Well now you know as much as we do. No, no, that’s not exactly true. We still know more than you do. But at least we ALL know the names of our cast members. The news finally broke yesterday but, on the off-chance you were in your basement watching a Lord of the Rings marathon, here are the latest additions:

Alaina Huffman (Tamara Johansen): Alaina was one of the first auditions we saw way back in December (I was in Tokyo at the time and watched the stream from my room in The Peninsula). She was so good that, quite frankly, we would’ve been crazy not to cast her. I finally got the chance to chat with her today and discovered that, besides being quick-witted and absolutely lovely, she shares my affinity for Japan. Bonus points for that.

Elyse Levesque (Chloe Armstrong): Like Alaina, Elyse delivered a wonderfully nuanced audition, demonstrating impressive range in two very different ad demanding scenes. I only got the chance to speak to her briefly at the cast dinner but my first impression lines up with what everyone else has been saying about her: she is a sweetheart!

Ming-Na (Camille Wray):Back in my January 30th entry, I wrote “Meanwhile, we inch ever closer to casting one of my other favorites roles – the character of Wray.”. She’s one of my favorites because she has so much potential. That said, as I was working on the first part of the mid-season two-parter, I actually grew nervous. Wray has some nice, meaty scenes in my script and, without a strong actress in the role, the character would crash and burn. So you can imagine my delight to hear we had closed the deal with Ming-Na, a tremendously talented actress (and, apparently, poker player) who is more than capable of delivering bigtime.

Lou Diamond Philips (Colonel Telford): Speaking of talented actors, Lou Diamond Philips is another huge addition to an already impressive roster. He is a kick-ass Colonel Telford and incredibly charming both on and offscreen. I told him I’d enjoyed his work and, especially, his role opposite Mark Wahlberg in The Big Hit. He laughed and admitted it was one of his faves as well. Check it out!

Christopher McDonald (Senator Armstrong): Another experienced Hollywood veteran, Chris brings gravity and charisma to the role of Senator Armstrong. When I was on set the other day, he approached me, shook my hand, and told me how happy he was to be working on the show. A clas act.

Speaking of class acts – today, I was on set talking to some of the cast when the conversation turned to actors who are not only accomplished, but great to work with as well. And, not surprisingly, Bob Picardo’s name came up. As it turns out, Gateworld just posted an interview with him. Check it out here:  http://gateworld.net/interviews/man_in_a_suit.shtml

Had a nice, long chat with Brian J. Smith today. I continue to be impressed with his self-effacing, down-to-earth attitude. However, not so impressed with his NFL team of choice: the Dallas Cowboys. But fellow Romo-booster Rob Cooper certainly was. Hey, Sherry – unfortunately, the studio has put the kibosh on any behind-the-scene pics for the time being. I told Brian that I might convince you to provide some embarrassing baby pics of your son and, while he assured me that you have plenty, he strongly urged me NOT to ask. And so, in the interest of continuing to see that self-effacing, down-to-earth attitude – I’m not going to ask. For now. But I will welcome you to our little book of the month club.

If I had to give the award for Funniest Guy On Set (and I do believe I’ll be presenting the award at this year’s ceremonies), I would be hardpressed not hand it to David Blue. A very funny guy, but a professional through and through. Richard – I echo everyone’s best wishes for Buddy. Here’s hoping for a quick and full recovery that will see him bounding around that backyard in no time.

A pretty hilarious guy in his own right is actor Justin Louis who did a really nice job opposite Ona Grauer in some heartfelt scenes earlier this week. I told him: “You guys are eventually going to get tired of hearing it but – we are loving the dailies!”

Finally, late yesterday, Robert Carlyle delivered a performance in a key scene that was so outstanding it blew the doors off Stage 3 – and the entire crew away! “Masterful” would be one word to describe it. “Extraordinary” would be another. But I prefer to simply go with “Wow!”.

Hey, look at what arrived in the mail today! A super, special, advance copy of Joe Abercrombie’s latest: Best Served Cold. Regulars to this blog know that I’m a huge fan of Joe’s and consider his First Law trilogy among my favorite works in the fantasy genre. Will be jumping on it next and have a full report for you all next week. 



