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Connor Jessup – Falling Skies Interview
I was fortunate enough to spend some time interviewing Connor Jessup, who plays Ben Mason on the new TNT hit Falling Skies. We caught up about becoming an actor and what being on the show has been like for him.
This young, up and coming star, Connor Jessup is one of the stars of the hit sci fi show, “Falling Skies” produced by Steven Spielberg. The show follows a group of survivors and civilians in the aftermath of a terrifying alien attack. The story picks up 6 months after the attack on humanity with the remaining humans fighting to survive. Jessup’s character is one of the only people to be kidnapped by the aliens. With brilliant acting and natural talent, Jessup is making a name for himself as one the hottest stars to hit our televisions.
Boomtron: I’ve been watching Falling Skies, which is fantastic, but I am curious: when and why did you decide to work in the film industry?
Connor Jessup: I started acting when I was 11 years old. I was really into drama when I was younger but as I got older I was kind of turned off from it. I spent a lot of time when I was younger in drama groups as well, which was fun. Then when I was 11 a lot of my friends were auditioning for commercials and I asked my parents if I could too. They let me and I’ve been acting ever since.
So, you’ve been acting, writing, directing, producing and editing films since age 11. Where do you get your inspiration?
I grew up film watching. When I was growing up we watched a lot of films. And books too. We just lived in a very creative environment. My parents aren’t in the business but they are very encouraging. When I was 11 or 12 though I really started watching films on my own volition, ones that I wanted to watch. I just really love movies and anything film related I could get my hands on.
A lot of your short films are about young teens trying to find meaning, trying to get meaning out the world around them. Do you gather from personal experiences?
I get my inspiration really from stories more than personal experiences. I really liked coming of age stories. You know, young kids or boys coming of age in unusual situations. Also a lot of 80’s movies such as Spielberg’s E.T.. And not just movies, books too. Like Lord of The Flies. I think that kids are in such a transitory period by nature that is interesting to explore those stories.
I know you’re busy with Falling Skies but can we expect any major movie roles for you anytime soon?
Well I have the indie film Bye Bye Blackbird, which is premiering next year. Falling Skies just got picked up for a second season so I am going to be spending a lot of time on that. That’s really what I’m mainly going to be doing.
Why did you decide to audition for Falling Skies? Did you hear about the script or did someone seek you out?
I have an agent who sends me scripts and this one came across my computer. At the time it wasn’t called Falling Skies it was just labeled “Untitled Steven Spielberg Alien invasion Project.” I didn’t really know what it was but it is rare to get an audition from someone with such a pedigree. And because of his involvement we figured everyone was going to audition. But in the fall of 2009 I auditioned and I got that and then 6 months later I got a second audition, which was more exciting.
You play Noah Wyle’s son, Ben. How is it working with such an established actor?
Noah is awesome. I love him so much! He is incredibly experienced. But he is also just naturally talented. He is always interesting and useful when it comes to working with him. I learn so much from him and not just about acting but about how to be an actor. He is really kind and we spend a lot of time between takes talking. You can see how talented he is on the screen. And I really love the whole cast. They are all great to work with.
In the show the aliens have enslaved you. Were those scenes hard to film?
It’s actually easier, I think. Not having the actual aliens there actually lends itself to the acting more. And there is some authentic stuff, too, like I am actually strapped into the harness when we film those scenes. Those scenes were the dirtiest. I would come home just covered in dirt.
What can you tell us about what happens to a child who gets kidnapped by the aliens?
Ahh, I can’t say much because my hands are tied. But I can say it will be revealed soon. What happens to the children is very important to the show. It ties into the story line. It is a big part when it comes to what the show is about.
I know you can’t say much but can the audience expect Ben to be rescued anytime soon or is this going to be a continuing storyline?
Once again I can’t say much because my hands are tied, but I can say that they won’t stop trying to rescue him. It is the foremost objective for my dad and brother on show, to get me back. This is going to be the central story arc for the season.
Editor’s note: Be sure to hop over to BSCkids for the companion interview with Maxim Knight, who plays younger brother Matt Mason on Falling Skies. And if you’re new to the series or just looking for someone to argue about it with, you can check out our reviews of the first few episodes here!