John Noble’s Dr. Walter Bishop is really the heart and soul of Fox’s sci-fi police procedural Fringe. Don’t get me wrong, the entire series is stocked with great characters, but without Walter the show wouldn’t be nearly as memorable. Without him Fringe could easily have become just another tepid X-Files knock-off. Not to mention that his experiments and forays into the outer edges of science are directly or indirectly responsible for the bulk of Fringe Division’s caseload.
While filming the first episode of the fifth and final season of Fringe in Vancouver, Noble found himself in a frazzled mental state similar to that of his onscreen counterpart. To cope with an “ongoing sleep disorder” that left him exhausted and addled, the Australian actor had to step away and take some time off. After 10 days of rest, and seeking treatment in Los Angeles, Noble is back on set and filming his scenes.
He told EW, “I couldn’t even think, mate. I was working and going: ‘This is really hard.’”
Noble has been afflicted by an unholy combination of sleep apnea and insomnia for years, and he “hit a wall” after a summer spent on the road, promoting Fringe. “I went to the hospital,” he says, “had all the tests, and we put the strategies into place to deal with both of those issues, including the space-age mask that I wear to bed now.”
Following his leave, Noble says, “I’m feeling more well rested now and sleeping better than I have in 20 years.”
That’s good news, personally, but also for fans. We need Walter firing on all cylinders for the upcoming season. He’s going to have to pull some tricks out of his ass to take on the Observers in the year 2036, where much of season five takes place.
Fringe returns on Friday, September 28th.