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*Matt Damon plays an astronaut trapped on Mars and Chiwitel Ejiofor is the man charged with trying to bring him home in the upcoming film, “The Martian.”

The British star of “12 Years a Slave” plays Venkat Kapoor, the director of the Mars mission that sent astronaut Mark Watney (Damon) and his crew to the red planet, and accidentally left him behind.

He is thought to have died during the mission. But Watney struggles to survive in the barely-habitable environment and works to send a signal back to earth that he is still alive and well.

Below, Ejiofor talks about how doing research with the folks at Britain’s European Space Agency informed his performance:

“The Martian” arrives in theaters on Oct. 2.

Watch the trailer below: