Hard to believe, but this is my 5000th post. Back on November 21st, 2006, in an entry titled, appropriately enough “The Beginning”, I started this blog, initially as a food journal to document at two-week trip to Asia. When I returned home, however, I decided to keep it going. I figured that it would be a good thing in that it would force me to write on a daily basis. For as long as it lasted. And, well, it’s lasted somewhat longer than I’d originally imagined. Closing in on 14 years. In that 14 year span, I have written an entry for every day (sometimes two) on topics ranging from film production to pugs to rambling rants. And you have all been kind enough to come along for the ride. So thanks for that.
Some interesting stats:
The #2 and #3 most popular search terms that led people to this blog were “Joe Mallozzi” and “Joseph Mallozzi” (for a combined 141,644 total searches)
However, the #1 most popular search that led people to this blog was “Julia Benson” (150,270 searches).
My second most popular month of blogging was May of 2011, which I believe coincided with the Stargate: Universe cancellation.
My most popular month of blogging was September of 2017, which I believe coincided with the Dark Matter online campaign.
So how to celebrate this milestone? Besides virtual birthday cake? I gave it some thought and came up with…a zoom call. I mean, it’s all the rage so why not?
Simply leave a comment on this blog entry for a chance to be one of three lucky blog readers to be selected for the 5000th Anniversary Zoom call with yours truly (with a possible guest appearance by my pug, Suji, although her schedule is pretty tight so no promises). Later this week, I’ll announce the three winner after which I will coordinate a time for all four of us to jump on a 30 minute zoom call during which we will discuss…well, whatever you like. Stargate, Dark Matter, any of my projections in progress, food, current events, or why The Princess Bride remake is such an awful idea.
Every so often, I like to check out this blog’s site stats to get a sense of the daily visits, most popular posts and, most interestingly of all, what leads people to check out this little corner on the internet. In the case of the latter, if you go by recent search engine terms, it’s “Stargate”, “Joseph Mallozzi”, and “Julia Benson” – and not necessarily in that order. Site stats also include a rundown of Top Referrer’s who have provided links to this blog. They’re usually fairly vague – facebook, google image search, etc – but, occasionally, they’re quite specific. Like, yesterday, when I clicked on one of the Referrer links and ended up on Reddit where somebody asked: Does anyone have some deck plans for Prometheus? Another user offered the following advice: “Joe Mallozzi used to be a writer/producer on SG-1 back in the day. He has a blog where he occasionally posts pictures of set blueprints. I’ve seen him post a bunch of set blueprints from Atlantis, but you might get lucky and find some Daedalus/Prometheus stuff. Gonna take a lot of digging though.”
Yes, admittedly, a time consuming process. According to Site Stats (again), this will be my 2 333rd post. That IS a lot of digging. UNLESS, you have an affable executive producer willing to take the time to wade through the mountain of Art Department handouts he received over the years in search of Prometheus schematics.
Sadly, I don’t have anything in the way of an actual ship plan. I’m not even sure if one was ever drafted but, even if it was, that would have been during the SG-1 days, long before I started collecting these pre-production mementos. However, I DID find a few Daedalus-related plans which, I hope, will prove somewhat helpful because – here’s a secret: the Prometheus was the Daedalus was the Odyssey was the Apollo was the Korolev! They were the same sets and, for design purposes, the same ships. When it came time to shoot them, however, one was able to distinguish them in a variety of ways: besides specific crews, there were the distinguishing plaques that adorned the walls. In addition, the lighting on the various bridges differed. From what I recall, the Apollo was slightly blue while the Daedalus was slightly green. The Prometheus, I believe, was white.
Anyway, this is what I was able to dig up:
From The Kindred Part 1 Art Department package: The Daedalus Bridge, Corridors, and Mess Hall. Note the reminder to swap out the Apollo plaque for a Daedalus plaque. Also note the reminder to repair/restore the section of the Mess Hall damaged during “Ark of Truth”. Was it damaged in an actual scene in the movie or did Director Robert Cooper kick a crew member through the wall? Again. I don’t recall.
The Daedalus Bridge from the Be All My Sins Remember’d Art Department package.
Daedalus Engineering, also from the Be All My Sins Remember’d Art Department package. Note the additions of Asgard tech that came with the last engineer, Hermoid, in Siege 3. Also note the use of the term “gak”, used to refer to circuitry/wires/panels – essentially, cool, high-tech looking “ship innards”.
Sadly, that’s it. BUT, I did find this cool layout of the Midway station:
Matt writes: “Would a CG/Green screen set be more affordable now?”
Answer: Hmmm. How shall I put this? The problem with green screen sets is that they look like…green screen sets.
stargateatlantisseasonsix writes: “Have you ever thought of asking the fans to donate their abilities in effects making, set building, make-up and prosthetics, etc. for just the simple exchange of putting their names in the credits at the end. I don’t know a single fan that wouldn’t be estatic to see their name or see their work on the official film.”
Answer: While I’m sure many talented and dedicated fans would do wonderful jobs, there are agreements in place that require a production engage the services of unionized professionals – individuals with proper training and experience. I’d argue that, at the end of the day, you’re better off hiring someone who has made a living building that sturdy set.
Emily H. writes: “And just as a side note, when the fans brought Farscape back from the dead, they did it with a 4-hour miniseries, complete with an epic story, space battles and astonishing special effects — all to the tune of about $20 million dollars. I may be an optimist, but I think that’s doable.”
Answer: Well, okay. The fans did bring back Farscape with that 4-hour miniseries – but, in all fairness, they didn’t foot that bill to the tune of $20 million dollars.
Chris L writes: “Can someone please send MGM an email?”
Answer: Oh I’m sure MGM is receiving plenty of emails from Stargate fans. It’ll be interesting to see if they receive enough to reconsider their options…
We’re back in comparatively balmy Vancouver (it’s a positively tropical -5 degrees celsius/23 fahrenheit) and I just got through unpacking. I’m exhausted and nursing a wicked headache that I roughly equate to the feeling of having the sudden expansion of your brain rudely checked by your skullcap. Also, my left eye hurts. Could this be the mythic “migraine”, the neurological disorder that has afflicted my mother these oh so many years? Or was I right the first time and has my brain tripled in size? It seems that, lately, my complaint of the most minor ailment will send Akemi into an anxiety-fueled tizzy, culminating in her insistence I go back to the doctor and get checked out immediately. That pain in my shoulder could be a silent heart attack! The ache in my legs a blood clot! And the headache, of course, could be anything from diabetes to an impending stroke! So, I’ve got a choice: make that appointment with my family doctor or just ignore it – in which case a simple headache will be the least of my problems once Akemi gets through with me. Yep, I guess I’ll make that appointment.
Check it out. Akemi’s new duck slippers didn’t even last their first night back. More like an hour – which is how long it took Akemi and I to pop out and grab dinner before returning home to discover the damage our frenchie, Lulu, had wrought.
It wasn’t all bad news however. We arrived home during doggy dinner time and Akemi was positively thrilled by the fact that her boy, Bubba, actually stopped eating to trot over and greet her. This is a pug who LOVES his food. But one who clearly LOVES Akemi even more!
Hey, I received my 2012 Year in Blogging review from wordpress. Some interesting insights into this blog. For example…
On the one hand, this demonstrates the strength of some of these past entries which obviously continue to resonate with fandom. On the other hand, this demonstrates I need to up my blogging game. Not one entry from 2012 cracked the top five!
For what it’s worth, my busiest day in 2012 was this entry: Q&A Tonight!. A simple Q&A. I guess I should consider doing these more often.
And now let’s give it up for the Top 5 Most Active Commenters on this blog in 2012:
I’m in the midst of an exhaustingly thorough life/housecleaning. Today, I decided to take a break and grab lunch at Fable Kitchen (in the premises formerly occupied by Refuel, and Fuel before that). We came in on Dessert Master (and Stargate fan) Curtis Luk working his confectionary magic:
We said our hello’s, grabbed a table, and enjoyed a casual lunch of:
And, of course, what lunch would be complete without dessert(s):
And then, it was back to work – into the crawlspace, hefting boxes, looking through old files and financial statements. To be honest, it’s a pleasant break from all the business-related phone calls of late.
Yesterday, Paul and I were on a call that, as far as we knew going in, was going to be all about on one of our pilot scripts. Instead, it turned out to be a pitch call. “Your agent says you have some other ideas?”we were asked – at which I scrambled to bring up my file on the series ideas Paul and I discussed the other week before launching into my sales pitch. We’ve got a drama, a procedural, a fantasy series, and an SF offering. I’ll freely admit that we are better on paper and wanted to say “Why don’t we just wait and you can read the script in a couple of months?” but pitching/spinning is part of the business.
