March 23, 2019: Let’s hit the mailbag and answer YOUR questions!

So, what’s on your mind?

Colleen Scott asks: “I have a question about Stargate Atlantis. Once you had decided to have David Hewlett reprise McKay did you have a contingency plan if he had not signed on?”

March 23, 2019: Let’s Hit The Mailbag And Answer Your Questions!

Answer: Ah, it may interest you to know that it was just the opposite.  As I wrote in a past blog entry: “Production on the new Stargate spinoff was fast-approaching, but we were scrambling to cast one crucial role: the part of the intrepid, dedicated team doctor. Multiple auditions yielded no suitable candidates and the producers were at a loss until… Robert Cooper suggested a different tact.  Instead of casting a new character, why not bring in an established one – namely, Dr. Rodney McKay who had already put in a couple of appearances on Stargate: SG-1?  To say that this last minute switch “worked out quite nicely” would be an enormous understatement.  Could you imagine Atlantis without him?”

Gildermcc asks: “I’m going to a Lou Diamond Phillips Q&A on Sunday. Any messages for Lou?”

March 23, 2019: Let’s Hit The Mailbag And Answer Your Questions!

Answer: Ask my favorite celebrity foodie “What was the best thing you’ve eaten this month?”

Sandy asks: “Some Dark Matter questions regarding our beloved Android:
1) How come she didn’t detect that Devon was an addict?”

March 23, 2019: Let’s Hit The Mailbag And Answer Your Questions!

Answer: She may have picked up on some unusual physiological readings but an actual cell or blood test would have been required to specifically confirm him an addict.

“2) Zoie Palmer has said Android was going to have an English accent, but right at the last minute before filming the decision was made to change that. Why was that?”

March 23, 2019: Let’s Hit The Mailbag And Answer Your Questions!

Answer: There were many different ways that the Android could have gone.  We opened the role up to all genders (and the character was originally envisioned as male).  In her audition, Zoie offered different variations on the role including readings with an English, German, and even Jamaican accent (which I filed away for later use – see Episode 7).  Having the Android speak with an English accent may have been a passing consideration, but it was never something I pushed for.

George Perham asks: “The new season of Dark Matter airs when?”

March 23, 2019: Let’s Hit The Mailbag And Answer Your Questions!

Answer: Whenever a broadcaster or streamer recognizes and rewards the show’s loyal fan base!

2cats asks: “Mailbag:
Ques 1… When can we expect to know more about this production? Name of show, cast, etc.?”

Answer: I don’t know.  Unlike Dark Matter, this isn’t my show.  I’m not the creator.  So it’s really up to our broadcaster and production company to decide how much to reveal and when.

“Ques 2… Do you find having a solid track record with previous productions, Stargate, Dark Matter, opens some doors for new product consideration?”

Answer: Yes and no.  To be honest, Stargate and Dark Matter are off most L.A. executives’ radars.  Rob Cooper once met with an exec who actually asked: “Stargate?  Did that air in the U.S.?”.  So it’s an uphill battle in that respect.  On the other hand, those who DO know about the productions are impressed with the quality of the work and, in the case of Dark Matter, how much we were able to accomplish with a very limited budget.

“Ques 3… Do you ever dream about your past shows, as in assuming a character or playing out alternate scenes that never were shot or used? Since you write them, just wondering how much lingers in your psyche?”

Answer: Oh, sure.  I’ll always reflect fondly on certain scenes or imagine missed opportunities.  The memories never quite leave you, both the good and the bad.

RazaArrows asks: “The very popular ‘Isn’t it a Paradox ‘ was written because another storyline could not be fulfilled. How would that original episode have played out?”

March 23, 2019: Let’s Hit The Mailbag And Answer Your Questions!

Answer: It involved Alt. Jace Corso’s return to our reality and would have had nothing to do with our crew traveling back in time.  In the end, as much as I loved the Corso character, I’m very happy circumstances steered us toward producing “Isn’t That A Paradox”.

“”In Season 2 onwards, what would have been One’s story arc, had you not been asked to ‘kill’ him off?”

March 23, 2019: Let’s Hit The Mailbag And Answer Your Questions!

 Answer: There would have been a showdown with THREE in which he would have come to realize that Marcus Boone was set up, and that the bullet that killed Derrick Moss’s wife was actually meant for Derrick Moss himself.  Then he and THREE would have teamed up to take down the man responsible.

Wayne Hughes asks: “Hi Joe, Do you ever have ideas for stories that seem so grandiose you feel you can’t do it justice ?”

Answer: Oh, all the time.  I try my best to produce on the page, meaning I write episodes I know the production can afford, but sometimes the realities of making television can be unforgiving.  That space battle you thought you could afford, when all is said and done, is UNaffordable and you need to make concessions.

Gildermcc asks: “Mailbag: Ever seen this comic, Joe?
https://www.12gaugecomics.com/ice

Answer: I have not.

Ponytail writes: “How about the success of Jason Momoa since Stargate Atlantis? He was even presenting at the Oscars! Pretty cool!”

Answer: Yes, great to see him doing so well.  He took his craft very seriously and always worked hard at improving himself when he was on Atlantis.

Jen Blood asks: “In your future projects (like the highly anticipated “Untitled Awesome Project”), will you ever try to work-in any Akemi-isms?”

March 23, 2019: Let’s Hit The Mailbag And Answer Your Questions!

Answer: You know what?  THIS is a brilliant idea.  Thanks!

Darkmatterman asks: “When Dark Matter comes back and with people trying to get more seasons of Killjoys, if its saved do you think the Dark Matter/Killjoys crossover could still happen?”

March 23, 2019: Let’s Hit The Mailbag And Answer Your Questions!

Answer: Tonally, they’re very similar and I have much respect for what Michelle Loretta and her crew have accomplished.  For those reasons alone, I’d love to do it.  But realistically, given the ownership and legal issues (not to mention the fact Dark Matter is no longer airing), I’d think it unlikely.

“Also, what happened to those Dark Matter rumblings? Is that group of people still trying to save it?”

Answer: Alas, no.  Back in November, I had a conversation with a representative of a group that was looking to finance film and television productions through public/fan-backed, crypto-currency-funded structures.  What surprised me at the time was the amount of money they had raised for an original production – and how much they could have come up with to back a fourth season IF the timing had been right and they had reached out to the right people.  We were in discussions about the possibility of my helping them launch their original project in exchange for their backing a Dark Matter miniseries but, alas, before we could get further along, a major studio made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.  And, sadly, that opportunity disappeared.

Edmond Dantes asks: “If Disney made a serious offer on the Stargate IP/Franchise, (do you think that) MGM would sell or not? And why (not)?”

Answer: This a tough one for me to answer because I have no way of knowing what executives at Disney or MGM could be thinking.  From an outsider’s point of view, I think it highly unlikely that MGM would give up the Stargate since it’s one of its most profitable television franchises.  Which really begs the question: “What’s taking them so long to laugh a new series?”

Nathan Dionne asks: “Bit of an odd question I had after watching an episode of Stargate the other day and seeing the credits roll by at the end. What percentage of those names in the credits (or the credits for Dark Matter) would you have actually known/interacted with? As opposed to them being background/periphery crew or outside the studio or whatnot.”

Answer: As a showrunner, you’re not only interacting with department heads, but people   in those departments and working on the floor as well.  Even though I have a terrible memory, I do make it a point to try to learn everyone’s name.

May 8, 2013: Dog rescue? Ask Altaïr! And a mailbag!

I was out walking my pug, Bubba, this afternoon and we were about three blocks from home when I heard the telltale jingle-jangle of a dog collar approaching from behind.  I glanced back, across the street, at a little white dog scampering up the sidewalk headed in our direction and then, from the corner of my eye, caught the truck barreling toward us. I estimated that, at their current rate of speed, dog and truck would meet smackdab in the middle of the intersection.  I scanned the surroundings.  No owner – no anyone else – in sight.  Just the dog, trotting along, oblivious to the looming danger, and that truck on a collision course.  Doing my best traffic cop, I stepped off the sidewalk, well clear of the truck’s trajectory, raised my hand and waved.  The dog hopped off the curb.  The driver noticed me, presumably saw the dog, and hit the brakes.  The truck stopped short, feet from the do who continued along, right past it, and over to Bubba – who, of course, freaked out and snapped at him.

The little guy was incredibly laid back and, as the truck motored off, took a seat beside me.  I checked his tags, found a name (Barker) and a number which I called.  I asked the fellow who answered the phone whether he had a little white dog.  In fact, he did.  I told him what had happened.  He seemed unperturbed, as though this wasn’t Barker’s first jailbreak.  As it turned out, we were kitty corner from his house. “The big blue one,”he informed me.  “Just bring him back to the girls.”

So I did, scooping him up under one arm, crossing the street, walking up to the front door and ringing the doorbell.  A young girl, late teens or early twenties, answered the door.  She was on her cell phone.  I explained the situation: her loose dog, the truck, catastrophe averted. She stared back at me quizzically.  Was it something I’d said? Something whoever she was chatting with on the phone had said?  A second, older woman, maybe in her early thirties, peeked out from around the corner and threw me a “Dude, what are you doing with my dog?” look.  I explained the situation for the third time, handed them their dog and, while the older woman mumbled a thanks and the younger girl resumed her cell phone conversation, Bubba and I headed back up the walk and home.

Weird.  While happy to have saved Barker’s life, I couldn’t help but feel as though they suspected me of having taken him in the first place.

1Oh, for those of you wondering, Bubba is feeling much better.  The bandage is off and he’s lost the cone – along with his nail…

1

To those wondering – no, I didn’t buy two bottles of scotch just so I could torture Akemi.  They’re actually for me.  Something about watching Boardwalk Empire makes me want to drink whisky…

As I mentioned in yesterday’s entry, my old high school buddy, Cas Anvar (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0031679), in is in town shooting a movie.  His credits include Argo, Diana (in which he plays the part of Dodi opposite Naomi Watts as Princess Diana), and, various gaming roles (Halo 4, Call of Duty Black Ops 2, Star Wars Clone Wars), most notably Altaïr from the Assassin’s Creed video game series.  Hell, just last night, he was showing off his custom made retractable wrist blade.  When was the last time YOU had a house guest show you that?

Anyway, even if you’re not a gamer, you may recognize him –

As Sayid's brother in Lost.
As Sayid’s brother in Lost.
As Gentleman Starkey in the Neverland miniseries.
As Gentleman Starkey in the Neverland miniseries.
Or getting punched by Jake Gyllenhaal in Source code.  That'll teach him not to finish the last of the craft service donuts.
Or getting punched by Jake Gyllenhaal in Source code. That’ll teach him not to finish the last of the craft service donuts.

Anyway, since he’s somewhat accessible (whenever he’s not working, all I have to do is walk down the hall and kick in the door of the guest room), I thought it might be fun to do a Q&A.  So if you’ve got some questions for Cas, be they Assassin’s Creed-related or otherwise, post them over the next couple of days.

I’ve got a Puerco Pibil roasting in the oven.  Damn, it smells good!

Mailbag:

PBMom writes: “If you want a great character to model off of, watch Alphas and Gary if you are looking for higher end of the spectrum. If you ever wanted to come down and do some on-site research, I know Patrick’s school would welcome you with open arms. Of course, CARD in Los Angeles is excellent too and I know that Lou Diamond Phillips is on the board of directors so he’s got connections.”

Answer: Thanks for the tip.  I’d like to get a heavy amount of research in before sitting down to write the pilot.

Jesse writes: “Has there been any decision on the stack of blueprints? I’d be willing to digitize them, photo, scan, cad format… so that they can be shared with those that would like to have a set.”

Answer: Sorry, yes, decision has been made.  I just need to get my act – and all those blueprints together – and head down to my local Kinkos to have them scanned and digitized after which I’ll be giving them away to interested Stargate fans.

C.S. writes: “Have you ever considered starting a kickstarter for an Atlantis movie?”

Answer: This was already discussed in a previous entry (March 14, 2013: Veronica Mars fans are finally getting their movie! So when are Stargate fans getting THEIR movie?).  I’ll have more to say about kickstarter on an unrelated-to-Stargate note as part of tomorrow’s blog entry.

Deni writes: “Wasn’t it puerco pibil day?”

Answer: Today is puerco pibil day!  I moved the recipe showdown to Thursdays.  Tune in tomorrow for my take on Das’s recipe.

November 12, 2010: Some Stargate: Universe links! What are YOU reading? Mailbag!

Thanks to everyone who took the time to fill me in on their viewing habits.  Some wildly varied tastes out there.  Keep those t.v. lists coming!

To those who may have missed it (ie. anyone who lives outside of Canada), here’s a link to the Stargate: Universe segment that aired on Canada AM this morning –

http://www.ctv.ca/canadaam/ (or check the right sidebar for the link).

Thanks to Craig and Cat4444 for the heads up!

Some great reviews of SGU episode #207, The Greater Good.

Here: http://www.tvsquad.com/2010/11/11/stargate-universe-season-2-episode-7-recap/

Here: http://www.tvovermind.com/cable/syfy/stargate-universe/stargate-universe-207-recap/38272

And here: http://io9.com/5686940/sgus-finally-reveals-destinys-secrets-for-the-greater-good

While Robert Carlyle (SGU’s Dr. Nicholas Rush) talks about the episode with Show Patrol’s Curt Wagner here:

http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/show-patrol/2010/11/stargate-universe-robert-carlyle-sees-the-greater-good-in-rush.html

And, if you’re hankering for a (potentially spoilerific) sneak peek at next week’s episode, Malice, take a look over here:

http://www.daemonstv.com/2010/11/12/stargate-universe-malice-season-2-episode-8-photos/

In non Stargate-related matters (aka – my life), I’ve almost finalized my Tokyo restaurant list.  Unlike previous years when I’ve booked Michelin starred restaurants for both lunch and dinner, I’m only going to go with a few high-end choices requiring reservations and will play the rest by ear.  More or less.  Even though I won’t book the tables, I have a rundown of places I want to check out, covering the gamut of Japanese cuisine – restaurants specializing in: ramen, soba, sushi, unagi, anago, tempura, yakitori, kushiage, and maybe (when my travel buddy Ivon isn’t looking) even suppon.

With the cast in Toronto for food and fun, today was a production holiday.  I celebrated by doing a little shopping and, again, adding to my burgeoning to-read pile:

Clockwise from left to right starting from the top:

First King of Shannara by Terry Brooks: I vary my reading and, occasionally, like to dabble in high fantasy.  To be honest, I don’t know much about this book but picked it up on the recommendation of Robert Cooper’s wife who, apparently, is a bit of a fantasy junkie.

Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind: Another heavy-hitter of the fantasy genre and another author I’ve been looking to check out.  In the case of both Goodkind and Brooks, I’ll start with the first book in a series and see where it takes me.  In the case of some past fantasy authors (ie. Joe Abercrombie and George R. R. Martin), this particular strategy has taken me quite far.

The Attraction by Douglas Clegg: I’m a sucker for good horror novels and this one, about a group of young travelers who run afoul of a horrific roadside attraction, sounds like good, creepy fun.

Plan for Chaos by John Wyndham: A never-before published novel from the man who gave us The Midwich Cuckoos, Chocky, and The Day of the Triffiids.

Apartment 16 by Adam Nevill: In describing the novel in a recent SFSignal MindMeld discussion of horror novels (http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2010/11/mind-meld-which-horror-novel-would-make-a-great-film/), writer/film critic Gemma Files writes it “centres around the perception-altering works of long-dead and -forgotten painter Felix Hessen, who Nevill describes as being a cross between Francis Bacon and Wyndham Lewis. Of course, these visions are never actually *seen* at all, only described, in much the same way Nevill uses a classic M.R. Jamesian web of suggestion to project horror far beyond the human capacity to properly process; something mammoth, Lovecraftianly alien, glimpsed only partially, through either a tiny aperture or a variety of filters.”  Intriguing.

Black Butterflies by John Shirley: The one thing I enjoy even more than a good horror novel is a good collection of horror fiction.  John Shirley, one of the masters of the genre, offers up 16 works of macabre short fiction.

Transition by Iain M. Banks: The latest from one of my favorite SF authors – although, to be honest, I’m not going to be getting around to this one until I finally make time for Matter.

So, what are you all reading?

If you answered Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story, November’s book of the month club selection, then weigh in with your comments and questions for author Christopher Moore.  You have until the weekend.

Mailbag:

conniepoint writes: “One quick question, will we ever see a Peter Kelamis/Brody centric episode? Or at least get more information about him? He’s my favorite character and I’d love to see more of him. I’ll beg if that’ll help.”

Answer: No need to beg.  While we won’t be seeing a Brody-centric episode any time soon, there’s plenty of Brody to come in upcoming episodes.

Gary writes: “In retrospect do you think it was a mistake to spend so much time developing the characters in season 1, perhaps at the expense of action and plot which seem to have a more immediate payoff?”

Answer: If you’re asking whether I think we should have sacrificed character development in favor of action in season 1, my answer would be no.  It’s the groundwork we laid in that first season that makes these season 2 developments that much more effective and stirring.

Xyla writes: “I notice you keep answering people that the best way to get the network’s attention is to watch SGU live. But more and more people are wising up the the fact that only a handful of viewers (the people with neilson boxes) actually get counted. Wouldn’t it be more productive to say something like “Everyone with a neilson box, make sure you watch it live. Everyone else, watch it through another system that is counted”.”

Answer: My professional standing prohibits me from suggesting you track down someone with nielsen box, invite yourself over to their place, and make them watch SGU under threat of karaoke or other equally ghastly punishment, but I can advise viewers to get the word out and tune in live in the hopes that their enthusiasm (and timely viewing) will prove catchy.  And, yes, it wouldn’t hurt to download the episodes as well now that you mention it.

MNP writes: “In regards to publishing the ending on this blog:

Now that is interesting. Definitely not. Why would that be? I’m not saying it to demand an ending or anything, I’m just curious. Is it a rights issue? Would the group want to save it for a novelization or something?”

Answer: Ideally, we’ll be able to finish telling the story we started back in Air I, II and III on a timeline that will please the network, studio, fans, and the production.  In the event of a worse case scenario, it will be up to the studio and the show’s creators to decide how to proceed.  I doubt very much one of those options will be: Joe posts the ending on his blog.

Oreol writes: “Are you, guys, planning to deliver the ending in a movie, a book, perhaps something else?”

Answer: Actually, the plan is deliver the ending at the conclusion of season 5.

Sean D. writes: “Any chances of having interdimensional stories in SGU?”

Answer: Not this season.

@iom666 writes: “One might have thought that Canadians would have downloaded the episode from Tuesday and not watch it at all on Friday’s night, and on the contrary, it’s not that happening!”

Answer: I know.  Given the population of Canada, the numbers SGU does on Space would extrapolate to the equivalent of approximately 3 million viewers on SyFy.

Philly writes: “The real risk these days is making a show that goes so long-haul you put people off, and so simple that you don’t engage them.

What ideas and thoughts did you guys and girls throw out to avoid these pitfalls when crafting SGU?”

Answer: As I said in yesterday’s mailbag, we strive to strike a fair balance between arc-driven plots and standalone stories.  The aim is to reward fans of the show but, at the same time, not make the show inaccessible to first time viewers.  It’s a tricky line to walk but, so far, I think we’ve been successful.

dasNdanger writes: “@ Narelle – Dare I ask – how big are your orb webs?”

Answer: Das, I needn’t remind you that kids occasionally read this comment section.

Fred Kiesche writes: “But mostly…reading. About 90 books YTD. Last year was over 200. Next year? Probably somewhere in between.”

Answer: Damn!  You reader faster than I do!

nate writes: “Since you watch Top Chef…what do you think of Top Chef: Just Desserts?”

Answer: Haven’t seen it.  I don’t think it’s aired in Canada yet.  Marty G. loves it though.

snakey writes: “With that said, then wouldn’t you need to know at the beginning of the producing season if that was going to be the last season or not instead of in December when you are nearly done with said season? Does this mean you already know that there will be a season 3 and not telling?”

Answer: Nope, still no word on season 3.  I’m hoping we’ll know in mid-December, but wouldn’t be surprised if we had to wait until mid-January to find out.

Bailey writes: “Considering how well SGU is doing in Canada compared to the US, and the fact that most of the writers/production folk are Candadian, do you think that SGU is a show that appeals more to Canadian sensibilities than US-American?”

Answer: I don’t think so.  I believe North Americans in general share like sensibilities.  Still, I’m not sure what to make of the difference in the ratings.  Historically, the numbers have always been very similar (comparatively speaking).

Jon writes: “After watching The Greater Good I couldn’t help wondering, how you planned the episode to play out back in the day, when it was written for the first season?”

Answer: Back then, it was just this basic notion: Rush and Young are in the damaged shuttle when its engine engage and its set adrift, away from Destiny.  With (at this point) no way of controlling the ship and the jump clock ticking down, Eli leads the rescue op by sending one of the service robots after the shuttle on a repair mission while, aboard the shuttle, Rush and Young spend quality time together.

Jonathan writes: “Will we be seeing a return of Col. David Telford?”

Answer: Boy, I sure hope so.  I’m a huge fan of Lou Diamond Phillips.

Major D. Davis writes: “In terms of finales.. which one do you think is better (and tells a bigger story).. Gauntlet or Incursion.. you gotta give me a tease here.. Gauntlet sounds EPIC!”

Answer: Gauntlet is definitely more epic…and gut-wretching a cliffhanger.

November 2, 2010: New SGU! Snow Monkeys Pull Off Incredible Comeback! Stargate Set Pics!

Well, aren't we popular?

Snow Monkeys Win!  Snow Monkeys Win!  Down 17+ points going into the Monday night game, my Snow Monkeys scratched, bit, and clawed their way to victory over the Vancity Viktors, improved their record to 3-5, and positioned themselves one game out of that final playoff spot.

Set guests David and Tiffany joined us on set via the Stargate Auction by Propwerx. The proceeds of David's winning bid went to the B.C. Children's Hospital.

