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“Fringe” star John Noble discusses series and its finale

Melissa Hayer Modified: April 24, 2013 at 3:30 pm •  Published: January 17, 2013
John Noble stars as Walter Bishop in "Fringe." - Fox Photo
John Noble stars as Walter Bishop in "Fringe." - Fox Photo


(This story was published in the Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013.)

With mankind’s destiny at stake, the sci-fi drama “Fringe” ends its five season series run with a two-hour, two-episode finale airing at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18 on Fox.

“Fringe” has centered on Special Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), eccentric scientist Walter Bishop (John Noble), his jack-of-all-trades son Peter (Joshua Jackson) and Walter’s assistant Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole) as members of a team investigating mysterious events involving parallel universes, doppelgangers, Observers (advanced human beings), and innumerable anomalies. The relationships among the characters have been just as important to the story as the science fiction element.

Australian actor Noble, 64, shared his thoughts on the series and its conclusion during a recent media conference call.

Q: What do you take away from working on “Fringe?”

A: Doing something of this nature was new to me. I’d never done anything which required a five-year commitment. To build a show that seems to have kept the imagination of the world, actually, so much was a bit otherworldly to be honest with you. I would go to anywhere in the world, really, and people would stop me in the street and talk about “Fringe,” and how much they adored it, and asked questions about it. The international reach of “Fringe,” I think, still catches me by surprise a bit at times. Also, I was given the gift of a character that is every actor’s dream. So you combine those two factors and it’s been an incredibly memorable five years.

Q: What was your reaction to the ending, and how was the final day on set?

A: I think we were all apprehensive to see what would happen in the finale. We didn’t know until really quite late in the piece how Joel (Wyman, executive producer, writer, director) would finish it off. I can honestly say that it was everything that I had hoped it could possibly be. When I read it, I thought that he had done a masterly job in writing it, tied up our character lines, tied up the great story arc. I couldn’t imagine a better job, to be honest with you. So, I was extremely elated when I read the final episodes.

The last day on set was really quite fun. We were all kind of buoyed up. It was one of those nights that go forever. I think we finished at nine in the morning or something, but we had a lot of fun. I can remember we all got a fit of the giggles halfway through the night, which is probably really inappropriate. All of us were doing a scene together. I don’t know. It was just hilarious. I couldn’t get my lines out, which is very unusual for me. I just kept getting it wrong and we were all laughing a lot. But it was good fun. We had a wonderful time.

Q: What are you going to miss about your castmates?

A: I guess because I’m the older fellow there, I kind of think of them all as my kids in a way. I have a very special love for all of those actors and I’ll miss them. Over the five years, we were given the chance to develop some pretty close bonds, both with our characters and personally, and we did … It’s probably a lifelong bond, I imagine

Q: What do you think was the most rewarding aspect of playing Walter?

A: It was wonderful to be able to play a character who had so many colors, who was able to play comedy, to play incredibly vulnerable, which he did a lot of the time, to play the love story, to play the relationship with his son, which is quite unusual, particularly. I think it’s one of the strengths of “Fringe,” the relationship between the man and his son that makes it unusual and special. That’s a gift to me, as an actor. It was like everything you could possibly hope for, and, not only that, but to play it out over five years. So, I was a very lucky actor.

–  Melissa Hayer

Follow me on Twitter: @MelissaHayer


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