I didn’t think anything was going to stick UNTIL we were asked “Anything else?” and I considered, then realized: “Yeah. We do have one more.” at which point I launched into the pitch for the series we’re developing with Ivon Bartok and Robert Cooper. To be honest, Rob is A LOT better at pitching than any of us and I would have preferred to defer to him – but he wasn’t on the call. And I didn’t know if he would be talking to these people anytime soon so I went ahead and made the pitch. Happily, they ended up liking the idea and asking for any materials we had on the proposed series. And, double-happily, Rob is in L.A. this week and next and he’s scheduled to meet with them Monday morning.
Speaking of calls, I’ll be doing a phoner with the gang at Wormhole Riders this Sunday night. I hear the topic of conversation will be fairly open. Comics books? Chocolate? The last episode of Master Chef? I think I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Continuing our trip down Stargate: Atlantis memory lane…
One of the great things about working on Stargate was the freedom it gave us when it came to scripting a wide variety of episodes. For instance, the season opener, No Man’s Land, is a big, splashy visual effects-laden affair that touches on some of the major threads woven over the show’s previous seasons. The season’s second episode, Misbegotten, also touches on some of these same big arc elements in a story that is more human, character-centered and, ultimately, quite tragic. The season’s third episode, Irresponsible, switches gears in delivering a lighter, more humorous episode that presents Atlantis under threat from a most unlikely source – a seemingly affable, simple fellow named Lucius Lavin.
In playing the role of Lucius, actor Richard Kind becomes one of a handful of actors who guest-starred in both the series and the original Stargate movie (in which he played the part of an archaeologist).
Eagled-eyed viewers will also notice a familiar face among Lucius’s village admirers – namely Julia Anderson (now Julia Bensons) who would go on to play Lieutenant Vanessa James in Stargate: Universe.
Some memorable bits of dialogue:
LUCIUS: “The sick have been cured, the lame can walk again … well, some still crawl, but they crawl a lot faster than they used to.”
LUCIUS: “How do you get your hair to go like that?”
SHEPPARD: Well, what about Beckett?
McKAY: Oh, he … now, he can walk on his hands. Did you know that? Yeah, he was showing Lucius just before he left. You should have seen it. He was down on his hands …
– Which was actually a reference to Paul McGillion’s reputed background as a wrestler and his ability to, yes, walk on his hands. Ask him to show you next at his next con appearance!
LUCIUS: Mess hall. Blue jello. Just a little bit of whipped cream.
– Yet another reference to Stargate’s famed blue jello.
I remember that we shot this episode in late April, around the time of my annual chocolate party. Richard Kind was in the office across the hall, making travel arrangements while I was in my office, making arrangements for incoming chocolate shipments. He happened by and I invited him to join us that Saturday night at my place. He ended up having a great time and, even years afterwards, would drop me an email or note about some heavenly dessert place he’d discovered (like Graeter’s in Cincinnnati, OH). Very nice guy.
Kudos to Carl Binder on the script!
This blog’s resident film critic, Cookie Monster, urges you to join our Supermovie of the Week Club. Every week, we’ll be screening and discussing a different superhero movie. We’ve been working our way chronologically through Hollywood’s superbest and superworst and have finally reached 2000 and Monday’s entry, X-Men. Cookie Monster is confident we’ve turned the corner and that, from here on in, it’s super smoooooooooooth sailing.
“What are you talking about? You can’t stop. You have to continue until you die!”
– Akemi on the subject of my blog.
Well, in all fairness I’m not aware of any contractual obligation that requires me to continue blogging. Strange to think that when I started this blog, back in November of 2006, it was with the simple aim of documenting an upcoming trip to Asia. In those first few days, it would average some 12-15 daily visitors. In later years, at its busiest, it was closer to 12 000. The record was the almost 20 000 visitors who dropped in on the heels of the Stargate: Universe finale.
When I started this blog, I had not intention of continuing it past those initial two weeks in Hong Kong and Tokyo. But, when I returned home, I decided to challenge myself. Writers write, even when they don’t want to. Hell, for most professional writers, that’s exactly when they do most of their best work. So, I wanted to see how far I could push myself. How long could I go without missing a daily update?
As it turned out, a pretty damn long time. Yesterday, I posted my 1901st successive blog entry. Not a bad run. And since kicking things off back some 5 years ago, this blog has been visited well over 8 million times. According to WordPress’s 2011 Annual Report:
The blog was viewed 1,900,000 times in 2011
In 2011, it welcomed visitors from as far away as Tunisia, Mauritius, Japan, India, New Zealand, and Guam.
dasNdanger #1 (roughly doubling second place. Congrats!)
Tammy Dixon #3
Lisa R #5
Talk about dedication!
It’s been a lot of fun. And very satisfying. And other times, frustrating, maddening, and disappointing. But overall, it’s been an incredibly positive experience that will forever provide me with a detailed snapshot of memories and my mindset at a certain period in my life. Also, some great friends and future book material.
Over the course of these 5+ years, I’ve both enjoyed myself immensely and come close to calling it quits several times, but what always kept me going was the desire to write, a commitment to my readers, and the very real possibility that, if I WERE to skip a day, you would all assume I was dead.
Well, an early alert should at least address the latter.
1902 is a rather ordinary number to end on and, while 2000 seems mighty daunting at this moment, I figure I’ve blogged for over 60 straight months. What’s three more?
Who knows? A lot can change in three months. I may hit 2000 and suddenly feel revitalized. Set my sights on 2500. Maybe even 3000! But in the event that doesn’t happen, then consider this advance warning. This blog may end with its 2000th post. But I don’t want you guys worrying about me.
Speaking of writing, I did a little more work on the feature script. It’s slow going but coming along nicely. I hit the 7 page mark this morning and hope to have the first draft completed before I head to Tokyo. The plan is to bounce it off both Paul and Ivon when I’m done, then work with both of them to produce a 2 minute trailer we can use as a calling card to shop the project.
Speaking of Paul, I got a call from him last night. He has an idea for a terrific series that, if the timing is right, would be perfect for 2013. We discussed the basic premise and series pilot. He’s going to give it some more thought and then we’ll convene at some point and start breaking the first script.
Speaking of calls, I fielded one from my agent today. Look like Paul and I are L.A.-bound next week to pitch Dark Matter to some interested parties. The plan, as you all know, is to use the comic book series as a springboard to a television series (or mini-series). I will, of course, keep you posted on our progress. In the meantime, why not pick up a copy of the first issue (Dark Matter #1) that hit the shelves yesterday.
Speaking of Dark Matter, here’s another interview I did for the series, this one with Patrick Hickey Jr. at Review Fix: http://wp.me/pVer6-6iU
On the nutritional benefits of fish: “The tail is good for you can run fast. The head is good for your brain. The eyes are good for you eyes. Your eyes are getting bad so you should eat eyes.” – Akemi, August 20 2011.
I had a song stuck in my head all day today.
I suppose it’s only fitting given that, in the episode, Spongebob is infected by an earworm that burrows into his brain and “addicts” him to this catchy tune. Well, the song, Musical Doodle by The Sonars, IS catchy. So catchy, in fact, that I feared I’D been infected by the earworm. I found myself humming it all day – until I finally looked the lyrics up online and actually started singing:
“Round and round the record spins all day.
Listen again it takes you far away.
Trying to stop it is futile.
So just listen now to my musical doodle!
Sadly, the song is unavailable for download on iTunes. What’s with that?!
Anyway, if you were foolish enough to listen to the tune, you’ve no doubt become infected by now as well. Sorry about that. There’s nothing you can do now but spread the joy. Indoctrinate your friends and family to the Musical Doodle masses!
So I was driving to work the other day and noticed I was driving behind this truck –
Note the plate! Mere coincidence? I don’t think so!
No turning back now! The production machine is rolling along and picking up steam, speeding, faster and faster, toward the precipice that will launch us into glorious flight! Provided the mechanical wings on this contraption hold firm. Our European team is gearing up to start shooting in Paris, Berlin, Nice, Marseilles, and the south of France. To that end, we had a conference call this morning to go over the storyboards for the early episodes. The guys in France have come up with some terrific car action sequences that, like the ones in the Transporters film series, are fun, inventive, and holy-smokes-impressive! I suppose this shouldn’t come as a surprise since a number of the key people on our car and fight stunt teams are the same ones who worked on the movies.
When car stunt coordinator extraordinaire Michel Julienne gets into town, I’m just going to start catching a lift with him in the morning.
I figure that’ll allow me to shave about fifteen minutes off my twenty-two minute travel time.
