Right off the bat, the Prime Video series night sky, about a couple whose house contains a mysterious portal to outer space, might sound like a thriller. But it’s meant to be a tribute to the relationship of creator Holden Miller’s grandparents.
“I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, who were in their 80s at the time and had been married for over 60 years,” Miller said of when he started writing the screenplay during his free time. “Watching their relationship brought up a lot of the questions I had about themes like mortality and lasting love and the universe – and how we come to grips with them as we come to this stage of life. .”
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Miller began formulating his ideas, and his thoughts eventually became a pilot. Then he had a creative blind date with fellow writer-producer Daniel C. Connolly, and night sky was born. They cast Hollywood veterans Sissy Spacek and JK 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, appreciation and admiration for his grandparents and the endurance of their relationship,” Simmons said. “I think that perspective is so much more valuable than if it had been written by a guy my age.
The four creatives reunited virtually for a special THR presents panel, powered by Vision Media, to discuss how they created the slow-burn supernatural series, which reveals the truth behind the couples’ alien family ties over its eight episodes. “What struck me about the pilot episode was the patience it expects and demands from an audience,” Simmons said. “I like a story that gives you credit for having an attention span.” Spacek, for her roles, noted that she was more drawn to the relationship elements of the show than the genre: “I’ve been in a long-term relationship, so I thought, I’m going to root for it. and I’ll just be carried away by the sci-fi side.
A scheduling conflict and subsequent redesign caused Simmons to board the project at the last minute, cutting any potential rehearsal time for both tracks to almost nothing. But Spacek describes an almost bizarre level of ease between the costars. “We were both thrilled with our working relationship,” she said.
Much of the series is grounded in the relationship between the two characters: how they have become estranged from their community due to the great secrecy of their house, and how they interact on a daily 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 stage actor, where you look at the audience imagining you’re seeing something, and that’s a similar set of tools,” Simmons said. “We’re looking at a grip mount with a tennis ball on it or a green screen with some X’s on it.”
Above, watch the full panel interview for more behind-the-scenes stories and whether we can expect a second season of night sky.
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