The last time we saw Tygh Runyan’s character, Robert Caine, he was being left behind on a seemingly ideal world in SGU’s first season episode, Faith.  Well, a lot can happen in a year, especially in science fiction, and – let’s just say I crossed paths with Tygh about a month ago.  I asked him whether he’d be interested in doing a fan Q&A for the blog and Tygh was more than happy to oblige in intelligent and insightful fashion.

Today’s blog entry is dedicated to belated birthday gal Annie from Freemantle!

Over to Tygh…

Michael writes: “Questions for Tygh Runyan – 1) How did you react when you first learned about your character, Caine?”

TR: I was very excited to do sci-fi. I wasn’t familiar with the previous Stargate shows, but I’m a huge Star Wars and Blade Runner fan, as well as a fan of foreign sci-fi films like Alphaville and Solaris. I haven’t done much sci-fi, and to find out that I’d be on a ship with such wonderful actors, I was basically doing backflips.

“2) How did you prepare yourself for Caine’s religious side in “Faith”?”

TR: Although I don’t consider myself a religious person, I’m deeply spiritual. I drew on a lot of my own teachers from the Toltec and Indian traditions, as well as my experience of going to a non-denominational church for a while. Under my wardrobe, I wear a rosary made of sandalwood that I found in India. It reminds me of the deeply spiritual people I met there and the beautiful temples and ceremonies I experienced. I met a leper there who had no legs and severely deformed arms who, although was begging for coins in the street, always had time to give whoever passed the brightest, most genuine smile I have ever seen. He had absolutely nothing, and was giving everything. My experiences in India really informed how I related to Caine’s discovery of his faith.

“3) What was your reaction after reading the “Faith” script?”

TR: That script was really a turning point for my character, so I was happy to begin delving a little deeper with Caine. Also, I thought the script was asking some very important questions, like “what is the nature of faith?”. No matter where you go in the world, no matter what philosophy or religion, even talking to self-proclaimed atheists, people have “faith”. Whether it’s in a master teacher from thousands of years ago, or one’s self, or the law of nature, or some unspoken mystery that can’t be discussed or described, it is there. I can see that it enriches our lives. It helps us let go of our illusions, and open up to each other.

“4) What do you look forward to most for Caine in season 2?”

TR: I really hope they come back and get me!

E writes: “My questions for Tygh Runyan – I noticed your character in “Justice” for the first time. Did you happen appear in any episodes before that, maybe some group scenes?

TR: No, Justice was my first episode. I’d been shooting a film in India before that.

“Caine chose to stay on the obelisk planet. If you were in that kind of situation, would you choose to stay on the planet or return to the Destiny?”

TR: I’d probably return to the ship. I usually follow the girl wherever she goes. I’m a helpless romantic!

“Do you believe in luck?”

TR: Sure. I think things can just happen. I also believe that we can manifest our own dreams, and be blessed by god. But I think in this huge energy field we call the universe, there’s room for everything.

Major D. Davis writes: “So questions for Tygh. First off thanks Tygh for doing this Q&A. 1. What do you think Caine truly believes in? He seems like he has a Christian background, but he seems to worship the aliens on the planet from Faith. Do you think he believes in a benevolent higher power(like aliens), or does he believe in God?”

TR: I think that he had a Christian upbringing and that, ultimately, he’s asking himself if there’s room for both aliens and God in the universe. He’s in the process of discovering his faith for himself, and I think he believes that the aliens will play a vital role in proving the existence of God. Maybe by showing humans something that our monkey brains just can’t comprehend. A kind of alien miracle?

“2. It was never shown in Divided, but do you think Caine was with the few civilians who weren’t involved in the mutiny, or was he right along side the rebellious civilians?”

TR: I’d say rebel. That’s what I would do.

“3. Do you watch the SGU episodes you aren’t in? If so what’s your favorite episode? Did you ever watch previous Stargate shows?”

