Following in the footsteps of Left Behind and other apocalyptic stories, the CW is preparing to launch a new end-times thriller of their own. Inspired by the Book of Revelation, The Messengers follows five ordinary people who are chosen by God to fight the agents of the Apocalypse. Crosswalk got the opportunity to sit down with Jon Fletcher, who plays a renowned pastor and one of the five messengers, and learn a little more about this upcoming series.
Tell us about your character
Joshua Silburn Jr. is a second generation televangelist from Texas. His father’s church teaches prosperity, so his whole belief system is kind of built on this philosophy of wealth and success. You quickly find out that underneath it all, his family life is very complicated. It’s definitely something that ends up challenging a lot of his core beliefs.
Yes, your character initially comes off more as a salesman than a spiritual leader. Will this affect him later on?
When you first see him, Joshua has all these doubts about himself. Whether he’s ready to take over the church, and later, whether he’s ready to become a Messenger. From the beginning his father’s church is after money, and when Joshua reawakens and sees who God really is, and what their church has done, and how it’s betrayed so many people, it’s very difficult for him. There are a lot of good scenes in the pilot episode where he starts to fight for what he believes.
The Messengers barrows heavily from the Book of Revelation. How familiar are you with the text?
Now, very. I knew bits and pieces of it before, but I wanted to do my research so I ended up reading it quite a lot. The show sites it pretty regularly, and we use it as the foundation for our story. We obviously can’t follow it word for word, but The Messengers does try to stay true to the spirit of the message at least.
Speaking of research, how did you prepare for your role as a televangelist?
(Laughs) Mostly I just watched a lot of sermons. I wouldn’t say I tried to imitate anyone, but I did observe a lot of different people: Billy Graham, Joel Osteen, pastors from New York and England. I found they all had their own personal way of relating to their church. They all have their own personal styles or nuances when they speak. Like I said, I didn’t want to imitate anyone, but it was very fascinating to see their passion when they speak. I think that’s what a lot of it comes down to: passion.
Now, the Devil is also present in The Messengers and Joshua appears to be one of his most vocal opponents. Can we expect a showdown at some point?
You can indeed. You will see him come into contact with all of us, and he’s exactly what you’d expect the Devil to be like, very charming and manipulative.
One last thing, was there any part of The Messengers you found particularly fun or challenging?
Challenging parts? Well, Joshua’s story gets quite dark. He’s kind of losing everything and its tough putting yourself in that place again and again each episode. Ironically, the same thing is what makes the project so enjoyable too. Every actor wants to be pushed and challenged and I got a lot of that with Joshua.
Doing the sermon was a lot of fun to. There’s nothing quite like being on a brightly lit stage as a bunch of extras chant at you.
*The Messengers airs Fridays on The CW, with the first episode on April 17. View an exclusive scene from The Messengers here!