Spielberg-produced “Falling Skies” alien invasion starts Sunday on TNT

It doesn’t take long for “Falling Skies” actor Noah Wyle to get cornered by some scary looking space creatures in Sunday night’s premiere of TNT’s much anticipated sci-fi drama. But the “ER” vet admits there was a lot of imagination used on the set of the two-hour pilot when it was shot nearly two years ago. In the premiere, all of the aliens are CGI and were edited into the show long after the actors wrapped their scenes.
“It presented a challenge, let’s just say!” Wyle concedes laughing. “There were six of us being terrorized by tennis balls on sticks and we were looking at each other like, ‘So, you’re playing this ‘stoic’ and not choosing to go with ‘debilitating fear?’ Really? Come on! We’re about to be killed here!'” In future episodes, the “Falling Skies” ensemble gets to act opposite actual creatures with costumed actors being pummeled inside the blistering hot outfits, along with the computer generated special effects.
Coming off his hit series of “Librarian” films for TNT, Wyle is psyched by the combined physicality of his “Falling Skies” character Tom Mason coupled with the nerdiness of Mason’s history professor background. When the show opens, we’re six months into an alien invasion and it’s clear the invaders are winning. Mason is a widower and father of three whose family is among the survivors fighting with the rebel forces for their planet. One problem: The aliens have snatched Tom’s middle son Ben and his fate remains uncertain in Sunday’s premiere.
Like last year’s Halloween premiere of “The Walking Dead” on AMC, it’s no coincidence that TNT is premiering “Falling Skies” on Father’s Day night. Says Wyle: “For me, part of the appeal of working on this show, aside from the opportunity to work with Mr. Spielberg, was that this is a show about a family that provides the counterpoint to the alien invasion. The thread of hope runs throughout the series.”
But hang on, is the baby faced former Dr. John Carter even old enough to have teenage boys? “God bless you,” Wyle says. “The answer, regrettably, is yes, physiologically speaking, I am. But psychologically speaking? Probably not!”
“Terminator Salvation” actress Moon Bloodgood plays Anne Glass, a pediatrician in the series who has suffered a tremendous loss at the hands (tentacles? claws?) of the aliens. “There are a lot of things that she’s not yet ready to come to terms with,” Bloodgood explains. “As we move forward, you’re going to see Anne not so much confront what has happened to her but be placed in a situation that just implodes. She’ll come face to face with an alien. In one of my favorite scenes, I completely lose my mind. It’s about releasing all of the angst that’s been pent up inside her. But she doesn’t have the luxury of being vulnerable in that moment.”
Wyle and the cast, along with “Falling Skies” producers and more than a few Dreamworks Television and TNT execs will all be studying the ratings this week and next since “Falling Skies” is both expensive and time-consuming to produce. “Because of all the special effects, the turn around on this show is really long,” Wyle explains. “As it stands, it would be tricky to turn around a second season in a year but we’re all hoping for that green light and that opportunity. It’s an amazing show to be a part of and we’re all very hopeful that we’ll get to continue to tell this story.”
“Falling Skies” premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. with a two-hour episode on TNT. Beginning June 26, the show moves to its regular time slot of Sundays at 10 p.m.