Well, as expected, reaction to the Whispers casting news has ranged from excitement and anxious anticipation to “Hey, Joe. Couldn’t you cast anyone hideous?” Well, sure, we could have – but rather than basing our casting decision on looks, we chose to pick the best actress for each of the three roles.

I envisioned Teldy as a strong, by-the-book, leader; someone capable of leading her team into battle and going toe to toe with whatever is thrown her way be it an off-world mystery, an alien threat, or Colonel John Sheppard. There were a number of interesting candidates in the running, but after viewing Christina Cox’s late audition it was hard to see anyone else in the role. Those familiar with Christina’s work on shows like Blood Ties, Bones, and House know that she’s an accomplished performer possessed of a commanding presence. Exactly what we were looking for in this case.

The search for someone to play the part of Dr. Alison Porter proved surprisingly tricky. Although she’s described as a “cute nerd”, Porter is really the most nuanced character of the bunch. The only non-military personnel on Teldy’s team, she is in some ways her own little island – the most vulnerable of the foursome and yet, at the same time, the most dynamic given the circumstances. Nicole de Boer actually read for Teldy and, as we sat there watching her audition, Paul and I thought exactly the same thing: “We’ve found our Porter!”. Nicole is an actress who, I’m sure, needs no introduction, having been a regular on shows like The Dead Zone and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. She is someone we’ve been wanting to get on the show for a while now and we’re pleased the opportunity has finally presented itself.

Of all the characters, the tough, wise-cracking Dusty was the most fun to write – and the most frustrating to cast. The fact is, there were a lot of great candidates for the role and, in the end, it came down to two terrific actresses. Janina Gavankar got the nod on the strength of her ballsy read and wonderful comic timing. Those of you who may not be familiar with Janina’s range should check out her run as Papi on The L Word.

Over the hiatus, I pitched out the idea of introducing an all-female team as a means of addressing the male-female imbalance on the show. I would introduce them in an early script and whoever survived the episode could potentially be brought back as a recurring character. As Martin started work on the season premiere, Search and Rescue, he suggested he introduce one of the team members in his episode – a character that eventually became Captain Alicia Vega. Leela Savasta came in and delivered a fantastic audition for the role. Our reaction upon watching the video of her session was something along the lines of: “Hey, where the hell did she come from?” After 11+ years of Stargate, you think you’ve pretty much seen everyone in town – and then some young and talented newcomer appears on the scene. The last time we had a “Hey, where the hell did she come from?” reaction, it was a couple of years ago while watching an equally talented young up-and-comer audition for a two-line part on SG-1. We didn’t cast her because it was such a small part that we figured we could give her a meatier role later in the season. When later came, I called up our local casting director and asked if we could see her again. “Sorry,”he replied. “She’s shooting a pilot in Hawaii.” The pilot: Lost. The actress: Evangeline Lily. And, yep, I think Leela has the potential to be just as successful.

A reminder – Discussion on The Keep kicks off this coming Monday, so get a move on! And be sure to come armed with plenty of questions. Author F. Paul Wilson will be dropping by later in the wake to field your comments and queries.

Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular Jenny Robin. Happy belated birthday! It’s even more special the day after.

Today’s pics: Have I already posted these? Didn’t think so.

Mailbag:

Robert C. Cooper writes: “Jaws.”

Answer: Which would explain the framed original Jaws movie poster hanging in your office – and that time we were out for dinner and you started screaming hysterically when Fondy was served her meal, only calming down once the waiter convinced you it was, in fact, only halibut.

David writes: “Would it possible for you to send me an e-mail with an autographed picture? If so, what is your e-mail so I can send you my e-mail?”

Answer: Seriously? Mom, is this you? Okay. Try me at moorsyum@yahoo.com. Give my love to sis.

Shadow Step writes: “Btw, do you have a desktop computer at home you blog from or do you carry a portable around every where (like McKay)”

Answer: Even better. I possess a state of the art brain implant that allows me to download my thoughts to a data chip port located behind my right ear. When I get home at the end of the day, I simply transfer the information to my laptop and – voila! – the blog practically writes itself (aside from the actual writing part).

Namiko writes: “Since your tastes seem to run in a similar vein to my husband’s, have you ever seen Battle Royale?”

Answer: Yep. Loved it. During my first year on Stargate, I hosted an Asian double-bill – Battle Royale and Fudoh: The Next Generation (one of my favorite, seriously warped Japanese movies of all time). James Tichenor was among the guests. Following the screening, he vowed to never again attend one of my movie nites.

