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July 24, 2014

Scott Wolf Talks About the New 'V' and His Former 'Party of Five' Castmates

by Gary Susman, posted Nov 3rd 2009 12:00PM
Scott WolfScott Wolf has come a long way since he and Jennifer Love Hewitt were making puppy eyes at each other on family drama 'Party of Five' a decade ago. These days, he's turning a more jaded eye toward sexy aliens on 'V,' the ABC remake of the 1983 miniseries that debuts tonight.

In 'V,' Wolf plays Chad Decker, an ambitious TV news correspondent who all too quickly agrees to be the human spokesperson for the seemingly friendly alien visitors. How does Chad's Faustian bargain play out? We may not know for a while, as ABC is airing just four episodes of 'V' before the series goes on a long winter hiatus.

Because we can't get enough of Wolf and his castmates, he called AOL TV yesterday to tout 'V.' He also told us which real-life reporters he may be satirically skewering, how 'V' measures up to the origina and how the alumni of 'Party of Five' have ended up on such weird shows.Scott WolfScott Wolf has come a long way since he and Jennifer Love Hewitt were making puppy eyes at each other on family drama 'Party of Five' a decade ago. These days, he's turning a more jaded eye toward sexy aliens on 'V,' the ABC remake of the 1983 miniseries that debuts tonight.

In 'V,' Wolf plays Chad Decker, an ambitious TV news correspondent who all too quickly agrees to be the human spokesperson for the seemingly friendly alien visitors. How does Chad's Faustian bargain play out? We may not know for a while, as ABC is airing just four episodes of 'V' before the series goes on a long winter hiatus.

Because we can't get enough of Wolf and his castmates, he called AOL TV yesterday to tout 'V.' He also told us which real-life reporters he may be satirically skewering, how 'V' measures up to the origina and how the alumni of 'Party of Five' have ended up on such weird shows.

Do you have any real-life TV reporters in mind when you're playing Chad?
There wasn't any one person. He's scripted as an Anderson Cooper-wannabe. I took that to mean he's a modern-day newsman. He's not the old-school, sit-behind-the-desk, father figure of the news. He's more like your buddy who's out in the field, out on the street, who really connects with people. So there were various different people I drew from. Hopefully he feels realistic and unique in his own way.


Watch 'V' full episodes


Have you, like Chad, had to face compromises of principle in your own TV career?
I've been pretty lucky to work on projects and telling stories that I really believe in and that I haven't had to sell my soul in order to be a part of. But there are little things every day, if you're paying close enough attention. Ultimately for Chad, he is a guy who really feels ... that he is more talented than he's been given credit for. Because of that, there's this real fiery ambition in him, [so] he's vulnerable to clouding his own perceptions in order to accomplish the things he wants to accomplish. From my own personal life, I'm lucky to be able to say I've never sold myself to the devil to move my career forward. But there have been moments where I've been asked to do certain photo shoots or magazine things where my core thinks, "Ah, I don't know that that feels like the life I want to live," or "I don't want to expose my family or my private life.' So there's a constant balancing act, trying to preserve who you are in the world and the work you want to do. Chad is somebody who might lose that battle a lot more than most people.

To prepare for this show, did you watch the 1983 original, or did you make a point to avoid it?
I consciously avoided it. I saw bits and pieces. I had recollections of the original. But I felt it was important to stay in our story. And while the bones of the story and the premise are really faithful to the original and the sort of creepy underlying unknown dynamic that made the original so captivating -- I think we're faithful to that, but it's really its own story. It's its own characters. It exists in today's world as if spaceships arrived tomorrow morning. And the world is a very different place than it was at that time. So I felt we were better off focusing on the material we were given today by our writers and figuring our characters out today.

The original 'V,' for all its futuristic trappings, seemed like a backward-looking allegory about 1940s fascism. Is the new one more relevant to present-day concerns?
It's similar in that it runs deeper than the surface story. While the surface story is this incredible epic fun ride, which is, V"What if alien spaceships descended upon the Earth tomorrow morning?", underneath it is an examination and a critique of our society and our culture and the way we make choices and why we embrace certain things and reject other things. There's religious questions being asked, there's social and political questions. Through my character there's an examination of the value and the focus we place on the media. Similarly to the original, there are deeper questions at hand, but you make a good point that the original was a parable about an earlier time in human history. This one feels like it's more about right now .... There's so many pressing things that are in our face today that I think there's not a more important thing to focus on than what life is like right now.

Can you tell us about the 'V' podcasts you'll be hosting each week?
I was really excited to be involved in them. They're going to give fans of the show a chance to be behind the scenes week in and week out. They'll get a chance to hear from cast and crew, to see what it takes to build the show. And there'll be cool stuff like sneak peeks from the following week's episodes.

Are the podcasts part of how ABC will keep fan interest during the long break after the first four episodes?
I really do think it's important that people know that this show is not a typical series. Obviously, the scope and the scale of the story we're telling is huge, and it demands really big, fast-paced storytelling that is really difficult to do week in and week out. Ultimately, it would be too intense and taxing on an audience ... These days, it's a lot easier to say to an audience, "Give us four weeks, we're going to blow you away, and then we'll be back soon, give us another four, six, eight weeks." I'm excited about the fact that they're airing it the way they are. Our hope, and our biggest worry, is that people are so blown away by these first four that every day until we come back is like Christmas morning because they can't wait. And we know that the network is committed to taking care of this audience, and that includes the time between this first chapter and the next.

Party of FiveThese days, Matthew Fox is running from smoke monsters on 'Lost,' Jennifer Love Hewitt is chatting with the dead on 'Ghost Whisperer' and now you're hanging out with aliens. What was it about 'Party of Five' that inspired its alumni to take on these wild fantasy projects?
Yeah, I don't know. I guess years and years of standing in kitchens and living rooms telling personal stories created a craving for big, giant, supernatural stuff.

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