A new episode of Stargate: Universe airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. on SyFy – and it’s one of my favorites: Trial and Error.  For a sneak peek at tonight’s action as well as a little insight from actress Alaina Huffman (SGU’s Lieutenant Tamara “TJ” Johansen) head on over to Curt Wagner’s blog:

http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/show-patrol/2010/11/sgu-preview-alaina-huffman-praises-louis-ferreira-trial-and-error.html

And, while you’re in the neighborhood, why not check out Curt’s behind-the-scenes piece on that outtake from episode 3, Awakening, that has been making the internet rounds:

http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/show-patrol/2010/10/how-they-did-lou-diamond-phillips-stargate-universe-outtake.html

David Blue gives his best "blue steel".

A couple of very dusty days on set saw various members of the cast and crew walking around, doing some spot-on imitations of ghosts, ghouls, and the living dead.  Actor Louis Ferreira stopped by my office to chat and ended up leaving a powder trail of oat, bran, and what I believe to be wood shavings in his wake.

 

Mike Dopud flexes some Lucian muscle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now go watch Stargate: Universe, then come back here and let me know your thoughts.

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular Lisa R. and her hubby.

October 25, 2010: My recent haul! Notable links! The mailbag!

Today was a production holiday, so I took advantage of the extra day off to work on my quarterly tax installments.  Yes, sir, nothing says holiday like sitting hunched over a calculator for four hours, crunching numbers and assiduously documenting the results for future reward (a.k.a. the installment payment I’ll be making this weekend).

On the bright side, I did manage to get out of the house, do a little grocery shopping, and pick up a few things.  My haul pictured above.  I’ve heard great things about the Spanish language time travel film Time Crimes (Los Cronocrimenes) so I decided to pick it up.  Check out the creepy trailer –

Apparently, there’s an English language remake already in the works for those illiterate move-goer incapable of reading subtitles.

I also picked up a movie I saw the trailer for last year when I was in Tokyo that has finally made its way to dvd.  The intriguingly named Assault Girls

Girls, big guns, and cheezy-looking monsters.  How can this NOT be good?

<object width=”480″ height=”327″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.dailymotion.com/swf/video/xbba0p_assault-girls-2009-trailer_shortfilms?additionalInfos=0″></param><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”always”></param>

Also picked up the anime version of the movie Casshern which I picked up in Tokyo two years ago but have yet to watch because its coded for Asia.

On the book front – some graphic novels!  The Mark Waid-penned Irredeemable and one of my fave DC titles, The Secret Six, scripted by the wonderful Gail Simone.

They’ll have to wait of course as I am presently reading Joe Abercrombie’s The Heroes and China Mieville’s City and the City.

On the t.v. front – Top Chef, F Word, The Office, 30 Rock, Survivor, and The Amazing Race.  And…that’s about it.  I have a slew of House and Detroit 1-8-7 recorded that I don’t know if I’ll ever get around to given my schedule of late.

I did a little podcast with the gang at SFSignal the other day.  That dog you hear barking throughout is Jelly, angrily reminding me that my little interview is cutting into her dinner time: http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2010/10/the-sf-signal-podcast-episode-013-interview-with-joseph-mallozzi-the-best-genre-shows-on-the-air/#comments

Hey, blog (somewhat) regular Kellie has produced a short film.  Check out the trailer here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtL8Bm4eTAw

Looks like my Snow Monkeys are about to go down again tonight, bringing their record to a lowly 2-5.  Can I just say that I’m very VERY disappointed in both the Saints offense and Marshawn Lynch.

Mailbag:

Sylvia writes: “Opps, meant to ask the name of the Korean restaurant please.”

Answer: Apgujung on Robson.  When they say “It’s spicy!” believe them!

Michael writes: “1) The show is primarily from the Icarus Base crew’s POV but will we see a POV from any of the aliens or see their homeworld(s)?”

Answers: At present, no such stories planned.

“2) Are we going to see more stand alone gate missions soon? With the run of the latest episodes, it felt like the Stargate was left out a lot aside from the the premiere and “Aftermath”.

Answer: Off-world hijinks abound in the next episode, Cloverdale.

“3) How many Lucians are on Destiny. It looks like 7-9 but I can never tell since some are red shirts/leather heads.”

Answer: About a dozen.  Give or take.

Paloosa writes: “How many more weeks of filming do you have left? How long after will you still have to be working? Do you know when the second half of Season 2 will air? And this has been bugging me – did Telford have a gun when he was left alone with the aliens?”

Answer: We wrap production on season two in about a month.  After that, there’ll be several months of post-production work (edits, mixes, visual effect approvals, etc.).  No idea when the second half of the season will air.  That’s a question for SyFy.  And, yes, Telford did have a gun with him on the seeder ship.  You could actually see it in a couple of the search beats.

E writes: “Are the TJ flashbacks from “The Hunt” already gone?”

Answer: Nope.  About five more minutes of footage have to be shot for The Hunt.  Once those have been assembled, I’ll edit them and then decide what I’m going to have to lose to ensure the episode is to time.

Simon writes: “1) You mentioned in the last mailbag that Brad and Rob may have something for a 4th Stargate series in case SGU doesn’t come back (which I hope it does come back!). Can you further inquire Brad or Rob about this?”

Answer: Uh, you’re reading way too much into what I said.  I said I had no idea if Brad and Rob had any notions for future Stargate projects.  I think it’s highly unlikely.

“2) How many episodes is Mike Duopd contracted for?”

Answer: Oh, like all guest stars Mike is only contracted when we need him – a.k.a. When Varro appears in an episode.   Provided he hasn’t been killed off.

“3) Will we see a Varro centered episode? Loving this character”

Answer: No Varro-centered episode planned.  Sorry.  But his story will get very interesting…

Thornyrose writes: “Do you get more or fewer dining companions with Ivon in tow? Will you two double your number of afficiandos, or will you be mistaken for a couple?”

Answer: Hmm, I wondered about the couple thing.  And, I don’t know whether I’ll have more or fewer dining companions with Ivon in tow.  To be honest, I’m thinking fewer. 🙁

JonmusE writes: “Just rewatched Awakening (love On Demand!) Did I detect a few bars of the Sg-1 theme during the gate factory scene?”

Answer: In fact, you did.  Nice catch.

Anais a ecrit: “Si la saison 2 était la dernière de sgu, seriez vous encore prés à travail sur d’autres projets de la franchise stargate? Hormis ça, quelle serait vos autres projets?”

Reponse: Non, quant SGU sera finit, j’aimerai concentrer sur mes propres projects.

Translation: No plans to work on future Stargate projects if and when SGU ends.  I’d like to focus on some personal projects I’ve had percolating for quite some time.

maggiemayday writes: “So you never venture far from Tokyo proper? No Daibutsu at Kamakura? No Nikko? Those are day trips. I understand why not Miyajima, and Fuji is a summer thing after all. Not even a trip up to Hakone for the osen? I guess temples and shrines are more my thing than *gasp* food. Although the food in Japan is indeed, trip-worthy in itself.”

Answer: Ivon expressed an interest in doing some temples and a day trip from Tokyo isn’t out of the question.  This trip will be a lot looser than the lost one where I’d booked every lunch and dinner well in advance.

dasNdanger writes: “Considering all the odd things you consume, if worse ever comes to worse do you think you could possibly eat another human being?”

Answer: Cooked or not?

hvn writes: “One question: can we expect another stargate centered episode like e.g. Lost ?”

Answer: The stargates will become a BIG issue in the back half of this season.

Rex Carter writes: “1) Does Atlantis have its own set of Earth made Ancient communication stones issued to them in the event they need them if they should leave Earth maybe?”

Answer: Given Atlantis’s present location – no.

“2) When Woolsey and McKay appear on SGU will we see a bit of Atlantis as they leave to go to the Pentagon maybe a shot of Atlantis floting in Sf Bay?”

Answer: Nope, sorry.  No flashes of Atlantis.

“3) Is Atlantis parked at the Treasure Island Naval Base or next to it now? i was thinking they are also so they can tap into the usa power grid if needed.”

Answer: Atlantis is parked in an out of the way place, somewhere the average citizen wouldn’t be likely to stumble over (or into) it.

“4) Is Rodney going to mention zpm power in any capacity while visiting Destiny?”

Answer: Nope.

“5) I think Destiny should be sent a puddle jumper to replace the lost shuttles if a power source can be found just for that and have it loaded with some basic supplies or at least takeout pizza for the Destiny crew?”

Answer: Yes, ideally a supply line from Earth would be much appreciated.  And will be a point of discussion later this season.

“6) Why is General Oneill wearing the black Icarus type uniform at the Pentagon or is the black uniform the new uniform for the sg teams as well also for Atlantis?”

Answer: Question for the costume department, but I believe it’s because that is the uniform of Homeworld Command.

“7) I loved seeing the Atlantis,Daedalus,SGC and other patches in Jacks office at the Pentagon had to zoom in to see them on the wall nice touch.”

Answer: Thanks.

8) I want to thank you for gating Telford to the Destiny very pleased to see him on board as himself in person at last hope he can come back to Destiny or with the Seeder ship later.”

Answer: I hope so too.  I’m a big fan of Lou Diamond Phillips.

“9) Can Dr.Rush now that hes learning to control the ship fly Destiny to meet up with the working Seeder ships and dock with them to power the Stargate to at least send anyone back to Earth that wants to go?”

Answer: Theoretically, he probably could use the power from the seeder ships to dial Earth, but realistically there is no way he’d be able to catch up with them.  They are WELL ahead of Destiny.  It’s the same answer I give those who ask: “Now that Rush has control of the ship, couldn’t he just turn Destiny around and fly it back to Earth?”  Again, theoretically, yes.  If they flew non-stop in FTL without stopping for food or water, they could probably make it back in approximately 50 000 years.

 

September 10, 2010: Production update! Sayonara, Wray! Super secret vids!

Well, so much for best intentions.  The plan was to start beating out the big season finale this morning, but with Brad on Stage 6 overseeing the first day of main unit on Seizure and Carl down on Stage 5 overseeing the icky second unit action on Hope, we never did get around to gathering.  Then, after lunch, I was in casting for two hours, checking out potential Corporal Reynolds, Sara Johansens, Steven Johansens, 12 year old TJ’s, and Tasia’s.  By the time I got back upstairs, it was too late and now we’re eyeing Monday as a potential target of opportunity.

I was enroute to the breakfast truck this morning and ended up stopping to talk to actor Patrick Gilmore (SGU’s Dale Volker).  Then, actress Jennifer Spence came by (SGU’s Lisa Park) to apologize for taking so long with her Q&A.  I told her not to worry about it, that I was in no rush – although certain fans were growing restless.  She assured me she’d have the Q&A completed soon.  Soon!  Actor’s Bob Picardo and David Hewlett also came by to say hi, both styling in their suits.  And, speaking of styling, check out Lou Diamond Phillips (SGU’s Colonel David Telford) in his dress blues –

Fans are still buzzing about LDP’s greatest interview ever!  If you missed it, check it out here: http://josephmallozzi.com/2010/08/30/august-30-2010-the-greatest-lou-diamond-phillips-interview-ever/

Today, we said goodbye to Special Efffects Wiz Wray Douglas who rides off into the sunset after a dozen+ years spent sparking, flaming, dropping, ratcheting, and generally blowing all manner of shit up here on Stargate.  You’ll be missed, buddy.

Another  chocolate day tomorrow.  I’m going to attempt maple-milk chocolate truffles.  And, if I can get a hold of some more yuzu, another round of those yuzu-plum sake white chocolate truffles enrobed in toasted coconut flakes.  Wish me luck!

Reminders!

Reminder #1: Start posting your questions for Supervising Producer Linda McGibney!  You have until Monday after which you’ll just have to phone her up and ask her directly.

Reminder #2: Finish up this month’s Book of the Month Club pick: Masked!  Discussion begins Monday!

Reminder #3: My birthday is a little over a month away!  If you’re planning something elaborate, it’s best to get started now!

Reminder #4: My Georgia Bulldogs play the South Carolina Gamecocks in a huge SEC match-up tomorrow!  Wish us luck!

August 30, 2010: The Greatest Lou Diamond Phillips Interview Ever!

I was introduced to him in La Bamba, enjoyed his work in Young Guns, and positively loved his performance as the scheming Cisco in the under-appreciated The Big Hit- but it’s been his latest role as Stargate: Universe’s Colonel David Telford that has made me a HUGE Lou Diamond Phillips fan, partly because he’s so damn talented, partly because of his ever courteous, always professional on and off set demeanor, but mainly because LDP is simply one helluva a nice guy.  It was a pleasure working with him on SGU’s first year and, should Telford survive the gunshot wound he sustained in the season one finale (in either physical, robotic, ghostly, or flashback form), then I’ll say it’s been even more of a pleasure working with him on season two.

At the beginning of the summer hiatus, I sent Lou your many questions and told him to pick and choose among them, respond to those that interested him, and then send me his answers whenever he was done.  Well, as it turns out it took a while because Lou was so impressed with the caliber of the questions that he elected to answer all of them.  A huge thanks to Lou for taking the time from work, family, and, of course, twitter to swing by and hang with us here on the blog.

And so, it gives me great pleasure to turn this blog over to fellow foodie, talented thespian, and all-around prince of a guy Lou Diamond Phillips.  But be warned! Potential spoilers abound!

Major D. Davis writes: “First off thank you Lou for taking fan questions! 1. What was your favorite episode of season 1 and why?”

LDP: I have to say the last 3 eps (Subversion, Incursion 1&2) were probably my faves of the work I did in Season 1.  Lots of meat for Telford and the great reveal that he was a brainwashed spy!  Fun stuff to play.  Plus, the character’s arc in three eps took so many twists and turns and there were so many levels to play in his interaction with Young, TJ, Kiva et al.  And, since it was a continuous storyline, it truly felt like we were filming a movie instead of a TV show. (Although, I have to say the quality of the show on a daily basis rivals a lot of features I’ve been on.)  That said, I truly enjoyed making Earth as well.  Probably one of the trippiest love scenes I’ve ever been a part of!

“2. Whats your favorite season 2 episode and why?”

LDP: Can’t really talk about the eps in Season 2 at this point. (Just knowing I’m around for them is a bit of a spoiler for those wondering about that gunshot wound in Incursion 2!)  Let’s just say the new Telford with his squeaky clean, freshly scrubbed brain has been a joy to play.  We finally get a little more insight into who he really is and the nature of his relationship with Young.  (Don’t go there…even though I do on a consistent basis.  I have, after all, been in his body numerous times!)

“3. How would you cope being stranded on the destiny? How do you think you would react to the situation and what would you do to deal with the stress and anxiety?”

LDP: I assume you’re asking LDP how I would cope with life on Destiny and not Telford.  Being from a military background myself and having spent a lot of time not only around servicemen but also law enforcement and firefighters, I would like to think that I possess the mental fortitude to adapt to the situation. (Hell, I survived the Costa Rican jungle with Speidi and Janice Dickinson!  Destiny might be a walk in the park in comparison!)  Often, when I’m dealing with stress, anxiety or just the demands of a hectic life, I tend to work-out more.  I find that the physical exertion is not only calming but centering.  I also throw myself into writing which occupies my imagination.  Perhaps a stint on Destiny would finally result in my Great American Novel!

“4. How was it voicing the part of Mark for the New Testament Audio Bible? Any cool experiences working on that project you might share with us?”

LDP: I had fun reading Mark for the New Testament Audio Bible. In many ways, it’s like doing Shakespeare.  The language is heightened and you really have to know what you’re saying to not only make sense of it but to make it interesting.  All of the readers involved recorded separately but my wife, Yvonne, did my make-up for the behind the scenes taping and photos and also did Lou Gossett Jr’s, Michael York’s and Stacy Keach’s, all of whom I’ve had the pleasure of being associated with on different projects.

“5. Who is your favorite SGU character?”

LDP: Other than Telford (who I obviously have deep affinity for!) I can’t say that I have an absolute favorite SGU character.  I think that’s a real testament not only to the cast but to the writers who have presented us with a number of well-rounded, interesting and complicated people aboard the Destiny.  It makes for great storylines and truly makes it a joy to come to work since you’re constantly dealing with strong personalities who operate on many different levels.  It also keeps me intrigued and excited for the future of these characters.

“6. What show do you watch on TV besides SGU?”

LDP: Have long been a fan of all the L&Os (I guested on an SVU) absolutely love ‘House.’ Recently fell in love with ‘The Good Wife’ and just discovered ‘The Glades.’ Have plans to get DVDs of Mad Men, Dexter and a few others I missed. Also, Yvonne and I are hard core food show fans – Top Chef, Hell’s Kitchen, Chopped, Iron Chef etc.

“7. How are you a total foodie yet are so buff? Do you run like 10 miles a day to counter all the calories? (See.. I love food, but when there’s good food i always over-eat, so I kinda have given up on being a foodie) :p”

LDP: Believe me, at my age, I have to hit the gym not only to make up for the food I love but just to maintain a shape I’ve had most of my life. (These SGU bastards like seeing me in fight scenes and will sometimes get my shirt off! Pervs!)  Still, one of the things I love about cooking is making great tasting food that’s also healthy.  When I plan a menu at home, I try to be a little calorie conscious.  However, you gotta splurge every once in a while.  I made up this saying – Moderation in all things…including moderation.

Abbas Karimjee writes: “1. In Life, we learnt that Telford was regularly seeing Emily, but they were only getting together as friends. By Subversion, do you think that their relationship evolved to a romantic one, especially with Emily believing that Young was still with TJ?”

LDP: Interestingly enough, I don’t think Telford became intimate with Emily (other than that ill-fated ten seconds when he zapped back into his own body to find himself in the saddle!)  I truly believe he had an ulterior motive (esp. considering his brain-washing) and was simply trying to ingratiate himself to get information and to achieve an upper hand over Young.  Having said that, whatever shred of decency was left at Telford’s core, I believe it kept him from crossing a line but also made him sympathetic to Emily’s plight. I do believe they became friends and he became a confidante. Still, we don’t know much about Telford’s personal romantic history so I don’t know how that factors in…yet.

“2. How many episodes will you be in for the 2nd season?”

LDP: Sorry, can’t answer that one.  Just know, as I’ve tweeted before, that Telford is like SGU herpes!  He’ll never go away and will flare up when you least expect it to complicate your life and perhaps cause minor irritation!

“3. If Telford survives his injury in Incursion Part 2, what challenges do you think he will face as he copes with life on the ship? Do you think he would try to overmind Young’s leadership, especilly since he was suppose to be in command of the group that went through to Destiny?”

LDP: I think, should Telford survive…wink, wink, that the most obvious problem is that there would be two Colonel’s on board the Destiny.  Read an interesting chat on-line discussing who would actually have seniority and I think the solution would have to go back to their graduating order from the academy.  What is more complicated and what is still yet to be seen is where Telford’s head is at now that he has been released from the effects of brainwashing.  That personal interplay between him and Young will be fun, especially considering that it was implied that they were friends back in the day.

“4. Were you a viewer of any of the previous Stargate series before you were appointed the role of Telford?  Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions.”

LDP: I was not a regular viewer of the previous incarnations but I certainly have respect for the success they achieved and am grateful that their legacy has been passed on to us.  Having said that, I would like to think that SGU can stand on its own and perhaps even expand and build upon what has come before.  Since I was virtually an SG virgin (although I loved the feature film written and produced by my buddy Dean Devlin) I came into this show with no preconceptions and could honestly and without baggage put my own stamp on this character and this world.  I know many of the other cast members feel the same way.

Maggiemayday writes: “Mr. Phillips, did you enjoy Stadium of Fire? How do you like our mountains here in Utah?”

LDP: Loved being a part of Stadium of Fire!  Absolutely a beautiful part of the world and we were blessed with an amazing day!  I was truly impressed with the musical acts, especially Carrie Underwood.  Didn’t know she had such great pipes and she really brought the energy!  Truly a patriotic day and how ’bout those fireworks, huh?

Randomness writes: “1. Why are you such an awesome actor?”

LDP: Fiber…Actually, I hope it’s because I really care.  Acting was my dream from a young age and I pursued it in high school and college (I have a BFA in Theatre from the University of Texas at Arlington) I truly love this Art form and this craft and feel it should be approached with respect and diligence.  Still grateful to be doing what I’m doing.

“2. How would you describe your experience on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me out of Here, like high and low points?”

LDP: I’m a Celebrity was nothing short of surreal.  I often questioned myself for making the choice to do it but, I have to say, at the end of the day it was quite the adventure.  I had hoped for more of a Survivor-type challenge in survival and wished that the physical aspect had been a little tougher. But I will say that the isolation and separation from the world and family was truly difficult.  It made me acutely aware of how much I love and value my family and friends.

“3. How did you feel when you were voted winner of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me out of Here?”

LDP: Winning I’m a Celebrity was a bit of a vindication for saying yes to it in the first place.  It not only made me feel good about how I played the game but it was a very special surprise to see that the voting public responded to what they saw on screen.  It was a chance for me to show the audience who I really am without the filter of a character and I’m proud and grateful for the support that people gave me.  Then again, I’m still working because my fans have been loyal.  A big thank you for that!

“4. What are some of your favourite foods? And wouldn’t you agree that Ice Cream is one of the worlds greatest feel good treats?”

LDP: As you can probably tell from some of my tweets and/or interviews and appearances on Iron Chef, I love all kinds of foods.  I feel fortunate to have been blessed by this business to travel and experience so many different cultures and cuisines and, strangely, my palate really didn’t become developed until later in life. I’m still on a food adventure in this life and loving every minute of it. And, yes, Ice Cream is one of the greatest gifts to your tongue ever!

“5. How do you think Telford was feeling at the end of Season 1 when he was in control of his own actions again and was around the very people that brain washed him?”

LDP: I think Telford’s head was in a blender there for a little bit. First, un-brainwashed by asphyxiation, then zapped back into his own body when he went through the gate.  Not a lot of time to acclimate!  It certainly seems that his true character has finally come through when he doesn’t have a pre-programmed agenda.  Obviously, there is residual guilt but, as soon as he got his bearings, he stepped up and showed that he has the strength of character to try and make things right.  It also seems clear now where his loyalties lie.

