The Librarian: Quest for the Spear
Not Your Usual Librarian
By David Martindale
Noah Wyle is a big fan of adventure pictures. "Love 'em, love 'em, love 'em," the longtime ER doc says. "But I've never had much luck getting action-adventure roles, maybe because I'm 6-foot-2 and only about -- what? -- 100 pounds." Yep, that's pretty much the size of it. Noah is a wonderful actor, but not conventional action hero material.
And that's what makes him such a terrific fit in The Librarian: Quest for the Spear, a TNT Original that introduces viewers to a most unconventional hero. Noah stars as Flynn Carsen, a bookworm, a momma's boy, a nerd, who embarks on a globe-trotting adventure of a lifetime as guardian to some of the greatest treasures in history, items such as the Ark of the Covenant, King Arthur's Excalibur and Pandora's Box, which are secretly kept at the Metropolitan Public Library.
On Flynn's first day as the Librarian, he's already in way over his overeducated head, sent out to recover a stolen piece of the Spear of Destiny, the actual lance that was used to pierce the side of Christ when he was crucified. According to legend, the Spear has passed through the hands of influential world leaders throughout the ages, from Herod the Great to Adolf Hitler. The Spear is the source of great power -- and Flynn must recover the pieces before they all fall into the wrong hands.
It's a role practically tailor-made for Noah Wyle, who even in his 30s still projects a lot of boyish qualities. "I can't say that I had a burning ambition to be an action hero," Noah says, "but I didn't want to have the whole genre written off to me. So this was kind of the perfect marriage -- taking a character I'm very comfortable with, cerebral but physically inept, well-intentioned, earnest, slightly naive, and putting him in the context of an action-adventure-romance story, kind of the same way they did with Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone."
Portraying the hero in an action picture, by the way, is every bit as fun, Noah says, as it looks. "It was great. In a lot of ways, it brought me back to the very core reason I wanted to be an actor in the first place, which was that I never really ever wanted to go to work. I just wanted to play. This movie was very reminiscent of being in my best friend's back yard, creating adventures and epic tales for us to act out. I just went to work every day with a big smile on my face."
But don't get the idea that it was all play and no heavy lifting. Executive producer Dean Devlin, whose past credits include Independence Day and The Patriot, says Noah was the perfect choice to be the Librarian because, "He's literally the most prepared actor I've ever worked with. He approaches his role how he probably approaches life: He has to know everything and be fully educated."
"Yeah, he's got me pegged," Noah admits. "I've always felt that before you can say a line of dialog, you should know what it is you're saying. Plus, I've always enjoyed the investigative part. I enjoy the research. I enjoy the opportunity to delve into professions and outlooks that are outside my sphere of experience. With this movie, I probably went too far. I probably have every existing piece of information on the Language of the Birds. My Barnes & Noble books bill is astronomical."
Indeed, there's a lot of Noah in Flynn Carsen, holder of 22 master's degrees, and a lot of Flynn in Noah Wyle. It's also worth noting that his favorite experience from the entire production was spent purely as a spectator. Noah was witness to costar Bob Newhart's very first fight scene. "I was there with my own personal camcorder," he says. "I wanted to make sure that in rehearsal, which I videotaped, I was the first person to possess the film footage of Bob Newhart whooping ass for the first time in his career!"
All in all, doing the movie was such a joy that Noah isn't quite ready for it to end. He has already talked with Devlin about follow-up adventures for Flynn and his bodyguard-turned-girlfriend Nicole (played by Sonya Walger). "We started out hoping to do a series of three or four films, in the tradition of those old Saturday afternoon movie serials," Noah says. "And if there's enough of an audience on this one, maybe TNT will want us to do some more. I think it could be a lot of fun."
HONEY BADGER DON'T CARE