Today, it gives me great pleasure to turn this blog over to the greatest overnight sensation in Stargate franchise history. Last year, he was one of a handful of nameless Destiny crew members left behind on a perplexingly perfect planet. This year, thanks to a massive fan campaign, Vince Kwan is set to make his triumphant return to the Stargate universe. Exactly how and why remains to be seen, but maybe the following Q&A by actor Bill Y.W. Butt may shed some light on the mysterious circumstances surrounding his character’s most unlikely reappearance – and give us a glimpse at the man behind that tightly clutched briefcase…
Major D. Davis writes: “Questions for Mr. Bill…1. When did you first discover the save BAG campaign?”
BB: August 12th, 2010 was the day of enlightenment! I will never forget the birth of B.A.G. in my small, ignorant mind. On Thursday August 12th, I walked on set and I was greeted with a warm salutation from Alex the first A.D. and Will the Director. After about five minutes of doing my usual background work, minding my own business, I began to feel eyes on me. You know that feeling when you’re being watched. Do I have a snot hanging from my nose? A donut on my shoulder? I didn’t catch anybody looking but I could feel eyes caressing my body. During a break, Will the mighty, all powerful director (oh, just a side note, for a man, Will is such a damn good looking man. OK, enough sucking up for now, let’s get back to my story) came over and out of the blue asked me, ‘Did you start it?’ I was not even stunned, because I had no idea what he was talking about.
“Start what?”, I said.
“You started it, didn’t you?”
Will leaned in close, searching my eyes, and asked me again, “You sure you didn’t start it on GateWorld?”
Now, I was really confused! I asked, “What is GateWorld?”
Will leaned in closer and I thought he was going to kiss me. Then he said, “GateWorld is the site where fans discuss ‘Stargate Atlantis’, ‘Stargate’ and ‘Stargate Universe’.”
I looked into his eyes and replied, “Ok????”
Will at that time must have looked at me from every angle without breaking his neck and finally enlightened me with the holy truth. “You really don’t know you have 27 pages talking about you on GateWorld and you have fans?
That moment was a photo opportunity if there ever was one, because I was confused, surprised, and basically I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about. It was like getting kicked in the nuts, but there was nobody around me. I have to make this clear to everybody, I swear on my grandparents’ graves that I didn’t know anything about B.A.G. and I definitely didn’t tell anybody to start the campaign.
I replied, “What are you talking about?”
Will proceeded to tell me how somebody started a ‘Save the Balding Asian Guy’ campaign, that it took off like a forest fire and I should go check it out. From that point on, I will never be the same, because B.A.G. is inside Bill Y. W. Butt now and I am honored to be the vessel for the essence of B.A.G.
“2. What did you first think of the thread when you first saw it? How does it feel to be one of the only extras with a cult fan following?”
BB: I was at a loss for words, amazed, dumbfounded, surprised, happy, didn’t know what to make of it, and most of all, was thinking, “Who are these people!!??” I sat in front of my computer and read all 27 pages, sometimes laughing, sometimes just about crying, and still asking, “Who the hell are these people?” I concluded that I love these crazy ass fans!! I want to join them on this adventure!!
I felt like I was dreaming!! I kept thinking that someone would slap my face and tell me to get back to set!! I am just a background performer doing a job that I love, and to have fans really makes my day, my year, even the rest of my life. I know some people think I am nobody, and wonder why are people following this stupid thread. They probably think I’m just an extra, that I don’t do anything!! I have no delusions of myself being a hero, a famous actor, a god, or a leader of any kind; I am just a hard working guy trying to make a living. 12 years trying to make a living in the film business and the only thing that I am getting from this experience is “enjoyment”. I am sure as hell not in it for the money or I would have quit years ago!! Do you know how many times my father told me to stop wasting time and get a real job?? I don’t care if people like me or dislike me, I am just having the time of my life and my father actually laughed and smiled after reading ‘Save balding Asian guy’. I love my fans and I appreciate what they are doing, even if it is just for the fun of it!! I am having my 15 minutes, so just let me close my eyes and savor it.
“3. Did you ever watch Stargate previously to landing your hit role “BAG master of the Universe” on SGU.”
BB: Major Davis, you are too good to me, because I don’t even think I am a master of myself. I do watch ‘Stargate’, ‘Stargate Atlantis’, ‘Stargate Universe’ and most SF TV shows, but I am not a diehard fan like you guys. Thank you again for your support.
“4. What are your favorite tv shows?”
