Date of publishing: 30th
John Noble is an Australian film, television actor,
and theatre director of more than 80 plays. He was
born in Port Pirie, South Australia. He makes occasional
appearances on the television series All Saints. He
is internationally best known for his performance
as Denethor in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of
the King film. He played Russian Consul Anatoly Markov
in the sixth season of the American television series
24 and "Meurik" in Stargate SG-1's last
episode of season 9. His most recent work is as mentally
unstable scientist Walter Bishop in the J. J. Abrams
television series Fringe, which premiered in September
2008. Visit also: www.johnnoble.net
Nuytens: Well, what
interested you in Fringe and how did you get involved,
you are not a newcomer in the business, so was that
a proposal from the studios or was it a normal audition
John Noble: Initially the JJ Abrams
name caught my attention. The script was very ambitious
and the role was amazing. I sent a tape from Australia
and was cast from that.
Gilles Nuytens: Your
character is someone that has lived for 17 years in
a psychiatric institute, how did you approach the
mental aspects of Dr. Bishop, was it as challenging
as we could imagine, and what was the most difficult
part playing someone so unstable?
John Noble: Research is the answer
to playing this type of role, both medical and scientific...
I was determined to develop the character based on
all available medical information, and I read widely
on the fringe science that was practised during the
cold war. I also read about the well- known scientific
'geniuses'. Einstein, Newton, Galilleo, Darwin, and
Gilles Nuytens: A
bit similar question, usually when a script is good
enough, actors don't have to do a lot of researches
for their characters, the script is enough, so how
much did you involved yourself to portray a correct
play about this man?
John Noble: A well written script
is a great start. The actor is responsible for taking
that as a start and then fleshing out the missing
links. I have found that the writers have incorporated
many ideas that I have pitched, and have taken on
board many of the characteristics I have found for
Walter. It is a dynamic on-going process.
Gilles Nuytens: How
much freedom do you have with your character, in some
shows, actors have a lot of freedom, in others not
at all, how is it with Fringe? If yes, can you give
us an example of something you added that wasn't in
the original script?
John Noble: We are required to be
very accurate with the final script. Most of the actor
innovation comes in the improvisation and delivery.
I am given a lot of freedom with this aspect of the
Nuytens: What do
you enjoy the most about playing Dr. Bishop?
John Noble: The scope of the character.
I love his mind and his eccentricity. He can do things,
and say things most characters can't. On a more serious
note I love the relationship with his son. Joshua
Jackson and I take this aspect very seriously, and
work very hard to make it resonate with our audience.
Gilles Nuytens: As
many shows, Fringe reflects (in a fictional and scifi
way) the problems of our society, especially with
the bad aspects of science, how much are you concerned
about the ethical problems described in the show?
"Science is not bad, the problem is how people
use it ..." do you think that's the message we
must keep from the show?
John Noble: To say science is bad
is very re-active. And to say power is dangerous is
obvious. Science used for illegal and unethical purposes
is a problem, but so is any power. I adore science.
I adore man's ability to expore higher thought forms.
These things inspire me in the same way as a brilliant
musician or writer inspire me. Without that inspiration
life can be rather dull and depressing.
Gilles Nuytens: In
another interview, you mentioned that you wanted to
have more action with Dr. Bishop, a fight or something.
At that point, there was nothing, but now, did you
convince them to give you something more action-like?
John Noble: I think that comment
was tongue in cheek, although we will eventually see
the dark and dangerous side of Walter. There have
been hints of his sociopathic tendencies already.
It has been discussed and agreed to in principle.
Gilles Nuytens: So
far, how is the atmosphere on the sets, how do you
see and appreciate the people you are working with?
John Noble: We are professional,
hard working team. We love going to work and exploring
whatever adventure the writers have delivered. There
is a high level of mutual respect at all levels on
Fringe. It is a wonderful experience.
Gilles Nuytens: A
funny one: In episode 2 we see you milking a cow ...
Tell us something about this cow. I'm sure there must
be a lot of backstage stories about it ...
John Noble: The cow is always a highlight
when she appears. It is a very cooky JJ Abrams thing
to have in the show. She also has a habit of stealing
the scenes, which is great fun.
Nuytens: Was that
clear from the start that Dr. Bishop would give the
show that little touch of fun or was it more your
John Noble: It was the intention
of the creators that Walter would be amusing. I hope
that my interpretation has enhanced this expectation.
Gilles Nuytens: You've
played all around the world, USA, Canada, Australia,
even Fiji Islands ... what would be the major aspects/differences
between for example playing in the Fiji's and USA,
Australia and Europe (professionally, technically
and about the people I mean, not about the climate
or location), etc?
John Noble: I have been very fortunate
to work in many countries. Sometimes I have to pinch
myself and think, this is really happening to me,
and I am being paid for it. I think that travel is
the great educator. It removes pre-conceptions and
predudices. We are one race inhabiting one small planet,
and given a chance we can all appreciate and love
each other. To be paid to realise that is a great
Gilles Nuytens: What
else would you like to say, add, comment about Fringe?
John Noble: 'Fringe' is quite unique.
It defies definition in terms of genre. I think the
show breaks new ground, yet it serves some very popular
and well documented tastes. We have a very, very good
show now, and are working tirelessly to make it a
great show. The writers are ever mindful of what the
viewers think, and are constantly inventing, researching
and imagining. They are an amazing group of people.
Keep watching. This show could go anywhere.