Mark Hildreth is a jack of all trades, with an undeniable passion for entertaining. Viewers might recall catching a glimpse of him in Supernatural, or perhaps in the final season of The Tudors. The charismatic co-star is known for playing a myriad of roles in Hollywood’s cutthroat industry, and has a knack for the limelight. A natural when it comes to being on screen, Hildreth has taken on a challenging role starring in Hulu’s latest book-to-screen adaptation of The Looming Tower. Based on the book of the same name by Pulitzer prize-winner Lawrence Wright, the Looming Tower transformed Hildreth into the role of Gordon Wright, a former top gun pilot, who plays opposite bigwigs like Jeff Daniels and Alex Baldwin in this riveting and heart-stopping tale of the Twin Towers.
The new series focuses on the tension leading up to the devastating 9/11 attacks. Hildreth was kind enough to weigh in on this extremely profound and tough topic, that continues to haunt America to this very day, as well as clue us in on what the future holds for him, his career, and Gordon Wright.
MCKENZIE MORRELL: Hi Mark, thank you for taking the time to answer questions for NoWhiteNoise. For those who might not know much about Hulu’s The Looming Tower, can you give the readers a run-down of the show, and your character Gordon Wright?
MARK HILDRETH: The Looming Tower is a new series from Hulu starring Jeff Daniels, Peter Sarsgaard, and Alec Baldwin. It chronicles the events leading up to the 9/11 attacks and examines whether the right decisions were made in the days before the attacks.
MM: Gordon is a top FBI Counter Terrorism Expert, what research, if any, went into this portrayal? Were you able to find any similarities with this character to your own life, and experiences?
MH: I play Gordon Wright, a former top gun pilot who is now a member of John O’Niell’s (Jeff Daniels) team of FBI counterterrorism experts. Since The Looming Tower is based on the NY Times best selling book of the same name, we used that as source material for the show. The book is an exhaustive examination of the situation back then so there was lots to go on.
MM: This series event comes during a time where everyone is wary of the government and their ability to keep the U.S. people safe. What kind of impact do you think the show has had/will have on the audience?
MH: Hopefully, The Looming Tower will bring up questions for people about who is in power in our country and whether those people are doing the right thing, while at the same time humanizing those people and giving viewers a sense of what we were all up against at that time.
MM: It really takes a controversial look at how this rivalry between the CIA and FBI, which just might have set into motion not only the war in Iraq but the absolute tragedy we encountered on 9/11. Working on a project like this must have stirred up old memories of that horrific day– do you remember what you were doing and where you were when the Twin Towers fell?
MH: I remember exactly where I was when the towers fell. It was and is one of the saddest days of my life. I was on the west coast and got a call to turn on the news. Once I saw what was happening…I just remember being on the phone for hours waking up friends and loved ones to tell them to do the same.
MM: The show is based on the book of the same name. When you booked the role, did you do a deep dive into the book at all to take some notes?
MH: Lawrence Wright is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and his book The Looming Tower is a remarkably well-researched account. Lawrence Wright also consulted on and co-produced the series, so we had the author himself giving us the book in his own words.
MM: “The Looming Tower” is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book, was there any pressure or worry going into this project knowing that you’d have to live up to the expectations of those who devoured the book prior to the series?
MH: I hope and believe we have brought the essence of The Looming Tower to the screen. It is a story of human heroism as well as selfishness all mixed into one and told against the backdrop of one of the darkest hours in US history.
MM: The event series is on Hulu, what are the benefits of having your work on a streaming service like that one– and how might it have been different if it was pitched to traditional networks?
MH: Having worked for Showtime on The Tudors, as well as Netflix, Amazon and now Hulu, it is wonderful to have so much artistic freedom. It does seem we are in a new renaissance for television. This story likely could not have been told in this way on a traditional network.
MM: Your resume is extensive, and impressive, to say the least– what genre do you gravitate towards and what’s one genre you would love to tackle next?
MH: I was trained traditionally in theater and specifically Shakespeare. Period pieces attract me. Some of my favorite projects so far (The Tudors, Pirates Of The Carribean, Hamlet) have been period pieces. But I also kind of love Sci-Fi!
MM: As an actor, what has been your most difficult role to execute?
MH: Hamlet. It’s only THE GREATEST ENGLISH PLAY! No pressure!
MM: If you could no longer act, or be in the Entertainment industry– what career path would you gravitate towards?
MH: My father was a teacher. So probably teaching. Actors are a type of teacher when they’re really good.
Why should people watch The Looming Tower? What do you hope they walk away with after taking this journey with you?
MH: The Looming Tower has the best that TV has to offer: an amazing story, incredible writing, top-notch acting and an important subject. If you like TV that is thought-provoking and dramatic, The Looming Tower delivers.
MM: To wrap up, are there any projects or things coming up that you’re passionate about that you want the audience to know about?
MH: This year I have a movie coming out called Nellie Bly starring Christina Ricci. It is based on the true story of a female reporter in 1890’s New York who goes undercover to expose abuses at the Blackwell Island Asylum For Women and produces one of the first exposes of its kind in US journalism. And I’m also working on my third original album. My first two albums – Complex State Of Attachment and Signs Of Life – can be downloaded on iTunes!
MM: We’ll definitely take a look! Thanks for joining us today!
MH: Nice to talk to you guys!