ABC’s “Lost” exemplified the cool bad-ass when it introduced the world to Josh Holloway’s Sawyer character.
But while Colin Cunningham is lacking the chiseled jaw and the long blond locks, he could very well be the latest coolest bad-ass, as his character of John Pope is set to light up yet another season of “Falling Skies” on TNT.
“I never intended him to be cool,” Cunningham recently told Alpha Waves Radio. “I didn’t show up and say, ‘I want to play someone cool.’ You play these guys as honestly as you can.”
Pope, he said, is “very enthusiastic, has a lot of passion, and he’s just really into what he’s doing,” Cunningham said. “But he doesn’t really think a whole lot of anybody but himself, and that’s what makes him interesting.”
Cunningham joined the cast in June 2011 for “The Armory,” and has been a character that fans haven’t been able to live without since. Pope was introduced as a bad guy, the leader of a post-apocalyptic gang with the goal of simply killing as many Skitters — the alien invaders — as he could. He actually held some members of the 2nd Mass, the resistance group the series focuses on, trying to barter for weapons and a vehicle, but he failed.
He has since been integrated into the 2nd Mass, but the transition has been far from smooth.
“He always speaks the truth, he’s always the one who is the most rational and the one making sense,” Cunningham said. “He’s the one pointing out the elephant in the room when everyone else is burying their heads in the sand.”
Cunningham is a popular character actor, especially when it comes to genre programming. He played a professor in a 1996 episode of “The Outer Limits,” took on three different characters in a one-year span on “The X-Files,” played the fun character Tripp in “The Sixth Day” with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and had a recurring role as Major Paul Davis in “Stargate SG-1” and “Stargate: Atlantis.”
He’s also appeared in “Smallville,” “Dark Angel,” “Sanctuary,” “Eureka” and “The 4400” among others. Yet, fans might have a hard time placing him in specific roles. But that’s the way he likes it, gaining inspiration from other good character actors like Lon Chaney and Gary Oldman.
“I’m not a big fan of my own face,” Cunningham said. “I once heard John Lennon hated the sound of his voice. I’m kind of like that with my own appearance, and if I cannot look like me, then I am a happy guy.”
And while Cunningham may not be afraid to have fun with his castmates on the cold Vancouver sets and locations where “Falling Skies” is filmed, he still takes his work quite seriously.
“I’m an actor, not a star,” he said. “Stars have heart-shaped swimming pools. I like to show up and do my own thing and have a good time.”
You can hear the full interview with Cunningham as well as co-star Drew Roy, who plays Hal Mason in the series, on this week’s “Falling Skies” special of Alpha Waves Radio, the official podcast for Airlock Alpha and the Genre Nexus websites. Listen to a free streaming version of the show right now at AlphaWaves.Podbean.com, or subscribe to the show for free at Apple’s iTunes Store.
You can also hear some thoughts on Season 2 from stars Noah Wyle and Moon Bloodgood.
“Falling Skies” premieres its second season June 17 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.