Fringe Q&A at ECCC

Panel number two, on day two of ECCC was devoted to Fringe, and featured two members of the cast, John Noble (Walter) and Jasika Nicole (Astrid).

After much joking around, including many digs at Fringe’s resident cow, the panel got into Q&A mode and covered a variety of topics. Actress Jasika Nicole talked a little about her work as an illustrator on her semi-autobiographical comic, High Yella Magic. Both cast members enthused about the special guest appearances with Christopher Lloyd and Leonard Nimoy and what an honour it was to be working with such acting heavyweights.

When asked whether they were pancake or waffle people, both Noble and Nicole responded with pancake. Responding to a question about which episodes were his favourite, John Noble replied that he didn’t have any favourites in particular but always enjoyed the lab scenes with himself, Josh Jackson and Jasika Nicole, as they are the most fun scenes to film.

Another questioner asked if the actors have much say in their character development on the show. John Noble humourously described the many long emails that he sends to the producers in Los Angeles before announcing that the reason that Walter has a mistress on the show was because he asked the producers for one. Jasika Nicole responded that her most memorable moment of having gone “out on a limb” and contacted the producers was during the musical episode, Brown Betty. Initially, everyone had a song but Astrid. However, Nicole contacted the producers and pointed out her own musical theatre background which resulted in Astrid being able to join in the fun.

One questioner asked how the actors handled playing alternate versions of their characters. Jasika Nicole responded by explaining that the versions of Astrid are so polar opposite that it actually isn’t a problem for her. John Noble described some of the different physical character tics that differentiate Walter from Walternate. The cast also hinted strongly about an upcoming Astrid-centric episode, although they weren’t allowed to talk about it.

When asked about the many mysterious elements in Fringe, Noble and Nicole seemed just as baffled as the audience. He did say however, that the producers do read the forums and are paying attention to what the fans want. In addition, Noble assured the audience that in the end everything will be explained. Of course, that’s what they said about Lost!

Both Nicole and Noble seem very confident about the future of Fringe, despite the dreaded Friday-night-death-slot. As Noble put it, they were asked to maintain a certain number of viewers on the Friday night slot and were told that if Fringe was able to do so, they would be okay. Not only has Fringe maintained those numbers but they’ve actually increased their DVR viewing numbers, breaking previous records and hopefully ensuring a bright future for the show.

There were surprisingly few questions regarding Noble’s work on Lord of the Rings in which he portrayed Denethor. However, he did describe the evolution of the famous scene with Denethor gluttonously feasting while his army is being slain by the Orcs. It’s a disturbing scene with the haunting notes of Pippin singing while Denethor crunches on bones and juices slide down his face, inter-cut with scenes of soldiers being slaughtered on the battlefield. Noble revealed that much of what we saw (and heard) in the feasting was created in rehearsals and expressed his joy at how well the scene came together in the end.

And thus the time was up and another panel was over. I have to admit, though I’m not a fan of Fringe myself, this panel certainly made me consider giving it another shot! But first, the Star Trek: TNG panel!