daily Record | date=2007-03-30 | accessdate=2007-07-20 ] The actor also studied the thriller "The Wages of Fear" (1953) with Boyle to gain an understanding of the type of suspense that Boyle wanted to create in the film. [cite news | author=Sam Ashurst | url= | title= Killing time with Cillian Murphy | publisher=Total Film | date=2007-04-02 | accessdate=2007-07-24 ] Murphy claims that his involvement in the film converted him from agnosticism to atheism. [cite news | url= | title=Murphy Turns Atheist After Work on Sci-Fi Thriller | publisher=Hollywood News | date=2007-03-27 2007 | accessdate=2007-05-15]

*Rose Byrne as Cassie, the space vessel's pilot. Byrne was chosen by the director for her role in "Troy" (2004).cite news | author=Claire Sutherland | url=,21985,21544934-2902,00.html | title=On the boyle | publisher=Herald Sun | date=2007-04-12 | accessdate=2007-07-20 ] Byrne described Cassie as the most emotional member of the crew, " [wearing] her heart on her sleeve". Byrne considered Cassie's role among the crew was to possess an even temperament which helps her last the journey.cite news | author= | url= | title=Sunshine Movie | publisher=Wild About Movies | date= | accessdate=2007-07-24 ]

*Cliff Curtis as Searle, the ship's doctor and psychological officer. The role of Searle was originally written to be a "slightly stiff" British character. Curtis was drawn to the role based on the script and also expressed interest in working with the director.cite news | author=Chris Hewitt | url= | title=Cliff Curtis takes a trip to see the "Sunshine" with "RT" | publisher=Rotten Tomatoes | date=2007-09-11 | accessdate=2007-09-21 ] Boyle was familiar with Curtis from "Training Day" (2001) and "Whale Rider" (2002), and Curtis's audition appealed to Boyle strongly enough to cast the actor as Searle. Curtis initially foresaw an esoteric approach for his character, but he later pursued a military and scientific approach based on the seriousness of the mission. The actor also compared Searle to the character of Pinbacker, noting their similarities and differences: " [Searle] would sacrifice those beliefs and views, his life, for the greater good, whereas Pinbacker, who's come to a place he believes is right, would sacrifice the world for his beliefs. They're two sides of the coin."

*Chris Evans as Mace, the engineer. Evans described his character Mace as one with a military family and background. Mace has a dry and morally uncomplicated personality. Said Evans, " [He] has a very level head which enables him to operate fairly coherently under pressure-filled situations."

*Troy Garity as Harvey, the communications officer and second-in-command. Garity's previous work was unknown to Boyle, but the director was impressed enough with the actor upon meeting him that he cast Garity. Garity described the character of Harvey as the only crew member who misses his family back home on Earth and attempts to hide the fact.

*Hiroyuki Sanada as Kaneda, the ship's captain. The script originally had an American captain, but scientists and space experts persuaded Boyle to change the nationality to Japanese.cite news | author=Noriko Nakamura | url= | title=Hiroyuki Sanada Gets His Day in the Sun | publisher=Asahi Weekly | date=2007-04-22 | accessdate=2007-07-24 ] Boyle saw Sanada in "The Twilight Samurai" (2002), and director Wong Kar-wai recommended the actor to Boyle when the latter sought someone to cast as the Asian captain of the ship. Sanada's character was originally called Kanada, but he asked Boyle to change the name to Kaneda, a more natural Japanese name. The character was Sanada's second English-language role in cinema, and Sanada learned different forms of English, depending on the circumstances. Sanada's base English language had a British dialect, and when the actor recited official statements as Kaneda, the dialect was official English. In communicating with other characters as Kaneda, Sanada spoke with an American English accent to reflect the fictional situation of the character training with the rest at NASA.

*Benedict Wong as Trey, the navigator. Boyle saw Wong in "Dirty Pretty Things" (2002). Wong's character, Trey, was a child prodigy who created a computer virus that brought down one-sixth of the world's computers. As a result, Trey is recruited into the space program so his genius could be applied more beneficially.
*Michelle Yeoh as Corazon, the biologist who takes care of the ship's "oxygen garden". Boyle cast Yeoh based on her performance in "Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997), and "Memoirs of a Geisha" (2005). [cite news | author=Ethan Sacks | url= | title= Memoirs of a sensation | publisher=New York Daily News | date=2007-07-15 | accessdate=2007-07-24 ] Yeoh described her character as more spiritual, explaining Corazon's background, as an "Asian influence or that she's always constantly surrounded by organic things – she's very grounded and more down-to-earth." [cite news | author=Mumtaj Begum | url= | title=To infinity and beyond | publisher=The Star | date=2007-04-13 | accessdate=2007-07-20 ]

*Chipo Chung as the voice of Icarus, the on-board computer of the spacecraft "Icarus" which gives the crew updates on the mission and warnings when oxygen is low. This was Chung's first named film role. [Listed in the film's credits.]

