Why Halle Berry was drawn to 'Extant' and that (alien?) baby
On Wednesday, Halle Berry will make her TV comeback in Extant, a new futuristic drama on CBS about a married astronaut who returns to earth pregnant after a year-long mission in space. Here, Berry (whose first acting jobs were in old TV shows like Living Dolls and Knot’s Landing) talks about her character and that thing growing in her character’s belly.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Talk about when you first discovered the script for Extant.
HALLE BERRY: The minute I started to read it, I couldn’t put it down. Every step of the way, as I read that script, I thought, wow. This is different, it’s innovative, it’s got a strong female character. I want to do this. This was a complicated woman, a complicated family. Who is a woman who goes away to space for a year and leaves her husband? Who is a woman who comes back pregnant and tries to handle it somehow on her own?
What kinds of questions did you have for the writers about the sci-fi elements?
Before I signed on, Mickey Fisher and Greg Walker came to my house. Who is that guy in space [who she sees on her ship], and what does that mean? Is he an alien? If this should happen to go another year, then what? Like, I had all of these questions. I was pregnant at the time, and I thought, wow, too bad I’m not really like this when we start, because we could use my real pregnant belly. And they said, “Well, you’re never going to look pregnant like that in the show.” I asked, “I don’t kill it?” They said no. I said, “Does anybody kill it?” They said no. I thought wow, okay. I’m in.
What do you think about Steven Spielberg’s involvement?
I love the kind of sci-fi that Steven does. It’s more supernatural. This is more E.T.-ish, more of that end of supernatural and sci-fi. And I love that the core of it is the family and the relationship, but you also go into this world that’s new in a magical way. There will be enough sci-fi and future stuff to satisfy fans. But for the people, especially women, who like it to be rooted in something real and true and emotional, they’ll have that too. Because at the core of this is this family, and they’re struggling to stay a family while dealing with what just happened to them, something they have no control over.
You’re talking about the pregnancy.
You find out Molly is pregnant with whatever it is. She’s very connected to that, because that is part of her. I keep telling the writers all the time, you know, Charles Manson had a mother who loved him, so whatever this thing is, it’s part Molly. There’s just an unspoken love that’s there. Whatever he’s doing that may wreak havoc on the world, I, as a mother, can help. After all, it is half-human. There’s a reason that it chose her body to come through, and take something from her that it needed in order to come to Earth. I think these aliens have realized they need part of what is human if they want to survive. So many species before us have all gone extinct, but humans are still here. Why is that? I think this other life force realizes there’s something about us that they need for them to not become extinct. That’s why this little baby is so important. It can be the birth of a new life form that is stronger than humans and stronger than the aliens. It can be this new hybrid.
For more on Extant, including an interview with Steven Spielberg, pick up the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands now.