Amber Hooker writes: “It’s almost embarassing but “The Blair Witch Project” scared the hell out of me.”

Answer: One of the most amazing things about The Blair Witch Project was hearing how the movie had made people physically ill. Upon hearing this, the general reaction was: “Wow! That’s some scary shit!” As it turned out, what was really scary was the shaky handheld camera that turned the audience a not-with-envy green. Nevertheless, I found that last shot of one of the characters, turned to face a corner, refusing his friend’s plaintive pleas, incredibly unsettling.

PG15 writes: “What do you think about removing one of Atlantis’s piers, permanently, during some battle or explosion or something? Do you guys think you’ll ever do something like that, damage one of the show’s vehicles permanently?”

Answer: It’s possible, but I’m reluctant to make a change for the sake of one episode that would effectively render all of our existing city establishing shots useless.

Anna writes: “How about ‘The Thing’?”

Answer: I loved The Thing but, like Alien, would place it in the scifi category.

Anna also writes: “Have you seen ‘Spoorloos’/’The Vanishing?’”

Answer: Yes! Now that you mention it, that one should be in my top ten as well. I refer to the original Dutch version and not the crappy Hollywoodized remake.

Terry writes: “About “Timescape.” Up to the point when he put the message in the box, there was only one timeline. The divergence in the timelines didn’t start to happen until after that event. So both timelines should have a future where that message exists. Only in the one timeline is there someone who had asked for it and read it. So the presence of the message doesn’t negate the idea of alternate futures.”

Answer: Hmmm. I don’t follow. The fact that they receive the message in the safety deposit box suggests they are able to alter their own timeline. And yet, at book’s end, the way the events of 1998 play out suggest the establishment of an alternate timeline. I don’t think you can have it both ways, saying a slight change to the past alters the future slightly, but a bigger change will lead to another branching in the multiverse.

Fsmn36 writes: “I came to the conclusion that just sending the messages back didn’t alter the timeline–there was no conflict. It was only when the past altered their own actions did it create a different timeline.”

Answer: It still feels like having it both ways. Sending a message back to the past – even if the recipient fails to convince those around him of its authenticity – must result in some repercussion. Unless you’re suggesting (as some have theorized) that the timeline is self-healing, capable of readjusting itself to its original pre-established direction. Bradbury would have something to say about that.

Charles Schneider writes: “Thanks so much for the info. I’m trying to line up as much stuff as I can for San Diego Comic Con. I don’t know if it would work out, but it would be a dream come true for this rookie to score an interview with one of you guys.”

Answer: No problem. If I do end up going to San Diego, get in touch with me before the Comic Con and I’ll arrange a sit-down.

Sheppard’sOnlyPie writes: “Anyone Remember the Changeling with George C. Scott??”

Answer: One of my wife’s top ten. That little red ball bouncing down the stairs terrifies her every time.

Wolfenm writes: “Have you seen Uzumaki?”
Answer: Loved Uzumaki, but found some of it a little silly. Love those giant wall-crawling snails! It’ll forever give you pause whenever you head downstairs to check your laundry.

Wolfenm also writes: “I thought The Others was pretty scary, and had a nice twist, too.”

Answer: “A good movie that I think suffered greatly from following on the heels of The Sixth Sense.”

AMZ writes: “1. Have you seen The Mist yet? If so, what did you think? 2. Have you read/seen King’s 1408? 3. Have you ever seen Satoshi Kon’s “Yume nara samete” (Perfect Blue)?”

Answers: 1. Yes. It was fine. 2. I haven’t. 3. I have. I’m a big fan of his work. Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, Paprika, and Paranoia Agent make up part of my extensive anime collection.

Shiningwit writes: I’d like to be able to recommend or even get a hold of some good anime or horror other than what you’ve mentioned here so any more recommendations please Joe?

Answer: Horror (Ringu, Ju-on, Dark Water, Audition, Uzumaki, 3 Extremes, The Eye, Kairo. Anime (Berserk, Boogiepop Phantom, Cowboy Bebop, Infinite Ryvius, Kino’s Journey, The Last Exile, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Now and Then, Here and There, Rurouni Kenshin, Samurai Champloo, Trigun, Twelve Kingdoms).

Pauline writes: “I once worked in a very old hospital…”

Answer: Great, creepy story!

David writes: “Are the new characters going to reacurring throughout the entire season, or just one or two episodes?”

