Since Fox's latest hit, "Sleepy Hollow," comes from "Fringe" executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, it shouldn't be surprising that they signed up one of their former stars for an extended run on their new show.
John Noble, who brilliantly played the eccentric, broken, adorable and sweet Walter Bishop on "Fringe," was originally asked by the producers to appear in the "Sleepy Hollow" pilot. That didn't happen, but Kurtzman and Orci found a way to include him in another role: mystery man Henry Parrish.
The actor spoke to HuffPost TV about the similarities between Henry and Walter, working with Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie, his return to "The Good Wife" and how "Sleepy Hollow" might just be the most perfect show on television.
What can you tell us about your character?
John Noble: It's interesting that the episode's called "The Sin Eater." It introduces this character of Henry Parrish, who's a reluctant sort of saviour, but he has this ability to remove evil from a person. Even though he doesn't want to, he's called into action, basically to save Ichabod's life, and he does. So that's our first introduction and we establish a relationship. We can see that there's some sort of chemistry between him and Ichabod.
What do you find so unique about Henry Parrish?
He's really a complex, multi-layered character. When I did Walter Bishop, the great joy of him was the layers he had and it gave me so much room to play with the psychological levels of the character. And Henry is the same. And what I've been told by the writers, that's what we'll see as time goes by. That makes going to work a joy for me, to play with these complex characters, that's the main thing.
You mentioned that your new character's got a lot of layers, a bit like Walter Bishop. How different is Henry from Walter? Is Henry also quite eccentric?
Yeah, absolutely, but not in the same way. He doesn't have that extreme range that Walter had, the sort of mentally damaged character that he was. From what I know, I don't see that type of range. He's a mystery man and I think as time goes on, there are revelations that'll be quite a shock to the other characters and to the audience. That's great fun to play. But he's not as crazy as Walter was.
Could you elaborate on your role as a "saviour?"
Tom's character has been kidnapped and he's about to lose his life. They realize there's only one way that they can possibly save him so Nicole's character goes and finds this old dude -- me -- and she somehow works out that he has special powers. He's incredibly reluctant to speak to her, to help her find Tom. He basically saves the life of Ichabod Crane in the episode, hence the term "saviour."
Will Parrish be in quite a few episodes?
Yeah. I'm going to do three more this season, and probably be back next year. Quite a lot.
Do you enjoy guest spots on "Sleepy Hollow" and "The Good Wife" after being on "Fringe" for five seasons?
I'm actually in the process of shooting a guest on "Good Wife" this week. I'm working with Julianna Margulies and Josh Charles, I know them, they're great actors, so that's a joy in itself. It can be difficult doing guests. The one with "Sleepy Hollow" is more than a guest. It's not like a one-off where you come in and your job there is to serve as the plot device. There's a growth in this one. Sometimes guest-acting can be very difficult and in the past I've found that it's tricky, but it's been great.
You're going to be on more episodes this season, and next season as well? Do you know how much your character will interact with the other actors?
I only know the scripts I've read. Up to this point, the main work is with Nicole and Tom.
Can you talk more about working with Nicole Beharie and how that experience was?
She's such a pro, she's so prepared. It's very easy to engage very quickly at quite a deep level with actors who are prepared. She's gifted, that goes without saying, I enjoyed her very much. And I really am looking forward to doing more work with her as well. I just got a sense we'll probably develop something very special, I don't know, that's just a guess at this stage. We had quite an interesting chemistry and that was based on what we've already done. I have great respect.
What do you find special about "Sleepy Hollow"?
What's amazing me about it is that it feels like the perfect combination of all the favourite genres. It's fantasy, and it's science-fiction, and it's horror and it's historical and it's also almost a procedural, in a sense. The writing comes together incredibly cleverly and the look of the show is fantastic. It seems to be working really wonderfully at this stage.
What was your favourite moment of the episode?
The favourite moments, believe it or not, are the first time the character's exposed. No one has any idea who this character is and in this situation, it's a knock on the door. I haven't seen the footage but I imagine it's just going to be one eye looking out through the door and that's kind of a creepy good moment. I only had two scenes in the episode, but they were two really big scenes. Both were beautifully written so I enjoyed it. But, really, the first introduction is my favourite moment.
What do you like to watch?
I watch an awful lot of documentaries and science shows. I watch "The Good Wife," I have to say, and that's not just because I'm on it at the present. [Laughs]
What has been your experience going from one really big fan show to another?
It's like getting lightning in a bottle twice. I know that there's a crossover between these two shows, and the creators Roberto and Alex are the common link. And I know just from talking to fans over so many years going back to "Lord of the Rings" through to "Fringe," that there is a huge crossover within this fantasy area, so I felt very comfortable and very fortunate to have a stable base that I know enjoy this work.
Do you interact with Headless at all, and what's the relationship like with him and Ichabod?
I'm not going to say too much about it except, as time goes by, we'll see a relationship develop between Henry and Ichabod which kind of feels like a father-son relationship. There will certainly be a relationship between Henry and Ichabod. As for the Headless Horseman, I'm not sure yet. I've not yet discussed that with the writers but who knows? Probably. [Laughs]
"Sleepy Hollow'"s "The Sin Eater" airs Monday, Nov. 4 at 9 p.m. ET on Global in Canada and Fox in the U.S.
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