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I really enjoyed chatting with John Noble, one of the
stars of "Fringe" on FOX. He plays the wonderful character of Walter
Bishop, a slightly-nutty professor who helps solve weird crimes on the
show. The actor was very nice, the kind of guy you would like to sit and
talk with for a while. Even when asked questions about the medical or
science terminology or ideas on the show, he spoke with great
intelligence and forethought. In fact, he spoke that way regardless of
the subject. It's clear that he is a very thoughtful and intelligent
person, besides being a great actor and director.
It was also great to meet the actor who played the evil Denethor in the
Lord of the Rings movies. I was surprised that no one asked him about
My own question was not that great, but I enjoyed talking to the great
actor. His show is one that I don't miss. I only watched two new shows
this fall, and "Fringe" was one of them (I am not watching the other
one, "Life on Mars", any more).
Here is the transcript for the whole conference call, which was
fascinating! Oh, and needless to say, Mr. Noble is nothing like his
crazy alter- ego on the show!
E. Johansmeier Good afternoon, everybody. It’s Elissa from Fox. Thank
you so much for being on the call and participating today. Very quickly,
before I put John Noble of Fringe on the line, we have all-new episodes
airing November 18th, November 25th, and December 2nd. Then we will
return in January, January 20th, with all-new episodes again. It’s our
same timeslot, Tuesdays at 9:00. But we will, of course, have a
different lead-in, which will be American Idol.
Right now, I’d like to turn the call over to John Noble, who plays “Dr.
Walter Bishop” on Fringe. Here he is.
J. Noble Hello, everybody.
Moderator We’ll go to the first question from Joshua Maloni with Niagara
J. Maloni John, thanks for your time today.
J. Noble You’re very welcome.
J. Maloni I have to say, yours is definitely one of the best new
characters this season. Watching you last night chewing the gum and
calling Jasika, “Asteroid,” I mean it’s just comic genius, I have to
say. I’m wondering, how do you approach the parts and how much fun is it
J. Noble Well, the second part of it, it’s as much fun as it looks like.
I mean it’s an absolute hoot playing. It’s obviously got serious aspects
to it, but I treat it as a hoot to play the thing. Preparation, well,
that’s probably the hardest bit, getting the timing right and doing the
preparation on the scientific work. But working on Fringe is a great
job. I mean it’s a great group of people to work with, and amazing
scripts from the minds of J.J. Abrams and other people. They’re
geniuses. Living inside their heads much be a very strange thing to do
because they’re always coming up with something different. Overall,
fantastic experience, and thank you for the comment about “Walter.”
J. Maloni Yes. I mean, like you said, J.J., his shows, I mean the
storylines are always, you know, they’re incredibly clever, but they’re
also complex. And for the audience, at times, it can be a little
challenging to follow. As a cast member, do you find it sort of
challenging to follow all the sort of twists and turns?
J. Noble Yes [laughs], absolutely. But I could also say that, as an
audience member, I kind of enjoy reading things that make me concentrate
or watching things that make me concentrate, and so, you know, that’s
what Fringe does. And I watched an episode on Tuesday night, and I was
in it, but there were things I missed, and I said, what was that? What
did they say there? So I mean it’s fascinating to be watching something
that does require concentration.
J. Maloni Definitely. Thanks, John, for your time.
J. Noble You’re very welcome. Thank you.
Moderator Next we have Sarah Jersild with the Tribune Interactive.
S. Jersild Thanks so much for taking my call.
J. Noble You’re very welcome, Sarah.
S. Jersild We were just talking about how “Walter” is this incredibly
genial fun character, but he’s got this menace behind him, which we saw
when he drugged “Astrid,” when he – we just discovered he was doing
experiments on “Peter” as a child. How do you balance that being this
sort of cuddly guy when all of a sudden we find out, he’s kind of scary?
J. Noble Yes. It’s the dark side to stuff, isn’t it? I guess it exists
in all of us. But with “Walter,” because of who he is and how he is and
how bright he is and how disturbed he is, it just sort of surfaces a bit
more often and a bit more radically than it does in most of us. I don’t
find it that hard to find. I mean taking each moment when I’m doing a
scene, I take each second and look at what’s gone through at that point,
and sometimes those reactions just come out, to be honest with you, out
of frustration, the character’s frustration, or out his greater purpose,
whatever, out of his madness. But it’s certainly interesting to play,
and it shocks the people I’m playing with at times. You see these
shocked reactions from the other actors, but that all makes some good
S. Jersild Great. Thanks so much.
J. Noble You’re very welcome.
Moderator We’ll go to David Martindale with the Hearst Newspapers.
