Halle Berry was the big draw of CBS Junket Day — she’s starring in the network’s summer sci-fi series Extant as an astronaut who goes on a 13-month solo flight and returns pregnant. Inevitably, Berry took the “Why Are You Doing Television?” question that the Reporters Who Cover Television never tire of asking by way of revealing their own sense of the medium’s inferiority to film. Berry, who came well prepped, said she agreed to take the role because, “I feel like best writing now is on television. It’s a reality all of us actors have been talking about for years now,” she said. “There used to be a stigma, [but] now we go where the good material is.” She added later that “the studio did me a real solid” and shot the show in Los Angeles “so I didn’t have to leave my family” because she’s a “hands-on mom.”
Berry being an Oscar-winning movie star, she also got asked the other inevitable question to which movie stars who do television are subjected: “What TV shows do you watch?” Berry smartly started by naming the CBS drama series The Good Wife. Her shortlist also included NBC’s The Blacklist and HBO’s Girls and Game Of Thrones. But, she said, returning to her earlier theme, as a mom with a new baby, she does not have a lot of time to watch TV.
She related to the Extant character as a mom, as one reporter had suggested in a question. The character is struggling to be a good mother — to the robot kid her husband has built, and the unborn who-knows-what she’s carrying — just as Berry says she has struggled to be a good mom since her kids were born. “She’s complicated; I’m complicated,” Berry said. “She has a will to survive. She’s good at her heart. I love playing strong, complicated characters who refuse to be compromised.” The panelists, who also included creator Mickey Fisher and EP Greg Walker, declined to discuss who or what is the baby daddy, but they did say Berry’s character will not spend the entire first season pregnant.
More practically speaking, playing Storm in the X Men franchise prepared her to fly around in the harness and on the wires on Extant. But she also took a zero-G flight to experience weightlessness — only vomiting toward the end of the flight, she mentioned, adding that a man on the flight vomited right off the bat and kept on doing so throughout. “He was five shades of purple when we landed — hurled the entire time,” she said proudly.
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Fisher says the scene in which Berry’s character has to explain to her husband (Goran Visnjic) that she got pregnant during her solo flight in space was a real “Joseph and Mary” opportunity. “Mary goes to Joseph and lays out the story,” Fisher joked. “We have a chance to show Joseph’s reaction to that — what?!”
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