BB: Some of my favorite TV shows are ‘Firefly’, anything ‘Star Trek’, anything ‘Stargate’, ‘Seinfeld’, ‘CSI Vegas’, ‘Twin Peaks’, ’24’, ‘The Amazing Race’, ‘So You Think You Can Dance?’, ‘Babylon 5’, ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’, ‘The Prisoner’, ‘Quantum Leap’, ‘Space: 1999’, ‘Three’s Company’, ‘Andromeda’, and ‘Wild On!’. How the hell did “Wild On!” get in there?
Shiny writes: “Questions for lovely Bill aka Vince Kwan of the Left Behinders; you’ve been on some very cool shows, some of my faves, so tell the truth: which has the best catering service, other than SGU which we know from the blog has terrific food.”
BB: The food on SGU is fantastic, Defining Gravity was good too, and the catering on 4400 was excellent. I don’t remember any of the caterers’ names, sorry! At my age, I am happy remembering what I ate in the morning, ha, ha!! Thank god I work out all the time, or I would be a fat pig by now!!!
“And dammit, I have to know what is in that briefcase! Besides just your notetaking materials. MREs? An iPad? Wired magazine? Do tell! Keep up the good work!”
BB: What is in the bag, that is the question? As the saying goes, if I tell you I’ll have to kill you, ha, ha!! I signed some document on set, so I can’t really say what is in the bag, but I can tell you what Vince Kwan would put in the bag. Vince Kwan’s bag will always have a SF book, a pair of chopsticks, a pair of red underwear because mom said to be prepared (Vince doesn’t know what he is preparing for, but he is not going to question his mom.), a notebook, and …………..
Detox writes: “I only have question for the captivating Mr. Butt: How does it feel to be the most passionately beloved character in the SGU universe?”
BB: I don’t know about the most passionately beloved character in the SGU universe, maybe just one of the loved characters on SGU, thank you very much. Your praise is so appreciated but my head is going to explode any second now, ha, ha!! I don’t know enough English vocabulary. I think I need to go into my limited Chinese to describe my feelings of appreciation and honor of being the vessel of the all mighty essence of B.A.G.. Bill Y.W. Butt is happy, excited, smiling all the time (more than before the enlightenment, which in itself is incredible, because I already smile all the time), honored, giggly, sexually charged, and I do actually feel more potent these days, shy, embarrassed (especially when people talk about B.A.G. in front of me – my face just turns red like a ripe cherry), scared, afraid, and overwhelmed. All in all, I feel like I did after my first sexual experience: “Wow, that was great!”, “I want more.”, “Did I please her?”, “Did I do it right?”, “Can I last more than two minutes next time?”, “I’m the best!”, “I’m awesome!”, “She must adore me.”, but most of all: “What the hell just happened!!!!!????”.
Lalaland writes: “What is the most difficult scene that u have ever done? Who is ur favorite character in SGU?”
BB: There are so many difficult scenes because anytime you have to work in extreme cold or extreme heat it is going to be difficult. “Halloween Town”, a kid’s movie, was a killer because I was in a costume outside in November for 4 days!! It was so cold, I actually felt my nuts dropping into my boots, and it didn’t even hurt. Another difficult one was ‘Stargate’!! It was Summer, and I was outside, wearing fur and head gear, holding weapons, running fast down a hill yelling with 50 other guys. It was dusty, sweaty, and hot, and I had to wear contacts!!! One guy actually fell and did a face plant on the ground!! We were savages running after the good guys, and it was so hot, I actually felt my underwear and my body melt into each other. Whoever can find this scene is good!!!
My favorite character in SGU hands down would be Chloe!! Damn, she is hot!! Did I just say that out loud??
Akamaimom writes: “My joy is full this evening as I pen this question. My life has been enriched by the wonder that is BAG. Some of the funnest moments of my life have been pondering on His BAGness. My husband thinks that this is kind of sad, but I am a firm believer that a little inanity in one’s life is a good thing. I would like to know if Vince Kwan would believe the same thing, or if he is a realist who prefers not to muddle his grand mind with the silliness that life offers.”
BB: When you get to know me, you will know I’m a firm believer in silliness! Smiling, being silly and the state of happiness have proven to increase everybody’s lifespan, ying and yang, and chi. Energy will circulate better within our body and our centre will gyrate in harmony with the universe. My life has been enriched by the wonder of my GateWorld fans and my wife thinks I am crazy!!!
“And I would like to know what he really thinks about all this. I was one of the first people to campaign to save the character, and have proclaimed myself a “BAG Lady”. Even my children ask for status updates about BAG and our quest to save him.
