Every actor pursues their calling for the opportunity to explore new characters and genres, and The Midnight Sky star Tiffany Boone is no exception. Beyond her role as an astronaut in George Clooney‘s apocalyptic Netflix drama, she’s gotten the chance to discover her inner badass on the Amazon Nazi-hunting drama Hunters and embody the younger self of complicated artist Mia (Kerry Washington) on Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere.
And that’s just recent history — when I recently spoke with Boone, she had just finished shooting the upcoming miniseries Nine Perfect Strangers in Australia. In the upcoming Hulu miniseries based on the novel by Big Little Liars writer Liane Moriarty, she plays Delilah, who alongside Yao (Manny Jacinto), assists Masha (Nicole Kidman) in running a very unconventional wellness retreat.
Below, Boone talks about the training she had to do to bring key sequences of The Midnight Sky to life, what made Nine Perfect Strangers a unique filming experience, and her hopes for what might happen with Roxy in the second season of Hunters. She also gets candid about what she took away from her experience working on The Chi, the Showtime drama she left after making allegations of harassment against co-star Jason Mitchell.
Theree a bunch of different things I want to ask you about, but to start off, what was it like filming The Midnight Sky?
BOONE: It was one of the best experiences I’ve had on the set. I attribute it to George [Clooney]. Everything comes from the top, right, on these productions, and really in any business, but he set such a tone for a set and everyone there is just excited to be there, organized, ready to go, prepared. He knows how to take care of his crew and his cast. I just had a really good time. I felt like I was getting spoiled the whole time.
In terms of the way this film is structured, it seems like it was just a lot of you guys together on that one set.
BOONE: Yeah. [Clooney] filmed all of his stuff in Iceland, in the wild pretty much. For the spaceship stuff, we were all just in the studio on three different sets. The weird part is, the scenes with all of the astronauts together. I mean, those didn’t take a lot of time. He worked so fast. We didn’t take a lot of time to do that stuff. Most of my time was spent in stunt rehearsal, honestly. I was always at stunt rehearsal. I would go to work and shoot a scene and then go to do five more hours of stunt rehearsal. That was my experience.
Was that for the space walk sequence?
How much rehearsal did that require?
BOONE: Well, two months before we started, they got me a trainer and I would train with her two or three times a week. And then once I got to London in December, I had two weeks of training and then we had the Christmas holiday break. Got back in January and from the beginning when I got there in January until our last day, I was still in stunt rehearsal. It was every day. That’s quite a few months of training.
Yeah. I mean, so was it largely wire work on your end?
BOONE: Yeah. All wire work, in a harness, upside down for hours at a time.
Is this something that you’d always wanted to do?
BOONE: No. It is not something I always wanted to do. I never necessarily had any desire to do wire work or even thought much about it, to be honest. But the weird thing is when I was doing Hunters and I got to do some fight choreography there, I was like, oh, I think I could do more physical work. I think I could do more action stuff. And I didn’t know what I was putting out into the universe because I booked this and it was way above what I thought I was going to be doing. It was very challenging, but I’m so happy that I learned that skillset.
And it’s something that you can now put on your resume.
Let’s say you got cast in another space movie, do you feel like it would be easier to pick it up or would you have to relearn the whole thing all over again?
BOONE: I definitely think it’ll be easier to pick it up. I mean, I don’t think I’d jump right in to be perfect by any means. Your body has to get reset and right back into that stuff, but I definitely think it would be easier. I mean, George has done multiple space movies and done quite a bit of wire work. Because he did it so much, he could offer us a lot of advice, and I would think that’s how it would be the second time around. The more you do something, the easier it becomes, obviously.
Of course. It’s funny you mention that because when I was watching the film, I was like, George seems to really like space but also seems very afraid of it. Is that something he ever talked about? Because I feel like my favorite thing about space movies is the reminder that space is a terrifying place that wants to kill you.
BOONE: Yeah. I don’t know if he… He never really talked about being afraid of it. I’m trying to think. No, we never had a conversation like that. I think we had a conversation about if you’d rather go into the sea, do like deep sea exploration or do space, and I think maybe I said space. I don’t remember what George said. But I mean, yes, they’re both all of the unknown and it is a very scary thing. I surely could never be an astronaut. I mean, it’s fun to pretend, but it’s not for me in real life.