D. Martindale Hello, John.
J. Noble Hello, David.
D. Martindale I love the show. You’re really wonderful in it.
J. Noble Thank you.
D. Martindale At my softball game this weekend, I think I saw “The
Observer” milling around. I was very concerned.
J. Noble I think he was there.
D. Martindale Yes. Yes.
J. Noble Yes. He was supposed to be there.
D. Martindale Do you have a head for science? Do you have an aptitude
for even fundamental science?
J. Noble Yes, I do, but more on a theoretical level than a practical
level. One of my best friends, a fellow who I shared a house with many
years and we were at the university together, he’s a brilliant
scientist. He’s also quite mad. But we would talk, and my thought was
the art, his was the science, but we could talk for hours. We found
common ground in the theory, the theoretical side of it, and so I’ve
always understood that or being able to talk about it, and also have
written quite extensively. But put me in a lab with a whole lot of
instruments, and I may not do so well.
D. Martindale And I’ve heard it said that the line between genius and
madman is very, very thin, and “Walter” definitely walks on both sides
of that line. Do you find, I mean do you find this friend of yours, for
example, some inspiration for that or someone else?
J. Noble Yes, I certainly do. His name is Dr. Ted Steal, and he’s an
extraordinary man, and he’s always ridden on the edge of the scientific
community because he’s just absolutely no good at politics, but he’s a
genius, and so, but he was a man whatever he did he did with absolute
passion and focus and so if we were out drinking and partying, or if he
was playing tennis or football or going after a girl, whatever he did,
it was with complete and utter focus. That’s one of the aspects that
“Walter” has as well. But he was also a lovely man, but he’d also fight
people. I mean, at a turn of a hat, he would fight people, and so he was
a fascinating guy. In fact, he’s having his 60th birthday this week, I
think, and I can’t be there in Australia with him, but he’s an amazing
man, and I’ve based a lot of this on him.
D. Martindale Wow. That’s terrific. Thank you so much. I love the show.
J. Noble Thanks so much for your comment.
D. Martindale You bet.
Moderator We’ll go to Fred Toppel with SciFi.com.
F. Toppel Hello, John.
J. Noble Hello, Fred.
F. Toppel In the upcoming episodes we’re going to see later this month
and next, what are some of the great “Walter” moments we’ll see?
J. Noble In terms of – I guess there are always two things. There are
the sort of bleak and dark moments that you see sometimes, and there’s
also the comedic, well what play as comedic moments. We’ve just really
finished off the final episode that will be going on in December, and
there are a lot of “Walter” moments in there just him being
There are a couple of quite – the next episode, which goes on next week,
we see “Walter” from a different angle, very vulnerable. He goes back
into the asylum, and we see the very, very fearful man return for a
while, although he does have some wonderful moments early in the
episode. But when he goes back inside, he turns back into this
incredibly fearful, stuttering fellow who we saw when we first met him.
It’s a very interesting journey that we see “Walter” go through. You
know, he also solves these extraordinary things either because he had
done them in the past or because he simply has the intellect to think
now. We’re getting more episodes where “Walter” hasn’t done that
experiment sometimes, but he has the mind to be able to see a way
through it, so that’s the sort of thrust of things you will expect to
see in the future.
Deepening of the relationship with the son, of course. There’ll be a lot
more of this. As you go through, you know, this season and the next
seasons after that, you’ll see the ensemble of actors interact a lot
more than maybe we’ve seen at present. The relationships with the
“Olivia” character will become more like relationships do when people
who know each other for a while and start to kind of have an investment
and care, and care for each other. We certainly will see that in the
first episode coming back next year where we all bond together to
support “Olivia,” and she for us. So that’s the sort of thing you can
look forward to.
F. Toppel That sounds great. Just as a follow up, do you approach
“Walter” with some sort of logic for some of the weird, seemingly random
things he says, or do you just go with it?
J. Noble I think there’s – as an actor, I always have to find a reason.
I can’t just sort of say something out of the blue, so I always find
some sort of neural pathway in there, some image that it’s tapped. It’s
like we are, we’ll see, we’ll smell something or we’ll hear a sound, and
it’ll take us into a memory. You know how that happens to you as well?
And so it’s like he continually has these little memory jolts that will
– but instead of keeping them to himself, he talks about them, and say,
“I had a fruit cocktail once in Atlantic City.” And that’ll just come
out because it’s a memory, so he’s quite inappropriate at times.
