Monday, May 10, 2021

Meet the Cast of Nickelodeon's ‘The Astronauts’ [Cast Interviews]

Get ready to blast off into space with Nickelodeon’s The Astronauts!

Credit: Nickelodeon

Starring Miya Cech, Bryce Gheisar, Keith L. Williams, Kayden Grace Swan and Ben Daon, the new show is centered on a group of kids who embark on the adventure of a lifetime when they are mistakenly launched into space. The premiere episode, which aired on November 13, follows the group as they use their parents’ security clearances to sneak onto the empty Odyssey II before it’s set to launch a major mission. While onboard, the kids trigger the launch sequence, which blasts them off into space. While their parents try to get them back, the kids are forced to become astronauts.

Just ahead of the show’s second episode, which aired on Friday, November 20, J-14 caught up with the cast. They spilled some tea on their characters, shared some behind-the-scenes secrets from set and more! Scroll down to check out each interview, and tune into The Astronauts on Nickelodeon Fridays at 7 p.m. ET/PT!

Miya Cech plays Samantha “Samy” Sawyer-Wei; Credit: Nickelodeon

J-14: Tell us about your character! Who do you play?

Miya: I play Samy Sawyer-Wei. She’s the daughter of the flight commander of the Odyssey II spaceship, Rebecca Sawyer. She’s very smart and has aspirations of becoming an astronaut, too. So, she is the only one of the five kids who knows how the ship works and how to fly it [because] she’s been studying on her mom’s simulator for years.

J-14: Do you relate to Samy?

Miya: I do love space like Samy. I’m not a genius in school, but I do love science and math. I can be stubborn like Samy at times but I’m definitely more silly and goofy than she is.

J-14: Is it fun starring in a show about space? What was it like working inside the spaceship?

Miya: I love space and sci-fi. It’s definitely one of my favorite genres. I also love that we get to work with some of the coolest directors who really know how to make a space show! Our spaceship set is so amazing. On our first day, I was in awe of how detailed everything is. When we are filming, I feel like I’m actually on a ship.

J-14: Any fun behind-the-scenes stories you can share from on set?

Miya: I am a huge K-pop fan in real life, but in the show, Doria is the K-pop stan. The rest of our characters are supposed to be clueless about K-pop. In any scene involving SuperM or K-pop, it was so hard for me pretend like I was clueless.

J-14: What’s your favorite scene that you’ve filmed so far?

Miya: I loved filming the scenes when I’m floating through the spine of the ship. I get to hang by wires and pretend like I’m floating. Basically, any time I get to fly on wires is awesome. I also have a very emotional scene later in the season that was very challenging but so cool to film.

J-14: Do you get along with your costars when the cameras stop rolling?

Miya: We all lived in the same building during filming, so after work it was easy to run to each other’s rooms and hang out. We also really liked hanging out at the pool and grabbing dinner together. We all love boba tea so that was usually our go-to dessert.

J-14: What was your reaction when you found out you were cast on The Astronauts?

Miya: Nickelodeon came to me with the script for The Astronauts and told me that Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Imagine Kids & Family were involved. I was so excited because I had just finished working on season one of Are You Afraid of the Dark?,  which had been such a cool experience. I was excited to get to continue working with Nickelodeon and work on a very real and grounded space adventure. Also, Samy’s story line was basically everything I could ever ask for in a dream role.

Bryce Gheisar plays Elliot Combs; Credit: Nickelodeon

J-14: Tell us about your character! Who do you play?

Bryce: I play Elliot Combs, the son of the spaceship’s billionaire owner, Griffin Combs. He has always lived in the shadow of his father and always felt like he needed to prove himself. Elliot also convinced his friends to go on the spaceship. He wants to be a leader but comes off arrogant. Even though he comes off in this way, he is actually a very sensitive kid underneath.

J-14: Do you relate to your character at all?

Bryce: I don’t have too much to relate to as far as personality traits. I mean, we do look the same. I’d say that both Elliot and I are both very determined. If we have an idea, we usually stick to it.