In the meantime, our continuing discussion of David Louis Edelman’s Infoquake:

AMZ writes: “Ironically, with my phone line and internet down I found I could really sympathise with the boys during Initiation…”

Answer: So could I.  Their technology-free wilderness survival training reminded me of my last trip to Montreal.  Minus the bears, wilderness, and training.  Still, my internet connection was kind of iffy.  I empathize.

AMZ also writes: “

I particularly liked the history he created, especially the Autonomous Revolt, which seems to have instilled in the people a fear of losing technology and creates a rich tension between moving forward with advancements and treading with a bit of caution…”

Answer: Which brings up an interesting point.  Given the repercussions of the Autonomous Revolution, is it difficult to accept that humanity would be willing to introduce nanite technology into their everyday lives?  Would they be more cautious given the past or could it be argued that enough time has passed to make them more accepting of the technology?

Sparrow_hawk writes: “ I’m not really a computer geek, but have a lot of friends and acquaintances who are. I was fully prepared to like Natch and his apprentices, but the more I saw of them, the less I cared about them. “

Answer: And how do these characters compare to your computer geek friends?  Is there a Natch in your midst?

Fsmn36 writes: “At the same time, it wasn’t a fully conscious act for Natch. I don’t think he can entirely be blamed for instinct. I don’t agree with it, certainly not, but was he fully himself in that moment? Or did fight-flight and self-preservation kick in?”

Answer: Except that he didn’t just happen to cross paths with Brone while the fight-flight instinct kicked in: “Until, as chance would have it, he spotted Brone.  Natch whipped around and headed in his direction.”  Sounds like he knew exactly what he was doing. 

49 thoughts on “February 25, 2009: Finally, That Cast Announcement!

  1. Ming-Na?!?!?! I REALLY hope we get Sci-Fi Channel if I move now, ’cause otherwise I’m screwed, I want to watch her, Robert and Brian!

  2. Actually, I’m surprised at how many of those people I recognize. And I just realized David Blue was that nerdy vamp on Moonlight. Heh. Nice. He was always entertaining on that show. This should be good.

    I’m so looking forward to this show. I’m beginning to feel withdrawl. I need my Stargate fix.

  3. I know that you have already told us – but I have forgotten, or maybe you didn’t tell us and I was imagining it. Is Robert Carlyle portraying a Scotsman?

    If so it might not be a good idea to mention our need for the SCB campaign. 🙂

    Wish him well from Scotland – (Susan is waving fae Perth).

    Although still upset and angry at the demise of Atlantis I am willing to give your new programme a try.

  4. Another Cowboys fan! Woo-hoo!!! *Does happy dance*

    Ona Grauer’s back?!! Another “woo hoo!”

  5. Great cast is forming. To see names like Lou and Robert Carlyle in the stargate franchise is just astonishing. We should start petition to change that premiere month from October to at least early September. 🙂

  6. I’m so glad that in the great tradition of sci-fi, you have some great multi-ethnic casting. Ming-Na is a fantastic actor who also happens to be a role model for young Asian-American women. She was also in Joy Luck Club with Tamlyn Tomita another SG alum. Just a bit of random trivia. Anyways, it’s another reason to watch SG!

  7. It was good to see you today Joe. From a fan’s perspective…SGU is going to be nothing short of amazing! I look forward to watching the finished product.

  8. coucou Joseph!

    Vous allez bien? Oui!!! super ces nouvelles personnes du cast, je suis impatiente de voir jouer Ming, je sens que je vais aimez son personnage^^!

    merci beaucoup.

    Je vous adore!

  9. Just saw a quote from Christopher McDonald on IMDB:

    “Actors think the grass is always greener. When you do a play, you wish you could be making easy money doing a film, because you work your butt off on the stage. Then you do your television and say, ‘God, if I have to do this one more time, I’ll just go crazy.’ I think any actor would rather do quality work than the episodic TV which pays the rent.”