*Mark Strong as Pinbacker, the insane captain of "Icarus I", the first ship that was sent to reignite the sun. Pinbacker was inspired by the character sergeant Pinback from "Dark Star". The character's disfiguring burns were influenced by the injuries suffered by F1 driver Niki Lauda. Boyle described the character of Pinbacker as a representation of fundamentalism, similar to the Taliban. [cite news | author=Benjamin Crossley-Marra | url= | title=Interview: Danny Boyle | publisher=2007-07-19 | accessdate=2007-07-24 ] The director also described the potentially unrealistic presence of Pinbacker as an example of something that breaks the pattern of realism, similar to his scene in "Trainspotting" (1996) in which Ewan McGregor's character dives into a toilet.cite news | author=Michael James Allen | url= | title=An Interview with Danny Boyle | publisher=Lumino Magazine | date=2007-07-23 | accessdate=2007-09-21 ]


Box office performance

"Sunshine" was originally slated for a theatrical release in October 2006, but the release was later changed to March 2007. The film was finally set to debut in April 2007.cite news | author=John Horn | url= | title=Danny Boyle feels the heat with 'Sunshine' | publisher=Los Angeles Times | date=2007-07-01 | accessdate=2007-07-19 ] "Sunshine" made its world premiere at Fantasy Filmfest in Bochum, Germany on 23 March 2007. [cite web | url= | title=FREITAG 23. März | publisher=Fantasy Filmfest | accessdate=2007-07-19 | language=German ] The film was commercially released in the home country of the United Kingdom on 6 April 2007, grossing £1,021,063 in 407 theatres for its opening weekend. [cite web | author= | url= | title=Apr 06-Apr 08, 2007 | publisher=UK Film Council | accessdate=2007-04-13 ]

The film also opened the same weekend in seven other markets, performing most strongly in Hong Kong (US$267,000), Taiwan (US$442,000) and Singapore (US$198,000).cite news | author=Conor Bresnan | url= | title=Around the World Roundup: '300' Resurrected | publisher=Box Office Mojo | date=2007-04-11 | accessdate=2007-07-19 ] On the weekend of 13 April 2007, "Sunshine" opened in 22 more markets, garnering US$5.3 million for the weekend. Its French debut was the strongest with US$1.2 million in 380 theatres, but the film only had average performance in New Zealand (US$120,149 from 36 theatres), Switzerland (US$60,285 from 11 theatres) and Finland (US$42,745 from 15 theatres). [cite news | author=Conor Bresnan | url= | title=Around the World Roundup: 'Bean' Regains Lead | publisher=Box Office Mojo | date=2007-04-16 | accessdate=2007-07-19 ]

The following weekend of 20 April 2007, the film expanded to 44 markets, garnering US$5.9 million for a total of US$18.6 million thus far, considered a disappointing amount. "Sunshine" had poor débuts in Spain (US$1 million), Germany (US$638,549), and Italy (US$453,000). [cite news | author=Conor Bresnan | url= | title=Around the World Roundup: Comedies 'Hog' Business | publisher=Box Office Mojo | date=2007-04-23 | accessdate=2007-07-19 ] By the end of April, "Sunshine" had opened to most markets, with the notable exception of the United States, for which a release date had yet to be established at the time. The film's theatrical run in the UK lasted twelve weeks, totaling £3,175,911. [cite web | url= | title=Jun 22-Jun 24, 2007 | publisher=UK Film Council | accessdate=2007-07-19 ]

The film was originally slated to be released in the United States in September 2007, but the release date was moved earlier to July 2007. [cite news | url= | title= Danny Boyle’s Sunshine North American Release Bumped Up to July | Film Junk | date=2007-05-24 | accessdate=2007-07-24 ] "Sunshine" was released in the United States and Canada at select locations in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, and Toronto on 20 July 2007.cite news | author= | url= | title=Sunshine Movie Information | | date=2007-07-04 | accessdate=2007-07-19 ] "Sunshine" opened in 10 theatres in the United States and grossed US$242,964 over the opening weekend.cite web | url= | title=Sunshine (2007) | publisher=Box Office Mojo | accessdate=2007-08-19 ]

The film was released everywhere else in the two countries the following weekend of 27 July 2007. In the film's first wide release weekend in the United States and Canada, "Sunshine" grossed US$1,262,996 in 461 theaters, ranking #13 at the weekend box office. [cite web | url= | title=Sunshine (2007) - Weekend Box Office | publisher=Box Office Mojo | accessdate=2007-07-31 ] In its theatrical run, the film grossed US$3,675,753 in the United States and Canada and US $28,268,852 in other territories for a worldwide total of US$31,944,605; the film's budget reportedly was US$40 million.

