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Exclusive Interview: ‘Space Cadet’ EP/Writer/Director Liz W. Garcia

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I recently spoke with Executive Producer, Director, Writer Liz W. Garcia about her new film Space Cadet, a comedy about second chances, chasing your dreams, and what it takes to become NASA astronaut! The hilarious new comedy releases on Prime Video next month July 4, 2024 and stars Emma Roberts, Gabrielle Union, and Tom Hopper.

The interview with Liz W. Garcia on new comedy Space Cadet

[Editor’s note: The excerpts from this interview appearing below have been lightly edited for clarity. Listen to the full audio of the interview below or find Cosmic Cafe, our interview podcast, most places podcasts are available or the video on The Cosmic Circus YouTube channel .]


  • 00:00 – Intro
  • 00:45 – Discussing the themes of chasing your dreams, and second chances, as well as what it takes for women who are NASA candidates to even be considered. Inspirations for writing the film..
  • 03:45 – On the diversity of the cast of Space Cadet and how it benefitted the film.
  • 05:10 – On the differences between writing dramas vs comedy.
  • 06:25 – Did she have any actors in mind for the parts?
  • 07:10 – Outro


Highlights from our interview with Liz W. Garcia about Space Cadet

Can you talk a little bit about what your inspiration was for Space Cadet?

Liz W. Garcia: Sure. Well, the general premise came from a news item a few years ago where NASA announced that they had their first-ever astronaut candidate class that was 50% female; and that just caught my eye as a sort of historic milestone. I started reading about what it took to get to that point, like, who were these women who had made it into this sort of male dominated institution? And the more I read about what was required to even get to that point, the more blown away I was by how accomplished and focused these women were, you know, like it says in the movie, it’s like, almost unbelievable that these people fly jets, have higher degrees in science or math, have full careers in science and math are physically fit, mentally like, you know, and it only gets more rigorous.

But I just thought, I’ve never seen a depiction of how accomplished and intense and competitive women can be, not about men, about achieving professional goals or athletic goals. And that reminded me of the people that I know, and I wanted to write roles like that. And so I was interested in that world and that competition between those types of characters.

And then in order to write Rex [Emma Roberts character], then it’s sort of some of my personal sensibility about how I wish the world would work, and how I wish that people could not give up on themselves, and not necessarily have all the right credentials, but still make it to where their talents are best used. And just a character who, like so many of us, has life has dealt her some complications, and she’s had to recover from that, and she does really beautifully in the movie. And you know, that is an inspiring journey for me to write.

Emma Roberts (Rex) and Director Liz W. Garcia filming Space Cadet
Emma Roberts (Rex) and Director Liz W. Garcia filming Space Cadet (Eric Liebowitz//Prime Video)

The diversity of the cast of Space Cadet is, is really just phenomenal. And I really found it much more enjoyable because it was so diverse. Was that planned from the start?

Liz W. Garcia: I mean, that was planned in the sense that, you know, I wrote Pam [Gabrielle Union’s character] as a woman of color because that was sort of my, you know, so much of this is like the world as I wish it would be. And I liked the idea of a woman who was just smarter than everybody else, and everybody knew it, and then a woman of color. And so I was specific about that.

And then, like the face of NASA, really, at this point, is incredibly diverse, and that I wanted to represent the truth of that, that that’s an institution that as difficult, as competitive as it is, like they are, it’s true. It is a meritocracy. They really are taking the people who are best. And what a meritocracy looks like is what the globe looks like. It is diverse in every way, and that’s just like it’s more real, it’s more interesting to watch.

You’ve you’ve written more dramas before (Cold Case, P-Valley), and what do you feel about the difference between writing comedy versus writing dramas? Easier? Harder?

Liz W. Garcia: I think it’s hard. I think it’s a lot harder because you. With drama, there are certain topics or moods where you know you can evoke feeling. Comedy is so much more specific. And I was terrified. I felt like I’m going to write what I think is funny, and no one else is going to think it’s funny. And if something’s not funny, it’s really not funny. You know, there’s no, like, semi fun. You don’t want to put something that’s kind of funny out in the world. And I had to really talk to a few friends who write comedy to get to the place where I realized it’s not about trying to be funny to everybody. It’s just about what do I think is funny? I’m going to amuse myself while I’m writing this, and we’ll see how it goes.

Did you have any particular actors in mind for some of the parts. Like, Emma Roberts was really good and funny, and Gabrielle Union was great in it. Did you have them in mind?

Liz W. Garcia: I mean, they both seem so perfect that it’s weird that I didn’t write with them in mind. But I try not to write with actors in mind because you don’t know if you can get them. You don’t know if they’re going to be available, so I try to just write a full character and be open to whatever actor is right. And I just was lucky to find a lot of actors who were very right.

Space Cadet launches on Prime Video on July 4, 2024! Do you want to check out this movie next month? Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus! [Update: find my review of this film here!]

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Lizzie Hill

I'm a lifelong fan of sci-fi, fantasy, and comic book movies. In July 2021, I launched The Cosmic Circus as Editor-In-Chief with a small but passionate group of writers. I am now also the owner/EiC of subdomain site, Cosmic Circus Broadway. @MsLizzieHill on Twitter and Instagram.

Lizzie Hill has 107 posts and counting. See all posts by Lizzie Hill