Interview with Wrenn Schmidt & Krys Marshall of “For All Mankind” on Apple+ by Suzanne 3/3/21
It was nice to chat with 4 of the actresses from the show. There are two here and then two others in a separate interview. They only gave me about 10 minutes, but it was fun. It’s a huge cast in this good scifi show. They were very gracious.
Suzanne: I wanted to ask if you could tell us what’s new for both of your characters this season? Whatever you’re allowed to say?
Wrenn: Well, Margo is the boss. In season one, Margo made a prediction that she would be running NASA in ten years, and the only thing she got wrong was the timeline. She got there sooner than ten years. So, that’s something that’s new. Margo, because of that, she’s got a massive office. So, instead of being stuck in a closet, where she’s got like – I mean, it almost looks like just all camping gear and engineered fixes, you know, she’s got a closet full of clothes and little hiding places for books that she reads when everyone else has left and a massive desk. She’s been been around for a while. So, that’s all different, and now, Margot has people come to her for things instead of her needing to go to them. So, yeah, it’s a very different world from season one.
Krys: For Danielle, I think, at the end of season one, we see that she’s really dedicated herself to her work. She’s made this enormous sacrifice to protect Gordo (Michael Dorman) and his reputation. We also see that her marriage to Clayton (Edwin Hodge) is really hanging on by a thread, because he’s in such disarray after returning home from Vietnam. So, we kind of leave Danielle in peril; we don’t know where we’ll find her.
At the top of season two, we see what the end result is of what happens when you just give and give and give of yourself, and eventually you have nothing left to give. Emotionally, she’s in a pretty kind of low place. I think she’s pretty exhausted. We see that Clayton is no longer with us, and so having had all these losses has created a revival in Danielle. She realizes, you know, “I want to go back to Jamestown. I want to not just be an astronaut in name only, but I want to suit up. I want to put my helmet on. I want to see the sunrise over the Earth’s crest, and I want to get back at it again.” So, we start to see the little inklings of a renewed and reborn Danielle.
Suzanne: So, I noticed something. I interviewed Jodi (Balfour) and Sonya (Walger) a little while earlier. Did they try to make a concerted effort to make all of you look a little plain? Because you’re all much prettier in real life than on the show.
Krys: That’s very sweet. Suzanne, thank you.
Suzanne: It’s true, though.
Wrenn: I think, though, what’s interesting about that observation, is that it takes all of us, I think, one to two hours to get ready to bring us in that direction…
Krys: To look that plain.
Wrenn: …And like one two hours to look like this…It goes both directions.
Krys: Well, I was just gonna say too that, you know, Wrenn mentioned this in an earlier conversation, but especially with Margo and Danielle, these are people who are putting their intellect and that foot first. So, often, and as an actor, you’re judged on the way that you look and the appearance that you present, whereas these women are scientists and engineers. So, I love that, yes, Dani is a bit plain and Margo is a bit plain, but that’s because it’s not a fashion show. These women are looking to be taken seriously, and, ultimately, women are judged by the way that they look even in a bureaucratic environment. If Dani were to show up to the office, and – because we thought about that, like, this is 1983, and I came here with ideas of Whitney Houston, “I Want to Dance with Somebody” hair. I was like, “Let’s do it,” and they’re like, “Hold on, hold on, hold on. This is a woman who has an incredible acumen for science and technology. Let’s just take it a beat and also remind ourselves that this is in Houston. This is not in New York City or in Paris or some enormous fashion capital.” So, our costume designer, Jill Ohanneson, used the Sears Roebuck catalog as the baseline for Dani’s looks, because that’s where Dani can afford to shop, and she wants to look nice. She wants to look presentable. So, yeah, thank you for saying we look nice.
Suzanne: There are some interviews and videos where it seems like they just wear sweat pants and [unintelligible], males, especially.
What was the most fun thing – this is for either or both of you – that you’ve done on the show?
Wrenn: It’s too hard to choose. That’s like a nightmare of a question, because there are so many things…
Wrenn: …No, no, I mean, I’m just gonna start like reeling off things, and Krys, I’m going to leave it to you to stop me and be like, “Cut. Scene.”
I really loved working with Colm Feore in the first season. The whole relationship between Margo and von Braun was so much fun. I mean, it’s a true gift. When you pick up a script – like that was in our sixth episode that season, where it was almost like filming a play in some ways, which is when Margot goes to von Braun’s house.
I also really, really loved trying to figure out how to fake play the piano. So, it was really rewarding after spending so much time doing that to actually do it, and to have Sonya, who I just met, be like, “You’re pretending?” and me just being like, “Oh my God, [it’s] working.”
