“Falling Skies” had us at “Steven Spielberg” and “alien invasion.” And now new details about the upcoming TNT series up the extraterrestrial ante.
“The setting is very dark and gritty, but the wonderful thing about this show is that the tone is very uplifting and inspiring,” series star Drew Roy tells PopcornBiz. “It's people at their worst trying to come together, all from different backgrounds, and having to focus on one thing.”
The series – which bows in June and was conceived by the directing icon and his “Saving Private Ryan” screenwriter Robert Rodat – stars Noah Wylie (best known for the Spielberg-produced “ER”) as history professor Tom Mason, whose extensive – but untested – military knowledge presses him into service as an unlikely resistance leader after a devastating invasion by aliens with a mysterious agenda. Roy plays Wylie’s rebellious son.
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“We're going to drop you in six months after the invasion, so you're not going to see the actual invasion,” Roy explains. “You're going to see how we're dealing with these aliens six months later and how the community has come together. We have to stay in smaller communities because the aliens can track us when we're in a large group, so the interesting thing is people are really kind of delegated off into groups. We have the teachers, we have the fighters, we have the cooks – all these different little groups.”
“One of the wild things that's going on is that these aliens – on top of blowing things up and just wreaking havoc in general – is that they're taking kids under 18,” the actor continues. “We're not sure why, but they'll come in and we'll have a little skirmish and they'll take the kids. And my middle brother is taken, so one of the major plotlines is trying to figure out ‘Is he still alive? Can we get him back?’ And Hal is a very gung ho character as far as getting his brother back.”
Roy says he loves the push-pull dynamic between father and son. “Hal knows that his dad is going to set him in his place if need be,” he explains, “so he can push that line a bit more than if he didn't have his dad there. I think his dad is very much an intellectual, whereas Hal thinks more with his heart, and they're a good mix together. They really push each other in getting things done just because they're coming from different point of views. Working with Noah Wyle is great. He's an amazing actor – and he had a very fatherly thing off set, as well.”
The actor also promises that viewers will get a hefty dose of the epic FX wizardry one might expect from Spielbergian sci-fi. “The production value is incredible,” he says. “We're showing up on these sets where, basically, you don't have to act: you feel like you're in this post-apocalyptic world. Every episode you're going to get to see the aliens and explosions and gunplay and great storytelling. You're going to see a lot of effects. In the pilot episode you're going to get all sorts of effects, and they don't tail off throughout the season.”
And then, for Roy, there’s the added bonus of working with Hollywood’s most legendary man-child visionary. “When I got to meet Mr. Spielberg it was incredible,” he says. “He's incredibly nice, too. It just blew me away that you could be on the top of the game like that and still treat everyone like a human – which is the way you should.”