J-14: Is it fun starring in a show about space? What was it like working inside the spaceship?

Bryce: I didn’t know what to expect at first. I didn’t know how everything was going to look and I didn’t know how you would film a show like this. After I got on set and finally understood, it was pretty amazing. I always dreamed of doing a sci-fi TV show,  so it was a dream come true.

J-14: Any fun behind-the-scenes stories you can share from on set?

Bryce: We filmed half of this show during the pandemic so it was hard to do anything while following the COVID precautions.

J-14: What’s your favorite scene that you’ve filmed so far?

Bryce: I’ve filmed a lot of scenes that delve deep into Elliot’s emotions in later episodes. Those were some of my favorites to film.

J-14: Do you get along with your costars when the cameras stop rolling?

Bryce: Yes, we all have a lot of fun when the cameras aren’t rolling. Some of our favorite things to do are go out to eat and watch movies. We do that on a regular basis.

J-14: What was your reaction when you found out you were cast on The Astronauts?

Bryce: I was super excited and ready to get on set. I saw some concept art after booking the show and those pictures made me even more excited.

Keith L. Williams plays Martin Taylor; Credit: Nickelodeon

J-14: Tell us about your character! Who do you play?

Keith: I play Martin Taylor, the quiet and most reserved kid onboard the spaceship. He brings a healthy dose of common sense, loyalty and heart to the group.

J-14: Do you relate to your character at all?

Keith: I can totally relate to my character as we are both reserved and protective over our family and friends.

J-14: Is it fun starring in a show about space? What was it like working inside the spaceship?

Keith: I’m having the time of my life starring in The Astronauts. It looks so realistic, as if I am actually floating in the Odyssey II. It was very tight working in the spaceship so I loved having my own gardening area where I would prepare food while also trying not to float away.

J-14: Any fun behind-the-scenes stories you can share from on set?

Keith: I have several, but one that really stands out was when filming the scene when the kids sneak onto the ship. My jacket kept getting caught on the fence when I would go under it.

J-14: What’s your favorite scene that you’ve filmed so far?

Keith: My favorite scenes have to be the spacewalk and without giving away too much, floating outside the ship was incredible!

J-14: Do you get along with your costars when the cameras stop rolling?

Keith: We all have great chemistry. Filming was an amazing adventure. We all live in different locations but we do stay in contact.

J-14: What was your reaction when you found out you were cast on The Astronauts?

Keith: I was in Los Angeles with my mom when I got the call that I booked The Astronauts. After I stopped screaming, I immediately called my dad and older brother. We were all very happy!

Kayden Grace Swan plays Doria Taylor; Credit: Nickelodeon

J-14: Tell us about your character! Who do you play?

Kayden: I play Doria Taylor, the super self-confident, stubborn outgoing younger sister of Martin. Doria never wants to lose an argument, especially when it comes to her brother. She has a great eye for detail and endless creativity. She is obsessed with fashion, K-pop stars and music and also has an interest in medicine.

J-14: Do you relate to your character at all? 

Kayden: Yes, I completely relate to Doria in nearly every way. I love fashion and music in the same way as she does and I have to admit, I’ve taken advantage of being a little sister a few times! Just like Martin, my big brother Brandon looks out for me.

J-14: Is it fun starring in a show about space? What was it like working inside the spaceship?

Kayden: Starring in a show about space is absolutely amazing. Working inside what is basically a real-life spaceship is incredible. Every single detail is real. Every button, monitor and switch actually work!

J-14: Any fun behind-the-scenes stories you can share from on set?

Kayden: Some of my funniest stories are from scenes that we filmed in the command module. When we are in the seats we are actually on our backs and basically upside down. There were times we would all get the giggles because it’s just a funny feeling when the seat would flip back and slide us into position.

J-14: What’s your favorite scene that you’ve filmed so far?

Kayden: By far my favorite scene we’ve filmed so far is a dance scene. We got to have a lot fun with that and just be silly.

J-14: Do you get along with your costars when the cameras stop rolling?

