Anthony Edwards Transforms into an Unlikely Action Hero in ‘Zero Hour’

by | February 1, 2013 at 4:16 PM | Interviews, Midseason 2013, Zero Hour

Anthony Edwards in "Zero Hour" (ABC)

In “Zero Hour” there will be mystery, conspiracy and big emotional moments, as well as Nazis, Rosicrucians and secrets buried in antique clocks. If you are a fan of movies such as “The Da Vinci Code” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” then ABC’s new drama is for you.

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ER” alum Anthony Edwards returns to series TV in “Zero Hour” as Hank Galliston, the publisher of Modern Skeptic, a magazine whose job it is to unravel the truth behind myths and mysteries. But the disbeliever in Hank gets tested when he is pulled into a compelling mystery of his own when his wife Laila (Jacinda Barrett) is kidnapped — and he sets off on a worldwide search to rescue her and discovers a long-buried conspiracy that even he can’t deny.

Edwards and executive producers Paul Scheuring and Zach Estrin offer five reasons why you should tune in when “Zero Hour” premieres on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 8/7c on ABC.

Answers will be provided along the way: Unlike shows like “Lost,” where the frustration grew weekly with unanswered questions, “Zero Hour” will not make the audience wait until the end of the 13-episode season to get all the answers. “In each episode you will find out a piece, we will turn a card, there will be a cliffhanger,” says executive producer Zack Estrin, who provides this example: “In Episode 4, you will know what that thing is that we’re saying was hidden beneath the church. That’s not the big mystery. That’s just one of the many mysteries. ”

Watch the Pilot Episode of “Zero Hour” Before it Airs on TV Right Here on XFINITYTV.com:

Is this a TV version of “The Da Vinci Code”?: It’s not “The Da Vinci Code,” but it will appeal to audiences who enjoyed either the Dan Brown novel or the movie because of the compelling conspiracy/mystery set in a historical context that takes us back to World War II and Nazi Germany in the pilot episode. “There were kind of two mandates going into it, one of which was to deliver something gigantic,” says creator/executive producer Paul Scheuring. “We wanted to make a spectacle. But for me, a serialized show is only as good as its MacGuffin, ultimately, where it ends up. Over the years, I’ve interfaced with a lot of other creators of serialized shows, and I’ve really been kind of blown away by the fact that they create a big spectacle at the beginning in the pilot, and they don’t ultimately know where they’re going. That’s terrifying to me and creatively disingenuous. So before I even put pen to paper in any kind of sense in this, I’m was like, ‘What’s the coolest MacGuffin you can come up with? What are the last frames of this series?’

New York will double for the world: While the pilot was shot in Montreal, with Lake Winnipeg standing in for the North Pole, the series will be shot in New York.  “We’ve been turning New York into South America and Istanbul, into places all over the world, and our production team in New York has just been fantastic in finding stuff that actually matches,” Estrin says. “The second episode we’re in India in small villages, and you wouldn’t know the difference.” Adds Scheuring, “One of the mandates, one of the reasons that I partnered with Lorenzo [di Bonaventura] on this was because, look, if we’re going to tell an international show, it’s got to have true scope. Can’t be ‘Tales of the Gold Monkey,’ which is one of our favorites.”

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How believable is Anthony Edwards as an action character?: Hank Galliston falls into the category of cerebral action hero, rather than someone who kicks butts and take names, but that is why we root for him — he is accessible. “The most important thing [about being an action hero] is actually to be surrounded by beautiful women,” Edwards jokes. Then more seriously he adds, “What’s great about Hank is that he gets to be the audience in a lot of ways. 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.”

“Zero Hour” won’t lose steam along the way because Season 1 is only 13 episodes long before it concludes. If there is a Season 2, it will be a completely different story: “Zero Hour” is following the “24″ format where each season is a story unto itself, instead of resembling “Lost,” where it was a serialized show from beginning to end. “This entire Nazi conspiracy thing will be done in Episode 13 this year,” says Scheuring, “but we have a group of investigators, headed by Anthony at the magazine, which can then apply those skills to the next investigation next year. In fact, with 13 episodes, it’s going to be so dense with information, reveals and mythology that there will never be a sense at all that we’re stalling or trying to find our way, because we have a huge amount of information to give to you.”

“Zero Hour” premieres Thursday, February 14 at 8/7c on ABC