Exec. Producing Stargate: Universe is not unlike coaching an immensely talented sports franchise.  You go in to each script – or game – confident in the talent you’re working with, solid starters and a deep, deep bench that never lets you down.  And, on many occasions, even though you’re expecting them to excel, they still manage to surprise and delight.  Take Julia Benson (SGU’s Lieutenant Vanessa James) for example, an actress who started off strong in the opener and just keeps getting better, delivering everything from throwaway humor (Space) to  emotional intensity (Pain) with the skill and professionalism of a seasoned performer many years her senior.  It’s not surprising that, between the time I announced this Q&A and today’s entry, Julia picked up the Leo Award for Best Supporting Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series.

Congratulations to Julia on the win, and a big thank you for taking the time to field our questions.

Over to Julia…

Chevron7 writes: “Questions for Julia:

1. What’s your workout routine? Did that change when getting the role of Lt James?

JB:  I am always changing up my workout routine, otherwise I get bored!  But I have a chocolate lab that I run with almost daily.  That is definitely my favorite form of exercise.  When I got the role of James, I did start working out with a trainer.  I find it helps with the weight training. I did some kickboxing to toughen up physically and just recently I have been taking kickboxing classes with Sharon Taylor from Stargate Atlantis.  She’s amazing!

2. Which cast member would you most like to beat in an arm wrestling contest?

JB: Jamil, just for bragging rights!  He’s not only in incredible shape but we have a fun banter with each other and it would be awesome to bug him about something like that! Lol

3. Some people are surprised at James’ reaction to losing Scott to Chloe. I see it as a normal reaction exacerbated by the fact that she’s in close proximity to them in a stressful situation. How do you see it?

JB:  I agree with you.  Regardless of what the exchange was for Scott, James developed feelings for him.  It would obviously be different if his relationship with Chloe wasn’t in her face constantly.

4. I loved the scene of James looking after Franklin in Sabotage. I sense a backstory there, like she’s been the primary carer for someone in her past. Any clues?

JB:  I love this scene too.  Mark Burgess who plays Franklin was so amazing to act with.  He was so powerful.  I can’t give away too much back story as we have yet to explore that on the show, but I will say that James has had some challenges to face in her life.

5. What was the first job you ever had? – Acting or non-acting.

JB:  First Acting Job was on a show called Tru Calling.  I guest starred in an episode in the first season with SGU’s Patrick Gilmore!

The first Joe job that I had was at a restaurant in West Vancouver called Trolls.  I was a waitress, a terrible waitress at that!  I was 16 and I think people felt sorry for me, because I got amazing pity tips! Lol

6. Do you like to cook? If so what’s your fave dish to make?

JB: I love to cook!  My family is full of amazing chefs and I was the last to jump on board.  My go-to is Chicken Parmesan, with Marscapone pasta.  Both the recipes came from my dad.  He makes the best pasta ever, second only to the pasta I have had in Italy!

7. What are your aspirations for Lt James in Season 2?

JB: I would love to see James put in a position where she really has to step up and be a leader.  And then I would like to see her succeed at that.  Like all of us her confidence goes in and out, but James is a fighter and she has a ton of strength in her.  As an actor I have loved any opportunity to do fight scenes and stunts so I would love her to continue in that direction.

Tanie writes: “So, questions for Julia:

1. What sort of research did you do for this role?

JB:  For me the most important aspect of the research was to find out as much as I could about being in the military.  I have a family member that was in the Canadian Army so that was a great resource for me.  I did a ton of reading about the different ranks and tried to get a good grasp of the mental state and the discipline that I would have in my life to be in this role.

2. How do YOU think James has grown or changed over the course of S1?

JB:  In Season 1 we saw James struggle to find her place on the Destiny.  She definitely started to break down with the loneliness and isolation.  Hopefully in Season 2 she gets to keep developing her strength.

3. Have you had any ludicrously early calls to set as yet?

JB:  Whenever you are shooting a series you will definitely have early calls.  I think I had to set my alarm for 4:30 one day and that was the earliest.  However my sister works in the stock market and is up every day at 5 am so I am cautious to complain!  I always call her on my way to set just to tell her I am up!

MyNameIsNada writes: “Yeah for a Q&A with Julia!
Her are some questions:

1) Do you think Lt. James is as cool as I do?

JB:  Lol- Of course I do!  I love playing James and think that she is a great character.

2) Do you think Lt. James will ever confront Lt. Scott? Speaking of, you can’t expect to go through a Q&A here and not spill some details on those sex scenes. So, feel free to share anything.

JB:  I don’t know what the writers have in store for James and Scott.  Maybe it’s time James moved on and found a new love interest….

3) What are some things we the fans can do to ensure your survival of the series?

JB:  Ahh, that is sweet!  Just keep sending the love for James…you guys have been amazing!  I hope to get to a convention soon, so I can meet some of the fans!

4) Lt. James has yet to really be given a chance to come into the spotlight-what do you think she has best to offer Destiny and the rest of the crew?

JB:  Well, I think that James has had some time to shine in Season 1 :)That being said, she still has a lot more to offer on the show.  She is a fighter with a lot of compassion and that is an interesting balance to explore.  I think James has the potential to step up in combat and get into some fun action!  It would be great to keep exploring her tough side!

5) Finally, pretending you, yourself, are stuck on Destiny. What would you do to preserve your sanity?”