F. Toppel He’s a fantastic character, so thank you for talking to us
J. Noble Thanks so much. It’s lovely to talk to you.
Moderator We’ll go to Marisa Roffman with Zap2it.com
M. Roffman John, how are you doing today?
J. Noble How are you doing, Marisa?
M. Roffman Okay. I’m doing very well. I’m very happy to be talking to
J. Noble Thank you.
M. Roffman So I have a question because “Walter” has been – he’s
obviously very grounded in mythology between “William Bell” and Massive
Dynamic. Are we going to see more of that in upcoming episodes at all?
Do you know?
J. Noble There’s going to be a growth in that sort of in the mythology.
It’s not going to be laid all out for everyone to find in one episode.
M. Roffman Right.
J. Noble Of course, you understand, Marisa, that J.J. won’t do that.
M. Roffman Of course. No.
J. Noble And in fact, one of the things that they also do, these people,
is that they keep the process pretty organic, and as things happen, as
things happen in their mind, this is the writers I’m talking about, or
an actor, one of the characters will invent something or a new character
will evolve, and they keep it open to evolving the script as they go
along. We’re constantly getting rewrites. Sometimes just before we go on
set, we’ll get a rewrite because they’ll have a better idea on what line
to say there. And so that’s, whilst that’s challenging, it’s also very,
as I said, organic. I personally love working that way.
M. Roffman Okay. Well, thank you so much for your time.
J. Noble Thank you so much.
M. Roffman Have a great day.
J. Noble Bye.
Moderator We have Troy Rogers with TheDeadbolt.com.
T. Rogers Hello, John. Thanks for taking the time.
J. Noble Good day, Troy. How are you?
T. Rogers Not too bad. Do you have any say over what type of food
“Walter” is looking for from episode to episode?
J. Noble No [laughs], but it’s very funny because this week we had a
week where we hadn’t been filming. We’ve been doing a lot of preparation
for the next episode, and also sort of ADR and publicity. But I’ve had a
chance to have a look at the blogs going on, and there are blogs going
around about what “Walter” is going to eat. It’s very funny stuff, and
the whole – there was one I tuned into, and it was going for pages and
people having such fun just about what “Walter” is going to have to eat
next. I think they finally … with a cheese steak, so we’ll see if the
writers put it in.
T. Rogers Yes. A lot of the people think you’re going to eat something
J. Noble No [laughs]. Isn’t it funny though? It’s great fun that a
television show and a character can get people having so much fun with
T. Rogers Yes. Exactly. Actually, another follow up, I was just curious
what’s the weirdest thing you’ve learned so far working on the show?
J. Noble Golly. Do you mean within the content of the science?
T. Rogers Yes. Concerning the cases that you guys….
J. Noble We’ve got some coming up. A lot of it is – I get more
interested in the neural aspects of it, I suppose, than say the
parasitical elements of it. When it goes into that sort of neural stuff
and it’s a little strange in that sense, I get very excited about it.
Obviously the parallel universe episode we did, which was called “The
Arrival,” was probably outside of the realm of what we normally think
about, although I have to confess, I had a very similar conversation
about parallel universes with a friend of mine sitting in the university
campus 30 years ago looking at the stars, and so it was an interesting
thing to revisit that. You remember what I’m talking about?
T. Rogers Yes.
J. Noble So that was kind of memorable for me, that one.
T. Rogers Okay. Great. Thanks again for your time.
J. Noble Thank you, sir.
Moderator We’ll go to Suzanne Lanoue with The TV MegaSite.
S. Lanoue Hello. Thank you for being here with us.
J. Noble Thank you, Suzanne.
S. Lanoue I noticed that you’re speaking voice, your natural speaking
voice, is very different from the one you use on the show. And I know
you have quite a bit of experience acting and directing and teaching
acting and all that. I was wondering, I noticed that the character has a
lot of vibrato in the voice, and it almost sounds like – I don’t want to
stereotype – I don’t want to say bad – stereotype like the great actor
voice. I was wondering how you came up with it.
J. Noble The character of “Walter,” because of his nature, he’s a top
academic. We knew that he was probably born in – well, he was born in
England, but he’d spent most of his life in Boston, which has a unique
sort of accent anyway, and had lived in this sort of very wordly,
peopled with scientists from all over the world, so he kind of lived in
a different world and has picked up what we called a Transatlantic
accent, so it is American, but it has sort of elements of British in
there as well, and that’s the term we use in vocal, talking about vocal
stuff is Transatlantic, and we did that quite deliberately because of
the background of the character.
