'Falling Skies' Moon Bloodgood on darker tone, sci-fi & zombies

Moon Bloodgood as Anne, courtesy Turner

After doing battle with cyborgs as a tough-as-nails pilot in Terminator Salvation, you’d think Moon Bloodgood would be reluctant to return to a post-apocalyptic , alien invaded world of TNT’s Falling Skies.

But to think that is to misunderstand Bloodgood’s personality. Although she has a varied resume that includes Burn Notice, Journeyman, the video game Darksiders and more, one constant that has seemed to develop in Bloodgood’s career is her selection of strong, typically bad-ass women. The trend continues with her role as Anne Glass, a pediatrician who has to assume responsibilities as a physician and surgeon to a group of human survivors after angry extraterrestrials wipe out 90 percent of the planet’s population.

Although she is something of a field doctor to the humans, and can lend a sympathetic ear to patients - and to potential love interest Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) – Bloodgood’s Anne is not a weak, touchy-feely character. In fact, there is a dark edge residing underneath the good doctor, and in the Season One of the science-fiction show, she was the focus of a particularly violent, gory scene that involved an alien “skitter” in a cage.

When Moon Bloodgood spoke with Paranormal Pop Culture about her character arc in Season Two, premiering June 17 at 9 p.m., she said fans can expect even more growth for the independent, darker Anne. She also added some fascinating ideas about the sci-fi genre, how she’d thrive in a zombie attack and whether aliens (and monsters or ghosts) are among us. After the jump…

Q: Is there anything in particular you’re really excited for fans to see this season?

A: That’s a good question. I can’t say there’s one moment where I’m like, "Ah! When that gets revealed, I can’t wait for people to see it." I feel overall that the show has so many reveals. It’s not like there’s one moment when the whole show shifts … There’s definitely something for me in the finale that happens that I’d be interested to hear people’s perspective on.

Q: As far as your character, you are the voice of humanity in many ways, but yet you really have these cool, dark moments. What’s sort of the emotional arc of your character for this next season?

A: I think, for Anne, the second season is actually more about being empowered. This is now her settling into the fact that, "Okay, I’m the surgeon, I’m certainly not qualified but I’m the most qualified here." I’ve now lost enough lives that I haven’t become numb but I’m certainly more hardened, and more experienced. So I think Anne comes into her own. There’s one episode where Tom and Anne go head-to-head and they get into their first argument. Anne really stands her ground and she really finds her voice. I think her relationship with Lourdes, who’s played by Seychelle Gabriel, is much more nurtured. So the second season is much more about Anne finding her confidence and knowing that, "You know what? I love this man and I’m devoted to him, and I will always be the optimist, but I’m a little more hardened, a little tougher, a little more seasoned."

Q: There seems to be more of a heavy tone casting a shadow over the second season. Is that just your character or is that everybody?

Bloodgood with Wyle, courtesy Turner
A: No, I think that there was a real calculated vision to bring a little more darkness into the second season. I think the stakes are higher; certainly with the storylines with the aliens. They’re much more expansive. The death toll is much higher. Everything is just much more devastating. I think they were trying to pick up the pace and bring the rhythm. The first season we were establishing characters. We were just trying to figure out who we were. The second season was more like, "Okay, we know who we are now, let’s pick this up and really pick up the pace and make it more exciting." We’re never losing sight that this is a show based on characters and stories, first and foremost. But we’re taking more chances, being a little bolder with a lot more darkness, a lot more depravity. So, I feel like it’s a more exciting season.

Q: And yet it is a family sci-fi show. Are there any concerns like, if we go in this direction, might we lose a little bit of that accessible family appeal?

A: Yeah, I think you’re right. This is a family science-fiction show. That’s a perfect way of saying it. I think that they don’t go off the rails. We certainly aren’t trying to be like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. I don’t think they go that dark. I think there’s much more hope and levity, but certainly, they decided to push it a little bit farther. But I don’t think they’re going to alienate families from watching it. I don’t think it’s so dark and destructive that there’s no hope in it. I just don’t think that Steven Spielberg … I just don’t see him as that kind of storyteller.

Q: Well, it’s funny you mentioned Spielberg because, earlier in his career, there were a lot of cute, cuddly aliens - or at least nicer aliens. In the last few years, the aliens have gotten a lot meaner. Do you think that’s just his work, specifically, or represents a tonal shift in how people think of creatures from outer space?

A: Well, I think, that’s a really good observation. From E.T. to Jurassic Park to War of the Worlds where they’re, you know, sucking people’s blood out and spraying it out. I was truly surprised by War of the Worlds. Maybe, I think it could be a couple of things. The technology is much more sophisticated. You can show more now. You don’t use puppets. You can actually make it look more realistic.