JB: I would find routines in any way that I could.  I would give myself goals to help me feel like I am still growing and moving forward in life.  I always want to be learning new skills so maybe I would organize a group where we all teach each other our skill set.  I would also need to laugh as I think that is so important.  So, games night would be a must and Brody’s still would come in handy!

Mr Anonymous writes: “Question for Julia:

1) Have you ever been on the lonely end of a love triangle (similar to Lt. James?)

JB:  Fortunately I haven’t been in a similar situation.  Not that I haven’t experienced heartache but not like James.

2) You play a military officer convincingly. Have you had military training?”

JB:  Thank you.  I haven’t had any official training but we did a few days at the beginning of our season with our military advisor Ron Blecker and he was incredibly helpful.  He was often on set throughout the season and we have people there to advise us as we go along.

Lou Zucaro writes: “For Julia:

1) As a couple other people have touched on, James has shown an interesting duality, being both tough / strong as well as almost a bit desperate as far as the relationship / romance part of the character goes. Do you relate to any part of James?

JB: Absolutely, I don’t think any one of us is one thing.  People are so complex and have different strengths in different parts of their lives.  As far as relating to James, I actually just answered this question on my blog @ www.juliabensononline.com

I relate to the fact that she is in a situation where she has to live by a certain set of rules.  Part of her wants to lead and prove her worth in the eyes of Young.  I think what I keep learning in my life is that no matter who gives you validation, it only lasts if it comes from within.  So that is something that James is going to have to conquer.

2) Do you think the controversy regarding James’ freakout re: inhabiting Amanda’s body in Sabotage was warranted or not?

JB:  What controversy are you referring to?  I know that there was some controversy about an early draft of Sabotage.  It is tough for writers as they cannot reflect every single person’s outlook on every issue.  Every script I have read from SGU has dealt with delicate matters with class and respect.  When James had a hard time in the body of Amanda it was not meant as any disrespect to anyone in Amanda’s situation.  I saw it as one character’s response to a situation.

3) When James, TJ and Chloe dress up as Charlie’s Angels in the Very Special Halloween Episode™ of SGU, which Angel do you want to be and what are you prepared to do (as James, of course) to keep TJ and Chloe from calling dibs on your favorite? Who should dress up as Bosley?”

JB:  We are a little to young to remember the TV show but if we are talking movie- Alaina for Drew Barrymore’s part, Elyse for Cameran Diaz and I would take Lucy Lui’s character.  I bet Louis would do a great Bill Murray impression so he has to be Bosley!

Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

Cat4444 writes: “Q for Julia:

1. What do you think of the criticism that you were only cast for your “chest” rather than your ability to do the job?

JB: To be honest, I really don’t pay much attention to criticism like that.  I am an actor who happens to have a large chest. Period. So I think people can think and say whatever they want.  I can only control what I think.  I know why I was cast, and that’s all that matters!

3. Is there a particular storyline, or type of storyline, you’d like to see for your character?

JB: I would love to see James put in a position where she really has to step up as a leader.  And then I would like to see her succeed.  Like all of us her confidence goes in and out, but James is a fighter and she has a ton of strength in her.  As an actor I have loved any opportunity to do fight scenes and stunts so I would love her to continue in that direction.

4. Lt. James seems to be having a hard time getting over Lt. Scott. Why do you think this is? She appears to be a pretty self-reliant and confident woman and it seems kind of odd that she would moon over him to such an extent.”

JB:  I agree that she is self-reliant and confident, but people are different in love.  James has been burnt by the whole Scott/Chloe situation and to top it off, she has to live in very tight quarters with them.  I think she will get over it, but it may take some time.

CrayonBaby writes: “Questions:

1) Have you ever accidentally hit one of the cast members while filming a fight scene? I know sometimes accidents happen. Or someone ate the last doughnut. Or took you parking space.

JB: Louis, Jamil and I almost accidentally ran somebody over in a golf cart.  It didn’t go over that well. 🙂

2) Are you hoping for in season two that Lt. James will be happier? Poor gal has been put through the ringer this season so far.

JB:  I think it would be great if James found some happiness in her accomplishments.  If she were successful in some of her missions then it would be great to give her some moments to let that sink in!  I would also like to see James continue to have bonding moments with the girls, particularly TJ.  I think that they could continue to find comfort and friendship in each other.  Maybe out of that would come some happiness 🙂

3) Who on the set makes you laugh?”

JB:  Everyone!  But off the top of my head-Louis Ferraira and Jamil Walker Smith

Arctic Goddess writes: “Question(s) for Julia:

– Why did you decide to get into acting?

JB: I got bitten by the acting bug at 13 when I did my first play.  I had been competing as a dancer for years and always loved performing, but once I did a play there was no looking back.  It’s all I have ever wanted to do.

– Do you have a Facebook or Twitter page?

JB:  Yes I do!  My facebook fanpage is under Julia Benson and my twitter is Julia_Benson!

Michael Jones writes: “Question for Julia:

I’ve noticed that James has been said to be the only person to be friendly to Spencer (though, it’s described as “tolerating” him, that’s more than anyone else did), and she’s seen to take an active role in caring for the unresponsive Franklin, who was also reasonably unpopular.

Do you think James is starting to take up a position of caring for the crew’s “lost sheep”? Do you think this is a result of how isolated James herself feels, or is a remnant from the abandoned idea of her having a paralyzed brother she cared for?  Also, I just want to say I love where your character is going. James has easily become one of my favorite characters on Destiny.”

