By Jamie Ruby
Basic cable’s number one new series last year, Falling Skies,
will return on Sunday for its second season. The series is about life and survival after an alien invasion. The show follows the 2nd Massachusetts civilian resistance group, led by Commander Weaver (Will Patton) and unlikely leader and former college professor Tom Mason (Noah Wyle).
The series also stars Moon Bloodgood as Anne Glass, the pediatrician-turned combat doctor, who does what she can to help everyone cope, as well as Colin Cunningham, as John Pope. Pope is the leader of a group of fighters called the “Berserkers,” and is all about killing skitters and living on his own terms.
Bloodgood and Cunningham recently discussed the upcoming season with the digital media.
TNT Conference CallFalling Skies
Colin Cunningham and Moon Bloodgood
May 9, 2012
12:45 pm CTQUESTION:
For this season are there going to be any major differences for your characters that we should be on the lookout for?MOON BLOODGOOD:
I would say my changes are not as drastic I think that my relationship with Tom gets a more adult quality to it. We definitely have our first fight and I believe that I'm allowed to say that the relationship gets consummated. But I wouldn't say that my character goes through drastic changes. I think you're just seeing more character development, more layers, and more how I am relating rather to the Mason boys to Lourdes who is played by Gabriel Seychelle Gabriel.
So more – just built relationships there.COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
I'd say the same thing I think the relationship between Pope and the professor finally does become consummated. Yes me too so I am just kidding but you know I think for Pope I think they, if anything they take, they take the edgy stuff and I think they embellish it all the more. You know if anything I think this season isn't so much I think the characters are still doing what they were doing last year. I just you know if I can even say the stakes are just way, way higher the show itself is darker it's more intense. So you're going to see more.MOON BLOODGOOD:
More science fiction.COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
Yes and just more extreme in terms of just the acting and what these characters have to go through, so which I am really looking forward to seeing.QUESTION:
Are both of you going to be making an appearance at the San Diego Comic Con this year or are you guys having a panel?COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
I haven't officially heard anything I am looking at Moon and she's not, look I would expect that there's going to be some kind of a presence but there's been nothing officially announced yet.QUESTION:
Colin, do we get to see anything of Pope's and Maggie's past explored this season?COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
It is, we kind of skirt around it which is all the more interesting I think to us, nothings actually laid out in concrete. But certainly Sarah Carter the wonderful Sara Carter and I spend a lot of time discussing our history and all that kind of stuff. So even when the lines are written a certain way we're often playing subtext that hasn't yet really been even revealed to us by the writers but it's a wonderful complexity that I think they brought into the season. And they keep it there you know just at arm's distance which is wonderful considering the fact that her relationship with Hal you know continues to grow and yet she still got this past that she has to deal with.QUESTION:
Both of you have big resumes when it comes to science fiction and everything. How do you think Falling Skies
is different from these other projects, what makes it so unique? What kind of separates it from everything else?MOON BLOODGOOD:
I think with Falling Skies
they don't always rely on the science fiction tricks they primarily go after story. And I think when they hired Bob Rodat they wanted someone who was really good, developing characters and not the primary story and the second story to science fiction. So if you have a good foundation and characters that are really flushed out I think when you bring the science fiction on top of it, it just feels like a full show versus a thin science fiction show with all the bells and whistles that sometimes can feel flat and not interesting.
