Ram and Emma clearly have a connection in the new Netflix series ‘Away,’ and HL spoke EXCLUSIVELY with the showrunner about the ‘intimacy’ between them, the almost kiss they shared, and more.
Away ended its incredible first season with Emma, Ram, Misha, Lu, and Kwesi stepping foot on Mars after a long journey. The astronauts faced many struggles throughout their trip, including mechanical and water problems that put their lives on the line. Over the course of the season, it became clear that Ram has strong feelings for Emma, and she may have them for him as well.
HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with showrunner Jessica Goldberg about the relationship between Ram and Emma. There was that almost kiss after they retrieved the water from outside the ship. Ram looked like he was leaning in, but he stopped himself. Jessica discussed the “intimacy” between these characters and what it could mean for them in future seasons.
Hilary Swank with Josh Charles and Talitha Bateman in ‘Away.’ (Netflix)
In each episode, there was always a problem that the crew needed to be able to fix. Are those actual problems that could arise out of a trip to Mars?
Jessica Goldberg: The whole show is based on an article that Jason Katims and Matt Reeves found called “Away” that was written by a wonderful writer who writes a lot about space, Chris Jones. He was actually in our writers’ room, and we just spent weeks talking about what could go wrong. What are the realistic things? For instance, in episode 2, there’s a solar panel that doesn’t deploy, and that happened on the space station. But if you’re on the space station, you can zip home. If you’re on your way to Mars, you can’t. We tried to compile a list of what are the real things that could happen and then go from there. Of course, the further from Earth we got, the more you feel that you have free rein because no one’s been that far yet.
In episode 9 when Ram and Emma get back from outside the ship after obtaining water, it’s a very poignant moment for both of them. When they go back inside, it seemed to me Ram was going to kiss Emma. Is that the correct interpretation of that scene?
Jessica Goldberg: I wrote the scene and, yes, that is correct.
Okay, I just wanted to make sure because it could have been open to interpretation. He could have just wanted to say something, but it definitely looked like he was leaning into a kiss and then he held back.
Jessica Goldberg: I feel like if we’re successful and get to continue, it is an epic romance that could travel over the course of the series where you have to hold back as much as possible.
Ray Panthaki as Ram. (Netflix)
It’s no secret that Ram definitely has feelings for Emma. Even without words, you could just read so much from them. It was just a really beautiful scene.
Jessica Goldberg: We talked a lot about that. We spent hours talking about: do they kiss? Does he kiss her? It’s almost like they’re so caught up in being alive and have shared this magical experience and the urge to kiss her is so strong, but the noble thing is to just not.
In episode 10, as they are making their descent there’s that moment when Emma reaches for Ram’s hand. Matt does see that on the live feed. Was that jealousy I saw in Matt’s eyes?
Jessica Goldberg: Josh [Charles] plays complexity so well. He’s so good. So I think it’s a little of everything. It’s realizing, “Oh my God, I’m away from my wife for two more years and there’s an intimacy there I didn’t know about.” I just think about that so much. We even talked about it with the actors. You hear about actors going on set for six months, and we read about it in the tabloids. But can you imagine being away for basically almost three years from your partner? For me, that moment was him discovering that there had been intimacy, not physical intimacy, but something like that, and he hadn’t been a part of that change whatever it was. With him, he’s another one of those great actors who plays to so many things in one look.
In watching that scene, I was wondering if he’s just jealous of Emma making the move, or if he’s jealous that he’s not in Ram’s place?
Jessica Goldberg: He wanted to go his whole life. I bet that if we asked Josh what was in his head, I bet you that’s a part of it.
As happy and proud as he is of Emma, there has to be a part of him that is just devastated that he couldn’t be a part of this.
Jessica Goldberg: For sure. I mean, one of the movies that we talked about a lot in the room was Apollo 13. They have a character who gets grounded before. That was a really interesting idea for us because you train your whole life for this.
So would you say an Emma and Ram romance is not off the table?
Jessica Goldberg: I wouldn’t say it’s off the table, but it’s definitely very complicated because that relationship to Matt is so strong.
The first season took us through the entire trip to Mars. If there is a season 2, what would be the timeline?
Jessica Goldberg: We love the idea that if we were lucky enough to make a season 2, then we would get to explore what it is to be on Mars.
One thing I noticed is that when Misha gets off the shuttle, everything is a blur for him. Is he going blind?
Jessica Goldberg: That is a real thing, the space blindness. That was another thing on our list of things. Your whole body can change in states like these astronauts. Their DNA is actually different from when they left. You can grow two inches. That scene in episode 5 when Kwesi’s heel fell off, that happened to Scott Kelly. We loved the physical transformations that the astronauts go through, and we would definitely keep telling that story.