Faith and the Supernatural Collide in 'The Messengers'

Star of the new CW series Jon Fletcher explains why the show is unlike anything you'll see on TV. 


Posted in , Apr 16, 2015

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What if you were chosen?

That’s the question at the heart of The CW’s newest dramatic fare, The Messengers, set to premiere April 17th. The show follows five strangers who die when a mysterious object crashes down to earth. They are reborn with special gifts. Whether they know it or not, they’ve been chosen to prevent the coming apocalypse and to fight The Man – the show’s big bad character played by none other than Son of God star Diogo Morgado.

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Rooted in events from The Book of Revelation, the show, which combines faith with the supernatural, is a very different turn for the network known for its teenage soap operas and vampire love triangles, but according to Jon Fletcher -- who plays charismatic televangelist Joshua Silburn -- that’s a good thing.

We talked to the star about faith, his character and what fans can expect from the freshman series. 

What was your first reaction when you heard about the show?

[The CW] does great stuff  but it’s exciting when people take a risk and do something different. Joshua was just so unlike any other character on television. You don’t often see those kinds of characters so it was very exciting to get the opportunity to just audition. I was over the moon.

You play a pastor on the show. How did your prepare for the role?

I wouldn’t say I based him off any one particularly but I did watch hours and hours of footage online (thank you Internet!) and I just became fascinated by these guys and the different things they would do and the similarities they had. I watched people like Joel Osteen, Judah Smith, Billy Graham and this guy in New York, Carl Lentz who wears a leather jacket and has a shaved head … stuff like that was very interesting to me, how these preachers would find ways to relate. Carl looks like some guy you would just see in the street in New York. But the thing that I found they all had, the kind of common thread, was their passion. They’re so passionate. It was just really inspiring watching these guys. There were a couple times when I got emotional. They’re just very inspiring people. They have quite the burden and that’s what was interesting about Joshua; he is one of those guys and then suddenly, his whole belief system comes crashing down. That was exciting to play, such a life-shattering moment for this character.

Well he has a lot going on just in the first episode. He dies, he comes back to life, he has this “gift” and he discovers his father has betrayed him in one of the worst ways possible. Do we get to see more of his back-story and does it play a factor going forward?

Absolutely. You will see a lot more of the back-story of all the five characters and unfortunately, Joshua’s story gets a lot darker. I think that’s what keeps this show grounded is that these people are strangers and they are just five, regular people who are suddenly deemed responsible for saving the earth. If that happened to me or you today, we’d go through the same struggle. Why would you choose me? The personal struggles of these characters don’t stop and that keeps the show very rooted. These personal things continue to affect them, even though they’re trying to save the world.

This show is based on the Book of Revelation. Did you study that at all in preparation for the role?

It wasn’t required of me, but I did absolutely. I knew the Book of Revelation before, but I wanted to know it as well as I could, so I would read it a lot. Joshua’s the one, out of the five, who would know, who would know what’s coming next and would know the ramifications. I wanted to be as familiar as I could be.

Your character has the gift of “vision.” Can you tell us more about that?

Joshua has these prophetic visions and he gets jig-saw puzzle pieces, random [impressions} of places and faces and things like that which will eventually help them and set them off in the right direction. Each one of the five is given a gift and we come to realize that the gifts come with consequences. It’s very much rooted in reality. Everything has a consequence, every action. I think that’s another way that, even though it’s a heightened reality and kind of supernatural, it’s very much grounded in what essentially happens now in our world.

This show is rooted in faith but how do you think it speaks to everyone watching, even those that don’t share the same beliefs?

As you said, the foundation of the show is built on the Book of Revelation, and I’d say the show is driven by faith but it more speaks to faith in each other, in humanity and in ourselves. We have these five characters who each have different belief systems, who come from different backgrounds. We have an Atheist, we have a Christian, we have a Jew… that’s what’s very humanizing about the show. It’s the idea that one doctrine has come to life and these five characters understand and put aside and actually listen to each other’s differences rather than ignore them and that’s something relatable for all of us today. You have to put aside difference and listen to one another and work together to make the world better. I think that’s what the show speaks to and that’s what’s relatable regardless of where your faith stands.

We don’t know everyone’s powers in the group yet, but if you could have a different power from Joshua’s what would it be?

As one of them from the group or just in general?

In general. We won’t limit you.

(Laughs) Umm… teleportation probably. I’m from England so it would be exciting to not have to spend ridiculous money on a trip home. I don’t get to get back that often. If I could just snap my fingers and be home with my family and when they start to drive me crazy, if I could just snap my fingers and leave, that’d be great.

I think we all would like that ability.

Final question: If I gave you 30 seconds to pitch this show, what would you say?

Oh, umm…

I won’t really time you.

Oh you won’t time me? Okay I would say this show is about five, unconnected strangers who [die] when a mysterious object crashes to earth. They awaken to find themselves challenged to defend the world from the impending apocalypse.

Nice.

That sounds kind of wild when you say it like that but I think that's what grounds the show, is that the five characters who become these angels are very flawed. It’s just as if any of us, walking around today, were suddenly given this responsibility, life wouldn’t stop, but you have now a higher purpose to serve. It’s down to us to make [the world] better, regardless of where we come from, and I think that’s very relatable. 

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