I think you have to have the two things hand in hand a good story and also good science fiction to keep people interested.COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
In addition to that I would say that the sheer caliber of the show is a thousand times greater than any sci-fi show I have ever worked on. That and it doesn't start with okay here's the problem, here's you know we have a new mission every week. Sometimes there's no mission at all it's just simply about survival. So it's a trick because when we go in and we see some of the footage or read the scripts they don't read like TV shows they really do read like.MOON BLOODGOOD:
It's more like a ...COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
Yes it's very cinematic it's more like a miniseries or a feature. So that's a really exciting part of the show that I think makes us stand out.QUESTION:
Moon, I wanted to know how difficult was it to do the scene where Ann removes the alien bug out of Tom's eye?MOON BLOODGOOD:
I got to tell you as an actor, the difficult scenes for me to do sometimes the ones that are more emotional, that stuff where I get to fight or scream, or pull things out of people's eyes. I am like fearless it doesn't scare me it excites me it's very physical it's so different. I am actually the opposite in that I am more scared of the emotional stuff that's really vulnerable and close to your heart. So that stuff was fun, that was easy peasy. I was more trying to make sure I just looked like I was a doctor, I don't know what the hell I was doing in front of Noah.SCIFI VISION:
Can you talk about working with the green screen and the puppets and everything like that?COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
Well I would say my experience with it is has been actually been very limited I think we only did one episode where I personally work with the green screen, it's actually not used all that much on Falling Skies
. At least not my stuff alone.MOON BLOODGOOD:
It's not I haven't had to use it a lot either. It's I don't know why that is, I don't feel like we do a lot, because well you know we have the skitters in a full puppet outfit. So it's more in the flesh, but I actually I don't mind green screen stuff I feel like it's I don't know that stuff can use my imagination it doesn't bother me.COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
But a lot of our locations are locations we're not on big giant sound stage so whatever a lot of the special effects that you see, if it's a skitter battle in the middle of the street there's no green screens. So I mean just like if anything I think it's a testament to the amazing VFX and the special effects people that put the solution together they're absolute masters of it.QUESTION:
What are you both most excited about having the audience see in the second season.MOON BLOODGOOD:
I think I am really proud of some of the stuff that happens with let's say Ben Mason like I think he fits (the central) character and with a lot of science fiction stuff happening that is really edgy. And I am excited for people to get those surprises I think that kind of stuff is always exciting because I am such a science fiction fan always exciting to know that there's some really good surprises coming.COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
For me it's to simply see the show because we're excited when we get the scripts we're excited when we shoot the scenes and then we go on to do additional dialogue recording, audio stuff. We're again incredibly excited to see what we see, that said what I am dying for is just for is to be able to talk about with other people who have seen it. So if anything that's the tough part right now I think for all of us is that we're not able to share what we've seen up to now.QUESTION:
Colin, we saw Pope becoming a little bit of a better guy I think in season one, and then in season two, at the beginning, it starts to seem a little iffy again. What do think it will take to soften [Pope] up and really bring his humanity back?COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
Wow well in a way it's like I hope it doesn't ever happen because I think it would, it would make perhaps make him less complicated less interesting but yes they don't. I wouldn't say he becomes softer if anything he becomes a little bit harder, and a little bit more, I don't know a little bit more Pope. Because again with the show this year I think the stakes are even higher, it's even more extreme, it's dirtier, it's angrier, it's edgier.
It's pretty hardcore and I think within that environment is where he feels most comfortable.MOON BLOODGOOD:
I also want to add that I think the pull about your character is is you get to say the things that everyone's thinking but no one wants to say.COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
You confront certain characters and yet you're still part of the group you're not kicked out. But you, you get to be the bold one.COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
Yes he's not, he's I don't think because Pope isn't encumbered you know or strapped down by things such as compassion and empathy. And you know it's just like he thinks very, very clearly and he doesn't have this you know all the things that make us human you know you know yes well he certainly does. But in a dog eat dog life and death kind of environment he sees things very, very clear.QUESTION:
You never know if [a show is] coming back...What were some of the things that if you knew you were coming back that you wanted to do or to see happen.COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
Yes well I think. Well, you know it's so weird because I think up to the first season everybody was just so incredibly happy to be there and you almost don't want to jinx it, by wanting anything more different, you're just really happy to be employed on a show of such caliber. But that's said, if I had to say anything I want to ride more motorcycles man. You got that.