Every so often, I like to check out my site stats – Top Referrers, Top Posts, and, my favorite, Top Search Engine Terms that directed new readers to this blog. I always find it very interesting. For instance, here’s a sampling of the Top Search Engine Terms over the past six months…
joseph mallozzi blog
jamil walker smith
brian j smith
elyse levesque hot
joseph mallozzi weblog
bermuda triangle mystery solved
stargate universe destiny
iron chef chairman
joseph mallozzi’s blog
julia benson pictures
julia benson hot
stargate destiny model
todd the wraith
vanessa james sgu
julia benson actress
julia benson pics
stargate universe shuttle
stargate universe julia benson
julia benson sgu
stargate universe chloe
vanessa james stargate universe
julia benson photos
joseph mazzolli blog
space shuttle interior
stargate atlantis city
julia benson stargate universe
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2nd lt. vanessa james
lieutenant james stargate
sgu vanessa james
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stargate atlantis todd
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coq au vin
the chairman iron chef
julia benson images
peter de luise
stargate destiny schematics
stargate universe kino
stargate destiny bridge
stargate atlantis gate
julia benson picture
florida state cowgirls
More people searching the internet came here looking for “Julia Benson” than “Joseph Mallozzi” and “Joe Mallozzi” combined. Searches for “Batman” (2914) beat out searches for “Patrick Gilmore” (882), “Stargate Atlantis” (693) doubled “mint leaves” (313), while “Joe Flanigan” (51) was trounced by “Brad Wright” (101), “Robert Picardo” (101), and “viscous” (109).
Even more interesting are the daily single digit search engine terms that range from the obscure to the downright bizarre. Today’s stats yield a unique mix:
brian j smith girlfriend
mallozzi fondy divorce
janina javankar married or single
leon with pig puppet
psych symptoms include speaking in accents
I would assume the first one was supposed to be “suckling pig” rather than “sucking pig”, but the fact that three different search attempts went with “sucking” gives me pause. It’s nice to know there are people searching for love on the internet, doing their research to ensure their prospective future partners are indeed single: Brian J. Smith, Janina Gavankar, and my ex wife. Also, I sincerely hope that whoever searched for “psych symptoms include speaking in accents” found the sound medical advice they were looking for here on this blog. Finally, what the hell is a “raccoon lottery”?
I’m going to miss a lot of things about Vancouver: the weather, the people, the food. In the latter category, I doubt there’s a place I’ll miss more than Refuel, my home away from home over the last twelve years. Today, we swung by for lunch and enjoyed…
Their Salumi Platter comprised of (from left to right): 18 Month Dry Cured Berkshire Ham, Fennel Pollen Salami, Saucisson Sec, Sopressata, and Dry Cured Chorizo.
Slow cooked garlic risotto with Italian parsley and albacore tuna tartare. The reason we came. Akemi had a hankering.
And two of my favorite desserts from the Refuel kitchen: chocolate pot de creme with caramel mousse and peanuts, and warm sugar pie with pear puree and vanilla ice cream.
I did a little shopping and returned home with three interesting ingredients:
For dinner tomorrow, I’ve decided to try my hand at pappardelle with braised veal cheeks and porcini cream. All of the recipes I’ve checked out call for red wine, but I’m going to go with a port reduction (and veal stock) as my braising liquid. Most of the recipes suggest searing the meat first in hot oil, but I think I’ll go a different route, rendering some guanciale (far right) in a cast iron pan and then using the savory fat to brown the cheeks. As for the box in the middle – I spotted it at a specialty shop and decided to pick it up. It is, I believe, one of the hottest sauces on the market, made from the Indian Ghost Chili which boasts a rating of 855 000 units on the Scoville Scale (the scorching habanero, in comparison, comes in at between 350 000 to 580 000 units). Apparently, the Indian government is weaponizing the stuff for use against terrorists. Good to know. Anyway, I sampled the stuff last year when I received a bottle of another sauce made with the same pepper, Dragon’s Blood, from a blog regular. Carl joined me in the taste challenge and I had Lawren record the event for posterity’s sake. Head on over to this entry and scroll down to check out the vid (October 22, 2009: Julia Benson! Jennifer Spence! Birthday Swag! The Weird Food Purchase of the Day!). Note my poker face as I sit back, casual as hell despite the inferno in my mouth, and patiently wait for Carl to pop the chip in his mouth.
Anyway, a couple of Akemi’s friends came by tonight and after a little snack –
Fresh sea urchin on rice –
I decided to break open the bottle (and the fun), but only after removing the yellow CAUTION tape:
For those of you who can’t read the warning on the label, allow me – WARNING: Use this product one drop at a time. Keep away from eyes, pets, and children. Not for people with heart or respiratory problems.
How hot was it? Well, let me put it this way. Seconds after sampling a couple of drops on his rice, my guest, Masa, turned beet red, started coughing, then hiccuping, then had to down a glass of almond milk before staggering out on to the back porch to collect himself. Not beet redness for me, but plenty of hiccuping and some coughing. Probably the hottest thing I’ve ever eaten.
To all those offering requests on alternate publications for the Stargate: Atlantis script, Extinction – alas, I don’t own the rights. They rest with the studio. Ideally, I’d love to see it on screen but, barring that, I’d love to see it go out in script form (rather than, say, a novel, comic book, or radio play). But, as I said, the decision doesn’t rest with me.
With it looking more and more like I may be spending much of 2011 in Toronto, I’ve decided to reprioritize my reading and viewing lists. I’ve got one month to read and watch the books and dvd’s I’d been hoping to leisurely get around to. No time for filler. It’s only the good stuff. Thus, I’ve started on Gail Simone’s Secret Six run, kicking off with Villains United, then following up with the four trade paperbacks. Very much looking forward to it.
Tenacious D. writes: “Oh, SyFy. You remind me so much of Peter Kavanagh. So busy spinning complete bullshit to cover your own ass, to the point where the writer of your show literally has to berate you like Weir did.”
Answer: Not quite. The first quote – http://twitter.com/Syfy/status/36112527372845056 – can be interpreted two very different ways, and I said as much (“Not sure that was the intention of the response…”). As for the second quote – “In this case we had pre-committed to 2 seasons of SGU before we started airing it.” – it’s unclear, perhaps somewhat inaccurate, given that the two-year commitment was ratings-dependent. What was “Chotto bullshit” was the inference (not Craig’s) that “regardless of how well or bad Season 1 did, they were obligated to give a new season.”
majorsal writes: “i’m not an expert on this at all, but if you were very much wanting to stay in vancouver, couldn’t there be a way of doing that, but also still being a writer for this new show?”
Answer: Yes. If I was only a freelance writer for the show, I could just go down for a week and write from Vancouver. In this case, I would be doing more than freelancing.
Les Ferris writes: “Is there any chance we’ll ever get to learn the details of what the SG1 and SGA films where going to be about?”
Answer: See above. I think a nice glossy hardcover exclusive containing the script (with, perhaps, bonus interviews of cast and crew) would sell very well.
Elminster writes: “Ok, turn the page. We’ll have the script read in, what, 54 days?”
Answer: Try 102.
Bryan M. White writes: “Does that fact that you referred to that script as “that script” mean it will never see the green light of a production schedule?”
Answer: Not necessarily but, like I already said, the cancellation of SGU has stymied whatever progress the SGA script had made since MGM’s announcement that it was finally moving forward with other hitherto paused productions.
Guillaume writes: “Joe, do you seriously find it normal that the next season of a show is decided upon the first 10 episodes of a previous season ?”
Answer: I actually do. Given the show’s scheduling, that would be the only way (given the standing method of gathering ratings) of gauging the show’s performance.
Shadow Step writes: “So, will that new show be full of sex?”
DeanGrr writes: “The trilogy “First Strike, Adrift, Lifeline” is an exciting, fast paced story where one crisis builds on another, with the McKay/Sheppard wit thrown in. But, we’re talking about the genocide of a whole race in Season 4 Atlantis, that began with the nuking of Asuras.”
Answer: “Race” would be debatable. Many would argue they were very complex machinery.
DearGrr also writes: “When do royalties become valuable as a writer?”
Answer: Uh, immediately? Royalty pay-outs differ and are dependent on the types of contracts worked under. For instance, Canadian writers (working under WGC contracts) receive an advance chunk of royalty payment as part of a heavy production bonus when their script goes to camera.
asdasdg writes: “Will we be seeing more of Destiny’s underside (your tormenting me by not giving a straight yes or no). Totaly unrelated to Stargate, but have you ever played Zeta Flow? what was your favorite Stargate Episode (other then 200).”
dasNdanger writes: “Joe, I stopped by last night, saw the Extinction script, and got really sad. Sadder than I’ve been since the cancellation of SGAwas announced. I just left. I’m still sad. I think I need a hug.”