JB:  Michael, first thank you for your support and for such a thoughtful question.  Two things, I do think that there was a nice parallel storyline in the original draft of that script that tied in well with James caring for Franklin.   I also think that there are definitely different divisions amongst people on board the ship, beyond the natural divide of the military and the civilians.  James is not always kept in the loop of what is happening and there are times when she bonds with people in a similar situation to her.  James is somewhat of an outsider herself and so she does relate to people as individuals and has compassion for their situation.  This was the case with her and Spencer.

Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

Major D. Davis writes: “Questions for Julia….

First off thanks so much for doing this Q&A… been looking forward to this Q&A for a while!!

1. What is your favorite episode in season 1?

JB:  My favorite episode is Space.  I love the balance of action and drama and I think the aliens were incredible!

2. What is you favorite episode in season 2…which one do you think will be a fan favorite(of the ones you’ve read and shot so far)?

JB:  So far in season 2 Malice would be my favorite episode.  It was written and directed by Robert Cooper and we just finished shooting this week.  I think that the fans will love it because there are high stakes and lots of good action.  There is also some great stuff between Rush and Simeon.  When two actors like that get to square off it is explosive.  I also got to do a fun stunt, which I love, so maybe I am biased!

3. Will we get to see you character visit earth in season 2, or at least get to know more of James’ past?

JB:  That is a question for the writers…..Joe? lol

4. What TV shows do you watch beside SGU?

JB:  I have quite a big list of shows that I watch, in no particular order:

Friday Night Lights, Grey’s Anatomy, Glee, Lost, Six Feet Under, Modern Family, The West Wing, True Blood, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance and Celebrity Apprentice!

5. Who is your favorite character from SGU(or maybe what character do you respect the most or relate to the most)?

JB: I find Colonel Young fascinating.  He carries the weight of the world on his shoulders and is constantly making impossible decisions.

6. What was the hardest episode to film so far… and what episode did you have the most fun filming so far?

JB:  The hardest episode to film so far was “Pain”.  It was incredibly intense and exhausting, but it was also the most rewarding for me as an actor!  I loved getting to play so many different emotions with James in this episode.  Going away to New Mexico with the cast to shoot Air Part 3 was the most fun!

7. What do you do to pass time on set? What are you favorite hobbies(on or off set)?”

JB: Last year I was working on a series that I created with my husband Peter and another colleague.  In the down time, that kept me very busy both on and off set!  When I wasn’t working on that, the rest of the cast and I would hang out in between scenes.  Our set is a ton of fun to be on and there is always someone to catch up with.  Someone usually has music playing, our trailer doors are typically open and we all really enjoy spending time together!

Shawn Cassidy writes: “Question for Julia,

I thought you were absolutely fantastic in “PAIN”. The emotion and pain was obvious in your eyes and on your face when you broke down sitting on your bunk when Col. Young came in. I felt for your character. That’s something only a gifted actor can deliver. What is your process as a actress when prepping that scene? Was it a gut and go kind of thing or did you need to invoke some long lost torment from your past to deliver the goods?

Thanks Joe and Julia, keep up the awesome work!!

JB:  Thank you Shawn!  My process is different depending on the scene.  For something this intense I do as much work at home as I can, trying to get into the mind set of what she is going through.  I always drill my lines so that the last thing I am thinking about is the lines.  Then I trust that if I am present and really listening to my scene partner, the emotion will be there.  Over the years I have learnt that trusting yourself as an actor is half the battle.  In the episode “Pain” I did use music to ground me and keep me focused and then I let it all go and played the scene!

Shiny writes: “My question for Julia Benson is did she do her own stunts in the scene where James rifle butts that Civvie in “Divided”? Cuz it was very satisfying to see one of the more whiny Civvies get a beat down by James. And will Julia get to do more fight choreography in the future? I love BamBam’s work. Great work on James, she’s quickly become one of my all time favorite SGU characters!”

JB:  Yes Shiny that was me and yes BamBam is awesome!!  He has been so instrumental every time we have a fight scene.  He knows when to push me and makes me feel like I can do anything.   I am hoping that James will get to do some more fight choreography and stunts!  Thanks so much for your question and comments!

Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

Tammy Dixon writes: “Questions:
Are you a cat or dog person? How does your family like that you became an actress?
Have you always wanted to be an actress?
How did you get interested in playing “James”? What kind of hoops did you go through to try out for “James”?

I really enjoy your work as “James”! “James” has a bigger story to tell. So, I believe the writers should give you more!”

JB:  Hi Tammy, thank you!  I am honored to play James and hope to keep exploring more and more as the episodes go on!  So for your questions:

-Dog person, love cats but my husband is allergic!  We have a 3.5 year old chocolate lab named Bauer.

-My family has always been incredibly supportive of me.  My mom taught me to follow my dreams and spent most of her life driving me between dance lessons, theatre and figure skating!  She is one of the main reasons that I followed my passion.

– To get the role of James I had to go through several rounds of auditions. First I read for the character, Andrea Palmer, then I was in consideration for the role of Riley, and then they asked me to come back and read for James. I knew instantly that this was the role I wanted.  It just felt right!

Amara MacLeod writes: “Julia, you and the SGU cast are fantastic. I am very glad to see your character being given intriguing depths as we go on.