S. Lanoue Did Mr. Abrams help you with that when you say we, or do you
mean … coach?
J. Noble No. I guess that was my job to think about that and come up
with something, but it was accepted. I mean, if they hadn’t liked it,
they would have told me, I’m sure.
S. Lanoue All right. Thank you very much. I love Fringe, and it gets
better with every episode.
J. Noble Thank you so much.
Moderator Next we have Joe Diliberto with Soap Opera Weekly.
J. Diliberto Hello, John. It’s a pleasure.
J. Noble Thank you, Joe.
J. Diliberto I love the relationship on the show between you and your
son, your character, that is, and your son. How important is the
father/son relationship, and do you expect the dynamic between them to
shift or change in any major way, i.e. “Walter” maybe becoming a little
J. Noble From my point of view, and I think Josh Jackson will back this
up, probably the most, the thing that has held our interest most so far
has been that relationship and, in a sense, as individual actors, what
we’ve worked on, we’ve probably talked more about that, Josh and I, than
about anything else. We just kind of feel that it’s special to do that
sort of thing and feel a bit of responsibility to try and get it as
right as possible. Judging by the feedback we’re getting, it’s working,
and it’s resonating with a whole lot of people.
J. Diliberto Absolutely. Yes.
J. Noble And we’ll continue to do that. It’s not going to turn into any
sort of soft, “Oh, I understand, and now I know I love you” time, and
walk away into the sunset. It won’t happen any more than it happens in
families. But they’ll continue to grow. The depth of their relationship
will continue to grow. There’s no question about that.
J. Diliberto Cool. Thank you so much.
J. Noble You’re very welcome.
Moderator Our next question is from Rachel Bishop with TheTwoCents.com.
R. Bishop Hello, John.
J. Noble Hello, Rachel.
R. Bishop “Walter” has arguably some of the best dialogue on TV today.
You’ve touched on this a little bit, but have you found it difficult or
perhaps challenging would be a better word to play a character who not
only has very technical, scientific dialog, but also has an extremely
non-linear thought process?
J. Noble No [laughs]. I don’t know what it says about me, but I haven’t
actually found it very hard at all [laughs]. I hesitate to give you that
answer, but no, I haven’t. I don’t. I find it fun. I don’t know, I’ve
always been attracted to that sort of humor anyway, and I guess around
our home, I mean all of us use that sort of offbeat humor, so it wasn’t
so difficult. And trailing off great lines of what sometimes sound like
nonsense also appeals apparently, so I do that occasionally. No, it
wasn’t too hard [laughs].
R. Bishop Good.
J. Noble Thank you.
R. Bishop You make it look very easy, so I guess it was easy.
J. Noble Well, what I’m saying is that I enjoy doing it. It’s not
something that I find terribly difficult and have to worry about. I mean
it comes certainly naturally, I think.
R. Bishop Good. Now what have been some of your favorite scenes or
moments thus far in the series that we’ve seen?
J. Noble Yes. Well, anything to do with the cow. Anything to do with the
cow, I mean, I adore working with the cow. It just makes – the cow makes
me laugh. I don’t know why. Everyone gets all sort of gooey and funny
when the cow comes in. And then, of course, I got to milk the cow and,
you know, because they rang up and said, “Do you need some coaching to
milk a cow?” And I said, “Certainly not. I could milk a cow. I’m a
country boy,” so that was great fun milking the cow. I don’t know.
It just – the one where … in the pilot where we’re eating Chinese
watching “Sponge Bob,” and that cow was on our necks, myself and Jasika.
That was the funniest thing because it was nuzzling up against us trying
to get the Chinese food. It wouldn’t stay until I gave it some, but it
was just the funniest night doing that scene about 4:00 in the morning.
Those sorts of things, there’s a whole lot of them.
One of my favorite games at present is to try and make – I’ve got this
thing where I try and make “Broyles” laugh because Lance Reddick plays
it to a tee. So I go out of my way whenever I have a scene to try and
make him laugh. Of course, as actors, we have great fun with this
because, in rehearsals, I succeed. But as soon as the cameras roll,
there’s no way. It’s going to be absolute headlines across the nation.
“Broyles Smiles” one day.
R. Bishop That’s great. Well, I really enjoy “Walter,” and I feel like I
want to buy him a root beer.
