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From the outset, the Prime Video series Night Sky, about a couple whose home contains a mysterious portal to outer space, might seem like a thriller. But it’s meant to be an homage to the relationship of creator Holden Miller’s grandparents.
“I was spending a lot of time with my grandparents, who getting into kind of their 80s at that point and had been married for over 60 years,” Miller said of the moment when he began writing the script in his free time. “Observing their relationship brought up a lot of questions that I had about themes like mortality and enduring love and the universe — and how we grapple with them as we get to that stage of life.”
Miller began formulating his ideas, and his musings eventually became a pilot. Then, he went on a creative blind date with fellow writer-producer Daniel C. Connolly, and Night Sky was born. They cast Hollywood veterans Sissy Spacek and J.K. Simmons — who had never met before the show — to portray the central couple inspired by Miller’s grandparents. “[This story] is told through the lens of a young man with this great love and appreciation and admiration for his grandparents, and for the endurance of their relationship,” said Simmons. “I think that perspective is so much more valuable than if it had been written by a guy my age.
The four creatives gathered virtually for a special THR Presents panel, powered by Vision Media, to discuss how they made the slow burning supernatural series, which reveals the truth behind the couples’ extraterrestrial home ties over the course of its eight episodes. “The thing that struck me about the pilot episode was the patience that it expects and requires of an audience,” said Simmons. “I love a story that gives you credit for having an attention span.” Spacek, for her parts, noted that she was drawn to the relationship elements of the show more than the genre: “I’ve been in a long term relationship so I thought, I’ll ground myself in that and I’ll just be swept away by the science fiction aspect.”
A scheduling conflict and subsequent recasting caused Simmons to board the project at the last minute, cutting down any potential rehearsal time for the two leads to almost nothing. But Spacek describes an almost bizarre level of ease between the costars. “We both were really over the moon about our working relationship,” she said.
Much of the show is grounded in the relationship between the two characters: the ways in which they’ve become alienated from their community as a result of their house’s big secret and how they interact on a day-to-day basis. But it’s also a show about outer space, which means there was a lot of green screen work. “I started out as a theater actor, where you’re looking out at the audience imagining that you’re seeing something, and it’s a similar tool set,” said Simmons. “We’re looking at a grip stand with a tennis ball on it or a green screen with a couple of X’s.”
Above, watch the full panel interview for more behind-the-scenes filming stories and to find out whether we can expect a second season of Night Sky.
This edition of THR Presents is brought to you by Prime Video.
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