Now for a silly question (meant completely tongue in cheek no insults or evilness attached): Was it fun for you to kill Brian Jacob Smith?

Sorry. Couldn’t resist. *grins* If I am too inappropriate, please, at least pass on the comment.

Thank you for being on SGU!”

JB:  We are lucky to have such a great cast!  Not only is everyone amazing in their roles but they are also fabulous people, which makes going to work so fun!  I have tons of respect for Brian J. Smith.  He is a dream to work with and he plays his role with such conviction.  Fun, terrifying, emotional, adrenalin inducing…these are some of the words I would use to describe that scene.  It was intense.  I know that you were joking when you asked but truly there were so many crazy emotions running through me when we shot that scene!

Randy White writes: “For Julia:

1.) It has been asserted in some comments by women (most notably a GateWorld podcast basically involving two women) that the writers do not let women be complex characters, typically using juvenile male stereotypes for writing the female characters. Would you agree, or would you say that you have been able to display a fairly broad range of your acting ability and the depth of your character on SGU, given the (still) less than one full season that has been aired?

JB:  Given the amount of screen time James has had, I think that we have seen many sides of her character.  In general I think the writers do a great job of exploring the complexity of humanity in both their male and female characters.

2.) Without revealing too much about season two, are you looking forward to showing even more of your (and the other actors) abilities and the depth of your character, going in directions not even contemplated yet?

JB: Absolutely!  The great thing about being on a sci-fi series is that the possibilities are endless.

3.) How do you feel about the decision to cut the scene more fully explaining your inability to transfer consciousness with a person restricted to a wheelchair and on a respirator?

JB: As an actor, you never know how scenes are going to be cut together.  I trust that they edit to tell the best story and in this instance I don’t think we needed to see more of what James was going through.  The episode was truly about Wray’s journey at home and Perry’s journey on the ship so they needed to get to focus on those stories.

Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

Bolbait writes: “Here are more serious questions for you:

1) Who do you hang out with on set? Off set (other than your husband)?

JB:  We all spend time together off set.  We like to get together and have Poker nights, which usually end in Rock Band.   Louis Ferreira, John Lenic and I all have dogs so we often go for dog walks together in any one of the amazing trails we have in Vancouver.

2) How much time do you devote to running your lines before filming a scene?

JB:  It depends on the scene, but I always drill my lines until I know them so well that I don’t have to think about it!

3) I really enjoyed watching you “kill” Scott. You showed a great range of emotion, not only in the act, but also later when you were surprised that he was still alive. (This isn’t a question, is it?)

JB:  No but…thank you!

4) Any other characters you want to kill?

JB: No….James didn’t want to kill Scott- I look at it as her fear of what she could be capable of.  Have you ever been so mad or hurt that your mind goes somewhere that scares you?  I think that is what happened for James during that hallucination.

5) Do you think you’re character will ever get together with Eli? It seems that lots of “shippers” would like to see that happen.

JB:  Lol- David Blue and I are always joking about this happening as it seems to be of interest to a lot of the “shippers” as you say.  I think so far Eli and James probably have better chemistry as friends, but who knows….anything is possible on The Destiny!

6) Do you have a lot of input to the writers about what your character would say or do? Or, do you pretty much do what is written down?

JB:  The writers have your storylines mapped out before you get to see all the scripts, so although you have input when you are on set in terms of how the lines are said and what your character is feeling in that moment, I don’t have a ton of input on where my character is going.

7) Do you enjoy the Kino video’s as much as us fans do?”

JB:  I think the Kino’s are great.  It is a great opportunity to show the fans every day life on the ship and for the characters to have fun with each other.  We have such a big ensemble cast that it also is a nice way for you guys to get to know everyone a bit better.

Craig writes: “Question for Julia Benson: are we going to see Lt. James hook up with one of the other men on Destiny (Eli?) now that Scott isn’t available? And are we going to see Lt. James get to kick some ass in “Incursion” or the second season?”

JB:  Good questions!!  Unfortunately I can’t give anything away but James does get some fun stuff to do in Season 2.

Michael writes: “Questions for Julia Benson:

1) What was it like playing one of Lucius Lavin’s six wives in the Stargate Atlantis episode, “Irresistible”?

JB:  Atlantis was great!  I loved working with Richard Kind.  He was hysterical and very down to earth.  I had a wonderful time on that show!

2) On Stargate Universe, what would you rather explore in Vanessa James’ backstory and why: her empathic nature (as she seems to care about others on Destiny like Franklin or tolerating Spencer) or her assignment in Iraq (that she mentioned in “Air” Part 3)?

JB: Both!! Lol, but if I had to choose I would love to explore her life at home.  It would be great to delve into what drew her into the military.

3) What was a bigger challenge to you as an actor and why; the body switch with Dr. Amanda Perry in “Sabotage” or the hallucination sex scene from “Pain”?”

JB:  They were both challenging scenes but the hallucination scene in Pain was emotionally exhausting.  You have to throw yourself in and go to a very dark place, which can be very draining.  It’s interesting though…you don’t realize how tired you are until the end of the night when you get home and all the adrenalin has left your body!

Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

E writes: “What do you think of James/Scott relationship?

JB:  I think it is like a lot of relationships….complicated!  On the one hand, James has a lot of respect for Scott and on the other….she has been very hurt by him.  I don’t know if it will happen but it would be great for James and Scott to have a scene together where they get to talk about what happened.

