FALLING SKIES: Moon Bloodgood and Colin Cunningham Interview re Season 2 (2012)

When Tom Mason returns to the 2nd Mass, not everyone is going to welcome him with open arms. Missing for over 3 months and presumed dead because he was last seen entering an alien spaceship, it is natural for the surviving humans to be a bit leery of the lost hero. In a recent press conference call, co-stars Moon Bloodgood and Colin Cunningham talked about how their characters Anne and Pope will struggle over trust issues involving the reappearance of the 2nd Mass’ former leader.

In this next season, is there going to be any major differences for your characters that we should be on the lookout for?
MOON: I would say Anne’s changes are not as drastic. I think that Anne’s 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 of how I am relating to the Mason boys and to Lourdes who is played by Seychelle Gabriel. So more just building relationships there.
COLIN: I’d say the same thing. I think the relationship between Pope and the professor finally does become consummated. I am just kidding! But I think for Pope, they take the edgy stuff and I think they embellish it all the more. If anything I think this season isn’t so much different. I think the characters are still doing what they were doing last year. The stakes are just way, way higher. The show itself is darker. It’s more intense. So you’re going to see more.
MOON: More science fiction.
COLIN: 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.

Moon Bloodgood

What are you both most excited about having the audience see in the second season?
MOON: I think I am really proud of some of the stuff that happens with Ben Mason. Like I think he fills out the character and with a lot of science fiction stuff happening that is really edgy. 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. So it’s always exciting to know that there’s some really good surprises coming.
COLIN: For me, it’s to simply see the show because we’re excited. When we get the scripts we’re excited. Then 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 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.

It seemed like Pope was becoming a little bit of a better guy in season one and then in season two, it starts to seem a little iffy again. What do think it will take to soften him up and really bring his humanity back?
COLIN: Wow, well in a way, it’s like I hope it doesn’t ever happen because I think it would make perhaps make him less complicated, less interesting. But they don’t. I wouldn’t say he becomes softer. If anything he becomes a little bit harder, and 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: I also want to add that I think the pull about your character you get to say the things that everyone’s thinking, but no one wants to say.
COLIN: Correct.
MOON: You confront certain characters and yet you’re still part of the group. You’re not kicked out. But you get to be the bold one.
COLIN: Yes, Pope isn’t encumbered or strapped down by things such as compassion and empathy. It’s just like he thinks very, very clearly and he doesn’t have all the things that make us human – well, he certainly does — but in a “dog eat dog” life and death kind of environment he sees things very, very clear.

Colin Cunningham

In start of season two, there are not only the issues of distrust with Pope when Tom comes back, but also all the changes in Ben. Does Pope distrust Ben as much as the rest of the 2nd Mass?
COLIN: Pope 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 . . . I think it’s a wonderful arc that the character Ben has — 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.
MOON: I definitely feel like Pope and Anne are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. She is always the supportive woman who stands by her man — who believes the best in people. I think she is hopeful and optimistic and never questions their loyalty and Pope is kind of saying everything that everyone’s thinking in the room, but he has the balls so to speak to say it. So we’re definitely opposing in that way. And Anne, even if she has doubts, it’s always kept hidden because her role is very maternal. She is just someone who doesn’t dwell in negativity or her insecurities. I mean, she’s like the ultimate woman: always think positive, always believing, and always being stoic at times.

For Anne’s character, do you feel that she feels a little bit conflicted taking care of Matt and Ben, given the loss of her own son?
MOON: Sometimes I wished we’d played with that a little bit more. My relationship with them is actually a little less this year. More of my maternal aspect is with Lourdes, who is played by Seychelle Gabriel. I think that there has to be that conflict — if you’ve lost a son and now you’re taking care of someone else’s young boys — there’s got to be some conflict. We do really lightly brush on that some of my history. But there’s not tons of backstory in a lot of our stories. It just weaves in and out. But how could you not be if you’ve lost your husband and you lost your son? Then 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.

What can you say about the Berserkers I know the season starts off with them being in Pope’s group. Does Anne have any interactions with them as the season goes on?
MOON: I don’t get any good stuff with you, Colin!
COLIN: Yes, I think it’s kind of weird, I think.
MOON: We never really interact.
COLIN: Yes, we never really did together. It is unfortunate that Moon and I haven’t been able to share too much camera time together. It either running away from something or what have you, and even that’s rare. In terms of the Berserkers, it’s sort of a really cool bunch of characters that they brought in into the mix. They’re essentially a bunch of rebels and a bunch of people that are similar to Pope in many ways. They were a kind of outcasts or rebels or they just don’t quite fit in, and they serve a pretty unique purpose within the realms of the 2nd Mass.

