Moonshot’s Lana Condor wants you to choose who you are

Moonshot’s Lana Condor wants you to choose who you are

In an age when billionaires and celebrities are obsessed with the future, blasting off into space and trying to build civilizations on other planets, Lana Condor shows us that there’s nothing wrong with staying grounded and focusing on yourself. Even if it means staying on Earth.

In Moonshot, Condor’s futuristic film premiering on HBO Max on March 31, Sophie is a university student balancing her own scientific aspirations with a very long-distance relationship. Calvin (Mason Gooding) and his family live and work on a human-inhabited Mars. Sophie encounters Walt (Cole Sprouse), a love-sick barista who has ambitions to travel to the formerly-desolate planet. The pair ends up traveling to Mars together, and the storyline follows a classic semi-foes to lovers arc set in space. But, the romance isn’t really the point. This film’s real message is about prioritizing yourself, and that’s a universal message that transcends galaxies.

In our first encounter with Sophie, she attempts to make a long-distance relationship work. Eight years later, she is having a hard time connecting. As she sobs in a coffee shop on campus where he works, her WiFi has literally conked out after all the hours spent trying. Anyone who’s ever been in an LDR knows how hard it is at best, forcing us to overcorrect to please the other person since we’re so far away.

Initially, Sophie leaves Earth in order to bridge the physical divide. She’s extremely future-oriented, and supports all of her boyfriend’s endeavors, whether it’s scheduling FaceTime calls or flying to Mars, with the plan that one day, it’ll be her turn. Walt, spontaneous-to-a-fault, has a different motivation for space travel. As he reveals to the audience in the first few minutes of the film, exploring is the perfect way to discover where you fit in the world. After a chance meeting in Sophie’s cabin, Walt and Sophie fall in love.

Although Moonshot is about Walt and Sophie’s burgeoning romance, and the trials of young love gone intergalactic, Condor was determined the focus wouldn’t be on the classic romcom trope of “girl meets boy, girl follows boy to the ends of the earth and puts boy’s goals before her own.”

Initially, there was an element of this in the movie, with Sophie travelling to Mars to be with Calvin, but for Condor it was crucial that the decision wasn’t just about Calvin. The filmmakers use Sophie’s close relationship to Calvin’s family – specifically his mother – as a plot point. “It wasn’t just Sophie who followed a boy across the universe. Instead, it’s Sophie misses her family. My goal is to never create a narrative that young women should drop everything to be with a boy.

Later in Moonshot, when Sophie and Walt fly to Mars, Sophie – who entered the trip afraid of flying and overcame the fear to get to Calvin – lets go of the platform holding her to the spaceship and drifts into space. She doesn’t do it for anyone else, but simply for herself and to enjoy the view.Later in Moonshot, when Sophie and Walt fly to Mars, Sophie – who entered the trip afraid of flying and overcame the fear to get to Calvin – lets go of the platform holding her to the spaceship and drifts into space. She doesn’t do it for anyone else, but simply for herself and to enjoy the view.Later in Moonshot, when Sophie and Walt fly to Mars, Sophie – who entered the trip afraid of flying and overcame the fear to get to Calvin – lets go of the platform holding her to the spaceship and drifts into space. She doesn’t do it for anyone else, but simply for herself and to enjoy the view.

“I think it’s easy to get lost in the tunnel vision of today’s society and not be in the moment,” Condor says. Sophie is always kind of looking forward, but later on in the film she becomes more optimistic, and she wants to go on more adventures. She wants adventurous and fun. 

Ultimately, that’s what Moonshot provides: Sophie’s recognition that, as Walt tells her at the end of the film, “you are the adventure.” When Sophie decides to return to Earth and focus on improving the planet, Walt follows her, but in the end, it wouldn’t matter if Walt went back to Earth or not. The real victory is Sophie finally chooses herself, her goals, and her happiness.

The idea of following your passions is what Condor hopes people, and particularly young women, take from the film. Do not make your life journey based on what others want from you, make it based on what you want from yourself,” Condor says.

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