I do want to ask about Nine Perfect Strangers, because it’s I imagine pretty fresh in your mind, and I read the book so I know what a wild journey all of those characters potentially are going to go on. From your perspective, what was it like hopping onto that project?
BOONE: I mean, it was a wild ride in real life, because I was in lockdown in LA and I knew that we had Hunters pushed back to next year, so I thought, oh, for the rest of the year, people aren’t going to be working. I’m going to be able to be in the house, get some other things accomplished that I want to get accomplished, do some writing.
And then this fell in my lap — I really found out that I was going to Australia two days before I got on the plane, so it was a wild ride for me. Obviously I’m a fan of so many of the actors on this project. It was quite a surprise to pick up my life and go to Australia for five months and shoot this insane series. Yeah. It’s wild.
Yeah. I mean, based on knowing the book, it seems like your character basically spends the most time with Manny Jacinto and Nicole Kidman’s characters, and I’m wondering what was it like to create that trio of a relationship?
BOONE: Yeah, the weird thing is I haven’t read the book because our director [Jonathan Levine] told me not to because Delilah was very different than she is in the book, and he just told me that it was going to be quite confusing if I read it. So he told me not to. Maybe I’ll read it now that it’s over. But yeah, it was really interesting creating the relationship with Yao, Delilah and Masha. It changed a lot throughout the time that we were shooting. We rewrote a lot and reread a lot.
BOONE: Yeah. I mean, I finished shooting last Friday, and I think the scenes that we were doing on Friday, we had just rewrote maybe on Wednesday. Yeah, I mean, it was very wild. The whole thing was very wild and constantly evolving. Yeah.
Was there a lot of improv?
BOONE: There was a bit of improv. I wouldn’t say a great deal of it. I think as a cast and having Jonathan as a director, very seldom were we married to the texts, like strictly have to say every word. We could play with things and make them our own as we needed to, but I wouldn’t say full, and it depends. It would depend. A lot of the comedy moments… We have some comedy beats on this show — they would play around with the words a lot. But Delilah’s a pretty serious person, so there was not a lot of improv from me.
I imagine that working with Manny — just based on having seen him in The Good Place, he must’ve been really fun.
BOONE: Yeah. The thing is, his character is so different. No one’s seen Manny like this before, and I think it was very, for him, a real opportunity for people to see him in a different light from knowing him as Jason on The Good Place. I mean, he’s funny, sure, but in real life, he’s a pretty serious, quiet person. We definitely had a lot of time together and got to know each other and became friends and had a lot of laughs.
Yeah. I mean, I think that that speaks to something that gets me really excited about talking with actors, is the fact that it feels, especially right now, typecasting isn’t necessarily as much as a thing as it used to be, and it’s great to see actors like yourself get opportunities to play really different characters.
BOONE: Yeah, absolutely. My whole life, I mean, I felt very lucky coming from theater into film and television. I’ve never really felt like I got typecast, maybe I’m blind to it, but I feel like I’ve been able to play such a wide array of characters. I’m glad that a lot of people are having that opportunity too, because I mean, that’s why we become actors. We don’t want to keep doing the same thing over and over again. We want to live different lives and want to be different people, so it’s the real gift to have that opportunity.
Absolutely. That’s a good segue to talking about Hunters — what was it like getting to really dig into the character of Roxy? Because even from the name, you know this is going to have a certain tone.
BOONE: Yeah. Yah, Roxy for me was like such a challenge because she is so different from me. I think of myself as not being very cool and goofy and whatever, and she’s the opposite. She’s the coolest person in the room. When she walks in the room you have to look at Roxy. She’s extremely confident, and I don’t know, she just exudes like sexiness and strength and… I don’t know. I just think she’s the coolest, or at least that’s the way I took her and interpreted her and created her. But it was fun to tap into those parts of myself and in that, still find the vulnerability in her to still find the fear in her, to find the joy and the love and all of those things that you don’t see automatically. I actually really miss Roxy. I’m super excited to get back to her.
