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Falling Skies - Q&A with Wyle & Bloodgood

Two of the stars of TNT's upcoming television series discuss their characters, who are thrown into a survivalist state after a mysterious and destructive alien invasion.

The aliens in FALLING SKIES are as mysterious as they are merciless. Dubbed “skitters,” because of the way they move about on spider-like legs, the aliens are an overwhelming force. They are fast, strong, extremely intelligent and very difficult to kill. They also control captured teenagers, like Tom’s son Ben, through bio-mechanical harnesses, but the invaders have yet to reveal their ultimate plan. It becomes obvious that the harnessed teens are a vital part of the aliens’ continued dominance on Earth.

The dynamic that really touched me was the difference between Tom and Weaver (played by Will Patton). In most of these post-apocalyptic movies, like Battle: Los Angeles, you see the military persona is the one who steps up to the plate and becomes the default leader.
With Tom, he really has no practical experience for military application. But his knowledge as a (military histories) professor, you see it coming out in all of these different situations. What do you think distinguishes Tom as a leader as opposed to all of these other projects automatically show the militaristic personalities step to the foreground?

Noah Wyle: "That’s an interesting question. I would say that when you traditionally have a character whose career military like Captain Weaver is their strong suit is leading men who have been trained and focused for the battle and mission enhanced. Whereas in this particular scenario most of our military has been eradicated already and it’s a civilian militia that is being trained. It’s exactly Tom Mason’s back-story as having been a teacher that puts him in a little bit better position to teach mostly kids how to arm themselves and defend themselves than it is for Weaver to fall back on the military paradigm.
And it’s sort of - it’s looking at the realm of academia and saying that’s a little dry for what we need right now and looking at the role of military and saying that’s a little dogmatic for what we need right now and trying to find a synthesis between the two that I think makes my character a leader of a different strength."

Tom does seem like somebody who has his act together but -- and I’m only three episodes in -- I’m trying to figure out, are we going to see Tom reach his breaking point in the first season?
Noah Wyle: "He comes damn close to it. He comes very, very close to it. Yes, I would say episode, in the four or five range, that’s where he starts to wear a little thin.
Although, you know, there was an adage that we used to say a lot on my other show where you really didn’t have time to feel sorry for yourself during the course of the day because you had another patient to treat or two or three.
So you really had to earn whatever private moments you allowed yourself to reveal, whatever inner life was going on. And the same holds true for this show is that there’s such a constant and eminent threat underneath each and every scene that these characters who probably if they had a week off would develop all sorts of the hallmarks of PTSD and go through all sorts of debilitating briefs don’t have the luxury of doing so because there’s just too many other things that need to be done. So I would say that the big breakdown is still coming but we definitely show glimpses of it."

I was wondering, what inspiration did you draw from, if any, coming into this? Anne a very tragic character even though she hasn't fully started to cope with her loss. She throws herself into her work and her blossoming relationship with Tom... how did you come about figuring out how to portray her and how to.. hold [revelations] back for later on in the season?
Moon Bloodgood: "Good question. I sometimes think it's probably not good to use your own life circumstances because that can kind of get tiring, but I did. I kind of dove - not dove into it but I conjured up.. I looked into myself and my own pain and tried to use that as a cathartic thing when I was doing the role. And then I just also try to use my imagination of what it felt like to live in a world where suddenly I lost my family and to lose a child which... must be the most horrendous thing to ever go through. So I tried to use myself and my imagination.
And the journey's interesting because there's a couple times when I breakdown; I breakdown emotionally about my family, and there's another time when I am fighting to keep the alien alive with another doctor and I'm very stoic in that fight, and there's a time when I'm more romantically involved with Noah.
But what was the most compelling part is when I had to actually pick up a gun at one point because I get hurt, I get attacked and I suddenly need to defend myself against other humans and that's a position that Anne Glass never thought she would be in. And for her that's when the world - the first biggest pain was her husband and her child and the next was just loosing that innocence against violence."

Source: The Daily Blam!