You guys keeping up with Fringe as closely as KTV correspondent, Marisa Roffman? My girl conference called it up with series star John Noble and was kind enough to share the highlights here. Enjoy…
Walter is certainly a
unique character. How do you approach the part and how much fun is it to play?
hoot to play the thing. Preparation, well, that’s probably the hardest
bit, getting the timing right and doing the preparation on the scientific work. But working on Fringe is a great
job. I mean, it’s a great group of people to work with, and amazing
scripts from the minds of J.J. Abrams and other people. They’re geniuses. Living inside their heads must be a very strange thing to do because they’re
always coming up with something different. Overall, fantastic experience.
absolutely. But I could also say that, as an audience member, I enjoy
reading and watching things that make me concentrate
and, you know, that’s what Fringe
does. I watched an episode [last] Tuesday night, and I was in it, but
there were things I missed, and I said, what was that? What did they say
there? It’s fascinating to be watching something that does
science? Do you have an aptitude for even fundamental science?
level than a practical level. One of my best friends — a fellow who I
shared a house with for many years and we were at the university together — he’s a
brilliant scientist. He’s also quite mad. But we would talk — my
thought was the art, his was the science — and we could talk for hours. We
found common ground in the theory. But put me in a lab with a whole lot of instruments
and I may not do so well.
line between genius and mad man is very thin, and Walter definitely walks
on both sides of that line. Do you find this friend of yours as
inspiration for that?
edge of the scientific community because he’s just absolutely no good at
politics. But he’s a genius. Whatever he did, he did
with absolute passion and focus. [Whether] we were out drinking and partying, or
if he was playing tennis or football, or going after a girl, it
was with complete and utter focus. And that’s one of the aspects that Walter
has as well. [And though my friend] was a lovely man, he’d also fight people.
I mean, at a turn of a hat, he would fight people, he was a fascinating
guy. I’ve based a lot of this on him.
Walter certainly has his
light side, but he can also be very dark and almost scary, which we learned
when it was revealed that he drugged Peter as a child. How do you balance such opposing traits in one character?
because of who he is, how bright he is and how disturbed he
is — it just sort of surfaces a bit more often and a bit more radically than it
does in most of us. I don’t find it that hard to find. I mean,
taking each moment when I’m doing a scene, I [think about] what he’s
gone through at that point, and sometimes those reactions just come out, to be
honest with you… out of the character’s frustration or out of his
greater purpose, out of his madness. But it’s certainly
interesting to play, and it shocks the people I’m playing with at times.
You see these shocked reactions from the other actors, but that all makes [for] some
good fun too.
How important is the father/son relationship between Walter and Peter, and
do you expect the dynamic between them to shift or change in any major way? Could Walter ever become a bit more normal?
From my point of view — and I think Josh Jackson will back this up — the thing that
has held our interest most so far has been that relationship. And, as actors, we’ve probably talked more about
that, Josh and I, than about anything else. We understood from the very beginning how complex these things are between men — I mean, I am a father of a son, and fortunately I have a very good relationship
with him — But it was something that touched us and interested us both. We just kind of feel that it’s
special to do that sort of thing and feel a bit of responsibility to try and
get it as right as possible. Judging by the feedback we’re getting, it’s
working and it’s resonating with a whole lot of people. And we’ll
continue to do that. It’s not going to turn into any sort of soft, “Oh, I
understand, and now I know I love you” time, and walk away into the sunset.
continue to grow. The depth of their relationship will continue to grow.
There’s no question about that.
Do you think, in Peter’s
mind, there might have ever been a competition between him and his father’s
experiments to see who got Walter’s attention?
Given a task, Walter is
incredibly focused, and other things become
secondary. And a lot of people in our society are
workaholics and find it difficult to split their time between their work and
their families, but this is an extreme case of that. When he’s on his science, he really
doesn’t have time for this squawking child next to him or for the wife.
What about Walter’s relationship with Olivia and Astrid? As he’s growing closer to Peter, he seems to be growing closer to these two women as well.
been one of the things that has had to come slowly. We have a man who… I don’t think he would have ever been particularly good
with women, you know? I think he would have been a pretty horrible
husband, not because he’s a bad man, simply because he wouldn’t have thought to
be nice. Then he comes out, and he’s confronted with these two girls, and
he doesn’t know how to talk to girls, so it’s taken time to learn. He
still can’t remember Astrid’s name, which I have to say, one of the great
joys is working with Jasika [Nicole] on that whole name business. She
is such a funny girl. I can’t wait to see what [the writers] come up with for her
eventually, because she’s a very, very funny woman. And the [relationship] with Olivia
is fascinating because that’s far deeper. My sense is that Walter starts
to feel almost paternal towards her. But obviously you can’t go
path, and just on occasions I can see that Olivia wants to ask Walter
something, but then she’ll back away. Somewhere down the track, I think that there will be a coming
together of those two. I don’t know this for a fact, but I just feel it’s
inevitable. I think it’s something that Walter and Olivia will need to do.
