Doug Jones talks about his role as the alien ally Cochise in Falling Skies Season 3, debuting Sunday, June 9 at 9 PM ET on TNT
One of the new faces on Falling Skies in Season 3 isn't a face you'd recognize, since he's an alien named Cochise. Behind all the visual effects wizardry, though, is Doug Jones, best known for portraying Abe Sapien in Hellboy and The Silver Surver in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, along with countless other roles. Cochise, who comes from an alien race known as the Volm, was introduced at the very end of Season 2, and in the seven months that have passed between Season 2 and Season 3, Cochise has helped the resistance turn the tide in their war against the Espheni aliens. I recently had the chance to sit down with Doug Jones to talk about this mysterious character and much more regarding the upcoming season, debuting Sunday, June 9 at 9 PM ET with "On Thin Ice" and "Collateral Damage".
How much of the early concept drawings of Cochise did you see when you were signing on?
Doug Jones: The first thing I did, my first appointment is always at the creature effects shop. That was at Masters FX here in Los Angeles, and I met with Todd Masters. We're old friends. We go way back to the 80s. I saw conceptual drawings, and I'll always ask to see those, because I can usually gauge how tough this is going to be from the artwork. They had three different versions of Cochise, from different angles. There was thin, medium, and muscly. They hadn't decided how slight he was supposed to be yet. I could tell from the fact that there were three options from every angle, I thought this is going to be a decision-making nightmare, maybe. But, you have everybody at DreamWorks, including Steven Spielberg, and everybody at TNT, then you've got the writers and producers of the show, all making decisions. This is a new character coming in. It's the first time an alien has spoken on the show, who can communicate, and the first one who's presenting himself as an ally. There were a lot of decisions to make, and I applaud them for the amount of work that goes into introducing a new character like this. I could tell, this is going to be quite a process. My make-up fittings started, and they ran the usual casts on my face and body and head and neck. We didn't have a whole lot of time. They shipped me up to Vancouver, and we had to begin shooting in a couple of weeks, and my last fitting was the first day of work. I came onto set thinking, 'Is this going to work? I don't know.' You might see some behind-the-scenes photos from that very first episode of Season 3 with my face cut out. I was wearing the whole alien costume, I had the whole alien bubble-head thing on, but my real Doug Jones face was showing through in the middle, and that was because they hadn't come to a full, conclusive decision on lines and color and contours of the face itself. Someone, somewhere within the chain of command had a problem with how the face looked, so they popped my face off. Once they finally got the design settled upon, by Episode 2, they came back and we had to re-shoot my stuff from Episode 1, because they did it without my face in. They thought it would be cheaper to re-shoot my scenes, rather than doing CG to cover my face. It's quite a process.
How much of Cochise's back story do we get into this season, as far as why he has decided to align himself with the 2nd Mass?
Doug Jones: Well, I'm forbidden from telling you the ultimate, ultimate bottom line of Cochise, and my background in his entirety, but I can say this. The Espheni are the bad guys, and we know that, and we have followed them here to help the Earthlings fight back. The question remains, what motivated that, and what's in it for me? What's in it for the Volm at large to follow them around the universe like this? I'll let that remain a question, but whatever the motivation is, what Cochise was not expecting are the relationships that have grown out of this endeavor. His friendship with Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) is lovely and beautiful, and he wasn't expecting. The 'human spirit' he keeps referring to is, as the Volm, we think we're much stronger than these humans, and we're here to help these poor little weaklings fight off the bad guys. I find that the human spirit has a strength to it that I've never encountered before. That's the interesting part of this whole character, for me, the learning curve he's on.
The Volm think they're just going to come in and save the day.
Doug Jones: Of course we are, yeah. Much like the Espheni in Season 1 and Season 2, we didn't know how much fight these Earthlings had in them. That's why they have to up their weapons, and that's why the MegaMechs are introduced in Season 3 as well. They weren't expecting the technical know-how and the weapon building that the humans were able to do.
Doug Jones: Great question, because the humans have had a very bad history with aliens. They've never met one they could trust, and they've never met one that wasn't dangerous and wanted them dead. Cochise, and the Volm that he brings with them, seem trustworthy and seem like they want to help, but watch Cochise through the eyes of Dan Weaver (Will Patton) and John Pope (Colin Cunningham). They're the naysayers, but you may want to listen to their opinion every now and then too, and not just Tom Mason (Noah Wyle). They're the ones saying, 'Why is he here? Can we trust him?' If you keep tabs, you'll get a better idea of Cochise if you listen to all the characters that are watching him.
That's my time. Thanks so much, Doug. It was a real pleasure.
Doug Jones: Thank you.