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Mania Interview: Joshua Jackson on Fringe
His thoughts on the pattern and William Bell
By Robert T. Trate
February 11, 2009
Joshua Jackson plays Peter Bishop on Fox’s Fringe airing on Tuesday nights.
© Mania.com/Robert Trate
Fox’s Fringe has been growing in popularity over the past season. Nothing made this more evident than the avid fans at the New York Comic Con this past weekend. For those of you that haven’t tuned it yet there is still time. Fringe, unlike the other J.J. Abrams TV show (cough, LOST), is episodic television. Each week features a self contained story. Think of it as more along the lines of a Sci-Fi/ Horror version of Law and Order than the heavily mythology based X-Files. Not to say that Fringe isn’t building up its own mythology but it is still in its infancy. There’s still time to get addicted and what has transpired so far has been great mixture of horror, drama and comedy portrayed by relatable characters.
A quick premise for the uninitiated is that Special F.B.I. Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) recruits Doctor Walter Bishop (John Noble) to help investigate crimes that are unexplainable scientific curiosities. The problem for Agent Dunham is that Walter has spent nearly two decades in an institution for the criminally insane. Agent Dunham persuades Walter’s son, Peter (Joshua Jackson), into helping her decipher his estranged father’s scientific findings. Walter and Peter need to learn to trust and work with one another in order to help Agent Dunham and the F.B.I.
Joshua Jackson is probably better known for his work on the teen drama Dawson’s Creek. Jackson played Pacey Witter, the wise cracking best friend to James Van Der Beek’s Dawson and object of Katie Holmes’ affection. Fringe marks his return to television in a role that is redefining his career.
Question: They laid the groundwork for some dark medical history for Peter early in the season. Do you know what it is yet?
Joshua Jackson: They keep me in the dark, just like you.
Question: It seems that Walter has performed experiments on Peter. What do you think he has done to him?
Joshua Jackson: Nothing good. I think that Walter has a small human chip missing because he treats all people like meat. And because he knows his son better than anyone else it is meat that he can manipulate more easily. I don’t think that his brain makes the connection between electrocution and child equals bad. I think he thinks electrocution and child equals experiment.
Question: Who do you think William Bell is?
Joshua Jackson: I think William Bell is living inside Astrid (Walter’s assistant played by Jasika Nicole). Remember when you saw Men in Black, that thing that pops open and the guys are inside the head? I think William Bell is one of those (laughs).
Question: Will you and Agent Dunham get together?
Joshua Jackson: Not yet, not soon, maybe I don’t know maybe the other JJ [Abrams] can answer that question.
Question: Have there been any gory moments that have been unsettling?
Joshua Jackson: When you are on set the gory moments aren’t particully disturbing until you watch them on TV and realize then that is disgusting.
Question: Do you have a favorite gory moment?
Joshua Jackson: The thing that I am least proud of having my poor mother watch? Probably it would be having that poor girl’s head exploding in the diner. She is such a nice girl and she is having such a really bad day then all of sudden she is brain soup on a window. My mother calls me and says, “Oh my God Joshua what have you done?” Oh yeah, I loved that one.
Question: What do you think the “pattern” is?
Joshua Jackson: My personal theory is that no one is really that smart. The pattern is Pandora’s Box. We got something kicked off, maybe somebody somewhere down the line thought they were really intelligent and started something with a sequence of events and it ran out of control. The pattern is the danger of man’s hubris. Boy that sounded good (smiles).
Look for Mania’s interview with executive producer Jeff Pinkner has he discusses the comparison to the X-Files and genesis of Porcupine Man. Fringe airs Tuesday nights on Fox with limited commercial interruptions. If you need to catch up or have missed an episode, check out Fringe on Fox on Demand.