Critical reaction

The film received 75% positive reviews out of 138 reviews, with an average rating of 6.8/10 at the movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. [cite web | url= | title=Sunshine | publisher=Rotten Tomatoes | accessdate=2007-11-26 ] Among the "Cream of the Crop" reviews at Rotten Tomatoes, 59% out of 30 reviews were positive, with an average rating of 6.4/10. [cite web | url= | title=Sunshine - Cream of the Crop | publisher=Rotten Tomatoes | accessdate=2007-11-26 ] On another aggregator, Metacritic, "Sunshine" received an average score of 64 out of 100 based on 34 reviews. [cite web | url= | title=Sunshine (2007): Reviews | publisher=Metacritic | accessdate=2007-08-16 ]

Critically, the film was moderately well received in the UK. [ [ Prepare for a scorcher] , "Daily Telegraph", accessed 27th April 2007] [ [ Sunshine] , "Time Out", accessed 27th April 2007] However, many found the last reels disappointing, with one critic suggesting the switch to 'slasher movie' mode might have been inserted to appease teenage audiences. [ [ Review: Sunshine] , "The Times", accessed 27th April 2007]

Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film 3 stars and said that "the [actors] are effective by trying not to be too effective; they almost all play professional astronaut/scientists, and not action-movie heroes," and also that the film "is strongest when it focuses on the sheer enormity of the mission and its consequences." [cite web|url= |title=:: :: Reviews :: Sunshine |accessdate=2007-09-03 |author=Roger Ebert |date=2007-07-20 |publisher=Chicago Sun-Times]

cientific accuracy

In the film, unsuited astronauts experience freezing during a desperate jettisoning, which would be incorrect due to the lack of their bodies' heat dissipation in a vacuum. Slow motion during weightlessness was also inaccurately portrayed; the director had discovered this when riding the Vomit Comet, but he kept the slow motion to meet audiences' expectations. The film's premise of the Sun dying out is also inaccurate, since the Sun is estimated to die out in five billion years. Part of the film's back-story included the Sun's death being caused by a Q-ball caught in the solar body, but realistically, the Sun would not be dense enough to trap a Q-ball. [cite news | author=Roger Highfield | url=;jsessionid=WSXFD4VEK2AMDQFIQMGCFGGAVCBQUIV0?xml=/connected/2007/03/13/nsunshine113.xml&page=1 | title= How to make science really shine | publisher=The Daily Telegraph | 2007-03-13 | accessdate=2008-03-24 ]

The film's scientific content has been criticized by specialists with arguments often found contradicted by statements pertaining to the film. [ [,,2060703,00.html Another View] , Dr. Chris Lintott, The Guardian, accessed 31 April 2007.] For example, the science periodical "New Scientist" claimed that the nuclear device used by the crew would be woefully inadequate to reignite the dying Sun (billions would be required). [ [ Review: Sunshine] , New Scientist, 2007-04-07] The periodical found the film to be confusing and disappointing. Similarly, solar physicist Anjana Ahuja, a columnist for "The Times", commented on the lack of source of artificial gravity onboard the spacecraft, claiming "Danny Boyle could have achieved the same level of scientific fidelity in "Sunshine" by giving a calculator to a schoolboy". (The artificial gravity was shown but never mentioned or explained). In the deleted scenes on the DVD it is explained that inside the cube structure was compressed the mass of a small moon, thus generating the artificial gravity, and the reason why they didn't fall to their death when pushed off the edge of the cube.) Ahuja was, however, more positive about the psychological aspect of the film, joking that "the psychology of extended space travel is covered well, although we could have done with a space bonk". [cite news|url=|title= Sunshine on my mind|authorlink=Anjana Ahuja|first=Anjana|last=Ahuja|date=2007-04-02|publisher=The Times|accessdate=2007-05-13]

Home media

The DVD for "Sunshine" was released in the United Kingdom on 27 August 2007. Extras include separate commentaries by Danny Boyle and Dr. Brian Cox, an alternative ending, eleven deleted scenes, web production diaries, and the short films Dad's Dead and Mole Hills. [cite news | author=Gary Gray |url= | title=Sunshine (2007) DVD News | publisher=Real Movie News | date=2007-07-11 | accessdate=2007-07-30 ] A Blu-Ray version was released in the UK in October of the same year. In the United States, "Sunshine" was released on high-definition Blu-ray Disc and standard definition DVD on 8 January 2008. [cite web | url= | title=Sunshine (2007) | publisher=VideoETA | accessdate=2007-10-04 ] . As of February 17, 2008, Sunshine has grossed $15.83 million in rental sales. [cite web|title=Box Office Mojo - DVD and home video sales. |url=|accessdate=2008-07-09]


:note label|Trey|A|A According to the director on his audio commentary for the DVD, Pinbacker stole two scalpels, using one to kill Trey and fake his suicide and the other to kill Corazon. On Brian Cox's audio commentary, the physicist instead states that actor Benedict Wong felt Trey had actually committed suicide, rather than just appearing to have done so.:note label|Capa|B|B Cillian Murphy's character, Capa, experiences dreams in which he is falling into the sun.


External links

* [ Official site]
* [ Supplementary site]
* [ Character backstories] by screenwriter Alex Garland
* [ Official trailers] at
* [ Visual effects article] at VFXWorld
*imdb title|id=0448134|title=Sunshine
*amg movie|id=1:328646|title=Sunshine
*metacritic film|id=sunshine2007|title=Sunshine

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