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Robert Schwartzman of Rooney and Starsystem Shares His Top Five Sci-Fi Movies

Zoey Grossman

Robert Schwartzman wears many creative hats: There’s singer, guitarist and songwriter, of course, but he’s also an actor and writer of film scores. And that figures — as part of the Coppola dynasty, he comes from a long line of musicians and moviemakers.

Perhaps best known for fronting Rooney, the power-pop outfit he recently told us is on hiatus, Schwartzman has a new project called Starsystem, a synthy dance pop outfit whose music comes complete with a science fiction backstory that includes a comic book outline on their website. Schwartzman tells Diffuser.fm he’d like to develop the story into a proper print comic and perhaps even a movie.

Either way, Starsystem outs Schwartzman as a sci-fi geek side. That led us to ask what movies make his top 5 list, but before that, we had to pose a certain tough question…

Firstly, are you a Trekkie or a ‘Star Wars’ nerd?

I really like science fiction, but I wouldn’t say I was really big into one thing. I’m not a this or a that, but I’ve always liked sci-fi movies. It creates this other world you can just get immersed in. That’s what I really like about science fiction, you enter another world.

My top five favorite sci-fi movies? Well, this is just as I’m sitting here, but I would say that ‘Star Wars’ would be the first.

Stars Wars has to be in there. Would that be the first ‘Star Wars’ film? Are you a fan of the prequels?

Ah yes, the original. But I’m not against the prequels. I don’t hate them; I’m not a hater of anything. I like prequels. It’s cool to see how the characters got to where they are and what they were like as a kid. But I also think it’s brave when someone says, “No, this is it, no more.” I really respect Ricky Gervais for not doing another series of ‘The Office’ and ending it when he did. It’s very brave.

Then I’d definitely go with ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’.

Do you understand what’s going on in that movie?

Yes, I think I understand it, but I’ve watched it so many times that eventually I got it. I saw it again recently, and it’s still this groundbreaking, amazing film. The way it looks, it hasn’t dated. It still looks futuristic.

There was this movie in the 1980s starring Dennis Quaid called ‘Enemy Mine’.

What is ‘Enemy Mine’ about?

It’s about this group of people mining on another planet…

Why are we always going off mining on other planets? Isn’t it enough we dug up and destroyed this one?

I know, right? But it’s a really good film.

Oh and ‘Explorers’ starring Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix, that’s another good movie from the 1980s. That was a favorite of mine. We used to watch it all the time. It’s about these three kids who try to launch their spaceship and then they meet an alien.

Finally, definitely ‘Galaxy Quest.’

Glad you included ‘Galaxy Quest.’ That’s the best isn’t it? It’s amazing how a film about fake sci-fi actually becomes a totally engaging sci-fi story.

The characters are so good, and then when they meet the aliens, it’s so funny, and this whole other story develops. It really is one of the best; I really love that movie.

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