“6. Personally I think you do an amazing job with Telford, would you mind sharing some high and low points of working on SGU?”

LDP: The high point of playing Telford and SGU in general are the people I get the chance to work with.  Obviously, that includes the entire cast from top to bottom but I’ve also made great friends on the crew and have worked on numerous other projects with many of them.  I feel that writers, producers and directors are doing a great job of creating a vibrant, exciting and unpredictable show and the material is a joy to perform.  It’s like Christmas when we get a new script.  Truly, the only downside is the fact that I would’ve liked to get in the game a bit more during the first season but things seem to be pointing toward a greater involvement as time goes on.

“7. If you were to give some important life advice to anyone, what would you say?”

LDP: I mean, follow your dream is certainly hackneyed and somewhat cliche but it is truly good advice.  Too many people settle.  Not only that, but far too many people aren’t reflective enough to realize their dream at a younger age.  To do that would be the second part of that proposition which would be to try and figure out who you really are.  Embrace that even if it is not part of the norm and own it and never apologize for it.  Be yourself.

“8. Any favourite authors or books?”

LDP: Most recently fell in love with two of Ken Follet’s books “Pillars of the Earth” (now a miniseries) and its sequel “World Without End.”  All time faves include most of Stephen King, Richard Addams “Watership Down,”  Jonathon Franzen’s “The Corrections,” Khalil Gibran’s “The Prophet,” Richard Bach’s “Illusions”…Well, many more. Point being, love to read.

“9. How would you describe the relationship between Young and Telford now that he’s free of the LAs brainwashing, we saw he made a speech about how Earth didn’t consider the results of overthrowing the Goa’uld that really resonated with a lot of fans, do you believe he meant what he said in that regard?”

LDP: I sort of answered the Young/Telford dynamic a little before but I will say that I think it’s still evolving.  We certainly see more of it in upcoming eps and the nature is totally different than what it was.  We start to see the friends they once were instead of the rivalry.  I mean, come on, Telford has a lot to make up for!  As far as that speech goes, it’s one of the reasons I love the writing on SGU.  That speech is totally valid regardless of Telford’s brainwashing and perhaps that’s the reason he could finally open his mind and see something from another culture’s point of view, regardless of his military indoctrination.  Even though that speech is coming from “The Bad Guy” I’m glad it resonated with many of the fans because there are obvious parallels in our world, our country and with recent global confrontations.  That’s one of the great services science fiction can actually provide because, when well done, it can make you think about your own world and your own experience and perhaps see it without the veil of politics or nationalism.

“10. Any favourite songs/bands/groups you would like to share with us all?”

LDP: Liking a lot of the new stuff (my tween girls, Grace, Isabella & Lili keep me up on the Top Forty) but my all time stand-bys are from my youth – Springsteen, U2, Sting, Tom Waites, Jackson Browne – a lot of singer songwriters really.  They are my influences whenever I dabble in lyrics.

skye writes: “Mr. Diamond – My Question is What was the most fun Character u have ever played on tv and/or in the Movies?  thank u for your time”

LDP: Well, not to be too mercenary but the list has to be led by Telford because he’s still evolving.  He’s like a novel that has many chapters still to go and I find that exciting and intriguing because his journey is mine.  Other than the most immediate, I feel very privileged to have played some characters that have over time become almost iconic.  Ritchie Valens. Chavez from Young Guns. Angel from Stand and Deliver. The King from my broadway production of The King and I.  I might as well throw in King Arthur from Camelot.  Cisco in The Big Hit was most certainly one of the craziest and most fun.  Monfriez in Courage Under Fire.  Edgerton on Numb3rs…Holy shit, I’ve had some great roles!

E writes: “Did you know from the start that Telford’s been brainwashed? How did you portray the character in the beginning – as someone who’s an ass because of brainwash, or a tough military guy who’s disliked by others?  What do you think – is Telford better commander than Young? Why?”

LDP: You know, oddly enough, I didn’t know Telford was brainwashed when I started the role!  I mean, when I look back now it all makes perfect sense but I’m not even sure the brainwashing was a part of the writer’s plan when we started the season ( although I must say, those guys have a great way of layering in storylines over multiple eps and they don’t always tell you what’s in store!).  I also think that, as they get to know this cast better, it sparks character traits and personality touches when developing the character’s story-lines.  As far as playing Telford as an ass in the beginning, that’s really a matter of opinion.  Whenever I take on a character, I try to adopt his world view and not judge his actions.  You can’t play the character honestly if you’re holding him at arm’s length and apologizing for who he is.  I’ve known hard-asses like Telford.  My dad did two tours of Viet Nam and many of his friends are hard-core military types.  I also played Col. Jessup in the stage play “A Few Good Men” and his big speech resonates with a lot of truths when you’re dealing with how to keep a country safe or why the military does what it does.  So, I chose to play Telford as a man with a mission, even a noble one – to save these people any way he could – and without apology or regard for people’s feelings.  In truth, I think a true leader has to have compassion and understand when compromise or even retreat are a smarter option, so, in that respect, I think both Young and Telford have great leadership qualities and could learn a thing or two from each other.

Steph writes: “Questions:
-Ian Edgerton was one of my favorite Numb3rs characters and I was sad to see the show end, even though it ended well. What are the differences between playing an FBI Agent and a military officers?
-How do you think Telford’s presence will affect the dynamics and power balance on board the Destiny?
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions!”

LDP: I’ll refer to the two characters I’ve played, Edgerton and Telford, to illustrate the point about FBI versus Military because I think to generalize would be a disservice.  The one thing that was fun and freeing about Edgerton is that he seemed to be such a free agent.  He most definitely was a Black Ops guy and probably had very few people to answer to, a real Lone Wolf.  He just had to get the job done in any way he saw fit.  That allowed me to play him with a great deal of self-confidence, independence and even a bit of a devil-may-care twinkle in his eye.  He had very little to prove because he knew he was one of the best.  Telford, on the other hand, as a military man of rank has to answer to a chain of command and be respectful of other people’s authority.  This is (or was) his frustration because, like Edgerton, Telford feels he’s one of the best and certainly better suited to have led this mission.  He does not have the carte blanche Edgerton does and so must attempt to realize his goals with one hand tied behind his back.  We’ll see how this plays out and how Telford responds to his “place” in the microcosm of Destiny’s society.

Simon writes: “Questions for Lou Diamond Philips:

1) What’s been your faviorute episode of SGU so far?

2) Is there a specific scene that you’ve enjoyed doing on thw show?

3) Who’s been the most fun to work with on the show?

4) Is your character in Season 2? Doubt you’ll be able to answer this, but hey.”

LDP: Kinda covered question 1-4 in previous answers but I will say I’m really looking forward to an ep where I was able to do a lot of work with Mark Savela and his VFX team.  I think those guys do amazing things on the show and the fun (and the fear) for the actors is putting your complete trust in something that you can’t see and hoping that it will turn out looking awesome.  So, obviously, without being too much of a tease, Telford gets to interact with some pretty cool CGI in the future.  I’m looking forward to seeing it as much as anyone!  Beyond that, I don’t have a fave actor to work with on the show.  They are all amazing talents and wonderful people. The bulk of my dramatic work has been with Louis and Robert and I’m always grateful for the dynamics the writers give us and how those two make it pop.  Alaina and I have had a few moments that I dig but I noticed that I haven’t had as much interaction with Blue or Elyse lately.  Hope that changes.  Jamil, Brian and I get to play a bit since we’re all soldiers and I’ve really appreciated getting more contact with Gilmore, Kelamis and Spence because the collision of science and military is always fun (not to mention, those guys are goof-balls!).  It seems Ming and I are becoming confidantes in upcoming eps and I appreciate that because we’ve known each other for quite a while and we have a very easy chemistry together.  (By the way, that inadvertently answered question 4 so wink, wink, nudge, nudge, eh, mate?)

“5) You’ve worked with Kiefer Sutherland, you guys still buds? Keep in touch etc?”

LDP: I absolutely adore Kiefer. Not only a great actor but one of the coolest people you’ll ever meet with an absolute heart of gold.  Having said that, I saw him two months ago and he mooned me through a lobby window at the Chateau Marmont.  Given our history together, I had no choice but to moon him back.  Drinks ensued.  This is the nature of our relationship.  I’d crawl through broken glass to work with him again.

Rob writes: “What was it like to work with Kiefer Sutherland again on season 1 of 24 after doing the Young Guns movies? Would you like the opportunity to work with him again?”

LDP: Little bit of an overlap from the last question but I’ll elaborate by pointing out that Kiefer and I have worked on five projects together – Young Guns 1 & 2, Renegades, Picking Up the Pieces (With Woody Allen & Sharon Stone.  I hear it’s terrible. I’ve never seen it.) and of course those two eps of 24 in Season 1.  I got a call from my agent who informed me they were offering me the role but the script wasn’t written yet.  I was told it would be me, Kiefer and Dennis Hopper in a bunker.  Sounded like a party to me so I told them I needed to make one call.  I called Kiefer on set (he was unaware of the offer) and he told me to say yes immediately.  Obviously, I did.  He mentioned a project to me in passing the last time I saw him so I have hopes that we’ll be back in the saddle again.  He is still one of my favorite people in the biz.  Also, just as an added note, don’t remember the season or the ep but Kiefer/Jack Bauer saved my daughter Grace from nerve gas in a mall not too long ago.  It was her first professional gig.

Bryan M. White writes: “Hello Mr. Phillips – Quick question, way back when, in 1990, when you contributed your vocals to the intro on Bon Jovi’s “Justice in the Barrel” off the Blaze of Glory record, did you record that in the studio with the band, or was that recorded separately? Several films have featured your vocals, do you sing or play any instruments during breaks on set for SGU?”

LDP:  “Justice in the Barrel” had been completely recorded when Jon Bon Jovi asked me to come in and add the Native chant.  He had heard me doing that piece as a part of a scene where Chavez mourns Balthazar Getty’s character so he wanted it on the soundtrack.  By the way, that is not an actual Navajo chant but one made up to approximate a chant since using the real thing would be disrespectful to the Navajo religion.  Another cool fact, I was part of a small group including Kiefer, Emilio, John Fusco the writer/producer and a few other producers who got to hear Jon sing “Blaze of Glory” for the first time ever.  He played it on an acoustic in Emilio’s trailer at about two in the morning of a night shoot.  He had just finished writing it.  As far as my own musicianship, I don’t even call myself a musician.  I learned all the guitar notes for La Bamba but I don’t really play.  Yes, I sing, yes, I write lyrics but I know too many people who do it really well to put myself in their category.  I just like dipping my finger in that pie every once in a while!  That said, people break out in song on the SGU set constantly, myself included!

MatthewRD writes: “Questions for Lou Diamond Phillips, Hi!

1) What do you like most about being Telford?

2) What was the hardest part of being Telford?

3) You probably won’t say anyway for spoilers and all, but does he survive the shooting?”

LDP: I’ve kinda covered the things I like about Telford but I’ll reiterate the fact that he is still evolving and I keep discovering new things about him.  It’s also cool to see who he really is without the brainwashing and layer that with a history that is slowly revealing itself.  I also love the fact that a wry sense of humor is creeping into his persona but I think that’s just a result of me rubbing off on the writers!  The hardest part of a character like Telford is a trap that I see a lot of actors fall into when they are playing characters in procedurals – ie your cops, doctors lawyers etc. who have what I call esoteric dialogue.  The words can sometimes become mundane and meaningless and the actors just spit them out without developing a character behind all that information.  Yes, the technical jargon is very necessary when creating these worlds but if the actor hasn’t created someone interesting and three dimensional then they become bland and interchangeable with anyone else in a uniform or suit.  Truthfully, that’s one of the reasons I never minded that people didn’t like Telford at first!  At least his presence elicited a response and he served a purpose in the story rather than just being a talking head.

cat4444 writes: “1. During Season 1, Telford was kind of a jerk – okay, no kind of about it, he was very much a jerk. Was his behaviour due to the brainwashing or is he really that big of a jerk?”

LDP: Kind of touched on it before but I will add that, in my opinion, the brainwashing gave a very sharp focus to an agenda that Telford had already and that was to reclaim his rightful spot as mission leader and bring those people home.  It just goes to show, though, that when someone becomes that narrow minded and has that much of a singularity of purpose, they can become insensitive, abrasive and hard to deal with.  However, once again, when dealing with the military and questions of commitment and mission, you want someone who is decisive and willing to commit to a course of action so I can’t fault Telford entirely.

“2. In Earth, how do you think Telford, while he was under the influence of the brainwashing, reconciled the fact that he was likely to blow up Destiny with the desire of the Lucian Alliance to obtain Destiny? Was it more important to ensure the SGC didn’t have control of Destiny?”

LDP: Interesting question because I truly believe that Telford never believed for a second that he was going to be responsible for blowing up Destiny.  It was not something that entered his mind until Rush “put on a show” and made Telford and the visiting scientists believe they were in jeopardy.  Remember, at that point I’m fairly certain Rush had no interest in going home and was willing to make that decision for the other people on board the ship.  For all we know, even at this point, that rescue mission might have worked if Rush hadn’t sabotaged it.

“3. It’s obvious Telford and Rush don’t get along, particularly given that Telford tried to have Rush removed from the Icarus project. How likely is that to change now that they’re both stuck on Destiny? Was Telford’s attempt to have Rush removed more of an attempt to get him into a position where the Alliance could “obtain” his services?”

LDP: One of the things I love about the Rush/Telford dynamic is that there is a history with these two that continues to unfold and certain predispositions that seem to prevent even the kind of moderate truce that Rush and Young occasionally agree upon.  I don’t think, even given the brainwashing element, that Telford’s animosity for Rush is born of strategy.  I think Telford is mistrustful of Rush because he knows that he can never control him, that he is unpredictable, mercurial and with total disregard for authority. So, not only does Telford know that Rush is like dealing with a highly volatile explosive, useful but not without risks in handling it, he also knows about Rush’s disdain for the military and that rubs Telford entirely the wrong way because, in many ways, Telford is more of a by-the-book soldier than Young.  Additionally, I think there is a grudging respect for Rush’s intellect but an irritation that he isn’t willing to be more forthcoming with it in service of what Telford deems to be the greater good, brainwashing or not.

“4. Telford or Young? Who’s going to be in control now? Young, who has been since the arrival on Destiny? Or Telford, who was supposed to have the command from the start? I suspect there would be some serious trust issues regarding Telford, given the whole brainwashing thing, so I’m going to say Young. Your take on it?”

LDP: Touched on this a bit and would steer you toward a chat I read not too long ago that efficiently charted the discussion from a military standpoint.  Shouldn’t be too hard to find.  Of course the human element leads me to believe that Young and Telford have greater issues of friendship and the needs of their soldiers and civilians to deal with so, I’m thinking, their dynamic won’t be a cut-and-dried matter of seniority.

“5. I understand you’re quite the cook. Do you plan to challenge Joe to a cook off since Rob Cooper has left and the Ice Cream Throwdown is likely no more? How did you get into cooking?”

LDP: I don’t know about a challenge (because I understand Joe is quite the foodie) but I will 100% cook for him one night and hope that he will return the favor!  Or, at the very least, make some wonderful reservations!  I’ve had the pleasure of cooking for John G. Lenic, our producer and also a foodie, so now I need to start working my way through the writer’s room.  (Maybe it’ll finally result in a love interest for Telford! He hates to eat alone!)  Many of my earlier jobs in Corpus Christi, TX were in the kitchen like cook’s asst. on the Navy base, breakfast cook on Padre Island and flipping burgers at Whataburger.  I started cooking heavily in college when I had four roommates and my love of it continued as I got older and had kids.  It is highly satisfying to me to have friends and family gathered around a table eating a meal I made for them.  That’s life and that’s love.

“6. Actor, foodie, twitterer, and occasional Iron Chef judge Is there anything you don’t do? Handstands maybe?”

LDP: You’re absolutely right.  I can’t do a handstand!  Other than that, I will not reveal my weaknesses…poker player, doncha know!

“7. Do you participate in the pranks that apparently take place on set? If so, what’s the best one you’ve pulled? Been pulled on you? Or do you simply give the patented LDP Glare and send any potential pranksters – yes, I am referring primarily to Louis Ferreira – running for cover?  Thanks for taking the time to do the Q&A. Very much looking forward to next season.”

LDP: I have to say, the SGU set is one of the most joyful sets I’ve ever been on.  Everyone has a sense of humor and everyone is funny!  We laugh a lot which is ironic for such an intense and sometimes dark show.  Most of the levity comes from jokes or the outrageous bits from Kelamis or Gilmore or Spence but, tuthfully, the big surprise is Louis Ferreira who is downright hilarious.  As far as pranks go, there haven’t been any of the order that I’ve pulled in the past (Young Guns was the prankiest, most ingenious, evil mastermind shows I’ve ever been on) but that’s probably a function of the fact that we’re on such a busy TV schedule.  Not a lot of time to hatch elaborate plots.  And, truthfully, I’ve never been on set long enough to get bored.  Blue is always coming up with fun games and Ming, Alaina, Elyse and our lovely Jeffrey bring love and light wherever they go in addition to some wicked moves and a surprisingly raunchy sense of humor!  As for the patented LDP glare…it’s all an act but it comes in handy when I have to discipline my four girls!

Tammy Dixon writes: “Mr. Phillips, so nice of you to put up with the Q & A. I’ve been a fan of yours since Young Guns! How did you get started in acting?  I hope to see more of your character on SGU!
Thanks!!!!”

LDP: Thanks so much for writing in and for your support of the show.  I always wanted to be an actor and that journey is fairly well documented in a number of other interviews.  For a very nice over-view, our publicist, Carol Marks-George, recently updated my bio and it can be found on the official SGU web site.  Check it out.

Shawn Cassidy writes: “Lou – First off, thanks for taking the time to engage the fans. I’ve been a big fan of yours since way back when (Young Guns series are my favorite westerns of all time!) In a huge part due to your character Chavez.

1). Being a seasoned “Big Time”veteran, what was it like coming into a long time Sci-Fi TV franchise? Did you have any preconceptions of what Stargate was all about? (i.e. Wow, it’s cool to be part of the whole Sc-Fi convention scene, to …. What the hell is a Stargate?) Were you even aware of the long rich history?”

LDP: You know when I started in the 80s, you were either a TV actor or a Film actor and seldom did people cross that line.  That is no longer the case.  Very, very few actors get by on just features any more and many choose to do TV for the steady gig and, quite honestly, the fact that TV paychecks have gotten much bigger.  My buddies Kiefer and Charlie sure can’t complain. Not to mention the fact that the writing, directing and overall production values on a hit show have gotten very competitive with anything you’re seeing on the big screen. So, having said all that, (and with a big nod to Richard Dean Anderson and all those who made SG a long running franchise) I was very open to coming on to a successful show.  Any preconceptions I might have had were immediately tempered by the fact that Robert Carlyle was attached when they came to me.  I sensed right away that, given the type of actor they were seeking, that this was going to be a different direction for the SG saga.  That was intriguing to me and made me feel like I could be a part of the show’s evolution as opposed to just being another cog in the wheel.  And, just as an after-thought, I’m a big sci-fi fan so it’s been a blast to become a fixture in this universe, not only on set but in cyberspace and at conventions.  It certainly makes you feel like there’s a legion of people out there taking the journey with you.

“2). I always read how you are one of the “Classy” ones, one of the true gentlemen in Hollywood. What’s it like playing someone who is so opposite your nature in Col. Telford who has been at times a real SOB?”

LDP: The really cool thing about acting in general is playing something that you are not.  Many times in my career I’ve been blessed to represent different communities and cultures like the Navajo or the Inuit and my research becomes a great opportunity to learn.  With that in mind, if you keep your eyes and mind open, you will never stop learning from this craft and new revelations will pop up as you continue to grow as a person & artist.  That applies to who you are as a person as well.  While I certainly try to NOT be an asshole in life, I firmly believe that everyone has the potential within themselves just like they have the potential to be saintly or heroic.  One of the jobs of an actor is to be honest with yourself and be self-analytical.  You have to know what makes you tick, what you’re putting out and how to access it honestly.  Besides, channeling your inner jerk can be fun and you can leave it on the set without forcing your friends and family to deal with it.  It’s a cheap form of therapy actually!

“3). It seems that there may be redemption for Col. Telford (I’m assuming he survived since you’re at the studios while deep into season II production). Are you happy with this direction, or do you enjoy paying the bad guy?

Thanks again for your valuable time. I can’t wait to see what transpires onscreen this fall! And for the many years to come!”

LDP: Obviously, I can’t talk too much about the direction Telford may or may not take (I mean, jeez, last time we saw him he was bleeding and unconscious!) but I will say that our writers are incredible and they never take the easy, predictable or boring path.  Given a character like Telford, who still hasn’t revealed much of his past, I’m confident that no matter what side of the good guy/bad guy fence he falls on, he will be interesting and complex and that his dynamic with the rest of Destiny will be entertaining.

Daniel fleming writes: “Hi Lou, I’m Daniel Fleming from the UK, and I’m 16, I would like to become an actor when I’m older, I would really appreciate if you were to answer these few questions please:  1, How long do you get to learn a full script?”

LDP: I always say this to young actors when they say they want to become an actor.  You already are, you’re just waiting to get paid for it!

