"Lone Star" is Fox’s biggest push for the new TV season. It’s their hour-long drama about a con artist playing both sides in the Texas oil industry. Relative newcomer James Wolk steps into the lead as Bob, whose father (David Keith) taught him how to run cons. He defies his father though by sticking in his double life after things get complicated. Now he’s got a legitimate position in an oil tycoon’s (Jon Voight‘s) business, a wife in one life, a girlfriend in the other and none of it is real.
Over the summer, I got a moment alone with Wolk as he was gearing up to start the series. Fox threw a party in July to get the buzz going, and now we’re starting to see ads leading up to the Sept. 20 premiere. Wolk couldn’t contain his excitement, beaming with giddiness as caterers passed out drinks and hors d’ouvres, and publicists pulled him from one interview to the next.
Screen Junkies: What are your thoughts stepping into the lead of this new series?
James Wolk: I’m just very excited, honored and excited and eager.
SJ: There are so many twists and turns in the first episode? Do you have a sense what the show is going to be moving forward?
JW: Going forward, to be completely fair, I think we have a genius group of writers who are really creating this thing. The guy who created the show had an idea of where the whole first season’s going to go, but I think it would be unfair to say that it is entirely mapped out. I think any creative force is moved to go certain ways and I think our writers are no different. As the actor, they keep me privy, they keep me on the inside of things so I get to know what’s going on.
SJ: You look very excited about what you’re going to get to do.
JW: Can you tell I am very excited. I am. I’m really excited about it.
SJ: Do you have a little freedom to play with what our expectations of Texas might be like?
JW: That’s something that we play with interestingly in the pilot. You know how there are some accents and some aren’t? It remains in question and there’s a scene where someone asks me where I’m from. That’s still for the audience to determine. As far as my character’s dealings in Texas, I don’t think Bob was necessarily born and raised there, let’s say that. His character is going to be able to jump around. I think he can move around the classes. He can be with the socialites in Houston. He can be with the good country folks in Midland. So I think as a con artist, I’m going to get to play different roles, maybe play a different character, put on a different persona.
SJ: How much time have you spent in Texas so far?
JW: We shot the pilot and I’m driving back down. When we start the series, I’m going to take a road trip to go back down so I’m actually going to get to go and spend time in some of these towns that the series takes place in which I think is pretty important. In order to represent something, you’ve got to be there.
SJ: How are you preparing to set up shop and live in Dallas?
JW: I’m getting an apartment, right downtown. I’m very excited, a little loft, pretty cool. Our creator, Kyle Killen, he resides there and everyone in the crew that was shooting down there with us, they’re all from there and they just go on and on about how amazing it is.
SJ: Do you have family you’re moving with you?
JW: No, I don’t. My family’s all back in Michigan. I’m from the Midwest so my mom and dad, cousin, sister, everyone’s back in Michigan. Going down there, it’s just kind of like with the cast, I’m not bringing down any wife or kids with me.
SJ: Were you looking for a series to do?
JW: Yeah, yeah. I think I’m just open to good writing, to be completely honest. As good as you may or may not think it is, and I hope you do like it, it was there on the page. So the writing when I read it, it really truly was there on the page and so that’s what I look for. For this, I think anyone that has half a brain that’s a young actor would have really loved to have gone out for this role. I don’t know, I’m not behind the scenes, I don’t know exactly who went out for it but I imagine there was some good competition.
SJ: Who’s more dangerous, David Keith or Jon Voight?
JW: I like that question. Let me throw it back at you and then I’ll answer it. Who do you think is more dangerous?
SJ: David Keith because he thinks he’s trying to help.
JW: I think they’re different. I think each of them has an element of danger but from complete different walks of life, right? You have Jon Voight sitting at the head of his company and has power running through his fingers. Then you have David Keith, he’s a man, at least he comes off to me in the pilot as a man capable of a lot. I don’t think there’s much that this guy wouldn’t do to get the con done. So that’s danger, someone that doesn’t necessarily have much to lose.
SJ: Will it be doubly romantic or more tragic with the two ladies you’re stringing along?
JW: I think yet to be determined. I think that’s going to be the thing that keeps people coming back is what is going to happen with both of these things. I think truly that he loves both of them, so where that goes, who knows? But he does have love for both of them.