"The pilot is going to be two years old by the time it hits the airwaves and the series we filmed from July to November of last year," he said over the phone last week, "making this, I think, the longest pregnancy in television history.
"And I really want to get this baby out of me."
He'll have to wait just a little longer; TNT launches the alien invasion drama at 8 p.m. June 19. But some Chicago fans will be able to see it Tuesday during a special advanced screening at the Kerasotes ShowPlace ICON theater. Following the screening, I'll moderate a Q&A with Wyle. (How do you get tickets? See below.)
"Falling Skies," which comes from executive producer Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks Television, begins six months after the alien attack and follows one of the bands of survivors fighting back. Moon Bloodgood and Will Patton also star in the series.
Wyle plays Tom Mason, a former history professor whose wife was killed in the initial attack. He's now a leader of a resistence group while taking care of two sons and searching for a third son who was taken by the aliens.
Wyle, who spent years playing Dr. John Carter on "ER" (and partly filming in Chicago), wasn't all that familiar with sci-fi before taking this role. He said he was fascinated to play in a new genre.
"This was definitely something that's a box I hadn't checked yet," he said, adding that one particular challenge was the green-screen filming that involved pretending you are being attacked by aliens. "Getting four or five actors in the room to all react to the same thing that's not there on a similar emotional plane ... was a good challenge. It was good fun."
But, he added, you don't have to be a sci-fi fan to relate to the series' stories, including the challenges Tom faces raising his boys in such a dangerous new world.
"We use our invasion almost as a backdrop to what plays out as a pretty human drama that gets spiked with these conflicts with the aliens."
HOW TO GET TICKETS TO SCREENING
Send an e-mail with your full name, age and address to FallingSkies.Chi@gmail.com for the chance to win two passes to the special advanced screening of the season premiere of "Falling Skies" Tuesday, May 31, at Kerasotes ShowPlace ICON theater, 150 W. Roosevelt Road. Type REDEYE in the subject line. And remember, having the passes does not insure you will get in. It is first-come, first-served, so arrive early. Your RSVP will have all times and further instructions.
RedEye is not organizing this giveaway.