Shortly after NASA landed its Curiosity and Perseverance rovers on Mars, a new documentary is in the works about another little robot that first captured hearts and minds: Opportunity, the Mars Exploration Rover.
The film about this “real-life WALL-E” is called “Good Night Oppy” and will be directed by “Assassins” filmmaker Ryan White. The heartwarming film shows how a robot that was only expected to be active for 90 days managed to explore Mars for nearly 15 years before making its final contact in June 2018. It’s about a robot traveling a planet on her own, but also about the literal connection and bond formed between human and machine.
Amazon Studios, Film 45, Amblin Television and Tripod Media are co-producing “Good Night Oppy,” which is currently in production and has the support of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). The documentary was even part of an intense bidding war that included at least six major streamers and platforms.
The film’s producers are Amblin Partners’ Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey, Film 45’s Brandon Carroll and Matt Goldberg and Tripod Media’s Jessica Hargrave and Ryan White. Stephen Neely and Max Wagner will serve as executive producers.
“Good Night Oppy” includes visual effects created by ILM that are designed to transport viewers to the Red Planet alongside Opportunity. JPL is providing the filmmakers access and footage to some of the scientific discoveries and expertise that came from Oppy’s mission.
“I grew up on films like ‘E.T.’ and ‘WALL-E,’ so to make a documentary with similar themes of wonder and awe has been a joy,” White said. “We’re thrilled to work with Amazon to bring the story of Oppy and her humans to global audiences of all ages.”
“We are so thrilled to be working with these extraordinary partners to bring Oppy’s story to our global customers,” Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, said in a statement. “The innovation and determination that made Oppy’s journey possible, and the spirit of discovery that drives the team at JPL, are an inspiration. As we celebrate their achievements, we are delighted to also be working with the extremely talented filmmaker Ryan White, and our friends at Amblin Television and Film 45 to bring this heartwarming story to life.”
“It was impossible not to fall in love with the story of Oppy — one of hope, ambition, adventure and exceeded expectations, and an exploration of the special relationship between mankind and technology, which ticked all the boxes for our Amblin brand,” Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey, co-presidents at Amblin Television, said in a statement. “We couldn’t be more excited to partner with our friends at Amazon Studios, Film 45 and Tripod Media to bring Oppy’s miraculous story to life.”
Clint LaVigne will oversee the day-to-day development of the project for Amblin, alongside Frank and Falvey.
Ryan White is the director of “Assassins,” “Visible: Out on Television,” “Ask Dr. Ruth,” “The Keepers” and “Good Ol’ Freda,” among others.
Film 45 and Amblin Television are represented by WME. White and Tripod Media are represented by WME and Submarine.