Otago Daily Times : 2020-10-27

SIGNAL : 17 : 17

SIGNAL

Off to Mars Even Chuck Yeager would choke up watching the scenes in which one of the astronauts shares his story about how he lost his beloved brother. ‘‘The commander of this mission to Mars is a woman, and that’s not the drama of the story,’’ she says. ‘‘I think that shows how far we’ve come . . . working towards equality. The drama has these richly different racial background­s; these people who are on this journey working towards a goal together while having this gravitatio­nal pull to Earth . . . all of us having these families that made it a love story,’’ she says. ‘‘So my character was dealing with this dream come true of being on a mission to Mars, this dream come true of being a mother, which was unexpected; and, then, growing these deep relationsh­ips with these other human beings she was on this mission with, and breaking through these stereotype­s to see what connects us all, which is humanity.’’ which people don’t do in zero gravity. So it was, I think, for all of us a lot more challengin­g than we realised it would be.’’ Swank is up to the task. The winner of two Academy Awards as best actress, for her role as a transgende­r youth in and as a pugilist in Swank has been acting since she was practicall­y a toddler. ‘‘I love the idea of exploring another human being and what makes them work. I just love the human condition, what makes people tick,’’ she says. She was 9 when she starred in her first play. ‘‘My mum always said to me, ‘Stop staring, stop staring, Hilary.’ I was always staring and observing and watching what makes people work. I remember one of our teachers had us write a script and act it out in front of the class. I remember feeling like something just came alive in me that I’d never felt before. And it’s one of those inexplicab­le things that you just can’t put into words. I didn’t realise at the time you could make a career out of it, but I just kept doing local theatre and doing plays and finally realised, ‘Hey, wait a second, you can be an actor.’ ’’ Swank worked her way up, landing a role on when she was 18 and her first big break in two years later. Since her notable splash in films, she’s played everything from a suffragett­e to Amelia Earhart. But she’s never been impressed by her colourful resume. ‘‘I’m not one to ever expect anything in my life, but I was hoping I would get the opportunit­y to test my chops and challenge myself,’’ she says. ‘‘I was just lucky with that opportunit­y when came along because they didn’t want someone who was famous. It was the right time. I’m very thankful for that and for the opportunit­ies that have arisen since then, after winning the Oscar. I never thought about it. I never expected it to happen that quickly.’’ At this point, Swank (46) can be choosy about what she does. She liked she said, because it viewed the challenge of space in the context of family. For Green, it meant being apart from a husband facing a disabling disease and a 15­year­old daughter dealing with her first crush. You don’t have to be a sci­fi fan to get caught up in the personal crises. The team’s most veteran member is riddled with regret over not patching up difference­s with his estranged daughter. His Chinese colleague faces backlash from her government after it discovers she was having a pre­launch affair with someone in the control room. Boys Million Don’t Cry Dollar Baby, Boys Don’t Cry Away, Hilary Swank’s new space series has all the right stuff, writes Luaine Lee. H ILARY SWANK may have taken a punch in the boxing ring, but that was nothing compared to flying weightless, she says. Swank stars as astronaut Emma Green, the commander of a ship on a three­year mission to Mars in the Netflix series ‘‘Pretending that you’re in zero­G, zero gravity, it takes a lot of effort and a lot of effort to make it look effortless,’’ she says. ‘‘We were harnessed by the lower part of our hips, and they were acting as a pendulum. So we’d squeeze our glutes to move us forward, and then squeeze our abs to move us backwards. But the whole time we’re squeezing these muscles so tight and trying not to talk funny because of it,’’ she grins. ‘‘The whole idea of being in zero­G, you just naturally want to talk like you’re in slo­o­o­w motion — Away is available to stream on Netflix. µ Away. Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Next Karate Kid