Thanks to the success of the Sookie Stackhouse and Twilight novels, vampires have already taken over the library. Now, Noah Wyle must prevent them from taking over the world in Curse of the Judas Chalice (Sunday, Dec. 7, 8 pm/ET, TNT), the third installment of TNT's popular Librarian movies.
Wyle returns to play Flynn Carsen, a mild-mannered brainiac who is thrust into a life of adventure when he's appointed to be the Librarian, a quasi-superhero charged with protecting history's greatest treasures, which reside in a secret repository inside the Metropolitan Public Library in New York. The Library, which houses such things as Pandora's Box and the Mona Lisa (in this world, the one in the Louvre is a replica), is overseen by Library head Judson (Bob Newhart) and no-nonsense personnel director Charlene (Jane Curtin). "I like the fact that the movie is in praise of intelligence," says Newhart. "It isn't brawn that gets Flynn through these narrow situations; it's his encyclopedic knowledge."
In Judas Chalice, Flynn's vacation in New Orleans is interrupted by the kidnapping of Prof. Lazlo (Bruce Davison), an expert on the chalice, which legend says was made from the 30 pieces of silver that Judas Iscariot received for betraying Jesus. If it falls into the wrong hands, vampires will take over the world, since it is believed that Judas was the first vampire. The chalice is being protected by the mysterious Simone (Stana Katic), a sexy nightclub singer with a secret. Did we mention that Flynn's greatest fear is of the undead? Needless to say, that sucks.
In Wyle's third outing as Flynn, he says the character is finally adjusting to his life-changing role. "He's arriving at a state of maturation in our trilogy," says Wyle. "When I started playing Flynn, I was watching a lot of Don Knotts films to capture the character. Now I'm tapping something closer to Indiana Jones, James Bond, and Errol Flynn."
Newhart, on the other hand, wasn't ready to play action hero. Since many of Judson's scenes take place inside the mostly digitally rendered Library, the comedy legend had to perform them in a "green-screen" environment. "All of my [acting] training has been about working off people's expressions and timing," he says, with his signature deadpan delivery. "And then when they tell you, 'That's a giant mountain' and you go, 'Oh, OK. Looks like a green screen to me, but if you say it's a giant mountain, it's a giant mountain.'"
The lighthearted Librarian films were a perfect change of pace, says Wyle, after years of tough medical drama on ER. "You get to do absolutely everything with this part: ride horses through the deserts of Africa, scramble through the jungles of Mexico, pull skiffs through the swamps of New Orleans," he enthuses. "You get to kiss the girl and crack the joke. You get to do it all. The palette of colors I get to use is vast. And they're just fun."
Watch clips of The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice in our Online Video Guide