James is easily one of my fav secondary characters. Will we see more of her in the 2nd season?

JB:  Thanks E!  Yes James is around in Season 2!

Where do you see your character in, say, a few years from now?

Most fun experience you’ve had while working on SGU?

JB:  Hmm good question, hopefully James and everyone on board The Destiny are still around in a few years! If so, I hope that James has kicked some serious alien butt!

The most fun days are when everyone is around and the weather in Vancouver is good!  Those days the music is playing and everyone is usually laughing…when they are not working of course!

What’s your fav James moment in SGU S1? Mine was in “Space”, where she talked about Caine without knowing that he could hear her. That was funny, hehe.”

JB:  I love that scene as well! There is always so much intensity on the Destiny that it is great to have a bit of fun with the characters.  I also like the moment between Chloe and James in Water when she tells Chloe about Scott.  I think it was a powerful statement about the kind of character James is.

Freeman writes: “How do you like your character and do you think that the series will have an episode on her past?

JB:  I love the character and I think it would be great if we got to see more of her past.

How do you like working with so many people from some many different backgrounds on the show and behind the scenes?

JB:  It is one of the best things about this business.  You are always meeting and working with tons of different people.  Everyone has their own story and bring such different experiences to the table.

Kabra writes: “Quick get know you questions:

1. Q: Bottled water or tap?

JB: Perrier

2. Q: Beach or Mountains?

JB: We’ve got both in Vancouver, but beach if I had to choose.

3. Reading or watching SGU?

JB: Watching SGU of course!

4. Q: Joe’s homemade ice cream or Ben and Jerry’s.

JB: Ben and Jerry’s!

5. Q: Diamonds or Pearls?

JB: Diamonds!

6. Q: Dogs or Cats?

JB: Dogs.

7. Q: Brothers and sisters?

JB: 4 sisters and 1 brother

8. Q:Hockey or Football?”

JB: Hockey, I am a Canadian Girl thru and thru 🙂

PBMom writes: “Julia Benson question (since everyone has asked some really good ones, this is the only other one I could come up with):

For a SGleeU episode, what song would you like to sing and why?”

JB: Oh tough one PBMom.  Let’s go with “You Give Love A Bad Name”- Bon Jovi.  It seems appropriate for the situation James is in and who doesn’t love to rock out to Bon Jovi! Lol

Sgugeek writes: Questions for the amazing Julia Benson

1) What would be the ideal gift to get from a fan? What is the coolest thing a fan has ever given you?

JB:  Umm…how about a house, the real estate market in Vancouver is crazy! Lol

A longtime fan of Stargate named Ian made me a website. He continues to work on it with me and has been very generous with his time! He also made me a great poster from a shot in “Darkness”.

2) Do you ever feel like James gets lost in a sea of main characters?

JB: It’s such an ensemble cast and as a supporting character, I think the key is to try and make all of your screen time count.

3) Do you have any convention appearances coming up? Would you like to go to a con, if invited and your schedule permitted it?

JB: I would love to do a convention.  I was supposed to do one at the beginning of the year but scheduling didn’t work out.  So I am working on getting to some soon!

4) When you were little, what were your career aspirations?

JB:  I have always wanted to act or perform in some capacity.  I grew up in competitive dance and always loved being on stage.  As soon as I did a play, there was nothing else that I wanted to do!

Yazid writes: “What is your favorite scene/episode from SGU ?

JB: On the whole, I think that “Space” is my favorite episode, but I also love “Divided”.  There are so many great scenes throughout the season that it is hard to pick one.  That being said the scene between Rush and Young fighting in “Justice” was incredibly intense and will always be a favorite of mine.

You seem to have fun on set, what’s your favorite moment?

JB: Peter Kelamis is a standup comedian and he was doing impressions of the crew one day.  His Peter Deluise is bang on!

What are your similarities/differences with Lt James?

JB: As a lot of people have noted, James has a strong mix of strength and vulnerability.  I am very similar.  Luckily for me the big difference between us is that James hasn’t been very lucky in love!

Did you know Stargate before playing in SGU ?

JB:  Yes I did.  Stargate has always been a huge part of the film and television industry in Vancouver.  I had also done an episode of Stargate Atlantis called “Irresistible”.

Did you cast just for Lt James or any other character ?

JB: To get the role of James I had to go through several rounds of auditions!  First I read for the character, Andrea Palmer, then I was in consideration for the role of Riley, and then they asked me to come back and read for James. I knew instantly that this was the role I wanted.  It just felt right!

In your opinion, how the relation between James and Scott is gonna progress ?

JB:  I think James will have to get over him…not saying that it’s going to be easy but he ends Season 1 very attached to Chloe.  Can’t tell you what happens in Season 2, you will have to wait and see 🙂

What was the hardest scene to shoot ? The funnier one ?

JB: The hallucination scene in Pain was emotionally exhausting.  You have to throw yourself in and go to a very dark place and that is incredibly challenging but also draining.  It’s interesting though…you don’t realize how tired you are until the end of the night when you get home and all the adrenalin has left you!

Shooting scenes with David Blue in “Darkness” was fun!

Few words in French ?

JB:  Bonjour je m’appelle Julia.  That’s all I’ve got!

39 thoughts on “June 12, 2010: Actress Julia Benson Answers Your Questions!

