Mark Dacascos is an actor we’ve wanted to have on the show for quite some time. His name often came up when we were casting guest roles on SG-1 but, time and again, it just didn’t feel right to have him put in a cursory appearance as a Jaffa commander. After all, this was Crying Freeman. The Crow. Mani from Brotherhood of the Wolf. The Chairman! If we were going to cast him, we wanted to make sure it was a role worthy of his talents as both an artist and, oh yeah, a martial artist. Well, the perfect opportunity presented itself last year when we were looking to cast Tyre, the part of Ronon’s former Satedan buddy turned wraith-worshiper. There were a lot of great auditions for the role but Mark’s interpretation of the character proved exactly what we were looking for. We wanted Tyre to be tough, a bad-ass, yet charming and, ultimately, sympathetic. Mark captured that spirit.
Mark did a wonderful job for us on Reunion, then came back and blew the doors off with his portrayal of a suffering, conflicted Tyre in season 5’s Broken Ties. He delivered a beautifully nuanced performance in addition to a thrilling sword duel every bit as spectacular as his throwdown with Ronon in Reunion. We were lucky to have Mark on the show and I’m not exaggerating when I say that many members of our crew were truly saddened to see him leave. He was a pleasure to work with, a gentlemen through and through, and I would consider myself fortunate to work with him again.
Over to Mark…
Thank you to Joseph Mallozzi and company for having me on SGA. Thank you to Joe for inviting me on his blog-site. Thank you to the friends and fans of SGA for the support and questions. I am grateful, honored and extremely happy to have played a small part in the SGA story.
Shiny writes: “After playing dark and intense characters on The Crow and SGA, how was it playing the irreverent Sensei Ping on Middle Man? I had to do several double takes to make sure it was Mark behind Sensei Ping’s Lucha Libre mask. Does he want to do more comedy in the future or does he prefer the broody hero types?”
MD answers: It was fun and exciting to play Sensei Ping. I enjoy comedy and hope to do more in the future. In addition to my continuing studies with acting-coach, Larry Moss, and Shakespeare/voice teacher, Patsy Rodenburg, I started taking improvisation workshops with Gary Austin, the founder of The Groundlings, last year. We ( Gary’s ensemble) performed “live” to a sold out audience at The Groundlings theater this past summer. I had a blast and am now looking for projects that would incorporate comedy, action and possibly a “food” theme. Any ideas?
Skye writes: “What Drew you to the Character Tyre? Just wanted to say My mother loves watching you on the food network as the Chairman and any of the movies that you have done.”
MD answers: I admire the discipline, courage and honor of warriors. Tyre’s situation intrigued me and the way Joseph M. ended the episode in REUNION left me wanting more. I didn’t know if Tyre would ever come back to redeem himself, but had hoped he would. When I received the script for BROKEN TIES, I was relieved and ecstatic with the way the story ended. And my “aloha and mahalo (‘love and thank you’ in the Hawaiian language) to you and your mother.
Eileen writes: “1. I’ve been a big fan since I saw you in the French film “Brotherhood of the Wolf.” You were amazing in that movie (I recommend it to everyone, subtitles and all)! It seems that your career has mostly been focused on portraying characters with a martial arts flair. Your work as Tyre in SGA fits in with that, but I’d love to know how you went from Native American shaman/warrior in Brotherhood of the Wolf to “The Chairman” of Iron Chef America with occasional visits to the set of SGA. 2. Do you have any other projects that you are/will be working on?”
MD answers: Eileen, thank you for watching “Brotherhood of the Wolf.” That was one of my favorite film projects to work on and “Mani (my character)” is someone I’d like to be more like. Another film I did, “Crying Freeman,” was a movie about an assassin who “cries when he kills.” I played the title role and we shot that in Vancouver, B.C (just like SGA!).
Both BOTW an CF were directed by Christophe Gans, and both were successful in Japan, home of the original “Iron Chef.” I can only deduce that someone associated with IC must have seen or heard about one of my movies and put my name on the list for possible “chairmans” they would approve of for Iron Chef: America. My managers received a call from ICA’s producers for me to interview for the role of Chairman Kaga’s “nephew.” I was thrilled with the opportunity to do something completely different from what I had been doing, but I did wonder if they knew I was known for “kicking” not “cooking.” Two days after the interview, I was offered the role as The Chairman, the American-born nephew of Chairman Kaga. That was my journey from shah-man to chair-man.