Have you been told much about what you can expect for Roxy in Season 2?
BOONE: I haven’t been told much. David Weil, the show creator, can be a little secretive, but I haven’t been told a whole lot. I’ve heard whispers. I think we all get little pieces of information, and so we try to share them with each other. I’m supposed to have a call with him pretty soon, so hopefully I’ll learn some more about her. I hope she gets some more lighter moments in Season 2. I hope she gets to have a little bit more fun. I think that would be good for Roxy.
Are there characters that you didn’t interact with as much in Season 1 that you hope are a bigger part of Season 2 for your character?
BOONE: I just saw Kate Mulvany, she’s an Australian actress, so I saw her while I was in Australia. She plays Sister Harriet, and we were talking about how we hope that our characters have some more time together. I would love that because they are two strong female personalities in the show, and to see them interact would be great, and hopefully not just battle, because I think that’s the easy thing to fall into, to have two strong female characters just butting heads all the time. It would be nice to see them develop a friendship in Season 2, but David knows better than me.
Wonderful. Something I want to ask you about is The Chi — it’s more a question about that experience, which is what did it teach you moving forward onto other shows and other films about what you should look for in a production environment?
BOONE: You know, what I said about George [Clooney]’s set is something that I look for now when I go onto a set. It starts from the head. It starts at the top, and the tone that the directors, that the producers, set. You can feel it in the energy. I mean, it’s kind of hard to describe, but I look for diversity in the creative team. I look for people who are talking about, okay, how do we make sure you’re safe? Everyone’s safe. How do we make sure everyone’s happy? How do we make sure that a great environment is being built? It’s just something that you can feel. Then, particularly if you do have an issue and you bring an issue up, you can tell by the way the responses you get, if people are willing to listen to you and work with you and try to figure it out, or if you get brushed off.
A lot of these things you can’t know until you get on a set, right? Everybody’s great when you’re having a conversation, when you’re reading some sides and you’re having a conversation about lights and all of that fun stuff that happens before, but you really don’t know until you get there, but I think it becomes clear pretty quickly. Then it’s about how you want to handle it as an artist.
[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for The Midnight Sky.]
So to wrap up, I have some spoiler-y questions for The Midnight Sky — to start, it’s not really technically a spoiler question because there’s no answer to it in the film, but when it comes to the Event that triggers everything, how do you feel about not ever really knowing what it is, and do you have a theory or a take on it?
BOONE: Well, I think it’s great that you don’t know exactly what the Event is. I think it’s for each of our imaginations to fill in, if you want to try to fill that in. I mean, there’s so many options, there’s so many ways we’re hurting each other and hurting the earth that could lead to such a catastrophe. So I think it’s good that there is no clear explanation there. For me, because my character doesn’t actually know, doesn’t actually know what’s what happened. They don’t really figure that out until past the time when she would know, then I never tried to figure that out. I try to like when building characters, only know as much as the character knows and not jump ahead of that. For me, watching, I still don’t necessarily have a point of view on what the catastrophe is. I think it’s probably a combination of a lot of things. That would be my idea.
Also, it’s very sad that your character is, with the exception of the rest of humanity, the first big onscreen death. You talked about having to do the stunt work, which is intense, but what was it like having to put that sequence together?
BOONE: It was such a buildup to it, and I did feel a lot of pressure around me, because I guess it’s technically the first time… There is one other time that I’ve done dying on screen, and this one, it was hard, especially because the blood part of it is so important, her seeing the blood, and there was nothing for her to see. That was in all of our imaginations — they put that in, in post.
It was really important to just make that moment as authentic as possible. Luckily for me, I look to my fellow actors to help me through difficult scenes, and I had, specifically, Felicity [Jones] there holding my hand, looking in my eyes to ground me in the midst of all the craziness that was happening. Yeah. I mean, it was insane.
BOONE: I mean, I had on like a hundred-pound spacesuit while I’m trying to die and stay in zero gravity and pretend I see all this blood. But it was exactly the challenge that you hope for as an actor. I feel very grateful for the experience.
The Midnight Sky is streaming now on Netflix, and you can watch Hunters Season 1 on Amazon now.
Nobody knows anything.
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