Kayden: Yes! The best thing we all have in common is we’re all foodies! Keith and I have become best friends and we act exactly like brother and sister.

J-14: What was your reaction when you found out you were cast on The Astronauts?

Kayden: When I found out I was cast as Doria, my mom and manager pulled a prank on me, telling me that I didn’t have to go to a second scheduled producers’ session. So, I was naturally let down but tried not to show it, then they told me I didn’t have to go to the session because I had booked the role! I was in complete disbelief. I couldn’t even comprehend what they were telling me at first. Then once I understood it was for Doria … I screamed … I cried and I even hit myself in the head a few times! I still get chills when I think about that day.

Ben Daon plays Will Rivers; Credit: Nickelodeon

J-14: Tell us about your character! Who do you play?

Ben: I play Will Rivers, he is a funny goofy class clown full of charisma and wonder. He’ll never say no when asked to help or participate and is overjoyed by his new friends.

J-14: Do you relate to your character at all?

Ben: I find that I relate to my character quite a bit. We both like making people laugh, and love helping out and making friends.

J-14: Is it fun starring in a show about space? What was it like working inside the spaceship? 

Ben: Working on this show is easily the most fun I’ve ever had. Being with the kids, working with the amazing directors, being on a spaceship! I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

J-14: Any fun behind-the-scenes stories you can share from on set?

Ben: I can’t pick one moment. Being with the kids behind the scenes was so much fun, doing school together, trading jokes, eating lunch. They made the experience what it was.

J-14: What’s your favorite scene that you’ve filmed so far?

Ben: My favorite scene is in the cargo bay. It is this massive set with a very high ceiling, and I got to hang from it. It’s my favorite scene because I got to do zero-g work, which is one of my favorite part of filming for me.

J-14: Do you get along with your co-stars when the cameras stop rolling?

Ben: Yes, being with the other kids who all come from different places, with different stories and different experiences, made this undoubtedly more fun.

J-14: What was your reaction when you found out you were cast on The Astronauts?

Ben: Any time you book work in this industry it’s such a great feeling.  So, when I found out I booked this awesome show, I think went into shock!  I would even go as far as to say it’s the most excited I’ve ever felt.

The Astronauts airs Fridays at 7:00 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon!

Visit for more information and follow the series on TikTok,

Exclusive: Kayden Grace Swan Talks Starring In New Nickelodeon Hit “The Astronauts”

At just 12 years old, Kayden Grace Swan is one of the most accomplished young actresses we’ve seen.

Starring in the new Nickelodeon show The Astronauts, a comedy about a group of kids who accidentally launch themselves into space, Kayden is now an accomplished actor, but that’s not all. Kayden is also a newly published author, who has written not one, but two books during quarantine. TEXT SMASHAGES, is a collection of cleverly created texting acronyms which came from the organic way Kayden and her friends started texting during this time. The second is titled WORD SMASH. In addition to this, she has also spearheaded a hair accessory line, and this is just the beginning! We caught up with Kayden to talk all about her new show and accomplishments. Check it out below! 

The Knockturnal: Tell me about The Astronauts! What is the series like?

Kayden Grace Swan: The Astronauts is an amazing adventure about five unlikely friends that find themselves in a very tricky situation. And they have to learn how to work with one another, become a team, and do whatever it takes to survive. 

The Knockturnal: Doria is such a fun character! What’s your favorite thing about her?

Kayden Grace Swan: What I love about my character Doria, is her energy. Although she may find times when she’s down about her current circumstances, she always finds a way to make things better and make the best out of the situation. 

The Knockturnal: Have you always wanted to act? Tell me about your acting journey so far.

Kayden Grace Swan: I do remember being very young, like 4 or 5, watching tv and thinking I could do that! I’m just at the beginning of my acting career and so far it’s been an amazing journey!

The Knockturnal: What was your audition process like for the astronauts?  

Kayden Grace Swan: It was a pretty long process that lasted a couple months from first audition until I received the call that I booked the role. I think I had to read for the role about 10 different times! 