Answer: Rally the troops and convince the studio to either publish the script. Once you read it, you’ll be incapable of sadness.
I got a sneak peek at the Stargate: Universe season two trailer this afternoon and it’s – well – is “crazysuperfantastic” a word? Steve has done an incredible job and I can’t wait for you guys to check it out. I’m still aiming for the week prior to the SGU second season premiere (Tuesday, September 28th at 9:00 p.m. on SyFy). Trust me, it’ll be well worth the wait. LOTS to look forward to this year.
Please keep those questions and comments coming for September’s Book of the Month Club, Masked. We’ve got a slew of special guests lined up to field your queries including: Matthew Sturges (“Cleansed and Set in Gold”), James Maxey (“Where Their Worm Dieth Not”), Paul Cornell (“Secret Identity”), Daryl Gregory (“Message from the Bubblegum Factory”), Gail Simone (“Thug), Mark Chadbourn (“By My Works You Shall Know Me”), Marjorie M. Liu (“Call Her Savage”), Lou Anders (our fearless editor), and yours truly (“Downfall”)!
And now, I’d like to turn this blog over to Destiny’s sassiest scientist, Dr. Lisa Park – a.k.a. Jennifer Spence – who has kindly taken time out of her space-suited forays (Come to think of it, what IS she doing in that space suit?) to spend time with us. Thanks, Jen. Now back to work on those shield emitters…
Me writes: “Not really a question for Jennifer Spence, but I loved your delivery as Dr. Park of the line in the SG:U finale to Col. Young — Don’t Yell! It was totally unexpected and spot on. I was laughing out loud on that one. Keep up the good work Jennifer, and I look forward to seeing you in Season Two.”
JS: Aw thank you Me! We’ve got some pretty fan-freaking-tastic writers on the show and that line came from none other than Mr. Joe Mallozzi and Paul Mullie 🙂
Michael writes: “Questions for Jennifer Spence
1) What do you want to see happen for Dr. Park in season 2, besides surviving?”
JS: Hi Michael. I would love to see her become even stronger and explore more of what makes her human. We know she’s smart and can hold her own with the other scientist boys, we know she likes to get it on with the military lads, now I’d like to see what else she can offer the team. Perhaps an episode where she takes on more of a leadership type of role or one in which she must overcome a fear or issue from her past in order to get the team out of a dire situation. I love the idea of secrets. And of course it would be so much fun to have some scenes where she just loses it on someone, like maybe she develops a temper.
“2) What was your initial reaction to Park’s method of coping with being stranded on Destiny; sex?”
JS: Shock followed by absolutely loving the idea! It just added so much depth to my character in that she now had this secret and it’s always great fun as an actor to come up with a reason for a character’s behavior.
“3) What do you like to do the breaks between scenes-hang out with the other actors or hide in a trailer?”
JS: We’re almost always all hanging out between scenes unless someone’s got a big scene to prep and even then everyone is so awesome about offering to run lines. We goof around a ton and regularly get our wrists slapped for getting out of hand 😉 I mean you put some of the funniest people I’ve ever worked with in a room together and you get non-stop entertainment. I think I now have about 5 videos I’ve shot on my iPhone of Kelamis doing various impressions and bits that we keep pressuring him to perform for us and the man is so sweet that he always obliges! Actually Patrick posted one of them on youtube the other dayhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSE7TOd1ieU&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Lou Zucaro writes: “For Jennifer… 1) You had one of the best lines to date in the series last week (“Don’t yell!”). When you read a line like that when you first get your script, is it always obvious how simply great it is, or is it not until you perform it (or even see it when it’s done) that it hits for you?”
JS: Hi Lou. It’s usually obvious to me when I read it thanks to our stellar team of writers. Whenever I see a line like that I get super excited about saying it and I love that those types of lines are generally of the comic variety which can be a nice little addition to dramatic scenes.
“2) You’ve worked on a fair amount of sci-fi. Are you / have you been a fan of the genre or is it something that’s “just happened”? If you’re a fan, what (other than things you’ve been in) are some of your favorites?”
JS: Honestly I was never really a fan of sci-fi before SGU. A lot of the productions that have been shot in Vancouver over the years have been of the sci-fi variety and I’ve been lucky that those that I’ve worked on have all been high quality but in general, I usually didn’t watch shows or movies of that genre. I do remember loving E.T. though and having all the E.T. paraphernalia: stuffed toy, t-shirt, shoelaces, etc. as well as rushing home from school to watch Dr. Who. I finally saw Galaxy Quest a few months ago and LOVED it!
“3) In “The Core” you were an assistant to Stanley Tucci’s character, Dr. Zimsky, and now in a way on SGU, you’re an assistant to Rush. In a knock down, drag-out, cage match of the minds, which difficult genius would you put your money on?”
JS: Probably Rush just cuz he’s always thinking outside the box. Plus Zimsky didn’t end up making it out alive 😉
Tim Lade writes: “Dear Ms. Spence. What is it like to wear the same clothing over and over and over again? I imagine I would get pretty annoyed with whatever I happened to choose to wear the day Icarus Base was attacked.”
JS: Haha! As an actor it’s not so bad just cuz you always know what to expect and our fabulous wardrobe department keeps like 6 sets of the outfit on hand. As the character though, you’re right, it would be pretty frakking annoying to wear the same outfit day in day out. I mean, there’s only so much B.O. you’d be able to get out what with a limited water supply and steam showers!
Mike writes: “Question for Jennifer, how much are you like Dr. Park, being the optimist and placating presence, in real life?
JS: I try to be an optimist as much as possible in real life and I think that’s who I am at heart but of course I still have my moments where I cross over to the dark side.
“What one item would you want to have with you if you were stuck on Destiny?”
JS: I think if I could have only 1 item on the Destiny, it would be my iPhone much as I don’t want to admit my addiction to that blasted thing!
“Are there any actors on the show that you hang out with when not filming? Thanks for answering, and keep up the good work it is nice to see a beautiful lady as part of the science team.”
JS: Aw thanks Mike- so sweet! I think I’ve hung out with pretty much all the cast off, but I think I’ve probably spent the most time with Gilmore & Kelamis. Patrick and I just recently spent a week in L.A. with Kelamis and his lovely wife in their gorgeous home which they completely re-did THEMSELVES!
PBMom writes: “To Jennifer Spence: 1. We know how Dr. Park copes with stress, but what is your coping mechanism (if you can share)?”
JS: Chocolate cake with LOTS of icing.
“2. What are your similarities to Dr. Park and what are your differences?”
JS: I think we’re similar in that we’re both optimistic, solution-oriented and nerds. I think we’re different in that she got her doctorate whereas I went to theatre school, she uses sex to relieve stress whereas I’ll eat a whole chocolate cake, she works with a couple of male scientists who bicker like a married couple whereas I work with a couple of male actors who… you know what- we’re not that different 😉
“3. Dog or cat person (or both?)”
JS: I’m definitely a dog person but I like cats too. Especially the ones that seem like dogs trapped in cats’ bodies.
“4. What was your favorite chocolate at Joe’s party (if you attended)?”
JS: Aw man, how to narrow it down?… It was actually probably the brownie (wish I could remember the company). Twas the creamiest, richest, most perfect-level-of-sweetness brownie I’ve ever devoured in my life!
“5. If you had a say in it (which I know you don’t), who would you like more screen time with as an actor with another actor, or as your character with another character.”
JS: Naw don’t make me choose- it’s too hard! I think it would be interesting though to have more scenes with whatever other character brings out the most conflict when paired with Park.
“6. What would be your SGleeU song to sing? Julia Benson answered “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi if that helps.”
“7. I read somewhere you own a bookstore in Vancouver? Thank you for being so kind to answer our questions.”
JS: The bookstore you’ve heard about is called Biz Books which is owned by the talented and outstanding Catherine Lough Haggquist who not only has been my boss but a very close friend and mentor AND she played Mary in the SGU episode Sabotage! She has taught me almost everything I know about the film industry and her belief in me is a lot of the reason I stuck it out with acting. She opened Biz Books 14 years ago and it is the only bookstore based in Western Canada that specializes in film, television and theatre related books. The store has just recently evolved from a bricks and mortar retail space into an online and on-location only bookstore www.bizbooks.net. Very excited for its next chapter!
Sean D. writes: “Question for Jennifer: What’s your favorite episode of season 2 so far?”
JS: Aw man, too hard to choose- they’re seriously all good! One that was especially exciting to shoot was Malice because we traveled to New Mexico and it put Park in an extremely challenging situation which then changed her perspective about Rush.