But I think that science fiction has become a little darker … You have an animated movie like Wall-E, which is really innocent, and that’s essentially science fiction. Maybe with Spielberg, and I certainly can’t speak on his behalf, but maybe, if you watch Poltergeist … it’s pretty dark. And he had his hand in that, so I think he’s always had a balance of darkness and light. That’s kind of how I see him as a storyteller. And maybe if he does some of the darker stuff for us, he lightens it up for Terra Nova. Or maybe when he does, maybe he needs a little bit of both. Certainly, I have noticed a darker tone also in his science fiction. I think it’s probably because he’s getting excited about working with these special effects. At the end of the day, there’s always an uplifting end to everything we do.

Q: Thinking about those blockbusters - Jaws, Jurassic Park - for a long time the audience doesn’t see the monster. When it’s revealed, that’s still really cool but that’s a two-hour movie where you’re dealing with the shark and then the dinosaur. Is there ever a concern that maybe you’re revealing too much about the alien species too soon? Or that you’re showing your hand a little bit too much?

A: No, because you know what? For me, as someone who loves Jaws - it’s probably one of my favorite movies - I know people say, "always give a little." You know, leave people wanting. I’ve always felt manipulated by that as an audience-goer. I’ve always wanted to know the mechanics of the alien. I always want to see like, how do they eat? Where do they sleep? I always want to know more … I think give them more. Give them more, more, more! It’s just got to be good, because it’s interesting. And I would probably be wrong! If you give more, you probably take away some of that suspense. Jaws works. At the same time, movies that show the aliens the whole time, those work for me as well. People always want to see more. Always, always, always.

Q: As an apocalyptic show, Falling Skies is definitely timed at a really good moment and is part of the zeitgeist. Everybody’s talking about the end of the world in 2012. What is your take on that?

A: This is how I feel: I don’t like conspiracy theories and I don’t think the Mayans thought the world was going to end in 2012. I think that I’m a little more practical, and I don’t like to believe things that almost sound like folktales. But with all the technology that is coming out - and with things like the tsunami that happened in Japan, all the new technology that’s revealing all these things in space - there’s just a collective feeling that things are shifting. I think every generation feels that. They were building bomb shelters in 1950 and thinking the atomic bomb was going to take them out. I think every generation, in a narcissistic way, believes that they are the last generation or that humanity is going to wipe itself out. Like [with] global warming.

But I also think that. And that’s why I think those science fiction shows are so intriguing. Because we can’t possibly, in our rational human minds, think it’s just us. It can’t be. There’s parts of the oceans we can get to and parts of space we can’t see.

Q: Aside from aliens, what science fiction world would you like to step into?

A: I would like to step into Bladerunner. It’s such a sexy world. It’s a really sexy movie. I wouldn’t want to live there forever because it’s very sad. But, yeah, I would like to live in that world where everything sort of looks Asian and you don’t know who’s human and who’s a robot. That would be interesting to me. I wouldn’t want to live long there. I like my human creature comforts now. But that would be a world that would be interesting to me. I love those kinds of movies about the future.

Bloodgood as Anne, courtesy Turner
Q: You deal with aliens, but the flip side might be zombies, so how would you do in that world?

A: I would be really useful if zombies ever attacked. The only thing about zombies is that, I actually find zombies more terrifying than aliens. I think they’re terrifying because they look human. They are because they once were human, and now it’s the worst part of a human. I’m the only person I know, but I liked I Am Legend. I actually find zombies more terrifying than aliens because aliens, they’re not human. You can look at them and easily say in your own conscience, "they’re bad, I can kill them." Zombies – that could have been your mother who tuned into a zombie. 28 Days Later is one of my favorite movies and one of the most horrifying movies to watch.

Q: You actually have an element of that zombie genre in Falling Skies with the harnessed kids.

A: I like that we play up on that. But people put the harnesses on young kids and you don’t know where their loyalty lies. Who are they aligned with? Are they with us or are they with the aliens? And it’s not even their fault. They’re chemically dependent on the aliens and then they get Stockholm Syndrome because they’re being nurtured by these aliens that are taking care of them and helping them survive. We do have an element of that. And that’s actually one of my favorite story lines, the harnesses. Always has been, even in season one.

Q: What is your take on aliens and things from another world?

A: I used to believe a lot more in aliens. This is how I feel: I believe they exist. I don’t think they’re in the capacity we understand them, I don’t think they look the way we think they look. I think they’re probably existing almost like in the movie Contact. I think they live in a parallel universe that we can’t … it’s more Star Trek, which actually I’m a fan of. They live in a parallel universe that we aren’t even aware they’re in. It’s almost like we’re living simultaneously together. I don’t know that we’ll ever see them. I believe in ghosts. I’ve experienced ghosts. So that’s an element of aliens. It’s about the things you can’t explain. And that’s always going to be intriguing to me. But do I think that I’m going to go on a spaceship one day? No, not at all. I will never think that.

But I will always wonder. And if anything, they just found some animal in the water. They call it something. They found it on the East Coast. They found it again on Seal Beach. You should look it up. They say it’s a raccoon. It’s not. It looks like a beast with long spikes, like, in his hands. Like a bird beak face.

Q: You’re referring to the San Diego Demonoid?

A: Yes, that. That comes out of the water. Come on! How do you explain that?