V’s Scott Wolf on Flirting With Aliens

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Photo: Getty Images

On ABC's reimagined V, which premiered last night, Scott Wolf stars as Chad Decker, a reporter who comes face-to-face with deceptively kind aliens. Wolf spoke with Vulture yesterday about the new show, the original one, and why this former Bailey Salinger is glad he's not one of today's teen heartthrobs.

Were you a fan of the original V?
I was. I don't really have clear recollections of it, but I remember it being on, and I remember begging my parents to let me stay up late to watch it, and then being scared by it. But when I read the script I really didn't have a clear picture of it in my mind, so I came to the story brand-new and was really blown away by it.

Did you go back to the old series at all while prepping for your role?
Not so much. I looked at a clip here and there just so I had some sort of frame of reference as to what it looked like. But frankly, it wasn't of tremendous use to us because our characters are brand-new, and our story exists today. So while the basic premise and the bones of the story are the same, it's a complete update. So our focus belongs really on this version.

The network's only airing four episodes, then it goes on hiatus. What's the rationale behind that?
Right when the show was picked up, the folks at ABC felt that it was a unique series, and given the scope and scale of the story, it deserved a special style of broadcast. Obviously, aliens arriving on Earth is a fairly large-scale story. The intention isn't to take a regular series broadcast schedule and interrupt it for months in between. The intent is to view this show chapter by chapter. In this case, I think the second chapter would have come sooner, but there are programming issues, the winter Olympics being the main one.

We see Chad's ethics questioned in the pilot. Do you find your character often grappling with morals and his journalistic integrity?
At this early stage of the series, that is Chad's main journey. It's this internal struggle between the side of him that wants to be a real journalist and fulfill this real potential that he believes he has, and the side of him that is so ambitious that he's willing to do whatever it takes, even compromising himself and selling his soul. The thing that's most interesting to me is that oftentimes you hope that the audience can't quite pin down a character because it makes it more interesting, but I don't think that Chad knows who he is. And ultimately, to play a character who even himself doesn't fully know who he is will wind up being really intriguing.

Chad's first interaction with Anna is a bit flirtatious. Will we see any romantic interests for him in the show?
There hasn't been anything thus far, but there might be later on. The relationship between Anna and Chad is compelling just on the level that you have two people who both need something from each other. There's a lot that they're telling each other, but they're also keeping a lot from each other. And so there's this really great cat-and-mouse game going on between them. It's this chess match that they both really want to control. Although they're both people who seduce people to get what they need, so to watch them seduce one another is pretty interesting.

Are you sick of being associated with Party of Five?
Not really. I'm still really proud of the show, but I guess I'm not going to be too brokenhearted when that reference drops out of the picture. Hopefully V will sort of take its place soon.

As a former teen heartthrob yourself, do you have any advice for the Robert Pattinsons of today?
I look at what's going on with him today, and it seems that we dealt with about one percent of that. When we were in the throes of it, there was a lot less intensity around the paparazzi and the public's eye in all of this. It seems like it's really exploded in the last few years. We got to be in a position where people had a strong reaction to the work we were doing, but it wasn't like we couldn't go out to eat.

Related:
V Series Premiere: Instant Edification
Know Your V History: Sternbergh on the Original Miniseries [Vulture]