Davidd writes: “Hey Mark. I was wondering how long did it take for you to get your role on Stargate? From your first audition. Were you part of 3 top auditions for the role, or did you just get it with no other real competition? Thanks Mark!”
MD answers: Two days after I auditioned I was told that I was one of two choices. A day or two later I was offered the role of TYRE. We began filming the REUNION episode a few weeks later.
Lindsay writes: “Question for Mark Dacascos: I’ve heard you’re a super nice guy. Is it difficult playing a not-so-good guy on screen? (I’m thinking particularly of your betrayal scene with Jason Momoa– the one in which he’s tied to the chair and is so very, very emotional. It was hard to watch. Was it hard to play?”
MD answers: Thank you, I try to be a good person each and everyday. Some days are easier than others. I find that every role I play has characteristics that I can identify with.
TYRE, while he’s under the influence of the Wraith enzymes, doesn’t know that he’s really doing anything wrong. He’s somewhat “brainwashed” and trying to survive. What makes him bad is that what he’s doing is only “good” for him, not for his friend. The bad guy does good for himself, the good-guy does good for others. Both believe in what they’re doing. I felt like I connected with TYRE’S heart and in that “chair-betrayal-scene” with RONON, as an actor, it was not difficult to play. As TYRE the character, it was a difficult moment in life.
StarWars9771 writes: “Mark, loved your appearances on SGA. When is Joe going to make an appearance on Iron Chef America? What did you like best about working on the show SGA? Other than food and acting, what other interests do you have? Thanks bunches!!!
Jen from Indiana
PS Tell Alton Brown “Hi”. My oldest daughter and I are big fans!”
MD answers: Thank you, Jen and oldest daughter. I would love to see Joe on ICA. I think he would be a wonderful judge and I will do my best to get him on. I really enjoyed and appreciated the camaraderie and “aloha” spirit the cast and crew extended to me while being a part of SGA. When not on set, I enjoy playing drums and guitar, surfing, yoga and Martial Arts. I also like to read biographies, writing, and watching Foreign Films.
drldeboer writes: “Question for Mark D do you have formal martial arts training, if so in what discipline(s) and how long have you been studying? the sword fight was absolutely great, can’t wait to see the whole thing included in the DVD box set next year.”
MD answers: Thank you, drldeboer. Yes, I do have formal Martial Arts training. My mother and father are both Kung-Fu teachers. I started training with them when I was 4, entered my first Martial Arts tournament when I was 7, and unofficially retired from competition when I was 18. I’ve studied Northern Shaolin under Muo Hui Shen in Taiwan. I’ve studied Capoeira under Mestre Amen Santo and together we made the film, ONLY THE STRONG. I’ve studied Wushu under Professor Jiang Hao Quan and Coaches Eric and Debbie Chen. I am currently studying Muay Thai with Kru Puk.
Patricia Lee writes: “Your portrayal of Tyre was amazingly haunting and caused me to shout out loud, (“NO… he can’t die, not now”), when I saw in your facial expressions your decision to self sacrifice. The intensity of your withdrawal scene caused me to cringe in sympatric pain. Thank you so much for bringing such a great performance to my favorite show! I was sad to see your character die! My Questions:
1- How do you prepare for such intense emotional scenes, such as the withdrawal?
a. Where do you go in your mind?
b. Is there a personal, real experience you draw upon to get that dark or can you just turn it on?
2- I know you are an accomplished marital artist. I was wondering, for the fight scenes do you work out before a take to get your blood rushing? What kind of preparations do you go through before a big fight scene?
3- I love Iron Chef, (I am Food Network junkie) and I was wondering; seeing that Joe Mallozzi is such a foodie, and great at writing about his dining experiences, would you ever consider having him as guest judge on Iron Chef? A show With Joe Mallozzi would bring hoards of new viewers to Iron Chef just to see his opinions of the meal being judged!”