J. Noble That’s very kind of you.
R. Bishop Thank you for your time.
J. Noble Thank you so much.
Moderator We’ll go back to David Martindale with the Hearst Newspapers.
D. Martindale I have one more for you. As big and broad as you get to
play this character, has it ever happened yet that somebody’s stopped it
and said, “John, don’t you think you’re going a little bit big in this
J. Noble Sure. Absolutely, David.
D. Martindale Do they let you bounce off the walls if you want?
J. Noble No. The agreement that I have with every director that comes
in, the term I use is: “I’ll push the edge of the envelope, and then you
can pull me wherever you want to.” But I find it easier to go for, you
know, “Let me take all the risks, and then tell me what is too much”
rather than starting with nothing or starting from very little. I start
with a lot, and sometimes they’ll say to me, just pull that one back.
It’s no big deal. Or just, you know, change that or just pull the vocal
level back there, which I’m more than happy to do, but it means that I
have to trust the directors. But I’d rather try for the sort of big
effect and then pull it back than start with nothing and try and build
D. Martindale That’s true. They give Oscars to actors who go big. They
don’t often give them to actors that don’t do much.
J. Noble You have to have a trust in your director. Basically your
directors and your editors, you have to say to them, “Well, look, I’ll
do this, but don’t hang me up to dry here.” That trust, I mean, I have
that with the people I work with. It would be terrible if you thought
suddenly that you were being hung out to dry doing this big performance,
and it was out of character and out of context, and they kept it in
there, making you look like a fool. Then that wouldn’t be so
D. Martindale I get you. Do you ever have “Walter” moments? I mean just
where you space out?
J. Noble Yes [laughs].
D. Martindale People look at you like you have lobsters crawling out
your ears when you do it.
J. Noble Yes. My daughters do that quite a lot, actually [laughs]…. No,
we do. We have a lot of fun of that in nature, but I do have “Walter”
moments. My mind goes off onto quite strange places at times, and I’m
told, I’m told that this happens.
D. Martindale It makes sense to you, though.
J. Noble Absolutely makes sense to me. I’m confused as to why other
people just don’t understand.
D. Martindale I get you. Cool. Thank you so much.
J. Noble You’re welcome, David.
Moderator Next is Sarah Jersild with the Tribune Interactive.
S. Jersild Can you tell me a little bit about the relationship that
“Walter” has with “Olivia” and with “Astrid” because the big
relationship you have is with “Peter,” but you’re also seeming to get
more in-depth relationship with the two women.
J. Noble Yes. Look. It’s been one of the things that has had to come
slowly. We’ve had a man who has obviously been – I don’t think he would
have ever been particularly good with women anyway, you know. I think he
would have been a pretty horrible husband, not because he’s a bad man,
simply because he wouldn’t have thought to be nice. Then he comes out,
and he’s confronted with these two girls, and he doesn’t know how to
talk to girls, so it’s taken time to learn. He still can’t remember
S. Jersild Right.
J. Noble Which is, I have to say, one of the great joys is working with
Jasika on that whole, you know, the name business. She is such a funny
girl. I can’t wait to see what they come up with her eventually, but
she’s a very, very funny woman. And the one with “Olivia” is fascinating
because that’s far deeper. My sense is that “Walter” starts to feel
almost paternal towards her. But obviously you can’t go into that path,
and just on occasions I can see that “Olivia” wants to ask “Walter”
something, but then she’ll back away. We’ve seen a couple times that
that’s happened. Somewhere down the track, I think that there will be a
coming together of those two, and I don’t know this for a fact, but I
just feel it’s inevitable, and I think it’s something that “Walter” and
“Olivia” will need to do.
S. Jersild Right. One of the things you were talking about earlier was
there will be a newsflash when “Broyles” smiles. I just found out that
he’s actually a jazz musician.
J. Noble He is [laughs]. He’s a wonderful musician and composer.
S. Jersild Is there a lot of music on the set or is something like that,
and did it surprise the heck out of you when you found out?
J. Noble It did. When I first met the man, I mean, he’s a very quiet,
dignified man. We started to talk, and I suddenly find out that his
first degree was in music and he’s, in fact, a composer and a jazz
musician, among other things. He’s a man of many parts. But he’s quiet
and enigmatic and a very noble man to just spend time with, so I’m very
impressed with him, I must say.
S. Jersild Thanks again.
J. Noble You’re very welcome.
Moderator We’ll go to Amy Amatangelo with the Boston Herald.
