What does it take to lure Oscar-winning film star Halle Berry to television? Well, the name Steven Spielberg doesn’t hurt. “A name like that, you don’t really sneeze at,” Berry says of the “Jurassic Park” director and Hollywood mogul. “I know the quality of his work and I know that he loves this sort of genre. These supernatural kind of stories are right in his wheelhouse.” But of course there was more to “Extant” — her news series about an astronaut who returns from a yearlong solo space mission to find herself mysteriously pregnant — that enticed Berry. Here, she dishes on some of the details.
She can relate to playing a mom
“This was a character when I first read it that was so relatable to me. I felt like it was just in my DNA,” Berry says. “While I’m not an astronaut or scientist — far, far from it — I still had an understanding about the human quality of this woman and her struggle to not only find time for herself — which is what she loves to do, our Molly goes into space for a year — but also to be a good mother. That’s the struggle I have struggled with since my kids were born.”
Pregnant is the way to be for Berry
“I first of all love being pregnant. I’m the happiest when I have been pregnant in my life, truly,” she says. “So to be pregnant again on a show right after giving birth didn’t scare me at all. I know how to be pregnant and I thought I’m going to ace that part of this for sure.
Everyone else is going to TV, so why can’t she?
“I feel like the best writing now is on television. That’s been a real reality that I think all actors have been talking about for years now,” she says. “But there was always a stigma with going to television. ‘If you do movies, you can’t do television.’ I think that line is becoming very gray. What’s important now with the way the industry is evolving is that we go where the good material is. If you are an artist you just want to do good work that inspires you, that ignites you, that makes you want to wake up in the morning and go to work and that’s what this series and this character has done for me.
She was stoked for going: zero-gravity
“Luckily, because I had been Storm [in ‘X-Men’], I was used to flying. So putting on that harness and those wires just seemed like something that I was used to doing,” she says. “I did actually take a real zero G flight, so I have really experienced being weightless. I can really understand why astronauts love to go up there and love to live in that medium and experience. It’s as close to being a bird and having that kind of freedom I think one can ever get. But I also have to say by 15 times going up and down and going through that I did, you know, vomit. My body was done dealing.”
Halle’s TV tastes
While it’s taken a while for Halle Berry to make her way to a TV series, she’s been a fan of them for quite some time. So what does Berry like to plop down in front of when at home with husband Olivier Martinez and their children? “‘The Good Wife’ has been, since the day it came on, one of my favorites,” she says. “I was a ‘Girls’ watcher. I even made my husband watch ‘Girls.’ He would never admit that. You’ve got to do what the wife does sometimes. I watch ‘Game of Thrones.’ That was a show that I found really interesting. And the truth is as a mom and now having a new baby, I don’t get to watch a lot of television like I would like, but when I find time those are the ones that I find on demand and try to sit down and watch them in blocks.”