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For All Mankind: How a former astronaut wound up in a Hollywood writers room

Apple TV’s drama For All Mankind has a former astronaut in their writers room

For All Mankind
Image credit: Apple TV+

For All Mankind is an interesting show. The Apple TV+ drama explores an alternate history where the Soviet Union landed on the moon before the United States, sparking a more competitive space race. As a result, the series features lots of scenes in space. The problem is, it’s hard to find a Hollywood writer who has firsthand experience on a NASA space mission.

That’s where Garrett Reisman comes in. The former NASA astronaut serves as a technical advisor for the series, which has placed him somewhere he never expected to be – a Hollywood writer's room. Reisman reflected on the experience during a For All Mankind panel at New York Comic Con.

“You have spent 95 days on the International Space Station. You have had 3 spacewalks. And you’re also an aquanaut and lived 2 weeks at the bottom of the sea! What are you doing slumming it in Hollywood,” panel moderator Damian Holbrook asked.

“This is super fun. I’m tickled pink,” Reisman answered. “I keep expecting this to end someday. I describe it sometimes as when you go to Fantasy Baseball Camp with the Yankees, and they let you take batting practice, and they humor you. I’m an engineer, the likelihood that I was going to end up in a writers room on a television show like this was nil. To have the opportunity to do this kind of stuff is fantastic.”

“But you’ve been in space,” Holbrook reminded him. “That was fun too,” Reisman conceded.

Reisman then broke down his role as the series’ technical advisor. “We had Zoom sessions with the cast, especially the ones that were going to have scenes in microgravity. There’s a tendency for actors to portray being in microgravity as everything happening very slowly, and that’s not really the way it is. So, I showed them films of us on the International Space Station to try to give them a better frame of reference.”

While his expertise comes in handy, he admits that sometimes he has to outsource his answers. “Once I got a call from hair and makeup, because they wanted to know what a woman does with long hair when they have to do a spacewalk. I was like, you’re asking me? I can ask a friend,” Reisman recounted. After checking in with a female astronaut, Reisman reported that scrunchies were an astronaut’s best friend.

For All Mankind season 4 premieres November 10 on Apple TV+.

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About the Author
Joshua Lapin-Bertone avatar

Joshua Lapin-Bertone

Contributing writer

Joshua is a pop culture writer specializing in comic book media. His work has appeared on the official DC Comics website, the DC Universe subscription service, HBO Max promotional videos, the Batman Universe fansite, and more. In between traveling around the country to cover various comic conventions, Joshua resides in Florida where he binges superhero television and reads obscure comics from yesteryear.