The "Fringe" finale is drawing closer, and as we start to emotionally prepare ourselves for the end, it's encouraging to know that the show's stars are trying to do the same.
The Huffington Post caught up with Seth Gabel earlier in the week, and as well as discussing his villainous new character on The CW's "Arrow" and his lead role in the intense war film "Allegiance" (released Dec. 28 in New York and Los Angeles, available on VOD now), we couldn't help but slip in a few questions about the end of Fox's sci-fi drama.
Read on for Gabel's thoughts on bidding farewell to "Fringe" and why "Allegiance" is the kind of war film "you've never seen before."
I know that you recently attended the "Fringe" 100th episode party for the end of the series. How was that experience of going back and catching up with everyone?
It was an incredible finish. I joined the show at the end of Season 2 as a guest star, and then recurred in Season 3, and then became a regular in Season 4. So it was very interesting for me to be at the end with everyone when I wasn’t necessarily there at the beginning. But what was profound was that I really felt like a part of the family, and it was a really beautiful experience overall. We’re all just so grateful that the show got to last as long as it did, and that they got the chance to actually complete the story in a way that’s going to satisfy the audience.
I've definitely missed Lincoln this season. I'd love to know how he and Fauxlivia are doing Over There.
Yeah, I miss both Lincolns. It was fun playing two versions of myself.
Let's talk about "Allegiance" and how you came to be involved?
I got a call from my agent asking if I was interested in meeting with the director and reading the script, to which I replied, “Of course.” And I read the script and I really felt like it was a war film that we’ve never seen before. And it took place in the days leading up to this National Guard unit being called up to go to Iraq when they had no expectation of ever having to do so. So when I met with Mike Connors, the director, and Sean Mullin, the producer, and talked to them about it and found out that that was their experience and that this film was a reflection of what they went through, I was immediately hooked.
I’m really excited to be a part of the film because the entire film is almost entirely financed, produced, directed and written by veterans of the wars in Iraq. There are green berets and Navy SEALs involved, and national guardsmen and just a real authentic experience. And from the top to the bottom it’s told from their perspective and all relates to true stuff they went through.
Can you tell us a bit about your character, Lieutenant Danny Sefton?
I play a lieutenant in the National Guard, and I’m questionably transferred out of my unit just before I was supposed to ship off to Iraq. And one of my soldiers, a medic played by Bow Wow, comes to me and asks me to help him go AWOL so that he can see his dying son one last time. And so that kind of pulls me back in to caring about this unit and needing to help this soldier, and really questioning whether or not I made the right decision in leaving these guys. So as the movie’s happening I’m trying to figure out how to help him escape from the base, and ultimately I have to choose between the loyalties to him, and to my fiancée and family that I’m building, and my country and the fellow soldiers that I’m working with.
I loved that there was no attempt to demonize any of the characters. Everyone is morally justified in the decisions they make, and it's very much about the shades of gray, rather than everything being simplistic black and white, right and wrong.
Yeah, it’s up to our audience members to decide morally what you think is right. And at the end of the day, for these characters it’s not about right or wrong. It’s just about kind of honoring yourself and the people you love.
What do you think you would've done in that situation?
It’s really difficult because I have a wife, and I have children, and the idea of going to war for something that I may believe in or may not believe in, I would normally think, “OK, no I don’t want to do that. I want to stay and be with my family. My children need me more than anything else.” But then when you’re in a situation where there are people counting on you, and you are able to be a good leader to those people ... then it really becomes a tossup as to what’s more important. You can make things happen now and save some lives now, or do you abandon those people to fight for something else, which are the values of your family? It’s a real dilemma, and I think the movie addresses that well.
What was your biggest takeaway from filming the movie?
I don’t know. It’s really difficult for me to process because it was such an intense experience. But the big takeaway was that I really enjoyed it, and that the brotherhood of war -- and the honor that exists in war, and in soldiers, and in the Army -- is awe-inspiring, in that these people fight for something that is so much greater than any of us usually imagine. We can see it on paper, but when you meet people that have had these experiences and see them volunteering their time to be part of the set every day, and talk to the actors, and make it as authentic as possible, it really touches you deep, and really causes you to question what it is that you are doing in your life and how it is that you are contributing to everyone’s overall experience.
"Fringe" airs Fridays at 9 p.m. EST on Fox. "Allegiance" is released Dec. 28 in New York and Los Angeles, and is available on VOD now. Read about Gabel's "Arrow" role here.
Will you watch "Allegiance"?