Answer: That depends on a lot of things. First and foremost = who survives the episode.

1norriski writes: “Now for my actual question, in The Siege III we see Ford leave by fling a PJ through the gate. Ford didn’t have the ancient gene that I can remember.”

Answer: Can’t remember the episode, but I seem to recall a scene back in season one in which Sheppard takes Ford out for test flight.

Felkin writes: “On a different topic, do you like Banoffee pie?”

Answer: Banoffee? Is that anything like snuffleupagus?

Angel234 writes: “ Since the SG1 movies are now completed, what has become of the standing SGC sets?”

Answer: They’re still standing. But when it comes time to tearing them down and tossing out the old gate, I’ll give you a heads up. Do you think you’d have room for it in your backyard?

SingsingandBeakman writes: “Speaking of monster personalities: how is Jason M’s prsonality really?”

Answer: He’s a sweetheart.

David Oulton writes: “Quick question…is David Hewlett as bad as what everyone says he is?”

Answer: If by “everyone” you mean yourself, then – no. I’ve never known David to be anything but great in interviews and the special features.

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wraithfodder
wraithfodder

NICE shots of David and Kavan. How about some Joe shots? Please… whine…. whine….

promogirl
promogirl

Now that you’ve cast Christina Cox in the role of Teldy I really hope she survives. I’d loved to see her around Atlantis some more. Especially if she goes up against John.

Just one quick question now that the next season is purring along over there in Vancover. As showrunner, what has been the biggest surprise you didn’t see coming for season 5?

Trish (aka whovian)

Hey Joe,

I love the pics! They are fantastic. Especially the David ones.

There is room for the SG-1 gate in my backyard. I think my dogs would love it. Besides, I am tired of flying and will make good use of it to travel around the galaxy.

I forgot to tell you the scariest movie I’ve ever seen. “Show Girls” With Elizabeth Berkley (1995). It was so horrid that I’ve only watched about twenty minutes of it. It’s really scary. Trust me on this.

*shudder*

Debra
Debra

No way!!! Evangeline Lily auditioned for Stargate?!?!? I’m a big fan of hers… she brings oh-so-much to LOST!!!

ytimynona
ytimynona

Do you think you’d have room for it in your backyard?

I definitely do!!!!! And my ten year old brother (a budding filmmaker) would have a blast with it!!!

Kimberly
Kimberly

Christina Cox ? Are you kidding LOL .. Sorry but disagree *rolleyes* . She was the reason I stopped watching Blood Ties . Her acting was terrible and very unconvincing .
Maybe she’ll do differently on SGA but I’m not getting my hopes up since I’ve seen her in other things too and never found her compelling to watch .

chev

First?

OMG, are you trying to give me a heart attack Joe? Love you heaps. Thanks for the gorgeous Kavan photos.

Cheers, Chev

Margaret Clayton

Dust and water bottles. I feel right at home. Thank you!

Oh, and the Big Guns yesterday … marvelous. Is it hot in here or is it me? Oh wait, nevermind, hot flash.

Charles Schneider

You’re a real class-act to be so nice. I know that you don’t have to go to conventions, and you don’t have to talk to us every day via your blog. But I’m thankful that you do. Thanks for all the consideration and the extra work you put into everything.

P.S. Expect a press packet from me in the next month.

Vikitty
Vikitty

Answer: No problem. If I do end up going to San Diego, get in touch with me before the Comic Con and I’ll arrange a sit-down.

If?? IF?! What’s with the “if”? I thought you and Marty G were going for sure? I gotta lead you through the maze that is the con centre to the anime exhibition again!

And to be completely off topic, what do you do to destress?

M
M

“Over the hiatus, I pitched out the idea of introducing an all-female team as a means of addressing the male-female imbalance on the show.”

The decision made by you and your fellow producers to get rid of strong female regular and recurring characters like Elizabeth Weir and Kate Heightmeyer only made the male-female imbalance worse. It’s too bad you guys didn’t think of that downside to begin with. You could have saved yourselves, the cast, and the fans a great deal of trouble.

Loren
Loren

Oh my, Mr. M., lovely whump photos… if only one of them could be of Sheppard. Sigh..

Still hoping all is well.

-Loren

pg15

Joe said…
Answer: It’s possible, but I’m reluctant to make a change for the sake of one episode that would effectively render all of our existing city establishing shots useless.