The time an actor gets to learn a script is always tied to the schedule and the type of project you’re working on.  In theatre, you often have at least a month or so to learn and rehearse.  This is totally necessary because you have to perform the entire script from top to bottom without (hopefully) any mistakes.  In feature films, even though there are not always rehearsals, you usually get the script a few weeks or months ahead of time and it’s up to the individual to judge how much of it they want to get down before filming.  I tend to learn everything but other actors like to wait until the last minute to keep it spontaneous.  To each his own.  Also, on features, you usually have the luxury of filming only 3 or 4 pages a day so you can spend all day (@ 12 hours) on the same scene and make it perfect.  Not so in TV.  Our writers are great on SGU and we usually receive our scripts in a timely fashion that allows us to ask questions and absorb what it is we will have to perform.  Even so, we’re usually working on the previous script when a new script comes in so it is a constant process of learning and working.  I’ve heard of other shows where the scripts don’t get delivered until the night before they are supposed to shoot so everyone, directors and crew included, have to scramble to be prepared.  All that said, we average 6 or 7 pages a day  and you might have a lot of lines or you might have very little.  I usually read a script a few times and then work on the specific scenes the night before, leaving room to tweak it when I see what the director and other actors bring to the party.

“2, Is that really cool accent really or is it put on?”

LDP: Being an American I wasn’t entirely aware of an accent, that’s just the way I talk, but I can certainly see how it might seem a bit exotic if you’re watching in the UK!  I have to say, Hugh Laurie and Linus Roach have impeccable American accents and do a great job on their respective shows.  I will say, though, that I love doing accents which probably comes from my theatre training.  I’ve done a few different regional touches in films (like Texan or Brooklyn) and I truly loved doing an English accent when I did the National Tour of Camelot playing King Arthur and a Thai accent when I played King in The King and I on Broadway.

“3, Is it hard acting infront of a green screen?”

LDP: Acting in front of the green screen is probably one of the most difficult and frightening propositions there is.  Obviously, there’s nothing really there and you have to imagine what it is you’re looking at, be it a spaceship an exploding star or a bunch of aliens.  It requires a lot of focus, consistency and a huge amount of trust because you have to commit to it fully to help create the illusion.  It can make you feel pretty stupid but you have to let go and put your self-consciousness aside.  It’s an old saying but, if you believe it, the audience will believe it.  All that said, our VFX team on SGU, led by wizard Mark Savela, are brilliant and always make us look good.  I’m blown away by what they accomplish on a weekly basis and it gives the cast a lot of confidence when we have to deal with otherworldly stuff.  In addition, they usually provide us with renderings that help us imagine what we are seeing and can adjust the timbre of our performances.  I really think they are the finest team working on television effects today! (As evidenced by their recent Emmy nomination!)

Michael writes: “1) I’ll start off with a compliment. I managed to convince many, many women I know to watch SGU simply because I told them Lou Diamond Phillip was on it.

2) Did you know from day one of SGU that Telford was being brainwashed and if so, how did you adjust in the later half of the season?

3) Do you have plans to continue playing in the World Series of Poker?

4) When does your autobiography come out, last I heard, early 2010, any updates?”

LDP: 1.  God luv ya, Michael.  Every guy needs a good wing man!

2.  Covered that one.  See above.

3.  Did not get a chance to play in the WSOP 2010 this year.  Had a gig!  Cannot wait until next year and have high hopes that I’ll be there for the Main Event.  Would also like to play some of the smaller buy-ins.  Coming up soon, I may be playing in a large invitational for PokerStars in the fall and perhaps the BC Championship while I’m here in Vancouver.

4.  Now, see, here’s the thing.  The term ‘autobiography’ would imply that I’m writing it, right?  I am writing NO such book.  This rumor started on the internet somehow and many, many people believe it to be true.  The funny thing is it keeps getting repeated and therefore validated in some circles.  I have no immediate plans to write an autobiography and, if that were to ever happen, I would probably wait until I’m much older so I could get all the stories into one volume.  Believe me, I sincerely hope the most interesting years aren’t behind me!

Michael A. Burstein writes: “Given all the work you’ve done recently on Numb3rs and Stargate Universe, my wife and I were surprised to see that you took the time to appear on “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!” How did that come about? How did you find the time to do it?”

LDP: First of all, thanks so much for following Numb3rs & SGU.  Both great shows and I’m very proud of my association with them.  What’s interesting is that my time commitment to either of them might seem a little misleading.  I only ever popped up on Numb3rs once or twice a season, believe it or not.  Each episode, like on SGU, only takes eight days to film and very often not every actor works the entire schedule.  Similarly, I actually appear in only eight episodes of the twenty in Season 1 of SGU.  Add to that the fact that SGU was on hiatus during June and July and I found myself with a lot of time on my hands last summer.  Now, I never intended, nor do I intend now, to become a reality star.  However, I was pitching a few reality show ideas with my wife, Yvonne, where we would serve as creators and producers when the opportunity for ‘I’m a Celebrity…’ came up.  I had jokingly told an exec that I wouldn’t mind doing something like Celeb Survivor and…well, watch what you ask for.  NBC jumped all over it.  I actually said no a few times but the reasons for doing it started to make sense.  Ultimately, I was able to raise quite a bit of money for my friend, southwest artist Amado Maurillo Pena, and his charity Art Has Heart/Legacy Art in Albuquerque, New Mexico and I had an open door to bring my reality ideas to NBC (none of which panned out.)  And, I have to be honest, I was really intrigued by the challenge and adventure of it all.  I figured it was a one-shot deal to test myself like that and see if I could not only pull it off physically and mentally but maintain a sense of integrity and perhaps show the viewing public a side of myself that they may not know.  Happy to say it all worked out just fine but, NO, I won’t be doing anything like that again.

Boltbait writes: “1) You’ve worked on many TV shows and movies. Which do you prefer? Why? How are they different?”

LDP: Yup, just looking at my resume on IMDB makes me tired.  So, I guess it’s safe to say that I love both film and television…and theatre.  Hell, I just like being employed!  Seriously, to this day I’m grateful that I get paid to do something I love.  Having said that, the major difference between film and TV is usually time and money.  You have incredibly talented actors, writers and directors in both it’s just that an hour of television takes eight days to shoot and that same hour in movies could take months.  Even so, made-for-TV movies have recently become much cheaper and faster to shoot.  I’m amazed how quickly some feature length projects are put together, some in as little as thirteen days.  I would also hazard to say that a few I’ve worked on lately don’t even have the budget of one episode of SGU.  (Yet another reason I’m consistently impressed with every episode of SGU.)  Ultimately, I will add that you have to be on top of your game if you’re working in the TV biz.  Audiences expect more on a weekly basis so, for a show to be a hit, you have to deliver quality in the writing, directing, production and, of course, the acting for a show to stick around.  That said, the bar has been raised not only for TV but for films as well.  It’s harder to be viewed a success and so fewer risks are being taken and fewer projects actually get off the ground.  Like I said before, it’s just nice to be employed in this environment.

“2) Of all the actors you’ve worked with in the past, who would you most like to work with again? Anyone you haven’t worked with yet, that you’d really like to?”

LDP: I have had the immense pleasure and honor of working with some great actors who are also great people.  I am truly enjoying the ensemble of SGU but some of the heavy-hitters I’m proud to have shared screen time with include – Edward James Olmos, Denzel Washington, Meg Ryan, Matt Damon, Harrison Ford, Benicio Del Toro, Andy Garcia, Ernest Borgnine, Woody Allen, Mark Wahlberg, Christina Applegate and obviously all my boys from Young Guns.  I’d show up to do anything with any of them again in a heartbeat.  There are many, many more who are not as well known and even more like Fred Gwynne, Toshiro Mifune and Jack Warden who are no longer with us but who I loved dearly.  Of the people I still have yet to work with, the list is long because I am truly a fan of film and actors myself.  Meryl Streep, DeNiro, Pacino and that group from the 70s inspired me to hone and respect my craft as an actor.  Some of my peers who I’ve known forever but never worked with also come to mind – Clooney, Pitt, Sean Penn, Robert Downey Jr. and the like. And, strangely enough I’ve appeared in films with Kevin Spacey, Robert Duvall and Sam Neill but didn’t have any scenes with them!  It all reminds me, even though I’ve already received a few lifetime achievement awards, that I truly think the best lies ahead and I’m not done by half!

“3) My favorite of your performances would probably be Angel Guzman of Stand and Deliver (1988). What can you tell me about that movie–any favorite memories?”

LDP: Stand and Deliver was and is one of my favorite films of mine, for the performance, for the memories and for the difference it made in a lot of people’s lives.  It actually came about because I did a guest spot on ‘Miami Vice’ before ‘La Bamba’ came out. (By the way, Viggo Mortensen and Annette Bening were also in that episode!) Eddie Olmos had worked with Luis and Danny Valdez on their play and film “Zoot Suit” so he was aware of ‘La Bamba.’ He was actually supposed to have a cameo in the film as Esai’s father. At any rate, we had one scene together and afterward he asked what I was doing in the next month. At the time, since ‘La Bamba’ had not yet come out, I was having a hard time getting a job in LA so I informed him that I was completely available for lunch or whatever.  He gave me a phone number to Ramon Menendez the writer/director of ‘Stand and Deliver.’  We had one meeting and suddenly I found myself in the movie.  The funny thing is, you often don’t know how good something is going to be while you’re in the middle of making it.  S&D was a tiny little film made for under a million bucks and would go on to win seven Independent Spirit Awards (both Eddie and I won) and get Golden Globe noms for me and Eddie and, obviously, an Oscar Nom for Eddie.  It will always be one of the highlights of my career.

“4) You’ve been an actor, a writer, a producer, a director… which do you prefer?”

LDP: When I think of all the hats I’ve worn on film sets – actor, writer, director – I’m often reminded of my theatre training at The University of Texas at Arlington.  The beauty of actually studying this craft and art form is that you come to respect all aspects of it and as a theatre student, I did it all, from painting flats and sewing costumes to writing and directing my own productions.  I’ve always ben grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to extend that into the film and television world.  I certainly think the writing and directing enhance my understanding of my acting and definitely help me embrace the process of making films.  I can understand the problems that production face and be part of the solution and not part of the problem.  Conversely, I often encourage writers and directors to take acting classes not so much that they can become actors but so that they will have a better understanding of our process and what we have to go through to deliver a good performance.  At the very least, it helps them to speak our language.  Ultimately, I look at my place in the film industry as a communicator or story teller.  All of the different positions are in service to the story and one should complement the other.  All that said, if I could only do one I’d have to go with my first love – acting.

“5) On the set of SGU, who do you “hang out” with?”

LDP: The SGU ensemble is very tight and, fortunately, we’re all very fond of each other.  I’ve thrown large dinners a few times and have also had the chance to grab beers one on one with some of the guys.  Was out not long ago with Louis Ferreira and surprised a fan who must have assumed that, since our characters are confrontational we’d have the same dynamic in real life.  Had to assure him that, no, we’re just acting!

“6) Other than spending time with your family, what do you enjoy doing during your down time?”

LDP: I’ve done quite a bit of writing in the past year and, when I can get motivated again, I’ve got another project in mind that I would like to start.  Hopefully, we’ll see one of my screenplays get some traction in the coming year.  When I really want to turn off and not think about anything else, I like to sit down at the poker table for hours at a time.  Not always relaxing but certainly fun.

“7) Imagine you’re really on the Destiny, how would you keep from going crazy?

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!”

LDP: I’d probably do what a lot of the characters are already doing.  Working out, trying to figure out how to get home.  Although it seems that every week there’s some new jeopardy so nobody ever runs the risk of getting bored.  I think Rush has finished carving his chess set by now so I’d certainly sign up for that.  And, like I said before, I might have to fashion some hand drawn playing cards.

Wraithfodder writes: “Hi Lou,

1 – You have been fantastic tweeting with the fans but am curious, what’s been the weirdest thing you’ve ever had anyone tweet to you?”

LDP: And speaking of Twitter…I actually love that I can communicate with fans and just share random thoughts.  I often am amused by the wit and wisdom out there. (Yeah, I know, there’s a lot of mundane stuff, too, but hey, you just zip past that stuff.)  I don’t go into chat rooms or anything like that and I understand that there are sites that can get personal and mean spirited but my experience on Twitter has been very positive.  The weirdest tweet happened when I first started on the network.  Some guy went on a surprisingly long rant basically telling me the many ways I could fornicate with myself.  I’m sure it amused him and his friends and, even though I found some entertainment value in it myself, I chose to just block his ass!

“2 – I envy your cooking skills, but wonder, if there any kitchen/cooking disaster stories you’d like to share with us fans? We promise not to tell anyone.”

LDP: Fortunately, there haven’t been too many absolute disasters in the kitchen.  (Although, there was the time when a home-made apple pie started a fire in the oven.  I thought it was hilarious but it freaked out my daughters.  Must say, though, it was a good lesson in not panicking.  Oh, and the pie turned out just fine.)  The biggest faux-pas would probably be my timing when I invite friends over for dinner.  As my good friends @EdwardsRellas (yes, they’re on Twitter) would tell you, my meals are never on time so they tend to have a light snack before they come over.  That would totally be my downfall if I ever appeared on Celebrity Chopped!

“3 – Do your children have any favorite movies that you’ve done?”

LDP: Indy is still too young to even care about Daddy’s work but the older girls are pretty familiar with a lot of the flicks and TV.  (Gotta say, though, there’s a lot of shows that I’ve done that they’re not allowed to see until later.  They’re going to need therapy just from having watched me die umpteen times.)   Of the ones that they do know, La Bamba is obviously a favorite and they tend to like watching me fight creatures like in Bats or Red Water.  I’d have to say that Love Takes Wing probably takes the prize simply because I directed it and ALL my girls are in it.  Indy was still a baby but Yvonne held her in a couple of scenes and she was great.  Grace, Isabella and Lili all had speaking roles and I was proud and frightened at how good and talented they were.  They obviously have the gene and the bug!

“4 – How much input did you have into Telford?

Thanks very much!”

LDP: I think the input any of the cast has into their characters is purely circumstantial and indirect.  The staff of writers are so creative and have an overview of each season so it’s actually quite fun to wait and see what surprises they have in store for us.  Obviously, our personal approach to our roles color the dialogue and add personality to the characters but that’s mostly a function of having cast the show very well.  But, certainly, as the writers get to know us personally and see our individual quirks and idiosyncracies they begin to get our voices in their heads and it helps to infuse the roles with real specific touches.

Thijs writes: “A few questions for Lou Diamond Phillips:

-.Will you be back for season 2 of SGU?.

-.Will you become a main cast member?.

-.How many episodes will you be in in season 2?.

-.Can you tell me a little about things i can expect in season 2 of SGU?”

LDP: Wow, sorry to say that I can’t answer a single one of your questions directly!  All I can tell you is that you can probably glean a lot of the information you seek by reading between the lines in some of my other answers!  Sorry to be obtuse but I’m afraid the producer’s would communication stone Telford’s consciousness into a chimp if I talked too much!

jojo writes: “Questions for LDP:
1. I really enjoyed your work and your commentaries on Numbers. What did you enjoy most about your time on that series? You did a lot of location work. What location did you enjoy most? Any fun things you got to do on that show? (like riding in a helicopter?)”

LDP: Numb3rs was one of those shows that I said yes to before I’d even read a script.  The cast alone was incentive enough for me.  I’ve gotten to the point in my career where I look for a life experience almost as much as a good role and working with actors that I respect only enriches my work.  In addition, the character of Ian Edgerton was created by Ken Sanzel, an old buddy and the writer/director of a film I had done called Lone Hero.  I really thought Edgerton was only going to make the one appearance since his field of expertise seemed narrow but Ken, Nick & Cheryl found ways to keep bringing him back.  I used to joke that they only called me when somebody needed killing.  That said, one of the more fun aspects of the role was learning SWAT/sniper techniques and picking up a few tracker tricks.

“2. Do you think Col Telford was just friends with Col Young’s wife or did it go beyond that? Was his “friendship” with her to spite Col Young or just to be a friend to her?”

LDP: I think I mentioned it before but I’ll repeat it just in case.  When I queried the writers, they were of the opinion that Telford had not crossed that line.  I think the decent side of his character respected her situation and actually became fond of her.  I also think his restraint made him feel superior to Young in a moral sense. Given his brainwashing and his agenda for wanting the command back, I think he was also willing to use that relationship to get under Young’s skin and get an even greater insight into his weaknesses.

“3. Was Col Telford planning on being in charge of the group to go through the gate and the attack and Rush spoiled that plan? Do you think Col Telford had any advance warning that LA was planning on attacking Icarus Base?”

LDP: It’s always interesting to go back and dissect the motivations and what-ifs with the benefit of hindsight.  Knowing about Telford’s brainwashing and the amount of contact he had with Kiva and the LA, it’s hard not to believe that he wouldn’t have been aware of the attack on Icarus. It’s also implied that Telford may have supplied information to make the attack successful.  Obviously, it wasn’t entirely effective since I think the LA’s goal was to go through the gate themselves.  That said, in both cases, I don’t think Telford would have led the Alliance through since that would have blown his cover.  If he were to remain an asset to them, I think he would’ve kept his status as a spy secret.

“4. What future roles do you have in mind? What are some of your favorite roles you have done over the years? Are there any actors you really desire to work with in the future?

Thanks for answering my questions! I really enjoy your work on SGU.”

LDP: The only future roles I could actually plan would be the ones I would eventually hope to do on stage.  The film roles always come out of the blue.  As far as theatre is concerned, I’ve never done the Scottish play, I hope to play Don Quixote one day and I would love to get a play of mine that I wrote finally produced.  There are a number of others  I’m sure but that’s half the fun of having roles come your way.  They’re often unexpected and always welcome.  Kinda covered the fave roles and actors in a previous question.

PBMom writes: “Questions for LDP (a lot of good ones already asked so my attempt at asking different ones):

1. Any word about a release date on your movie, “Transparency? To JM’s posters, it is a must-see movie.”

LDP: (First off, great to hear from you! Thanks for all the kind mentions of ‘Transparency.’ Hope your son is doing well.)

1.  Speaking of ‘Transparency,’ the latest is that it will screen at the Oldenburg festival in Germany in September. Presently, I don’t know if I can attend.  Hoping so but will have to wait to see if the SGU shooting schedule will accomodate.  Deborah Kara Unger will be there and is serving as the festival’s jury chairperson.  Ultimately, I truly hope fans of mine will see the film because I’m very proud of it.  These little films, without built-in distribution and advertising dollars, often have a difficult time getting out there in a mainstream way.  Every once in a while, they break through and the festivals can be instrumental in making that happen.

Eventually, I know it will be available on DVD but I hope that it might have an art-house release or appear on one of the cable outlets so that it might reach a larger audience.  Keep your ears open.  I’ll certainly be promoting it.

“2. I know you were talking about creating a cooking show. Is it being shopped to networks yet, or is it still in a developmental phase?”

LDP: The cooking show idea was the brainchild of my wife, Yvonne, and a friend of hers who is also in our business.  They ran it by me and I was able to develop it a bit more.  It’s actually out there in the world in the hands of a few different producers and, hopefully, we’ll see it gain some traction in the coming year.  It’s a great idea that we would produce in a very hands-on way.  Wish I could tell you more about it but it is actively being pitched to networks presently so it’s best to stay mum about the details.  I love the project simply because it would be a fun way to join together a few things that I love – food, cooking shows and, of course, my wife, partner and creative muse, Yvonne!

“3. Are you shocked that Heidi and Spencer are separated? LOL.”

LDP: Nothing that Heidi and Spencer do shocks or surprises me any more.  What I find amazing is that, perhaps, no aspect of their lives may actually be real.  We all have to wonder if anything they do is designed to be a publicity stunt.  Tough way to live and, in my opinion, a really misguided way to stay in the public eye.  Depends on what you want to be famous for, I guess.

“4. I was really touched how deeply Sanjaya became attached to you and looked up to you on I’m A Celebrity. Have you kept in touch?”

LDP: Sanjaya and I have definitely stayed in touch.  He and his sister, Shamale (sp?) stayed with Yvonne and I recently.  It was certainly like having a teenage son and daughter in the house for a few days!  The two of them were in LA to make an appearance on Hell’s Kitchen so be looking for them this season.  The two of them were also very sweet to go and have lunch with my older girls, Grace, Isabella and Lili.  I will certainly be staying in touch with my illegitimate son and keeping an eye on his career and well-being.

“5. I have to ask, since I’ve asked everyone — what song would Telford sing on an SGleeU episode and to whom?”

LDP: Well, we’re constantly singing on the SGU set but I’ve never really thought about musical selections based on character motivations.  Looking at Telford’s history (not necessarily what he might have coming up in the future) I’d probably have to go with songs like – Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself,” or The Who’s “No one knows what it’s like to be the bad man…” or maybe The Cars “Best Friend’s Girl.”  Always open to suggestion so feel free to compile the Telford Play List!

“Thank you for being so kind and sending words of encouragement. It was so fantastic to meet you at the Dallas International Film Festival. To all JM’s blog posters, LDP has been on the board of directors for an autism charity called ACT Today http://www.act-today.org/ since 2005 and has been an amazing supporter of the autism community. It’s a great website and you should all check it out. You rock! I’m looking forward to a lot more Telford in the episodes to come.”

Nick Danger writes: “Question for LDP: Since you’re a foodie, I’m going to ask you the Bourdain Question: It’s your last day alive, what will you have for your final meal?”

LDP: Since I do consider myself a foodie and have a great affinity for many different kinds of foods, that’s always a tough question since one wouldn’t want to limit their choices.  As they say, variety is the spice of life!  But if it’s the final meal, I’d probably have to go with a very basic choice, certainly one of my all time faves – A bone-in ribeye, medium rare, Alaskan King crab legs, sauteed mushrooms and grilled vegetables with maybe a little wild rice and a Shiner Bock or Newcastle to wash it down.  Now, that’s eating.

Shirt ‘n Tie writes: “For Lou: Given the diversity of roles and productions with which you have been involved, which do you feel has been the most demanding (both mentally and physically)? Has that role also been the most fulfilling? And… given the choice of any role, past, present or future…what would be your dream gig? Many thanks for all the tweets!!!
Paul aka Shirt’n’Tie!”

LDP: (Hey, great chatting with you on twitter! Regards to the Emerald Isle.)