A. Amatangelo I joined the call a little late, so I apologize if someone
asked this before.
J. Noble That’s all right, Amy.
A. Amatangelo I was wondering how much thought you give to the whole
idea of “The Pattern” and what is “The Pattern,” and do you have to deal
with a lot of people trying to get information out of you, fans of the
show thinking you might know something more than they know at this
J. Noble Do you know, we don’t know. I don’t know what The Pattern” is.
“Walter” doesn’t, and that kind of works okay for me. We know, and
having a global conspiracy of sorts, I mean, goodness me, James Bond
opening this week, we’re used to the idea of global conspiracies. I
don’t particularly want to know what’s going on in terms of the writers’
minds. As to people asking, well, yes. But it’s not offensively. It’s
just, “Do you know anything? And I say, “I don’t know,” and I mean it,
so I can’t be drawn really, Amy. But no, a little bit is revealed, and
these writers have in mind a plan that could last one, two, three years,
or however long it lasts, and they will bring that all to a conclusion
at the right time. We can’t reveal everything now because where do you
go, so there’s a long way to go.
A. Amatangelo I actually laughed out loud this week when you called –
you were on the phone with “Peter” and you say it’s your father. That
whole delivery, I thought, was just so funny in just the way you did it.
But I was just curious, is all of that on the page? Is it a lot of
rehearsals and back and forth? Is any of it adlibbed on your part to
kind of get that … to make a line that really is not that funny, very
J. Noble What I get is the ink on the page. No, I mean the
interpretation of the character is mine. As an actor, I talk an awful
lot about rhythms when I’m talking about acting. I don’t want to bore
you with this, but that’s what I do, just creating different rhythms
within the scene and the act of the scene. See, I did bore you there,
but so I mean I’m always looking for rhythms that will work because it
makes life interesting rather than just playing through on a flat line
the whole time. Lines like that, I don’t know. They just kind of sound
right to do it like that.
A. Amatangelo In the science on the show, we hear a lot when people on
medical shows that they have trouble getting the medical jargon down and
they have to kind of rehearse. Are there any particular things that
you’ve had to – because I feel like your character also often has a lot
of the exposition because you’re saying what the science is behind
what’s happening? Has there been anything in particular that’s been
challenging about that? Half the time, do you even understand what
J. Noble Yes. I do what research I can, and I do it off the Internet. So
if there’s a chemical described, then I’ll go and see what they’re
talking about basically just for my own satisfaction or procedure. The
times that it’s more likely to affect me is after we’ve been filming for
about 15 hours and we’re onto our tenth take. Then I could start to
jumble … it’s really interesting. It doesn’t happen the other way
around, you know, at the beginning. It’s after when we start to get
tired that things will come out jumbled. But it does take a little bit
of work, Amy. Yes.
A. Amatangelo Great. Thank you so much.
J. Noble You’re very welcome.
Moderator Next we have Tara Bennett with SFX.
T. Bennett Thanks so much for your time today.
J. Noble You’re welcome.
T. Bennett One of the things that’s been interesting about your
character is that you have had to really kind of do some more of the
gory work on the show.
J. Noble Yes.
T. Bennett I was wondering if at any time that’s been kind of jarring
for you or if there’s ever been a moment when you’ve had to look in a
body cavity or something that you’ve kind of gone … even yourself got a
J. Noble No. There hasn’t been. Now I spent quite a long time doing a
semi-regular [role] in Australia as a neurosurgeon [on a TV show], so I
got to look inside bodies, I’d say, a bit. I was thinking about this
yesterday, Tara, in terms of, it looks odd, doesn’t it, to see a man
T. Bennett Sometimes. Yes.
J. Noble And yet, I thought, “Well, could I do that?” And the answer is
yes. But what I would find difficult was when “Walter” can seem to harm
or to hurt people and not feel anything. I think that one, but you see
we don’t hurt each other, and we don’t hurt the actors that are there
and the prosthetics don’t get hurt. I think if there was genuine pain
being inflicted, I would feel far less comfortable than I do.
T. Bennett Thanks so much, and I love your performance.
J. Noble Thanks.
Moderator Next we have Julia Diddy with FanCast.com.
J. Diddy Thank you so much for your time today.
J. Noble You’re welcome, Julia.
J. Diddy First, I wanted to know what your own thoughts are about
science and scientific advances pushing the envelope, and how does that
inform your character?