  1. Julia, thanks so much for answering our questions and double thanks for making me feel old. Like I needed that. 😉

    As far as the controversy I was referring to re: Sabotage, it’s what you covered in your answer, in that some people thought it was disrespectful to have her freak out about being in Amanda’s body.

    Personally, I disagree with the controversy for a number of reasons. First, I am not a fan of political correctness at all (which is not to say that I think people should be a-holes to other people at all, just that I don’t feel it has the desired effect and, more often than not, ends up being negative rather than positive). Second, I think freaking out would be an understatement. Being in the body of anybody other than yourself would be grounds for freaking out. Being in the body of somebody without the use of all their body parts, when you’ve never experienced that, would be even more strange. It would be just as strange and scary to the person in Amanda’s body as it was joyful and wonderful for Amanda to be in Camile’s body.

    And, yeah, I’ll just go back to my ’70s TV shows now 🙁

  2. 4. Q: Joe’s homemade ice cream or Ben and Jerry’s.

    JB: Ben and Jerry’s!

    Ouch!!! :p

    Please don’t fire her. I want James to stick around. 😉

  3. Hey Joe,

    Awesome Q&A with Julia!

    1. Are there any Q&As with Carlyle or LDP? If not, can we have ’em?

    2. Can we have a Q&A with Robert Knepper?



  4. Wow. Another terrific q&a from another terrific actor/actress. One of the hallmarks of the Stargate franchise that hasn’t changed is the show’s ability to hire talented, interesting, and friendly folks who are kind enough to take some time to interact with the fans. Greatly appreciated, and many thanks to Ms. Benson for such a thorough session. And to Mr. M. for making it possible.

  5. Hi Joe,

    Please thank Julia for answering all those questions for us – it really means a lot! And I love all the pics – did you pick them out or did Julia? Oh, and thank you for answering my Q about your mango difficulty, although I can hardly believe that you had one little problem with a mango over 3 years ago and are still prejudiced against them – it’s just a skill set to acquire after all. Perhaps you should see if Vancouver offers a culinary course in fruit preparation as one of your summer activities? You did not, however, explain your deal with passionfruit, or is that also mango related?

    On a different subject, one which seemed to pervade Twitter today – I believe Ivon and Carl are now tied in the World Cup pool, but Remi is in first place as Argentina won their first round, yes?

    I hope you finished that infernal act V so you could enjoy the summer weather that has finally arrived! I spent the morning watching Incursion 1 (HULU delay) twice, cleaned the kitchen & bath while listening to Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me and This American Life on NPR, then I went to my parents’ to have dinner with them, my niece and my father’s cousins visiting from England. What a lovely day!

    Smiles, Julie

  6. Hey, don’t know if you have checked this out lately, but IMDB has a whole big schpiel on Stargate: Extinction – including a case, writers and a potential release date. Is this all wishful thinking on their part?

  7. I’m a dork … I meant “including a cast, writers and potential release date.” That’s what I get for not proofing before I hit submit….

  8. @Julia: Thanks for answering my questions!

    @Joe: You misspelled my name. 🙁

    I can’t wait for more Q&A’s. Joe, they are one of the best parts of your blog.

  9. Wow, I knew Stargate fans were off the hook, but this I wasn’t expecting! What??!!

  10. Where do you get these questions from or to ask differently. where do the fans and other people send questions? Sorry for the silly question but I’ve just started reading this blog.

  11. Coucou Joseph! ça va bien?
    Alors vous avez vu le match d’hier??? 1-1 c’est pas mal du tout pour les americans! J’espere qu’ils vont passé le 1er tours!

    J’ai regarder Incursion Part 2, mais je n’ai pas encore accrocher en plus en anglais, ce n’est pas fait pour m’aider..Je trouve qu’il n’y avait pas beaucoup de dynamisme, tout était trés lent, stargate à perdu son grain de foli dans cette serie. J’espere que la saison 2 sera differente. Mais mon épisode préféré restera l’épisode “Lost”.

    Merci pour ces Q&A posées à Julia.

    Gros bisou!
    Je vous adore!

  12. Another interesting and awesome interview! Thanks to Julia for answering those questions.

    It’s probably just as well Julia wasn’t on the official panel for the ice cream contest judging. 🙂 And Lou, I hear you about the feeling old part. Yikes!

  13. Julia is Awesome. Great Q&A! 😀

    Big thanks to Julia for doing this. I can see why the Pain scene is emotional draining; it was intense!

    And of course, a big thank you to Joe for hosting the Q&A!

    Now, onto Incursion II.




    First things first though: the first third or so kinda felt slow with the constant shots of people walking around corridors (thankfully, this is no longer the case now that I’ve watched the repeat), but then, HOOOOO BOY, did it pick up! The tension just kept ratcheting up, and then that ending montage with pretty much everyone going to their doom. I thought that jackass on Gateworld spoiled everything, but TJ getting shot was just a tiny bit in a much bigger, and much more dire situation.

    And that last shot. HOLY CRAP. The slow push-in of the camera, the music, and especially the look on Young’s face, at once a mix of acceptance, failure, sadness, and strangely enough – NO ANGER. After the intense outburst earlier when he made a move at Rush – excellent acting there by Louis, by the way, holy crap – it seems that it knocked something loose. His promise has been broken. He did not, and will not rescue everyone. It felt like he was in shock at the horribleness of their situation. As a reviewer said, he was crushed. Then, he looks up at the flickering light, and realizes that two more of his men have just died. He probably thinks that it’s hopeless now.

