By Jamie Ruby
June 17th marks the return of basic cable's #1 new series last year, Falling Skies
. The TNT drama will pick up where it left off at the end of last season with Tom Mason, played by Noah Wyle, having voluntarily boarded an alien spacecraft, hoping that it would help to save his sons and also open negotiation for the survival of the human race. The 2nd Mass has continued to struggle in his absence, as his eldest sons step up, both seeking to be leaders.
Tom has been gone for three months without anyone hearing any news. Will his return be celebrated by all or will people feel alienated with his return?
Noah Wyle recently talked to the digital media about the return of Falling Skies
, airing June 17th in a two-hour season premiere.
TNT Conference CallFalling Skies
May 9, 2012
12:15 pm CTSCIFI VISION:
The first thing I want to ask is, you obviously do a lot of fighting this season and last, did you get a lot of fighting and weapons training.NOAH WYLE:
I wouldn't say a lot, you know when we showed up and I went into office building with a stunt man and hit a punching bag for about an hour. And then we went to the sound stage and ran around shooting blanks at the walls for another couple of hours and then we were let loose.SCIFI VISION:
I don't know how much exactly you're allowed to reveal, but I was curious if you could kind of talk about how difficult it was to film the scene coming up with having people near your eye.NOAH WYLE:
Yes, yes it helped that I was being restrained by four actors. But I had great confidence with in Moon Bloodgood's medical skills and she kept the forces away from my eyeball.QUESTION:
A lot of people enjoy the social networking aspects of connecting with people who are on the show. Is it an interest of yours that you'll be joining maybe?NOAH WYLE:
You plan on skipping that.NOAH WYLE:
Well I have up till now and I certainly see the validity of it and I understand the popularity of it. So it's just a not my cup of tea.QUESTION:
With such an amazing season finale last year, we got to see you step on an alien spacecraft. I mean, how much flak have you received for that?NOAH WYLE:
I got a lot of phone calls about that number one feedback, what the hell were you doing getting on that spaceship. So we kind of wrote ourselves to do a little bit of corner trying to justify it and I think we did a really good job coming back season two, and explaining what happened to him and what happens to the group in his absence. And it's allowed us to really jump off from a novel place this year.QUESTION:
Does the second season feel different for you when you were doing it, or did it just feel more familiar?NOAH WYLE:
No there were some significant differences, you know we moved the production from Toronto Canada to Vancouver, so we had all new crew for the most part, we only had two or three people on staff that were there in season one. We had almost a brand new writing staff certainly a new show runner, so it wasn't like we were building on internal momentum, we sort of had to start and get to know each other all over again which gave it a different era, just sort of ambiently.
And then storytelling wise I thought we really stepped up the notch you know not having to dedicate so much of our screen time to exposition, establishing the world, establishing the characters. Allowed us a little bit more freedom to be creative in flushing out these character arcs and exploring the mythology of the aliens and why they're here and who they are and how we'd radically misunderstood the situation in season one.QUESTION:
Do you have a favorite episode from the second season.NOAH WYLE:
There's some really good ones in there, I would say out of the 10 I am really proud of 8 1/2 of them.QUESTION:
I was wondering for Tom are there going to be any major differences for this season?NOAH WYLE:
Well the fact that he walked on the spaceship and what happens to him on that ship definitely conforms the character in a different way and he comes back slightly changed. And then it's just sort of keeping with the trajectory that we laid out for the character's arc or deconstructing the intellectual aspects of this character, and trying to show the emergence of a latent leader reluctantly but an effective one over the course of this season.QUESTION:
Are you or any of your cast mates planning on making an appearance at San Diego Comic Con this year or have a panel?NOAH WYLE:
Yeas I believe do we have a panel at Comic Con this year. We do have a panel at Comic Con. Yes we will be there.QUESTION:
What you can tease us with in regards to [Tom]'s relationship with Ann and how that's going to involve the season?NOAH WYLE:
Well last year we showed that there was a great chemistry between the two characters but the practical demands of the day sort of kept them apart. And that's how we didn't a nice job sort of slowly building to that one moment of intimacy at the end when he entrusts his kids to her care and drives off on what could be a suicide mission. And then the clock gets reset a little bit as it's been three months since we've seen her, she's assumed, she's dead, he's assumed that she's dead. And all the inherent complications about opening your heart up once it's been destroyed, give them a little bit of an obstacle to have to get passed.
But ultimately we end up sort of together.QUESTION:
What continues to be the most challenging aspect to you for the series for your character, for acting?NOAH WYLE:
It's kind of an aggregate thing it's just a, it's a tough show to do you know most of it, it takes place at night, so you go to work around 12 in the afternoon and you work till 5 in the morning. And because we wanted this year to be less focused on any single location have the group be a lot more mobile, it made for some long wet nights as were shooting in mostly practical locations and exteriors.QUESTION:
Is it a challenge for your trying to act or interact with skitters or any other computer generated elements in the show that aren't there with you on the set?NOAH WYLE:
I hadn't done a lot of that kind of work up until this show but it's sort of it's a muscle that the more you exercise the better at it you get. And it's kind of 50 50 between the screen and practical we do a lot of work hack into tennis balls on the end of sticks. But then we also have a really talented puppeteer and a really great skitter suit, for the close up personal interactions with the aliens.