Certainly the theatre roles are some of the most demanding because of the amount of preparation, the size of the roles and the pressure to do it live in front of a few thousand people a night.  I certainly felt the scrutiny in my Broadway debut in The King and I!  Fear is a huge motivator.  Not only was there the text to learn, there was the singing and dancing (which people did not necessarily expect of me) and the large shadow of Yul Brynner that was much more prevailant than I had first imagined.  A number of patrons and critics had seen his final tour and I had some very big shoes to fill.  Fortunately, I was able to make the role my own and felt validated by the Broadway community when the production won four Tonys (including Best Revival) and I was nominated for Best Actor.  I would also have to include playing King Arthur in the National Tour of Camelot for all the same reasons but with the added hardship of moving to a different city every single week for seven months.  As far as film roles go, none has been more difficult and pressure laden than Ritchie in La Bamba and certainly none has been as gratifying since it was certainly my Cinderella story.  I felt a huge responsibility to get it right since Ritchie had been so well loved and his entire family was on set almost every day.  Plus, I didn’t play guitar (still don’t) and, at the time, I wasn’t much of a singer.  I lived in fear every single day that I would be fired, especially after Exec Producer Taylor Hackford said, “Get it right, kid, or we’ll send you back to Texas!”  I haven’t felt that way in a long time but recently I managed to get a bit nervous when I played a small role in ‘Che’ opposite Benicio Del Toro.  Not only is Benicio very imposing (especially in character) but the entire film is in Spanish.  Contrary to popular belief, I don’t speak Spanish!  I had to learn the whole role by rote and was constantly aware that it would have been very easy to simply replace me with a Spanish speaking actor.  Fortunately for me, Benicio and Stephen Soderbergh wanted me in the film.

As far as a dream gig goes, I’ll refer to an old Journeyman Actor’s philosophy when asked what their favorite role is…My next one!

July 4, 2010: Happy 4th of July! Lou Diamond Phillips wants to hear from you! September’s Book of the Month Club pick! Mailbag!

Happy 4th of July to our southern neighbors!  Enjoy your barbecue and fireworks, but please try to keep the noise down.  Some of us have to wake up early tomorrow.

Next – another big guest blogger announcement!  Today, I start gathering questions for the one and only…

Actor, foodie, twitterer, and occasional Iron Chef judge Lou Diamond Phillips!  Start posting your questions for one of the nicest guys in the biz!

In the interest of giving you all enough lead time, I’m going to just go ahead announce September’s Book of the Month Club pick.  After much thought, I’ve decided to go ahead and choose…

Masked, edited by Lou Anders

From the publisher: “WELCOME TO THE SECOND “GOLDEN AGE” OF SUPERHEROES AND HEROINES

Superheroes have come a long way since the “Man of Steel” was introduced in 1938. This brilliant new collection features original stories and novellas from some of today’s most exciting voices in comics, science fiction, and fantasy. Each marvelously inventive tale shows us just how far our classic crusaders have evolved—and how the greatest of heroes are, much like ourselves, all too human.

In “Call Her Savage,” MARJORIE M. LIU enters the dark heart of a fierce mythic heroine who is forced, by war, to live up to her own terrible legend.

In “A to Z in the Ultimate Big Company Superhero Universe (Villains Too),” BILL WILLINGHAM presents a fully-realized vision of a universe where epic feats and tragic flaws have transformed the human race.

In “Vacuum Lad,” STEPHEN BAXTER unveils the secret origins of the first true child of the space age—and disproves the theory that “nothing exists in a vacuum.”

In “Head Cases,” PETER DAVID and KATHLEEN DAVID blast through the blogosphere to expose the secret longings of a Lonely Superhero Wife.

In “The Non-Event,” MIKE CAREY removes the gag order on a super-thief named Lockjaw . . . and pries out a confession of life-altering events.”

From Publishers Weekly: “Anders (Fast Forward) delivers an ambitious collection of superhero tales that provide top-notch plots and characterizations while honoring their four-color roots. In Daryl Gregory’s superbly metafictional “Message from the Bubble Gum Factory,” a former sidekick finally realizes the broader implications of superheroes. Stephen Baxter nicely applies hard science to the futuristic “Vacuum Lad.” Gail Simone’s “Thug” and Mike Carey’s “The Non-Event” bolster predictable plots with solid characters and prose. Joseph Mallozzi’s “Downfall” and Marjorie M. Liu’s “Call Her Savage” embrace comics cliche’s and make them both more complex and more entertaining. […]. Overall, Anders has assembled a solid anthology that provides first-rate entertainment.”

Discussion the week of September 13th with editor Lou Anders (although I should check with him first), yours truly, and several surprise guests!

Mailbag:

Gatefan1976 writes: “I’ve been seaching your book club entries for one of my fave Sci-fi authors, Julian May and I have not come across her (my search-fu may be lacking however) Have you read any of her works (esp the “saga of the exiles” and “galactic melieu” trilogy?”

Answer: Alas, I’m not familiar with her work.

Kymm writes: “Nia looks really familiar for some reason, is she an actress?”

Answer: Nope.

Celestis writes: “Hmmm, I’m honestly surprised you didn’t like either Claymore or Baccano.”

Answer: Didn’t see Baccano but after having to sit through the trailer endless times in order to watch an episode of Claymore, just the thought of it annoys me.

Celestis also writes: “Both Claymore, Gantz and even Berserk are still on-going series and honestly, they’re better than their anime counter-parts.”

Answer: Interestingly enough, I really enjoyed Gantz – and loved Berserk.  I’ve got the first four volumes of the Berserk manga and should start on them within the week.

Celestis also writes: I guess it’s time for me to break out the big guns on recommendable anime you may not have watched yet: Gungrave: The tragic story of two lifelong friends as they turn from street thugs into high-ranking members of a crime syndicate, going higher and higher…”

Answer: I have this one and will start watching on your recommendation.  To be honest, I was meaning to get around to it earlier but I think it was subconsciously tarnished by association (the word “gun” in the title) with Gun X Sword that turned out to be a real yawner.

Celestis also writes: “School Rumble: A seemingly simple highschool-set anime, but I found it one of the most hilarious series I’ve ever watched, topped solely by GTO.”

Answer: Well, I’m intrigued.  Don’t have it but it does sound like something I’d enjoy – atypical and humorous.

Celestis also writes: “Seirei No Moribito: Beautiful fantasy series, set in a sort of mix of ancient China/Japan, chronicling the tale of a spearwoman hired to protect a young prince from his own household.”

Answer: You’re the second person to recommend this one to me in as many days.  I have it and plan to get around to it.  I think I was initially unenthusiastic because I kept getting it mixed up with Otogi Zoshi, a series I liked at the time but now have no recollection of ever having watched.

Celestis also writes: “The Place Promised In Our Early Days: Great movie, set in the 1990′s of an alternate timeline Japan.”

Answer: Seen it.  Loved it.

Celestis also writes: “And one of the best series I’ve watched recently: Ergo Proxy: A complex, dark series, taking place in a ruined future of Earth, with the last remnants of humanity living in domed cities.”

Answer: Also seen it and while I loved the visuals, overall it’s a series I really thought I’d enjoy a lot more than I actually did.

otros ojos writes: “Interesting about your dogs. Perhaps the “something” is the same thing I’ve been wondering about – or not. Guess we’ll know soon. . .”

Answer: Not sure what you’re cryptically referring to but, just in case – no, I’m not pregnant.

Lauren writes: “I have a suggestion for a book. I’m not sure if you have heard of it or read it yet (I only recently found this blog) but I really enjoy it. Well, it’s a part of series… It’s called “A Game Of Thrones” by George R R Martin.”

Answer: Ah, one of my very favorite fantasy series.  I anxiously await A Dance with Dragons.

irishpete writes: “hey,you posted a pic of a guy in a grey suit,well thanks to my detective-esque abilities and the special features on sgu season 1 dvd i know that you used grey suit guy to help make the blue aliens. . .so does this mean that we’ll see the blue aliens again or is it some new cgi alien?”

Answer: Clever detective work.  New aliens or old?  You’ll find out early in season 2.

Sue Jackson writes: “Ooh…got another natsukashii moment. The ice cream truck! Everytime I hear an ice cream truck music or see one drive by….I immediately go back to my childhood memories.”

Answer: Me too!  Sitting in the backyard on those hot summer days and hearing the approaching jingle, then jumping up and hurrying down to the end of the driveway, barely able to contain my excitement as the music crew louder, anxiously looking on as the truck turned up my street – only realize it wasn’t the ice cream truck but the knife sharpener.

Echelon writes: “Joe, do you ever run across a item on a menu that you just will not order? Or are you willing to try any and all strange foods?”

Answer: I’m fairly adventurous although I’m sure there are a number of food items I probably wouldn’t try.  Fugu is one – although I did end up eating it on several occasions last time I was in Tokyo simply because I didn’t realize what I was being served until after the fact.

Echelon also writes: “Have you ever tried Durian fruit?”

Answer: Yep.  I sampled it as part of a weird food purchase of the day installment.  I believe I summed it up as “Sweet, cream, gasoliney.”

Tammi K writes: “My 16 year old son agrees regarding Claymore. He thought it was boring. He’s heard of Lucky Star but heard it was ‘girly’. Yes? No?…..”

Answer: Yes, it’s very cute but quite funny.

steph writes: “Do you believe it would really have been possible to keep such a project as the Stargate Program secret for so long? And do you think it was the right choice?”

Answer: Hard to say, especially given the events of Lost City I and II.  It would be damn hard to cover up loss of life that significant.  As for whether it was the right choice or not – again, hard to say.  In some ways, I think yes because many people would be incapable of coming to terms with the numerous revelations knowledge of the Stargate program would bring.

BeckettsPatient writes: ”

1) I skipped through your recent blogs for the soccer related parts and interstingly found Carl Binder in a German football shirt. It seems like our Team has managed to win Carl over or does he indeed have German relatives?

2) Do you have a reason to hate the German soccer Team (just courious not judging. I hate the Italian Team so we’re even ;) )

3) Of the last 4 Teams in the Cup whom do you cheer for now?

4) Why are you even interessted in soccer if you think it boring?”

Answers: 1) Carl’s got German roots.

2) They’re good and always seem to make the semi-finals.  No other reason than that.

3) Spain and the Netherlands.

4) Office pool.

Becky writes: “As a writer/producer, do you storyboard your episodes?”

Answer: Nope.  However, when faced with a complicated action sequence, the director may choose to do so.

Jim of WVa writes: “How does the BOTM club work? I should have House of Suns, by Alastair Reynolds finished before 12 July 2010. Should we prepare and send questions for Dr. Reynolds before then?”

Answer: Sure.  Prepare away.  I’ll weigh in with my thoughts on the book on the Monday after which you’re all free to start posting questions for the author here on the blog.  I’ll gather them up and send them his way.

June 14, 2010: Swordspoint, by Ellen Kushner

Riverside is a slum, a rundown neighborhood of beggars and thieves, where danger looms when night falls and only the foolhardy dare to venture.  The Hill is home to the rich and powerful, its opulent residences host to the excesses of privilege.  Two seemingly antithetical districts of an unnamed city, their borders as conspicuous and clear cut as their respective inhabitants – except on occasions when a score demands settling.  That’s when the lines become blurred by subterfuge, secrecy, and the fighting skills of hired assassins.

Richard St. Vier is a sword for hire, a denizen of Riverside whose bloody business often takes him to the elegant estates of his elite benefactors and victims. Despite his notoriety as the city’s deadliest assassin, however, St. Vier adheres to a strict ethical code in his death-dealing: no women, no children and, most important of all, he doesn’t do weddings!  His companion, Alec Tremontaine, is a scholar, a brooding intellectual with an affinity for danger.  And when Alec is kidnapped, St. Vier suddenly finds himself the reluctant pawn in a revenge-driven plot hatched by the scheming Lord Horn.

Oh, and St. Vier and Alec are gay.  I include the fact as almost an aside because, once their intimacy is established in the book’s opening pages, it is casually accepted and becomes just another interesting piece of their multifaceted backstory.  Yes, it’s important to the plot given that St. Vier is forced to act in order to save his lover, but it never becomes an issue for either the author or the book’s varied characters, instead serving as a solid emotional core to a narrative and setting at times stark and coolly precise.

Swordspoint is not so much fantasy as it is alternate history.  No dwarves or elves or magic elixirs.  Instead, it’s anti-heroes, courtly intrigue, and plenty of swordplay.  Kushner does a masterful job of establishing a society in which the wealthy advance hidden agendas and answer perceived sleights through proxy duelists, combatants governed by a strict code of conduct.  The intricacies of battle decorum are as fascinating as the political machinations that drive them, and Kushner excels at weaving a complex but not overly complicated web of deceit, double-crosses, and hidden agendas.  As someone who owns a well-worn copy of Machiavelli’s The Prince, I loved these back room maneuverings – secret games made all that more interesting by its colorful assembly of players, from the brilliant Duchess Tremontaine to the nefarious Lord Ferris, characters who straddle that fine line between black and white.

Kushner’s characters are interesting because they’re flawed, and in some cases likable because – as strange as it sounds – they’re unlikable.  Lord Ferris, our villain, orchestrates a brilliantly conceived power grab that ultimately comes to naught and yet, for all his faults, I respected the character and grew to admire him.  Alec, on the other hand, was a character I initially sympathized with but eventually grew to dislike for his delight in instigating deadly confrontations only to have his partner fight his battles for him.  St. Vier, our protagonist, is the most intriguing of the lot: an assassin with a sense of honor who would seemingly risk all for her love, yet whose past hints at the death of a former lover by his own hand.  The fact that different readers have come away with very different interpretations of these characters is a testament to Kushner’s ability to craft a tale both deeply textured and vividly imagined.

If there is one fault I could find with Swordspoint, it would be its ending, a conclusion that felt a little too pat when compared to the delightfully sophisticated set-ups and pay-offs that precede it.

Overall, however, a unique and engaging novel with a witty narrative style as sparing and precise as St. Vier’s dueling style.

So, those are my preliminary thoughts.  What did everyone else think?  Start posting your comments – and questions for author Ellen Kushner!

We screened back to back director’s cuts today: episode 207 (The Greater Good) and episode 208 (Malice).  Great stuff.  This first half will see a narrative progression very similar to what we saw in the back half of season one, with various story elements building to occasionally explosive conclusions.  Plenty of secrets, surprises, and shocking revelations.

Hey, looks like Remi put that flying time to good use, finishing up his responses to your fan questions while he enroute from L.A.  Check out tomorrow’s entry for an all Remi Aubuchon entry.  And, speaking of Remi, the second episode of Persons Unknown airs tonight on NBC at 10:00 p.m.!

Mailbag:

Sean D. writes: “1. Is there a chance of getting a Q&A with Robert Carlyle?
2. Is there a chance of getting a Q&A with Lou Diamond Phillips?
3. Is there a chance of getting a Q&A with Robert Knepper?”

Answer: At least one of those is more than likely.

victor writes: “1. Will we ever see the 304′s asgard beam weapons in sgu?

2. How was it that the daedalus in no mans land was able to beam shepperd his team and micheal off the wraith transport and on the daedalus while taking fire with the shields up,and in search and rescue they had to lower the shields to beam them aboard?”

Answers: 1. Unlikely.

2. Sorry, would have to go back and take a look at the episode.

Rex Carter writes: “Just curious about that tainted zpm from Camulous wonder if the sgc got it working safely and or if it can be used for anything.”

Answer: Alas, that particular zpm is no more – along with the planet on which it was tested.

imadaman writes: “Riley may have been shot, but there’s the (lovely :3) chance that he’s still alive, right?”

Answer: Sure, there’s a chance – but tune in to fine out for certain.

Jeff writes: “I think what Mark meant in his question about finding a seeder ship, then using it to build a supergate, was doing what the Ori did. Building a supergate to travel from one galaxy to another.”

Answer: How would you build a supergate out of seed ship?

Lewis writes: “Any possibility of you & Paul writing a story arc for one of the Stargate comics?”

Answer: Unlikely.

Lewis also writes: “If MGM doesn’t let Extinction come to fruition after a few years time would it be possible to do a comic book adaptation of it? Or even published as one of the Fandemonium novels?”

Answer: That’s up to MGM.  Alas, I’m out of that particular decision-making process.

Kevin writes: “(1) I thought it was established that Naquadria was some kind of isotope of Naquadah in the sense it didn’t occur naturally. (ie. the bomb on Kelowna created more Naquadria). Are these ‘Icarus’ planets somehow naturally occuring ‘now’? Or were they the product of Anubis getting the info from Quinn and then testing it out? And only ‘now’ are people discovering his old testing grounds? (always wondered about that).”

Answer: Yes, we’ve established that Naquadria is not naturally occurring.  The assumption is that these are old testing grounds abandoned since the fall of the goa’uld.

Kevin also writes: “(2) When Kiva said ‘next time we bring our own food/water’, was that a retrospect statement? or an allusion to them having a third icarus planet?”

Answer: The former.

Kevin also writes: “(3) Where did Kiva lose the 100 people she mentioned? It kinda looked like she was one of the last to leave the base..as any good commander should be. It didn’t really look like their was any spirited defense… a la Icarus Base.”

Answer: We can assume the base was much larger and that others were trapped in remote sections of the facility when it came under attack.

paloosa writes: “I asked why, and the said that it was the publisher’s decision. They were surprised because sales had been good. Have you heard anything about this?”

Answer: News to me.

eric writes: “Anyhoo, my question is about when Eli, Chloe and Scott returned to Destiny: did you ever answer on-screen how they got back? i.e. why Destiny’s address popped up on the screen again? If not are there plans to address that in season two?”

Answer: No plans to address this.  When Destiny dropped out of FTL as a result of the sabotage, it was still within range of the planet and popped up on the remote.  Seeing this, Eli dialed and secured a connection.

Michael writes: “So what do they do with the dead bodies of the KIA’s before this episode?”

Answer: Space ’em.

Michael Jones writes: ”

1.) Is the SGC still in operation on Earth, or has the Stargate been moved to Homeworld Command in the Pentagon?

2.) I saw James being captured during the changeover, but she didn’t seem to be in the room with Young and the other military personell… was she placed with the civilians or did she somehow get away…

3.) Did you record any commentaries for the 1.5 DVD/Blu Ray set?

4.) When ratings are counted, is it only the first showing that counts, or do both showings get accounted for?”

Answers: 1) All indications suggest it has been moved.

2) James wasn’t captured.

3) I didn’t.

4) It’s the first airing that garners all the attention.

Arctic Goddess writes: “Why was there a fire truck at Bridge Studios today? I heard it was a big enough deal to stop production.”

Answer: All good.  Everything’s under control.  Move along.  Nothing to see here.

Duggy writes: “Is there going to be an Atlantis movie? None of this finances bull we’ve been hearing, just a straight up yes or no.”

Answer: Oh, I’m sorry.  I didn’t realize I was inconveniencing you by not getting you this information sooner.  I’ll have someone at the studio give you a call and fill you in personally.  Just make sure they don’t give you any of this “finances bull” about needing money to make the movie and crap like that because the truth is we do it all for the love of the art…and discerning fans such as yourself.

Randomness writes: “but question on my mind is, where did 300,000 people go when it came to Episode 19? Did they fall asleep before it aired? DVR figures for that episode would be interesting.”

Answer: True.  As for the reason for the dip – no idea, but the fact that we didn’t air the previous week could have had something to do with it.  The casual viewer may have simply assumed our season was done.

June 2, 2010: Elyse Levesque Answers Your Questions!

It’s finally here!  That long-awaited Elyse Levesque Q&A you’ve all been asking about!  Much thanks to the lovely Elyse for taking time out from her busy schedule (she has a job, y’know!) to answer our questions in very entertaining fashion.  I’m pleased she was able to actually slow down long enough to field our queries. Fact is, for the first few months of production, I didn’t have a single picture of Elyse because she was always on the move – and by move, I mean dancing.  Yep, she’d be boogie-ing so much between takes that my attempts to snap a candid shot of her would end up…well…

Elyse Levesque behind-the-scenes on Time.

Anyway, what can I say about the supremely talented Ms. Levesque? She sings, she dances, she acts, she raps, she scuba dives in alien tanks.  “What’s that?”you say.  She scuba dives in alien tanks?  “No, the other one?” Oh, yeah.  Apparently, she raps.  Check out the NSFW video at the end of the Q&A…

Lisa R. writes: “Questions for Elyse: How did you like being in the water tank?  Was it difficult reacting to what else was going on in the scene when you were in the water?”

EL: It was difficult to see what exactly I was looking at through the tank, so I pretty much had to take my own cues. Other than that, it was actually a very relaxing experience. Our stunt coordinator James Bamford (aka “BamBam”) made sure I felt super comfortable and even gave me a quick scuba lesson beforehand. Overall, a really cool experience!!

Bryan M. White writes: “Quick question for Elyse. I have heard in interviews that many actors struggle with (or become effected by) the stress of emotional scenes.  Now Chloe is in a difficult situation because she just lost her father, she found out that her boyfriend is cheating on her, she is constantly questioning whether she belongs on the ship, and she has been though a lot of trauma in “Space”.  Sorry for the pun. I didn’t realize till after I typed it. But my question is whether those feelings of losing faith have ever had an effect on you while playing this role? How do you deal with that stress at the end of the day?

Thanks for your time. Best wishes,
Bryan”

EL: Emotional scenes definitely take their toll, but I find them to be more therapeutic than anything. As actors it’s part of our job to go into those dark, messy places. I think it’s important to leave “the work” at work and not take it home with you.

Sean D. writes: “Two questions for Elyse: 1. What was one of the most heart-felt moments for you with the rest of the cast and crew during SGU’s first season?

EL: When we all got together to watch the pilot episode. Production rented out a theatre, so it was like we were having our own mini-premier. It was such fun for everyone to watch it together and to finally see the results of our hard work.

“2. What was one of the funniest moments for you and the rest of the cast and crew during SGU’s first season?”