Thank you, Joe! Thank you Bill! And thank you, BAG!”
BB: What I really think about all this is answered in question #2 from above!! Thank you BAG Lady!! Thanks from your humble servant!!
Bailey writes: “For Bill, you are my favorite character on SGU! I am almost too awed by your presence to ask a question, however. Thank you for gracing our screens in so many shows! It’s now fun to “Spot BAG” (does that name annoy you by the way?) in all the Canadian produced shows! Thanks Joe, for having Bill here on your blog. And Bill, do you twitter?”
BB: My head is going to explode with all your praise, Bailey. Thank you! I’m just a background performer doing a job that I love and I am so glad my presence makes you happy. No, I am not annoyed or offended with the name B.A.G. at all!! I find it kind of funny and fitting, because I am balding, I am Asian, and I am a guy. I do not Twitter and I do not do Facebook, but now I am thinking about a Facebook fan page, so I can get to talk to all my fans.
Randomness writes: “@Question for Bill. 1. What do you believe your characters reasons were for deciding to stay behind on the planet in faith?”
BB: I am claustrophobic, so the planet is where I am going to stay. I also believe that I am on the planet for a reason – I don’t know why, but I need to stay for something to happen. As a scientist and a doctor, I just couldn’t give up a chance to have a planet as my playground, and a chance to study or meet the aliens that built the planet. It is a risk, but a calculated risk according to my Chaos theory.
“2. How would you describe your experience on Stargate Universe thus far?”
BB: Well, personally, when I walked on set, it was like coming home, like seeing family again, like jumping into my own bed, because the crew was mostly from ‘Stargate Atlantis’, a show that I miss working on very much. Everybody is friendly, fun to work with, and ‘Faith’ was extremely exciting and rewarding to work on, so I guess my experience on ‘Stargate Universe’ thus far is excellent.
“3. How did you feel when Defying Gravity was cancelled? Personally the show to me was badly thought out in general and should of been structured differently, I think if it was it’d be on the air still. It probably lost people with all the flashbacks.”
BB: Truthfully, I was devastated when ‘Defying Gravity’ was cancelled because I just lost a job on the second season! Ha, ha!!
How can I put my opinion in a politically correct manner, so I don’t kill any job opportunities for my future career, but still satisfy you with an answer? Well, personally, ‘Defying Gravity’ is not my kind of show. Did that give you a hint of how I feel about the show? I hope so, because this is all I am going to comment about. You can PM me and I can tell you how I really feel about the show, ha, ha!!
“4. Were you a fan of Stargate in general before joining Stargate Universe as a guest star?”
BB: Yes, I was a fan of ‘Stargate’ even back when the movie came out. I read a lot of SF books, so ‘Stargate’ is right up my alley.
“5. What are your favourite hobbys?”
BB: I love to read!! I have a small library of over 1500 SF and fantasy books. I also like to collect bookmarks, little figurines, watches, and eyeglasses.
“6. What are your favourite books/authors?”
BB: I love to read!! This is my favorite question to answer!! These are only some of my favorite writers and books, because I judge each book from each writer separately. Ask me about books, I love talking about them!!
Dennis L. McKiernan – ‘The Iron Tower Trilogy’
Steven Barnes – ‘Gorgon Child’
James Rollins – ‘Amazonia’
Orson Scott Card – ‘Ender’s Game’
Dan Simmons – ‘Hyperion’
James Clemens – ‘The Banned and the Banished’ series
Stephen R. Donaldson – ‘The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever’ series
Philip Jose Farmer – ‘A Feast Unknown’
Matthew Woodring Stover – ‘Heroes Die’
Roger Zelazny – ‘Amber’ series
Brian Lumley – ‘Necroscope’
“7. Of all the acting jobs you’ve had throughout your career, which did you enjoy the most and why?””
BB: ‘Dead Like Me’ was the most fun, because I met some really good friends on set. Also, it was a comedy, so most of the scenes were funny which makes it light and very enjoyable. ‘Fantastic Four’ was excellent too because there were lots of stunts and I got to stand beside Jessica Alba – what a babe!!! I also met a lot of friends on F4, and we still get together for dinner every once in a while. ‘Stargate Atlantis’ was very enjoyable, because I love SF, therefore just being on set was a dream come true for me.
Debra writes: “Questions for Vince Kwan: Did you have a preconceived idea of who your character could be when you were handed a briefcase prop that very first show?”
