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Sarah Jones: 'For All Mankind' is alternate history without 'doom and gloom'

By
Karen Butler
Actress Sarah Jones can now be seen in the Apple TV+ series, For All Mankind. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Actress Sarah Jones can now be seen in the Apple TV+ series, "For All Mankind." File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Sons of Anarchy alum Sarah Jones said she loved the premise of For All Mankind because it is the rare alternate-history tale that is uplifting instead of bleak.

Jones, 36, and Patriot actor Michael Dorman, 38, play fictional married couple Tracy and Gordo Stevens in the space drama scheduled to premiere on Apple TV+ Friday.

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The show, which also features real-life historical figures like Buzz Aldrin, John Glenn and Neil Armstrong as characters, was created by Ronald D. Moore, whose credits include Outlander, Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek.

For All Mankind imagines what might have happened if Russia had put a man on the moon before the United States did in 1969, prompting NASA to outdo its rivals in subsequent expeditions and ultimately leading to changes across all facets of technology and society.

"I play a pilot who loves adrenaline, kind of uses it to hide away. It kind of silences his mind; that's where he starts," Dorman told reporters during a roundtable interview at New York Comic Con. "He is an astronaut now, a test pilot, and he wants to go to the moon. So, that is kind of like his focus."

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Jones said Tracy also is an adrenaline junkie.

"But she doesn't have the outlet her better half -- or her other half -- has," the actress laughed.

"They have a lot of similar passions. They really challenge each other," she added. "When we come into the show, you are sort of given the environment and the tone is set for what the social construct was for families back then. Once the Russians beat us to the moon, we let the chips fall where they may and it shakes their household up a bit."

The co-stars are divided regarding their tastes for fiction that asks "what if?" about historical events.

Dorman is a fan of this type of narrative.

"It's interesting what promotes change in any nation, what that focal point is," Dorman said.

"That's what excited me about For All Mankind. You're looking at, 'Well, how is this going to affect today's society?' and there are infinite possibilities. Creative minds put them together with an alternate reality. You'll see what happens with ours. It is a really fun ride."

This sub-genre of science fiction isn't what spoke to Jones, however.

"Ron is such a masterful storyteller, and the direction that they go with the alternate history appealed to me because it's not some dystopian doom and gloom," she said. "I'd like to see maybe a little glimmer of, 'Oh, hey, here's how things could actually progress and we could be really happy and genuinely better.' So, I like this alternate-history story."

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Dorman said the show explores politics, gender equality and public versus private life as it mixes family drama with space travel.

"What I really respect about what the writers did and what Apple allowed -- because ultimately you are at the mercy of the people writing the paychecks -- is that the first couple of episodes really take their time, explaining the environment, explaining the atmosphere and really putting people into the world and setting it all up," Jones said.

"Once you get to Episode 3, it takes off in all of those directions -- the drama, the action, all of it. Unless you are a genuine history buff, you might have to Google some things and figure out what is history and what isn't."

Talking about the project made the actress wonder how history will view the time in which we live.

"All the stories come out eventually and people will find the truth. I hope that the truth is told about what is going on now. I hope we are around in 100 years, so let's protect what we have and take care of what we have, so we can talk about what's going on right now in 100 years," Jones said.

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For All Mankind co-stars Joel Kinnaman, Wrenn Schmidt, Shantel VanSanten, Jodi Balfour, Matt Battaglia, Chris Bauer, Jeff Branson and Colm Feore. Season 1 will include 10 episodes.

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