io9 Talks To John Noble About Playing Science Fiction's Weirdest New Character

Big-brained lunatic Walter Bishop from the new Fox series Fringe is my new favorite science fiction character. Lacing through his science-heavy dialogue are some hilarious did-he-just-say-that moments that actor John Noble expertly delivers. His idiot savant attitude is both scary and endearing, and you don't know if he's going to bark at you or curl up in a little ball. At the New York Television Festival, we got an exclusive interview with the man who pulled of the "I just pissed myself" line, and asked him about his take on Fringe's number one bad guy — science — and if Walter is ever going to save the day. And it turns out Noble's all pumped up to get into some fisticuffs.Here are some more clips from upcoming Fringe episodes which aired last night, including some brilliant Walter moments involving seat-warmers and a friend in a jar: You may remember John Noble as Denethor the ruined King from Lord Of The Rings, who tried to light his passed out son on fire. At the Fringe panel, Noble was the highlight of the evening, telling fans he was hoping for a Fringe episode that would star just him and the cow. And in io9's exclusive interview he was just as charming as we'd hoped. I now firmly believe Fringe needs to have a cow/Walter spin off. What do you think about Walter? He's slowly becoming a fan favorite out of the Fringe series. I'm very fond of him because he's a fun character to play. Anything goes with Walter. He goes from being very disturbing and quite cruel to very charming and then totally vulnerable. It's a beautiful ratio of emotions to play. He can do anything, because his strength is different and nothing is out of bounds. You get to say the most complicated stings of dialogue. What is the most science intense scene you've had to memorize dialogue for? I have huge slabs of dialogue that I have to memorize with all of the chemical terms. I don't know what the most complicated scene is but there's been quite a few of them. What I have to do is go on the internet and find out what it means and then how to pronounce it. I got this list of how to pronounce these things in American English. It's interesting research. Was there research that you were fascinated by that you discovered through Fringe? I've been a reader of science and supposed science, even read a lot on String Theory for quite a number of years. So this was like heaven for me to be able to actually step into an area where there are so many possibilities. I believe that probably everything is possible but I also believe that we don't know how to do it yet. If you look at the advances we've made in 20 years, the internet has only just started for goodness sakes, how extraordinary is the world that we live in. Imagining the possibilities is one of the spokes of the show and I do, and I can run with it. It's fascinating. The producers have touched on the idea that a lot of the developments that are happening in science on Fringe are ethically wrong. Do you think about that? I think the show really builds on ethics all of the time. Especially what these men [Walter and his government buddies in the 70s] have done... it's unethical. It's not acceptable in normal society, so they did it undercover. So are you saying that Science is the bad guy in Fringe? Science is never the bad guy. Science is brilliant and it must be beautiful and exquisite the applications of it. And I didn't say that. It was Albert Einstein.


As of right now, Walter is playing more of a behind the scenes role, he's telling everyone else what to do but not kicking ass just yet. Are we going to see Walter kick some bad-scientist butt? I don't know. I don't know. I certainly think that Walter is capable of that type of behavior, but I haven't seen it yet. I've been talking to the stunt master and saying, "Can I have a fight please?" I love all of that stuff. I'd love it. How are you going to top the "I just pissed myself" line? That was my favorite part of the pilot for Fringe. I don't know It was a beauty, wasn't it? "It's just a squirt." It's classic, it was so simple and a such a poignant line. I think it's becoming a favorite. That and "let's make some LSD." people are saying oh my god I love those lines. I have some more good lines, but you'll just have to wait and see what they are.

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