TR: I’ll always prefer to watch anything that I’m not in. I enjoy watching what my friends and co-workers are doing. There are some really wonderful people and actors on this show! I’ve only seen episodes from the current series. I don’t really have a favorite episode, but I tend to lean towards the action-based ones like “Space”. I’m a martial artist and love to watch fight and battle sequences. Also, the more ships the better!

4. How is it to be stuck on the same planet with BAG? Is his awesomeness  overwhelming?”

TR: I must admit…it’s pretty overwhelming.

“5. Which girl would you rather see Caine in a relationship with… TJ or James? Thanks so much”

TR: Holy moly! Do I really have to pick?!! They’re both played by such talented and beautiful actresses! Ummm… maybe Caine would date both, maybe at different times…yeah.

Randomness writes: “My questions for Tygh Runyan – 1. Thought you were great in Eureka, but don’t you think Pierre Fargo could of lasted more than 1 episode? I mean he’s a genius, and in a town of genius’s surely they could of wrote him as a recurring character, Eureka needed more Fargos.”

TR: Thanks man! There was some talk of that happening, but I ended up getting busy with other stuff before anything materialized.

“2. How would you describe your experience on Eureka? And which of the cast did you admire the most, as in get along well with and you know genually had a lot of fun around?”

TR: I really hit it off with Fulvio Cecere. I didn’t have any scenes with him, but I was on set to watch him do a scene, and was already a fan from seeing him in a film called “Dirty”. We ended up going out for beers after that. He’s a great guy and a lovely actor.

“3. As with question 2, How would you describe your experience thus far with Stargate Universe.”

TR: SGU has been a dream to work on. To work with Bobby, Louis, Alaina, and the rest of the cast…it’s been a dream. I just really, really, really want to fly a ship!

Shane-Brumley writes: “I have a couple of questions for Mr. Runyan: 1) Do you think that the Obelisk Aliens came?”

TR: I believe so.

“2) Do you think they were/are benevolent like your character believes?”

TR: I think that they might have stronger faith than humans. And have been able to collaborate a little better with the mysteries of the universe

“3) Will be get to see you back on SGU in season 2?”

TR: I hope so!

“4) Which other supporting/minor character do you think deserves some  exploration?”

TR: I love Volker and Brody!

“Also, my friends and myself would like to see Caine back and get with one of the  guys!!(I know that he used to have a wife) There is way too much heterosexuality in space…. Seriously though, we thought you were great in that role and wish you luck with your career…..”

TR: Thank you so much! I wish you all the best as well. Yeah, more space love all around!!!

Chevron7 writes: “Hello Tygh!! from chilly Melbourne.  1. Your character was introduced quite suddenly. To be honest my first reaction was, why are they throwing a new guy at us when we haven’t even explored all of the current characters? Is that hard for you?”

TR: Not really. It felt good to be thrown into the mix right away. I hope it wasn’t too confusing for the viewers! There will be a payoff, I promise.

“2. The scene w/ Lt James when Caine’s setting up the comm stones is soooo cute. How do you act when you haven’t got the person in front of you to react to? Sometimes its done separately isn’t it?”

TR: Thanks for the compliment. Yeah, it’s often shot seperately when it involves the kino. Lt James wasn’t anywhere near set that day, so I had to draw on my imagination. I think that’s one of the most important facets to develop in our work as actors. Actually, imagination is probably the gateway to everything else.

“3. What’s the most interesting part of the Caine character to explore?”

TR: For me, the most interesting and challenging aspect of Caine to explore has been his faith. It always raises a lot of questions for me, big questions, and ones that have led to some important discoveries about the character and myself as well. I think that Caine’s discovery/rediscovery of his faith is the heart of the character. I think he’s wrestling with some demons, and it’s teaching him to forgive and love life again.

“4. I don’t think we’ve ever seen an IT guy on Stargate before…cool!! Are you into tech and gadgets?”

