'Fringe' Interview: John Noble Reflects on Playing Multiple Walters
'Fringe' Interview: John Noble Reflects on Playing Multiple Walters
Carla Day
Carla Day
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Throughout Fringe's five seasons, one of the highlights has been watching the actors portray multiple versions of the same character. John Noble was always believable in the various incarnations of Walter. With one look or word, it was clear which version of Walter was on the screen.

Last week, John Noble spoke with reporters about the show and spent some time talking about the role of Walter, the difficulties of the roles, and his favorites.

What's your favorite Walter moment?

I loved it when he was being random, which was probably the original version of him more than anyone else.  I loved doing Walter then and all of the different mental states that we've played in during the time, but when he was being completely random and had very poor social skills.  

I loved the scenes that he played with Peter, the connecting stuff that I played with Josh Jackson over the five years.  Both of us really loved doing that work.  There were so many different aspects of Walter, the comedy and drama and emotion and so forth.  He was a fully-fledged character.  So it's hard for me to say what my favorite one was, but probably--Fringe is essentially a love story and so the scenes where he had close connection with Peter, but also with Anna's character or Jasika's character were very special to me.
Was it hard keeping the different Walters separate in your mind?

Not really, no.  I think the writing was there for me to play and the situations were such that--Look, at times it was tricky. I'll be honest with you, that I didn't drop into the mannerisms of another version of the character, but I guess I was pretty alert to that.  I used to have people on set saying, "Can you keep an eye open for me to make sure I don't do Walter version ... or something?"  And sometimes particularly my camera operators would take five and say, "John, that's the wrong one."  

 Which of the Walter characters was easiest to find in terms of the character's voice? Which was the hardest? And, which one was really the most pure fun?

Going backwards, the pure fun was the original Walter, who was just released from a mental institution and probably shouldn't have been.  He was just fun because he could basically say and do anything and get away with it.

The most difficult Walter was the one that I had to play when there was no Peter in the world.  That was really tricky.  I think it was the beginning of season four.  It was really tricky to play that same character but without the relationship with the son redeeming himself.  He was really quite a--he wasn't a well fellow.  I mean I played him with a lot of OCD attributes.  He really wasn't a very pleasant man.  I found that one the most difficult to play. 

I loved playing Walternate because he was the same character actually, completely the same character, version 1985 and then it developed in such a different way physically and mentally.  So to be able to play that in the same television series as playing the other ones was a fantastic gift to me.

The Fringe two-hour series finale airs on Friday, January 18 at 8 pm ET on FOX.

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(Image courtesy of FOX.)