Can you talk about how your character, Peter, gets sucked into this paranormal world on Fringe?
He is drawn in because of his father [a research scientist who’s in a mental institution, played by John Noble]. Fringe isn’t like The X-Files, which dealt with the paranormal. The basis for this show is hard science but taken to a sci-fi level. So at some point earlier in Peter’s father’s life, before he had been institutionalised, he had been conducting these far-out fringe science experiments. His experiments [are now of interest to the FBI] and they need access to him. I get drawn in to break him out of his shell.
J.J. always weaves these complicated and intriguing relationships. How does Peter get along with his team mates?
Well, you just hit the nail on the head. The relationships are very multi-faceted and complicated. Usually, on a TV show, you get the geek, the jock and the hot girl. On this show, each one of these characters is allowed to have many of those facets inside of themselves so the relationships are constantly changing depending on the situation…They’re unusually deep and rich for a TV show or a film actually.
So is Fringe the new X-Files or Lost?
Lost is a thing unto itself. I don’t know if there will ever be a TV show like that again. Even if Fringe has that success or level of engagement with the audience, this isn’t a mystery show. When it comes to Lost, people are obsessed with peeling away the layers and trying to get one step ahead. While there are mysteries inside our show and will certainly be ongoing elements, I don’t know if it replicates the intrigue Lost has.
If you remember at the beginning of X-Files, it was all about Mulder having to find his sister. That was the driving force and then there was all these strange paranormal things happening around them. This isn’t that show. Because it’s science based, taken to the level of science fiction, there will never be the werewolf episode, we will never have a Jigsaw Man unless there is a scientific explanation, which would be a bit of a stretch.