I understand. It was the reason why Voyager didn’t do it either (and even when it happened on Enterprise, it was only for a handful of episodes). Such is the disadvantages of a money-driven economy (I assume that the fact that you don’t want to throw away the stock shots is that you have to make new ones, and that = $$$). Oh well, maybe for some time in the future, like in the series finale where Atlantis could be destroyed or something. Who knows.

Thank you for the detailed account on what you wanted out of these characters! It’s very enlightening (and Dusty is wise-cracking? AWESOME.), and I for one am glad that you guys put more stocks in talent rather than just looks; it’s just common sense, really.

Thornyrose
Thornyrose

Kavan Smith should have that smile patented as a stun-weapon. Even sitting down I felt my knees go weak… truly, blood and all the man looks incredible. Thanks for the pictures. I’m actually looking forward to seeing the all-female team in action. A shame they won’t all survive. It would’ve been fun to see a scene where one of the other teams disparages them, and the reactions. I’ll pull out the Keep tomorrow and make a few notes. Thank you for offering us the chance to ask the author questions. I’m looking forward to the posts.

centurywinter
centurywinter

Thanks for the great shots and the wonderful blog entry. It’s one of the things I look forward to reading every day.

LostCityGuardian
LostCityGuardian

After having skim read the comments for the previous day, I have far more appreciation for what you do most days by answering the mailbag. So, how long does it actually take you to read all the comments?

chev

Angel234 writes: “ Since the SG1 movies are now completed, what has become of the standing SGC sets?”

Answer: They’re still standing. But when it comes time to tearing them down and tossing out the old gate, I’ll give you a heads up. Do you think you’d have room for it in your backyard?

That would be cool. It would probably take up 3/4 of my backyard.

Does it come with Walter and Siler?

Cheers, Chev

Amy S
Amy S

I can’t believe that I didn’t see Poltergiest mentioned during the whole ‘horror’ conversation. Maybe it’s not as scary as I remember, but I still sleep with my closet doors closed. I was something like six when I watched it, though, so that might be part of the reason that it scared me so much!

And to the guy wondering about David Hewlett, I had a chance to interview him. I have to say that he was really funny and super nice. Probably one of the better interviews I’ve had the pleasure of doing. Very personable. Also, the Atlantis PR person was absolutely amazing.

archersangel

for the record; i’m glad to see kick-ass females on stargate & if they are played by good actresses who happen to be easy-on-the-eyes so much the better.
if any survive to make return appearances that’s icing on the cake as far as i’m concerned.

dasNdanger
dasNdanger

Answer: That depends on a lot of things. First and foremost = who survives the episode.

So, is this all-gal team episode basically a ‘women in refrigerators’ episode as well? wink

das

astrumporta
astrumporta

I think the person asking about David H was referring to interviews/specials featuring other cast/crew, who seem to take great joy in “complaining” about him. My feeling is, if he were really annoying no one would actually say it. Plus if he is a jerk, he’s the best actor ever, because he’s the nicest, cutest, geeky geek I’ve ever met. smile

I love the all-female crew already. I see “average” people every day; it’s fine with me to see the prettier side of life on my widescreen. I hope they all survive, if only so you can write more Carson eps without worrying there are too many men on screen!

Michelle

Padawan Aneiki
Padawan Aneiki

OH MY! Those pics have me absolutely dying for Season 5 to start *already*. I swear you take delight in torturing us. wink

Glad the casting for Teldy et al came out to satisfaction; looking forward to seeing the results!

Why were there clearance issues on “Shrine of Talus,” just out of curiosity…? Somebody named Talus unhappy with being immortalized in Stargate lore? wink Sorry, I’m overdosed on caffeine. Seriously…what sorts of things cause a problem like that and how often do you bump into them?

Kimberly
Kimberly

Sorry Joe for me nagativity lately sad I just would like to see some good Teyla centric episodes and possible a couple of nice John and Teyla scenes whether shippy or not .
I also like Keller and do not understand why so many do not like her ?
McKay and Ronon are both great and Lorne is really awesome too ..

Eri
Eri

NICE pics there! makes me curious. And i love the idea of seeing Nicole de Boer on the whow.
Now i don’t mean to be rude, and i know you get many comments and probably questions, but MUST you ignore every question i’ve asked so far!?
I know i had another one i was going to ask but now i can’t remember…

Heidi
Heidi

The actress that you cast for Dr Porter was in cube with David H was she not? That also was a very creepy movie what with the face melting and lasers.

Heidi