Moon Bloodgood and Colin Cunningham Talk ‘Falling Skies,’ Season Two

Take me to your leader. Wait — I am your leader.

Ok, I might quoting Michael Scott, but the point is clear: A certain alien race is back on Sunday with a two-hour season premiere. That’s right. Falling Skies is back, and we finally get to find out what happened to Tom Mason after he went onboard that spaceship.

I don’t want to spoil anything for you fans, but the episode brings you right back to the action. It’s a struggle for survival, and we get to see what happened to the 2nd Mass after Tom jumped ship (sorry, I couldn’t help but make the pun).

In advance of the show, I was able to chat on a conference call with actors who play two of  the bravest, nicest (or meanest) characters: Moon Bloodgood and Colin Cunningham. If you’ve missed seeing Anne Glass’ compassion in a world of war and Pope’s bitter bite on the battlegrounds, well, here’s a little teasers from their real world doppelgangers.

So check out some of the highlights of the call below! And check out the two-hour premiere event on Sunday, at 9/8c, on TNT.

Hey, I was just wondering for this season are there going to be any major differences for your characters that we should be on the lookout for. – Shakefire.com

Moon Bloodgood: I would say my changes are not as drastic I think that my relationship with Tom gets a more adult quality to it. We definitely have our first fight, and I believe that I’m allowed to say that the relationship gets consummated. But I wouldn’t say that my character goes through drastic changes. I think you’re just seeing more character development, more layers, and more how I am relating rather to the Mason boys to Lourdes who is played by Seychelle Gabriel.

So more – just built relationships there.

Colin Cunningham: I’d say the same thing I think the relationship between Pope and the professor finally does become consummated. Yes, me too, so I am just kidding, but you know, I think for Pope I think they, if anything, they take — they take the edgy stuff and I think they embellish it all the more. You know, if anything I think this season isn’t so much, I think — the characters are still doing what they were doing last year. I just, you know, if I can even say — the stakes are just way, way higher the show itself is darker it’s more intense. So you’re going to see more.

Moon Bloodgood: More science fiction.

Colin Cunningham: Yes, and just more extreme in terms of just the acting and what these characters have to go through…which I am really looking forward to seeing.

*****

Well, Colin, do we get to see anything of Pope’s and Maggie’s past explored this season? – Starry Constellation Magazine

Colin Cunningham: It is, we kind-of skirt around it, which is all the more interesting I think to us. Nothing’s actually laid out in concrete. But certainly Sarah Carter — the wonderful Sara Carter — and I spend a lot of time discussing our history and all that kind-of stuff. So even when the lines are written a certain way, we’re often playing subtext that hasn’t yet really been even revealed to us by the writers, but it’s a wonderful complexity that I think they brought into the season. And they keep it there you know just at arm’s distance which is wonderful considering the fact that her relationship with Hal you know continues to grow, and yet she still got this past that she has to deal with.

*****

You know, both of you guys have really good, you know have big resumes when it comes to science fiction and everything. Well, how do you think Falling Skies is different from these other projects, what makes it so unique and I mean really just as fascinating some of the other stuff you guys have done, but what kind-of separates that from everything else. – Airlock Alpha

Moon Bloodgood: I think with Falling Skies, they don’t always rely on the science fiction tricks they primarily go after story. And I think when they hired Bob Rodat they wanted someone who was really good, developing characters and not the primary story and the second story to science fiction. So if you have a good foundation and characters that are really flushed out, I think when you bring the science fiction on top of it, it just feels like a full show versus a thin science fiction show with all the bells and whistles that sometimes can feel flat and not interesting.

I think you have to have the two things hand in hand a good story and also good science fiction to keep people interested.

Colin Cunningham: In addition to that, I would say that the sheer caliber of the show is a thousand times greater than any sci-fi show I have ever worked on. That, and it doesn’t start with, okay here’s the problem, here’s you know we have a new mission every week. Sometimes there’s no mission at all. It’s just simply about survival. So it’s a trick because when we go in and we see some of the footage or read the scripts they don’t read like TV shows they really do read like.

Moon Bloodgood: It’s more like a …

Colin Cunningham: Yes, it’s very cinematic, it’s more like a miniseries or a feature. So that’s a really exciting part of the show that I think makes us stand out.

*****

So I was wondering can you talk about working with the green screen and the puppets and everything like that. – SciFi Vision.com

Colin Cunningham: Well, l I would say my experience with it is has been actually been very limited. I think we only did one episode where I personally work with the green screen. It’s actually not used all that much on Falling Skies. At least not my stuff alone.

Moon Bloodgood: It’s not. I haven’t had to use it a lot either. It’s — I don’t know why that is. I don’t feel like we do a lot, because, well, you know, we have the skitters in a full puppet outfit. So it’s more in the flesh, but I actually I don’t mind green screen stuff I feel like it’s I don’t know that stuff can use my imagination it doesn’t bother me.

