John Noble On The End Of 'Fringe': 'I Couldn't Have Imagined A Better Finale'
January 18th, 2013 9:15am EST
Tonight FOX says goodbye to its cult hit Fringe, after five seasons of mind-bending, multi-universe sci-fi adventure. Before the end, the incredibly talented Mr. John Noble - who plays Fringe's 'mad scientist' Walter Bishop - recently sat down with BFTV to discuss what he loved most about the show and what it was like for him to leave behind a role he's inhabited for so long.
"Doing something of this nature was new to me," explained the Australian-born actor. "I’d never done anything that required a five-year commitment. To build a show that seems to have kept the imagination of the world 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."
"There were so many different aspects of Walter, the comedy and drama and emotion and so forth. He was a fully-fledged character," he continued when asked what he'll miss the most about the role that earned him acclaim from critics and fans alike. "Fringe is essentially a love story and so the scenes where he had close connection with Peter, but also with [Olivia] or [Astrid] were very special to me. I loved the scenes that I played with Peter, the connecting stuff that I played with Josh Jackson over the five years. Both of us really loved doing that work."
Noble had the unique opportunity to play more than one version of Walter over the last five seasons, and said it's difficult for him to pick a favorite incarnation. At times, it was even hard for him to keep them straight! "At times it was tricky. that I didn’t drop into the mannerisms of another version of the character, but I guess I was pretty alert to that," he said. "I used to have people on set, saying [to them], 'Can you keep an eye open for me to make sure I don’t do Walter version...or something?” And sometimes, particularly my camera operators would take five and say, 'John, that’s the wrong one.'"
Yet for all the cool sci-fi happenings in the Fringe universe, what was closest to the actor's heart were the characters. "I think the main storylines are what always intrigued me, with those that were the relationships between the characters against whatever backdrop, whether it was in an ordinary universe or a universe in the future," he explained. "I think the glue that held Fringe together was the relationships."
He added that fans can expect particular attention to be paid to the bond which exists between Walter and his son. "The way that his relationship with Peter plays out over the finale is really quite remarkable," Noble said. "That’s something we had to do because we spent so much time and I know that the fans love the relationship between Peter and Walter so much and we certainly paid homage to that and brought it home, I believe, really strongly." You can see a great moment between the two characters from last week's episode below.
The actor explained that he believes the Fringe finale is not only a proper sendoff to the beloved series, but might be one for the history books, too. "I can honestly say that it was everything that I had hoped it could possibly be," he said. "When I read it, I thought that [series executive producer J.H. Wyman] had done a masterly job in writing it. [He] tied up our character lines, tied up the great story arcs. I couldn’t imagine a better job, to be honest with you. So I was extremely elated when I read the final episodes.
"I couldn’t have imagined a better finale, to be honest with you," he continued. "I read it and I was like, 'Oh my goodness me, he’s done it. He’s done it.' He’s answered all these questions and he’s tied off all these things that I had to ask. I hope history will judge it as one of the great finales of all time. I really believe they will."
Noble isn't entirely done with the scientific - while Fringe might be ending, he's continuing as the host of the Science Channel's Dark Matters, a one-hour show that spotlights "twisted but true" tales of science gone wrong. It's a job that appeals to his own love of science, and he hopes to continue to share that interest with viewers. "Over the last, let’s say 25 years, since a lot of science writing became accessible to laymen, I’ve become quite a consumer of science," he explained. "I’ve become a pretty avid reader and devourer of it. One of the objectives that I have working with Science Channel is to get more people talking about it because it’s such fun. That’s something that I discuss with Science Channel people quite often."
He also made a point of recognizing something else that contributed to Fringe's longevity: its loyal and passionate fans. "This is a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the support that all the people listening have given us over the last five years, which is really terribly impressive and probably the reason we’re still on the air," he added. "So I say thank you to everyone for that and simply say I think we finished the series off as well as I could possibly have dreamed of."
The two-hour Fringe finale airs tonight beginning at 8 PM ET/PT on FOX.
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(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.
Photo Credits: FOX