Did you envisage Falling Skies lasting this long when you first signed up?
No. I really didn’t. There were certain things about this show that we set that I hadn’t really given much thought to best the pilot. [Laughs] It was one of those things where I wanted to work. I was itching to work because I’d been taking some time off to be at home with the kids. I had a couple of really good opportunities being offered to me, and I left the choice up to my son. I asked him if he wanted his father to be a policeman, a lawyer, an insurance investigator or an alien fighter and he chose alien fighter! It seemed like a good choice until three months in when I realised that I was shooting in Canada in the middle of winter in rainstorms just to satisfy my six-year-old son! It wasn’t the best career decision necessarily. But it turned out all right.
Do you think the fans are going to be shocked by the ending?
I think there are shocking things in the final season, for sure. We have some of our best episodes this year. I hope that the audience find the finale more satisfying than shocking.
The show is very family-oriented. Are you close with your on-screen family in real life?
Yeah! Well, I’ve seen these boys go through unbelievable changes over the years. When Maxim Knight first started on the show I think he was nine or ten years old, and now he’s 15! Drew Roy was in his early 20s and now he’s pushing 30. Connor Jessup was a teenager and now he’s in his early 20s. So watching these guys grow, not just as young men but as actors, was pretty cool and incredibly rewarding. We’ve also spread out but we have kept in touch. The show ended already, in February, so I’m curious to see where they all end up in their lives and their careers.
Where does Season Five start? Does it pick up straight from where we left off in Season Four?
We left Tom Mason on the spaceship with something we didn’t recognise, staring at something we couldn’t see, going. ‘My god, you’re beautiful!’ And that’s where we start?
Did you get a lot of contact time with executive producer Steven Spielberg?
No, I didn’t when we were filming. His involvement was mostly through reading the scripts and making notes on the scripts, and watching episodes and making editorial suggestions. But with all the crew and directors that we had and all the visual effects, his present on set with not often, but everybody knows who they are working for and everybody knows who is watching. But I got a very nice note from him when the whole thing wrapped up, and I hope to work for him again.
Do you have a favourite moment from the show?
Favourite moment… um… Oh! Yes! Absolutely, absolutely! This season I got to wear a different hat for the first time: I got to direct an episode! The director was having a personal issue so I threw my hat into the ring and made my directorial debut in episode eight of Season Five, and I just loved every second of it. I really enjoyed the experience – it was challenging and engaging on every level, and I’m about to go and do it again! I’m going to direct the first episode of The Librarians Season Two in about two weeks. It’s opened up a whole new career possibility for me that I found really, really exciting.
What can fans expect to go down in Season Five?
Well, because we were successful at the end of Season Four destroying the power supply on the moon, this is the year where we get to see the humans have a tactical advantage for the first time, where they no longer have to worry about playing defence so much. More aggressive, more bloody-lusty [feelings] come out this year. They enter the final push to [get rid of these] unwanted creatures, and Tom Mason is the spearhead of that. He comes back more focused and more determined and more inclined to put his moral and ethical [compass] on the shelf until the job is finished, which we’ve never seen before.
What do you think you’re going to miss most about the show when it’s over?
Um… a few of the people. It has a strong cast and crew so I learned a tremendous amount from the experience. It wasn’t always a fun experience. I tend to want to have fun when I work, which is why I chose to become an actor [laughs]! You can sort of just skip through life. Sometimes there’s great chemistry and the work is easy and natural, but sometimes it’s a lot of effort. The work they we did was rewarding but it wasn’t always as fun. I’m really happy that we got to finish it the way that we did, and I’m really happy to be able to move on and do something else now.
Season Five of Falling Skies is airing from 30 June at 9pm on FOX. For more on the biggest TV series, pick up the latest issue of SciFiNow.