Anthony Edwards: Back on TV in ‘Zero Hour’

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When “ER” went off the air in 2008, Anthony Edwards seemed satisfied to leave television behind. “Yeah, I said I would never do a one-hour television show again. I was done,” Edwards offers with a laugh. But the 50-year-old actor is back with “Zero Hour,” a globetrotting, conspiracy-filled adventure series. So what made Edwards want to come back?

“When ‘ER’ was done, I felt like I had really accomplished something. It had been an amazing eight years, and I was ready for a new adventure, which included my family and taking time and moving to New York. It really took a while to recover from that,” he explains. “I also knew that if I was going to come back to television, having done that, it would have to be something that was as exciting to me as what was going in there. “And I just said, ‘If these guys are crazy enough to tell this story, I want to do it with them.’”

Edwards stars as Hank Galliston, a lifelong skeptic who gets pulled into an elaborate conspiracy spanning the globe and centuries of history — all while trying to find is wife, who is mysteriously abducted in the first episode. “Hank Galliston, what’s great about him is that he gets to be you. He gets to be the audience in a lot of ways,” Edwards explains. “He gets to go on this journey without knowing at all what’s going on. He’s as bewildered at the beginning, I think, as the audience is. So, for me, that’s a great place to play because whatever these geniuses come up with in the scripts — which they have — and whatever these wonderful actors come up with to play with, I get to react to.”

But Edwards doesn’t think the fact that both Hank and audience are meant to feel out of their depths will be a turn-off for viewers. Quite the opposite, in fact. “I think television gets criticized for being condescending and telling stories too simply,” he says. “This is going to really challenge and excite people because they’re not laying it out simply. It’s a complicated story, and that’s a great commitment.”

“The Da Vinci Code” for TV?
The globetrotting and puzzle-solving at the heart of “Zero Hour” may have viewers getting a sense of “Da Vinci Code” deja vu, as much of the tone of the new mystery adventure series seems to have a Dan Brown hue to it. But the folks behind the show insist they weren’t just trying to do a “Da Vinci Code” for television.

“There were kind of two mandates going into it, one of which was to deliver something gigantic. We wanted to make a spectacle,” says the show’s creator, Paul Scheuring, noting that he didn’t want to make the mistake previous shows had made of not knowing where the core mystery of the series would be going. “Before I even put pen to paper in any kind of sense in this, I’m like, ‘What are the last frames of this series?’” he says. “So from that I then reverse-engineered this larger kind of construct and threw in all those delicious elements like the Nazis and church and such to get to that final place. That’s a very, very long-winded way of no, it’s not ‘the Da Vinci Code.’”


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