TR: Normally, I wouldn’t say I’m into tech gadgets. Well, maybe older technology. I like motorcycles and have built a couple vintage bikes. I also play guitar and I’m into old guitars and effect pedals. But I must admit…I’m totally obsessed with my iphone!

“5. What music do you like to chill to?”

TR: My favorite bands are The Velvet Underground, Spacemen 3, Neil Young and Crazy Horse. But they aren’t always that relaxing. Lately, I’ve been listening to the new Bonnie Prince Billy and some Brian Eno to unwind.

“6. How do you hang w/ most on set?”

TR: I’ll usually have lunch with Louis or Patrick. Jamil and I hang a bit on set.

“7. What was you first job ever? Acting/non-acting?”

TR: My first job was a paper route with one of the worst guard dogs in history! It was straight out of a movie. This was a very bad dog, and he could smell me coming down the block! So, it was a serious upgrade to become a bus boy at a local diner. That job actually led to my first acting job. A student filmmaker was visiting his fiance’s family in my small fishing town, and he came into the diner for some coffee. After a while, he asked me if I’d done any acting and asked me to play the lead in his thesis film for college. After that, I cold-called some agents and signed on with one.

“8. If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?”

TR: I just got back from the Venice Film Festival, and I would board a plane back to Italy in a heartbeat!

“9. Which actor or director do you most want to work with next?”

TR: I’d love to work with one of my acting heroes, Jack Nicholson. I missed my chance with Marlon Brando, so I’d love to have that experience. As far as directors go, I’d love to work with Terrence Malick. I’m a big fan of his films.’

“10. Who surprised everyone with their soccer skills in Faith?”

TR: Definitely the director, Will.

“11. What were you fave tv shows as a kid?”

TR: I used to pee my pants with excitement for Inspector Gadget! I didn’t watch a lot of tv growing up though. My parents were hippies, and didn’t want cable. But they’d take me to the movies once a week. I saw a lot of films growing up, and I have to say that the whole reason I got into acting was from seeing The Blues Brothers when I was 4. I totally flipped for that experience, and still remember it to this day. Those guys were having a riot up there on that screen!

20 thoughts on “September 26, 2010: Actor Tygh Runyan Answers Your Questions!

  1. Great answers from Tyler, again too bad he didn’t stick around in Eureka, but with all the time travel stuff and ways of twisting reality, maybe he’l appear again? Hope so.

    I like his *I’d probably return to the ship* answer, not only is it sensible but he added some humor there. For one said planet is half way accross the known universe, you have no idea who or what might turn up. And two as with any planet it could be prone to freak weather or temperature variations at random points in the year. Or it could be paradise, either way. Ship vs Planet, Ship would win everytime. Better with what you know than don’t know.

    Almost forgot I directed him questions, quickly skimmed over thinking oh perhaps I missed, then I saw lol.

  2. Very cool Q&A with Tygh. I hope he shows up in Season 2, and doesn’t die.

    I’ve had to put stickies all over to remind me that SGU is TUESDAY night, not Friday. A decade long habit is hard to break. And honestly, I’m going to miss Friday nights with Stargate. By the end of the week I’m ready to chill out and enjoy a good show.

    Hope the ratings are great. Good luck!

  3. Hey Joe,

    I just wanted to post a quick apology. I’m sorry if my message the other day had people worried that I no longer wished to have any more Birthdays. Please know that’s not the case at all! I hope to be around for many more, I’d just like to ignore them in the hope bad things stop on happening at this time of year.

    I’m accompanying my Brother to Lombok next week to spend time with his girlfriend’s family, visit her grave, try and get some answers from the hospital and finalise some affairs. He wasn’t present when she died so he has a lot to work through.

    Just came back from Bali. Feels strange to be going back just 7 weeks later under such different circumstances.

    Thanks to everyone for your kind words and emails. You really are all an amazing support.

