SEASON 4 - EPISODE 4 "THE ENEMY WITHIN"
Written by: Raven Metzner
Directed by: Bill Eagles
SPOILER ALERT: THERE ARE SPOILERS WITHIN - IF SPOILERS CAUSE YOU TO DEVOLVE INTO A BARELY HUMAN CREATURE - STOP READING NOW!
The fourth episode of our fourth season begins to unite our heroes. David Eick and writer Raven Metzner were looking to move the character relationships down the road – Anne is challenged as she learns about Lexi and the overlord and comes into conflict with Lexi. The writers wanted to explore her maternal instincts in conflict with her sense of the safety of the group.
They also wanted to explore what had begun to be set up in the ghetto story – showing how Hal is becoming a leader in his own right. Noah had advocated that Tom should begin to see and promote his son as a leader. He knew that Tom would be in conflict, because he still, in his heart, longs for the safety of his boys above all else – but he also knows that Hal is proving himself. That is why he gave him the big responsibility of getting the citizens out of the ghetto – and he gave himself the more perilous job of leading the skitters astray. Noah and Drew had several conversations about how they thought their characters would approach the changing dynamics between them.
The hardest story of the week, for Will Patton and for all of us, was the discovery that Jeanne Weaver had been transformed into a skitterized human. I’ve told the story before of how Will was involved in casting Laci J Mailey in the first place. He was at her final callback and read the audition scenes with her. Over the last two years Will grew very attached to her. Besides that, Laci is an out-and-out doll – a hard worker and a very committed, very emotion-based actor. When she found out she was going to die in the episode, she was sad, but resolute. She figured that sooner or later this was going to happen to her character.
What I think was fun and interesting for her was the makeup FX that Todd Masters and company applied. She had to go in several weeks in advance and get a full body cast made. Then, on the three days her character worked, she had a 3 to 4 hour session to get into the makeup, before filming could begin. I think, for her it was an intense experience.
You know, we are up to the fourth episode and I haven’t talked much yet about the most significant new cast member we’ve added in a while – Scarlett Byrne as the adult Lexi. As many readers of this blog predicted, Lexi’s destiny was to age to late teens/early twenties this season. Before the season began, but after we had at least a broad strokes idea of where Lexi’s character would be going this year – we threw out a wide net in search of young actresses to play the part. We, literally searched on every continent and every English-speaking country.
I didn’t personally see every entry, the casting directors we had in Los Angeles (working with other casting directors in Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, London, Sydney, Melbourne, South Africa, and I’m sure other cities) did. But myself and the producers at Dreamworks and Mr. Eick did see the first cuts – about 25 young ladies.
Amongst ourselves we narrowed it down to 7 or 8 favorites. As I remember it, there were two women from LA, one from New York, one from Atlanta (I think?) one from Toronto, two from London and one from Melbourne. These we reviewed and discussed amongst ourselves at length. We agreed that we needed to narrow it down to 2 or 3 – and that these we would have re-read with me giving them some direction – and that these would go to TNT to narrow it down to the winner.
I remember that between the time she put herself on tape, and when we wanted to re-tape her with direction, one of the gals had gotten married and was on her honeymoon in Hawaii. I ended up talking to the poor thing in the hotel and the casting directors got one of the shows that shoots in Hawaii (Hawaii 5-O, I think?) to tape her.
What I liked about Scarlett , from the beginning, was that there was something special and other-worldly about her. Plus, I believed if you morphed Noah Wyle and Moon Bloodgood together you could get her.
I got on a Skype call with her, and had a lengthy conversation with her about the character and the series. Scarlett hadn’t been that familiar with FALLING SKIES at that time, but between her first read and her callback she had quickly watched a few episodes. I found her bright and curious and liked that she asked smart questions.
One thing I remember, as I discussed the re-tape and what emotions I wanted her to hit, was – she had taped the audition with an American accent, but during my conversation she was speaking with her natural British accent. I told her – “When you re-tape, even in the introductory part where you are saying your name, and so on, only use an American accent.” Her American accent was strong and I didn’t want people to prejudice against her. When she taped, what she did, that I thought was smart was – not only did she use a USA accent, she had the person who was reading off-camera do the same. “Very smart” I thought, and she got another check in my personal positive column.
The fates went Scarlett's way. There was some internal debate, but I think the choice for her was pretty-much unanimous. A bonus, which I hadn't been aware of at first was that she's played Pansy Parkinson in the last few HARRY POTTER movies. Of course, this makes her a celebrity, especially with younger people, wherever she goes.
Coincidentally our director on this one, Bill Eagles, was also a Brit. When we put together the schedule, I didn’t know any of the directors who were available for the fourth episode. Based on resumes, I got several DVD’s of episodes from shows that were relevant or similar to “FALLING SKIES.” Bill had done several episodes of the CineMax show, “Strike Back.” I thought the directing on these shows was very exciting – and so Bill was hired.
It’s always a bit of a crapshoot working with a new director in TV. Even if they are very good, they may not fit with your show. But, I was very pleased that Bill came in on day one really knowing the show, and taking command. He was very organized and in control throughout prep as well. As prep on this one went on, he continued to handle the complications that came up smoothly, and when
|Will & Noah|
|Director Bill Eagles|
|Scarlett and the Monk|
|Noah Wyle on set|
|At lunch on set|
|Hanging out in the cast tent|
|Drew and Treva study the script together|
|Tessa our 3rd ADgets Volm love|
|Wait! Is the new "Beeman's Blog" out?|
|Collin Cunningham and newcomer Mira Sorvino|