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THE ASTRONAUT'S WIFE

The Messenger

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 believe.

"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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