    Dunno when he said that – probably ages ago – but you uhh… might have want to have a word with him. 😀


  10. Welcome to David’s dad *waves* sending good thoughts to Buddy for a swift and complete recovery.

    Impressive cast you guys have cobbled together. SGU seems to be shaping up quite nicely.

    Excuse me while I et the rabbits out, its their playtime and they’re kicking up a ruckus.

  11. “So you can imagine my delight to hear we had closed the deal with Ning-Ma…”

    I hate ‘N’s and ‘M’s. They’re such fickle letters. And so distractable. I can never keep them where they’re supposed to go.

    In other thoughts: The rumors of SG: 90210 are looking to be about as valid as rumors tend to be. Who knew that a vague statement like “directed toward a younger audience” wouldn’t mean the entire cast would be twenty-somethings with nothing to do but droll out relationship worries and piddle on split ends.

    Still, it seems like the whole world is leaning toward the “younger generation.” Just look at the new Doctor. Heck, I AM the younger generation and it’s bugging me.

    Then again, I’m under the absolute certainty that the American world (marketing and media) is being run by those catering to 12 year old girls. Sometimes I look at the television and twinge and wonder if They know some of us have already been through puberty.

    Anyway…I was wondering on that question I asked. I know you haven’t gotten around to answering any mailbag questions today, but I would really like to know about it, if there’s going to be a gay character in the new series. It would be awesome to know that a homosexual character would be represented in an American (made in Canada) television show.


  12. Wow. Unbelievable. I am truly amazed at the talent being amassed for this series. If I give you $1,000, how ’bout letting me visit the set for a day? I’m talking cash here, by the way, so if you’re interested…

    On a more serious note (although I am quite serious about the offer), could you please tell us which of these actors are regulars and which are reccurring?

    Also, I’m confused… is Telford or Young in command? Your December 15th post said that “contrary to initial reports, the Rush character is not the leader of the unplanned expedition. That honor falls to Colonel Everett Young.” But the press release seemed to indicate that Telford had that role. Am I missing something?

  13. Umm. Aha.
    This may sound incedibly ignorant for someone working in TV, but I haven’t heard of any of those newly announced actors before, nor seen them, and I looked them up on IMDB to make sure.
    You see, a lot of the many TV productions and feature films from the U.S.A. and Canada simply never make it across the Atlantic, or by the time they are bought and dubbed by our TV stations, they are at least several years old (e.g. with Battlestar Galactica, we just got to the pilot of season 3, two and a half years after it aired in the U.S.). That makes me feel like someone from a backwater planet here.

    But does it matter? If SGU gets me hooked one day as SG-1 and SGA did, it will be because of the stories with their intensity, imagination and humour. So it’s you, the writers and directors, whom I am counting on.
    Great actors like Robert Carlyle (yes, at least him I know and love) are an asset, but even a brilliant actor can not save a bad script. On the other hand, a bad actor can ruin a good script. But after all the great work you guys already did, I trust your casting as much as your scripting.
    And if I liked your work on SGU, I can tell you in about three years…

  14. I’ve never heard you talk about a cast like this before, and if the idea was to hype people up about SGU, it’s working!

  15. Hi there Mr M!

    I occassionally glance over at your reading list and have just discovered that you have finished reading “Do Android’s Dream of Electric Sheep?”. I assume that this was a re-read. I wondered what sparks you to pick up a book you have read already? I

    love this book, it contains one of my favourite words……..”kipple”.

    Now that I have their Imperial Majesties, I find that the laws of Entropy have gripped my house, with pink and glitz the order of the day. Gone are the neatly (chronologically ordered) DVD collections, scattered to the four corners…..as the pink kipple spreads its tentacles (think SGA Season 4 SEED).

    Thanks for the update on the Short Story Super Secret Project. Any sign of release/ publication?