Colin Cunningham: But a lot of our locations are locations. We’re not on big giant sound stage, so whatever a lot of the special effects that you see — if it’s a skitter battle in the middle of the street — there’s no green screens. So, I mean, just like if anything I think it’s a testament to the amazing VFX and the special effects people that put the solution together they’re absolute masters of it.

*****

What are you both most excited about having the audience see in the second season? – scifimafia.com

Moon Bloodgood: I think I am really proud of some of the stuff that happens with, let’s say, Ben Mason. Like I think he fits (the central) character and with a lot of science fiction stuff happening that is really edgy. And I am excited for people to get those surprises I think that kind of stuff is always exciting because I am such a science fiction fan always exciting to know that there’s some really good surprises coming.

Colin Cunningham: For me, it’s to simply see the show because we’re excited when we get the scripts, we’re excited when we shoot the scenes and then we go on to do additional dialogue recording, audio stuff. We’re again incredibly excited to see what we see. That said, what I am dying for is just for — is to be able to talk about with other people who have seen it. So if anything that’s the tough part right now I think for all of us is that we’re not able to share what we’ve seen up to now.

*****

My first question is for Colin: We saw Pope becoming a little bit of a better guy, I think, in season one, and then in season two and the beginning it starts to seem a little iffy again. What do think it will take to soften [Pope] up and really bring his humanity back? – Sandbolt

Colin Cunningham: Wow, well, in a way it’s like I hope it doesn’t ever happen because I think it would, it would make perhaps make him less complicated less interesting, but yes, they don’t. I wouldn’t say he becomes softer if anything he becomes a little bit harder, and a little bit more, I don’t know, a little bit more Pope. Because again with the show this year I think the stakes are even higher, it’s even more extreme, it’s dirtier, it’s angrier, it’s edgier.

It’s pretty hardcore and I think within that environment is where he feels most comfortable.

Moon Bloodgood: I also want to add that I think the pull about your character is you get to say the things that everyone’s thinking, but no one wants to say.

Colin Cunningham: Correct.

Moon Bloodgood: You confront certain characters, and yet you’re still part of the group you’re not kicked out. But you, you get to be the bold one.

Colin Cunningham: Yes, he’s not — he’s — I don’t think because Pope isn’t encumbered, you know, or strapped down by things such as compassion and empathy. And you know it’s just like he thinks very, very clearly, and he doesn’t have this, you know — all the things that make us human, you know. You know, yes, well, he certainly does. But in a dog eat dog life and death kind-of environment he sees things very, very clear.

*****

Well, I have a question for both of you when we see in start of season two that a lot is going on not only with Pope and Moon, you know, seeing Tom come back but all the changes in Ben. Do you guys feel like you distrust Ben as much as the rest second mass or do you feel that you trust him as much as Anne trusts Tom. – Three If By Space

Colin Cunningham: Well, I might take that because you mentioned trust. Pope does absolutely positively does not trust Ben. He barely trusts the professor, I think he respects the professor, but I don’t think he necessarily trusts anybody. He sure as hell doesn’t trust Ben.

Well, you guys butt heads this season –

Colin Cunningham: Yes and no, yes and no. I think, I think the wonderful arc that the character that Ben has is that he’s going to butting heads with not only other people that look at him differently but the horror within his own mind is that he looks upon himself differently. And now I have something to prove, but I will pass it over to Moon.

Moon Bloodgood: I definitely feel like you know Colin and I are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. I am always the supportive woman who stands by her man who believes the best in people. I think I am hopeful and optimistic and never questioning their loyalty, and Colin is kind-of saying everything that everyone’s thinking in the room, but he has what you know the balls so to speak to say it. So we’re definitely opposing in that way.

And Anne is always, even if she has doubts, it’s always kept hidden because her role is very maternal. And she is just someone who doesn’t dwell in negativity or her insecurities I mean she’s a wonderful, she’s like the ultimate woman. Always think positive, always believing it and always being stoic at times.

Yes and just a quick add on to Anne’s character, do you feel that she feels a little bit conflicted taking care of Matt and Ben and how given the loss of her own son.

Moon Bloodgood: Sometimes I wished we’d played with that a little bit more, yes. My relationship with them is actually a little even less this year. More of my relationship my maternal aspect with Lourdes, who is Seychelle Gabriel, and I think that there has to be that conflict if you’ve lost a son, and now you’re taking care of you know young boys.

And there’s got to be some conflict and we do, we do kind-of really lightly brush on that some of my history. But there’s not tons of back story in a lot of our [structures], they just sometimes come, you know the weave in and out, but yes, how could you not be? Lost your husband, you lost your son. And then here you are forced to take care of other people and be selfless and not think about your own pain which is not very realistic but that’s definitely Anne’s role.

