'Falling Skies': Peter Shinkoda opens up about his mostly silent character

peter-shinkoda-falling-skies.jpgWe've seen a lot of Peter Shinkoda in the first few episodes of "Falling Skies," but we still don't know all that much about him.

That's by design, Shinkoda says: His character, Dai, is part of a long tradition of strong, silent types in action movies and series like TNT's alien-invasion show.

"It didn't come as a surprise to me while I was shooting," Shinkoda tells Zap2it. "We had a lot of pre-production, and I had the chance to flesh out my character and develop him with [creator] Bob Rodat. According to him and [executive producer] Steven Spielberg, Dai is loosely based on the silent samurai character from 'Seven Samurai' as well as James Coburn's character in 'The Magnificent Seven.' ...

"If you consider everything I've said, it's always very specific," adds Shinkoda, whose credits also include guest roles on "Supernatural" and "Stargate SG-1" and the Jet Li movie "War." "I only talk when I need to. He's very focused, so he doesn't engage in mundane conversation."

So far, the biggest revelation viewers have heard about Dai is that he didn't really lose anyone when aliens decimated Earth's population. He told Tom Mason ( Noah Wyle) that his father had previously died, and he didn't have any other significant relationships.

"There's that consistency that every time there's a mission that has to happen ... Tom will always go to Dai first," Shinkoda says. "He knows Dai is willing. I think he understands Dai's psyche. ... There's a common understanding that I have nothing to lose. Tom respects that and appreciates that."

Coming episodes of "Falling Skies" will reveal (a little) more about Dai's character, for which Shinkoda is grateful. He says he enjoys filming the action elements of the series, "but as a performer I appreciate when I get into those more intimate moments, and they're usually with Tom. I enjoy those most."

Dai will also continue to be Tom's right-hand man as they search for Tom's son Ben, who's under alien control.

"I feel like my character has become a surrogate family member. I consider him kind of an uncle to the Mason boys," Shinkoda says. "He obviously sympathizes with Noah's character a lot. In Tom's efforts to get Ben back, Dai will always be there. He just bleeds loyalty, and he'll continue to be that guy."

"Falling Skies" airs at 10 p.m. ET Sunday on TNT.

Photo/Video credit: TNT