John Noble had just started to settle back in his native Australia when "The Good Wife" came calling. Despite the fact he had just wrapped "Fringe," Noble jumped at the chance to join the cast of the acclaimed CBS drama.
"'The Good Wife' is one of the very high quality television shows," Noble told The Huffington Post via phone. "It's beautifully written and beautifully acted and you can see that by the fact that there are so many guest stars that want to be on it. You've got the Nathan Lanes and Stockard Channings -- I mean really top class people just saying, 'Yes, absolutely. I would love to be on that show,' which is a testament to the writing and the company. It's fantastic."
On the March 24 episode titled "Death of a Client," Noble appears in flashbacks as Matthew, an eccentric client of Alicia's who's been murdered. Following his death, Alicia struggles with breaking attorney/client privilege in order to help the police solve his murder.
Read on for what drew Noble to the role, what he's most proud of from "Fringe" and more.
Were you a fan of "The Good Wife" before you filmed?
Absolutely. I can honestly say that was sort of the top of my wish list after "Fringe." I was talking to my wife about it -- she's a great fan -- she said, "John, you've got to get on 'The Good Wife.'" And then it happened! It happened so fast. We barely landed back in Australia again and started to sort of go through the resettling process and I was on a plane back to New York to do it. It was great. It's an absolutely top quality show, beautifully written and beautifully acted, so it was really top my list.
"The Good Wife" is known for writing great roles for guest stars and a lot of times they get nominated for Emmys. Maybe this will be your chance to get the Emmy you deserved for "Fringe."
[Laughs.] Don't even talk about it! Wouldn't that be nice? [Laughs.]
What drew you to the character?
The thing is -- I love doing these kind of complex, sort of eccentric characters. That's what I really enjoy doing and I think that's probably my forte as an actor. There was plenty of that. I was also drawn because I'm such a fan of Julianna Margulies. I think she's an amazing actress. I got to do all of my scenes with her, which was absolutely every bit of a joy as I thought it would be. She's a terrific actress and a really, really sweet lady, so there was plenty of attraction for me.
Well, that was my next question: What was it like working with Julianna Margulies?
Just perfect. We just, I don't know, clicked would be the word. It was almost as if we'd been working together for years. We just started to play this stuff out and it was perfect. I mean, really beautiful.
So no scenes with the rest of the cast?
[Laughs.] No, except Josh Charles, who I like. He's a mate of mine. There was one scene with Josh, but in that scene, my character completely ignored him! I didn't even look at him! [Laughs.] I'd like to say I did a scene with Josh Charles, but he introduced me to the Alicia character and then I ignored him so he walked away. [Laughs.]
It's sort of a departure from the normal style of "The Good Wife" because a lot of this story is told through flashbacks, something you're sort of used to. Was that a draw as well?
Not necessarily. The story structure could've been played in real time. The episode starts with the fact that this man's been executed and so it has to be done in flashbacks and police go to Alicia and say, "Do you know anyone who would want this man dead?" and she says, "Yes, many people!" They go through a series of flashbacks about their relationship and the way that they work together ... I think the character I played formed a real attachment to her and kept bringing back more cases almost because he wanted to be with her. It was an interesting way to do it and she had to grapple with the fact that she's not really supposed to talk about these cases after death, but did talk because there were threats to other people. There are all sorts of issues going on in the episode. It's actually a fantastic episode right across the board. Everything that happens and my storyline is one of them, but the whole episode is brilliant.
I can't wait. Robert and Michelle King said they had such a great time working with you and then they killed off your character. They joked that they wanted to bring you back as his twin brother. Would you ever?
Oh, in a shot, mate. It was so funny working with Robert because Robert directed the episode and as we were going on he said, "Oh, we really should have you back!" and I said, "You can't! You killed me." [Laughs.] It was great fun and it was also fun because as I went onto the set, I knew so many of the crew from our first year of "Fringe." It was like going home because we shot our first season in New York. Including executive producer Brooke Kennedy, I worked with them all in our first year of "Fringe" so it was a wonderful homecoming.
Your character has been described as being very litigious. He's sued the phone company, his neighbor over a barking dog. Have you ever thought about doing any of those eccentric things?
[Laughs.] No, I wouldn't sue anybody! This guy -- I think he's basically bored. I think he's a guy that made a bucketload of money -- probably in the IT revolution, I'd imagine -- sold his company and now he's at a loose end with all of this energy and really a sort festering hate of humanity. He's just angry with people and has the money to sue people. He's also incredibly paranoid and thinks the CIA is listening to everything he does. He spends his whole life in a very self-centered world and sues people just because he can. He's kind of nasty in a way, in that respect, but quite a needy and sad in a sense. I imagine if you wanted to do the analysis, you have a desperately lonely person who's just behaving out wherever he can. He considers himself to be a victim of everybody and so he sues them because he can and makes a lot of enemies along the way.
Obviously, I have to ask you about "Fringe." Do you miss one version of Walter more than the other?
I don't know. The normal eccentric Walter was obviously great fun to play because there were no boundaries. [Laughs.] He was so random. But some of the other more disciplined versions of him were always interesting to play. Even in retrospect, playing Walternate, I kind of miss that as well. But probably the normal Walter who's so eccentric and erratic and has such poor social skills and all of his fetishes and fads and so forth -- he was great fun to play and to invent on a daily basis really because anything was possible for Walter. That gave me great freedom as an actor.
In terms of the series as whole, what are you most proud of?
I'm proud that we got to finish the story. I think that's such a rare thing. You can take something and finish it in this world of network television. I think probably the other thing, really, is we were able to make the show and be remembered primarily as a family drama, despite the fact that it dealt with all these other issues. The real strength of the show, to me, was the fact we had these people that really cared for each other: the father/son relationship; the really strained, real relationships that we tried to make as real as possible. I know just from talking to the fans, that was what kept them really involved and caring about the characters. That was quite an achievement really, ostensibly in a science fiction show.
"The Good Wife" airs Sundays, 9 p.m. ET on CBS.
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