THE ASTRONAUT'S WIFE
Heightening Jillian's suspicions that all
is not nursery rhymes and silver spoons with her pregnancy is
her encounter with Sherman Reese, a NASA executive who claims
he has risked his very life to bring her a warning. Reese is played
by Joe Morton, who is best known for his complex portrayals in
several films directed by John Sayles (Brother From Another
Planet, City of Hope, Lone Star). Here he has a chance to
give a very different, spine-tingling performance as a scientist
who has made a terrible discovery nobody wants to know about or
"Reese is a nervous, manicured, educated man of logic. He's
wound very tight, so when he makes this seemingly unbelievable
discovery, he doesn't handle it all that well," observes
Joe Morton. "He goes a little crazy."
Reese's only remaining hope in life is to tell Jillian the truth
before it is too late. "He really has to gain Jillian's trust,
which right now is no easy matter," comments Morton.
Ultimately, what drew Morton to the sci-fi-inspired script was
its underlying psychological resonances with real life. "I
liked it because it plays with your sense of trust," he says.
"It shows what happens with your sense of love and affiliation
when you are betrayed. A lot of emotions get played out even as
the excitement of the story keeps moving forward."
"Joe Morton has always been one of my favorite actors,"
states executive producer Mark Johnson. "He's so perfect
at getting you to buy the smooth veneer of a NASA bureaucrat and
yet when he starts to come undone it's incredibly powerful."
Rounding out the cast is Nick Cassavetes as Alan Streck, the astronaut
whose mysterious experience in outer space leaves him in dire
straits; rising young star Clea Duvall as Nan, Jillian's younger
sister who tries to cheer her through the nightmare of her pregnancy;
and Donna Murphy as Natalie Streck, another dutiful NASA wife
whose own life and sanity seem to unravel when her husband returns
from the aborted mission.
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