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  • How Ronna Kress Assembled an Out of this World Cast for ‘Extant’

    CBS’s thrilling new series “Extant” feels more like a sci-fi feature than a TV series. Hailing from producer Steven Spielberg and starring Oscar-winning Halle Berry as Molly Woods, an astronaut readjusting to earth, the modern day “X-Files” is filled with robots, the possibility of aliens, and conspiracy.
    Casting director Ronna Kress doesn’t typically cast full seasons of series, but she made an exception for “Extant.” “You never want to say no to working on something with Steven Spielberg,” she jokes. “And the script was fantastic.”
    “It was a blank slate” when Kress started casting, but knowing Berry was interested in television, they cast her quickly. Then came building an ensemble that could work at Berry’s level. “You want to make sure that you are surrounding her with actors that are equally strong and have the weight onscreen,” Kress says.
    With Berry and Spielberg attached, it was easy to attract high-level actors. Kress credits Alan Coulter, who directed the pilot, with helping to set the tone of all of the characters, and Kress made an offer to Japanese film actor Hiroyuki Sanada before casting really began. Another role cast


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