I recently got the chance to talk to Bruce Gray about his role in new TV series – ‘Falling Skies’. Here, Bruce talks about the show, what it was like working with the cast and crew and how he got into acting in the first place…
Hey Bruce. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me – ‘Falling Skies’ will be coming to UK TV screens pretty soon.
What’s the general premise of the TV series?
Aliens have taken over the planet and have disrupted our infrastructure, principally our computers. Therefore we are unable to mobilize or communicate with one another. This situation forces the survivors of the alien invasion to return to more primitive ploys to solve basic issues like food and survival against a superior force.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the series and how he progresses throughout…
“Uncle Scott” is a bit of a “McGiver” character, one who can fashion a piece of equipment from “two paper clips and a rubber band.” Because of his age, he has skills in order to fix a carburetor, a ham radio, build explosives; skills that the others lack. “It takes a village,” seems to be the message of the writers.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I was vacationing in Toronto, and got an audition for a two-line part: an 83-year-old garage mechanic. (I don’t know which offended me more). I initially turned it down, but the agent persuaded me to re-consider.
The project has Steven Spielberg onboard as Executive Producer and stars Maxim Knight, Noah Wyle and Moon Bloodgood – what was it like working with them on-set?
Noah is the consummate professional, and the leader of the troop both on and off screen. He started off as the new kid on ER and now is the Big Cheese on our show. A lovely man. Beautiful Moon and I went to the same acting class together. Will Patton and I have both worked with actress Kathy Baker and have that in common. And the rest of the gang share an enthusiasm for the project that is truly inspiring,
If the Earth got invaded by aliens – would you hide or fight?
It guess it would depend on the circumstances. I am not a fighter by nature. But if I had to, I could be a demon. Try cutting me off on the Freeway and see what reaction you get!!!!
Let’s talk a bit about you Bruce. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I earned an MA in Psychology but loathed my first job in the profession: market research for the Guinness Beer people. I went into the theatre almost by accident. In fact I started acting in England as the juvenile lead at the Theatre Royal in Bath in 1962. We did 14 plays in 14 weeks. I even have a poster in my office from that engagement.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
People think that you can make it on talent and looks alone. The greater assets would be persistence, ambition and luck. But most of all, I would say: You have to have money handled. If you don’t, you won’t last. Finally, my one thought to a young actor is “Don’t let a day go by wherein your don’t do something about your career, your money (not the same thing) and your body.”
You’ve had a career stretching back a good 40, 50 years….which actors / directors would you say have helped you develop, or given you great advice?
Every single one of them. Even the bastards teach you a terrible, but useful lesson. Everything is a learning experience. Ignore it at your own peril. I personally have found it invaluable and still to be a part of acting classes.
Personally, which roles have been your favourite to play? Do any characters stand out?
I loved playing George in ‘Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?’. We toured the USA in 1989 and then took it to the USSR, just before the collapse. A life changing experience.
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?
I am deeply concerned for the Lybian rebels and their fight to ouster the wretched Kaddafi.
What does a Bruce Gray day usually consist of?
I do a lot of directing on the stage these days. At the moment I am working on Agatha Christie’s ‘Spider’s Web’. I volunteer at a local elementary school for half the year as well. I have a trainer to keep me fit, and I go for long walks around Lake Hollywood. Dinners with friends is essential. The days are full to the point of overflowing, which is exactly how I like it.
What’s coming up for you in 2011?
Waiting to hear if ‘Falling Skies’ is picked up for season two.
Thanks for the interview!