    Best to all


  16. I don’t really have a question for Amanda Tapping, I’ve a message, can you pass that on as well, please, Joe? 🙂

    Dear ms. Tapping,

    A while ago, Joe here asked on his weblog what our favourite SGA scenes were. One of mine wasn’t a favourite SGA at all, it was the X-files scene with mr. Pileggi. You looked stunning there by the way (well, except after he woke up, that made me wonder if you have a very flexible neck or a very convincing props dpt.) – with your hair like that, you looked prettier than Marilyn Monroe. Speaking of hair (yes well, I might as well join in on the hair obsession), with brown hair you totally look like Xena. Kickass!

    I love the character of Sam, both on Sg1 and SgA. In fact, for as long as Sam took over Atlantis, I didn’t have much of a problem with Elizabeth being written out. That’s saying something, because Elizabeth was my 2nd favourite character on the show. You rock! You’ve got this way of portraying a strong woman without going all b1tch or all GI Jane on it – all too often strong women are either vicious or evil, or plain male.
    Sam is still very much feminine. I completely, whole-heartedly love the way you portray her. And in Sg1, you had this way of bringing balance on screen in a very subtle way. It’s like Sam knows she’s in the middle of a testosterone overdose, but she’s so confident in both herself and her gender that she doesn’t think about it, doesn’t try to change who she is in any way. You may not have thought of it when you played her, but she is a very positive female role-model on tv.
    Thank you for the way you portrayed her, and thank you for all your hard work.

    Best wishes,

  17. This is a great cast that will attract lots of viewers, even the ones that despise all things stargate.
    but i’ll say this again, you need to get the message out there. you guys need ads placed everywhere, may i suggest a cheap way to do it?–why not go viral? viral ads work and dark knight proved it. every movie got one now and i think stargate needs one to get people comfortable with it. either a alternate reality website showing SGC classified files on Icarus or a youtube video showing a UFOs (which is a wraith ship or Atlantis in the sky)—this will be most viewed because it would look real. thats one way to grab peoples interest, Joe. another way is to do gorilla ads-just make hints of the show in subways or billboards. im saying these things coz im taking an advertising course thing so thats why my mind is in that sort of thing right now.

  18. Hey Joe! I just wanted to pop in to say YAY!! I’m loving the cast!! I can’t wait to see the new show. I only hope that it airs down here in Australia.
    Thank you so much. xxxx

  19. Oh my god, what a cast!!! i cant wait for it to begin, i mean a show with Robert “awesome” Carlyle was already great, but now ill get to see my “Young Guns” hero on the best damn franchise ever!!! talk about anxiety…

  20. Christopher McDonald aka Shooter!! but his best shot so far was Castillo way back when, Star Trek NG ep that also returned Denise Crosby as Tasha, my fave character from that series. Anyway, he’ll make an excellent US senator. And I hope I don’t mean Kinsey.

  21. Hey can you confirm Carlyle’s portrayed accent yet if it will be his natural one or not?

    Also Universe is sounding better as it goes along, I was already going to watch it when all the doubt was on it. But it is sounding more and more ‘essential watching’ the more information’s released on it.

  22. Was there anyone of the origional Atlantis Cast that you actually enjoyed working with?

  23. WOW. The cast for Stargate Universe sounds amazing, I’m really interested to see the dynamics on screen (and off screen when it finally comes to DVD and we get special features).

    Onto Infoquake

    I really love how you can relate the bear-, wilderness- and training free Montreal to the Initiation. I never would have seen the similarities without you. The iffy internet connection I can understand (veeeerry well).

    As for the Autonomous Revolution, I didn’t find it difficult to accept that humanity was at a stage in the book where they were dependent on nanite technology. I actually thought it was a testament to the way that some human beings operate and how mainstream society in general operates. Humans tend to revert to convenience over fear when it comes to things like technology.

    I mean, we still have nuclear weapons despite situations like the arms race, we still run nuclear powerplants despite the dangers and we’re creating more and more fossil-fuel dependent technologies despite the need for greener energy. It seems like our sedentary lifestyle takes precedent over lessons learned in our history, even if there are some people (like Jara in Infoquake) who are hesitant about moving forward too fast.