    I wonder if he’ll try anything crazy, now that he’s out of options and is about to die. I also wonder if, after this is all over, he will step down and let Telford take command (should he survive). It would be interesting to see a new command dynamic while Young deals with his failures.

    To this end, I think it’d be cool to leave Rivers’s bloodstains on the Gateroom floor as a permanent reminder of what had happened. I can even envision the scene where Young stares at the bloodstains, and makes up his mind to step down. It’d definitely be a game-changer.

    Going back a bit though, I LOOOOVED the Eli/Chloe scenes. Finally, after a season of build-up, we get some resolution, but not completely (of course). It was just a very subtle scene, full of “stuff unsaid”, if you know what I mean. Everything was conveyed through looks, body language, and hints of dialogue, indicating just how well the two characters understood each other. It also paid off the events of Earth, with Chloe finally verbalizing to Eli (while sober) what her old life was like and what his friendship meant to her. Having Chloe say that Eli being her friend wasn’t a runner-up prize just felt so genuine, and added a great deal of depth to her character – we now know how she preceives friendship, companionship, and love.

    And Eli – I loved that little moment when he was heading off to save Scott and Greer. It seems he was “empowered” by having Chloe know about his feelings, and he didn’t need to hold back anything anymore. For a moment, he seemed “dashing”. Heh.

    However, I do see a slight missed opportunity here. Did you guys discuss the scenerio where, instead of having Chloe getting shot and Eli helping her, you have the opposite? I think it would’ve been pretty cool to see the gender roles reversed, where the girl has to help the guy. Ok, maybe Elyse couldn’t have carried David, but still. It would’ve been a nice development for Chloe – where as before she felt pretty useless, now she has a life depending on her. Then, at the end, she can be the one running towards the airlock like a bat out of hell.

    The only problem I see is that it’ll be hard to justify their “talk about feelings” scene later on the episode. I mean, I can see Eli revealing his feelings because he thinks he’ll die soon or something, but what could make Chloe talk about the importance of his friendship to her? Maybe when Eli tells her about his feelings? But then it might feel like she’s saying “let’s just be friends” to a dying man, which is kinda not cool.

    I don’t know, just brainstorming here. Heh.

    By the way, I spent more than half-an-hour last night thanking all the cast and crew of SGU who are on twitter – individually, of course. For the most part anyway. Heh.

    But, since there are plenty more who aren’t on twitter, I might as well give a shout out here too: A big THANK YOU to the cast and crew of Stargate Universe for entertaining me for the last 9 months with engaging and relatable characters, intriguing and ongoing plot developments, and some of the best VFX, SFX, sets, props, costumes, music, and various other things that I have ever seen on TV.

    And, of course, thank you Joe for giving us a place to talk directly to The Powers That Be, whether we be lovin’, or we be hatin’. Well, mostly lovin’. LOL.


  14. Thanks again, Joe, for arranging Q&A’s. They’re lots of fun.

    Based on what happened to TJ (*sniffles*), an awful lot of blood and shooting people – S2 will have a very dark beginning, yes?

    Where did you get the techno-babble for the finale? Impressive stuff. Only things I understood were radiation and 46 minutes.

  15. She’s just awesome =)
    Thanks Julia and again, thank you so much Joe. Hope you’re fine, and my favorite one, Lulu, too !
    By the way, what happens to the studios now ? Shooting or writing phase ?

  16. Thanks so much to Julia for doing this Q&A and thanks Joe for compiling them 🙂 🙂 I love seeing the behind the scenes for the actors. In mainstream I often feel like the more I find about an actor the more it kills my enjoyment of them on screen but I’m consistently wowed by the intelligence and accessibility of the Stargate actors.

    I’m a little starstruck too! I’m doing the convention here in Minneapolis. Alaina Huffman is just as gorgeous IRL as she is on tv 🙂 and Brian Smith just blew me away with a lot of his answers. He had to suffer through one fan throwing criticisms (which seriously irked me) – and he handled it with grace and patience and responded very articulately.

    I did ask Brian during the autograph section if there was any chance we could get a second Q&A on your blog Joe! He said he’d definitely be interested… any chance you could ask him again? It’d be so much fun to hear his thoughts now that the first season is closed and you all are into the second season. Please?

  17. My favorite line from “Incursion” was Dr Park’s “Don’t yell.” That made me laugh out loud both times I watched it.

  18. how did I miss the Q&A notice with Julia.. doh!

    thank you Julia for answering these questions 🙂 I absolutely adore James and was honestly a little surprised when I realised yesterday that the role isn’t a “main” cast member. She definitely feels like one.

  19. Thanks Joe for asking Julia to do the Q&A. and thanks to Julia for doing this. She has a lot of talent and I am enjoying her performance as James. Keep up the good work.

  20. Good morning Joe. We’re watching the Montreal Grand Prix to keep us awake until the soccer starts at 4am. Faaaaading.

    Thanks for another Q&A. Having to be careful with the finale still to air here.

  21. Hey Julia – Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. It sounds like a dream job; fun and talented cast/crew, strong challenging character, and you’re home in Canada, what more could you ask for? Now if they would just bump up your screen time a little eh? I would actually like to see more scenes with you and TJ, I think you two have BFF potential. Also, some more kick butt scenes (that goes without saying).