E. writes: “Yaaay! Lisa Park – again, one of my fav secondary characters! Questions for her: Did you practice a lot for the kino sequence in “Darkness”? ‘But it might be great!’-moment made me fell in love with Park’s character.”
JS: Aw you’re sweet, E 🙂 I actually only ended up having a few hours to practice that one. As I recall, it had originally been scheduled to shoot after a long weekend so my plan had been to take the weekend to memorize it and make sure it stuck. A day or 2 before said weekend, I got a call from production asking if I was available to come in later that very afternoon because they wanted to shoot that scene a few days ahead of schedule! Hello heart palpitations! I was working at the bookstore at the time and was slotted to be working there for the rest of the day but of course Cat (see info about Biz Books above) being the awesome woman she is told me to skedaddle and I spent the following few hours memorizing and practicing with anyone and everyone who made eye contact with me 😉
“What exactly is Park’s area of expertise? Is it astrophysics?”
JS: She definitely has a lot of knowledge about astrophysics and I think she also has done a lot of research in the fields of computer science (specifically computational linguistics) and geophysics.
“What do you think – does Park feel guilty for sleeping with various guys on Destiny, while she has a boyfriend on Earth?”
JS: I think she definitely feels guilty about cheating on her boyfriend but manages to adopt an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude 😉
Paul Moody writes: “Question for Jennifer: You’re cast as a civilian on Destiny; do you ever wish you could have been cast as part of the military contingent so you could run around shouting ‘hoo-rah!’ a lot?”
JS: Haha! Naw, I think the role of a civvy is a lot more fitting for me. I’m a nerd through and through. That being said, I would love for Park to get the opportunity to shoot a gun or backhand a bad guy in an upcoming episode.
Lisa R. writes: “Questions for Jennifer Spence: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. 1) How did you get into the acting business?”
JS: Hi Lisa. I’d always loved acting since I had done skits and stuff at summer camp as a little kid but when I did a community theatre production of “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller just before graduating high school I realized I didn’t really have a choice anymore – it was just what my little heart wanted!
“2) What kind of studying do you do to make your lines believable especially when there’s alot of science in the script? (if you’re not already familiar with the science concepts.)”
JS: When there’s tons of science-speak in the script, I usually start with wikipedia. Then when we go to shoot it, I’ll double check with the writer(s). A couple of times, Patrick and I have gone up to Brad with sketches of what we think the science-speak is referring to and then Brad will draw his own little sketch and patiently explain what’s actually going on!
Simon writes: “Questions for Jennifer: 1) First off, congrats on the Leo Award nomination! Will Dr. Park be getting more screen time in Season 2?”
JS: Aw thank you Simon! Twas truly a thrill! And yes the writers have given Dr Park lots of fun and sometimes unexpected stuff for me to play this season. Many times now, I’ve found myself clapping my hands in delight when I get any sort of tidbit of what’s on the horizon!
“2) How many episode will Park be in this time around?”
JS: As I write this, we are about 15 episodes in and I have been in all but one. Of course being a little greedy guts, I’m hoping I’ll be in all the rest of ’em!
Yazid writes: “Q’s for Jennifer Spence : First, thanks for answering our questions, it’s nice of you. Did you cast for Lisa Park first or any other character?”
JS: Hi Yazid. I read for 2 other parts first and then the producers were lovely enough to find me something else to play. The first incarnation of Dr Lisa Park was actually written as a male scientist named Miles Henry!
“How is the atmosphere on set?”
JS: Rindonculously fun. But also super respectful, patient, supportive, focused and generous.
“How funny is it? Who is the most funny? Were you the victim of someone’s joke on set?”
JS: Super funny. My abs get a mean workout any time I’m on set or between scenes. Everybody on this show is pretty funny but of course it’s always a blast when Louis is around. Haig played a brutal joke on me first season. We had just gotten the script for an upcoming episode so we hurried into our trailers to flip through and see if we were in it or not and if so, if we made it out alive. I think I had just turned to page 1 when I hear Haig (whose room was right next to mine) say “Oh no!” and I yell, “What?!” through the wall and he says, “You die.” Blink blink. “Huh?” I squeak and he shouts, “Yeah Brody says ‘what happened to Park?’ and Riley says ‘she died'”. So at this point I leap to my feet, fly out my trailer door, clamber up the steps to Haig’s door and he opens it laughing his ass off. I think I manage to mumble “I hate you” as I retreat down the stairs backwards never breaking eye contact with him. This is not a set on which one should be gullible. And I am. Oh how I am.
“What is your favorite scene/episode of SGU and why?”
JS: Really really hard to narrow it down to just one. They all have special moments and I can honestly say that I have gotten goosebumps at some point during every single episode. I think “Life” was one of my favorites because we learned so much intimate stuff about the characters.
“Did you know Stargate before playing in SGU?”
JS: I had heard of it and knew how popular it was but I hadn’t actually seen it tsk tsk!
“When are you gonna do a “Chevron/Symbol locked sequence”?”
JS: Haha! Joe?
“Are Rush/Brody/Volker and Park a kind of control room gang? ^^
JS: I think we are! It’s a good dynamic because we’re all so different. What could our gang be called? Maybe Brush-polker? Or Volkush-bark?
“What was the hardest/funniest scene to shoot?”
JS: I think the hardest as well as funniest scenes to shoot were my “reading” scenes in the episode Life. I had never done love scenes like those before so I was kinda nervous but both Zak and Jamil were perfect gentleman and super professional. Because they’re both awesome guys, it ended up being a lot of fun and because both scenes took place in the same location with similar lighting, we shot them back to back so Zak got wrapped and then it was like, “Next!”
“What would you do if you were really stuck on an old rusty ship, billions light years away from home?”
JS: Find out where they kept the chocolate cake.
“Few words in french maybe? Thank you Jennifer =)”
JS: Merci d’avoir poser ces questions!
Lis writes: “For Jennifer – 1. Do you have any particular science background? You seem to do a lot of tech talk, that must be intimidating.”
JS: I don’t have a science background so it certainly can be intimidating to do the tech talk but once you know what you’re really saying and you run it a bunch of times it’s a lot of fun!
“2. Not really a question I guess, but the reason I find Dr Park so endearing is that she’s obviously an extremely intelligent person but also an extremely normal person. That scene way back at the beginning where she is expressing concern about visiting a planet – melted me a little.”
JS: Aw thanks Lis! I’m glad you feel that way because that’s one of the things I like most about her too is that at the end of the day, she’s just human like all the rest of em.
“3. Why don’t you tweet more often?”
JS: I will try to! No excuses 😉
Yazid also writes: “Oopsy, I forgot a question: Thanks. What would you bring on Destiny to make life better?”
JS: Earlier I answered ‘my iPhone’ but now I’m thinking a massage chair.
Myhelix writes: “First of all, you are doing a great job as Dr. Park, hope we´ll see more of you!
JS: Aw thanks Myhelix! And you will definitely see more of me second season!
“1) How is it to work with Louis Ferreira and Robert Carlyle in the same scene together? I have heard Louis is a prankster.”
JS: Being in scenes with those two rocks my world! When I first started on SGU, I didn’t know what to expect – I just had memories of Bobby as Begbie the psycho in Trainspotting and Louis as the psycho serial killer in Durham County. But Bobby is the truest definition of a gentleman. He’s a real sweetheart, completely open and one of the most gracious people I’ve ever met. Louis is totally a prankster and a super funny guy but he also has one of the biggest most generous hearts ever and looks out for us all. I think it was Elyse who dubbed him Papa Smurf. Perfect. One time we were rehearsing a scene and Bobby and Louis switched roles with each other just for the rehearsal and they did it complete with accent reversal and imitation of each other’s physicality! Wish someone had filmed it 😉
“2) Is it just my imagination or is Dr. Park a bit afraid of Dr. Rush. Or let´s say, quite uneasy around Rush. Why do you think is that the case?”
JS: I think as much as she wouldn’t want to admit it, Park is a little intimidated by Rush mostly because of how he interacts with the scientists that work with him but also because of his vast knowledge and experience.
Nuno Barreto writes: “For Jennifer Spence… Playing a recurring character, does your time on set differ much from the actors who are playing main characters?”
JS: I think us recurring characters generally get fewer shooting days per episode than the main characters but sometimes we have had just as many depending on the episode.
“Also your “Don’t yell” line is going to be a classic, it was delivered spot on!”
JS: Thanks Nuno! It was a lot of fun to say!
BoltBait writes: “Questions for Jennifer Spence: 1. Do you enjoy working on the Kino videos? Which was your favorite?”