The Knockturnal: You’re also an author!! tell me about your books! 

Kayden Grace Swan: My first book Word Smash is a hilarious look into my life during the quarantine lockdown, through my uniquely created words. I have a real love for language especially words. I love playing with words and making words and this is what Word Smash is about.  I just recently finished my second book Text Smashages which is a fabulous collection of clever texting acronyms that I used during this unique social climate we are living in. 

The Knockturnal: And not only that, we want to hear about your hair accessory line too! tell me about that!

Kayden Grace Swan: I’m so excited to be in the beginning stages of developing and designing my Kaydenstyle accessories. I have always loved fashion and especially accessories you can do so many fun things with them. I’m excited for everyone to see the collection once it’s completed. 

The Knockturnal: You have your books, your hair accessory line, and you’re staring in a nickelodeon show! you are so accomplished at such a young age, do you have any advice for people who want to follow in your footsteps?

Kayden Grace Swan: My advice would be to do what you love. For me at least doing what I love I am able to be truly passionate and genuine, so it doesn’t make it seem like it’s work, it’s really just fun and enjoyable. 

The Knockturnal: What’s your favorite episode of The Astronauts so far?  

Kayden Grace Swan: My favorite episode of The Astronauts is A tough question!! Seriously all the episodes are so great I can’t say which is my favorite, they are all so amazing. 

The Knockturnal: Do you have any fun memories from filming?

Kayden Grace Swan: Wow there are so many!  I think the times Keith and I would crack jokes about one another all while doing our favorite TikTok dances are my favorite.  


'The Astronauts' Star Miya Cech Shares 10 Fun Facts With JJJ! (Exclusive)

Just Jared Jr is getting to know more about Miya Cech!

The teen actress is one of the stars of Nickelodeon’s new space show The Astronauts.

Miya plays Samantha ‘Samy’ Sawyer-Wei in the series, a young girl who is a part of a group of kids who are accidentally launched into space; they embark on an adventure of a lifetime in order to find their way back home

Nick fans can of course remember her from her role in season one of the limited series Are You Afraid of the Dark?, as well as Netflix’s Rim of the World and Always Be My Maybe, or even her guest arc on American Housewife.

Miya will soon star as Sammy Ko in the upcoming film Marvelous and the Black Hole, which follows a teenage delinquent (Cech) who befriends a surly magician (Rhea Perlman) who helps her navigate her inner demons and dysfunctional family with sleight of hand magic. A coming of age comedy that touches on unlikely friendships, grief, and finding hope in the darkest moments.

Be sure to tune in to catch Miya in a new episode of The Astronauts TONIGHT (November 27) and every Friday at 7pm ET/PT on Nickelodeon!

Check out 10 Fun Facts with Miya Cech below:

1. I’m adopted. I was born in Tokyo, Japan and my parents traveled to adopt me when I was 5 weeks old.
2. I have 4 cats named Maxie, Pepper, Shio and Tobi and a dog named Bowie. They are all rescues.
3. I can wiggle my ears.
4. My favorite food is sushi or Poke bowls. The spicier the better!
5. I love art and animation. Right now I’m drawing a lot of anime. If I wasn’t an actor, I’d probably be studying animation.
6. My favorite music genres are K-pop and Country music.
7. Most people think that the first time I worked with Nickelodeon was on Are You Afraid of the Dark? But, I actually had a small, but pivotal role on The Thundermans when I was 8 years old. I played “crying girl with ice cream”. 😂
8. I love to cook and bake. I make breakfast for my family every weekend.
9. I’m allergic to cantaloupe and snap peas.
10. I’m afraid of clowns.


Miya Cech

Growing up in the world of entertainment can be a difficult environment but for 13-year-old actress, Miya Cech, a life in front of the camera lens has taught her valuable life lessons and skills that apply not just in the silver screen but life in general.

