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The Astronaut's Wife

The Astronaut's Wife film poster
Directed by Rand Ravich
Produced by Andrew Lazar
Written by Rand Ravich
Starring Johnny Depp
Charlize Theron
Music by George S. Clinton
Cinematography Allen Daviau
Editing by Tim Alverson
Steve Mirkovich
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release date(s) August 27, 1999
Running time 109 min.
Language English
Budget $75,000,000 [1]

The Astronaut's Wife is a 1999 science fiction/thriller film directed and written by Rand Ravich. It stars Johnny Depp and Charlize Theron.



Spencer Armacost (Depp) is a NASA astronaut. While on a space-walking mission with a fellow astronaut Alex Streck, an explosion results in a communication loss for two minutes between the astronauts and Earth. After returning to their respective spouses, the two astronauts never speak about their ordeal. Not long after their return, Streck dies from a massive stroke. While still in mourning for her lost husband, his wife commits suicide by sitting in a running shower with an AC powered radio.

Spencer retires from NASA and takes an executive position in New York City. His wife Jillian (Theron) becomes pregnant with twins. She begins to notice changes in Spencer's personality and becomes suspicious. She questions him about what happened during the time they lost contact.

Sherman Reese, a former NASA employee who had been fired after the astronauts' return, contacts Jillian. He tells her that Spencer is not her husband. Originally, Jillian doesn't believe Reese, but she starts to recognize similarities between his accounts and her husband's behavior. Reese makes arrangements to meet Jillian again so that he can show her more proof, but before that happens, it is implied that Spencer kills Reese. Spencer takes possession of a satchel belonging to Reese which contains the information that can explain what's going on. Jillian does, however, receive the information that Reese intended to pass her in the form of a video tape.

Despite the film's earlier ambiguities, Spencer and Streck turn out to have been possessed by extraterrestrial beings. In order to keep the secret, Spencer kills Jillian's sister, Nan, who confronts him when she sees Spencer in possession of Reese's satchel. Jillian, suspicious of her husband's actions, sets up a confrontation where she attempts to electrocute herself. The resulting conversation during the confrontation confirms to her that Spencer is possessed. At the end of the confrontation, Spencer is electrocuted and his true alien form (a tentacled energy being) is revealed briefly before "transmitting" itself into Jillian.

Years later, Jillian has re-married and sends her twin sons off on their first day of school. It is implied that she is now possessed and that the children were conceived after Spencer had become possessed. Her new husband is a fighter pilot, a career which Jillian intends for her sons as well.


It has been noted that the plot of The Astronaut's Wife is apparently influenced by The Quatermass Experiment (1953) and its feature film adaptation (1955), the plot of which revolves around an astronaut who returns to Earth possessed by an alien organism.[2][3]

The plot line is very similar to a Twilight Zone episode written by Rod Serling titled "The Parallel".

The plot also bears a certain resemblance to the cult-classic 50's sci-fi film I Married a Monster from Outer Space, which is also about aliens posing as husbands in order to impregnate Earth women. Another movie and book cited as an influence was Rosemary's Baby, in which a woman becomes pregnant, only to become suspicious of her husband and neighbor's motives, as it becomes apparent a supernatural force may be at work. Charlize Theron's costumes and hairstyle also mimic Mia Farrow's from that movie. Also, actor Nick Cassavetes is the son of director/actor John Cassavetes (who appears in the film Rosemary's Baby), and actress Gena Rowlands.


"Alternate" Ending

An "alternate" ending exists where Jillian is not possessed by the alien, but her children are and in some way are controlling her. This was the original ending intended by the director.[citation needed]

Box office

The movie performed badly at the box office. In its opening weekend the movie grossed $4,027,003 and domestically the movie grossed $10,672,566. The film made $8,926,022 in foreign markets bringing its total box office gross to $19,598,588.[1]


The Astronaut's Wife was nominated for Best Film at the Catalonian International Film Festival in Sitges in 1999.



  1. ^ a b "Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  2. ^ "Trivia". Retrieved 2007-01-27. 
  3. ^ French, Philip (1999-11-28). "Arts: OTHER FILMS: We've waited 40 years for this. Was it worth it?". The Observer. p. 10. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Astronaut's Wife is a 1999 science fiction/thriller film directed and written by Rand Ravich. It stars Johnny Depp, Charlize Theron, and Victoria Abril amongst others. NASA astronaut Spencer Armacost (Depp) is on a routine orbital mission when he and his colleague lose contact with Earth for two minutes. After they return home from their mission, Armacost's wife Jillian (Theron) sees odd changes in him, and becomes concerned about her new pregnancy. Are these related to the problem in orbit, or are they merely her old depressive tendencies resurfacing?



Nan: You know, men are likeā€¦ like parking spaces. All the good ones are taken. All the available ones are handicapped.


  • Imagine the face of terror is the one you love.
  • Witness the birth of pure evil.


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