FALLING SKIES’ Drew Roy talks changes for Hal Mason
Season 4 of FALLING SKIES premieres Sunday, June 22, at 10/9c on TNT, and it starts off with a bang. Or two, or three, as the Espheni bring yet another fight to our survivors on their way home. To celebrate the return of one of the summer’s most exciting shows, I spent time chatting with Drew Roy (he plays Hal Mason) about what’s different this time around, who he’s spending some time with, why he and Maggie might be having some issues, and why he thinks we’ll love it all!
One of the things that I love the most about FALLING SKIES – every season it feels like a different show, but still feels so much like FALLING SKIES!
I completely agree with you, and I think a large testament to that is that this is the third time that we had a whole new writing staff come on, which could be very tricky, in keeping the whole flow of things going. Each group has come in and paid homage to what has already been laid before them, and put their own little twist on it as well. It keeps things unpredictable and exciting.
Talk a little bit about where we ended in Season 3 and what we’re going to see in Season 4 when it premieres this weekend?
At the end of last season, we saw the Maggie shoot Karen, put the final bullet in her [laughs]. We see Hal reaching out to put that behind them, and Maggie is not so willing to do such a thing. There’s definitely a lot of friction between them. Almost instantaneously, they get attacked by the aliens again, and everybody is split up. What’s really special, one of the things that I really like about this season is that we have four different camps that the people are in. We’ll see characters interact with other characters that we usually don’t get to see interact. From the get go, Hal and Maggie get separated. When they make their way back to each other later in the season, a LOT has changed. Some new love is in the air, and Hal’s gotta deal with that.
We get to see Hal interact with Tector in a new way this season; we get to see Hal making new allies, new friends. Talk about the new relationships and how their friendship develops?
He is sort of my right hand man. Since Tom is locked up, he’s having to communicate with me in a very secretive, kind of in the shadows way that we don’t even see. It’s just implied. Tector and I have to head out there to the ghetto walls to find out if there are any ways to get these people out of this camp. You get to see Hal step into a leadership role this year; the quality he’s always had, we really get to see him leading actual people this year. Being the one that people look to for advice and protection. As an actor, there’s a little bit of an intimidation factor to that. You have to stand up in front of 30, 40, 50 extras and command them as to what to do! I’m a human [laughs] so if you really think about what’s going on, it can be a little stressful! You have to put on your Hal pants, buckle them up and get out there and do it. It’s a great learning experience for me!
It seems every season that there’s a new alien we’re introduced to; always feels organic to the story – what do we see from the aliens this year?
You get to know the Volm a little better. You get to see more of Cochise. Hal gets his own little-Cochise, for lack of a better term. His name is some wild name, something crazy, and it has the word Shaq in there, and this Volm is ridiculously huge. The guy who plays him, John, is 7 ft something; he’s just a huge man. This character is nicknamed Shaq. He and Hal don’t really get along too well, so they have a long road to travel together to find a little respect for each other. To this day, after doing all of the scenes I shot with this new character Shaq, and John. I could not tell you what his face looks like. He always had his mask on; he always had to show up to set before me. We never saw each other without his face on. Even passing on the street today, I would have no idea. It’s the craziest thing, which was kind of cool.
I really like the effects, and how you all interact with the characters – what’s it like working with these aliens? Is there a lot of x-marks in tape on the wall that you have to talk to?
Usually, if we are terrified of a Mec, it’s some dude, who’s holding up a long pole with a silver ball on top of it, and we have to run and be scared of it! Ahhh! It’s a crew member walking towards us. Every time we have to deal with aliens, we have to take care to let the suspension of disbelief completely consume you. If you start looking too hard, it’s like, wow, this is goofy [laughs]. That’s what’s fun! If you think about what an actor has to do to get the job – he has to go into an audition room, with white walls, you have to imagine everything. Just the fact that you’re on set, that alone is a huge gift to an actor. And the fact that you have someone holding up this ball in the sky; one less thing you have to imagine. I love it, getting to work with the aliens. Every now and then something funny will happen, and we all crack up. That’s part of making movies; something funny happens all the time. I wish we had a gag reel; I don’t know why we don’t. We would have some gold on there!
In talking with the cast and crew in the past, they’ve always said that there is a “theme” that kind of carries through each season – what has been thrown out as the “theme” for Season 4?
There’s definitely a theme, the theme is in line with previous seasons of family, community, leaning on each other through the thick and thin. As far as the plot goes, the Lexi character plays a HUGE role this season. She is the object that we’re orbiting around this season; depending on what she’s doing, good, bad, that dictates how we interact with her. She goes through many different avenues of thought and you think she’s doing one thing, and she’s doing another thing. That’s the major story arc of the season.
Why do you think fans who have loved the show to this point will continue loving it, and why will new fans fall for the show this season, as well?
I mean the fans – like I was saying – what I really like is the fact that we scramble things up a bit. We see these characters interacting with people that they don’t really interact with. That was fascinating. You could almost predict how characters would react to each other towards the end of last season. Whereas now, you get to see new relationships built. As far as new viewers – the effects on this show are so great. Each episode does build on the last. If you came in right now, there might be things from the past that might be hard to figure out what’s going on. Each season has its own thru-line, and each episode is like its own mini movie in and of itself. Each builds on the last, but there are stories geared to each episode that have a beginning, middle, and end. Pop in and check one out!