J. Noble In my lifetime, you know, lasers were considered to be some
sort of futuristic foolish idea. This is in my lifetime, and we use them
on a daily basis for everything now. I believe we are only tapping the
edges of what is potential … as we learn more through quantum mechanics
and string theory, we’re finding out that all sorts of things are
possible that we didn’t think were. We’re becoming less ignorant as to
the possibilities. We can imagine the impossibilities, as J.J. Abrams
likes to say. So I don’t have any problem with any of it, and I just
went off on a great big tangent and forgot the question.
J. Diddy You actually handled it beautifully.
J. Noble Thank you, Julia.
J. Diddy In terms about your feelings of science and forming your
character. And the only other question, very quickly, you touched upon
this a bit already in terms of your character’s relationship with his
son. But I’d like to hear just a bit more in terms of “Walter” seems to
almost be torn in terms of his loyalty to “Peter” and his loyalty to
science, as if his experiments are also his children in a sense.
J. Noble I think that’s a beautiful observation.
J. Diddy It seems like there’s a sibling rivalry with “Peter” against
science, so I was curious about the process you go through to play that.
J. Noble It’s an amazing observation. It’s true. It’s absolutely true
what you say. Given a task, that “Walter” is incredibly focused, myopic
when he has a task to do, and really other things become secondary. And
we know this with a lot of people in our society are workaholics, and
find it difficult to split their time between their work and their
families. Now this is an issue that many of us deal with. This is an
extreme case of that. And when he’s on his science, he really doesn’t
have time for this squawking child next to him or for the wife, and I
think there are plenty of examples of that in society, but “Walter’s” is
just heightened a little bit.
J. Diddy That makes perfect sense. Okay. Thank you so much.
J. Noble Thank you so much.
Moderator We’ll go back to Troy Rogers with TheDeadbolt.com
T. Rogers Actually, following up on that science question, I was
wondering what are your personal views on fringe science? Are you into
big foot and UFOs and stuff like that?
J. Noble No, not UFOs. No. I’ve got nothing against them, but it’s just
not something that tantalizes my imagination. I think I’m much more
fascinated by what we’ve discovered, as I said a while ago, through
quantum mechanics and so forth. What was started off by Albert Einstein
essentially, who just opened the floodgates into a new world, and then
we suddenly find out that we can bend time or the string theory … and it
just means that anything is conceivable, and I find that fascinating. We
don’t know anything. We don’t know what black holes are even. Do you
know what I mean? To me, I get excited by it.
T. Rogers Yes. So do I because isn’t the theory that we only use 10% of
J. Noble Yes. But, you know, we’re moving exponentially. We’re moving so
fast that today’s technology is out of place by next week. It’s an
exciting time to live in keeping up with these guys. I don’t know. I’m
glad to be alive to observe it. I think I’ve lived in an amazing time. I
think I’ve lived in amazing times.
T. Rogers Excellent. Thanks again, John.
J. Noble You’re very welcome.
Moderator We’ll go back to Joe Diliberto with the Soap Opera Weekly.
J. Diliberto Thanks. Hello, again. You were talking about acting before
and some of the processes you go through. My question is actually about
another actor on the show who is not in it a hell of a lot, but I love
her, Blair Brown.
J. Noble Of course, I know you were going to talk about her.
J. Diliberto And I was wondering because her character is so kind of
diametrically opposite. She’s so focused and everything like that as
opposed to yours. Do you think there would ever be any scenes between
the two of you?
J. Noble Absolutely has to be. Absolutely has to be, I mean, apart from
the fact that Blair and I want to work together. That’s just a personal
thing. But she’s already been interviewed and said, “Yes, Walter and” –
what did she say? “Walter and Nina used to be together.” She’s invented
this whole scenario. The first time I ever met the woman, when we did a
read through the first time, she said, “Well, down the track, I can see
that we’ll finish up having a big of go.” She’s a very funny woman.
That’s the theory that somewhere down the line, maybe they were even
together, which is absolutely feasible, and it’ll be, I’m sure, a very
interesting challenge working with Blair Brown. She’s a smashing
J. Diliberto Yes. Absolutely. That would be so excellent. I hope it
J. Noble So do I.
J. Diliberto Thank you.
J. Noble You’re welcome.
Moderator Our final question will come from Sarah Jersild.
S. Jersild Can you tell me a little bit about the experience of actually
building the relationship with “Peter” on the show, how you and Joshua
Jackson sort of worked between the two of you to make it such an
authentic father/son estranged relationship?
