Halle Berry is getting excellent reviews after her new sci-fi drama, Extant, premiered earlier this month.
The story–which is being shown in a 13-episode feature–focuses on Berry’s character, an astronaut who comes home from a solo space mission and finds out she’s pregnant. The first episode garnered 9.6 million viewers, making it the most-watched television event during the week it premiered.
Greg Walker, one of the show’s producers, said he wasn’t sure Berry would be up to the task originally, since she gave birth in real life just prior to tackling the role.
“We’re sitting at her house and I’m pitching all these terrible, horrible things that can happen. And I’m looking down at her stomach and thinking, ‘Can she handle it?’” Walker said.
But Berry says that having just gone through the pain and joys of pregnancy and childbirth actually helped her take on the role with vigor, and she had no qualms with what the storyline entailed.
“I’m the happiest in my life when I have been pregnant, truly. So to be pregnant again on a show right after giving birth didn’t scare me at all. I thought, ‘I’m going to ace that part of this, for sure!’” she said.
The show isn’t just a cosmic mystery; it also deals with the painful topic of infertility, something Berry’s character is able to deal with before her pregnancy because she is the mother of an artificially intelligent humanoid, made to look like a little boy. One of the show’s producers, Steven Spielberg, has some experience in that area.
“A name like that, you don’t really sneeze at. I know the quality of his work and I know that he loves this sort of genre.” Berry said. “This was a character that when I first read (the script) was so relatable to me. While I’m not an astronaut or scientist – far, far from it – I still had an understanding about the human quality of this woman and her struggle to not only find time for herself, but also to be a good mother. The fact that she’s a scientist becomes a little bit irrelevant pretty fast. It becomes very human.”
Extant airs on CBS Thursdays at 8:30.
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