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THE ASTRONAUT'S WIFE

The Astronaut

At the heart of The Astronaut's Wife is a hero who returns home from a space mission profoundly changed. On the surface, Spencer Armacost is everything an admired American ought to be - a witty raconteur, a man who showed extreme courage under near-deadly circumstances, and a husband who loves his wife with an intense and irrevocable passion. But whatever happened to Spencer out in space has added something new to the mix: a sense of distrust, of suspicion, of being ever so slightly off kilter. When Spencer's wife announces her pregnancy with twins, Spencer seems completely devoted to her well-being, the perfect father-to-be. But is he really trustworthy? Or is he secretly using his charm, brilliance and affection to lead his wife down a path of beastly destruction?

To play Spencer Armacost, Rand Ravich chose Johnny Depp, who has been lauded for his many portraits of intriguingly lost souls. This time around, he plays an American icon who seems to have it all - but may in fact be living a lie with the power to destroy humanity. Depp literally deconstructs Spencer Armacost's heroic, compassionate nature and reveals the nightmare shadows within.

"Johnny Depp is in my mind the best actor of his generation," comments Rand Ravich. "I felt he would bring a necessary element to the role of Spencer Armacost: truth."

"Depp's classic, rugged American good looks combined with that sense of mystery going on behind his eyes works incredibly well for this character," adds executive producer Mark Johnson. "He brings that quality of underlying danger to Spencer, the sense of unpredictability, the feeling of never really quite knowing who this man is and what his true intentions are."

For producer Andew Lazar, Depp carries off an elaborate challenge in The Astronaut's Wife. "He reveals what lies underneath the surface of a beloved hero," says Lazar. "He can be both the consummate gentleman and the most sinister source of evil at the very same time."

Who is Spencer Armacost really? As Depp portrays him, he is a man whose essential goodness has been corrupted by something out of this world; at once hero and demon. Intriguingly, Depp followed his performance in The Astronaut's Wife with two more nuanced, scary thrillers forthcoming this year: Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow and Roman Polanski's The Ninth Gate.

Summarizes Charlize Theron: "Spencer Armacost is a man who gets to lives out his dreams as an astronaut, which fascinates people because astronauts get to experience the unknown. But then he becomes a nightmare, which seems to go against everything you believe about him. Johnny is so talented he captures all of that. He's just beautiful to watch at work."

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