Noah Wyle

Colin, you mentioned how Pope is going to be harder this season, but are we’re going to see any more interactions between him and young Matt Mason?
COLIN: Well, it’s weird sometimes. I don’t know this, so this is how I answer these questions. If the answer is “no” — am I giving it away and if it’s “yes,” am I giving it away? But 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 reiterated the fact that Pope 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 if you get to close to people, you just get burned.

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: I would love to have more stuff with Will Patton. I love all my stuff with Lourdes. I think what I am hoping for more, 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 every character on our show interact with characters that they haven’t interacted with because that makes it more full. I mean, this is not how it 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 relationships and interactions of get more flushed out.
COLIN: For me, personally as an actor, I 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 Matt and Pope have a great dynamic — more of that essentially of the lion and the lamb. 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.

Do we get to see anything of Pope’s and Maggie’s past explored this season?
COLIN: 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 Sarah 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 just at arm’s distance, which is wonderful considering the fact that her relationship with Hal continues to grow and yet she still got this past that she has to deal with.

Moon Bloodgood and Noah Wyle

Did you have a favorite scene to shoot this season?
MOON: I had a couple of things that terrified me. But I would say my favorite is I got to 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: For me, one of my favorite scenes this season was an interaction between Pope and Tom Mason. 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 characters that have finally had enough of each other. That was pretty cool. I believe that was episode 3. I don’t know if it was just a lot of fun to do because it was just actor with actor, but I think I loved that.

You did a lot of moving around this season since you didn’t have a set location like last year. Did that make it harder for you to act in your environment or did you find it refreshing to be moving around?
COLIN: It’s both. 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: The stuff that you’re saying, that’s true. Because I feel like that’s like the “spoiled actor” saying that. But you’re in the grime and it suits the character. So it’s perfect. But it is so totally exhausting. 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. In the end we love it. 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’d 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: I’d say like on other shows, as an actor, that the great privilege is that it’s not only an amazing but you actually get to have fun – and on FALLING SKIES’ 2nd season it was incredibly amazing. I mean amazing and worthwhile — the work and the scenes . But it wasn’t a light-hearted fun thing. It was tough. I think it took brought the best out of everybody because you had to rise up.

Will Patton

How difficult was it to do the scene where Anne removes the alien bug out of Tom’s eye?
MOON: I got to tell you, as an actor, the difficult scenes for me to do are sometimes the ones that are more emotional. The 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, so I don’t know what the hell I was doing in front of Noah.

Can you talk about working with the green screen and the Skitter puppets and such like that?
COLIN: 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.
MOON: It’s not. I haven’t had to use it a lot either. I don’t know why that is. I don’t feel like we do a lot, because 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 that stuff can use my imagination. It doesn’t bother me.
COLIN: 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, if anything, I think it’s a testament to the amazing VFX and the special effects people that put it together. They’re absolute masters of it.

Sarah Sanguin Carter

What were some of the things that if you knew you were coming back for a 3rd season that you wanted to do or what to see happen?
COLIN: Well, 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.

Why do you think FALLING SKIES is doing so well while some of the other sci-fi based shows have failed in their first seasons. Do you think it’s writing that still keeps it strong and keeps it such a big following?
MOON: Yes, I do. I think what keeps our show afloat amongst the other shows that are sinking is that we have the human element. I mean it sounds like a cliché, but it’s always about the story and then the science fiction element of it. They don’t get carried away and it doesn’t get too 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 I think that’s what our show offers.
COLIN: Also, it’s not procedural. I think people are — and again, God bless procedural dramas and cop shows and stuff — but it’s different. It’s not like we’ve all got bunch of expositions to speak and then the director shoots the two shots and then does two over the shoulders and we move on to the next set, which is rebuilt. If anything, it’s on location and it just doesn’t read like your typical TV show. So I think when people tune in to watch it that’s exactly what they get from the experience.
MOON: And we all love being a part of a show that feels more cinematic. None of us really want to do a procedural show.
COLIN: To add to that, I think a lot of the procedural shows are the same show every week, it’s just different characters. 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.

To see how Pope and Anne deal with their trust issues and how complicated life for the 2nd Mass has become now that they are on the run and effectively being hunted down by a ruthless enemy, be sure to tune in for the 2-hour second season premiere of FALLING SKIES on Sunday, June 17th at 9:00 p.m. on TNT.

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