Scott Michael Foster previews an all new ZERO HOUR
Tonight on an all new ZERO HOUR, Hank returns from India with renewed determination to find out what on Earth is happening with Laila, who is leaving a trail of clues for his journey. While continuing with their research, Hank, Arron, and Rachel stumble upon the involvement of a famous historical figure in the history of the clocks! To celebrate the all new hour, I spent some time chatting with Scott Michael Foster (Arron) about the show, his character, what drew him to the show, and why you should check it out!
So tell me about ZERO HOUR – what was it that drew you to the role?
It was absolutely the writing of the show itself. I wanted to be a part of it in any way shape or form, and i told my team that this was the pilot I wanted to do, and luckily, they wanted me as much as I wanted them. But it’s absolutely the writing. I’m a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and I think conspiracy is some of the best forms of fiction. When I read this, I was like, “Um, this is what I want to watch on TV!” [laughs] I absolutely wanted to do it over anything else.
It’s a story we haven’t seen much of before, we don’t see conspiracy explored that much on TV. Describe how your character, who works at Modern Skeptic, kind of fits into this world.
Arron Martin is one of the copy editors at Modern Skeptic – he’s like a son to Hank, the editor (Anthony Edwards). Throughout this whole conspiracy, mystery that Hank gets embroiled in, is sort of his eyes and ears back in the office, that can help him find information about what’s going on, and help facilitate Hank’s journey to finding his wife and figuring out his involvement in all of the mystery.
We’ve seen, even in two episodes, so much has exploded, so many storylines are out there, ready to be followed up on – what can you tease for us about what we’ll see this week and beyond?
What’s coming up this week – especially with my character’s storyline – we’re looking at the next clock, and we find out that there may be an historical figure’s involvement in this clock that we’re study. What’s interesting about that, you’ll see in the next couple of episodes, is that maybe there is a part of history that connects and intersects with what we’re doing, with what our characters are involved in. What’s cool about that is that people can watch, and you can go look up what really happened to these historical figures, and why we decided to use them in the show. It’s exciting and engaging for audience members and you always want to have some sort of element like that.
With a show like this, where the audience doesn’t know what’s coming next, I wonder, as an actor on the series, how much do you know, how much background do you get, and how much do you learn as you go?
We got to the point where we were shooting so fast, that the writers couldn’t keep up! So we had to take some time off, because they wanted to do things just right. We wouldn’t get some of our material until right before we were supposed to start shooting it, so we didn’t know until the time we were supposed to put it up on its feet. For me, it’s kind of frustrating, because I want to know as a reader and a watcher, I wanted to know what was going on. As an actor, I think it was good, because there’s a real sense of mystery and a real sense of surprise. When we were shooting these scenes, we were really finding that stuff out at the same time [laughs], so for us it was very natural, from an acting standpoint, as far as finding out the aspects of the mystery.
Your character is lucky to have some levity, some humor, in a darker story like the kidnapping and conspiracy. Is that something we’ll see from the character all season?
It’s something I noticed, too, afterwards. I kind of thought that as we get deeper and deeper into the mystery, I thought I was missing the levity that I wanted to keep in the character. I was reminded it was still there; as I watch each episode, I still see that it’s there. I think it is important to have that there, so not everything is down, down, down all of the time. You’ll see throughout the season that it gets more and more intense, and what they’re dealing with is so nuts that it’s hard to have any sort of upbeat attitude [laughs], but it’s still there, and I think the way they wrote it is very real, and I hope the way that I play it is very real, so I guess we’ll see!
Why do you think that ZERO HOUR is a show that people will be intrigued by or people will be tuning into?
For me, I can’t imagine not wanting to watch this show; it’s a show that’s right up my alley; it’s why I wanted to do it. If audiences are anything like me, they should watch because of the tiwsts and turns that happen, not just at the end of every episode, but at the end of every act. You’re constantly surprised with new things, and since it is a conspiracy, science fiction – you want to believe that it is a real part of history, or maybe it is real what they’re talking about. The shows that I really love to watch are BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, THE WALKING DEAD, and THE X-FILES, and all of those shows, there’s an element where you go “could that be real” and it gets your brain working. We would sit down at lunch, and we would all discuss, the “is this supposed to happen” and it would be “no, I think this is what they mean by that” and it was like, if we’re doing this now while we’re shooting the show, and the audience is doing it while they’re watching, then I think it’s a success. That’s what is exciting about it.
I read an interview that you gave that said the writers know their end point, going into this season, and beyond. Does that make it different, easier, harder, to approach a season?
They didn’t really tell us a whole lot; they had a general end game for the season that they reverse engineered. Paul Scheuring, when he wrote the pilot, he had an end game that he reverse engineered. He kind of knew a little bit about where they wanted to go, but nothing specific. As far as easier or harder, it was like taking a ride where you didn’t know where it was going. There was a surprise around every turn!
You mentioned shows like BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and THE WALKING DEAD, the conspiracy and sci-fi there, but are there other shows or ideas that you would NOT compare this show to, or a common misconception about what ZERO HOUR is like?
I mean, I think the big comparison people are making is “oh it’s The Da Vinci Code” but it’s not The Da Vinci Code. It’s not all about the bible and religion. I think if you’re going to have that idea in your head, you’re going to be quite surprised. It’s not like that at all. I think because there’s a similar aspect to our show, it compares itself to that, sort of, but it’s not like those movies. That’s definitely one misconception I can say right now!
ZERO HOUR airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC – check out the ZERO HOUR page on ABC.com for more information about the show!