Why do you think Falling Skies
is doing so well while some of the other sci-fi based shows like Alcatra
Z and Terra Nov
a failed in the first season? Noah [Wyle] said it was the writing, do you agree you think it's writing that still keeps it strong and [maintaining] such a big following?MOON BLOODGOOD:
Yes I do, I mean I think what keeps our show afloat amongst the other shows that are sinking is that we have the human element. I mean sounds like a cliché but it's always about the story and then you know the science fiction element of it, they don't get carried away. And it doesn't get to self-indulgent, so I think it's a good hybrid of story and good science fiction. So it's exciting but it's not thin so, so I think that's what our show.COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
Also it's not procedural I think people are you know and again God bless you know procedural dramas and cop shows and stuff but it's different it's not like we've all got bunch of expositions to speak of. And then the director shoots the two shots and then does two over the shoulders and we move on to the next set which you know which is rebuilt. If anything it's on location and there's a, it just doesn't read like your typical TV show, and so I think when people tune in to watch it that's exactly what they get from the experience.MOON BLOODGOOD:
And we all love being a part of a show that feels more cinematic and none of us really want to do procedural shows because it's just, it's boring it's a part (a part) show.COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
Yes to add to that I think a lot of the procedural shows it's the same show every week it's just different characters. And you know it's just a different character saying the same exposition whereas on Falling Skies
none of us have any idea what the next script is going to be.QUESTION:
Why, and every week it's going to be different, and you know it's going to be different.COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
Yes and if anything and it's, you know again you're not doing the same thing there's an actual arch to the entire season you know to the show. And to the midpoint of the show, and by the end of the show you've really covered distance. Whereas I think with a lot of other shows and god bless them I just don't think that they have that blessing to do that.MOON BLOODGOOD:
Colin and I will be on a procedural if this show doesn't work us for us right. We're working on a procedural.QUESTION:
We see in the start of season two that a lot is going on, not only with Pope and [Anne] seeing Tom come back, but all the changes in Ben. Do you feel like you distrust Ben as much as the rest of Second Mass or do you feel that you trust him as much as Anne trusts Tom?COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
Well I might take that because you mentioned trust. Pope does absolutely positively does not trust Ben. He barely trusts the professor, I think he respects the professor but I don't think he necessarily trusts anybody. He sure as hell doesn't trust Ben.QUESTION:
Well you guys butt heads this season.COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
Yes and no, yes and no I think, I think the wonderful arch that the character that Ben has is that he's going to butting heads with not only other people that look at him differently but the horror within his own mind is that he looks upon himself differently. And now I has something to prove but I will pass it over to Moon.MOON BLOODGOOD:
I definitely feel like you know Colin and I are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. I am always the supportive woman who stands by her man who believes the best in people, I think I am hopeful and optimistic and never questioning their loyalty and Colin is kind of saying everything that everyone's thinking in the room, but he has what you know the balls so to speak to say it. So we're definitely opposing in that way.
And Anne is always, even if she has doubts it's always kept hidden because her role is very maternal. And she is just someone who doesn't dwell in negativity or her insecurities I mean she's a wonderful, she's like the ultimate woman. Always think positive, always believing it and always being stoic at times.QUESTION:
Do you feel that [Anne] feels a little bit conflicted taking care of Matt and Ben given the loss of her own son?MOON BLOODGOOD:
Sometimes I wished we'd played with that a little bit more yes. My relationship with them is actually a little even less this year. More of my relationship my maternal aspect with Lourdes who is Seychelle Gabriel, and I think that there has to be that conflict if you've lost a son and now you're taking care of you know young boys.
And there's got to be some conflict and we do, we do kind of really lightly brush on that some of my history. But there's not tons of back story in a lot of our (structures) they just sometimes come, you know the weave in and out, but yes how could you not be, lost your husband, you lost your son. And then here you are forced to take care of other people and be selfless and not think about your own pain which is not very realistic but that's definitely Anne's role.QUESTION:
What can you say about the Berserkers? I know the season starts off with them being in Pope's group, but does Anne have any interactions with them as it goes on?MOON BLOODGOOD:
I don't get any good stuff with you Colin.COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
Yes I think it's kind of weird I think.MOON BLOODGOOD:
We never really.COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
Yes we never really did it together. Yes unfortunately and it is unfortunate that Moon and I haven't been able to share too much camera time together. So either running away from something or what have you, and even that's rare. In terms of the Berserkers yes it's sort of a really, really cool, another bunch of characters that they brought in into the mix. And they're essentially you know a bunch of rebels and a bunch of people that are you know similar to Pope in many, many ways. Is there a kind of outcast or rebels or they just don't quite fit in and they serve a pretty unique purpose within the realms of the second mass.SCIFI VISION:
