Asa Butterfield and Britt Robertson Explore Interplanetary Romance In ‘The Space Between Us’

“Sometimes I feel like I’m from a different planet,” says Britt Robertson’s Tulsa in “The Space Between Us.” In the case of Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield of “Ender’s Game”), the first human born and raised on Mars, that sentiment is true – literally.

Directed by the multihyphenate Peter Chelsom (“Serendipity”, “Hector and the Search for Happiness”) from a script by Allan Loeb (“Collateral Beauty”), “The Space Between Us” is a star-crossed love story that flips the direction of space travel on its head. This time, Earth is the destination, not the origin. Mars native Gardner (Butterfield), raised by a team of Mars based scientists including Carla Gugino’s Kendra, travels light-years through space in order to team up with his online friend Tulsa (Robertson) and find his long lost father. Along the way, Gardner enjoys the wonders of planet Earth and the thrill of a first love.

Gardner, however, is on borrowed time. After living all 16 years of his life on Mars, his body can only withstand Earth’s gravity and atmosphere for so long. The Elon Musk–inspired Nathaniel Shepherd (Gary Oldman), who co-founded the Genesis space program to colonize Mars along with his old friend, Tom Chen (BD Wong), had desperately tried to convince his former colleagues that Gardner should be kept away from Earth, but to no avail. Now somewhat of a recluse, Nathaniel races against the clock to find the wayward Martian and keep him safe. Meanwhile, Gardner is busy discovering the world he’s never known with the only human he knows on Earth- Tulsa, a lonely foster child living in Colorado and the girl Gardner has been chatting with over the internet.

“The Space Between Us” occupies a unique niche. It is a teen romance, science fiction drama. Director Chelsom strove to highlight the storytelling elements they both share. “It’s about isolation and connection, amplified by the vastness of space,” Chelsom told “Empire.” “It’s heavy action and sci-fi, and at times it feels like a sweet, low-budget romance. It’s the balance between that massive scope and that good, strong heart.”
The Space Between Us” opens in theaters nationwide on Feb. 3.