"God, it's nice to have a Brit on the set, someone who gets the fucking joke," says director Chelsom jokingly referring to fellow Brit Gary Oldman.
Chelsom's first film since Hector And The Search For Happiness (2014) focuses on Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield), the unexpected extra crew member on a mission to Mars carried there by his mother Sarah (Janet Montgomery). When she dies in childbirth, he is raised on the planet by the science team and grows to be a teenager knowing little of Earth but what he reads and watches and raised by the small crew around him.
He does have one other connection to the blue marble that his parents called home – Tulsa (Britt Robertson), a young woman he strikes up a friendship with over video chats. When the science team in charge of the mission, led by Oldman's (The Dark Knight Rises) NASA director Nathaniel Shepherd brings Gardner home for tests, he breaks out of the lab to see Tulsa and goes on a romantic adventure. There is just one problem... His body just isn't suited to life on our planet.
It may spend a lot of time on a distant planet, but Chelsom is keen to stress the intimacy of his film. "It's about isolation and connection, amplified by the vastness of space," he tells Empire. "It's heavy action and sci-fi and at times it feels like a sweet, low-budget romance. It's the balance between that massive scope and that good, strong heart."
With Carla Gugino (Watchmen) and B.D. Wong (Jurassic World) also in the cast, The Space Between Us arrives in cinemas on 10 February.