BB: I was told to be a scientist, so I created an idea of a scientist that I wanted to be and slowly built on that idea. On the first day I had a fair idea what my character was like, but now I know what I want Vince Kwan’s character to be like. Vince Kwan is shy, quiet, strong-minded, always direct and to the point, a no-playing-games kind of a guy, compassionate, nice but not a pushover, and smart. He doesn’t like to talk unless there is something to say, and he’s the best lover in the universe!! OK, that last bit was just wishful thinking, ha, ha!!
“Can you post a headshot of yourself (so we can get a better idea of what you look like without a furrowed brow and from far away (screen shot)?”
Sparky writes: “And like Shiny has asked I too would like to know what is in the briefcase Mr Butt. The last pack of Smarties perhaps?””
BB: Refer to Shiny’s question and you will know what is inside the B.A.G. of Wonder.
E writes: “My questions – Fans have spotted you on various tv shows. What’s been the most fun to work on?”
BB: Refer to question 7 above. Thank you for your question!!
“Did the campaign to get your character back surprise you?”
BB: I think “surprise” is not a strong enough a word to describe the campaign!! I think WTF would be more appropriate, ha, ha!! Thanks from your humble servant!!
“In “Faith”, was it your decision to have Vince to take notes? http://www.gateworld.net/gallery/albums/uni_season1/113-Faith/screencaps/normal_sgu_113_30123.jpg”
BB: Oh my god, this is so funny!! I was told on the day that the scene was us scientists watching and learning how to set up camp. Lo and behold, we had to watch an actor tying two branches together. I actually turned and told the guy beside me that for the fun of it, I would take notes and draw diagrams of the actor tying two branches together, and said, “Wouldn’t that be hilarious!!??” I give kudos to all my fans that caught my inside joke, because I did it on purpose to amuse myself and to test fans’ powers of observation.
“Did your character make a wise choice to stay behind on the planet? What would you have done?”
BB: Please refer to Randomness’ question number one above!! I don’t know if it was wise to stay behind, but it was a risk that Vince Kwan had to take. I, Bill Butt, would have done the same thing, because I don’t like cramped places either.
“Do you happen to know what’s Vince Kwan’s area of expertise?”
BB: Personally, I think Vince Kwan is a ‘Chaotician’ or what you call a ‘Chaos Theorist’ and a damn good medical doctor.
IMissYiu writes: “Vince Kwan…hey you’re hot! Can’t wait to see more of you in Season 2. Questions: (1) Do you have a Facebook/Twitter account? You should! (2) Where do you live? Ok…just kidding.”
BB: Thank you from Vince Kwan, and I hope I will be back on Season 2 too, ha, ha!! I do not have a Twitter account, but I am thinking about a Facebook Fan page so that I can keep in touch with my fans!!
BAG’s Disciple writes: “Questions: 1) Will Vincent Kwan have some lines in the 2nd season of Stargate Universe? Will he read from the Holy Notebook and enlighten those lost souls aboard Destiny?”
BB: These are decisions made by the BIG CHEESE, the almighty, the omnipotent, the most powerful, the most energetic, the most endowed, the most influential, the most productive, the most vigorous, the most capable, the most competent, the most electric, the most potent (I am running out of power words that I know), the most gifted man (Joe Mallozzi) in the world, and his associates.
“2) Any message for your fans, Mr. Butt?”
BB: I am extremely grateful for everybody’s support, and no matter what happens in the future, I will cherish the name “Vince Kwan” forever.
My writing is not very good, so please forgive any mistakes that I’ve made or will make.
I must have written “Thank you” a few thousand times this past week, and I will continue to thank everybody because that is how I feel. When I think my Facebook Fan page is ready, I will let everybody know on GateWorld. Thanks from your humble servant!!!
I’d like all my fans to know that William Waring and Alex Pappas have my greatest thanks because they acknowledged me as somebody!! As a director and a 1st AD, they have no obligation to talk to us background performers, but they were always nice to me. I am not saying they were not nice to other people. On the contrary, they were super nice to everybody on ‘Stargate Atlantis’ and ‘Stargate Universe’. I’ve been in the business for 12 years and believe me, most directors don’t talk to extras. To me, it is not the talking that matters because I know they are very busy; it is the acknowledgement of me standing there – that’s what I appreciate. Thank you, Will and Alex. I am your biggest fan!
I have to thank Joe Mallozzi for going along with the fun and supporting B.A.G., because without him, Vince Kwan would have never been born. Thanks from your humble servant!!