EL: Everyday on set provides plenty of comedy, especially with this cast!! We’re a crazy bunch and once we get started, it’s really hard for us to stop. But I think one of my fondest memories is early last season, during the pilot actually, when Louis got his hands on a fart machine and proceeded to punk people from that day till the very end of shooting.

Shawna writes: “Okay, questions for Elyse:
What are you most hoping for or looking forward to in regards to future character development for Chloe?
Also, if you could choose, what role (if any) would you have her develop on the ship (as far as how the others are scientists, soldiers, etc.)?
What do you think Chloe’s opinion of Eli is? (Is she oblivious to the fact that he has feelings for her, or what?)
If you personally had to choose between Eli or Scott (or any of the other male characters for that matter) who would you choose?”

EL: What’s great about Chloe is that the possibilities as to where her character can go are endless. I would love to see her come into her own and take on a leadership, perhaps in an area that would allow her to exercise her skills as a political science major. As far as the Chloe/Eli relationship is concerned, I do think she’s aware that he has feelings for her, but I think that her feelings don’t go beyond friendship at this point. She cares about him very much, and values his friendship, which is something she would never want to jeopardize. The last thing she would want to do is hurt him. If I were in Chloe’s shoes, I would choose the blue aliens. I’ve always had a weakness for foreigners ;).

Crayonbaby writes: “Of all the actors you work with on SGU, who tells the best jokes? With all the seriousness of the storylines, I’m sure it’s great to have someone who can lighten the mood, if just a little.”

EL: It’s hard to say who tells the best jokes, as Louis Ferraira, David Blue and Peter Kelamis all have quite the arsenal of funnies that they like to bust out between set-ups. Louis tells them as though he were performing a one-act play, so he may just get my vote because of that. But damn, they all know how to make us laugh.

Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television

Abby writes: “Here’s a few questions for Elyse.  First off, thanks soooo much for taking the time to answer fan questions. I really appreciate it! =D  1. Did you always want to be an actress? If not, what other careers were you interested in?”

EL: For as long as I can remember I wanted to be an actress, but I think I toyed with the idea of being a marine biologist or a veterinarian for a hot minute when I was ten. Who knows if I would have gone into either of those fields had I not ended up in this industry. I think I probably would’ve become an art historian or done something in the visual arts.

“2. Are you reading any books right now? Which ones?”

EL: I’ve just started reading Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina”.

“3. How did you get into acting?”

EL: I auditioned for a children’s television series called “The Incredible Story Studio” when I was 11. The first episode I did was called “Hugo and the Haunted Cheese” and I played Candace Wilkes, the snobby teachers pet. As you can imagine, it was the role of a lifetime ;).

Danielle writes: “What would you say was the hardest scene to shoot in the first half of season 1?”

EL: One of the hardest scenes for me, probably would have been in the pilot where my character attacks Rush after her father dies. The emotional and physical demands of that scene were both very challenging. I felt terrible having to beat up poor Bobby, but he was a trooper and insisted I just go for it. Funny part is that I was probably more bruised after that scene than he was!

“What is your favorite episode that you’ve shot so far? And, last one i promise, Do you think that Eli has a shot at being with chloe? I really hope so because I love the Eli/Chloe pairing ^_^

Thanks btw you are awesome”

EL: My favorite episode of the first half is “Time”. I think it stands out. Everyone brought their best game to the table in that episode and it shows. As far as Eli and Chloe are concerned, you never know where the writers may take the relationship, but I think it’s a stronger choice to not have them get together because once you cross that bridge, there’s no turning back. There’s something enticing about not giving the audience what they want and I think the constant desire to see these two together will keep certain fans tuning in!

Cody writes: “Questions for the extraordinarily lovely Elyse Levesque: 1. What is it like doing the DVD commentaries? (I’ve always been curious about that.)

EL: DVD commentaries are a blast! For one, we get to see the episode, which is always a treat, but it’s nice to be able to share with people all the ins and outs of what it took to make what you’re seeing happen.

“2. Would you like your character to have a more specific role on the ship like how Eli’s become integrated into the science team?”

EL: Definitely, but I think that’s something that will come with time. It wouldn’t make sense for Chloe to all of a sudden be manning a shuttle or sorting out the secrets of the ship’s systems. It wouldn’t be believable. But I imagine that she will slowly but surely find her footing and eventually assume a specific role on the ship.

“3. What do you think of the series’ music?  Thanks for taking the time to answer some of our questions.”

EL: I love a lot of the musical choices for the show, even some of the more contemporary songs. Our composer Joel Goldsmith has done a brilliant job giving the show it’s own sound.

Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

Anais33 a ecrit: “Alors…mes questions à Elyse!  1. Avant de jouer dans SGU aviez vous déjà vu un épisode de la franchise stargate?”

EL: Non, je n’ai jamais regardé d’épisodes. Mais avoir décroché le rôle de Chloe Armstrong, je me suis intéressée à SG-1.

“2. Vous devez vraiment bien vous amusez sur le tournage, qui est le plus comique dans le cast?”

EL: Il y a plusieurs personnes drôles sur le “set”. Mais je pense que Louis Ferraira est le plus comique.

“3. Quel scéne dans sgu a était la plus difficile a jouer? Pourquoi?”

A: Peut-être la scène où mon père meurt. On a tourné cette scène pendant 4 heures, et j’ai pleuré chaque fois, ce qui m’a beaucoup épuisée, mais avec le “fun” que nous avons sur le plateau, ca en vaut toujours la peine.

“4. Je sais que vous parlez bien français pouvez vous dire un petit message aux french fans?”

EL: J’aimerais dire un très grand merci pour votre support et passion pour notre série. Nous ne pourrions rien faire de tout cela sans vous.

Madwelshboy writes: “For Elyse: 1) What’s you favorite season 1 episode and why?:

EL: Time. ‘Cause it’s kind of badass.

“2) What yous favorite Chloe momment or line, so far?”

EL: My favorite line was from Human, when Chloe shows off her archaeological expertise with this neverending line: “Actually, many advanced alien civilizations found in the Milky Way and Pegasus Galaxies lived in what appeared to be primitive stone architecture that concealed extremely powerful technology…”. Try delivering that without passing out. Phew.

“3) Other than Chloe, which character is your favorite?”

EL: I have a thing for Rush.

“4) If you could use one word to discribe each of your fellow cast mate, what word would you use?”

EL: Robert Carlyle: Powerful

Louis Ferraira: Hafrigginlarious

Brian J. Smith: Classic

David Blue: Smarty-pants (I realize that’s technically two words, but I hyphened it to make it one so that I wasn’t cheating. Although I still kind of am. Whatever. Go with it.)

Alaina Huffman: Inspiring

Jamil Walker Smith:  Oneofakind

Ming Na: Stunning

Lou Diamond Phillips: Charming

“5) I’m sure a lot of people want to know this, Brian J Smith is he a good kisser?”

EL: Yes, the boy has an exceptional set of lips and he certainly knows how to use them.

Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television

Craig writes: “Question for Elyse: If someone really did offer you a chance to go to another planet via a stargate or spaceship would you take it? And if you did go, what would you take with you on the trip (for survival purposes or just as “comfort items”)?”

EL: Oh yeah, I’d be hip to it! And I’d probably take my toothbrush, some deodorant, my slippers……and Chuck Norris.

Tammy Dixon writes: “Questions for Elyse: What is the most physically uncomfortable scene you have had to do in this or any show?
Dog, or cat person?”

EL: The scenes in the water tank in Space and Divided were challenging, but a lotta fun. The harder part was having to hold my breathe for the whole sequence. But, I got a free scuba lesson out of it, so worth it!!! And Dogs all the way :).

Logan writes: “Hey Elyse, 1. There has been a lot of criticism directed towards the under-development of female characters on SGU. What’s your take on that?”

EL: I am curious to know what exactly the fans want to see from these female characters. I see very strong, intelligent, beautiful, interesting women being depicted on this show, who are flawed and vulnerable and who are, in my opinion, far more relatable than what we see in a lot of other sci-fi shows.

2. I have high hopes for the development of your character on the show. What are your hopes for character development? So far through the production of Season 2, are they coming to fruition.”

EL: Actually, I feel like where I saw my character going is far different from where the writers have taken her in the Second Season. But they have in fact, given her a storyline far cooler than anything I could have imagined for her! I’m super excited to see how it all unfolds and hope that the events that happen to her lend themselves to giving Chloe a more purposeful place onboard Destiny.

“3. How has the being on SGU changed your life?”

EL: Life itself is the same in many ways, but what’s wonderful now is that I get to go to a job everyday that I love and get to work with such amazing people. It’s a privilege to enjoy what you do and I feel so fortunate to have become a part of the Stargate family.

“What’s your favourite Chloe-moment in S1?  Could you describe what was it like to be filmed in a water tank (“Space”)? It sure looked scary.”

EL: It looks a lot scarier than it was. Our Stunt Coordinator “BamBam” also known as James Bamford, made sure I felt comfortable in the tank and took such good care of me, that I had nothing to worry about other than just relaxing and having fun. To be honest the tank was so warm, the only bad part was having to get out of it.

“Chloe is starting to grow on me. I feel for her, because she doesn’t think she’s useful. Is Chloe going to find something to do on the ship?”

EL: I think she’ll keep discovering things about herself and how she can be of more help onboard. It wouldn’t have made sense for her to suddenly be manning a shuttle or solving the ship’s systems. So, yes she feels useless at first but eventually she’ll find her footing.

Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television

“How much similarities are between you and the character you play?”

EL: We both have brown hair. We both have blue eyes. And we both like to do yoga. It’s like we were separated at birth. 😉

“You’ve said that your favourite character is Rush. What’s it like working with Robert Carlyle?”

EL: Robert (or Bobby as we all lovingly call him) is a rockstar. He’s about as cool as they come. Super grounded, honest and real, and completely, 100% about the work. He sets a good example for the rest of us to follow and I think he can be attributed to the reason why this show is such a pleasure to work on.

Maggiemayday writes: “For Elyse: I rarely have coherent questions which no one else has asked… so incoherent question time: dark or milk chocolate? Do you think bacon is a food group? Thanks for all your hard work on the show!”

EL: Dark chocolate. And no, I don’t think bacon is a food group. However, I have had chocolate covered bacon…so there’s that.

PBMom writes: “FANTASTIC! ELYSE is in the house: My questions: 1. Did you hurt Robert Carlyle when you mowed him over in Air after Chloe’s father died?”

EL: I think I actually walked away with more bumps and bruises than he did! I’m quite fragile turns out.

“2. In the scene with Chloe’s dad dying, did you draw on any particular life event or is it more acting in the moment. Gosh, that scene just ripped my heart out  in sympathy and pain for Chloe. It was so real.”

EL: Thank you very much! It was a tough scene to play, but I got to work a lot of stuff out. I’ve never experienced the loss of a parent, but I have lost other important people in my life, so I definitely drew from that. It’s icky, but you do have to put yourself in that situation, convincing yourself that that really is your father on the other side of the airlock.

“3. Twitter: Blessing or curse or a little bit of both?”

EL: It’s a necessary evil.

“4. Where were you when you heard about season 2 getting picked up?”

EL: I was in my living room and got a phone call from one of our Producers. It was mid December so it was kind of like Christmas came early!

“5. Do you like a particular yoga method over another?”

EL: Am a huge fan of both Bikram’s and Power yoga. Like to balance it out by doing both.

“6. No question, just a thank you for doing so many commentaries. They were fantastic and I hope you loved doing them as much as we have enjoyed them. I have missed the actors of the Stargate franchise doing commentaries for a very long time. I hope we’ll see more during 1.5 and 2.0 and 2.5 and 3.0, etc. And thank you for doing this Q&A. I was just telling Sherry (Brian’s mom) the other day that there is no other TV show where the stars of the show (so many of them, too) are so accessible, gracious and generous to the fans. You rock.”

EL: Wow! Thank you so much for all of that. We know how lucky we are to have such a dedicated fanbase! We appreciate you guys and love to be able to share our passion for this show with you. Cheers!

Terror on the set of Time.

Craseder writes: “To Elyse: What’s it like working with Brian when your characters are in such a close relationship? Do you ever have really akward moments off-camera?”

EL: Brian and I get along great on and off the set. We’re pretty fortunate that everyone in this cast is just so darn neat that all we ever want to do is hang out together! It only gets awkward when somebody farts. Kidding. Farts on our set our practically mandatory. A right of passage, if you will…

Ytimynona writes: “Questions for Elyse Levesque:
1) Have you ever seen the Jolly Roger on Regina’s mighty shores? 
2) On Wikipedia it says you traveled the world modeling between high school and being a full time actress. Can you share with us any awesome world travel experiences/stories?
3) You deliver some lines/beats that could be taken as either serious or comedy in a very subtly comedic fashion, which makes them that much more hilarious. Do you have a background or training in comedy?”

EL: 1) I have not been so fortunate to see the Jolly Roger on Regina’s mighty shores. I have, however, heard that song one time too many.

2) I saw Giorgio Armani walking down a beach in St. Tropez wearing just a speedo and a gold chain that went nicely with his white chest hair.

3) If I ever say or do anything funny, it’s completely by accident. Honestly, I have so much respect for comedic actors because I think it’s one of the hardest skills to develop.

Simon writes: “These are questions for Elyse (hope there not too late!)  1) I’ve heard you had quite a lot to do in the episode Space (UKer here ) was that, in your opinion as an Actress the most fun you’ve had on the set so far?”

EL: Speaking of “Space”, that was one of my favorite episodes to shoot. I felt like an badass action hero getting to do all my own stunts in the tank. I think it’s always fun getting to do that kind of stuff, because it’s not an everyday occurrence. I mean, how often do you get to wear pleather while being submerged underwater because a bunch of scary aliens have kidnapped you and are about to probe your mind…? Am I right?!

“2) I honestly do not see all these comments about your character, how do you take the comments from the fandom?”

EL: It is what it is. I try to look at it from the perspective of, “I don’t like every character on every TV show I see out there, so why should I expect everyone to like my character?”.

“3) Who’s been the most fun to do scenes with on SGU so far?”

EL: I don’t get to work with Louis Ferraira that often, but whenever I do it’s always a memorable experience. He gets me laughing during setups and sometimes even in the middle of a take. A regular prankster that one!

Major D. Davis writes: “1. Do you think Chloe has any feelings for Eli? They seem to be great friends, but i feel like there’s potential for more. I think Eli was right in Time, when he was saying he thought they “Made each other happy when they’re together”. I mean, it seems like Chloe is happier around Eli. Do you think your character feels for Eli in a romantic way?”

EL: I think Chloe genuinely loves Eli, but in a purely platonic way. I think from the start she saw him as the best friend she never had, but always wanted. She knows that his feeling go beyond friendship, but overlooks it for selfish reasons of wanting him to still be a part of her life. I think the last thing she intends to do is hurt him, but that’s just what happens when feelings get in the mix. Who knows where things may lead and one day she might wake up and decide that she’s ready to love him, and it might be too late. I think it’s stronger for the time being that these characters don’t entertain a romantic relationship, but for the possibility of that occurrence to always be there.

“2. What is your favorite prank that has been pulled on an SGU set?”

EL: Louis Ferraira and his infamous fart machine and the endless number of pranks he has pulled with that darn thing.

“3. What SGU character do you admire most and why?”

EL: Rush. He’s so dislikable and yet completely intriguing. You’re almost rooting for him even though you know he’s a selfish little “bleep”.

“4. Do you think the relationship between Matt and Chloe has to do more with the emotional bond or the physical bond? (Or as Lisa Park would put it, the “Reading” bond).”

EL: I think initially it was a physical bond, intensified by the circumstances, but the relationship has taken a more serious turn, which I think is a first for both of these characters. They’ve been through so much together that you can’t help but build an emotional attachment to one another. Will it stand the test of time? We shall see.

Chevron7 writes: “Questions for Elyse: 1. Do you get nervous at auditions? What was your audition for the role of Chloe like?”

EL: Do I ever. Sometimes I work myself up so much I feel like I might faint. But once I’m in the room I usually am able to focus and channel all that nervous energy into the work. My audition for Chloe was a bit of a process. I put it on tape first, here in Vancouver, then flew down to LA for my screen test. Was very nervous, mostly of the unknown as I’d never tested before, but when I walked into the room there were so many happy faces looking back at me that I felt immediately at ease. Before I knew it, it was all over and then came the long, tedious process of waiting to hear back. That’s probably the worst part.

“3. Will we see Chloe play more of a liaison role in dealing with aliens in upcoming episodes? Is this where she finds her purpose on the Destiny?”

EL: We might see some repercussions from her run-in with the aliens. Who knows what sort of effect this will have on her, and Rush for that matter. But it could set up some interesting plot points further on down the line.

Alien fruit-picking in Time. Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

“4. Although horrible do you think being trapped on Destiny was actually a good thing to happen to Chloe in the grand scheme of things? The way I see it if she  stayed on Earth she most likely would have married the boyfriend who would likely have cheated on her the whole time and she would work for her father until he retired and never actually found herself.”

EL:  I believe everything happens for a reason. I think it was her destiny (pun intended) to end up onboard that ship.

“5. Are you a cat or dog person?”

EL: Dog.

“6. Do you find emotional or action scenes more challenging? How do you prepare for each?”

EL: Emotional scenes probably. But to be honest, I find comedic scenes to be even more difficult. Being funny isn’t as easy as Tina Fey makes it look.

“7. What sort of films do you like to watch?”

EL: I’m a softy for any epic love story.

“8. What’s your favourite thing about Vancouver?”

EL: The ocean.

Kabra writes: “Hi Elyse – I made up one of those get to know you quizzes, not to worry it’s real short, I know you have a lot of other questions to answer and are really busy, by the way thanks for taking the time to do this, we fans really appreciate it.
ok here it goes.  Chocolate or vanilla?
Diamonds or pearls?
Beer or wine?
Reggae or jazz?
Beach or mountains?
Foie gras croquettes or banana split?
Rodney McKay or Joe Mallozzi?”

EL: Chocolate all the way. Diamond encrusted pearls ;). Vino. Reggae. Beach. Banana Split. For the sake of keeping my job, Joe.

Craseder writes: “One more for Elyse: Is it LEV-esk, or lev-es-KAY?”

EL: Haha. Question of my life. It’s pronounced Le-veck. The “s” and “ue” are silent.

Otros Ojos writes: “Thanks for doing this Q&A, and also for your contributions to the DVD special features. I’ve enjoyed them a lot. Questions: (1) For purposes of really getting into a role, do you like to imagine as much backstory for a character as you can, even if you don’t yet know a lot about what the creators have in mind for the character? Or, would that get in the way of spontaneity when you get your script and react to whatever has been written for your character?”

EL: I think creating a full, vivid backstory for your character is crucial. It feeds you information as to how your character would react to a certain situation, even how they get themselves ready in the morning or how they carry themselves. Of course the tricky thing with television is that you can discover something about your character’s past further down the line which would’ve been useful to know at the beginning, but you kind of just have to roll with it.

“(2) During breaks on set, is there something especially fun you like to do to decompress?”

EL: Crank up the music in Robert Carlyle’s trailer and have a dance-a-thon!

“(3) Do you have a favorite film genre?”

EL: I’m a sucker for a really good love story. Give me an epic romance set against a beautiful backdrop and I’ll buy a ticket.

Duneknight writes: “Questions for Elyse (chloe): Do you play video games? And if you do what kind?
- who do you like more, the military or the scientists?”

EL: I used to be more into video games when I was younger, but just the classics like Mario Brothers or Duck Hunt. I am, however, digging Rockband, which I must give props to David Blue for introducing me to. I slap some serious bass. As far as the military and scientists are concerned, I don’t think I have a favorite. Both are equally as important and valuable to the survival and maintenance of order among the Destiny’s crew.

Okay, Q&A over. Pencils down. Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

April 22, 2010: Awakening Day #5! Spartacus! Stewie! And some mailbag!

Production Day #5 of Awakening found me back on set at a very manageable 8:00 a.m. this morning.  Understand, it’s not so much that I mind waking up that early than it’s the dogs simply refusing to stir if the alarm sounds anytime before 6:30 a.m.  They’ll actually ignore me, feigning a deep, impenetrable slumber when I call out to them – and then, when I attempt to carry them off the bed, sprawl out and make themselves as awkward and difficult to pick up as possible.  They’re smart.  In fact, I think they’re pretty damn close to figuring out how to reprogram my alarm clock.

Some progress to report on the script front.  I finished a rough draft of Act III yesterday.  It’s a bit…rough.  And a tad expensive.  So far, I’m averaging about one visual effects shot per page!  Call me a pessimist, but I have a feeling that aint gonna fly.

Anybody else catch the finale of Spartacus: Blood and Sand?  The aptly titled “Kill Them All!” wrapped up the show’s first season in bloody spectacular fashion.  What I at first assumed would be little more than an anemic 300 rip-off turned out to be a well written, well acted, well directed, incredibly compelling series.  Sure, I kind of wished they’d made use of some of those spectacular New Zealand vistas, or injected just a little dark humor into the mix, but there’s always season two.  Congrats go out to cast, crew, and, of course, Exec Producer Steven S. DeKnight.  Loved it.

Well, with Spartacus done, I’m down to one lone scripted drama: House.

Stewie, enjoying life in Toronto (whenever Brie isn't using him as her own personal chew toy).

Mailbag:

Noelm writes: “It’s obvious to me. The reason for Ashleigh’s negligence is that her friends are about half your age. Ya dirty old man.”

Answer: Wow.  That’s harsh.  We’re not talking May-December romance here.  More of a June-October thing.  History is filled with many such happy relationships: Rochester and Jane Eyre,  Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, U.S. President Grover Cleveland and his First Lady  Frances Folsom, that cadaverous rock guitarist and his bartender girlfriend.  Besides, I’ve been told I act very immature for my age.

Shawna writes: “Why hasn’t Ashleigh introduced me to any of her cute, single friends yet? …Did I miss something?”

Answer: Possibly.  Did you forget to set your DVR?  How many episodes have you missed?  The network work was inundated with emails by anti-shippers and eventually decided to shake things up by having the producers write out one of the characters.

