This Sunday Falling Skies
returns to TNT for a second season, kicking off with a two-hour premiere. The series follows a group of survivors after an alien invasion. At the end of season one, Tom Mason (Noah Wyle), professor and father of three, voluntarily boarded an alien spaceship. Tonight's episode takes place three months later. With Mason still gone, it's up his eldest son, Hal, played by Drew Roy, to step up.
Roy, who is known for his work in television on series such as Lincoln Heights
and Hannah Montana
, and on film in movies such as Costa Rican Summer
, talked to Jamie Ruby in an exclusive interview about what is coming up this season for his character.
Roy would describe Hal as "confident, passionate, and self-centered to a degree."
He got the part of Hal by auditioning. "I was just in the normal audition grind of any aspiring actor. I was stepping around town doing all sorts of auditions. I'd love to say that I picked the project because it was the best script I'd read, and it had been offered to me, but truthfully, I was just glad that they were willing to hire me, and then the fact that it was as great a project as it was, was just a bonus."Falling Skies
has a good story, which is what appeals to him when he chooses what shows to watch. "I'm a fan of anything that's a good story. I'm not going to watch anything just because it's a war movie, or anything just because it's acience-fiction, but if it's a good story being told in that genre, sign me up, I'm all about it. And I think that this is definitely a well told story."
The actor did have a bit of weapons training when joining the show, but not a lot, as they wanted everything to be authentic to the characters. "When we first went up to shoot the pilot they sent us to a small little boot camp and taught us how to shoot the guns and be safe and whatnot, but we didn't have that much training. I think most of us felt that that was probably a good way to go about it. I'm a guy who, had the aliens not come, I would still be playing lacrosse in high school. So for me to not be able to handle a weapon like a military person is fine.
"I wanted to know the exact way the military guy would hold it, and then sort of come up with my little hybrid of the two to show that I kind of taught myself how to handle weapons. I think that several of the actors did the same thing."
The idea of getting used to using weapons on the series spilled over into real life for Roy. "I've always been able to pick things up really quick, so I felt that the gun was more of a security blanket than it was a hindrance. After we shot the first season I had to go to New York for a couple of interviews, and I was crossing a busy street and the light was flashing to get across street; I had like three seconds so I had to run across.
"And just out of habit my right hand went to my back thigh where my gun usually is, because when I normally run I have to hold that gun down and I was like, "I'm in the middle of New York, what am I doing thinking I have a gun strapped me?" (laughs) So I embraced the gun."
There is a lot of action in Falling Skies
, so the actor did have to do some stunts. "My third day ever on a dirt bike was on set weaving in and out of about 200 extras, and they had this clear path for me, and they decided that it actually looked a little too clear, so they put a couple extras there. They bought this mom in, put a paint can down and put the cutest little six-year-old girl I'd ever seen on the paint can, and I had to drive around her without killing her. So my lines were no longer the concern, it was not killing a six-year old girl (laughs)."
Besides stunts, another part of the series that can sometimes be difficult is the enviroment they shoot in, but Roy thinks it adds to the authenticity. "It is cold, and it rains a lot. As far as being the actor who's shooting it, it can be a little damp sometimes, but as the character, it puts you right in the elements. You know, when you're watching the series this year and you think, "Oh that looks cool," because you can see their breath, well it's cold. And when everybody's hair is all matted down and you're muddy, it looks cool, but it was real. And as the actor it helps you really jump into what you're doing and you're no longer having to act like you're cold, you're trying to figure out how to stay warm, and I've always appreciated that stuff in movies and tv, because it just gives it that "grit" that I like to see. I don't like it when everybody's all polished and fresh looking."
The evironment has also changed this season because the 2nd Mass travels around a lot this year, but it's a positive change for Roy. "I love it, I think it's so cool. You know it was nice to have the school that we would go back to, but it kind of gave it this big family adventure camp feeling. This is darker and grittier; we're on the run, and we're not on the run just for the merry old sake of it, we're on the run because they're pursuing us.
"At the end of last season we took the offensive to them and blew up the little wing on their little structure and that's didn't really amount to anything other than pissing them off. So now they're after us and it allows for new scenery every episode. We're in a new location; you never get too familiar with it. It keeps characters on their toes because they're not familiar with it. There's the danger aspect of never knowing what you're driving into, and it puts people in small confined spaces who might not normally be in a space like that together for that long, because they're having a drive down the road together and learning about each other. So I think it's great for tension, for character development, all sorts of stuff."
Besides the location changes, obviously with a new season, a lot of the story elements will also change. Since the show picks up three months after Tom has left on the alien ship, Hal has started to take on more of a leadership role in the group, as well as take care of his brothers. Roy, however, thinks that it stems from farther back then that. "I think it all went back to the third episode, when Hal thought that his dad had just left him there, once Karen (Jessy Schram) was taken away. And they meet on the street and he felt like things got hairy and his dad just left. The hardest part of that for him was that alone, and once he realized that he had actually been knocked out and he had no control over it, and since he found out what was going on he came back to rescue him, I think that sort of set up this relationship between Hal and his father, just the deepest amount of trust.
