Halle Berry isn’t an astronaut, but she will be playing one on TV, when CBS’s upcoming drama “Extant” hits the small screen on July 9.
In the Steven Spielberg-produced series, Berry plays Molly, an astronaut and scientist who returns from a 13-month solo mission, only to return and find out that she’s somehow pregnant.
At CBS’s inaugural summer press junket Monday, Berry discussed what it entails to play an astronaut. As Berry told it, it wasn’t much of an adjustment at all.
“There’s so many elements that drew me to [the character] but probably the first one [was] being a mother. This was a character, when I first read it, it was so relatable to me,” Berry said. “While I’m not an astronaut or a scientist — far, far from it — I still had an understanding about the human quality to this woman.
“At the end of the day this is really a human story about people,” she said. “The fact that she’s a scientist becomes a little bit irrelevant pretty fast.”
Likewise, playing pregnant — even pregnant with a creature of unknown origin — wasn’t too much of a leap for Berry, who was eight and a half months along with her second child when the series was pitched to her.
“To be pregnant again on a show right after I gave birth didn’t scare me at all; I know how to be pregnant, I thought, ‘I’m going to ace that part for sure,'” Berry quipped during the presentation for the show.
Focus on her character’s general humanity aside, Berry added that the outer-space scenes for the show weren’t completely foreign territory for her, given her experience in the “X-Men” movie franchise.
“Luckily, because I had been Storm, I was used to flying,” Berry said. “I had a lot of wire work and a lot of experience that way.”
Not to say that she didn’t do her homework in preparation for the role, including a visit to NASA and a zero gravity flight.
“That was pretty amazing, actually,” Berry said of the latter. “The first time I felt the sense of weightlessness, I was surprised that it took very little energy to move, you just kind of lift off the ground … It’s as close to being a bird and having that kind of freedom one can ever get.”
Enchanting, sure; but it wasn’t without its yucky downside, Berry admitted.
“But I also have to say by 15 times going up and down, going through that, I did vomit,” the actress said. “My body was done dealing.”