*****

Colin, I want to ask you, you talked about how Pope this season is going to be harder and everything, but are we’re going to see any more interactions between him and Matt? Because I kind-of liked that last season I am wondering if you know they’re going to do any of that again, even if he’s mean to him. – SciFi Vision.com

Colin Cunningham: Yes, well, it’s weird sometimes I don’t know this, so this is how I answer these questions, so what I mean by that is am I. If the answer is no am I giving it away and if it’s yes am I giving it away. But that’s the answer is no, I wish there was, but I think we explored that, and I was very happy to see that last year. I think if anything it’s reiterated the fact that Pope said, you know, thinks to himself screw this, screw everyone, I don’t give a damn about the kid or anything. I think it may have hurt him a little bit, and it only reaffirmed the fact that you know if you get to close to people you just get burned.

Yes, right… And for both of you, besides each other, is there anybody else that you kind-of wish you had more scenes with that you don’t get to interact a lot with?

Moon Bloodgood: I would love to have more stuff, I do have some with Will Patton. I love all my stuff with Lourdes. And you know, I have got to also once — I think what I am hoping for if we go in third season is that the relationship that hasn’t been touched upon for instance like Colin and I. Or my relationship with the boys I think I’d like to see, I’d like to see every character on our show interact with characters they haven’t interacted with, because that makes it more full, and nothing would happen in a community. You wouldn’t just have relationships with two people, especially if I am a doctor and I am taking care of all these wounded people. I would have more interaction and more relationships. So hopefully in season 3, we’ll see those kind of get more flushed out.

Colin Cunningham: For me, I’d say personally as an actor I’d simply adore any scenes that I am able to do with Noah. I think he’s absolutely brilliant on that note. I haven’t really had a whole lot with Will Patton as well. I would love to work more with Will in terms of the story or the character. I really think that, that Matt and Pope have a great dynamic more of that, because essentially have the lion and the lamb, and it’s a pretty dangerous and just really, really interesting dynamic how you’ve got someone who can inhabit such a danger with someone who’s just so sweet and innocent you know.

Moon Bloodgood: We should name it that — an episode should be called the lion and the lamb.

Colin Cunningham: The lion and the lamb.

*****

You guys did a lot of moving around this season. You didn’t have kind-of a set location like last year with the school; you were moving around quite a bit. Did you find that made it harder for you to act in your environment, or did you find it refreshing to be moving around? – Three if by Space

Colin Cunningham: It’s both. Yes, it’s absolutely harder it’s freezing cold you’re very, very tired. It’s not glamorous. It can be a real drag, and that’s not just for us. That’s for everybody. You’re working ridiculous hours. Because things take longer when you’re shooting on location. That said, it does show up on camera. You do look tired, and it’s just all the more real.

Moon Bloodgood: The stuff that you’re saying…I feel like that’s like the spoiled actor saying that. But now it’s like it’s in crime. You know, you’re out there, and you want — it’s great, because it suits the character. So it’s perfect but it is so totally exhausting. It’s cold one day, working at night one day, working in the day. But it’s perfect because it makes your characters that much more realistic, and it’s part of the gig, and we — in the end, we love it, but I like not being as — I like being more mobile.

Because last year when I was stuck in that high school it just got a little stagnant at times, and I also thought it didn’t reflect the realism it is a post-apocalyptic environment. You constantly are on the run, you’re trying to outrun your predators, so I’d liked it this year. It definitely felt a little bit more fluid for me.

Colin Cunningham: Yes, I’d say on other shows as an actor that the great privilege that you have is that it’s not only an amazing, but you actually get to have fun. On Falling Skies’ second season, it was incredibly amazing, but it wasn’t.

Moon Bloodgood: We had no like — it was like real with us goofing up…

Colin Cunningham: Yes, it wasn’t fun; it was amazing. I mean, amazing and worthwhile. I — the work and the scenes — but it was a — it wasn’t a light-hearted fun thing. It was tough. I think it took the best of everybody or brought the best out of everybody because you had to rise up.

Moon Bloodgood: Yes.

*****

So I am wondering: This is a question for both of you, and I know you don’t want to give too much away about what’s coming out of the season, but did you have a favorite scene to shoot this season? – Raked Reviews

Moon Bloodgood: Well, I had — how about this. I had a couple of things that terrified me. Just you know, but I would say my favorite is I kind-of have to go back into my action roots and do some stuff that was really physical. And that felt really liberating, I kind-of missed it and I didn’t even know it. So there’s definitely an episode where I get to do some stuff that is more action-oriented and not too fun. I felt like a really good release for me.

Colin Cunningham: I would think for me, like, one of my favorite scenes this season was an interaction between myself and Tom Mason — between Pope and Tom Mason — and it’s essentially a fight. And there’s no skitters, and there’s no guns, and there’s no VFX it’s basically just two, two characters that have finally had enough of each other. And that was pretty cool. I believe that was episode 3. There was one of my — I don’t know — it was just a lot of fun to do because it was just actor with actor with actor, and I think I loved that.

*****

Don’t forget to watch the two-hour season premiere of Falling Skies on Sunday at 9/8c on TNT!

*images courtesy of TNT

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