Falling Skies premieres on Sunday! I’m so excited. And what made me even more excited was my recent opportunity to talk to Drew Roy, who plays Hal on the series. You might remember Drew from Hannah Montana and iCarly, but despite Hal’s only being 17 in the series, Drew is certainly portraying someone grown beyond his years.
Drew was so fun to talk to. Very down to Earth but very excited to talk about the series! Check out the interview below where Drew chats monsters, Twitter, his fans, and more! And don’t forget to check out the two-hour premiere of Falling Skies this Sunday on TNT.
First, let me congratulate you on the show. What drew you to this series?
Um, to be completely honest with you, I was in no — and still possibly am in no — position to, like, choose my roles, so the fact that they would hire me, I was like, Let’s do it! [Laughs] I was incredibly fortunate that it was such a great project and had so many amazing people working on it. And you know, the whole two years that we’ve been working on this thing have just been such a blast, such a learning experience. And once I booked it and got to really dig into the character — such an great character to play, as well — you know, it’s very interesting that he’s a 17-year-old kid, but he’s having to step up into this leadership position and carry a gun and help his dad raise his younger sons. You know, this guy has a lot on his plate on top of still trying to be a kid. You know, he has a girlfriend. He wants to have fun, but at the end of the day, he’s got a job to do.
Yeah. And you did mention the really diverse cast that you’re working with. How’s that?
Oh, man. You can’t ask for much better. You show up on set, it makes you bring your A-game. I mean, hopefully, you bring your A-game anyway, but this is solidifying the fact that you’re better. And working with these guys is so great. You just pay attention to what’s going on, and you don’t have to act. You just react, and you don’t have to force things, and it’s still interesting. Then the sets that we’re on, you know, we have cars flipped over and fires and smoke, and it’s just, you feel like you’re there. It helps.
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So, speaking of the set, there’s clearly a lot of CGI in the show. How is it acting around things you’re not seeing?
Well, you know, um, the life of the actor before anything really starts happening is running around town auditioning, and most of the time you’re in these small rooms with white walls, and you’re imagining everything from love scenes to things blowing up, running from things, so yeah, that was a good training exercise. And then, um, when you get on set, these sets are pretty awesome. It’s actually, you know, you can just create whatever creature you want to come after you. So you can make that thing as vicious and nasty as you want it to be, and the most important part to me was, I wanted to see what the aliens were going to move like, so that you could, um — you would react differently if something moves really quick or if it’s more of, uh, had a lethargic movement to it. So um, it felt like that was the most important thing as far as working with the CGI stuff.
But then, we also had puppeteers who we worked with in some of the scenes. So a couple of the hand-to-hand battles with the skitter, you’re actually working with a guy in a suit, which was always incredibly fun, but it was a bit of a hassle, as well, because the guy couldn’t really see out of the suit, and he can’t really breathe in there, apparently, because between, like, every other take, we’d have to put a tube of oxygen in there so he could breathe.
And since he can’t see, if you’re fighting with this thing, he’s hitting you in the face — you kinda take it personally, you know, in the scene. So you, like, give him back a little something, and it kinda turns into this little fight. It’s a ton of fun. But yeah, I got popped in the face one time, and it left this big blister. [Laughs] It wasn’t anything bad but it’s like, come on, that’s a day of work right there.
Well, this is certainly a new genre for you, and I have to admit, I didn’t recognize you at first. I think I actually said out loud, “Wow, he looks a lot like Jesse from Hannah Montana before I realized you were the same person.
[Laughs heartily] Wow!
What do you think your fans are going to think about this new role?
Um, well, I think some of them are going to be scared by the aliens. [Laughs] And I think some of them are going to be like, alright! He’s moving on! I think they would be pretty excited. It is a science fiction show, but I think it has a lot of human drama going on and a family story. And it seems like a lot of people are going to be able to enjoy the show. So hopefully many of the Hannah Montana and iCarly fans make the transition over with me. I try to do little shoutouts to them, little Twitter things and this and that to keep everybody up-to-date, but they’re a great fanbase. I go out, and it’s always funny when you get recognized, and if you get recognized by a bunch of people and then a little crowd will swarm you, and then people will come up to you in the crowd who don’t even know you are, and they want to take a picture just because everybody else is. It’s kinda fun, it’s funny. It’s especially not to a point where it’s annoying, so it’s charming. It’s like a pat on the back. And like, ah, wow, people enjoy what I’ve been doing. And I’m just so fortunate that I enjoy doing it. I think if people will tune in, they’ll get a little more of that Jesse but in Hal this time, because they both have a little bit of bad boy in them.