MD answers: Thank you, Patricia. Prior to filming an intense emotional scene I relax. When my breath is deep and consistent, when I’ve released the tension in my muscles (including in the face), I am ready to work. I equate it to a river. If I stop breathing, or contract my muscles, it’s like putting a dam in the river. As an actor, I need my feelings to be able to flow like the water moving down the mountain. I actually try to apply that philosophy to everything I do. Before I do an action/fight scene I always warm up by stretching and running through the choreography. It’s important to prepare my body and mind for what’s to come. And again, I relax. I want to be supple enough to snap like a cracking whip.
SparrowHawk writes: “A couple of questions for Mark Dacascos: 1. It seems that your career has mostly been focused on portraying characters with a martial arts flair. Tyre in SGA fits in with that, but I’d love to know how you went from Native American shaman/warrior in “Brotherhood of the Wolf” to “The Chairman” of Iron Chef America.
MD answers: Please see answers above.
2. Do you have any other projects that you are/will be working on?”
So far this year…
We filmed 26 new episodes of Iron Chef: America as well as a half-hour holiday special.
We have the Iron Chef: America – Nintendo Wii game coming out in September or October. I did 9 episodes of a new series premiering in March, 2009. I filmed an action-drama movie with Armand Assante, Tom Sizemore, Steven Bauer and Bruce Boxleitner. I just wrapped my first vampire movie in Louisiana with Yancy Butler, directed by Griff Furst.
I have a few movies I’m preparing to direct. One of them is a Capoeira movie. Another is a film based on my life as a 16 year-old, son of Kung-Fu teacher parents, growing up in Germany.
Trish writes: “My question to Mark Dacascos: First, thanks for stopping by and answering our questions! Second: Great performance in “Broken Ties”! You made me fall for Tyre; something I thought impossible the last time he ran into Ronon. My questions: Were you a fan of Stargate SG-1? Or any sci-fi? What would be your dream role? Again, thank you!”
MD answers: Trish, you’re welcome and thank you for your kind comments and your questions. I had only seen a few episodes of SG-1 or SGA prior to auditioning for the show. I had thought the show was extremely entertaining. One of my favorite Sci-fi movies is BLADERUNNER. One of my dream-roles would be a “Miyagi-like” character from the original KARATE KID movie.
Wolfenm writes: “Questions for Mark: Did you know from the get-go what your character’s fate would be? Either way, how did you feel about it when you found out?”
MD answers: Please see answers above.
Thornyrose writes: “A few questions for Mr. Dacascos, and I’ll call it a night.
1) I’m curious as to how you came into the role of Chairman on Iron Chef America. Was that simply something that you auditioned for, or is there more to the story? 2) What projects other than IC-A are you currently considering or engaged on? 3) How much time do you devote every day or week to physical training, including but not limited to your martial arts skills? 4) What would be your “dream role”, whether TV, cinema, or live theater? 5) Any secrets you would like to share about Atlantis, or Mr. Mallozzi? Thank you very much for taking the time to participate here, and many thanks to Mr. M. for making it possible. And I do hope that whether its a miracle reappearance of Trye, or the creation of a differnt role, that we get to see Mr. D. on Stargate Atlantis in the future.”
MD answers: Thank you, Thornyrose. Please see answers above and…When I’m not in production, I train 6 days a week, anywhere from 1 to 3 hours a day. I cross-train with mountain-biking, yoga, Martial Arts, running and surfing. The exact format of my workouts changes quite often. Prior to a specific project and depending on what’s required of me, I’ll train significantly more. 3 months prior to fighting Jet Li in CRADLE 2 the GRAVE, I ran a 6-minute mile and practiced Yoga 6 days a week, and practiced Wushu 2 hours a day on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with the Coaches Chen.
Enzo Aquarius writes: “A question (two rather) for Mark Dacascos: As an Iron Chef America fan (and Iron Chef overall), I am curious if you ever get full in the middle of the judging segment? I always wonder if one could get full depending on the portioning. Also, a possibility of our own Joseph Mallozzi becoming a judge? The man has quite an appetite and always talks about his culinary adventures.”