JS: The Kino videos are always fun to work on! I’ve enjoyed watching all of them for different reasons. I think my favorite was probably the one where Volker is helping Riley and Brody into their spacesuits. Riley tells Volker he has to pee and the ensuing interaction is hilarious. Brody then finishes donning his spacesuit, tries to take a step forward and proceeds to tumble face down. Anytime those 3 get together, I end up peeing my pants 😉
“2. Have you ever said to Joe (or any of the other writers), “My character would never say this! She’d say it like this…”?”
JS: Not yet but now you’ve got me curious to know how they’d react! (Just jokes, Joe.)
“3. How many “takes” do typical scenes take to finish on SGU?”
JS: For each ‘set-up’ within a scene, I’d say we do an average of 2 or 3 takes.
“4. Have you ever said to the director, “Let me do that again, I can do better.”?”
JS: Yes I said that to Peter DeLuise once cuz I knew I could appeal to the actor part of him and he let me!
“5. Your character has a Doctorate. What is it in?”
JS: My interpretation is that Park got her doctorate in Planetary Science from MIT and through her studies has also acquired a vast amount of knowledge in computational linguistics and geophysics.
“6. Your profile page on imdb.com doesn’t say much about you. You (or your agent) needs to update that page!”
JS: You’re right! We’re working on it!
“7. Does your character believe that one day she will return home?”
JS: I think she does. Because she’s an optimist I think she believes it’s possible but at the same time, the longer this adventure continues, the more attached she grows to the whole experience and the people she’s sharing it with.
“8. If you were really aboard Destiny, what would you need to preserve your sanity?”
JS: A journal.
Randomness writes: “I have 1 question for Jennifer Spence 1. First of all, let just say you do an amazing job on SGU, you really show a lot of spirit with your character, my question to you is, do you see Lisa Park being around till the end? And with the many years she will of spent aboard Destiny, how do you think she will be, like growth wise? Can you see her becoming stronger, a different person? In a deep romantic relationship with someone?
I know thats a long question, well several questions in one Joe, but it was me asking her if she thinks her character will survive till the end, and if she does, how does she think her character will be.”
JS: Thanks Randomness! I do see Park being around til the end and I hope that’s the case. I think after all those years she will be a much stronger, tougher person, wiser person who probably will be in a deep romantic relationship with one person and will have given up most of her casual ‘reading’.
Tanie writes: “Questions for Jen: Thanx kindly! 1. How did you get into acting?”
JS: See above.
“2. What’s the best part about working on SGU? The people, the scripts, BTS stuff?”
JS: All of the above. It’s got everything going for it! I hope it goes on for many years to come!
“3. Ice-cream or custard?”
SG7 writes: “Hi Jennifer! My Questions: 1. If you could go anywhere in the world or have been anywhere in the world and want to return where would you go?”
JS: Right now, I’d really love to go to Hawaii. I’ve never been and I’m dying to see those incredible volcanoes and that beautiful water and attend a luau!
“2. Where would be your favorite place to shop & or Eat & or Drink (ie coffee etc)?”
JS: Probably Italy. I LOVE Italian food, love drinking coffee (even though I’m a wuss and only drink decaf) and damn those Italian ladies sure know how to dress, don’t they?
“Just wanted to say a HUGE congrats on your awesome work on SGU! And I hope TPTB give you lots more screen time in season 2 as you truely add sooo much to the show! And thanx for taking the time to answer our questions! You rock! Cheerz, Heather”
JS: Aw thanks Heather- that means a lot! And uh… feel free to let TPTB in on your wishes there 😉 Or put it out there to the “universe”, as it were.
Feanor writes: “Questions for Jennifer Spence: I: What is the background for your character’s constant optimism?”
JS: Hi Feanor. My take on it is that she grew up with 2 brothers and always felt underappreciated by her divorced parents especially her father so she had to build herself up in her own mind in order to feel good enough. I think she then started getting so practiced at it that she was able to do the same for her friends when they were feeling inadequate and soon, she’d adapted the “habit of hope” for life.
“II: Do you feel a similarity do the character you are playing?”
JS: I think the biggest similarity between the 2 of us is that we’re both nerds (except I don’t have a friggin clue when it comes to technology). That and we look alike 😉
“III: How many times your charachter has approximately done ”reading” during season 1 and will that continue or will your charachter find a new hobby?”
JS: She has “read” with at least 4 guys (that we know of): Greer, Rivers, Marsden and Dunning and I’m wondering if she will next move on to the scientists after she’s run out of military 😉
“IV: Is it fun to play in SGU? Good luck and good night!”
JS: Aw man, it’s da best!
“V: What episode do you like in season 2 most from the ones that are already made?”
JS: I think I’ll have to watch the completed versions of all the episodes before I can say J
Nekomajin writes: “I’ve got a question for Jennifer Spence. Lisa Park is one of my favourite character aboard the Destiny. She is pretty, funny and clever. A true geek. Do you think that Lisa can be the female Eli in the future? Thanks for answering.”
JS: A true geek – well said! I think Park is really smart like Eli but nobody can else can be Eli like Eli.
Thank you so much for all your wonderful questions and support! And a very big hug and special thanks to Joe for hosting the q & a and for managing to find the time to write a blog that never fails to entertain and put a smile on our faces.
avabird writes: “…I attended Dragon Con. (…) What I remember is that one or two people did ask rather rudely-toned questions about SGU. Usually, the actors representing a particular branch of a franchise fields those questions. When the questions were asked, the majority of the audience “oooo”ed in a way that should have tipped off the one asking that it was rather rude.”
Answer: Yes, that’s in line with what I heard from other sources, that the crowd oooh’d, leading someone to speak up in the actress’s defense, something along the lines of “keep it up and she’ll end up scared of you.” – to which some classy individual resplied “With good reason.”.
Mel writes: “So instead of apologizing to the innocent SGA fans at the Dragon Con, you misdirect people towards an incident, which has nothing to do with the Dragon Con.”
Answer: First of all, I never referred to the “innocent SGA fans at the Dragon Con”, only the rude ones. So, if you were rude and you were offended by what I have to say, tough. If you were innocent and offended by what I had to say, I wasn’t talking about you. Second, if you check out the comment above, someone who attended one of the panels pretty much confirmed the story I heard.
Mel also writes: “And finally blackmail! SG1 and SGA movies will be made on its OWN merits. The ratings were great, the DVDs of them sold MUCH BETTER than SGU. The SG1 movies were a huge success. It doesn’t matter how good or bad SGU is doing.”
Answer: If you want to believe that, then by all means knock yourself out. But the reality is that should SGU end prematurely, it would be bad for the franchise and have an adverse impact on the SGA movie.
Answer: What does this fan have to do with what we’ve been talking about? You’re assuming that this is the incident I was referring to. It’s not.
Mel also writes: “The simple answer is, because he likes to stir trouble and put fuel to the flames of the “fandom war”, which is going on.”
Answer: Yes, Yes, I know there are many out there who assume I put in a lot of time and effort into hatching these diabolical plots designed to target them specifically but the truth is – and I hate to break it to you – outside of this blog, online fandom is an insignificant part of my life.
Sean D. writes: “Person X enters a stargate a long, long time ago, and finally, present day, the destination stargate is made available, and (poof!) out pops Person X, who should be about 46,000,000 years old now but is still young.
I’m curious though…
What would initiate finally making that connection once the second stargate is made available?”
Answer: Hmmm, now that I think of it, we’ve dealt with a similar scenario back on SG-1 in an episode titled 48 Hours. I believe we said that the gate buffer stores the traveler but that degradation occurs over time. Say, 48 Hours. I still prefer the original working title: Teal’c Interrupted.
crayonbaby writes: “How did the truffles turn out? Were they gone by the time the game ended? Does the alcohol evaporate in the cooking process? You will have to tell us which one is your favorite so far.”
Answer: I brought the leftovers to work and they were a hit. All three flavors went over well, but the Guinness Dark Chocolate Truffles – surprise, surprise – were the clear winners.
Abbas Karimjee writes: “1. Are you concerned about the fate of the movies, given the ongoing delay. Essentially, are you concerned that ecen if the films are ultimately given the greenlight, it may not be possible to have the required main cast for both films?”
Answer: Not especially, no.
Abbas Karimjee also writes: “2. As far as the second season of Stargate Universe is concerned, will we have the chance to touch on the issue of Colonel Young’s relationship with his wife, Emily especially given TJ’s pregnancy?”
Come for the industrial shacks. Stay for the adorable dog pics…
Well, back at it tomorrow. I’ll be on set for the 7:00 a.m. crew call (ish. The doggy daycare doesn’t open until 7:00) and the first scene up after hiatus. Alas, I’ve misplaced the call sheet I received four weeks ago, but I’m pretty sure we’re shooting something from episode 9 (on the airing schedule, episode 12 on the production schedule). In the downtime between shots, I’ll no doubt be working on those final few pages of my script, The Hunt, which I seem to have stalled out on near the end of Act IV. I foresee a lot of pacing/running of dialogue on Stage 4 over the next several days. At some point, I’m also going to have to find time to head over to post and visit Mike so we can lock Resurgence, episode 1o. Provided, that is, we receive those network notes. However, my thinking is no news is good news and they probably felt my cut was perfection and doesn’t require any tinkering.
