Gabrielle Pantera asks Christina Cox about her starring role in the Defying Gravity TV series, premieres on ABC on August 2nd, 2009, at 9pm/8c
BEVERLY HILLS, CA (Gosh!TV) 8/2/2009 – The ABC TV series Defying Gravity poses the question, can humans be celibate in space? Not hardly.
“The first day of shooting there was a lot of ridiculous fan-girl squealing because the sets on Defying Gravity are so unbelievably cool,” says Defying Gravity star Christina Cox. “It was a lot of Florentine Lahme and me slapping each other and doing silent oh-my-gods behind the producers’ backs because we wanted to look really cool. Aside from Riddick, to walk onto a television set where there was such a complete world manufactured for you, I can’t even describe how awesome those sets are.”
Christina Cox, known for roles in The Chronicles of Riddick and Stargate Atlantis, is astronaut-biologist Jen in Defying Gravity. The story has eight astronauts, four female and four male, from five different countries aboard an international spacecraft. While the crew is working the world is watching through video cameras.
“This is the first time that we’re looking at, can we put someone on the surface of Mars?” says Cox. “Can we put them on Venus? How will that work? What are the psychological repercussions of long term space travel when you isolate people from their families for five or six years?”
“My character on the ship, Jen, is married,” says Cox. “Defying Gravity is set within the next fifty years. It’s not deep future with us on other planets. It’s a projection of what NASA thinks we can do in the next fifty years. The show takes place over the five-year training period where the astronaut candidates or “ass-cans” as we ended up calling ourselves. As people train in this intense environment there are relationships made, while they’re getting ready for launch. And, there’s an unknown element to their mission that they’re not aware of initially.”
There are thirteen regular cast members on the show. “Some of us are on the ship and some of us are at mission control,” says Cox. “We are in contact with home by satellite uplink kind of a thing. They’re just very far away and the roaming charges are a bitch.”
“I’m really passionate about this show,” says Cox. “There’s an alchemy that has to come together for a show to be good. There’s something special here for us. I’ve worked with Ty Olsson before, who plays my husband. We were both on Riddick. We were both on The Crow years before. We’d never played opposite each other like on this show. We were never married. So, it was a completely different experience. It was kind of funny after working together for ten years.”
The sets are on the same stage in British Vancouver. “The majority of our space station is on the same set that I shot Stargate Atlantis on,” says Cox.
Many of Cox’s projects have been Sci-Fi. “I like the progressive nature of a lot of Sci-Fi writing and endless possibilities,” says Cox. “When [Virgin Airlines] Mr. Branson brings the price of a ticket down, I’m there. I’m particularly interested in Pluto.”
Cox says Defying Gravity is fundamentally different from previous space station stories like Star Trek Deep Space Nine. “DS-9 is set so far in the future and the technology available to them is very different,” says Cox. “We’re at a point in our show where we can travel these longer distances and survive and have the technology, such as it is, to set down on a planet and survive. It’s not a perfect journey.”
Will Cox return someday for a sequel to The Chronicles of Riddick? “I’d like to think I’m not quite dead, if they ever come back for a second Riddick,” says Cox. “It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I thought I was going in there for a couple week’s work, and it ended up being six months.
Cox likes doing her own stunts and is listed as a stunt woman on Million Dollar Baby. “It had to be credited that way because of SAG,” says Cox. “I’m not a stunt woman. I’ve done a lot of my own stunts and happy to do the things I’m good at, but there are certain things I leave to the professionals like air rams and ratchet-pulls and car things.”
Like The Office, Defying Gravity is filmed documentary-style. With personal cameras in their quarters the astronauts have no secrets from the cameras. That abortion is illegal in fifty years time is a key plot point of Defying Gravity. Before leaving Earth, each astronaut is fitted with a device to inhibit them from fooling around with other crew members. It apparently has the unforeseen side-effect of making them talk about sex incessantly on camera.
Like Lost, Defying Gravity is told with flashbacks and has secrets.
Defying Gravity is made by the producers of Grey’s Anatomy for Fox Television Studios and Omni Film Productions in association with Canada’s CTV and Germany’s ProSieben. It’s loosely based on the BBC drama Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets.
Defying Gravity premieres on ABC on August 2nd, 2009, at 9pm/8c as a 2-hour special, then broadcasts weekly as a 1-hour series on Sundays at 10pm/9c.