The Martian's out of this world filming locations

Richard Mellor

Ridley Scott’s The Martian sees Matt Damon play a stranded astronaut surviving on Mars, but filming took place right here on planet Earth. Explore the locations for yourself.

Etyek, Hungary

Etyek Hungary
Image via Konceptofon

Scott’s starry cast—Damon was joined by Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Sean Bean and Chiwetel Ejiofor among others—first reported for duty in Hungary. Specifically the charming village of Etyek, surrounded by vineyards, and less than 20 miles from capital Budapest.

They filmed at the Korda Studios in ‘Hungary’s Napa Valley’. A former military barracks, it's now home to one of the world’s biggest soundstages.

Want to go yourself? Two-hour individual and group tours of the Korda Filmpark take place at the studios, even while they’re in use. They also offer an opportunity to dine with crewmembers and learn the tricks of the cinematic trade.

 

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest Hungary skyline
Image via F1destinations

Other scenes were shot in Budapest itself.

Cast-members practiced indoor skydiving at the SkyWard centre’s gravity-defying, 260km-wind tunnel. They also had time to visit the city’s main sights: St Stephen’s Basilica, the Jewish Quarter, thermal baths and the handsome Danube riverbanks.

Spotted on a night out at bar/club/restaurant Ötkert, Damon was back in Hungary only a few months later to learn horse archery. He studied with acclaimed master Lajos Kassai at his school in Kaposmérő, a tiny village 100 miles southwest of Budapest.

Of course there aren’t any horses on Mars, this was for Damon’s next film, The Great Wall, set in China.

 

Wadi Rum, Jordan

Wadi Rum landscape
Image via La Maison Hotel 

Known as the ‘Valley of the Moon’, southern Jordan’s Wadi Rum makes an obvious choice for an intergalactic stand-in. The area has previously doubled for Mars on movies such as Red Planet and Scott’s own Prometheus.

The protected area’s dried-up, rouged riverbed and surrounding sandstone mountains are barren, beautiful and generally otherworldly.

For tourists, Wadi Rum’s attractions include ancient petroglyphs (rock art), Nabatean temples, natural arches and the Seven Pillars of Wisdom rock formation, which delighted one Lawrence of Arabia.

Almost all guided Jordan tours visit Wadi Rum. If you’d rather go solo, fly to Amman or Aqaba and arrange car hire.

 

Petra and a Tent

Petra Jordan
Image via Farah Hotel

Filming in Wadi Rum wrapped three days early, providing the cast with an opportunity to sample Jordanian attractions. They started with a visit to Petra, one of the 7 wonders of the world.

Petra is a city cut into the mountain rock, and at over two-millennia-old is incredibly well-preserved. Gawping is guaranteed!

The next stop was back in Wadi Rum, where the celebs sampled a traditional cup of coffee with real Bedouin tribesman at a desert camp.

Once again, both experiences can be enjoyed on the majority of escorted tours to Jordan.

 

NASA bases

NASA Houston
Image via Houston Matters

One place The Martian didn’t shoot was NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Nonetheless, NASA was heavily involved.

Ahead of writing The Martian (and long before the film adaptation), author Andy Weir toured the centre, as well as California’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NASA also assisted the filmmakers with their depictions of space science and technology.

Members of the public can tour both sites.

There you can watch astronauts train for missions and touch a real moon rock as well as explore the incredible facilities. You’ll even get a commemorative passport stamp.
 

Feature image via Games Radar

The Martian will be released in UK cinemas on 30 September.

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