Kymm writes: “Questions for Bill – 1. I think it would be interesting to be an extra, but what do you do when they aren’t shooting a scene? What do you do on set to keep yourself amused? Well… other than Craft Services…”
BB: I read a lot, I play cards, I play board games, and most of all, I bullshit the time away with my friends. Just give me a good book and I am amused for hours. Between you and me, sometimes I sleep, but don’t tell anybody.
“2. I was also interested to know what was in The Football (briefcase.) Hopefully, not the launch codes…”
BB: Refer to Shiny’s question and you will know what is inside the B.A.G. of wonder.
“3. Since you are being brought back, have you already shot the scenes? Can you tell us which episode to watch out for you in?”
BB: Yes, my scenes have been shot, but I don’t know if I can tell you anything about it. Sorry. You just have to wait and see!!
Montrealer writes: “Question for Bill – Any thoughts to lack of middle age Asian men in North American TV shows & TV movies currently?”
BB: I left this question last, because I had to think about this one. I think I am going to use point form to answer this one.
1 – Asian parents do not encourage acting as a career; they want lawyers, doctors, engineers!!
2 – We Asians usually listen to our parents, so not many of us choose acting as a career.
3 – The black sheep of the family choose acting, but a very small percentage!!
4 – In auditions against Caucasians and African Americans, we Asians are pretty low on the list.
5 – There are not enough roles for Asians, and not even enough roles written for Asians!!
6 – No work, no money, means many Asian actors end up as starving actors!!
7 – Asian parents always say, “I told you so!!”
8 – After years of doing extra work and still no money, some Asian actors become fantastic waiters.
9 – Asian parents always say, “I told you so!!”
10 – After years of work, an Asian actor might get one line here, one line there!!
11 – If an Asian actor gets married, the family needs more money!!
12 – Asian parents always say, “I told you so!!”
13 – Many Asian actors quit acting and find a ‘real’ job.
14 – The pool for Asian actors is getting smaller and they’re still auditioning against Caucasians and others.
15 – A handful get a break, and they have kids. Please go back to number one!!
These are only my thoughts on the lack of Asian actors in the North America film industry. Maybe I am dead wrong, who knows!! Thank you for your question!!
Elminster writes: “Question for Mr. Butt: I can’t imagine that part-time acting would fill up your day (or pay the rent). I was wondering what else you do?”
BB: My whole family would be dead already if we only counted on my background work. Part-time acting is not steady enough, that is why we are called starving actors!! My wife has a very good job and she actually made 7 times what I made last year. I appreciate what my wife is doing to support my acting career, so all in all, we do OK!!
Vvv0472 writes: “Questions:1) What type of paper is used to take notes? Regular or legal sized? 2)What type of scientist is BAG?”
BB: I always use regular sized paper, because of my tiny Asian hands!! Please refer to answer from above as to what type of scientist B.A.G. is!! Thank you for your questions!!
Chevron7 writes: “1. What exactly is your character’s role on Destiny? I see an awful lot of standing around. It’s why I couldn’t get behind the campaign. I didn’t see your character make any contribution. Will that change in Season 2?”
BB: Chevron7, you just hit the nail on the head!! I am not a main character on the show, so I don’t really have a role, and I do walk and stand around a lot, don’t I? I am a background performer, so my job is to be doing nothing really. On the other hand, my character is a scientist. I know the campaign started as a joke, but who knew B.A.G. would have 42 pages on GateWorld so far, 20,000 viewed and counting, and that little old me would get the name ‘Vince Kwan’ on SGU!!! I don’t know if I will ever get to contribute to the show, but I sure love the attention. There should be people questioning why an extra is picked for a campaign because without these people, I don’t think the thread would have reached 42 pages. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, but I am Vince Kwan today!!!
“2. Who are your favourite actors to watch?”
BB: There are so many, because they are so different from each other. Here are a few that I like to watch!!
Tom Hanks, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Duvall, Morgan Freeman, Al Pacino, Robert Redford, Robert De Niro, Scarlett Johansson, Susan Sarandon, and Sissy Spacek.
“3. How do you like to prepare for a scene?”
BB: I kind of speak Chinese to myself, which calms me down and helps me to focus. I wonder if that makes any sense to anybody other than myself?
“4. What scares you most?”
BB: My father!! He scares the B.A.G. out of me!!! Beautiful women, snakes, women wearing low cut jeans and bending over. That is why I stay away from crack, and one recurring dream that I have every time I am really sick with fever. I get so scared that I can’t even talk about it!!
“5. What your fave chillout music?”
BB: Some of my favorite chill out music is by Jesse Cook, Gypsy Kings, and Third World. And I definitely like Chinese music!!!