Natasha writes: “Decadent, rich chocolate, covered in flowers – Vosges must be run by people that know women because they killed two birds with one stone. Thanks for letting Ashleigh share the chocolates with us gals! And, to Lawren for not enjoying them. He’ll eat brains, but not flowers and chocolate?”

Answer: Yeah, what is up with that guy?  And I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the rose truffles.  It was my pleasure.  Hey, since we’re on the topic of food – do you like crispy duck?

Tim Lade writes: “Quick question for you Joe…what exactly is a consulting producer vs. executive producer.”

Answer: It really depends on the production.  In my case, the difference between being a Consulting Producer last year and an Executive Producer this year comes down to meaningful input on all stages of production vs. actual hands-on producing (prepping, dealing with budgets, being on-set, doing my own cuts).

crayonbaby writes: “Is Lou Diamond Phillips coming back for any episodes?”

Answer: Aw, you shouldn’t believe me, even if I did tell you.

MrsB. writes: “Will Destiny ever pick up any new permanent/semi-permanent residents?”

Answer: Stay tuned.

October 27, 2009: Production on season one winds down as preparations for a possible season two start up.

Boy, that was fast!  It seems like just yesterday we were touring the half-constructed Destiny set over on Stage 4, watching it all come together and working on scripts for Stargate: Universe’s first season.  Suddenly, it’s nine months later, we’re finishing up production on year one and already thinking ahead to next season.

This week, we say our goodbye’s – actually, let’s stay positive and call them see-you-later’s – to our wonderful cast and crew.  Yesterday, it was two actors whose work I’ve admired for years and who, over the course of this season, surpassed my lofty expectations both on set and off: the lovely Ming-Na and the equally lovely Lou Diamond Phillips.  Great performers, yes, but, more importantly, incredibly warm, kind, and buoyant individuals.   Lots fun.

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Ming-Na and Louis approve of SGU's first season.

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The Two Colonels (Lou Diamond Phillips and Louis Ferreira).

Today, it was see-you-later to three more cast members.  First up, another class act: the great Robert Carlyle.  On any production, number one on the call sheet sets the tone for the entire cast.  If your star is a jerk, then you’re in for a hellishly loooooong production.  But if your headliner is professional and considerate, then the production will be heavenly and over before you know it.  And, like I’ve already said, time HAS flown.  Bobby has been a delight to work with – kind, humble, and nothing short of spectacular every time he’s onscreen.

It was also the last day for funnyman Louis Ferreira.  Yes, it’s true.  Funnyman.  In truth, Louis is VERY different from the brooding, authoritarian Colonel Everett Young you see on SGU.

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An atypically brooding Louis Ferreira

Trust me, it’ll be a while before you see Young wildly launching into hilarious impersonations or jumping into the catering truck to serve that day’s lunch:

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Hey, buddy, do you want apple pie with that?
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Two thumbs up for the rib-eye and cheesecake!

Louis is a wacky, wonderful guy who really should be doing comedy.  But only once SGU wraps.  Give it another 5-10 years.

Finally, another see-you-later for the drop-dead gorgeous and hugely talented Elyse Levesque whose performances this year have never failed to impress.  Also, she is quite possibly the sweetest person I know.

Between all those goodbyes, we finally found time to sit down and start tossing around ideas for season 2.  We have a general sense of where we want to go in those first ten and have some surprises in store for all of our major players.  Tomorrow, we get down to it and start fleshing out those individual stories, seeding and developing the various character arcs.

Mailbag:

Matt Boesch writes: “my question is does Daniel Jackson have the ATA Gene?”

Answer: Nope.

JYS writes: “Apparently a friend of Katherine is on SGU playing someone in the military…”

Answer: Yes.  Airman Becker (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman).

Sarah Lee writes: “Can the SGU shuttle go through a Stargate?”

Answer: The shuttle is significantly larger than a puddle jumper, and a jumper could JUST make it through, so I’d have to say no, do not even try it.

Bilo&Bella writes: “On another note, Joe, have you read any Naomi Novik?”

Answer: Yes, I read the first book in the series and liked it.  If you do a search of this blog, I’m sure you’ll come up with my thoughts on In His Majesty’s Service.

Tim Gaffney writes: “Does that mean that the ship can’t dial Earth or that it would require an incredible amount of power.”

Answer: The latter.

Tim Gaffney also writes: “If it is the later, could they dial Earth at a point that they are inside a Sun refueling?”

Answer: Hey, that’s a pretty good idea!

Saltygrapes writes: “They’ve known each other… two, three days now? In those few days, Scott was off-world twelve hours and they were dealing with a life support and power crisis. Scott also spent a ton of time figuring out how to operate the shuttle. Chloe’s relationship with Eli was much more fleshed out and shown on-screen in Darkness, while Chloe and Scott had minimal interaction (if any?). Through the series so far, we have seen Scott ask Chloe about her father, and we have seen them share a moment at the end of Air III.”

Answer: It’s less about the time than what they make of it.  The conversation they had about her father and Scott’s later confession about his family after he almost died off-world were intensely personal moments in which the two trusted, took comfort, and fully opened up to one another.  There’s also the fact that they share a mutual physical attraction.  Suddenly, facing seemingly certain death, they are afforded the one opportunity to consummate this relationship and they take it.  Comparing the Chloe-Scott relationship with the Chloe-Eli relationship isn’t fair since, in spite of how well Chloe and Eli may have hit it off, she doesn’t like him “that way”.  If it were simply a matter of forming a romantic relationship with whoever you’ve spent more time with then, by that logic, I should have married my writing partner.

Saltygrapes also writes: “Furthermore we are shown flashbacks of Scott’s past in which he had a major negative experience in a situation like that. Don’t you think that would weigh into his mind before sleeping with a girl he’s known all of three days?”

Answer: Again, if you’re faced with the prospect of no tomorrow, you’ll try to make the very most of today.  And they did.

T’loc writes: “My 1st thought as to how the writers view Eli based on your response to both Tammy Dixon and Mary questions and also the Kino scene thats now on the MGM website is that Eli is a punk who should hold and bury his feelings for Chloe and accept Scott but still be her friend.  I don’t know any real young man or woman who would do that to themselves.”

Answer: That would be the mature response.  What alternatives do you suggest?  Should he end his friendships with both of them because Chloe had the audacity to fall for someone else?

T’loc also writes: “So I hope whatever path you folks are going with the Eli-Scott-Chloe thing will not go further than at least the next two episode…”

Answer: In the interest of full disclosure prepare to have your hopes dashed.

DasNdanger writes: “Joe – a quick question about Chloe and Scott – did they know (or know of) each other before getting stranded on Destiny??”

Answer: Nope.

Josua Meyers Extraordinary Teenager writes: “You say it takes several million years to get home with FTL technology if the Destiny does a U-turn. But what if somehow they retro-fitted a wormhole drive or hyperdrive?”

Answer: Where the heck would they pick up a wormhole drive or hyper drive?

Ryan writes: “How did the Ancients go about making their ZPMs, and why hasn’t the Atlantis crew figured out how to replicate the process yet?”

Answer: No one knows how the Ancients went about making their ZPMSs – which is why the Atlantis crew haven’t figured out a way to replicate the process.

Aragon101 writes: “Do you ever read SG Fanfiction?”

Answer: Nope.

Skontel writes: “ However, my position would be that she doesn’t really share a friendship with Eli. She pretty much abuses the fact that Eli has feelings for her, and offers him little in return in form of friendship.”

Answer: If Eli didn’t value Chloe’s friendship and enjoy her company, he wouldn’t be spending time with her.

Skontel also writes: “Can you tell us if Rush has always been difficult to work with, or has something (recent?) event in his life made him so? If it was something recent, will we learn the details of it (apart from a photo and some tears)?”

Answer: Some later episodes (Human in particular) will shed some light on the good doctor.

J writes: “I will only say that I think that gratitude should be a mutual thing. And, I am hoping that you feel the same way because I am not sure that I felt that from your response.”

Answer: I was being sarcastic.

GateShip1 writes: “Where do we post questions to be answerd in the mailbag stuff?”

Answer: Uh, here.

Sparky writes: “For me i dont understand how scott could go from troubled and having sex with someone in the closet type to softie gentle and ‘loving’ cloe type.”

Answer: Perhaps one was nothing more than a fun hook-up while the other was more meaningful.

Anais33 a ecrit: “Regardez Joseph j’ai déguiser mon chien^^!”

Reponse: Il est bien cute!

Mary writes: “I meant it in terms of using her body in exchange for Scott helping her get a place on that shuttle (and if she did it once, I see her doing it again; I think she’s very likely to manipulate Eli, for example).”

Answer: If that were her motive, why didn’t she ask Scott to get her on the shuttle?  More importantly, given that the decision was in Colonel Young’s hands, wouldn’t it have made more sense for her to sleep with him?

Mary also writes: “I think yes, he’d go to bed with Chloe, but I would think there would be a little more space and time between James and Chloe, and I think he’d actually develop a relationship with her.”

Answer: See my response on this subject above.  Given what they both went through (Chloe’s loss of her father, Scott’s near-death experience) they have grown close and bonded. This IS the beginning of their relationship.  And while it certainly would have been nice to wait, they were faced with the prospect that they wouldn’t get another chance so they took it.

PBMom writes: “John Shepard’s character on SGA was quite the womanizer. I don’t recall hearing any complaints about that.”

Answer: No.  In his case, it was viewed as amusingly incorrigible.

PBMom also writes: “My husband wondered, however, how the docking seal wasn’t damaged after the shuttle violently backed up into it because it certainly looked like the whole thing moved. How did they possibly get a hard seal?”

Answer: You’ll get a better look at how those docking clamps work later this season.

PBMom also writes: “Is this the first episode that Peter DeLuise directed that he wasn’t in even in the background.”

Answer: Actually, he does have a cameo.  In one of the first scenes at Homeworld Command, Telford walks up to a guy sitting at the stone console and relieves him.  He ever refers to him as Peter.

Sprinkles writes: “Have you reached the Vimes/Nightwatch series of the Terry Pratchett series of books? I have read them all but these are my favourites.”

Answer: A few.  Loved Guards! Guards!

Juralas writes: “Have you read the Song of Ice and Fire series?”

Answer: Yes.  I’m a huge fan of the series.

October 2, 2009: Actor David Blue Answers Your Questions! And STARGATE: UNIVERSE Premieres!

David Blue, Stargate: Universe's Eli Wallace (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television).
David Blue, Stargate: Universe's Eli Wallace (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television).

Tonight’s the night!  9:00 p.m. on SyFy (Space for you Canadians).  Make sure to tune in.  And make sure that everyone you know is tuning in!

Plenty of early morning excitement at the Bridge Studios with Global Television broadcasting live from the location, offering up behind-the-scenes glimpses and interviews with the cast and crew.  Alas, I’m at home today and missed all the fun but, according to Exec. Producer Carl Binder, it went swimmingly.  The high point was an interview with some of the cast members in which actor Jamil Walker Smith (SGU’s Ronald Greer) made a straight-faced passing reference to the two years of training in zero-G that the actors had to endure prior to filming.  He seemed so earnest, in fact, that the interviewer apparently took him at his word and didn’t even call him on it.

Carl also informed me that we all received bottles of champagne in advance of our premiere, compliments of former Stargate Exec. Producer Martin Gero.  “What did you send him for the premiere of Bored to Death?”asked Carl.  I considered for all of two seconds: “Nothing.”  Another awkward pause and then Carl: “Neither did I.”  Damn!  When you think about it, Martin Gero is really making us look bad.  What a jerk!  Oh, we’ll drink his champagne alright, but we won’t enjoy it.  Much!  (P.S. Martin’s show, Bored to Death airs Sunday nights at 9:30 pm. following Curb Your Enthusiasm).

Finally, an extra special treat for you soon-to-be Stargate: Universe fans.  I turn this blog over to actor David Blue, SGU’s resident uber-geek Eli Wallace, for his much-anticipated Q&A.  Almost every review to date has lauded David’s performance in Air I, II, and III, citing his engaging onscreen presence and his character’s sense of humor.  All great except that the best is yet to come – and by “the best”, I refer to David’s stand-out performances in some of the show’s more emotionally resonant scenes.  He’s much, MUCH more than just “the funny guy”.  That said, he IS pretty damn funny.

So, like Brian J. Smith’s (Lieutenant Matthew Scott) Q&A before it, this Q&A is intended to introduce you to the actor, the character, and give you a little teaser of the upcoming series.  Several months from now, once you’re all well-versed in SGU and its various players, I hope to have both David and Brian (in addition to a slew of other cast and crewmembers) back on this blog for another round.

But for now, I turn things over to David…

DB: Hey everyone! Before I even start answering the boatload of questions you graciously submitted, I just wanted to thank you all for the interest. I’m insanely excited to see what you and the rest of planet Earth think of the show. And just the thought that all of you have questions for me before you even really get to “meet” the character of Eli is a wonderful show of support. Love you all! And on to the grilling!!!

(A warning: I type stream of consciousness, so I apologize if you get annoyed with my ellipses or commas.)

Caitlyanna writes: “Being a Stargate fan, how intense has it been knowing the expectations of the fans? Does it get nerve-racking?”

DB: Well, Caitlyanna, I kind of enjoy it. I mean, it’s amazing to think that there is already a very devoted and passionate group of people before our show even premieres. I don’t think a lot of other shows can claim something so incredible. So, in a way, it’s comforting to know that there are people out there who really want this show to be phenomenal AND have such high expectations. It gives us all something to work towards and when we achieve it, something to be proud of. I think it’s only nerve-wracking when we meet you guys face-to-face, because then you can throw things at us. *laugh* Please don’t.

“What was the most memorable experience on set so far?”

DB: To me, the things that really stick out are the scenes where the rest of the world melts away and you find yourself truly “in it”. In past shows, this might only happen with certain actors or situations, but it’s a testament to the quality of talent we have on this show that I find it happening quite a bit. The first time was a scene from “Air” with Robert Carlyle. The man is so brilliant to be with that you find the world, with all of the cameras and lights, to melt into fantasy and the world of the Destiny and SGU to become real. It really is a thrill as an actor and a privilege. On a dorky side-note, I love scenes with all of us main cast together. We really do get along well in real life and enjoy each other’s company. Because of this, we have a blast working in the same room. Sometimes too much. There’s a lot of laughter on our set. Which is funny when you consider the situation we’re all in.

Specifically, I think any of my initial interactions with the technology were pretty memorable. When Eli first discovers… well… we’ll call them “things” for now… he has to learn how to use them. It was kind of a great “oh yeah” moment when I first realized that anything I decided on — as far as how the devices work and are controlled — will be the official way it’s used from here on out, for everyone. We’re literally writing the book on the different devices. Especially having just re-watched “Galaxy Quest” with some of my castmates, I felt a lot of pressure to make sure I did it in a way that made sense… at least enough for the people who eventually develop the technology to base it off of. 🙂 Once you see how everything works, if you pay attention, you’ll see that there is usually a technique and specific controls for everything I do in the show. I need to have that established for myself to make it feel real.

Aside from that? Two words. New Mexico. Wow. Just… wow.

Ytimyona writes: “I know you’re a huge science fiction fan. Which do you prefer, Star Wars or Star Trek? Which is your favorite Trek?”

DB: That’s a hard one Ytimyona… I love them both. I do have to admit that Star Trek will always have a special place in my heart. I was a HUGE “Star Trek: The Next Generation” fan growing up. It was a show that a group of friends and I always spoke about and found things in to get excited about. So much so that I will admit to dressing up as Riker once or twice. Heehee. It really was a great allegory sometimes and had amazingly interesting stories to tell. I’ve continued being a fan of the show into the movies and will probably freak out when I meet Jonathan Frakes or Patrick Stewart at some convention I attend for “SGU”. It’s an odd thing Brian J. Smith and I have found in common. And the fact that Robert Carlyle is a fan of the original “Star Trek” just shows how sustaining a franchise like that can be. It’s impressive.

“You and the SGU cast all seem to hang out and have a good time together, whether you are at work or off. Did you know any of the cast before you got the role, or did you all just kind of bond instantly?”

DB: Nope. I had never met any of the cast until the beginnings of “SGU”. Apparently, I met Alaina Huffman at the screen test… and I remember SEEING Louis, Elyse and Brian. But at the time I didn’t register them. I was so concentrated on the screen test! But from the beginning it was apparent that we had some special people on our hands. From day one we’ve all kind of jelled and found common ground. I am proud to call them all friends now. Honestly, I think nothing of it anymore when we all go out to dinner, to see movies, to play ‘Rock Band’ or anything of the sort. It just feels natural. It’s only when people ask me questions like these that I think about how there are probably lots of other shows that don’t have that kind of connection. It makes me feel lucky, really. Of course, check back in season 5 when we’ve all stopped talking and hate everything we stand for. (HA! Just kidding.)

“When you were on set with Alex O’Loughlin for Moonlight, did he keep his American accent when the cameras weren’t rolling? It’s gotta be tough to maintain that! (Sorry, I’ve been dying to know!)”

DB: You know, Alex really is a trip. He’s such a great guy, but you probably don’t realize how hilarious he is. Wonderful sense of humor. I think it’s why we became friends quickly. He apparently loves to screw with people, because I would often find that between scenes he would randomly switch from his (natural) Australian accent to American to British. Mid-sentence sometimes! It seemed so effortless for him. It was pretty impressive. But often I would find myself playing catch-up because I was so taken aback by the change.

On the Destiny observation deck with Elyse Levesque.
On the Destiny observation deck with Elyse Levesque.

BlueCello writes: “if you could be (play) a character in one of the other “star” franchises, who would you choose to be (or play)”

DB: I don’t think it would ever happen, but how cool would it be to play Han Solo? I’m sure that’s what everyone says, but you get to do it all! You can be the hero, the funny guy, the romantic, EVERYTHING! Of course, I don’t know who could do it better than Harrison Ford, so I’d probably just ruin it. So… runner up? I’d love to be Q from “ST: TNG”. He just got to have so much fun! And, come on, who doesn’t want to be omnipotent?

“Whom do you fanboy?”

DB: I have to be honest, BlueCello… I don’t know if it’s the phrasing or if I’m an idiot, but I’m not 100% sure what you mean. I’m guessing you mean who do I freak out over if/when I meet? So, I’m going to answer THAT. 🙂 I tend to not freak out over any old actor, though I also recognize EVERYONE. I’ve always had a good memory for fellow actors. But the people who make me feel like a giddy fanboy are the ones I truly respect as actors (or their projects.) I’ve become extremely tight-lipped when I met Matthew Perry (love “Friends”), Eddie Izzard, Kevin Smith, Courtney Cox, Katee Sackhoff (GORGEOUS and incredibly sweet woman in real-life once I overcame my anxiety), Jessica Biel, Jeffrey Tambor (with my voiceover agent), etc… At Comic-Con this past year, I was lucky enough to have wonderful fun with a lot of the “Battlestar Galactica” cast at our party, but when I met Edward James Olmos after our panel, I’m pretty sure I just looked like a sweaty scared little freak. I could barely talk to the man. As a nerd, I’d freak if I ever met Mark Hamill, Jonathan Frakes, Scott Bakula, or anyone I grew up loving.

PoorOldEdgarDerby writes: “Should we see Eli as a regular joe and relatable, or chide him for not working to his potential, even if he outshines the normies (i.e. average intellegent folk)?”

DB: Actually, PoorOldEdgarDerby, I’m so proud of how the writers created Eli. He really is a vessel for the audience. He’s someone to relate to & someone to experience the world through. And really, what prevents him from working to his potential is simply that he let his life get in the way. And kind of let HIMSELF get in the way. He’s afraid of failure, afraid of disappointing people. But when you are thrust into situations with a bit more… shall we say, weight, to them… you tend to lose that option. I think everyone can relate to a fear of failure. The great strive to work past that. And I hope, over the episodes/seasons, you will see growth in him …and then be able to relate even more.

Otros Ojos writes: “Question for David Blue: Eli Wallace – Playboy, Hot Video Games Roundup, or Astrophysics Monthly? Or something else?”

DB: Who says he can only subscribe to one? 😉 Though he DOES live with his Mom. Don’t know if she’d be cool with Playboy.

Shirt ‘n Tie writes: “Thinking back to the other shows, if you could have auditioned, given your choice, what role would you most liked to have landed? McKay / Jackson / Sheppard?”

DB: I would never in a million years even TRY to PRETEND I’d play any of those roles better than the originals. However, I would’ve loved playing Daniel Jackson. Not only did he start as the nerd, but he grew into such a badass! How cool must that be for Michael?! He’s like a freaking super-spy, brilliant… I mean he freaking ASCENDED! Sheesh.

o6untouchable writes: “As an actor, are there any aspects, gadgets and technologies, particular plot lines or specific aliens from SG-1 and Atlantis that you personally would enjoy the opportunity to act opposite; always wanted to play a Goa’uld, act in a scene with an Asgard, etc?”

DB: As a dork, I think it’d be really cool to act opposite an Asgard. I’d be a little freaked out, having read “Communion”. However, I’d love to say I’d done it. Though I’m sure seeing however they really make the Asgard work might ruin the magic a bit.

Anais33 a ecrit: “Parlez vous un peu français?”

DB: Un peu. — excuse me for answering the rest in English. I took 3 years of Advanced French in high school. Which sadly means that I now have only retained enough of it to say assorted curse words, ask where random things are and point out a few geographical staples. Sad… but also slightly funny. I believe I was a member of the French National Honor Society as well. I’m ashamed. I think I should return my membership card. Ou est le card-returning-box?

EternalDensity writes: “Have you tried to get any other cast (or crew) members on Twitter? How have they responded?”

DB: Where have you been?!? I am proud of say that I’ve already recruited both Ming-Na and Brian J. Smith. In fact, I claim some responsibility for the additions of John G. Lenic, Patrick Gilmore and James Bamford as well. I’ve been trying to wear down a few more of them… but it’s harder than you think. I’m willing to bet money that I’ll be able to get Peter Kelamis (Brody), Jen Spence (Park) and a few others as well. My crowning achievement will be getting either Louis Ferreira or Robert Carlyle (a pipe-dream). Though Louis DID tweet me already from somebody else’s account once!