    And if you learn from your mistakes doesn’t that change how people accept things like technology? In the case of the Autonomous Revolution people then felt distrust for the artificial intelligence/s created because they were so separate from humans. Wouldn’t that attitude be different with nanites because they’re integrated with the human body?

    Personally the idea of that kind of freaks me out more, because if something goes wrong with nanites then it would screw with your whole system, but if the main problem before was a lack of integration/unity, then don’t the nanites work around that?

    And yeah, the time thing played a part in what I believed about their acceptance of technology. I imagined that a fair bit of time had passed between then and the current state of society that the plot was set in, and I think things like the Initiation process indicate some sense of caution, even if it’s not much. But the fact that it was rare for schools to still do Initiations when Natch was a student suggests even that tradition was becoming outdated, which influenced my belief that the Autonomous Revolution was far in the past.

    Really enjoying reading everyones comments, and I have to say it’s great to finally be back in the BOTM Club discussions.

    I also can’t wait to hear your thoughts on “Best Served Cold”!


  24. Lou Diamond Philips huh? I remember “The Big Hit” and still laugh. Good stuff.

  25. (Joe it says my previous comment is awaiting moderation – did you read it? I don’t mind if you make it public or not just wanna make sure you got it)

  26. “I eat pieces of sh*t like you for breakfast!”
    That is one of my favorite movie lines EVER – can some version of this please be worked in somehow? Maybe he could say it to someone he *thinks* is incompetent bc they’re taking too long to save him? If not, I’ll just have to mentally insert it to give myself a giggle. I cannot believe SGU has “Shooter” McGavin!

    Other than he & Lou Diamond Phillips, I’m not familiar with anyone else (I know, do I live under a rock or what?! Actually, to be honest, I just don’t watch any TV other than SG & Heroes.)

    As a straight female, I do have to say though, that the females cast are strikingly beautiful. I’m sure casting was a tough job (wink wink).

  27. Thanks for your well wishes for Buddy, Joe.
    It sounds like you are having a ball on the set. I wish I could see that. But through you we can at least get a taste. Thanks again.
    When do you take the pictures of the cast for promotion. I want to put that on a T-shirt to brag all over town.
    Richard Blue

  28. I almost short circuited my laptop upon clicking on your blog. The picture of Abercrombie’s latest book set me to salivating so badly I was fearful of becoming deyhdrated. Do you happen to know the release date for the book? At this rate my favorite bookstore will never have to worry about going out of business; I’ll be simply direct-depositing my paychecks to them.
    The casting sounds…interesting. I’ll be looking up more on them. But with months to go before we will see the premeire, not even your excited reports are enough to build up my enthusiasm. Perhaps if the studio would allow you to “leak” a few pictures… I do hope that the show will be given a decent publicity campaign to draw in more viewers, but I’m not optimistic with Sci-Fi network’s track record this will be the case.
    Ok, time to head out into some sunlight and see if I can shake this pessimistic mood.

  29. Hi Joe,
    Lots of exciting news coming across your blog! Thanks for keeping us in the loop as much as you have. Your secretive hints really keep the interest/intrigue up. Makes me look forward even more to the premier!

    Just a random question: You’ve said that in keeping this blog going you are exercising your writing skills. How much time do you put into this daily? Do you ponder what your daily subject will be, or just write off the cuff? Loading and deciding what, if any, pictures you post must take a bit of time as well. Curious minds were wondering.

    Your blog takes me away from the mundane-ness of my work day. Thanks for taking the time to provide us with a taste of your world.

    Patty O

  30. JM asked :

    And how do these characters compare to your computer geek friends? Is there a Natch in your midst?

    Most of the computer people I know here in the Midwest are hospital or business based IT people, programmers, web designers or in academics, they are not software developers – and there is not a Natch in the bunch. Most of them are more like Horvil. But I think that the world that Natch and his associates inhabit, and most probably the software industry in our own world, is a place rife with cutthroat competition and no doubt has plenty of Natchs (Natches?). I think what bugs me most about Natch is that he is so one-dimensional – just a programmer, not a person; the workaholic taken to an extreme. I almost, ALMOST, thought there was hope for Natch when I read about him taking the train to go to the redwoods in California; then Mr. Edelman dashed my fragile hopes by showing me that Natch’s idea of communing with nature consisted of endlessly riding a train and looking out the window at the trees! And I just can’t find it in my heart to care much about a guy like that.

