Actor Jon Fletcher talks about new series, THE MESSENGERS

The MessengersA mysterious object plummets to Earth and explodes in a blinding flash, sending out a shock wave that instantly connects five strangers with extraordinary gifts, from inexplicable strength to the ability to heal others. Most mysterious of all is a figure known only as The Man, who brings death and suffering wherever he appears. The wheels of Revelation have begun to turn, and these five newly christened Angels of the Apocalypse may be the only hope for preventing the impending Rapture.

Thus is the premise of the new series, THE MESSENGERS. Debuting Friday, April 16 at 9:00-10:00 (ET) on The CW, the series is produced by CBS Television Studios and Warner Bros. Entertainment, in association with Thunder Road Pictures. It stars Shantel VanSanten (“Gang Related,” “One Tree Hill”) as Vera Buckley, Jon Fletcher (“City of Dreams”) as Joshua Silburn, Jr., Sofia Black-D’Elia (“Betrayal,” “Gossip Girl”) as Erin Calder, JD Pardo (“Revolution”) as Raul Garcia, Joel Courtney (“Super 8”) as Peter Moore, Anna Diop (“Everybody Hates Chris”) as Rose Arvale, Craig Frank (“Mixology”) as Alan Harris, and Diogo Morgado (“Son of God,” “Sol de Inverno”) as The Man.

Like many biblical-related/End of Days shows, THE MESSENGERS takes some artistic license, think, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Highway to Heaven.” Jon Fletcher spoke with Paula K. Parker about his character, the show and its messages.

Paula K. Parker: Give me a thumb nail sketch of your character.

Jon Fletcher: I play Joshua Silburn, Jr., who is a second-generation Texas televangelist. He is next in line to take over his father’s church. The church teaches prosperity and, during the show’s pilot, he goes through quite a shock transition with his faith and everything comes crashing down on him. He is betrayed by his father, he is betrayed by his wife and the god that he has spent his life preaching about becomes the God that is not actually there. It’s quite a difficult transition for him.

PKP: I’m going to take a leap of faith, since we are using church words, and say that you do not sound like you are from Texas.

Jon Fletcher: [laughs] I’m not. I was from England originally.

PKP: How difficult was it to adopt the Texas drawl?

Jon Fletcher: Yea, it’s always a challenge when you have to play something that is far from yourself. I’ve always been pretty good at picking up accents. I’ve played Texans before; it seems Texans and Irish are the two things I often get cast to play.

PKP: [laughs] They don’t sound that much alike!

Jon Fletcher: [laughs] I know. I guess it must be in my wheelhouse a little bit. I want it to be perfect and having to be this guy every day, in and out, for four months, it was constantly something I was working on. I had no ego about it; if I was doing a scene and it slipped, I would ask and someone would give me a note and tell me what slipped and we would try it again. For the most part I felt that I got it.

PKP: Beyond learning to ‘speak Texan,’ did you do any research in preparation for this show?

Jon Fletcher: Absolutely I did; tons and tons of it, thanks to the Internet. I watched footage of many different preachers; Joel Osteen, Billy Graham, Judah Smith, Carl Lentz. I never tried to imitate any one in particular, but I would take little nuances that would make them different and found a common thread that they all had and built Joshua from there.

PKP: One of the themes of THE MESSENGERS is about ordinary people being chosen and receiving extraordinary gifts. What is your character’s gift and how did it impact his life?

tm_s1_poster_006Jon Fletcher: Joshua is given the gift of prophetic vision; he sees random jigsaw puzzle pieces of information. He doesn’t really understand them, but the group—once they come together—will figure out how to use these gifts to help them save the world.

What is interesting about this show, these gifts all come with a consequence. There is a huge learning curve and each one of these gifts will have an effect once the characters use them and I think that makes these people quite grounded.

PKP: In the Bible, prophets were often persecuted for speaking the truth. Without giving away the show, can audiences anticipate your character facing the same kind of challenges and persecution?

Jon Fletcher: Absolutely. In the pilot he goes through heavy transition and is betrayed by people very close to him. That doesn’t stop. He gets on this journey and commits to this mission that God has given him, even while questioning his own faith.

In this show, the personal struggles that each character brings to the table before they are given these gifts and this mission from God, they don’t go away. It’s very much like if you and I were given these gifts and mission, your family doesn’t just disappear, your struggles don’t go away, your past still haunts. That’s what I think keeps the show grounded and quite relatable; it’s about five flawed and very human characters who have been given a mission. Their struggles with that will, I think, be very fascinating and intriguing for people.

PKP: THE MESSENGERS deals with the book of Revelations and the End Times. I can see that it is impossible to do a show about this topic and not take some artistic license. Do you think this the show respectful to the Bible in dealing with Revelation?

Jon Fletcher: Absolutely. I was familiar with the book of Revelation before the show but, because of the character that I played, I wanted to know the insides and out. There is always some dramatic license and I’m sure some people will find fault with ‘this thing’ happening before ‘that thing,’ but you have to find ways to make it work in a series. I do believe we stick close to the Scripture.

The book of Revelations is the foundation to the show but, what people—no matter what their background—can take from it is the idea of faith in each other. These are very flawed characters that all have different belief systems, all have different backgrounds, and they are forced to work together for this common goal. That is a very beautiful thing that I think we can all take into our everyday lives.

I think whenever a show is based upon religious text, people can be quite hesitant and worry that it will insult it, or worry that—if it’s not their belief—they’re not going to find something that is relatable to them.

But, there are characters in this show that everyone can relate to. There is the mother; there is the teenager; there is the man who has been betrayed; there is the person who doubts and questions their faith. I think there is something for everybody and, if people will stick with it, people will not only enjoy the journey these characters go on, but it will make them think a little bit about their own faith, and how they can serve humanity and each other.