  4. Woops spealt his name wrong. Sorry Tygh.
    Thought I made an error. Personally I blame the weather related headache I currently have.

  5. @Narelle – we’re just glad you’re okay – grieving with you and praying for strength and love for you and your family. You know, it’s kind of crazy that, eventhough we may never meet in person, my heart was absolutely struck when I first heard about your brother’s girlfriend – now, I’m hugely empathetic, but there are so many others here, on Twitter and elsewhere who immediately reacted in a similar fashion to your need and pain – it’s kind of reaffirming that people who are virtually strangers (while being virtual friends) can genuinely reach out to each other in love and compassion. Just as we care about Das and her dad and work, PBMom and Patrick, Gilder and her recent surgery, of course Jelly and the kids, and so many others – it helps make up for the some of the sad, insane people who drag humanity down. So keep your heart strong, keep your hopes up, and keep seeing the beauty and miracle in every sunrise, Narelle – we’re out here, all over the world, and we love you.

  6. Thank you Tygh for the great answers and we’ve already seen you in the previews for Season 2 so we know you’ll be back for at least 1 episode; hopefully maybe more. You’ve had a fascinating life. Discovering faiths of other people and what their belief systems are truly fascinates me as well. My sister kind of rubbed on me in that respect. She was into the Sufi movement for more than 7 years, but remains Catholic, dabbling in other religions since her teen years. So she passed on that wisdom to me. Gave me a broader picture of the universe and that it doesn’t make one way the right way. Co-existence is possible.

    @narelle. I’m sending all of my love and prayers to you. These next weeks will be the hardest, and I’d like to say things will get better, but having counseled through our church ministry many people in grief, you will grieve on your own timetable. You might be fine one minute, and the next fall apart to where you don’t think you can breathe, or take another step forward. Where one day is an effort, and the next day maybe not. The “first” anniversaries will be the toughest, the 1st month, the 2nd month,the 1st Christmas without her presence, etc. I do not say these things to make you depressed — just prepared. I’m going to copy my speech I gave at our annual celebration of life ceremonies for people who were grieving the loss of a child (from abortion, miscarriage, stillborn, newborn, or any age from birth, exploring that unique relationships), but you can take many of the things I said and apply it to any situation. I hope that Joe will induldge me here. I will write it in the next post.

  7. @narelle: You know what they say: Take what you can to help you and ignore the rest. This was one of my speeches to our congregation:

    My baby, Matthew Joseph Bowen, died in August of 1993. It’s hard to believe that we passed the 10-year anniversary mark. Seems like yesterday, but it seems like a lifetime ago. For those of you whose child has died recently, this will be one of the most painful things you will ever go through. You may not feel this way at the moment and could never imagine it, but good things will come out of it someday. Some losses are so devastating that we will never be happy they happened, but it is possible to be happy again. Some events in life we can’t control and we’ll make ourselves crazy if we try to look too hard for the good that can come from a tragedy. We don’t have to accept all of life’s realities in one moment. We don’t have to get to a place where we totally accept losses that are too much to bear. We just need to focus on accepting each step, each feeling, each day, each hour. Slowly we’ll begin to see that even THAT idea – being fully present for each moment and hour—is a practical way to live life.

    First comes the trauma, shock, and overwhelming grief, and then the numbed, silent hours as we stare at the empty space left by what we’ve lost. The pain often becomes much worse because we realize just what we HAVE lost. We trudge through the hours, going through the motions, trying to start moving again whether we want to or not. We try to be happy, even though we’re not. Then everything we do has one focus – healing our pain so it’s not so difficult to live life again. One day we wake up and find ourselves actually excited and engaged with our life, doing things we want to, cohabiting with our loss. We’re not happy about it, but to our surprise, we’re at peace.

