The thrilling sci-fi Western Prospect not only boasts Game of Thrones' steamy standout Pedro Pascal, but also offers a compelling coming-of-age story about a teen girl trapped on a dangerous, far-flung moon.
17-year-old Sophie Thatcher makes her film debut as Cee, who works as a prospector's apprentice under her father Damon (Jay Duplass) while dreaming of a settled life of school, home, and the kind of normalcy most kids get to take for granted. Damon promises one last job on a toxic moon will secure them that cozy life. But when their plan hits a gruesome snag, Cee is forced to trust a shady gunslinger named Ezra (Pascal) to get the treasure and get off the planet.
Following Prospect's world premiere at the SXSW Conference, Fangrrls sat down with Thatcher and Duplass to learn more about the making of this sensational science-fiction story that's ultimately about growing up.
Though Cee is often stern, Thatcher was ebullient, telling us that Prospect's script thrilled her. "The characters I receive for auditions, are all just playing the daughter, the angsty teenager," she said. But Cee gave her the chance to play something more than a one-note supporting character. Cee is not only Prospect's protagonist, but also a complex heroine fueled by fear, resilience, suspicion, and hope.
Asked about shouldering the plot in her first film ever, Thatcher admitted, "There was pressure. And most of the crew was mainly male. I feel like that's pretty common on sets. But, everyone was so gracious. And I think it's just an important story to tell with a girl so powerful, and so young, too."
Duplass described the father-daughter relationship at the core of Prospect as "a really human story." Essentially, Cee is growing up fast, realizing that her father is far from perfect but has protected her from a lot. "They're in a pretty dangerous line of work," Duplass said of the family's planet prospecting for hard-to-unearth gems, "And the father is clearly sheltering the daughter from how dangerous it is. And she's starting to figure it out." But there are things from which Damon couldn't shelter Cee.
"I feel like it was hard for Cee, because from a young age, she did have to fend for herself," Thatcher said, noting that Cee's dad has struggled with substance abuse. "So, she had to kind of grow up really quickly. I think that shows, because she's incredibly smart, resourceful, and I think that is due to the childhood that she's missed out on having."
Life lessons come fast when Cee and Damon cross paths with Ezra. Asked what it was like working with Pascal, Thatcher said, "He was so warm, gracious, hilarious and so easy just to react off of, because he's such a great actor." But she added, "I was honestly, slightly intimidated working with him, because a lot of my friends are big Game of Thrones fans."
In the film, Cee and Ezra have a surprising conversation when the guarded girl gushes about her love of a lost YA novel. In a charming rant, she reveals that to keep the story alive, she's begun writing her own fanfiction. Naturally, we asked Thatcher what she fangirls about, and she noted that she and Cee have something in common there, saying, "She has a love for music. And music is definitely my first love, so I can relate to that." Thatcher's favorites are Radiohead and Elliot Smith. "I'm obsessed," she confessed.
As our conversation drew to a close, we asked if there was anything else the pair wanted people to know about Prospect. And Duplass said simply, "Sophie's a f*cking awesome actor." We agree completely. In Prospect, Thatcher's portrayal of an angry but persistent heroine undoubtedly makes her a star on the rise, and Cee a role model for young sci-fi fans to look up to.