The new CBS Sci-fi drama "Extant" stars Halle Berry as an astronaut who has been on a space station for a long time and is now back with her family and adjusting to a normal life. Well, not exactly normal. "Extant" takes place in the future and involves plenty of unfamiliar elements to us in 2014.
The first is that Berry’s character, Molly, is pregnant but no one knows how that happened. She was alone on the space station for a year. And the second involves Berry’s son Ethan (Pierce Gagnon) who is a robot created by her husband, John (Goran Visnjic).
This is the first TV series in which the Academy Award-winning actress stars. During a recent press conference, Berry was asked what drew her to this project.
“There were so many elements,” Berry said, “but probably the first one was being a mother. This was a character when I first read it that was so relatable to me. I felt like it was just in my DNA. I had a knowingness about this character. I had a fundamental understanding. 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, … but also to be a good mother.”
Berry relates to her character of Molly. “She’s strong. She’s complicated. I’m complicated. But she has a will to survive, to win. She’s good at her heart.”
This is the kind of character the actress said she enjoys playing.
The fact that this is a Steven Spielberg project also drew her to the show.
“And for me I feel like the best writing now is on television.” Berry explained that the stigma of movie actors doing TV is becoming a thing of the past.
Because the show has the element of her robot son, Berry spoke about humanness and what makes us human.
“I don’t think there’s one thing that makes us human and that’s what this series is all about.” She explained that part of the show is about love and the question whether robots can learn to love. “Can we teach it to love? Can we give it free will? Will it act as human beings act over time?”
These are some of the questions being addressed in the show.
“What intrigued me about this series is to try to discover the answer(s). Can we teach someone to be human?," she said. "Hopefully by the time we finish this series, we might have a better answer. We might be able to intelligently talk about it.”
She is intrigued by this element of the show. “If you believe that love is what makes you human, then that beckons the question, will Ethan, will the robot, ever be able to really love? Will he be able to love Molly and John, his parents? That’s the question our show is also asking.”
When asked if she could fall in love with a robot child, Berry was contemplative.
“Having two children who are so very human and help me get in touch with my humanity on a daily basis, I struggle with if a robot would evoke the same kinds of feelings from me," she said. "Would I really be able to love a machine?”
Berry went on to describe some experiences with her own kids and it is evident being a mother is her favorite role.
"Extant" premieres Wednesday on CBS.