'Away' Preview: How did Barack-Michelle Obama's marriage inspire Hilary Swank's story in Netflix's sci-fi drama?
Ever since she was five years old, actress Hilary Swank wanted to be an astronaut. While she always knew her calling was going to be in front of the camera, as a young girl, the stars in the skies couldn't be more fascinating.
In Netflix's upcoming series 'Away', Swank gets the chance to fulfill her childhood fantasy. Playing the role of Emma Green, an American astronaut, Swanks is gearing up for a journey like never before. She must prepare to lead an international crew of its very first mission to Mars. This is no ordinary mission. The international space crew is set to embark upon what Netflix calls a "treacherous, three-year-long mission". As science and all of humanity benefits from this expedition, there are other things that are of serious concern for Emma.
For the three long years that she is on her way to make groundbreaking discoveries on Mars along with her team, Emma must reconcile with the decision that in order to embark on this mission, she must leave her husband Matt (Josh Charles) and 15-year-old daughter Alexis (Talitha Bateman) back home on Earth. Her husband is now not only bearing the sole responsibility of Alexis (or Lex, as she is called) but even her daughter is left to struggle with coming-of-age issues without her mother by her side. In the teaser for the upcoming series released by Netflix on YouTube, Emma and Lex are seen having an emotional farewell.
Coming to Matt and Emma's relationship, writers of the show drew inspiration from Barack and Michelle Obama. "We thought a lot about the relationship between President Obama and Michelle Obama," showrunner Goldberg said, according to the press kit provided to MEA WorldWide (MEAWW). "We love that marriage so much," Hinderaker added.
'Away' hardly feels like the sci-fi shows we know of. Over the course of 10 hour-long episodes, the series will tell the story of "hope, humanity and how ultimately, we need one another if we are to achieve impossible things". But more than that, the synopses suggest a very unique, out worldly take on working mothers.
Created by Andrew Hinderaker with Jessica Goldberg playing showrunner, 'Away' stars Swank as Emma Green, Ato Essandoh as Dr Kwesi Weisberg-Abban, Mark Ivanir as Misha Popov, Ray Panthaki as Ram Arya, Vivian Wu as Lu Wang, Talitha Bateman as Alexis 'Lex' Logan and Josh Charles as Matt Logan.
The series is loosely based on an article of the same name written by journalist Chris Jones in Esquire. Jones then joined the production team as a member of the writing staff.
For authentication, the show deployed expertise from NASA as well. Former NASA astronaut and consultant Mike Massimino says that working on the series was a revelation of sorts. He realized that these two jobs were actually closer than people might think. "We wanted to make this series as realistic as possible, but we also wanted to tell a good story," Massimino recalled. "While we weren't planning a real space mission, it felt like we were! I was having a discussion one day during production and I felt like I was actually working on a space-walk again. It was not that much different than what we would do at NASA with a group of people around a table working out how to get this done."
The science-fiction drama is eager to tell a story about hope and humanity. 'Away' releases on Netflix on September 4, 2020.