“In this industry, you’re going to be told no a lot but perseverance is the one thing I’ve tried to keep…every ‘no’ happens for a reason” Miya Cech tells me as we discuss her latest roles as Samantha Sawyer-Wei in Nickelodeon’s The Astronauts , produced by Ron Howard, and as Sammy Ko in Marvellous and the Black Hole with veteran actress Rhea Perlman.

At the tender age of 13, the actress has already accomplished with her extensive back catalogue of work with past roles in the Netflix hits Always Be My Maybe with Ali Wong and Rim of the World. Originally from Tokyo, Japan, Cech’s life as an adoptee has inspired her to raise awareness on adoption in the hopes of normalising it as well as bringing attention for more Asian-American representation in film and TV with her participation in the Asian American Girl Club, set up in Ally Maki.

Apart from wondering just how she does so much in the same 24 hours as everyone else, I was most struck by Cech’s wisdom and sincerity in both her work and the causes she works tirelessly for. Watch this space to see what she puts her mind to next. 

You began your career as a model at age 4. How did this effect your childhood and school life? How did your parents support you? 

Well, my parents sacrificed a lot over the years, including just driving me everywhere. For school though, we actually have teachers on set in both the modeling world and the acting world. The minimum you have to do is three hours every day, so we go to school in-between scenes and we do our school work and hang out with each other. I don’t think it affected my childhood in a negative way because I loved it so much, I loved modeling, I loved acting. I love being in the entertainment industry and I made a lot of friends through the industry, some of my closest friends, and I’ve learned so many good life lessons that you can take onto set and into life. 

4 is a very young age to start and you have such an extensive back catalogue of work. Would you do it all again if you could? 

Of course! I feel like it has been such a fun and inspiring adventure and I feel like if I had to go back to being 4 I wouldn’t change a thing. I would stay on the path I was on and just keep learning, keep working, keep making a difference in the world of my life. 

The Astronauts is a drama about 5 kids that accidentally get sent into space when they sneak aboard the ship that their parents are using for a mission. You play Samantha Sawyer-Wei known as Sammy by her fellow intergalactic stowaways. If you were in Samantha’s place, would you sneak onto the spaceship?  

I probably wouldn’t, I feel like I would want to go but then part of me would be like uhhh I wanna stay at home with my family and cats! 

Where would you go and what would you do if you came across an alien? 

I think a planet I would go to would be Venus. It apparently rains diamonds which sounds very pretty, but also kind of painful. If I came across an alien I would try and communicate first because if aliens do exist they won’t speak our language and they are smarter than us so they probably speak a more advanced language than ours. We could probably learn from them and create our own alien language dictionary. 

Out of the 5 main characters, Samantha is pretty sure of herself and, at least outwardly, appears calm and controlled. How much of your personality went into playing her?

I feel like Sammy blended with my personality and I blended with Sammy’s personality in a way. 

I a lot of the more serious stuff was definitely more the character and the not talking very much was definitely the character because I talk way too much. I feel like the strong and brave sides to her was me, I brought that but I also got to learn more about my character too. 

I that playing Sammy in general matters too because not only is she Asian-American, which is huge because I want to be a representation for Asian-American people in the industry, but she also comes from a blended family – having two moms. Usually on TV, it’s mom, dad, and kid or mom and kid but it’s never just two moms or two dads really, and being able to play a character that represents that is really awesome. Everybody can be a family, it doesn’t matter who are or what you look like you can be a family. 

To prepare for the role you got to experience space camp training. What was that like and what activities did you do?

So we got to talk to a real astronaut! Chris Cassidy went to the international space station in April and we got ask him questions that would help us in the show. We also did movement training. We had a choreographer and we played this game where we’d push off of each other but we’d have to make it look like we were in zero gravity, because when you push in zero gravity you have to do it really lightly otherwise you’re going to go flying! You will be rolling forever until someone stops you. 

We also got to work on wires which was super fun! It was kind of like trapeze, you had these two wires hanging from your hips, sometimes four but most of the times it was two, and most of the time you had to use them to move around and you also got to do flips which was so cool! I loved the wires! First time on the wires was a new adventure, a new experience, it was so fun. We were like hanging a good 20 feet in the air on set and you get a whole birds-eye view, you get to see everyone working on the set and it just looked so awesome. 

