The future is female on the sci-fi drama Away, starring Academy Award winner Hilary Swank as Emma Green, commander of a three-year Mars expedition that separates her from husband Matt, a mission control engineer (Josh Charles) and theirdaughter (Talitha Eliana Bateman).
The tale veers between her crisis-plagued spaceship and the multinational crew's loved ones on Earth. "There's the grandeur and gravitas of space, but also a deeply personal family story," says executive producer Jason Katims (Parenthood).
Swank (above) briefs us on the wild ride.
Are you fascinated by space?
Hilary Swank:I wanted to be an astronaut before I [became] an actor. I love space exploration: looking back down at Earth, seeing how beautiful it is, how we're all connected and there are no [national] borders.
Emma faces some crew dissent. What's her leadership style?
She's a Navy pilot, so usually she'd be military-tough, leading with an iron fist. I like this script because she shows her vulnerability, which is not a weakness. She connects with the others because they're all missing their families.
How did you perform the zero-gravity scenes?
We're on wires connected to the lowest parts of our hips. You squeeze your glutes to go forward, abs to go back.
Some of the most intense emotional moments are when Emma is alone in her quarters, talking to family via phone or video. Was the other actor really on the other end of the call?
Yes, via iPad or phone. Josh would be home in New York City, driving with his kids and pull off to the side of the road and do a scene with me.
Would you personally sign up for a Mars mission?
Not if it took three years, but [I'd go to] the moon, a hundred percent!
Away, Series Premiere, Friday, September 4, Netflix
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