    Buuuuut Ben & Jerry’s….seriously? I’m thinkin’ that on the next off-ship trip to a planet ‘someone’ needs to ‘accidently’ slip into the large pit o’ slime, or get set upon by a group of overly friendly pet-like alien creatures . Now if we only knew one of the writer’s who could actually make this so… hmmm… * just teasing*


    Congrats on winning the Leo!!

    All the Best!!

  22. Could you please, Joe, confirm or deny that Riley has been shot with other injured soldiers and TJ in that room? It’s not clear from that scene. Thank you.

  23. Hey evil northenern, don’t know if I should be answering your question seeing as how you’re evil and all, but for blog questions or post comments we submit them here in the comments section. You can check out the older blog posts for more SGU crew and cast Q & A.

    Thanks to Joe and Julia for another great Q&A, Julia totally rocks. Julia and TJ are so funny together. Sam, Teyla, TJ and James are all strong and complex female characters.

    I’d love to see the cast getting to show of their many skills on the show; would be cool to see Alaina and Mike Dopud speaking Croatian and James teaching a dance class. I loved that Rachel Luttrell got to use her opera skills on SGA.

  24. Thank you, so much for answering my questions Ms. Benson. I love Labradors myself and chocolate labs are so smart. The c. labs I’ve seen are very high energy and would make a great running companion!

    Not cool mentioning the Chicken Parmesan, with Marscapone pasta without a recipe, though! 😀 . I’ll have to check out her blog just to see if recipes are included 😉 .

    It is hard to tell from the clothing and scenery on SGU but Julia Benson is gorgeous! Maybe, there will be a few Earth scenes to showcase Ms. Benson in season 2?

    Good point about Lt James’s breakup being kept so raw by proximity!

    Narelle: you’ve created a monster! Hubby found a good sale on the “Reader Daily Edition” ereader. So he passed his Touch version down to the son. Now we will all be addicted. They are having a lot of sales for the sony. I wonder if something new is coming out or they are just slashing prices to compete with ipad?

    It’s about 32C (or 91F) here today. Hot and humid. A two-shower kind of day!

  25. Great Q&A! Thanks, Julia!

    I never know what questions to ask…I just draw a blank for some reason…so I always appreciate the folks who can come up with something meaningful and intelligent…or witty…to ask.

    Hope your day is going well, Joe!


  26. Hey Joe!

    Got a few questions for the next mailbag if you don’t mind…

    1. I remember in Justice Young made Eli copy the footage of Rush framing Young on Youngs Thumb Drive. Will we see anything involving this thumb drive in season 2.

    2. Will there be any Stone/Earth episodes in season 2?

    3. About how many people from the Lucian Alliance made it to destiny?

    4. Any guess on when we’ll see an MGM trailer for season 2. Is there a chance we’ll see it before comic con?

    5. I know I’ve asked this a lot but now that you might have spun more stories I thought I might as well ask it again. Will there be any SG-1 or SGA characters in season 2 of SGU?

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  27. Thanks to Julia for great answers!

    People make lots of comments about how SGU is different from SG1 and SGA, and that’s certainly true, but there’s a similarity that just occurred to me – more so with Atlantis than SG1, really. The interesting array of supporting characters! One of my favorite characters on Atlantis was Radek Zelenka. I love how these shows stick with those supporting characters and flesh them out along with the main characters.

  28. I notice that the official MGM website does not list the original Stargate film under the “movies” section. Why is this? Is it a legal reason? It seems somewhat vital, since it’s the starting point for the entire franchise. While I enjoy seeing how the franchise evolves, I was thrilled to see the original David Arnold opening credits arrangement in Ark of Truth, not because it was David Arnold (I am definitely a fan of Joel Goldsmith’s as well), but because it tied back into what started it all.

    Is there an intentional effort now to separate the franchise now from it’s beginnings, or is it simply the discretion of the main site’s webmaster? Or another reason? Thanks 🙂

  29. Nice from Julia Benson to have spent all that time answering all these questions.
    It’s great that she received the Leo Award for best performance by a female in a dramatic series for her performance in Pain. She really stand out in that episode. It would be nice to see more on her home life or background before she ended up on the Destiny.
    She was also great in the episode (sorry don’t remember the name of the episode) where Scott, Greer and Chloe get stuck on a planet and she tried to rescue them . Her character showed great leadership in handling the situation.
    I’m glad someone asked the question about her being in the army before, because I was also wandering about that.
    on another note, will we see in second season 2 what happened to Franklin ?

  30. @ My Name is Scott…. the reason why Stargate the movie is not listed under MGM is that MGM did not produce/film it. It was the now defunct (correct me if I’m wrong) Carolco. Unless of course Carolco was a subsiduary of MGM – I have NO idea! 😀

    @ Joe… still loving this show! Woohoo, what a ride.

  31. @My Name Is Scott – I think I’ve figured it out…
    Devlin and Emmerich gave the rights to the franchise to MGM when they were working on their 1996 film Independence Day (the rights to the Stargate film are currently owned by StudioCanal, with Lions Gate Entertainment handling most distribution in terms of international theatrical and worldwide home video releases); however, MGM retains the domestic television rights.
    …from wiki (I know, not exactly a trusted source).


  32. I’m a bit late to the party but in any case: excellent Q&A, thanks for your time and effort Julia! (and, as always, Joe)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.