Yeah. So you mentioned Twitter. How do you like being so close to your fans there and being able to — hopefully, we’ll hear some stories behind the scenes or see some pictures on Twitter throughout the show.
Yeah, yeah, what I like about Twitter is the fact that you just put things out there. You don’t have to do so much interacting with everybody. So, you know, it’s a lot easier from my point of view as opposed to having to send a message back and forth, back and forth, back and forth and responding, because I always feel so bad if I don’t respond to somebody. So I enjoy that aspect of Twitter, and also, it allows people to see kinda what you’re like outside of these characters. And, you know, some people get really wrapped up in Twitter. [Laughs] I’m a little more of the every three days I might do something, you know, and kinda get on a little binge now and then, I might fire off two tweets a day if I’m feeling crazy. Yeah, Twitter’s cool. It’s a very easy way of keeping people informed of what’s going on, and you know, people that are following you clearly enjoy your work and want to be updated on what’s going on, so it works out for everybody.
And how is it to work so closely with Noah Wyle?
An absolute joy. He’s a fantastic actor. He’s incredibly intelligent. Just sitting around listening to him is always fun, listening to his stories and what he’s done. He’s lived such an interesting life as far as everything that went on with ER and where all that took him and stories that happened from that. Then on set working with him, he was always very kind, even fatherly to an extent, teaching me on-set etiquette from time to time. You know, sorta how things work because I’m pretty new to all this stuff. And he was always patient and an absolute joy.
Great. Any fun behind-the-scenes stories that you’ve experienced? Any pranks behind the set or any just funny moments?
Yeah, we love to mess with each other on these long shoots. Anything from, you know, it’s 4:00 in the morning and our meal has finally come, and it’s like some sub sandwiches or something, and you know, I’ve talked to the lady, and I’m like, “Can I get two of those?” And she’s like, “Yeah, you can get two of them, but don’t tell everybody.” So I go back to Noah, kinda brag to him, like, “Yeah, guess what doing after this take? I have two sub sandwiches.” And so, then I go back to where my two sub sandwiches are — oh, they’re no longer there. And he’s hidden them somewhere, but he swears he hasn’t. I finally find them, and he’s written his little note on them — something cute — signs it off with “Dad.” And I’m like, oh, aren’t you funny? [Laughs] But, yeah, we play jokes all the time. He’d make fun of me on things; I’d make fun of him. We really got along well.
Great. Do you have any special plans for premiere night?
For premiere night, on the 19th, I will be back home in Alabama, and I’m throwing a party at the house I grew up in, getting all the family and all my close friends from back home together. I haven’t seen them in, like — I’ve seen the family, but I haven’t seen my best friends in like three years, so it’d be great to see them and then watching the show’ll be cool. So yeah, that’s the plan.
Great. So, my final question: If an alien invasion happened today, do you think you’d be part of the resistance, or do you think you’d be hiding, one of the civilians? What do you think?
[Laughs] No, I definitely think I’d be part of the resistance. I’m one of these guys — it takes a lot to get me fired up enough to want to fight or get angry with somebody, but once that threshold has been crossed, then I don’t know, some other beast comes out of me, and I’m like, wow, ok, I don’t usually act this way. But I’m thinking, yes, if an alien invasion happened, and they invaded and started blowing things up and, you know, violating our Earth, yeah, I would definitely take that personally and have to be out there on the frontlines.
Well, great. I’m glad we can depend on you then.
I’m going to need a couple people on my side, but I’ll be one of them. [Laughs]
Well, thanks so much for talking with me and good luck on the show! Congratulations again!
Thank you very much. Yes, it was my pleasure.
Don’t forget to watch Drew Roy on Falling Skies this Sunday on TNT! The two-hour premiere event starts at 9/8c. Trust me. You’ll want to check it out.
*images courtesy of TNT and fanlala.com