J. Noble We talked. We talked. Joshua and I talked very openly and,
frankly, right from the beginning, about this amazing thing. You know,
he – we’re both men. I mean, I am a father of a son, and fortunately I
have a very good relationship with him. But we understood how complex
these things are between men, as indeed they are between women as well.
It was something that touched us both and interested us both, and so we
became very animated right from the beginning, Josh Jackson and I, about
the responsibility of playing this correctly, getting this right. And we
still talk about it. We still get excited about it. We’ll go into each
other’s caravan and talk about that issue, nothing else but that issue,
trying to find the truth in there. And sometimes it’s not clichéd
sometimes. Sometimes it’s ugly. It’s not what you’d expect, and we’re
trying to get all of those elements into it. We take it pretty
S. Jersild Great. Thank you so much.
J. Noble You’re very welcome.
Moderator We have no further questions in queue. Do you have any closing
remarks, Mr. Noble?
J. Noble Simply this. I mean the people that have been asking questions,
thank you for the continued support and the lovely comments you’ve made
today. You know, I think the journey of Fringe has only just started.
Every energy that I sense around the place is to take this good, very
good show, and turn it into a great show. That’s the discussion. That’s
the energy that’s going into it, and your support and the way you’ve
spoken today obviously you have support of the show, and I thank you for
that. It’s going to be a great ride. I think it’s going to be an amazing
ride, so thank you so much.
About the upcoming new episodes and talent:
TUESDAY, NOV. 18 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) - FRINGE: "The Equation" (#108)
After a young music prodigy (guest star Charlie Tahan) is taken by a
serial kidnapper (guest star Gillian Jacobs), it's discovered that a
sequence of flashing lights appeared at the abduction, which Walter
links back to his bunkmate (guest star Randall Duk Kim) at St. Claire's
Hospital. Much to Peter's dismay, Olivia encourages Walter to return to
the mental institution, and Walter's determination to help ends up having
chilling ramifications in an all-new episode.
TUESDAY, NOV. 25 (9:07-10:07 PM ET/PT) - FRINGE: "The Dreamscape" (#109)
A Massive Dynamic employee (guest star Ptolemy Slocum) is so convinced he
is being attacked by butterflies that he jumps out of a window to escape
them, and the team is called in to investigate. Although Olivia's
unexplained interaction with Agent Scott (Mark Valley) leads to breaks in
the case, she is so desperate to rid her consciousness of him that she
demands to go back in the tank. Meanwhile, the gig is up for Peter when a
former friend - and some current foes - find out he's back in Boston.
TUESDAY, DEC. 2 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) - FRINGE: "Safe" (#110)
Investigating a series of bank robberies, Olivia, Walter and Peter are
shocked to find one of the suspects inexplicably trapped inside a vault
wall as if it solidified around him. Walter realizes that the high-tech
thieves have figured out a way to defy the law of physics and that, much
to his dismay, the crooks are after something of his. As the ongoing
investigation unfolds and the mystery deepens, the perilous situation
climaxes when a member of the FRINGE trio is ambushed in an all-new
(Walter Bishop on FRINGE)
John Noble is an Australian
stage, film and television
, as well as a theater director
of more than 80 plays
. Early in his career,
Noble was the Artistic Director of the Stage Company of South Australia
for ten years, during which he was involved in South Australia's cultural
explosion. He performed with all of the state's major arts companies, and
produced over 70 new Australian plays.
As an actor, he is best known for his role as "Denethor" in "The Lord of
the Rings," for which he won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble
Cast and a Broadcast Film Critics Association USA Award for Best Ensemble
Cast. Noble's television guest roles include 24, "Journeyman," "The
Unit," "Lost Treasure of Fiji," "Home and Away," "Stargate SG-1," "The
Mystery of Natalie Wood," "Stingers," "The Lost World Series III,"
"Superfire," "The Outsider," "The Bill," "Big Sky," "Police Rescue,"
"Water Rats," "Timetrax," "Above the Law," "The Young Lions" and "Tales of
the South Pacific." For the last six-and-a-half years, he has had a
semi-regular role on "All Saints" as the neurosurgeon "Dr. John Madsen,"
and has appeared in the miniseries "Hills End," and films "The Dreaming,"
"Nostradamus Kid," "A Sting in the Tail," "Call Me Mr. Brown," "Airtight,"
"The Monkeys Mask" and "A Virtual Nightmare," "One Night with the King"
and "Running Scared."
Noble lives in Sydney, Australia.
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