MD answers: Please see answers above and…On ICA, I almost always limit myself to 2 bites a course, even if I love the dish. We usually film 2 shows a day and it’s my duty to be fair to all of the chefs and not be so full that I can’t appreciate their work. Even if I don’t score the chefs myself, it’s only respectful to honor their creations by tasting them.
Raindrop writes: “And I have a question for Mark Dacascos – with your extensive martial arts background, did you find it harder to prepare for the fight scenes or for the dramatic scenes (like Tyre’s withdrawal)? I thought both were really well done.”
MD answers: Thank you, Raindrop. I found the fight-scene more difficult since we were performing an extensive sequence with very little time to film it. Most of the fight was filmed from beginning to end without stopping. I have the utmost respect for fight-choreographer, Bam-Bam, his assistant, Don Lew, and Jason Mamoa for being so prepared prior to me coming to Vancouver.
Rachael writes: “It must be immensely satisfying as a guest star to have the opportunity to play such a complex character, to have a strong backstory to work from and a full arc to explore from bad guy to redemption. My question is, did you prefer playing dark-side Tyre or redeemed hero Tyre?”
MD writes: Yes, it is immensely satisfying for an actor to play a character with a full arc. Thank you, Joseph M. and team. I enjoyed playing the dark before the light, just like I appreciate the night before the day. And it is truly scary how much I sound like my father as I grow older. Seriously, I enjoyed both, and seriously, I really am starting to speak in metaphors just like my father. Scary!:)
Jean writes: “To Mark Dacascos – I thought you were great in this episode! Joe M has mentioned that Jason really likes Tyre’s sword – did you find it a nice weapon to use as well? Also, if I may ask a non-SGA question – I often drool at the culinary concoctions on Iron Chef America – as chairman, do you get to sample the dishes too? Have there ever been any duds?”
MD answers: Thank you, Jean. Yes, Bam-Bam called weeks before filming BROKEN TIES and respectfully asked what kind of sword I’d prefer. I said I’d like something well-balanced with a good grip and that I would trust whatever he’d choose for me. And he did a great job in selecting TYRE’S sword. Yes, on ICA, out of respect to the chefs, and to my pleasure, I do sample everything they cook. And yes, once in a great while, I do eat something I’d prefer to never eat again. But that is rare. The chefs are truly amazing and I am spoiled and I love our show. And Alton Brown really is that smart and quirky.
Gen writes: “Really enjoyed your work on Broken Ties. We’ve seen your involvement in Iron Chef, is that your primary interest right now? Do you have any other projects coming up where we might see you act?”
MD answers: Thank you, Gen. Please see answers above.
AntiSocialButterflie writes: “Thanks for talking to us, we really appreciate it. Did you enjoy working with BamBam and Jason? How many times did you have to practice the sword fight before filming?”
MD answers: Thank you, AntiSocialButterflie. I appreciate you. Yes, I am a fan of both Bam-Bam and Jason. Both are great guys and very professional. I actually have no idea how many times we practiced. I’d rehearse with Jason, Bam-Bam and Don depending on whoever was available at the moment. Jason did the same. We’d rehearse in between scenes and whenever he had a few spare minutes.
Pauline writes: “1/ I understand that actors try to get close to the characters they play, are you pleased that in the end Tyler cast off his traitor image to become the hero. 2/ Characters that appear on SA have a habit of coming back from the dead, if Joe brought Tyler back would you be up for a rematch with the Wraith?”
MD answers: Yes, I felt very close to TYRE and yes, I am happy he became a hero. If TYRE came back, I can assure you he would love to kick some Wraiths in the head.
Linda Gagne writes: “Question for Mark D. What was the most fulfilling scene in Broken Ties for you? What was the most difficult for you (physically and/or emotionally)?”
MD answers: I had a lot fun playing the scene where RONON tries to get TYRE to untie him. I thought the dialogue and the set-up really showed the depth and complexity of their relationship. For me, the fight-scene was the most challenging scene. If you make a mistake doing dialogue, you just do it again. If you make a mistake with swords, someone gets hurt. During our scene, no one got hurt — Thank you, Jason, Bam-Bam and Don for allowing me to leave SGA with all the limbs I arrived with.
Joseph Mallozzi, the SGA team and friends and fans of SGA,
Mahalo and Aloha. Mark Dacascos aka TYRE