Interview with Jodi Balfour & Sonya Walger

TV Interview!

Interview with Jodi Balfour & Sonya Walger of "For All Mankind" on Apple+

Interview with Jodi Balfour & Sonya Walger of “For All Mankind” on Apple+ by Suzanne 3/3/21

This was a fun interview. I was glad to interview these two women as well as the other two from the show. I didn’t get a lot of time with them, but it went very well.

Suzanne: Sonya, you’ve done a lot of TV and movies. What was it about this show that you felt was different than your past projects?

Sonya: I didn’t honestly know a lot about the show when I signed up. I auditioned for the role of Molly with, I think it was, three sheets of paper, one scene. It was a scene from – I can’t even remember. Anyway, it was a great scene, and it was a scene with Joe [Kinnaman]; we were already in the rocket. It was a world I knew nothing about. I knew nothing about NASA. The idea of playing an astronaut felt thrilling.

There was also an aesthetic element too. I just finished doing The Catch. I did two seasons of that, which was an incredibly glamorous show, high lip gloss, shiny heels I couldn’t move in, lots of pencil skirts. It was great. It was a wonderful role, but to suddenly come to this to play someone who, you know, it’s said in capital letters all over the top of these these sides that I was given, “Dress down; this woman pays no attention to how she looks.” It felt great; bring it, fantastic. How fun. That was an element of it, because that was honestly as much information as I had about it.

I mean, I got the role and started shooting two, three days later. So, it was so fast the turnaround. I didn’t have much time to think about, “What is this? What am I joining?” I was also only supposed to be in it for three episodes, and I am talking with you at the end of season two. So, it wasn’t like I knew I was joining something that was going to take up the next two years of my life.

Suzanne: Okay, and I can say this because I’m older than you, but you’re probably one of the few actors in the cast that was actually around in the 80s when this season takes place.

Sonya: Yes.

Suzanne: How well do you remember it, and did you think the series did a good job of capturing that time?

Sonya: I think it totally did. I mean, short of having Princess Diana in it, it did everything. We had the shoulder puffs and the big hair and the perms and the headbands, and it was all going on. Yeah, fully, that felt like home, although it didn’t, because England in the 80s is very different to America in the 80s. England in the 80s was still quite depressed and grim, and it always felt like America had, you know, shiny bright things happening, and McDonald’s and milkshakes. America was where I wanted to be in the 80s. So, it’s fun to imaginatively be there now.

Suzanne: Thank you, and Jodi, what are you allowed to tell us about what happens to your character this season?

Jodi: Oh, so little. What can I actually tell you? I mean, there’s a big – I just used this term a second ago, but there’s a big political awakening that happens with her this season. I suppose it’s not a total surprise that this is possible, but certainly not something I think audiences will be expecting of Ellen, who when we meet in season one, there’s something [quite] mild about her, but quite timid and reserved and quiet and studious. By the end of season two, there’s someone really stepping in to try to claim a sense of power and leadership, all in in service of getting to Mars, but still, nonetheless, we meet quite a political animal by the end of season two.

Suzanne: Okay, and congratulations to both you on the show being renewed for a third season. How far ahead did they tell you what’s going to happen to your character? Either of you can answer, or both.

Jodi: I’ve had a quick chat with the writers, but that’s it. They’ll plant a few seeds for us, and then we have to wait for [the] script.

Suzanne: Have they started working on season three, shooting-wise or just writing-wise?

Sonya: We start shooting soon.

Jodi: Yeah. end of the month. I think they have close to the whole season written, not all, but close to, but they’ll keep writing as we shoot.

Suzanne: I saw an article that was talking about the things that people wanted to know about season two. Do we find out what happened with Pam (Meghan Leathers)? Is there any more about Pam and your [character’s] relationship? Or you can’t say?

Jodi: I don’t know. I wish I could like give you some sort of sign language to point one direction or the other, but I just simply can’t. It’s been scrubbed from my memory.

Suzanne: That’s fair…How did you feel when you found out that they have so much faith in the show that they’re already going on with the third season before the second one even started airing?

Sonya: It’s great. I mean, honestly, working with Apple is fantastic. It’s a company founded on innovation, and it feels like this is such a good fit for that. Our shows is a good match for that. I also feel like there’s such a great cast. It’s such an unusual idea to keep jumping years ahead. I can’t think of many shows that have ever attempted this. It feels brave and thrilling; to get a chance to jump ahead again is wonderful.

Suzanne: Did the pandemic affect the filming at all?

Jodi: Big time. We shot right before finishing season two and then had to come back, kind of as one of the early guinea pigs, in August [or] September to complete season two, and now we will be going back into production.

Suzanne: What precautions do they take? I know they test you a lot.

Sonya: We tested every day. We tested even on our days off. Every single person is masked. We have special entrances and exits so that nobody’s crossing pods. You rehearse in a mask…There’re many, many precautions.

I was incredibly nervous about going back to work in the middle of this. I’ve got two small children; I’ve got an asthmatic husband. It all felt terrifying to me, and yet, I got to work, and I truthfully couldn’t have felt safer. They have implemented everything possible to keep you safe, all of us.

Suzanne: That’s great. Jodi, comments?

Jodi: No, everything Sonya said and more. I mean, it almost to a degree starts to make set feel like the safest place you can be, to be honest. It’s great.

I was really worried about it feeling like it would be COVID with a side of a TV show, and it really didn’t feel like that. We found a way, and the first few days felt strange and apocalyptic in the way that you would expect them to, but, eventually, you really get into the swing of it. It’s amazing how adaptable we all are, and by the end of finishing those last two episodes, it was making a TV show with a side of COVID, rather than the other way around. So, the work felt protected.

Suzanne: Have you heard anything about what they plan to do in the future? Say everyone has, or most people have been vaccinated, are they still going to keep some of those restrictions? Have you heard anything about it?

Jodi: I think we’d continue on as we have, but I don’t [know] – none of us have – I haven’t been vaccinated certainly, and I don’t think there’s a plan to do that before we shoot. We’ll continue on as we did successfully in August and in September.

Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com

MORE INFO:

“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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Interview with Jodi Balfour & Sonya Walger of "For All Mankind" on Apple+

Interview with Wrenn Schmidt & Krys Marshall

TV Interview!

Wrenn Schmidt & Krys Marshall of "For All Mankind" on Apple+

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.

Suzanne: Krys?

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…

Suzanne: Sorry.

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

MORE INFO:

“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

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

For All Mankind poster