Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain likened shooting The Martian to being a little kid playing pretend after the film’s TIFF premiere on Friday.

Jessica Chastain Loved Playing An Astronaut In The Martian

Chastain, whose role in The Martian as Melissa Lewis marks her second space-themed role (following Interstellar), gushed over getting to play an astronaut in the new drama. A self-proclaimed space nerd, Chastain revealed that she loved having the opportunity to play an astronaut and interact with NASA personnel to prep for the role. “My very first meeting, I said, ‘If I do the movie, does that mean that I can go to space camp?’” Chastain told The Hollywood Reporter.

Chastain hopes that her role as an astronaut might inspire young, female audiences to chase their own dreams of going to space.

“I think it’s like 10 percent are women right now — astronauts. I am hoping that with Interstellar and Gravity and now The Martian, that young girls are gonna watch this film and they’re going to want to go to Mars, and will open up a whole new career path for girls who didn’t really know it was a possibility,” Chastain added.

At the press conference for The Martian, Chastain echoed that feminist sentiment while speaking about the diverse cast, which also includes Kate Mara, Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Pena, who jokingly declared himself “the first Mexican in space” during the press conference.

“I’m very happy that it’s a very diverse group of actors and people. I’m very happy that on a crew of six people, two are women. That’s actually better odds than the current NASA program,” she said.

Chastain also revealed that one of the things that attracted her to the project was the opportunity to do zero gravity work. She described the on-set process, which is really choreographed wire work, and noted that getting to pretend to be in space was the highlight of the shoot.

“I had so much fun. And when I saw it onscreen for the first time…it’s like being a little kid and watching these movies and hoping someday you get to do that. I don’t really want to go to space, but I want to pretend to. And it was wonderful to do that,” Chastain told the reporters.

Damon agreed, saying, “You end up like you were a kid in your bedroom pretending that you were in space.”

The Martian opens in theaters on Oct. 2.

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