'Fallen' Takes Wing
The two-hour film, which premieres Sunday, July 23, is based on the popular young-adult books by Thomas E. Sniegoski and focuses on 18-year-old Aaron, who with the help of the homeless but extraordinarily insightful Zeke (Tom Skerritt), begins to discover that he's part angel. He also finds out that he and his family are earmarked for destruction by full angels. Fernanda Andrade, Alex Ferris, Chelah Horsdal ("Stargate: SG-1"), Lisa Lackey ("Flipper"), Russell Porter ("Urban Rush") and Rick Worthy ("Star Trek: Enterprise") also star.
"Aaron is trying to find himself," Wesley explains. "He's an orphan, doesn't know his real parents; he's an outcast, and when all of this stuff happens, it just adds to the turmoil."
Wesley might not be an orphan, but he still relates well to some of Aaron's experiences. "I went to four or five different high schools, and I never quite fit in with a specific group," he says. "And I do have a very close relationship with my parents. I know that family is a big thing in this story; everything he's doing is to save his family."
After playing a roster of dark characters in various series, Wesley finally finds himself playing the good guy, and he's glad for the opportunity. "Aaron is brooding; he does have a chip on his shoulder, but he is not the antagonist. He is the hero. And it's really nice to play somebody with a good heart."
At the relatively young age of 24, Wesley's already long resume includes guest appearances on "The O.C.," the "CSI" and "Law & Order" franchises, "American Dreams" and "Everwood."
"It's interesting," he muses. "I've played characters that are just the complete opposite. I've played a drug addict; I've done the whole comic thing -- I've played Lucas Luthor on 'Smallville.' That actually was really fun. For me, that was a wild experience because I was able to be sort of over the top."
But his range of work isn't all he's thankful for. All that series work has brought him into contact with some of the best talent working on-screen today.
"I've just been blessed with working with some really fine actors," he says. "For me, it's good because you're only as good as the people that you surround yourself with, and I think I've progressed and learned a lot because of that."
In "Fallen," he had TV and film veteran Skerritt ("Picket Fences," "M*A*S*H," "Contact") to fall back on for advice.
"He's great," Wesley says. "His character's sort of out of his mind, bonkers, you know? He's a crazy nut. But Tom is very grounded and very soft-spoken and really just gave me a lot of advice when I asked for it. ... I really looked up to him. I observed him and his process. He really gets into his character - his wardrobe, his character - everything. His whole being."
Wesley has come a long way since his days on "Guiding Light" and even farther since his days growing up in New Jersey. While he admits that moving to Los Angeles has been a boon for his career, being away from his family has been as much of a bane.
"My family's on the East Coast, unfortunately. I don't see them as much as I would like to," he admits. But with "Fallen" and a stage play in which he's appearing this summer, he's keeping busy.
And when he's not onstage or in front of the camera, there's always poker. "I think every actor is into poker these days," he says. "I think it appeals to actors because it's a psychological game. And what we do is very psychological. I mean, essentially, if you have a great hand, you do everything you can to act like you don't have a great hand. If you don't have a great hand, you have to pretend. You really have to feel out your opponent, and you really have to sort of get into the mind-set.
"It's actually kind of a spiritual thing," he continues. "You really have to be tapped into your senses. You've got to be on top of your game."