Colin, you talked about how Pope this season is going to be harder and everything, but are we're going to see any more interactions between him and Matt? Because I really liked that last season and I am wondering if they're going to do any of that again, even if Pope is mean to him.COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
Yes well it's weird sometimes I don't know this, so this is how I answer these questions, so what I mean by that is am I. If the answer is no am I giving it away and if it's yes am I giving it away. But that's the answer is no, I wish there was, but I think we explored that and I was very happy to see that last year. I think if anything it's reiterated the fact that Pope said you know thinks to himself screw this, screw everyone I don't give a damn about the kid or anything. I think it may have hurt him a little bit and it only reaffirmed the fact that you know if you get to close to people you just get burned.SCIFI VISION:
For both of you, besides each other, is there anybody else that you kind of wish you had more scenes with that you don't get to interact a lot with?MOON BLOODGOOD:
I would love to have more stuff, I do have some with Will Patton I love all my stuff with Lourdes. And you know I have got to also once I think what I am hoping for if we go in third season is that the relationship that hasn't been touched upon for instance like Colin and I. Or my relationship with the boys I think I'd like to see, I'd like to see every character on our show interact with characters they haven't interacted with, because that makes it more full, and nothing would happen in a community. You wouldn't just have relationships with two people especially if I am a doctor and I am taking care of all these wounded people I would have more interaction and more relationships. So hopefully in season 3 we'll see those kind of get more flushed out.COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
For me, I'd say personally as an actor I'd simply adore any scenes that I am able to do with Noah I think he's absolutely brilliant on that note. I haven't really had a whole lot with Will Patton as well I would love to work more with Will in terms of the story or the character. I really think that, that Matt and Pope have a great dynamic more of that, because essentially have the lion and the lamb and it's a pretty dangerous and just really, really interesting dynamic how you've got someone who can inhabit such a danger with someone who's just so sweet and innocent you know.MOON BLOODGOOD:
We should name it that an episode should be called the lion and the lamb.COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
The lion and the lamb.QUESTION:
For both of you, I know you don't want to give too much away about what's coming out of the season, but did you have a favorite scene to shoot this season?COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
Now we have.MOON BLOODGOOD:
That's a good question.
Well I had, how about this, I had a couple of things that terrified me. Just you know but I would say my favorite is I kind of have to go back into my action roots and do some stuff that was really physical. And that felt really liberating, I kind of missed it and I didn't even know it. So there's definitely an episode where I get to do some stuff that is more action oriented and not too fun. I felt like a really good release for me.COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
I would think for me like one of my favorite scenes this season was an interaction between myself and Tom Mason between Pope and Tom Mason and it's essentially a fight. And there's no skitters and there's no guns and there's no VFX it's basically just two, two characters that have finally had enough of each other. And that was pretty cool I believe that was episode 3 there was one of my I don't know it was just a lot of fun to do because it was just actor with actor with actor and I think I loved that.QUESTION:
You both did a lot of moving around this season, you didn't have kind of a set location like last year with the school, you were moving around quite a bit. Did you find that made it harder for you to act in your environment, or did you find it refreshing to be moving around?COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
It's both yes it's absolutely harder it's freezing cold you're very, very tired it's not glamorous, it can be a real drag, and that's not just for us that's for everybody you're working ridiculous hours. Because things take longer when you're shooting on location that said it does show up on camera you do look tired and it's just all the more real.MOON BLOODGOOD:
The stuff that you're saying that's...I feel like that's like the spoiled actor saying that. But now it's like it's in crime you know you're out there and you want it's great, because it suits the character. So it's perfect but it is so totally exhausted it's cold one day working at night one day, working in the day. But it's perfect because it makes your characters that much more realistic and it's part of the gig and we in the end we love it but I like not being as, I like being more mobile.
Because last year when I was stuck in that high school it just got a little stagnant at times and I also thought it didn't reflect the realism it is a post-apocalyptic environment. You constantly be on the run, you're trying to outrun your predators, so I'd liked it this year it definitely felt a little bit more fluid for me.COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
Yes I'd say on other shows as an actor that the great privilege that you have is that it's not only an amazing but you actually get o have fun. On Falling Skies
second season it was incredibly amazing but it wasn't.MOON BLOODGOOD:
We had no like, it was like real with us goofing up...COLIN CUNNINGHAM:
Yes it wasn't fun it was amazing. I mean amazing and worthwhile I the work and the scenes but it was a, it wasn't a light hearted fun thing. It was tough I think it took the best of everybody or brought the best out of everybody because you had to rise up.MOON BLOODGOOD: