We are nearing lift off. The first season of Away is premiering in two days on Netflix, September 4. Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby, Boys Don’t Cry) portrays astronaut and mother Emma Green, fronting a mission to mars while parenting her teenage daughter from space. Showrunner Jessica Goldberg (The Path) and executive producer Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) along with Swank gave input on telling a story centered on a working mother in anticipation of the first season via Entertainment Weekly.
As Green goes on the three year journey to mars, she’s left behind her husband Matt and daughter Alexis on earth. Matt is portrayed by Josh Charles (The Good Wife) and Alexis by Talitha Bateman (Love, Simon’s). Soon after lift off, unforeseen circumstances arise when her husband deals with unexpected health issues. Green must deal with the fact that she won’t be there to support her family while other members onboard deal with their own complicated personal lives.
Away is a unique story as not many astronauts on film and television have been women, let alone the protagonist of the story. One exception is the 2013 film Gravity starring Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) as an astronaut stranded in outer-space after a mission gone wrong. A multiple Oscar-Award winning film, Gravity is an outlier for featuring a woman in space. For the showrunner of Away, Goldberg, it was crucial to her that they depict a woman who can have it all: be a mother and a leader in space exploration. On the importance of having those complex female characters portrayed on the screen, Goldberg told Entertainment Weekly: “I love my work as much as my child…I’ve never really seen that portrayed the way it is in this show.” As a two time Oscar-Winner, Swank is known for portraying strong empowered women and Emma Green fits right into that category.
Katims serves as an executive producer of the show and is no stranger to complicated family dynamics. He is known for producing and writing the critically acclaimed TV series Friday Night Lights, which dealt with themes of marriage, class, and race. Now bringing the struggles of marriage and maintaining family relations to space, Katims told Entertainment Weekly, “(The show) is about people from different countries coming together for a common purpose, and I think that’s such an uplifting thing to see at a time when there’s so much division in our world.”
Being on the show is a dream come true for Swank, who revealed to Entertainment Weekly, “I wanted to be an astronaut before I wanted to be an actor.” With the likes of Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump) and Brad Pitt (Once Upon a time…in Hollywood) famously portraying astronauts in films Apollo 13 and Ad Astra along with countless other portrayals of men in space, Away breaks the tradition of the male astronaut.