Literally an out of this world experience, the Ridley Scott directed The Martian came a long way from its start as a blog by author Andy Weir to having Matt Damon on board and a global box office success of more than $570 million. “Essentially Andy Weir was writing a chapter a month over the course of 3-years and still working as a computer programmer,” screenwriter Drew Goddard told me last month onstage at The Contenders Presented By Deadline.

“We had the fun moment where we got to call Andy and say ‘Hey, your life is about to change, you can quit your day job,” Goddard revealed.

contenders-sold-outThough Goddard was originally slated to direct the TIFF debuting film, Scott joined with Damon in the lead role as stranded astronaut Mark Watney. The film also attracted a top tier cast including Jessica Chastain, Sean Bean, Kristen Wiig, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jeff Daniels. “It comes down to the book,” noted the Marvel’s Daredevil EP to me in front of a packed house of Academy and Guild members at the DGA on November 7. “The book is so just so good that it has this gravitational pull that sort of brought all of us towards it,” Goddard added of Weir’s work and the resulting Fox film.

Click on the video above of my chat with The Martian screenwriter as part of the Fox panel last month to find out more of how one of the highest grossing films of the year.