10 Interesting Behind-The-Scenes Facts From The Netflix Space Drama Away – Forbes

The Hilary Swank-helmed drama 'Away' premieres globally on Netflix September 4.

Did you ever have dreams of becoming an astronaut? Well, Netflix NFLX has a new drama premiering globally September 4 that will allow you to vicariously join an international mission to Mars. The 10-episode series Away will keep you hooked from start to finish. Its an emotional and exciting ride!

Hilary Swank shines as Commander Emma Green, an American astronaut leading an international crew on a first-of-its kind mission. Josh Charles plays her husband Matt, who stays home to take care of their teenage daughter, Alexis (Talitha Bateman). Rounding out the international crew are Ato Essandoh as Kwesi, Mark Ivanir as Misha, Vivian Wu as Lu and Ray Panthaki as Ram. From different corners of the globe, the team must work together under extreme stress to save themselves and the mission at hand.

As fascinating as the plots main storyline, a three-year first-of-its-kind mission to Mars, are some behind-the-scenes facts, as well as things that happen to the human body during space travel.

L-R: Vivian Wu, MarkIvanir, Hilary Swank, Ray Panthaki and Ato Essandoh.

1.Like other hit Netflix series, such as last years Unbelievable, the new 10-episode drama Away was inspired by an article. In this case, the Swank-helmed series about an international three-year mission to Mars was loosely based on a magazine article of the same name written by journalist Chris Jones for Esquire. Jones then joined the shows production team as a member of the writing staff.

2.One question many fans will be apt to ask is how they filmed the no-gravity scenes. There is gravity in the lower living quarters of the spaceship but not in the upper areas, nor outside the spacecraft. The answer is in whats called wire work. Mark Ivanir, who plays Russian astronaut Misha Popov, had a bit of an advantage here or, as he says, a secret weapon. When he initially arrived for the casts astronaut training bootcamp, his background as a circus performer gave him a leg up. He admits that by the second day, as the rest of the cast was adjusting to the wires, he was doing backflips.

3.As if the physicality of the wire work wasnt enough, it also led to one of the most challenging aspects of filming for Swank, which was how to talk in space. She says that one of the most trying parts of these scenes for the cast was learning to slow body movements down while not altering the speed of their words. Swank described that when your body is moving slowly, the inclination is to also slow your words down in a way similar to speaking in slow motion. This is not how astronauts speak in space and she compared it to tapping your head with one hand while simultaneously rubbing your stomach with the other.

4.The food in space has improved over the years and can now actually be considered cuisine. Over the course of a three-year mission to Mars, the astronauts would require an incredible 24,000 pounds of food. Its been reported that famous chef Rachael Ray prepared Swedish meatballs, Thai chicken and vegetable curry for the crew of space shuttle Discovery in December 2006. The shows production designer, David Sandefur, said he took the volume of food storage into account when designing the ship and he used moveable racks that could be reconfigured depending on the need for space. Sandefur and his team also completed extensive research of recent and upcoming designs of command modules from the Orion mission to Space X to ensure every detail was just right when designing the shows spaceship.

5.The Obamas played a role in Away, whether they knew it or not. When thinking about the relationship dynamic between Emma and Matt, the writers drew inspiration from a very famous couple. Showrunner Jessica Goldberg says the powerful relationship between President Obama and Michelle Obama was top of mind in the writers room.

6.Space travel does some very odd things to the human body. For instance, in one scene a character is extremely concerned when a large chunk of his foot falls off. This is a brutal reality that real-life astronauts really do have to be concerned about. After just one month of being in orbit, astronauts begin shedding large quantities of skin from their soles, mainly consisting of the calluses that have built-up over time. One astronaut was reported to have called Mission Control when a sizable wedge of his heel floated away.

7.Another interesting fact about the human body and space travel is that some astronauts actually grow taller in space. According to NASA, astronauts have been known to grow up to two inches taller in space due to the lack of gravity compressing the vertebrae.

8. Designing the space suits for the show was a very detail-oriented job. Costume Designer Kimberly Adams says that one of the most time-consuming elements for the costume department and the production design team was designing the astronaut patches because in the world of NASA, the mission patches are a huge deal and are extremely intricate in design. Each crew that goes up on various missions has a say in the design of their patches. Adams, who previously designed spacesuits when working on Stranger Things, as well as the Brendan Fraser and Alicia Silverstone 1999 movie Blast From the Past, adds that shes never created suits like the ones worn in Away. With these, the challenge was coming up with the practicality of what could be real in a near-future reality.

9.Real-life astronauts also came into play for the show. Former NASA astronaut and consultant Mike Massimino has a cameo playing himself in the series. He appears in the first episode in a scene where hes being interviewed about the mission. And, astronaut Peggy Whitson provided loose inspiration for Swanks character. Whitson commanded nine missions to space and when Swank called her to discuss her experiences, Swank learned Whitson is from the same town as her parents. Swank also admits that at five-years-old, long before she had dreams of becoming an actor, she had dreams of becoming an astronaut.

10. Two members of the cast knew as much as their characters. Charles plays Matt, who is much more than the husband of an astronaut and stay-at-home-dad. Hes also a NASA engineer and a composer and musician. Charles plays guitar in real life but he learned to also play the piano for the role. He had no prior experience but learned enough to make a scene work in the first episode. He initially aimed to learn to play well enough to fake it but he actually ended up playing the piano in the scene. Essandoh, who plays the missions botanist Dr. Kwesi Weisberg-Abban, also did double-duty in Away. Hes not only a brilliant actor but also has a bachelors degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University.

Hilary Swank stars as Commander Emma Green in the Netflix drama 'Away'.

Rounding out the cast are Adam Irigoyen, Monique Gabriela Curnen, Fiona Fu and Felicia Patti. The series was created by Andrew Hinderaker, who also executive produces alongside Goldberg and Swank, Jason Katims, Matt Reeves, Edward Zwick, Adam Kassan and Jeni Mulein.

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10 Interesting Behind-The-Scenes Facts From The Netflix Space Drama Away - Forbes

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