AWAY - VFX Supervisor Victor Scalise: How the Netflix Astronaut Drama Became More Relevant During Coronavirus Lockdown
August 4, 2020

by Peter White, Deadline

Netflix’s Away centers around an American astronaut, played by Hilary Swank, as she prepares to lead an international crew on the first mission to Mars.

The fact that the show is coming out in September, six months after the coronavirus ravaged the U.S. and forced many into lockdown, has only made it more relevant, according to exec producer Jason Katims.

He said that when the producers were forced to edit and do post-production on the drama at home, the show started to “resonate in a way that we had never imagined.”

“The idea of not being able to be with people who are the most important to you, the idea of making the most important life decisions, but not being able to be with your husband or wife or child when doing it. The idea of being stuck in a tin can for months and months and not being able to step out in the world is suddenly resonating in a new way,” he added. “Most importantly, what I’m reminded of is that the show is about many things but at its core, it’s about the human spirit and more specifically when it’s tested, what it’s capable of. I think given the time we’re in, I’m really proud to be able to put this show out in the world right now.”

Away stars Swank as American astronaut Emma Green. As Green prepares to lead an international crew on the first mission to Mars, she must reconcile her decision to leave behind her husband (Josh Charles) and teenage daughter (Talitha Bateman) when they need her the most.

Swank said that the production was more “physically challenging than I’d expected” and that the space suits were “no joke.” But she added that the show was more about “deep” and “layered” human beings than space.

“I love that this commander of the mission to Mars is a woman and that’s not the drama of the story. That shows how far we’ve come towards equality. The drama was these richly, racial backgrounds, these people who are on this journey, working towards a goal together, while having this gravitational pull to Earth, these families that made it a love story,” she said. “My character was dealing with this dream come true of this mission to Mars, dream come true of being a mother, which was unexpected, and growing these deep relationships with these other human beings she was on this mission with and breaking through these stereotypes.”

Created by Andrew Hinderaker, Away is executive produced by showrunner Jessica Goldberg with Katims and Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) also exec producing.

As the crew’s journey into space intensifies, their personal dynamics and the effects of being away from their loved ones back on Earth become increasingly complex. It also stars Mark Ivanir, Vivian Wu, Ato Essandoh and Ray Panthaki.

VFX Supervisor: Victor Scalise