Apple TV Plus’ ‘For All Mankind’ Cast Received Free iPhone 11s Ahead of Premiere

Krys Marshall, Jodi Balfour, Sarah Jones and Wrenn Schmidt'For All Mankind' TV show premiere, Arrivals, Regency Village Theatre, Los Angeles, USA - 15 Oct 2019
Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock

For All Mankind” has the distinction of being one of the first series to premiere on Apple’s new streaming service, Apple TV Plus, and the first red carpet to take place in space.

Well, not really — but as the stars posed for photographers in front of a wall of blue NASA jumpsuits, it felt a bit like it. In lieu of the typical red carpet setup outside the Regency Village Theatre in Westwood, guests walked along a green surface adapted to mimc zero-gravity. At the end of the carpet, servers in all black waited to hand out glasses of sparkling wine, with freeze-dried ice cream sandwiches passed out as a parting gift, just like the astronauts eat.

Apple’s clean-cut aesthetics for the big premiere weren’t surprising for the multinational company and perhaps even less surprising was how generous the company has been with granting the cast and crew access to their latest technology. The entire cast even received new iPhone 11s from Apple ahead of the premiere. 

“[Apple has] been so supportive. They come and do set visits and they’re excited to see us. They gave us all free iPhones. That is a perk,” star Krys Marshall told Variety on the carpet. “We all got the 11 yesterday. It’s nice. But aside from the free phones, they have just been fabulous, really encouraging. They believe in us.”

Marshall appears in the sci-fi series alongside “Suicide Squad’s” Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, Wrenn Schmidt, Shantel VanSanten, Jodi Balfour and Sarah Jones, who revealed the only downside to working with Apple was the secrecy.

“The only thing that’s been a little tricky is that Apple has a protocol. Which is — first rule of being an Apple employee is that you don’t talk about being an Apple employee,” Jones joked. “A little like ‘Fight Club.’ Literally. The only tricky part is, you know, ‘What am I allowed to say; what am I not?'”

But some secrets about “For All Mankind” have been revealed. The sci-fi series dramatizes an alternate universe where the USSR landed on the moon before the United States. 

“It’s an aspirational show,” series creator Ronald D. Moore explained. “By losing the moon, we win so much more. We wanted to show there could be other profound, cultural changes. Societal changes, not just technology. This was an opportunity to move certain things ahead that it took a very long time to happen in real history.”

In real history, Sally Kristen Ride became the first American woman in space (and the third woman overall) in 1983, while Mae Jamison became the first black American woman in space in 1987.

“We have a storyline that tells you why NASA is challenged, and why aren’t there any female American astronauts because the Soviets put a woman in space in the ‘60s. It took 20 years for the Americans to do it,” Moore continued. “We had a very specific story that gets to that, but it felt like it was part of the opportunity where we’re doing an alternate history and we wanted it to be a better history. That was part of the premise.”

On the series, Marshall portrays the first black woman to go into space. “It’s definitely daunting to feel like I am wearing a responsibility that I think many others in my cast don’t wear. But also I’m feeling the people who came before me worked, fought, bled and died so that I could be standing here on this carpet today. So as overwhelming as the experience is of playing such a monumental role, I also know that I stand on the backs of those people. I stand on the shoulders of those people, so I feel very honored to tell the story.”  

“For All Mankind” launches Nov. 1 on Apple TV plus.