Noah Wyle was great as a doctor in ER and then he segued to The Librarian movies on TNT. Now he is doing a new series, Falling Skies. It seems that he prefers the action roles to the more thoughtful roles. Do you know if that’s the case?
—Sam Erskine, Hollywood, Fla.
“Half the reason I decided to do Falling Skies was to look slightly heroic to my 8-year-old son,” says Wyle, 40, who admits the one downside is toting around a 20-pound machine gun on set all day. “Him getting to come to work and see his dad run around with a machine gun and fight aliens was worth the price of admission.”
Wyle says an additional incentive to taking on the role in the futuristic drama, about a world under siege by invading space aliens, is because he is always looking to do something a little different in his career than what he has done before. “ER had an element of politics and an element of emotion to it, but didn’t really have an element of physicality to it like this, so I thought this would be a good challenge as I enter my 40th year. The clock’s ticking on how long I can do this sort of thing.”
But to answer your question, Wyle says that Falling Skies is the best of both worlds, and he was happy for the chance to once again work with the show’s executive producer Steven Spielberg, who was one of the producers on ER. “I had the great fortune of getting to spend a lot of time around him and to see how razor sharp his mind is when it comes to developing story and character,” the actor says of those early days. “He was doing the postproduction, I think, on Schindler’s List at the time. And when he wasn’t doing that, he was watching all of the ER dailies. So that was the first clue I had as to how hands-on he was and yet how hands-off he was in his managerial style. I was incredibly intimidated. I’m still incredibly intimidated to be around him, to be honest.”