Noah Wyle talks aliens, an­i­mals as end of ‘Fall­ing Skies’ draws closer

The China Post - - ARTS & LEISURE - BY LYNN EL­BER

Noah Wyle’s life dur­ing the past five years has been di­vided neatly be­tween bu­colic and de­mand­ing.

At his Santa Bar­bara- area ranch, Wyle has been hap­pily sur­rounded by his wife, ac­tress Sara Wells; his son and daugh­ter; and res­cue an­i­mals, in­clud­ing a pair of minia­ture horses that, as the for­mer “ER” star puts it, “do noth­ing but stand there and look cute.”

“I have sort of a love ranch. Ev­ery­body’s in har­mony: dogs and cats and ducks all wan­der­ing around,” Wyle said.

There’s an im­por­tant new mem­ber of the brood: Wells gave birth Mon­day to their daugh­ter, Frances Harper Wyle. ( Wyle’s other two chil­dren are from his first mar­riage to Tracy Warbin.)

On the flip side of the equa­tion is “Fall­ing Skies,” the postapoc­a­lyp­tic drama that he found a valu­able but stress­ful ex­pe­ri­ence. As the TNT se­ries be­gins its fi­nal sea­son (10 p.m. EDT Sun­day), Wyle, 44, says he’s ready to say farewell to his role as alien-fighter Tom Ma­son.

Ahead for the ac­tor: A re­turn to the light­hearted ac­tion of TNT’s “The Li­brar­i­ans” se­ries this fall, and pro­duc­tion of a TV pro­ject about key U.S. and Bri­tish fig­ures in the World War II era.

In an in­ter­view with The As­so­ci­ated Press, he dis­cussed the ups and down of fight­ing an ex­trater­res­trial in­va­sion, the art of the TV fi­nale and how “Fall­ing Skies” must end (no spoiler alert needed).

AP: Is the tim­ing right to bring the se­ries to a close?

Wyle: I def­i­nitely think this is the right time for it to end. It’s very rare you get to script your own end­ing. Usu­ally it’s thrust upon you be­cause of poor rat­ings and you don’t get a sense of clo­sure as a cast, you don’t get a sense of com­ple­tion as an au­di­ence mem­ber. So we were all very grate­ful they an­nounced our fifth and fi­nal sea­son last year so we could write an end and wrap up all our sto­ry­telling and mythol­ogy.

AP: In last sea­son’s fi­nale, we saw your char­ac­ter, Tom, com­ing to aboard a mys­tery space­ship. What’s next for him?

Wyle: We left Tom star­ing at some­thing that we don’t see and say­ing the line, ‘My God, you’re beau­ti­ful.’ I will say we pick up ex­actly where we left off. We’ll see what Tom is talk­ing to, and that mo­ment will kick off the en­tire sea­son. It brings Tom back into the nar­ra­tive with a brand new point of view. He’s on a mur­der­ous rampage to fin­ish this war, and this slid­ing moral scale that’s he’s been grap­pling with for four sea­sons, he’s just put that on a shelf for a lit­tle while.

AP: You’d left ‘ER’ as a se­ries reg­u­lar but re­turned to be part of the 2009 fi­nale. How does wrap­ping ‘Fall­ing Skies’ com­pare to that ex­pe­ri­ence?

Wyle: That (‘ER’) was more like say­ing good­bye to a chap­ter of my life than say­ing good­bye to a job. ... ‘Fall­ing Skies’ feels like clos­ing up the cir­cus tent: ‘See you on the next one.’ ... It’s a show that’s re­ally dif­fi­cult to do. It’s hard to be in Canada away from your kids and away from home for five months a year. It’s hard to work on a show that in five sea­sons had six show run­ners.

But I learned a lot. It was an ex­pe­ri­ence that gave me a (Di­rec­tors Guild of Amer­ica) mem­ber­ship. An ex­pe­ri­ence that al­lowed me to lead an ensem­ble from the jump, and have a real hand in craft­ing the cre­ative side of things and un­der­stand what pro­duc­ing’s all about. I’m so grate­ful to the show for the ed­u­ca­tion. But I’m also re­ally glad I grad­u­ated.

AP: How chal­leng­ing is it to do a suc­cess­ful fi­nale?

Wyle: You’re un­der a lot of pres­sure to tie up story lines and wrap up mythol­ogy and make it sat­is­fy­ing on all fronts. It’s very dif­fi­cult to do that. We have the ad­van­tage of hav­ing a broad con­cept — aliens at­tack the Earth — so you as­sume in the fi­nale they’re ei­ther go­ing to be de­feated or be suc­cess­ful, and we def­i­nitely give clo­sure to that. But in terms of in­di­vid­ual story lines, it’s tricky. We have a huge ensem­ble and it was tough to give ev­ery­body their due.


This photo pro­vided by TNT shows, from left, Will Pat­ton, Sarah Carter, Maxim Knight, Con­nor Jes­sup, Moon Blood­good, Drew Roy (on the truck in the back) and Noah Wyle, in a scene from the tele­vi­sion se­ries, “Fall­ing Skies,” on Turner En­ter­tain­ment Net­work.

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