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Away will take viewers on a harrowing journey to Mars when the series debuts on Netflix this Friday. Before launching into space, star Hilary Swank leads ET on a tour of the set in the video above, taking audiences behind the scenes of the spacecraft that the two-time Oscar winner’s character spends most of her time in.
While the compartments -- her sleeping pod, the command module -- look quite spacious, Swank reveals that simulating life in space put her to the test. “I will share with you, no one knows this yet, that I actually had an issue with my suits because I didn't realize I was claustrophobic until I put the suit on and my helmet and my gloves which are all clipped in and that's when I realized that I have quite intense claustrophobia,” the actress says.
She adds, “It took a lot of work, but I worked through it with the help of a great crew that was very understanding [but] I had to get ripped out of my suit a few times to get through it.”
On the series from executive producer Jason Katims (About a Boy, Parenthood), Away follows an international team of astronauts on the first mission to Mars led by Emma Green (Swank), who must reconcile with her decision to leave her husband (Josh Charles) and teenage daughter (Talitha Bateman) behind at a critical time for her family. While aboard the spacecraft, Green is faced with unexpected challenges as she and her team go further into space than any man before them. And as they get further and further from Earth, they must rely on each other to cope and survive.
In addition to the suit, filming the series presented other challenges for Swank and her co-stars, Ray Panthaki, Ato Essandoh, Mark Ivanir and Vivian Wu. “Pretending that you’re in zero gravity, it takes a lot of effort and a lot of effort to make it look effortless,” Swank previously told ET during Netflix’s presentation at the Television Critics Association press tour.
“We were harnessed by the lower part of our hips and they were acting as a pendulum. So we’d squeeze our glutes to move us forward, and then squeeze abs to move us backwards, but the whole time we're squeezing these muscles so tight and trying not to talk funny because of it,” she continued, adding that preparing for her role was “more physically challenging than I actually had anticipated.”
However, the cast eventually adapted -- and it proved to be a bonding experience. “It was, I think for all of us, a lot more challenging than we realized it would be. But then, like anything, it just becomes an important part of your character, and when you’re doing it you feel like you’re all in space together,” Swank said.