It’s a lot like swimming and we were told that by our choreographer who said it’s like being in a pool, so me and my cast-mates went to the pool and pretended to be in space because it’s the same pressure essentially. 

How much do you now follow the current space missions after this experience?

I’ve been really into space ever since I was a little girl, well even younger than I am now, and I’ve kept up with just about every launch that has happened in my 13 years of age. The day after our show appeared, the SpaceX Dragon launched and that was with the first Japanese astronaut which was so cool, because I’m also Japanese, I’m from Tokyo.

Watching that launch was actually quite scary because so many things can go wrong, we were actually told that by Chris Cassidy. But for our launch it was a lot more shaking and we had this water spray that our make up artist would spray on us to make it look like we were sweating. There were a lot more water sprays involved in our launch! 

What was the biggest challenge working on The Astronauts?

I think the biggest obstacle, for not just for me but for the whole crew and cast, was Covid-19 and that goes for pretty much everyone in this world right now. Production was paused for 3 and a half months and then when we came back it was completely different. Our crew of almost 200 people was cut down to 50, we had to wear PPE when we were on set and we couldn’t touch each other, even in the scenes, and we got Covid tested every 3 days. It was the biggest challenge because we had to completely change our characters because of it, so having to prepare ourselves and put ourselves in our acting shoes as well as remembering that we have to stay safe. Fortunately, those guidelines worked and we knew that if we kept to them they would work, but it was kind of hard sometimes, it was an obstacle. We did a lot of elbow and fist bumps with gloves on. 

Your next role is with the legendary Rhea Perlman on the film Marvellous and the Black Hole. What can you tell us about that?

It’s really a coming of age story, my character is Asian-American and her whole family is Asian-American, again we have a mixed family, the stepmom in it is African-American. Working with Rhea is amazing! She’s so sweet and so nice! Her character is Margot and she was Margot, that was her personality. She is so fun and sweet and caring. Our director Kate Tsang was so sweet as well, I took a lot of inspiration from her because the story is basically about her and her experience in life so that was really amazing. I’ve only worked with a couple Asian-American directors, and because I want to be a director someday, getting to see that and putting myself in their shoes was amazing. It was a really fun project to work on all together. 

I’ve actually worked with Jennifer Yuh Nelson, who did the Kung Fu Panda movies, on my first production on Darkest Minds when I was 10 because of her and Kate Tsang together I got see myself [as a director in the future], and put myself in their shoes. 

You actively support the Asian American Girl Club, a fashion and lifestyle brand founded by actress Ally Maki to help redefine the modern Asian American woman through normalisation and unity. Tell me about why you wanted to be a part of that? Why is it important to you? 

I wanted to be a part of it because I want to be able to be a role model for Asian-American girls and everybody really. I’m using my voice to inspire people, I’m using my voice to be other people’s voice and reach the hearts of people. It’s really just about girl power and Asian-American power and Asian-American girl power and I’ve be able to meet so many people through that agency, not only Asian-American people but adopted Asian-American people which is huge for me because I’m adopted and a lot of people in my family are too. Getting to talk to those people and share similarities, share differences and stories is really big.

You also use your platform to help support the adoption community because of your experience of being adopted. What does it mean for you to reach out and support other adopted children in this way? 

So for me I was 5 weeks old so I don’t really remember anything from Japan, but my brother was three and I remember when he first came to America, we had to teach him English which wasn’t great, it was a bit broken but he’s come so far. He’s 14 so it’s been a good 11 years and now it’s completely like he’s from here, this is his home and this is where he is from. I want adoption to be normalised, some kids need help and some kids need homes and families and so that is super important for me. Everyone deserves to be loved and have a family and I want to be able to share that and represent that and you know inspire other families to adopt and that’s why it’s big for me. 