I would say the most difficult part is when you've got four or five actors in the same frame all having to react to the same thing that's not there, trying to find a line of continuity and performance can be tricky.QUESTION:
How much of you actually goes into this character? Where do you draw the rest of it from, because this is just a very fascinating character that's almost out of its element in this whole thing?NOAH WYLE:
There are a couple of significant themes about them that I have hooked into, that I felt had some personal resonance, I sort of would have identified them as fatherhood leadership and loss.
I think his Achilles heel in a lot of ways is his children that's the one thing that he has to grapple with this sort of dual feeling of wanting to keep his kids close and safe. And at the same time realizing that there's a greater good to serve and that his kids are going to play a role in that regardless of whether he's around or not. And this sort of notion of reluctant leadership of really not wanting to be the guy center stage with all the responsibility on his shoulders but at the same time not wanting to shirk his duties or responsibilities in the face of great need.
And then the notion of loss when everything that you sort of identify yourself as gets taken away and you have to rebuild yourself up in a different image how do you go about doing that, were the three themes that I really kind of hooked into.QUESTION:
There've been a lot of sci-fi shows, really big ones. There're some that recently appeared that just made it out the first season, Falling Skies
seems to have a very loyal following and a very big following. Why do you think it's grappling on to people whereas these other sci-fi based shows aren't.NOAH WYLE:
Well I am a little guilty in that I didn't really watch the other shows so I don't really have a strong basis of comparison. But you know science fiction shows work really well when they serve as the backdrop to very human stories being told. And if you can find characters that are interesting and dynamic and relatable and put them in a fairly extreme situation and can make it as plausible and as if scenario as you can it usually has some resonance.
So I am hoping that our success is predicated on the fact that we are able to draw some really interesting characters, and people are interested to see how they're going to react in these really difficult situations.QUESTION:
[Tom has been away for] three months, does that lead to issues of distrust between Hal and Tom or do they instinctively know that nothing can ever come between them.NOAH WYLE:
Well I think there's an element of distrust certainly Tom espouses it himself about himself you know he doesn't want to be a security risk or a liability in anyway. But he can't be positive that he was released with some ulterior motive in mind. So that allows us to start this season off with a little bit of tension in trying to figure out how to envelop Tom back into the fold and him to try and establish a position of leadership again after having been gone for three months.QUESTION:
We saw the first couple of episodes of season two, and we see that there seems to be a lot of distrust with Tom's mysterious return, especially from Pope. Do you feel that your character distrusts himself more than the second mass might distrust him?NOAH WYLE:
I think they're really happy to see him, I think his kids are happy to have him back, I think Capitan Weaver is happy to have an ally again in a leadership position and then maybe blinding them a little bit to the practical concerns of where is this guy Bannen what have they done to him. And is he a homing pigeon leading the enemy right to them makes for some interesting storytelling in the first couple of shows. And I think he's a smart enough character to realize that that's a possibility that he doesn't really know himself and until he can get his footing and establish himself back in the group and win their trust and vice versa, he should be watched.QUESTION:
What's the thing that you guys set up in the first season that you thought, "Oh my God now we have to pay this off in the second season?"NOAH WYLE:
Well so obviously getting on the friggin spaceship you know it's easy to ride and then you suddenly go oh my god what did we just do, and how are we going to do it. Aside from that I'd say we dominated a lot of storytelling last year to the harnesses and the kids and kids in peril and that was a story line that I thought if we paid off pretty significantly and just wanted to move on into other aspects of the technology which I think we were able to do in in season 2.QUESTION:
When Tom rejoined the second mass I was surprised when he just showed up after three minutes in.NOAH WYLE:
Well I thought it was a pretty novel way of telling the story to have flashback sequences fill in the blanks of where's he's been and what's been happening. It was a way of showing that the second mass in his absence has had a really tough road and he's not exactly sure what's happened to him so everybody meets or more like strangers than friends at the beginning. And no it didn't bother me, it didn't bother me.QUESTION:
I noticed in your character particularly is this hair you have and I want to know, it looks like the most unwashed mane on television, which really brings an authenticity to the show. What is the process behind getting it to look like that, and was that a decision of yours?NOAH WYLE:
Yes, yes you know I wouldn't say that there were disagreements but you know the costumers love putting people on different costumes. And I kept saying I am not changing my jacket until the group goes into a gap and finds a new jacket like when it happens on screen I will do it. And I felt this same way about shaving and everything else that until there was a moment of respite with these characters would sort of rediscover their sense of vanity. There really wasn't any point in grooming. And that looking slutty and dirty and bloody and shaggy does lend itself to an air of authenticity.QUESTION:
Can you talk about the process of getting your hair to look like that I mean do you let it go or is that some product they're putting in there.NOAH WYLE:
It's a combination of both, mostly it's sweat, where you pretend to do a lot of running and jumping and leaping and shooting and ducking, and I tend to sweat. And then there's you know stuff that makes it look a little creaser to the problem that was.QUESTION:
Even though you have now have a year under your belt of this character, are you still learning more about the character and finding different ways to play him?NOAH WYLE:
Yes I sort of feel like I am just getting started you know they aren't going start with this guy really will extent over three or four years in this slow deconstruction of his intellectual aspects. And his becoming a little bit harder and they're way having a big of transference with the Weaver character who starts off very militaristic where Tom's a bit more of a humanist. And then gradually Weaver becomes a lot more vulnerable and a lot more human and Tom gets a lot more practical and a lot harder edged.
We sort of continue in that vein hopefully arriving at some sort of synthesis between the two of them as the most effective way of leading this group which isn't not traditionally military dogmatic style and not exactly touchy feely human but something in between.