At a global press conference for Crater, moderated by Comicbook.com’s Jim Viscardi, we got the chance to dive into the making of Crater and find out why audiences should tune in to watch with the cast of the series. In attendance was the cast, including McKenna Grace, Isaiah Russell-Bailey, Orson Hong, Thomas Boyce, and Billy Barratt.
If you’re unfamiliar, Crater is the story of Caleb Channing (Russell-Bailey), who was raised on a lunar mining colony and is about to be permanently relocated to an idyllic faraway planet following the death of his father. But before leaving, to fulfill his dad’s last wish, he and his three best friends, Dylan (Barratt), Borney (Hong) and Marcus (Boyce), and a new arrival from Earth, Addison (Grace), hijack a rover for one final adventure on a journey to explore a mysterious crater.
Here are three reasons to hit play and watch Crater in your Disney+ account today.
Watch For a Grand and Grounded Sci-Fi Story
When you watch Crater, one thing is clear; there is love and reverence for space. Throughout the film, the moon is gorgeous. Whether it’s the surface, the black empty beauty of the star-filled sky, or the fantastically created costuming, including some actually believable space suits. Filmed and produced mostly during COVID, the young cast gave some background on the work they did with NASA to help make a world that was futuristic but also recognizable as grounded.
After Billy Barratt explained that the cast and crew got notes from a NASA consultant including pictures of the moon and facts about it, Isaiah Russ-Bailey added even more. “Yeah, and not only that,” Russ-Bailey started, “We did, all together, six weeks of prep to get [these] spacesuit fittings and the harness stunt training as well. For four of those weeks, we worked with the team at Legacy to help build our spacesuits. And so make sure they looked like real, functional spacesuits and as realistic as [possible]. Also, for the last two weeks, we worked with Dave McCumber and his stunt team to help us, you know, look like real astronauts and perform like real astronauts in low gravity. And most of that was actually harness work. And they made sure our spacewalk looked as realistic as possible. And I feel like we’ve accomplished that.” That love of space also translated to the stunts, which of course included some stellar spacewalks.
But it isn’t just the spacesuits that are grounded, but the story itself. McKenna Grace explained, “Of course, it’s really cool to be able to do something on the moon. But I think that all of the characters had such a unique bond. And I think that this film ends in a way that surprises me. And it felt like it had a lot of heart in the script. And I think that it’s quite hard to take a film that is a bunch of kids going on a road trip on the moon and make it feel grounded. And make some of the scenes and dialogue feel quite real. But I think that our director, Mr. Kyle, did a really good job of that. And I mean, reading the script, I don’t cry during movies or scripts very easily. But this one, I don’t know. The script just felt really special. “
Watch Crater For the Stunts
A bit of Goonies in space, Crater also features some fun stunt work that allows the young cast to throw themselves into the world of the moon and explore the ways that a lack of gravity can affect movement and, well, messing around with your friends. With quite a bit of stunts to choose from, the cast answered which were their favorites.
Barratt started as he explained, “I remember, we jump off of this sort of crater. And then we just run down. But the way that we shot it, it was just like, just jump. And that was fun.” Russ-Bailey added, “It was kind of like skydiving a little bit…I would say that the stunt that I liked the most was having to pick up Billy and run across the moon while meteors were flying at us. I just thought it was cool because I kind of felt like Captain America saving Tony Stark while I was picking him up. So, it was definitely a little bit of an ego boost.”
As for Thomas Boyce, “This is not a wire stunt, but without revealing too much, there is a scene where we’re in this kind of house thing. And I got to break, like, a really modern lamp. And it was just fun, just kinda just destroying stuff and just having a good time…That was one of the best days shooting, in my opinion.”
For McKenna Grace, the wire-work was the focus. She added, “Everybody got to learn how to do flips on the wires, which was really cool…I very much remember the scene where we were breaking a bunch of stuff because I remember Billy and Isaiah throwing these pillows that I don’t think you were supposed to be throwing because they were too hard. And it kept on hitting everyone in the head. So, I remember that. That was very funny, and we were all throwing these pillows and stuff at each other and falling over…”
The joy the cast had shooting stunts translates to the film, and moments of joy highlight the characters in unique ways. While the stunts get grand at a couple of points, Crater never forgets the age of its characters, and that’s a good thing.
Watch for the Characters
Finally, you should watch Crater for the characters. Like any good YA film about a group of friends, the individual characters and the relationships they make are the best elements of the film. Part of that is writing, and the other part is how close the actors are to their characters in real life and to each other.
Russ-Bailey explained his favorite parts of his character, “Caleb is a very smart, kind, and, you know, caring character. He is very in tune with his emotions and kinda wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s also a natural-born leader, which is something I try to live my life being. So, I find that very important. And he likes to make his friends feel important and heard. And he values friendship to the highest degree and is very loyal and compassionate, which is something that I relate to Caleb as well.”
Grace spoke next, “I play Addison. She joins the road trip a little bit late. She has the codes for the rover, so you know, that’s my in. But I feel like she’s kind of pretty smart. I think that she’s looking out for the guys in a way.” She later added, “I feel like Addison and I are pretty similar. I’m probably not as smart as she is. She knows a lot. I don’t live on the moon, that’s a big difference. But I don’t know. I find myself pretty similar to her. I really enjoyed playing her. [laugh] I felt like it was the most similar character to myself I’ve ever gotten to play.”
Orson Hong’s take on Borney, who has a big part in the film’s third act added some carefree elements to the story. He said, “Borney is kinda just, like, a carefree character…A little too much pressure is put on him until the end of the movie. But yeah, he really just wants to see Caleb succeed, and he wants to look out for Marcus,” On how he got into character, Hong explained, “I feel like very little acting was involved to kind of get in the mindset of the character. Yeah. So being the youngest in the cast, I did feel that dynamic playing Borney.”
Barrett closed out the question by answering, “I play Dylan, and I think he’s all about, like, his friends, like, it’s sort of that stand by me aspect as like, you know, they’re all so, like, he just wants Caleb to succeed. And he wants, like, his friends to be happy…But throughout the journey, they do sort of make friends, and they have a deeper connection…I think that’s the sort of coming-of-age sweetness to this film, you know?
“I feel like one of the bigger challenges in playing Caleb was putting myself in the mindset of someone who has lost a parent or a very close family member. Fortunately, I haven’t had to deal with a major loss like that. So, I had to do a lot of work to prepare for that aspect of my character. You know, I got advice from family members and friends who have experienced that pain and grief because I know there are a lot of levels and layers to grieving someone so close to you.”
As for Thomas Boyce, he explained his connection to Marcus, “I love playing Marcus. Marcus, I think, I’m the most different than my character than [laugh] anybody else in the cast. Marcus, he doesn’t talk a lot. He’s very simple, and he’s so incredibly selfless. I wish I could be as selfless as he is. He takes it to another level. He’s just kind of really just the heart and the soul of the group. And yeah, very, very simple guy, very kind. I’d kind of describe him sort of as, like, Lennie in Mice and Men. He’s just kind of a bear, a lovable bear, and I’m not quite as go-with-the-flow as he is.”
Watch Crater is now, exclusively on Disney+.
Kate Sánchez is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of But Why Tho? A Geek Community. There, she coordinates film, television, anime, and manga coverage. Kate is also a freelance journalist writing features on video games, anime, and film. Her focus as a critic is championing animation and international films and television series for inclusion in awards cycles.