Tonight, I’m going to try to answer that SFSignal Mind Meld question JP Frantz sent my way the other day: “Comic books have been garnering more public attention in recent years due to the massive popularity of many superhero based based films. And while superhero comics and science fiction are kindred genres, not every SF fan has read a comic. What comics should a science fiction fan read?”. I’ve got seven recommendations so far and would like to round it out to an even ten. You can read my response later this week at SFSignal.com
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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?
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?
6. Q: Dogs or Cats?
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!
This afternoon, Carl and I took a stroll through the new alien set on Stage 6. To say that we were mightily impressed would be to understate it. Wow. Needless to say, I took lots of pics. Needless to say, I can’t show you any of said pics at the risk of spoiling things for you. So you’ll just have to trust me.
Actors Patrick Gilmore (SGU’s Dale Volker) and Peter Kelamis (SGU’s Adam Brody) swung by the production offices today to tell me how much they enjoyed Resurgence – but really to sample the ice cream I brought in. Despite my feelings that the Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Shaved Dark Chocolate was too peanut buttery, some peanut butter fans (ie. Carl) liked it just fine. The Maple-Bacon Ice Cream was the winner among those who tried both however.
Speaking of ice cream – fellow Exec. Producer Robert Cooper has challenged me to an Ice Cream throwdown. Three different flavors over three different days with one ultimate winner to be crowned The King of Stargate Ice Cream ’10 complete with handy whacking scepter and tiara. I’ve got my work cut out for me because, besides being an accomplished cook, Rob is no stranger to ice cream-making. He has already tipped his hand, suggesting one of his flavors would be a Chocolate with Chocolate Brownie. He also considered Brad and Ashleigh’s requests for a mint-flavored entry (in an obvious attempt to curry their favor. For my part, I think mint is more suited to bubble gum, not dessert, so I risk losing their votes by not offering up own version). Finally, he is openly toying with the idea of a fruit-based ice cream.
Not sure how I’ll counter. I’m thinking of going with an ice cream with a more natural base (ie. honey-vanilla) that will allow me to showcase a particulate (ie. cinnamon bun). I also think that, given my love of chocolate, it would behoove me to match his Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream with a chocolate creation of my own. As for my third entry, I’ll let him go fruity and opt for something a little more adventurous, hoping I’ll score extra points for originality.
I’ll start researching tomorrow, probably make a few different batches over the weekend, and then decide what I’m going to go with on the day. What fun!
Hey, you know who’s a big fan of zombies? Special Features Producer Ivon Bartok. I leant him my The Living Dead anthology a couple of months ago (he loved it), then my copies of World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks (which he also loved), and, today, it was my eight-volume collection of Robert Kirkman’s brilliant The Walking Dead (soon to be a series on AMC!).
Whodda thunk? He never really seemed like the zombie type.
A reminder – how could you forget? – to get in your questions for actress Julia Benson, SGU’s Lieutenant Vanessa James. Post ’em by Friday, or she’ll come over there and personally kick your ass.
One of the many great things about having a blog on wordpress is the Blog Stats section that allows you to track everything from daily views and incoming links to search engine terms and referrers. And, I just discovered this weekend, if you click on the Top Posts & Pages header, you’ll be directed to a list of every one of your posts ranked according to the traffic it has received to date.
So what, according to wordpress, has been my most popular entry of all time? The breakdown of the Atlantis season that might-have-been in my An AU Season 6! entry? The Amanda Tapping Q&A? That Long Overdue Rant?
Guess again. Here are my top ten most popular posts to date:
10. September 21, 2008: The Wrap Party!: After five fabulous years, the cast and crew closed the book on Stargate: Atlantis with a final wrap party that featured blackjack, fantastic fashion, and a chocolate replica of Atlantis itself.
9. August 21, 2008: All Good Things…: Seeing about 20% more traffic than entry #10 was my farewell to Atlantis, a bittersweet entry written on the heels of the official announcement that the show would not be returning for a sixth season.
7. August 23, 2008: Questions, Answers, Guests, and Pics!: Actress Dawn Olivieri does a guest spot on the show and, more importantly this blog – scrapping with Jason Momoa and even using his guitar as a weapon. The entry is dedicated to more post-Atlantis-cancellation fall-out, and thank-you’s.
6. September 30, 2008: An AU Season 6!: So IF Atlantis had received that sixth season pick-up, what kind of stories could we have looked forward to? Well, something like the notions listed in this flash-sideways entry…
5. May 3, 2009: Transforming Stage 5 From Stargate Command to Icarus Base: Occupying the fifth spot is our stroll through the corridors of what was once Stargate Command. The SG-1 gate room, control room, and briefing room are no more, the spaces they once occupied in the midst of a transformation that will see them become the SGU premiere’s Icarus Base.
4. January 2, 2009: Brad Wright Answers Your Questions: The man who co-created Stargate: SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis, Stargate: Universe, and was showrunner for much of the franchise’s amazing 11+ year run fields some fan queries.
3. October 31, 2009: That Long Overdue Rant: Given the online buzz and the ensuing furor it received, I figured this entry would have occupied the #1 spot – but, surprisingly, it only received roughly half the traffic of the #2 entry…
2. September 5, 2009: Dinner with Ivon and Brian! Julia Benson! Braving the Tokyo subway system!: At first glance, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what made this post so popular. Was it the snaps of our dinner at Quattro? A sneak peek at SGU’s Lieutenant Vanessa James played by Julia Benson? Or was it all those Ivon Bartok fanatics checking out their favorite guy? Well, the entry that came in at #1 gave me the answer…
1. October 22, 2009: Julia Benson! Jennifer Spence! Birthday Swag! The Weird Food Purchase of the Day!: Granted, this entry had a bit of everything – Carl, pretty actresses, a video of me sampling one of the hottest hot sauces out there, a picture of the bacon-chocolate chip cookies sent in by a fan – but what the hell made it so damn popular? Well, if you compare and contrast the entries occupying the top two slots, you’ll notice one like variable: Julia Benson. Cross-reference that with the top three Search Engine Terms used to reach my blog –
3. “joe mallozzi”: Makes sense.
2. “joseph mallozzi”: Makes even more sense given that that’s how I’m credited onscreen.
1. “julia benson”: Garnering about twice as many searches as “joseph mallozzi”.
What does this tell us? Well, it tells us that there are a lot of fans of strong, military women out there. What else would it tell us?
It also tells us that it’s high time I invited actress Julia Benson to guest here and answer some fan question in her very own Q&A.
So if you’ve got questions for the Julia, start posting!
And between coming up with questions for Julia and dissecting the last episode of SGU, I urge you to find the time to read two of our upcoming book of the month club selections:
Finally, Special Features Producer Ivon Bartok passed this one along. If you failed to check out SGU’s season premiere, Air I, here’s what you missed:
The chocolate party was a success but, like most planned events, it didn’t go off without a hitch. There were a few disappointments, among them chocolatiers who put in previous appearances but who, for one reason or another, were unable to make Saturday’s chocolate fest.
Chocoatl: Sadly, Vancouver’s finest chocolate shop is no more. It will be missed, as will owner Themis Velgis who was always a delight to chat with whenever I swung by to sample his latest creations or his decadently luxurious drinking chocolate. Alas, the shop’s former location now houses a sandwich shop.
Wen Chocolates: The first time I laid eyes on Chef Will Poole’s marvelous creations was during an episode of Road Tasted. He was featured alongside some of his unique, out-of-this-world flavors: the Molotov Pineapple, the Mint Julep, and – what was to instantly become my favorite truffle of all time – his signature Bananas Foster truffle. Unfortunately, he too has closed up shop – but here’s hoping he and his Bananas Foster truffle make an eventual return to the chocolate scene.
Christopher Norman: A long-time regular at my annual chocolate event, Christopher Norman’s tea collection, baroque brownies, and hand-painted tiles are as stunning as they are delicious. This year, Ashleigh was particularly looking forward to their Blue Cheese Assortment. But it was not to be. A renovation issue resulted in my order being lost. By the time they got back to me, it was too late. Sorry, Ashleigh.