Do you think we’ll ever see any scenes between you and Blair Brown?
Absolutely has to be.
I mean, apart from the fact that Blair and I want to work
together. That’s just a personal thing. But she’s already been
interviewed and said, “Yes, Walter and Nina used to be together.” She’s
invented this whole scenario. The first time I ever met the woman, we did a read through and she said, “Well, down the track, I can
see that we’ll finish up having a big go of it.” She’s a very funny
woman. That’s the theory, that somewhere down the line, maybe they were
even together, which is absolutely feasible. And it’ll be, I’m sure, a very
interesting challenge working with Blair Brown. She’s a smashing actress.
Speaking of theories, how much thought have you given
to the whole idea of “The Pattern” and what “The Pattern” is?
We don’t know. I
don’t know what The Pattern is. Walter doesn’t [know], and that kind of works for me. I don’t
particularly want to know what’s going on in terms of the writers’ minds. A little bit is revealed, and these
writers have a plan that could last one, two, three years, or however
long it lasts, and they will bring that all to a conclusion at the right time.
We can’t reveal everything now because where do you go then? So there’s a long way
Well, Walter is obviously very
grounded in the mythology between William Bell and Massive Dynamic. Will
we see more of that play out in upcoming episodes?
There’s going to be a growth in that
in the mythology. It’s not going to be laid all out for everyone to
find in one episode. Of course, J.J. won’t do
that. And in fact, one of the things that [the writers] also do is they keep the process pretty organic, and as things happen in their mind, the characters will evolve. They keep [the script] open to evolving as
they go along. We’re constantly getting rewrites. Sometimes just
before we go on set, we’ll get a rewrite because they’ll have a better idea on
what line to say there. I personally love working that way.
In the upcoming episodes,
what are some of the great Walter moments we’ll have to look forward to?
There are always two
things: There are the sort of bleak and dark moments that you see
sometimes and there’s also the comedic… well, what play as comedic moments.
We’ve just finished off the final episode that will be going on in
December and there are a lot of Walter moments just [with] him being
inappropriate really. And [in tonight]’s episode, we see Walter from a different
angle, very vulnerable. He goes back into the asylum, and we see the
very, very fearful man return for a while… although he does have some wonderful
moments early in the episode. But when he goes back inside, he turns back
into this incredibly fearful, stuttering fellow who we saw when we first met
him. It’s a very
interesting journey that we see Walter go through.
And in the lab?
You know, he solves these extraordinary things either because he had done them in the past
or because he simply has the intellect to think now. We’re getting more
episodes where Walter hasn’t done [the] experiment [before], but he has the
mind to be able to see a way through it. That’s the sort of thrust of things
you will expect to see in the future.
What do you look forward to?
of the relationship with [Peter], of course. There’ll be a lot more of
this. As you go through, you know, this season and the next seasons after
that, you’ll see the ensemble of actors interact a lot more than maybe we’ve
seen at present. The relationships with the Olivia character will become
more like relationships do when people know each other for a while and
start to kind of have an investment and care for each other. We
certainly will see that in the first episode coming back next year where we
bond together to support Olivia, and she for us. So that’s the kind of
thing you can look forward to.
What have been some of your
favorite scenes or moments thus far in the series that we’ve already seen?
Well, anything to do
with the cow. I mean, I adore working with
the cow. The cow makes me laugh. I don’t know why.
Everyone gets all sort of gooey and funny when the cow comes in. And
then, of course, I got to milk the cow and [the producers] rang up and
said, “Do you need some coaching to milk a cow?” And I said, “Certainly
not." I could milk a cow. I’m a country boy, so that was great fun
the cow. In the pilot, when we’re
eating Chinese, watching Sponge Bob and that cow was on our necks, myself
and Jasika, that was the funniest thing because it was nuzzling up
against us trying to get the Chinese food. It would stay until I gave
it some, but it was just the funniest night doing that scene [at] about 4:00 in the
And one of my favorite
games at present is to try and make Broyles laugh because Lance Reddick plays [the character] to a tee. So I go out of my
way whenever I have a scene [with him] to try and make him laugh. Of course, as
actors, we have great fun with this because, in rehearsals, I succeed.
But as soon as the cameras roll, there’s no way. It’s going to be
absolute headlines across the nation one day: “Broyles Smiles”!
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