In the new Steven Spielberg-produced sci-fi TV series Falling Skies, actresses Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation) and Seychelle Gabriel (The Last Airbender) play Anne and Lourdes, two survivors of an alien invasion who have taken on the responsibility of running a makeshift medical clinic as violent extraterrestrials run amok on Earth.
During an interview with me, Bloodgood and Gabriel talked about what attracted them to the series and whether or not they think they could survive a real-life alien attack.
Falling Skies premieres Sunday, June 19 at 8 p.m. on TNT.
Is the sci-fi genre something you feel fits your style and personality?
Moon Bloodgood: Yeah, I do tend to do a lot of science fiction. I really love it. Maybe I understand the material better when I go out for the auditions. I also think when you start doing science fiction you start getting called in for more science fiction. Or maybe I just look like the future because I am half-Asian, mixed.
Seychelle Gabriel: Sci-fi really wasn’t my thing. It’s funny because all these things I started doing were cool fantasy-type projects. For me, I love it. I get to put myself in these amazing worlds.
Moon, you’ve done TV before and have unfortunately been on a couple of shows that were cancelled. Did you worry about coming back after staring in short-lived shows like Daybreak and Journeyman?
MB: Yes, there was some trepidation going into another TV show. I had actually turned a couple of them down. Film just seemed a little easier. But when you get a call that the TV show is produced by Steven Spielberg and you’re being offered the part you certainly take notice. But yes, I was a little worried. It always breaks my heart when a show doesn’t work out. I think it has really made me grow up and have a really level head about how things work in the industry.
So, what drew you to the character Anne Glass?
MB: I don’t even know that it was so much about my character as much as it was about who I’d get to be working with and the quality of the story I read. I really liked the story of the family. The first episode is about a family trying to keep normalcy. We’re trying to keep the situation as human as possible all the while knowing there is an alien invasion and life as we know it is completely different.
Seychelle, tell me about your character Lourdes.
SG: Lourdes is a really strong girl. She lost her family when all the aliens attacked so you meet her after she has been by herself for six months. She has developed her own life with the other survivors and has gotten really close with Anne. She finds a sort of mother-type relationship with her.
Did working on this TV series ever make you think about what you would do if an alien invasion ever happened in real life? Would you survive?
SG: It’s definitely something that is hard to imagine. I think I have some good ideas on how I would survive, but I’m not even sure if I would know where to start. If something like that were to happen I think you’d be just thrown into everything with people you don’t even know.
MB: As I get older I realize I wouldn’t be as courageous as I would like to think I would be. I’d like to think I’d be as strong as my character but I would be a big mess, crying and hiding from the aliens.
What was it like getting up close to some of the alien models on set?
SG: The first time I saw one of the alien models I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I was like, “This is why we’re all doing this!” I remember standing there and my body went into this survival instinct mode. I wanted to back away even though I knew it was not real.
Were you like, “Hey, I thought Spielberg aliens were supposed to look as cute as E.T.!”
SG: (Laughs) They do have an E.T quality with their skin and their heads and their bodies. When you get up close it almost looks like our skin. The skin is flesh colored, but it’s crumpled up and weird and really gross.
MB: It was the first time I had ever worked with puppeteers before. I had never worked with an alien that wasn’t on green screen. It was something that was right in front of me – something tangible.
Moon, I’m guessing because of the physical nature of some of your movie roles you are going to get a chance to fight some of the aliens?
MB: Yeah, at some point I get to go toe-to-toe with an alien. That was interesting because you’re acting with something that is not speaking back to you. Sometimes it was with a guy that didn’t have the alien suit on, but other times you really have to use your imagination. But I definitely have a scene with an alien that is very interesting.
Both of you are biracial. Seychelle, you are part Mexican, French and Sicilian and Moon, you are half-Korean. Is there a part of your culture you feel closer to?
SG: If I had to pick I’d probably say Mexican a little more. My grandma has really held onto her Mexican family roots. She is actually someone who helped me understand Lourdes. My grandmother is someone I really look up to.
MB: I’m super proud of being Korean, even more than some of my friends who are full Korean. I love the food. I’ve been to Korea five times although I struggle to speak the language. My mom is someone who survived the Korean War and I feel a lot of pride from her and her work ethic and personal integrity. Being Korean is something I always broadcast.
Moon, there are so many new sci-fi shows each season. What makes Falling Skies something you think will break though and find the audience it needs to survive?
MB: I think what makes it a good show is the way it’s executed. It focuses on the human will and our ability to rise even in the worst circumstances. The show is not just about aliens. It’s about our own humanity.