I think that one thing human society needs to get better at is listening and understanding people’s stories and be able to accept those stories with love and with kindness. As well as being able to accept that and embrace who you are as well. 

You’re incredibly active not just in your work but also, as demonstrated, outside your work, you use your voice for the betterment of animals for example. How did you get involved and how do you raise awareness? 

I rescue all my animals, I have four cats and a dog. That started because; one they are just so cute and two, they need homes. There are a lot of shelters that will only keep animals for 72 hours or a week and then they just get rid of them and that’s so sad because those animals don’t know what they did wrong, most of the time they didn’t do anything wrong it’s just humans aren’t caring for them. But even then maybe they are caring for them but it’s not the correct amount of care that they need and so I think that raising awareness about that and trying to make sure there’s no shopping for pets, as if they’re clothes. Get a cat that you love or a bunny that you love just make sure that you love them. 

We [her family] foster animals as well, we try to foster every year. We foster cats, we foster all animals and we try and help them find a home that will be safe and comfortable, especially for animals who have experienced trauma in the past it’s hard to get them to trust humans again so we have to really create that bond and love them. 

Who would be your dream to work with on a TV show or film? 

I’m trying to think! There are so many. Oh! Sandra Oh probably, I would love to work with her, she’s so amazing and she’s just such a badass. She’s who I want to be when I grow up. 

How do you want to be viewed as a role model?

I want to be viewed as someone who can be not only strong, smart, courageous and tough but also someone who can help others be that way too. Not just in my career but in my life I’ve had so many people show me that. I’ve had so many people, not just Asian-Americans or women, just people including my parents including my older siblings. I want to be someone for people to look up to. I also want young Asian-American girls to look at me and see themselves in my shoes in the acting industry or whatever they want to be in. 

The Astronauts is on Nickelodeon now


The other place to look for [Garfield Wilson] this Winter will be in The Astronauts, the Nickelodeon series about a crew of young astronauts trying to get back to Earth while their parents watch in panic. A longtime fan of all things Trekkie, Wilson says that working with director Jonathan Frakes was another high point in a career that has included being directed by the likes of J.J. Abrams in Almost Human and many others.

“Star Trek: The Next Generation was right in a key time for me, and I was all over that show’s world, it’s approaches to tackling big moral dilemmas and so forth,” he said. “I worked with Jonathan Frakes for two episodes and, of all the amazing directors I’ve had the pleasure of working with, he is one of the best.”


From Snowpiercer to Schmigadoon and Beyond! Garfield Wilson Maps Out a Future Worth Working Towards


Another director who is known to celebrate his actors' show-wraps is Star Trek alumnus Jonathan Frakes. Although he is not involved with Schmigadoon, [Garfield] Wilson worked with him on the Nickelodeon series, The Astronauts.

"Let me tell you, that was kind of surreal because I was never a massive Trek fan, but I fell in love with Star Trek: The Next Generation. The characters and the moral dilemmas that the crew went through taught all sorts of life lessons.

"That show really spoke to humanity in the world of science fiction. And I loved everybody that was on that show and working with Jonathan Frakes.

"He is a brilliant director. He has this amazing way with actors. He's just wonderful, wonderful to work with. He kept it really light. He knows exactly what he wants and how to get those performances in such a poignant way. He was a lot of fun. He's extremely funny.

"[The Astronauts] was filmed in Canada. That was just outside of Vancouver on a sound stage. Wonderful, wonderful set. Imagine Entertainment built a brilliant set.

"I played a character named Niles Taylor, who is a widower and the father of two of the children, Martin and Doria, that end up being two of the five kids that get shot into space by the A.I., Matilda.

"I'm the lead engineer that is working for this company called Helios that has maintained Matilda. And you know, the funny thing is, because they are shot into space, and we're down on earth, we never worked with the kids directly.

"We never saw the kids unless it was a table read. We would do a table read, and they went off, and then we went off. All the days that I worked on set, we were completely opposite from the children. Yeah, quite bizarre."


Originally published: Saturday, November 21, 2020.

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