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Fringe at the Paley Center: A Panel of the Show's Actors and Producers Discuss Human Drama Through Science Fiction

John Noble, Anna Torv, Akiva Goldsman and J.H. Wyman
John Noble, Anna Torv, Akiva Goldsman and J.H. Wyman
Dianne Garcia

I admit that I only began to watch Fringe the day I attended An Evening with Fringe at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills last night, and this panel was definitely geared towards fans of Fox's sci-fi show, with words such as "Fauxlivia", "parallel universe" and "dopplegangers" thrown around casually.

But I'm not new to the sci-fi genre and it's easy to quickly pick up on Fringe's themes and its universe. It's also easy to become emotionally invested -- after five episodes, I was already about to burst into tears after tragedy hits one of the main characters (no spoilers!).

During the panel, which followed a screening of the "Entrada" episode from season three, the love and mutual respect between the fans and the people who work on the show were obvious. Even Anna Torv, who plays Olivia Dunham, explained that when a fan comes up to her, the questions are about the show, not her. "The show is the star," she said.

J.H. Wyman, Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinker
J.H. Wyman, Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinker
Dianne Garcia

John Noble, who plays Dr. Walter Bishop, charmed and joked his way through the evening, quipping that fans always call him out by his character's name -- "Walter! Walter!" -- before they proceed to ask him questions such as, in his words, "What pastry do I like best?" Akiva Goldsman, a director and consulting producer on the show, told us that his own pharmacist "would write Fringe on the back [of my receipts] with a ballpoint pen so it cuts through the paper...every week! I love him!"

Though the panelists evaded many questions to not spoil the upcoming fourth season, the interaction throughout the night was lighthearted. At one point, the moderator, KROQ and Hollywood Babble-On's Ralph Garman, briefly brought up the topic of the mysterious man from season three that Torv's character, Olivia, had said might be the man who will cause her death. Even Torv herself sat up straight in her chair and asked executive producer J.H. Wyman, "Are we going to see him again?" The answer was a simple yes without any further elaboration. An audience member shouted out if the man was a "good guy or a bad guy" to which Wyman playfully answered, while gesturing at Torv, "Well, he's going to kill her..."

Part of the show takes place within an alternate universe, so Noble and Torv get to play their characters from two completely different realities. Noble, with a sly smile, described the process to be like the difference between "Saturday night and Sunday morning." He added, "It's such a gift to be able to do that to take the same characters and take them to different places...and show them in different stages and different developments...I don't find it difficult at all, I love it."

"It's also trying to find that subtle difference," Torv explained. "Olivia very much wants to be the best and Fauxlivia [her doppelganger in the alternate universe] wants to win...and you can kind of see that you get to the same place that way."

John Noble, Anna Torv, Akiva Goldsman, J.H. Wyman, Jeff Pinker and Ralph Garman
John Noble, Anna Torv, Akiva Goldsman, J.H. Wyman, Jeff Pinker and Ralph Garman
Dianne Garcia

Garman asked if the writers really knew where the story was going, unlike in a lot of other sci-fi based shows. Jeff Pinker, one of the executive producers, answered that by episode two of the first season, they already had a lot of the bigger ideas planned, and he is confident that viewers of a show can tell if the creators know what they're doing. Goldsman added that people can sense architecture and structure in a story, and when "it's not there, people don't feel safe."

We are all looking forward to season four and let us hope that our universe will win the war -- or at least that we survive and don't get sucked into a wormhole.

Follow Dianne Garcia on Twitter @punkagogo.

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The Paley Center for Media

465 N. Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

310-786-1000

www.paleycenter.org


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