FLASHFORWARD with Joseph Fiennes and Dominic Monaghan

FLASHFORWARD is back tonight, and while I know there are quite a few people who might disagree with me, I’m more excited about the return of this show than a certain other high concept drama on the same network.  I love the cast, I think that they need to be given a chance to find steady footing, and the show could be a real draw as the season continues.  I’m not the only one who feels that way, and I had the chance to discuss just that with series stars Joseph Fiennes (Mark Benford) and Dominic Monaghan (Simon).  We talked about why they love the show, why people should love the show, and what Dominic thinks their chances of seasons 2-5 are!

It’s been a while since FLASHFORWARD has been on the air.  Refresh us a bit about where your characters when we left the show.
JF:  Mark, I think, went a little bit AWOL, as he’s subject to do sometimes.  I think he goes with his gut, and break protocol, political protocol that is.  We saw him with Nadra, trying to take her out of the restaurant, to extract more information on the revelation that he was going to shoot his FBI partner Demetri.  And that’s where we left off.

DM:  And then with Simon, you know, he volunteers his services to the FBI, to try and push through with his own agenda, and trying to use that database to do things that he wants to achieve.  And he’s at loggerheads with Lloyd, Lloyd thinking that they’re responsible for the flash forward, and what they’re doing to stop it, and Simon doesn’t really want to get thrown under a bus, so there’s a little disparity between those two.

What can we expect as the show comes back for new episodes (tonight on ABC)?
DM: As tends to be the case, in the back end of the series, the breaks come off the roller coaster, and you start to hurtle forward towards a lot of resolution for all these characters.  We’re going to delve deeper and deeper into the characters that the audience now know, and there’s obviously that looming fear that another black out is going to take place.  The vast majority of the characters are trying to find out a way to have that not happen, while warring with people who are trying to see it through, and not getting caught by law enforcement, and beginning to make chaos on the planet.  One of the things that Simon says is “if someone can create the flash forwards, they’re essentially printing their own money” so it’s a very powerful tool to have at their disposal.

What about with Mark, Joe?
JF:  I think we’re going to see a lot of pressure put on Mark.  I think he’s going to be forced into a corner where he has to choose between giving up his family in order to put more time and effort behind who and what is behind the blackout, and if there is another blackout to prevent it from happening and thereby preventing the casualties or the depths of what a blackout would bring, so I think we see pressure and sacrifice, and I guess for these guys that carry the FBI badges, or whether you’re in the army, or the fire fighting force, there’s sort of a gene where they sacrifice.  So we’ll get to a point where Mark really needs to put those sacrifices on the line.

Will you continue to explore the idea of whether the future can or can’t be changed, and how the characters explore whether that will happen?
JF: Self fulfilling prophecy is a big element of the show, and as Dominic said, the gas is firmly not, the foot’s firmly on the gas pedal as it were.  I think it’s all about the resolution of predestination and how these visions play out.  And realizing whether the universe is pushing us towards one certain outcome.  We have characters that believe that and characters that will fight that.  I guess that’s where the second half of the show will go.

What are you favorite things to play about these characters as you get more comfortable in the roles, and the season progresses?
DM:  For me, personally, I’ve enjoyed playing someone who ultimately doesn’t have a huge amount of sympathetic aspects to their character, and seeing how the audience responds to that.  I’ve consistently played characters that have elements of their personality that are somewhat attractive, so to play a character who really has no qualms about how people perceive him, and see our audience experience that has been kind of fun for me.

What about the character of Mark?
JF:  I guess essentially, I’ve done a lot of what people might term period drama films, though I think they’re at times more modern in their context than contemporary films, but putting that aside, I’m loving the idea of swapping a horse for a Dodge Charger or a Kevlar vest instead of a white flouncy shirt or whatever.  A glock instead of a quill.  I’m loving the contemporary exchange.  I’m loving the action, I’m loving the conflict, I’m loving the pressure heaped upon him.  He’s a man that has an addictive personality.  He’s struggling every day with his addiction to alcohol.  I think part of his addiction is thrust upon the Mosaic investigation,s o that gene plays out in terms of chasing down who or what’s behind it.  I love that element of him.  I also love the fact that he’s fairly instinctual.  That he’ll run with his gut, and from time to time, as we saw in episode 10, he will break protocol to get something done.  He’ll think outside the box.  I think that’s what a lot of guys in the force, or FBI or detectives, there comes a point where you have to go against the status quo to get results. I like that element of Mark.

What I like about the show, the storylines, the characters – these people are flawed, they’re not perfect.  People can relate to that a bit more.
DM: That’s a good thing about the writing, and something that’s important.  When you’re trying to flesh out a character, no one is one dimensional.  Everyone has facets of their personality that they’re not hugely proud or that they struggle with on a daily basis, and I think that’s true for humans in general, so if you want to get to know a character and really have sympathy for them, and want them to achieve what they need to do, you have to also see their flaws at the same time.

Why are you telling people that they should be tuning in [tonight]?
JF:  I think it’s a wildly exciting premise, it’s fresh, original.  I think, the first several episodes, you have to take that time to get familiar with people.  You’re tuning into these people that are conduits for this narrative, but they’re also people that you want to get to know as family members.  Like anything, whether it’s THE WALTONS or THE SOPRANOS, you tune in because they’re extended members of your family.  It takes a while to get that up and running, so I think the second half will be knocking down the cards that have been built up, and also, I think getting a certain amount of closure on the visions.  You have to spend time to set things up, and you enjoy knocking them down, and I think that’s how the second half will play out.

Has there been talk of the story into season two?
DM:  When I sat down and chatted with the creators initially, they had pitched me a kind of 5 or 6 year plan of what they wanted, and that was the case with the network.  I think they pitched that kind of long term plan with the network. You know, I think a show like this deserves to be on the air for a while.  Like Joe said, it’s hugely ambitious and it’s big, and it’s exciting.  I don’t really have any real worries as to the fact that we’ll go again for a second season.  And if we go for a second season, I don’t see us finishing anywhere close to either Season 3 or Season 4, because once you do a second season, you have so many storylines that you’re trying to tie up and take care of that it’s going to take you 3 or 4 years to get there.

From Dom’s mouth to Steve McPherson’s ears, am I right?  Do your part to help FLASHFORWARD stay on for many years to come – the spring premiere airs tonight on ABC at 8PM and runs for 2 all new hours!