On Monday, May 8th, the cast of Disney+’s Crater – McKenna Grace, Isaiah Russell-Bailey, Orson Hong, Thomas Boyce, and Billy Barratt – sat down for a virtual press conference moderated by ComicBook.com’s Jim Viscardi to discuss unique filming of this sci-fi coming-of-age adventure and how their time on the film brought them closer both as characters and as cast members. Below, we summarized the five most important things we learned.
1. The cast trained on “moon camp.”
To get acquainted with the environments their characters would be exploring, the cast attended a virtual “moon camp” hosted by an astronomer, who told them “everything to do with the moon” and helped them better visualize space, according to Barratt.
Russell-Bailey added that they also did “six weeks of prep to get the spacesuit fittings and the harness stunt training as well,” working with the team at Legacy to build their spacesuits and the stunt team to help them “look like real astronauts and perform like real astronauts in low gravity.”
2. Some of the stars already resembled their characters, while others had to put themselves in new situations.
When asked about the biggest difference between the cast and their characters, Russell-Bailey went first and said that he had to “[put himself] in the mindset of someone who has lost a parent or a very close family member,” which is a loss he fortunately has not had to deal with.
Grace and Hong said they felt pretty similar to their characters, while Boyce called himself “the most different than [his] character than anybody else in the cast,” as his Marcus “doesn’t talk a lot” and is “very simple.” Barratt rounded out the group’s responses by essentially saying he was half like his character, and half not.
“We’ve got some similarities,” he said. “We’ve got some differences. But I think the similarities are that he cares for the people he loves, and he’ll do anything to make sure that they’re okay and happy and treated well. But the differences are that I don’t think I’m as cool as he is because I think that’s probably a character that he tries to portray and be that sort of guy in the group.”
3. This cast formed a bond just like their characters.
Naturally, filming Crater brought this fivesome together just like the characters they played, with Boyce saying that they “were on set with each other the entire time and then whenever [they’d] go home, [they] were always with each other,” describing this experience like “a sleepover.”
Russell-Bailey added that they “would go swimming and then to paintball almost every weekend with the crew,” but since they “all live in different places around the U.S., [they] haven’t really gotten to see each other in a long while – two years.”
4. Crater is today’s answer to classic 80s coming-of-age movies like Stand by Me and The Goonies, but with a sci-fi edge.
Though movies like Stand by Me and The Goonies came out well before these actors were born, the tropes in those films form the foundation of Crater, and the cast turned to them for inspiration as a result.
Russell-Bailey noted that he felt his character Caleb related to River Phoenix’s and Will Wheaton’s characters in Stand by Me, while Barratt said he’s become a big fan of “all those old movies” and studied them to see how the actors “[did] their thing,” “[related] to other people,” and so on and so forth.
5. The cast got their first experiences with wire work through filming.
When asked what their favorite stunts were, Grace noted that “everybody got to learn how to do flips on the wires, which was really cool.” Barratt chimed in to specify the scene where they all jump off the crater as his favorite, with Russell-Bailey adding that “it was kind of like skydiving a little bit.”
Russell-Bailey’s personal favorite though was when he had to “pick up Billy [Barratt’s character] and run across the moon while meteors were flying at [them],” as it made him feel like he was “Captain America saving Tony Stark while [he] was picking him up.”