I also really loved filming scenes with Sonya as well; she was just incredible, especially [in] that one little scene between Molly and Margo, when they’re doing the training stuff.
Then, I just really love working with our writers and our whole crew. I mean, that’s something that’s a big bummer about COVID. It’s not just that we as a cast have to keep our distance, it’s that the crew, we’re actually all separated into different pods. I’m so used to like, jabbering with the crew on the side. I’m so used to being like, “Hey, how are you?” and to just feel like, it’s like, “Hey…” That’s a little sad.
Then, as far as Season Two goes, I just I love getting to play with who Margo is when she’s not at work being watched by other people. I just find that to be the most fun, fascinating, like creative ocean to dive into. Yeah, I maybe get a little carried away with that, but it’s so much fun. I’m gonna cut myself [off].
Krys: Yeah, I mean, all of it is really fun. I will say, learning The Bob Newhart Show by heart was really fun. Michael and Joel [Kinnaman] – I mean, I kind of feel like I should have shot those scenes wearing an astronaut diaper, because I laughed so hard that I had a little bit of pee in my pants. I mean, they’re just so much fun to be around. So, Meera Menon, our director for the “Hi, Bob” episode, really just let us open it up, let us play, let us improvise, let us just have fun together. So, I think what translates on screen is a connection with Gordo, Dani and Ed, and in real life, there was just a true connection between myself, Joel, and Michael, and just being able to horse around. There are so many aspects of this job that I love, but I think getting to reunite with those guys, is always really, really delicious fun stuff to do.
Suzanne: When they do the scenes that are on the moon, and like at the beginning of the second season, they’re bouncing around trying to get back when they have the solar flares, how is that done? Is that done completely CGI? How do they do that?
Krys: Suzanne! I can’t tell you how the magic is made. Are you kidding me? Come on.
Suzanne: A little bit, a little bit.
Krys: …So, here’s the rub about wearing the spacesuit. The spacesuit is about 65 pounds with the helmet and the boots and the full – it’s extraordinarily heavy. The joy of it is that if you were in space, you’d be weightless. So, it’d be [nice] for you, but we’re not; we’re here on Earth. It’s about half my body weight, so it’s it’s pretty taxing. So, some of the work is done on wires. Some of the work is actually just us moving in kind of an undulating way that’s slowed down a little bit to make it seem like we’re moving [in] space. But yeah, the suits are incredibly hot to wear, so they have to constantly lift the visor to blot you, because you’re just pouring sweat as you play those bits. But yeah, our visual effects team is incredible at making – Like there’s a bit in the “Hi, Bob” episode where I drop the ant farm. I mean, that’s all on liars, and it looks like it’s just me dropping an ant farm, and in actuality, I’m hitched to wires as I slowly slow speed fall over to grab this falling ant farm. So, all movie magic.
Suzanne: I can see why you wouldn’t count this. The parts of the spacesuit as being the most fun though.
Krys: No. Fun to watch but not fun to wear.
Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com
“For All Mankind” explores what would have happened if the global space race had
never ended. The series presents an aspirational world where NASA astronauts, engineers and their families find themselves in the center of extraordinary events seen through the prism of an alternate history timeline — a world in which the USSR beats the US to the moon.
Season two of the space drama picks up a decade later in 1983. It’s the height of the Cold War and tensions between the United States and the USSR are at their peak. Ronald Reagan is President and the greater ambitions of science and space exploration are at threat of being squandered as the US and Soviets go head to head to control sites rich in resources on the moon. The Department of Defense has moved into Mission Control, and the militarization of NASA becomes central to several characters’ stories: some fight it, some use it as an opportunity to advance their own interests, and some find themselves at the height of a conflict that may lead to nuclear war. New stars set to join Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, Sarah Jones, Shantel VanSanten, Wrenn Schmidt, Jodi Balfour, Krys Marshall and Sonya Walger in the second season include Cynthy Wu, Coral Peña and Casey W. Johnson.
“For All Mankind” is created by Golden Globe-nominee and Emmy Award-winner Ronald D. Moore, and Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominees Ben Nedivi & Matt Wolpert. Moore, Nedivi and Wolpert executive produce alongside Golden Globe Award nominee Maril Davis of Tall Ship Productions and Nichole Beattie, David Weddle and Bradley Thompson. “For All Mankind” is produced by Sony Pictures Television.
The ten episode second season will debut globally on Friday, February 19, 2021, followed by one new episode weekly, every Friday, exclusively on Apple TV+.
Proofread and Edited by Brenda
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