    But it sounds like I am very much in the minority with my opinion of this book. And Anne Teldy said she liked MultiReal, which is encouraging, so I’ll give the next book a try and see where it takes me.

    Joe, you got an advance copy of “Best Served Cold”???!!! You lucky dog. I’m positively green with envy! Let us know how you like it.

    On the Stargate side of things, it sounds like SGU has a lot of potential. I’m looking forward to watching it!

  31. I’m finding I cared enough about the Infoquake world and story to step up a defense for Natch. I found him to be a pretty full character, especially after reading about his childhood, tree fetish and with each meeting of his father, nemesis, Margaret and apprentices. I thought of him this way- Natch is to programming what Gene Simmons is to music. Talented enough to make a splash, but ultimately using the industry as the means to be on top and make money, rather than for the artistry.

  32. One thing I do just want to add:

    It’s been very refreshing to read the comments at Gateworld with these casting announcements. Almost all of them are “I was wrong when I made the 90210 comment” or “Ok, this actually looks pretty good” or “This sounds great!”.

    It’s nice to hear people happy and not endlessly whining about SGU, judging it before it’s even gone to air.

    Personally I can’t wait for it. The thought of a more episodic series filled with regulars seems like a fantastic idea. As long as you guys keep to your continuity, it should be wonderful. 🙂


  33. Oh my gosh Joe!
    How in the world are all of your loyal Stargate fans going to last until SGU airs!?!?!
    I am stunned and so very excited about all the actors you have signed up.
    So okay I have heard this fall we will get to see this awesome show. Any more details you can lob our way??

  34. LDP was awesome on Triangle, he’ll bring those same wonderful qualitied to SGU. Well done casting. Is it October yet? 😀

  35. JM said:

    Which brings up an interesting point. Given the repercussions of the Autonomous Revolution, is it difficult to accept that humanity would be willing to introduce nanite technology into their everyday lives? Would they be more cautious given the past or could it be argued that enough time has passed to make them more accepting of the technology?

    It is not hard to believe. I think of the nanites more as a medical technology and people are often more accepting of devices that will improve and prolong their lives than they might be of other types. Of course, more frivolous uses are made of the nanites (eye color, Pokerface, etc), too.

    But in spite of their benefits nanites are potential targets for sabotage and make me nervous. What if there is a “back door” built into them that would allow someone to get in and “hack” your body?

  36. Sounds like Univervse has a amazing cast. Will have to investigate Christoper McDonald, since I am not familiar with him.

    Sounding Amazing. And getting more and more excited everyday!!!!

  37. Hi Joe,

    I have to say, while I’m not familiar with most of the cast of SGU, I’m certainly becoming more and more intrigued by your excitement over them and by the show in general. Between SGU and the second season of Sanctuary–well, I don’t want to wish my life away, but October can’t get here soon enough.

    Having looked toward the future, I confess to feeling a bit nostalgic today and was enjoying some classic SG-1. I know this is probably a question better suited for Brad, but since you were around in the day, perhaps you have some insight on it….

    …in 2010 it was obvious that Sam and Jack had had a parting of the ways. Ostensibly it was over trusting the Aschen when earth first joined the alliance, but as with most interactions between those two, there seemed to be another layer of meaning in their exchange. Do you know if it was ever discussed in the writing room as to what had caused their discomfort with one another or was it intended to be strictly left to the interpretation of the viewers?

    *sigh* I miss SG1. You never forget your first, you know? And speaking of which…how are Brad and Carl coming with that script…???



  38. Hi Joe,

    Thanks for the update on the SG1 script. Crossing my fingers that Brad remembers that certain, shall we say, “scene” he mentioned once upon an interview.

    I’ve got 2010 circled on my calendar. I guess it’s not that far in the future after all.


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