Noah Hawley originally turned down directing Lucy in the Sky

The movie stars Natalie Portman, who he says gives a "remarkable performance."

Noah Hawley originally turned down directing Lucy in the Sky because he thought the real-life inspiration for the story wasn’t interesting enough.

The film follows the story of astronaut Lucy Cola, played by Oscar winner Natalie Portman, who begins to lose touch with reality and her sanity as she embarks on a devastating affair with a fellow officer, portrayed by Jon Hamm, after she returns to Earth following a long trip into space.

It was based on the real-life story of NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak, who drove across the U.S. to try and kidnap Cathleen Shipman, the new girlfriend of her lover, William Oefelein, back in 2007.

However, when it was pitched to Hawley, he wasn't interested in Nowak's story, so ultimately passed on the project, but it was producer Reese Witherspoon that convinced him to come back onboard.

"I wasn’t terribly interested in a literal telling of the story, and so it kind of fell off my radar," he told Deadline. "Then Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea brought in another writer, John-Henry Butterworth who did a draft that began to introduce the magic realism and the more psychological elements and it became less of a literal telling and more of a fictional examination of the story of an astronaut who goes to space and has this explosive experience and a very hard time kind of re-fitting back into her life when she comes home."

Hawley is full of praise for his leading lady, and said the mother-of-two was "remarkable" playing tormented astronaut Lucy Cola.

"I mean, Natalie’s performance of course is the real headline of this movie and the transformation that she goes through and the sort of bravado and assuredness and the charm and the swagger that she carries through this film and then the kind of degradation of her character as she begins to degrade when she loses control," Hawley gushed. "It really is such a remarkable performance that Natalie gave."

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