"So when Hal hears that Tom stepped onto the alien ship, I don't think he was mad at him in any way, I think he trusted him there as well. There was information about Ben (Connor Jessup), so Hal would have probably done the same thing.
"Now that three months have gone by, it sounds like maybe that wasn't the best decision and it's time to come to terms with the fact that he's going to have to step up and be this father figure."
Hal is going to have a hard time getting his brother Ben to listen. "The problem is that Ben is also coming of age and he's not ready to be listening to someone telling him what to do, especially now that he has this new skitter blood or skitter juice in him that's making him a stronger and a more adept killer, and he has this personal vendetta against the skitters.
"And it's making him do crazy things. You see in the first three minutes that he jumps out a window to make sure that a dying skitter dies. Well, that puts him in harm's way, it puts the whole team in harm's way, and that just keeps building within Hal and causes quite a bit of friction that ends up turning into an altercation that leaves Hal on his back, on the ground in front of his girl and their whole relationship is flipped upside down.
"He's no longer the alpha male who gets to push around his younger brother, exactly the opposite. And he's having to walk a fine line; he's having to walk on eggshells around his brother, which is not something that Hal does. Hal's very in-your-face and takes things at face value. So that was a fun thing to play."
Regardless, Hall will protect his family to the best of his ability. "One of the most important things to Hal is family. Just the fact that Ben's his brother, whether or not they agree about something, he's family. So he's going to protect him with everything he has.
"And the way that I approached the situation was [with] what it must be like for somebody who is dealing with a friend or family member who's struggling with a drug addiction and going down that path. Or in addition, someone who is now questioning their sexuality and trying to find out what that's all about.
"So Hal is never is trying to put Ben down or anything like that. It's completely the opposite. He loves him to death and he likes for Ben to express these feelings to him so he can help him, but he's finding out information after the fact, after bad things are happening, and it's making Hal really have a tough time trusting what's going on. And he's wanting with everything inside of him to help Ben, but it's just a tough situation."
Since Tom has been gone for awhile, when he returns, he is more trusting of Hal, because he's proven himself. "It's sort of cut the strings on that relationship. In those three months, Hal's proven himself to be a fighter that can handle himself, and not only himself, but also be put in charge of a small group that goes out on recon missions.
"So this season we're not going to see as much of Tom and Hal on missions together, holding each other back or accountable, but more so Hal on his own missions handling business while Tom is dealing with what all is going on back at camp and trying to allow everyone to trust him, since he's been this whole time, and help Ben out with what's going on there and what little we know about Ben."
The other relationship that will be changing in Hal's life is with Maggie (Sarah Carter). "That was one of the more fun relationships I got to play this year. One, the actress Sarah Carter is beautiful, and so any time you get a to have a love interest like that, I think most guys would appreciate it, but even more than that, it's that they come from such different backgrounds. Hal's your All-American who's from a good family and all is good; Maggie is from this dark, mysterious path that we're not sure where exactly she came from or what happened when she was out there with Pope and all the guys, but it doesn't look good.
"So when the two of them start going out on these missions together, they find that they have this relationship, this great friendship, that is very trusting, and they find they're kindred spirits in a lot of different aspects. It's not until they see danger looking right at them that they'd realize, you know, "If I lost the other person, I don't know what I'd do, maybe this is more than just a friendship." And the real problem is they have to figure out, is this even worth pursuing? I mean, could this possibly just be a distraction - a little flame that amounts to nothing that gets somebody killed, because were not fully paying attention to what we're doing, or could this be the best thing that could happen to both of them? Could this help complete the other person, make them a stronger unit, and not only help themselves, but allow themselves to help others by setting an example? Who knows? They've got to figure that out.
"And about the time it looks like they've come to a conclusion, something happens that pulls them apart or pushes them together. And I think it's very tastefully done and I think both the male and female audiences will enjoy the ride."
Roy's favorite scenes this year are with both the characters Maggie and Ben. "I have two [favorite scenes]. I think they both come from this new season and I can't tell you much about either one of them, because they're both very pivotal to what's going on later on in the story line, but it's between Hal and Maggie, and it's between Hal and Ben.
"Those two relationships are so complicated and so complex because of the things that are going on and how they got to that point that you just really have some really rich scenes that we got to play together, and they both have just a desperate amount of sadness in them that you're trying to hold onto that last little bit to keep something together, but at the same time it might be the best thing. It's one of those tough situations that you've got to decide if going down that road is worth it, and are you making that choice selfishly or are you not?"
Roy is happy to work more with Carter and Jessup, but he'd also love to have more scenes with Colin Cunningham as Pope. "I've always thought that it would be interesting to see what would happen if Pope and Hal had to be put in something together, because those two guys hate each other and that hatred builds more this season because of some ridiculous things that Pope gets into, and the outcome that affects Hal. I've always thought maybe if there is a third season that it would be interesting to see what those two guys would be like together, because they're both are very dominant alpha males and probably more similar than they like to admit, but they just come from different backgrounds and see things very differently. So who knows where that relationship could go."
You can watch Drew Roy on Sundays on Falling Skies
on TNT, starting this Sunday.