    We learn to see things, people, life and death in a new way. We will never be the same again; but we weren’t meant to be. The focus on death and the event fades and the warmth of good memories replaces it. We can still go back there in an instant, back to the call, the moment, the goodbye, back to the time that will forever separate our life between “before” and “after.” But as time goes on, we go back less and less. You might have new and different priorities. You might move through life a little slower, a little more tuned in. I hurt for the people who share this walk with me. I feel for them in a way I could never have understood before.

    Today I give back in gratitude for the joy of the life I had been given, no matter how brief. I want to make Matthew proud. I want to be a blessing to others and to enjoy the journey, too. I still miss Matthew. I miss him quietly and silently. However, I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I have been blessed beyond measure. Gratitude is one of the most helpful and healing things you can do on your journey, and with gratitude comes thanks.

    I’d like to present a challenge to you all. Sit down and make a list this week of the people who were there for you when you needed them most. These are the people who dropped everything in their lives on a moment’s phone call and rushed to your side. These are the new friends you made that you never knew you had. These are the people with whom we are joined forever and who, no matter what happens, will always have a special place in our heart. Once you make your list, find those people wherever they are and say thank you.

    What does do help is DOING GOOD, to decide to lead the second part of your life differently and better than you would have before… in your child’s name. When we do one small act of kindness we never would have done before…when we reach out to other bereaved parents because we can and because we have been there, then the world is changed in some small way for the better. The actions we take become a living tribute to our child’s life. And then that child is never entirely gone.

    Peace be with you.

  8. @ Narrelle from Aus – your family (especially your brother) and your brother’s girlfriend’s family remain in my prayers during this very sad time.

    Joe, thanks for another wonderful Q&A! How do you do it?!

  9. Coucou!

    ça va bien? moi nikel =)

    Merci pour les photos de l’article précédents, il y ‘en a pleins!

    Merci aussi pour ces Q&A.

    Ah oui concernant votre cadeau, ne l’ouvrez pas avant le 16, un message est dedant…je ne vais pas trop vous en dire, j’espere juste que ça vous fera plaisir et que ça arrivera à la bonne date.

    Gros bisou =)

  10. There’s been some talk that SGU will now have more humor and adventure. I love the show just as it is, and I don’t know what to think of this. Was it a creative decision to go there or an attempt to appeal to bigger audience?

  11. *reads comments to Narelle*

    Joe, how does an up-and-coming supervillain like yourself attract so many kind and caring people to your blog? It can’t just be the chocolate. Surely with your put-’em-in-their-place snarkitude and stuff, you should be surrounded by goons and thugs. But you’re not…you’re surrounded by all these big-hearted folks – many who have been through hell and back – who genuinely care what others are dealing with, no matter how big, or small. I think they’re a terrific lot, don’t you?


  12. Sorry to hear about your loss PBMom, can’t imagine what it was like for you, I don’t think anyone can truely comprehend the grieve you must of gone through. Your speech was moving I agree.

    Anyway das made a good point. Seems everyone has gone through something here. Granted I’m usually late in commenting. Not like I don’t care just lately thanks to a downpour, been going through all the motions of a cold lol

    Anyway tommorows the big day for SGU. Sink or Swim I hope it does well. Hard to believe so much time has passed. I’m airing on the side of optimism and saying SGU will do really well on Tues.


    Unless the talk has gone through official sources or someone who isn’t pulling the information from their rear end I wouldn’t believe everything. That being said Stargate has always been about adventure, even if Destiny is half way accross the known universe. It’s bound to run into a few habitable planets that the crew can go explore.

  13. A great Q&A with Tygh, well done thanks.
    @das, I do believe that anything can be seen on utube, what a place. can’t even imagine>>
    Joe I hope your day was drier and warmer and inside studio 4 was it? Any cookies left? Did you find any cool surprises when you got back to the office or is it backordered from the staff.?

  14. You Suck was AWESOME!!! Totally hooked me on Christopher Moore, I have not laughed out loud while reading in years until I found his stuff. Hope you enjoy it.

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