Vosges: This one really hurt. Vosges’ designer collections have been a Joe’s Chocolate Party mainstay, and their smoked applewood bacon truffles and peanut butter bonbons with sea salt enormous favorites. To be on the safe side, I phoned them ten days in advance and requested that the chocolates be shipped overnight. As Friday rolled around, I made some calls and discovered that instead of being shipped Express, they’d been sent Ground, ensuring that they would arrive Monday, April 19th – two days AFTER my party. I phoned Vosges and canceled the order, then contacted UPS and requested the package be re-routed. Well, it arrived today anyway. I have to admit, I was very tempted – but, in the end, I had it shipped back unopened.
Payard: Made its first chocolate party appearance last year – and its last. I contacted their Vegas store to place my order only to be told they didn’t ship to Canada. I informed them that they had, in fact, shipped to Canada last year. They took my order and assured me the manager would call later that day to confirm my order. That confirmation never came, so I phoned back the next day. I explained the situation to the woman who answered the phone and she transferred me to the manager. Or, at least, I’m assuming that was her intent. I was left on hold for five minutes and eventually had her answer again. Again, she transferred me. I was disconnected. I called back. Tried again. This time, I was left on hold for a little longer than I deemed acceptable for a phone call that didn’t involve my having to rectify an income tax-related issue. After fifteen minutes of waiting, I clicked off and crossed Payard off my list.
On set today for Day #2 of Awakening, and an early 7:00 a.m. crew call. Lotsa chocolate party fall-out discussion and a lunch-time chat with Peter K., Patrick G., Jen S., and David Blue about the cutthroat world of stand-up comics, high-school celebrity crushes, Battlefield Earth, and Adrienne Barbeau.
Off to watch the season finale of what is fast-becoming my new favorite show – Spartacus: Blood and Sand! But first…
PG15 writes: “And yes, I will have to echo my buddy Major D. Davis and say that you guys MUST save Balding Asian Guy!”
Answer: This is one fan campaign we’ll be hard-pressed to ignore. I suppose if you guys push hard enough, we’ll just have to bring him back.
yumenoko writes: “Do you allow your guests to invoke take-away privileges, so the decadent treats have a good home by the end of the night?”
Answer: Yes. Everyone is encouraged to take as much chocolate home as they can carry. And, if they’re looking a little light, I’ll send them back for more.
spacemika writes: “One year, you really do need to give CocoNymph a shot — maybe sign up for one of her classes to make your own contribution to the party!”
Answer: They made an appearance at last year’s party along with a couple of other Vancouver chocolatiers. This year, the local chocolate scene was represented by Thomas Haas and La Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France, and DC Duby.
crayonbaby writes: “Are we going to get more backstory to T.J. and Young? You threw us a curveball with T.J.’s condition. There’s been really subtle hints, but nothing concrete.”
Answer: We will be exploring their relationship in coming episodes.
Arian writes: “It looks like most of the regulars in the cast were there, but there were a few absent, most notably Robert Carlyle, Ming Na, and Julia Benson. Were they unavailable, or have you killed them off and so they’ve left town?”
Answer: All were invited. Ming-Na and Julia were out of town. Bobby had other plans.
JYS writes: “who provided the stargate dish? Was it you, someone else from the crew, or did Refuel get it specially made for the party?”
Answer: Refuel had it specially made for the party. Cool, no?
Annie from Freemantle writes: “Who’s funding this opulence???”
Answer: That would be the host. Me.
Tammy Dixon writes: “Is the chocolate party something you take on yourself? Or do you have others that help plan/pay?”
Answer: I bring in the chocolate and the gang at Refuel do a masterful job of handling all other aspects, from drinks to dinner.
Shiny writes: “I still don’t see why the Civies were so mad about Rush being left behind — the Civies never mention those two dolts from the premiere who jumped through a Gate into some random world and got left behind.”
Answer: You said it yourself – “those two dolts”. THEY made the decision to head through the gate and were architects of their own demise. Rush was a victim, purposely abandoned on a planet to die.
Brian writes: “Have you tried Chocolatier Blue in Berkeley –http://www.chocolatierblue.com ? His style is similar to Norman Love but Chris Blue is the only north American chocolatier that uses exclusively Amedei’s chocolate in every part of his creation.”
Answer: Amedei is my very favorite chocolate bar (specifically, the Chuao). I found out about Chocolatier Blue too late to order in time for the party. Same goes for Lillibelle Farms in Oregon.
Brian also writes: “I am trying to organize a choco party myself, on a smaller scale. Any tips?”
Answer: Variety variety variety!
dasNdanger writes: “Joe – out of all the chocolates above – which one would you rate on top out of the dark, nut-free, non-flavored ones. I am very interested in which was just the ‘best’ pure chocolate, on the darker side.”
Answer: Hard to say. To be honest, I was focusing on the more exotic flavors and didn’t get around to tasting all of the simple darks. Of those I did taste, I found the Norman Love Black Single Origin Chocolates and the Maison du Chocolat dark ganache squares exceptional.
Sorry. Late entry today as I was off getting my hair cut. I bit the bullet and made an appointment at a place my buddy Ivon recommended. I must admit, my hair has never smelled so good.
Today, we watched the very first director’s cut of the new season. Congratulations go out to writer Carl Binder, the cast and crew, and, especially, Robert Carlyle who delivered big time in his SGU directorial debut. Next up for Bobby = he’ll be doing the catering for episode 7. Can’t wait to try his spicy jambalaya!
Alas, not much progress to report on the script front. I’m stilled mired in the Teasely morass of episode 10, Resurgence. For once, I’d love to write an episode that doesn’t include any of that pesky dialogue. Just pages and pages of action direction, meaningful looks, and people crying. And the occasional explosion.
Hey, guess what premieres this Friday night on Syfy? That’s right! Stargate: Universe is back with the first of ten new episodes. Friday’s episode, Space, offers action, adventure, aliens, and a few surprises. And, speaking of those aliens, if you want a sneak peek, look over here (http://stargate.mgm.com/), but only if you want to be spoiled.
Every so often, I like to check out the search engine terms that have led the uninitiated to this blog. Usually, its terms like “Joseph Mallozzi” or “Stargate Producer’s Blog”…Ah, who am I kidding. Usually, its terms like “Julia Benson”, “Elyse Levesque”, “Alaina Huffman” and “Ming-Na”. But, occasionally, the darndest descriptors find their way onto those lists. Some of my faves from the past few days include:
“japanese facepalm smiley”
“super sexe montreal”
“fort dodge, iowa twolly”
“awesome chocolate cake”
Hope everyone found what they were looking for.
Today’s blog entry is dedicated to Flannery. Get better, buddy!
Thornyrose writes: “well, I’m torn between that women standing together thing and the fact that you’re just a nice guy who deserves to win.”
Answer: Not to mention the fact that, while she’ll blow her winnings on rice cream sundaes for her vegetarian friends, I’ve earmarked mine for a habitat in Kenya that helps alcoholic orangutans get back on their feet.
pg15 writes: “Perhaps your hand pain will go away by itself in a few days?”
Answer: That’s what I assumed. Last month.
Thornyrose also writes: “If the hand is still bothering you might be worth going to a doc to get checked out.”
Answer: I have an appointment tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. My hand has roughly 13 hours to magically heal itself.
Lawren writes: “I’ve never supported Ashleigh this much in any endeavor.”
Answer: What about the time she tried out for the part of Billie in that off-Broadway production of Glitter? You seemed pretty damn supportive then too.
Sylvia writes: “How’s Mamma Mallozzi?”
Answer: Back home and doing better. I’ll see her this weekend. Thanks for asking.
Sean D. writes: “1. What’s your favorite tea?
2. What book did Rush finish reading in “Light”?”
Answer: 1. I’m a matcha man.
2. It wasn’t a real book, just something the props department came up with (placing a fictitious cover on a real book).
Jeff writes: “And lets hope for Butler destroying Michigan State, since I’m a Wolverine fan.”
Answer: Go Bulldogs!
Avabird writes: “Joe, how did you develop your fondness for eating body parts that most people won’t eat?”
Answer: Not sure. I was a fairly adventurous eater growing up, something I parents encouraged.
Avabird also writes: “What was the first thing you ate that you probably thought you would never eat?”
Avabird also writes: “Is there anything you have eaten that you wished you hadn’t?”
Answer: Thirteen bowls of ice cream in one sitting.
Deni writes: “I know she’s really old for a Greyhound, but that doesn’t really help, you know? She’s not in any obvious pain, but dogs can be so stoic that it’s hard to really know.”
Answer: I agree. I often wonder about poor Jelly and her bad hips. Some nights, she can’t sit still or will start furiously licking her lips or whining. She’s obviously experiencing some discomfort but I can’t exactly ask her “Where does it hurt?”. And there are other times when I’m sure she just sucks it up and suffers quietly. My poor girl. 🙁