“What do you think of the Back to the Future trilogy?”

DB: Love, love, love, LOVE. Is that clear enough? I have to say that “Back to the Future II” will always hold a special place in my heart. I just loved the future so much. And hoverboards! I was convinced there was a real one out there somewhere. But all of them are amazing and I have such respect for Michael J. Fox. He’s just amazing. Back then AND now. I loved his work on “Rescue Me” and his work for Parkinson’s research is beyond humbling.

A reflective moment (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television).
A reflective moment (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television).

Otros Ojos writes: “Have you been a sci-fi fan from an early age, or how did that come about?”

DB: In a way, it’s kind of always been there Otros Ojos. I’ve always been a huge fan of television, film, stories of any kind really. So the fantastical world of sci-fi fits in there quite well. And there were such great movies growing up that exposed me to that world. I was a HUGE fan of “Krull” as a kid, “D.A.R.R.Y.L” was my grandfather’s favorite movie to show us, “Project X”, “Gattaca”, “War Games”, loved “Space Camp” (even WENT to Space Camp because of its inspiring me to want to be an astronaut for a while there)… the list goes on forever. These days the actual phrase “sci-fi” has grown to include so much you’d be hard-pressed to find a show that’s NOT sci-fi. I love that. It feels like it’s encompassing the world now and people don’t even realize it.

Iamza writes: “What was it about the shows that drew you in as a viewer, and were you more of a fan of one show over the other?”

DB: I loved the world of the shows. I really did. I was a huge fan of the original movie, so the idea of continuing that world with “SG1” will always hold a special place in my heart. Plus I really enjoyed the way the original team worked off each other. It was enough to make me a fan early on. The writers really did a good job of creating some interesting and thought-provoking stories in that world that made you think. And even better, they kept a sense of humor throughout. I mean, if “Wormhole X-treme” isn’t a hilarious idea, I don’t know what is. “Stargate Atlantis” came about when I was very busy in my personal life. I’ve seen all of the episodes, but I wasn’t able to devote myself to them as much. It became something I enjoyed on VHS tape or my DVR when I got home from work or a long day of auditioning. It was kind of my escape from my regular life. So I’m very thankful to that, but “SG1” will always hold a special place in my heart.

“why did you get onto twitter in the first place? Was it partly in response to some of the attitudes expressed online about SGU when the series was first announced?”

DB: Honestly, I was a member of Twitter before “SGU”. In fact, I joined back when I lived in L.A. still. I had a bunch of friends on it who constantly told me how much fun they were having, so I joined. Actually, I started with two accounts. One for my career and one a little more hidden for my personal thoughts. I’ve since deleted the personal one and just find it so much easier to put all my thoughts on the one official Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/DavidBlue — though those kids have YET to verify me. Sheesh!). I use it for a few reasons. On the one hand, it’s great for getting up-to-date news. I know things going on in the world at the touch of an iPhone button. Also, I can make myself laugh following some of my favorite actors/comedians. Also, I get to see what my friends are up to. A lot of my college friends are in NYC, LA friends are back there, family in Florida/NY, so it’s a way to touch base. And then as an actor, I get to connect with the fans. I often feel bad that I can’t reply to people all the time or often, but thus is the wonderful curse of being busy and working, no? Though if I’ve helped ease any of the tension or worry people had when “SGU” was first announced, I’d consider that a great compliment. Because the truth is, you should all be excited! And it seems like you all are! Yay!

“SGU is touted to be about a bunch of ordinary folk living through extraordinary events. What, in your mind, makes these people so ordinary? I mean, Eli Wallace is a slacker genius, not just some random Joe off the street. What is it that you think most makes Eli someone anybody can relate to?”

DB: “Touted”, eh? Hmmmm…  These people are so ordinary because they simply ARE. It’s not a military “type”, a scientist “type”, a civilian “type” or anything like that (not that they were on the previous incarnations either… AT ALL!) But they’re so much more than that. They have flaws that will bring them down to the human level. They make mistakes that they either need to overcome or atone for. They desire companionship, friendship, respect, acclaim, survival, familiarity… things that ANY of us would desire. It’s important to remember that casting breakdowns are just that. They are often written by people who aren’t actually writing the characters, in their own words, and are used for the purposes of giving a general idea to the agents submitting their talent for the roles. It’s a tool, not a blueprint. There’s so much more to the character. Even that first script fleshed out more than just a “slacker genius”. And as I’ve said before, he’s only a “slacker” in that he hasn’t seen the need to apply himself fully. There’s a lot of potential in Eli, a lot that he COULD do, but as he sees it: isn’t it safer just to not fail? I’ve known many brilliant people in my life. Each in their own way. Some with an incredible drive/motivation, some that seemed to only focus themselves on trivial matters.

Think about it the next time you walk down the street. Just the next time you’re walking to a restaurant, or back from taking the bus or on your way to a movie. Look into the eyes of a handful of people who you pass and let your mind wander. Think about what they might be possibly on their way to do. Is it what they’ve always wanted to do? Is it what they do to make money to support the family they love? Maybe they’re lucky and it’s both. Is it the thing that made them passionate for the first time in their lives? Are they living up to their potential in their chosen field? What is their secret passion or hidden talent that they might’ve had to give up? I think you’d find that there are a lot of very interesting, brilliant people wandering out there. And quite a few of them may not have ever realized it. Now… take away the safety net. Make it about life-or-death. Would they still hold back? That’s a test of a person’s drive. …also, we have no idea how many of those people you considered ARE living their dreams… ARE living to their potential… HAVE secrets. We’re a very diverse people, us humans. 😛

I think what makes Eli especially relatable is that he comes from OUR world. He hasn’t grown up in a world where the Stargate program exists (as far as he knows). There is no such thing as aliens (as far as we know). Technology is as advanced as the latest thing Apple decides to announce. Everything he wants to be real, that he wishes were real, is really described by the term: “sci-fi”. Now, what would happen if it turns out it’s all real? How would YOU, Iamza, react if you got beamed up by General O’Neill and he told you it was all real. Don’t tell anyone… and we need your help. I think that’s something we can all imagine and even more-so hope WOULD happen! 🙂  I think other people can relate to Eli for a simple reason… perhaps a selfish one. Because I can. I read it, and see where I’d feel that too. But I guess the true test will be when you watch it yourself… no?

Opposite Brian J. Smith
Opposite Brian J. Smith

“Also, there have also been a lot of comparisons drawn between Eli and McKay — what do you think most distinguishes Eli from the character of a young Rodney McKay”

DB: A lot, I hope! I would never, in a million years, even try to fill David’s shoes. He’s great. But a huge difference is simply their background. McKay joined the program voluntarily and learned along the way. Eli has never heard of any of this and is suddenly thrust into the world. Also, I think McKay is a little more emotionally (socially) stunted than Eli. Eli wants to make the human connections and find what he has in common with others. He sees good in people, however small a sign, and wants to draw it out. While Eli may not think there are a LOT of people out there who are worth it, I think McKay tends to view MOST others as a little bit more trouble than they are worth.

Wraithfodder writes: “Using only one word, describe each of your castmates. (Warning, this could come back to haunt you!)”

DB: Robert Carlyle: Wise
Louis Ferreira: Warm
Brian J. Smith: Complex
Elyse Levesque: Fun
Alaina Huffman: Caring
Jamil Walker-Smith: Friendly
Lou Diamond Phillips: Genuine
Ming-Na: Laughter

Col. Mustard writes: “Do you play video games? If so what is your favorite game?”

DB: I love playing video games! It’s sad how little I get the chance these days. Lately, I’ve been playing a lot of “Rock Band” (Beatles and the others) with my cast-mates. But on my own, I’ve always loved Halo, Final Fantasy (earlier versions), Secret of Mana (SNES), “LEGO Batman/Indiana Jones/Star Wars” (XBox 360)… used to love Tradewars, Lair of the Dark Knight, etc (BBS days).

Btw, YOU did it, in the study, with the candlestick. I’m just sayin’.

“If you could be a member of the crew of any Star Trek crew which would it be?”

DB: “ST:TNG”. They had gotten past a lot of their wars with other races and grown so much. It became about exploration for a while, and that’s exciting.

“Have you ever had an opportunity to use your trifecta talents (acting, singing and dancing) and if so, is it something we can catch on DVD?”

DB: Actually yes I have. My degree is a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre as well as Acting. So, I’ve performed in a lot of musicals throughout my life, even originating a role in a new musical. I’ve done tours of some musicals, and different shows around the U.S. I’ve also performed in a number of musical benefits, including “A Night at Sardi’s” (with the Alzheimer’s Association), singing onstage with some of my “Ugly Betty” co-stars, Jason Alexander, Vanessa Williams, Zach Levy, Kristen Bell, etc. On DVD? That I’m not sure of. Not that I know of!

Major D. Davis writes: “So is it hard to repeat those exact actions throughout several takes, especially when the camera is moving and covering diffent parts of your body and face as you act or react to a situation. Does it become second nature after a while, or is it always a challenge?”

DB: As an actor, you break down the scene and the thoughts/feelings of the character. The mannerisms or what-have-you stem from what you are thinking, your actions and your motivation. If you’re staying true to your tactics/intentions for a scene, it’s easy to repeat what you need to because you’re keeping that from take-to-take. Also, our shooting style in this show allows a little more freedom, especially since the camera can be anywhere.

Wolfenm writes: “Loved you as Logan in Moonlight! If it had been renewed, or if they ended up doing a movie, would you want to go back, if your schedule allowed for it? And would you have wanted to be full-time or stay recurring?”

DB: Hell yeah! I loved playing Logan and had a lot of fun with the cast. I hope that Joel (Silver) ends up deciding to do a movie and would be honored to be invited back. I think a lot of us felt that there were more stories to tell and were looking forward to season 2 when it was unexpectedly cancelled. Alex and I have talked about the movie a few times and I always make sure to remind him how much I’d love to reprise our roles. He’s fun to work with.

If they had invited me to be a full-time cast member, I would’ve gladly taken the opportunity. I was proud to see the role of Logan grow as the season progressed and very excited with some of the ideas I was hearing from the showrunners about the upcoming 2nd season. I’d still kill to see some of those scripts! Of course, if it had continued, I would never be so lucky to be on “SGU” (not that I knew anything about it at the time)… so it’s hard to imagine.

“Every fan has things they would like to see happen with thier fave characters, whether it’s seeing them get a love interest or suffer terrible angst or becoming a superhero or king. What are some things you would like to see Eli go through, either on the show itself or in the “what if” realm of fanfic?”

DB: I truly want to learn more about Eli just as much as the rest of you. Where we stand now in the season, we’ve gotten to explore so much, but there’s only so much you can do in 20 episodes. I’m really hoping to see more of how Eli became who he is, a little more of his past, and more of the relationships that have burgeoned on the ship already. I want to see him grow as a person and get to know his fellow crew members a bit more. Learn more about this world he just got sucked into. Try to find a purpose in it and work towards learning his potential. Try to break down the walls of a few other people on the ship… find out what makes Rush tick… why is Greer like that? … why is friendship so easy with Scott?… there are so many options. My friend (a movie-reviewer) put it best after seeing the pilot: “I love it because the potential is limitless. There are so many things that can be done.” I’m excited to see what the writer’s come up with. I love the parts of Eli they’ve revealed to me so far, so I’m excited for *knock-on-wood* season 2 to discover some more levels.

On a completely side-note, I’d love to see Eli get a little attention from the ladies. Or more attention. Well… you’ll see. 😉

“Who would you most want to see guest star on SGU, and in what sort of role?”

DB: Ooooooo. Good question. I selfishly would love to get Alex O’Loughlin (my “Moonlight” co-star) on the show. But I know he’s insanely busy with his new show “Three Rivers”, so I don’t know if he’d have the time. In general, the-powers-that-be have gotten some really interesting and talented guest stars already, so I’m excited to see where that grows once the show is on the air and people have a higher awareness of the project. There are so many good actors out there right now, I can’t even narrow it down to just a few.

As a fan, I’d love to play opposite David Hewlett. Some Eli/McKay banter would be fun.

Genius At Work (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television).
Genius At Work (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television).

Crazymom1 writes: “…what other work that you’ve done do I really need to get from Netflix and catch up on?”

DB: Netflix-wise? I’m very, very proud of my work on “Ugly Betty”. I highly recommend catching up on that. Start from the beginning of the show so you can really get a taste for it and the wonderfully-acted characters. And then you’ll run into my introduction as ‘Cliff St. Paul’ during season 2. I loved not only playing a really optimistic version of myself, but also becoming so proud of the role and the way the fans reacted to him. I was humbled by all of the reactions. People would constantly tell me “Cliff is exactly like my boyfriend” or “Cliff is me” and hearing how proud people were to have a character like him on tv. It was more than I could have hoped for and a joy to play. Being on set with Michael Urie, Becki Newton, America Fererra… it was amazing. They are truly brilliant actors and genuine people. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience at the time. I’m so proud of it, that I hope to continue it!

Chevron7 writes: “Once the action starts, does Eli relate to it all like playing a video game or is he a little freaked?”

DB: Hey Chevron7! Will you be changing your name to Chevron9 once we premiere? Heehee. I think he reacts pretty realistically. I mean, even a hardcore video-game geek can only see the parallels to a certain extent. Once your life is in danger, or things are exploding, it stops being fascinating and starts being about survival. Though Eli definitely copes with certain situations by relating it to things he’s seen in tv/films or games… but that’s more for the benefit of easing tension, relating to people, etc. Again, survival becomes just survival at a certain point.

“What film or tv prop do you wish you had displayed at your house?”

DB: Displayed at, or installed? I’d love to have a working Holodeck. HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE?!?!

I wouldn’t mind having a huge D.H.D. that controlled everything in my house. Like an ancient universal remote. I know, it’s a bit bulky, but tell me that wouldn’t be awesome?

DP writes: “What’s the best line anyone ever wrote for one of your characters?”

DB: “Ewww, you’re getting it all booger-y” — “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody”

“How is working in Vancouver different from working in other places?”

DB: You should’ve asked me this yesterday! It’s raining today! Other than that, it’s absolutely beautiful. I love this city. I’d never had the privledge of visiting Vancouver before “SGU” but I have to say I’ve grown to love this city. It’s wonderfully clean and the people are so friendly. I also love how active everyone is. If it’s a nice day, then EVERYONE is out running, riding bikes, hiking, exploring, kayaking… it’s quite motivating. And thanks to some of my Canadian cast-mates, I’ve explored a bunch of the city. Part of me selfishly hopes for season 2 of the show so I have time to see more of it though!

GrapesofWraith writes: “What’s the funniest thing on set that’s happened to you/seen/experienced/or heard of so far?”

DB: Well, Steinbeck, that’s a fun one. Elyse and I have become good friends this season. And we tend to have the same sense of humor. So putting us into scenes together usually translates into a lot of joking around. There was a scene recently where she and I (Chloe/Eli) had a bit of banter that involved some inadvertent tongue-twisters. In addition to a LONG day of shooting before the scene. Essentially, I blew a line and the two of us devolved into such a fit of laughter that we could NOT get it back together. I felt bad for everyone else in that scene, but we were just GONE.

Also, Brian RARELY drops any of his lines. Really, always on his A-game. But when he does, he tries so hard to keep the scene going that he’ll throw out whatever he THINKS his line MIGHT BE. I find it hilarious, every time, without fail.

“Coffee or Tea? (thanks to Trish aka Whovian for the inspiration for that one!)”

DB: Depends on the time of day. I end up drinking more coffee than I’d like with this show. Usually in the morning since we have a lot of early calls. But in general I try to avoid coffee. I love tea though. As a singer, I’ve grown to love Throat Coat tea. Works wonders when you have a sore throat (which happens in some of these sets we shoot in). So, when I’m sick… it’s all Throat Coat.

Out and about, celebrting Elyse's birthday.
Out and about, celebrting Elyse's birthday.

Zoe writes: “First off, first saw you on Ugly Betty and thought you were the most adorable thing EVER. Hahaha! My question is really random, but, if you got to play any superhero, which one would you be?”

DB: Awww, thanks Zoe. Very sweet of you to say. I truly loved playing Cliff.

I know this might be a cliche answer, but you’ve got to love Superman. I mean, invulnerable, amazing powers, smart… can’t beat him. Though I do hold a lot of respect for Batman for being just a MAN. …but Robert Downey Jr. ruined me a bit. He was so brilliant as Iron Man… grrr… too many choices… brain melting… AAAAARRRRGGGH!!!!

Suziesbluefeather writes: “I’m just a bit curious about your web site. Why did you chose to quote T. E. Lawrence ‘the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with eyes open, to make it possible.'”

DB: I’ve always loved that quote. I’ve done a lot of theater, and as you may-or-may-not know, in playbills the cast/crew write bios. I know a lot of people list their previous credits, but I’ve always hated that. I mean, I’ve done enough, and who wants to just read a list? So I would just write personal notes to friends or loved ones, and usually end it with a quote. And it was usually that quote. I love the idea of dreaming so much that you will it into existence. The idea that dreams, desires, etc. can exist if we want them bad enough. I mean, hell, in a way my career is an example of that. I’ve always dreamed of making a living doing what makes me happy… and now I am. Besides, I’m a kid at heart, and I’m dreaming during the day all the time. You think I don’t play superhero in my imagination while I’m riding on the SkyTrain? Think again. 😉

Artdogspot writes: “If you could work with any film director (living or dead), who would pick?”

DB: Ack! Such pressure, Artdogspot! Love Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderberg, Steven Spielberg, Orson Welles, James Cameron, Neil Simon, Woody Allen, Alfred Hitchcock, Ingmar Bergman, Francis Ford Coppola, Mike Judge… So much good work out there, I’d love to do it all!!! These days, I specifically would love to work once (to start) with Judd Apatow. I feel like a lot of my career has led to getting the chance to work with him soon.

“Which comedians have influenced your work the most?”

DB: Love Eddie Izzard, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Mitch Hedberg, Richard Jeni, Denis Leary, Steve Martin… too many to name. Anyone who makes me laugh has influenced me to be a better person. Anyone who makes me scared to get up there and do it myself? That’s a talented person. I respect comedians so much. It’s something I’ve always loved and have no really gotten up the courage to actually do. I respect it so much, I don’t want to ruin it. They’re up there being funny as THEMSELVES. And they are up there, at the mercy of the audience, armed only with their material. Amazing.

“Cake or death?”

DB: I believe I ordered the vegetarian platter.

Jocelyn writes: “Knowing your musical theater background, have there been any spontaneous breaks into song on set?”

DB: Oh hells yes. Most of us in the cast are very musical. It’s not often that you’re able to walk around set without hearing music somewhere. In general, music tends to stick in our heads. Elyse is a big example of this. She listens to one song on her way to work and we’re all subjected to it for the rest of the day. I am guilty as well. For some reason I still cannot explain, I had the theme song for “Sanford and Son” running on repeat in my head for WEEKS. Ridiculous. Now, have we staged any full-on musicals? Not yet. Though you’d be surprised to learn that a lot of us in the cast have played different roles in varying productions of “Little Shop of Horrors” somewhere in our career (I played Seymour in a critically-acclaimed college production)… so those numbers have been spontaneously performed a few times. Also, one of the first times we all really were hanging out off-set, there may or may not have been an impromptu (but very energetic) performance of ‘Seasons of Love’ from “RENT” that involved everyone. Maybe.

iMenchi writes: “If you had the option to have any part of your choosing in another franchise that you are a fan of, what would you choose and why?”

DB: Indiana Jones. Oh man, living those adventures. I used to play the soundtrack to “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” over and over (the cassette) and replay the movie in my head. Just living that man’s life. Of course, I’m saying this while completely pretending that “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” never happened. Because if it did, my answer will drastically change.

Lynn writes: “As a Stargate fan yourself… Do you think it’s continuing the franchise in a recognizable way or is it striking out in a totally different direction?”

DB: Well, Lynn, it’s somewhere in between. The world that “SGU” inhabits is the same world you’ve come to know and love from “SG1” and “Atlantis”. Same mythology, same creators, hell, even some of the same characters. So it’s not drawing a line in the sand in front of the past shows and saying “don’t cross this, this is what WE are now.” All we’re doing is taking this wonderful world that exists and growing from it. Introducing you to new characters in a completely different situation. We’re in the same theme park, but we’re just a different ride. I highly doubt that you can be a fan of the previous incarnations without finding things you love in “SGU”. It’s part of what we’re all most proud of. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Nobody “passed the torch to us”, but they used their torch to light ours. This is why it’s so great to have some of the original cast on our show. RDA, Amanda, Michael… they’re here because they still exist in this world we’re showing you. It’s the same world! And as a fan of the previous show, there are so many things that you have to look forward to. Some great throwbacks to both “SG1” and “Atlantis”. Enough to keep you feeling special, but not lose our new fans. I pride myself on being a character there to help bring the newbies on the ride with us!

AV Eddy writes: “David: How the hell are ya?”

DB: Well, AV Eddy, I’m pretty darned good. Thanks so much for asking. How about yourself?

GloriaLongMLBIT writes: “If they made an Moonlight movie (big IF) and they asked you to be in it, would you or could you? It would not be the same without the WHOLE cast.”

DB: I answered a similar question above, but wanted to answer this one too, because I agree. I can’t imagine a Moonlight movie without having everyone back. Of course, that might end up being part of the problem. Everyone has moved onto other projects that take up a bunch of time (a testament to some of the talent). It’d be great if the only problem was scheduling, no? I’d sure love the chance to work with Alex, Jason, Claudia, Jacob, etc again. We had so much FUN in that last episode!

“I believe you are gonna be a big hit in this show. How do you think you are gonna deal with all the Moonlight/Ugly Betty/SGU fans and how do you think they will differ from each other? and lastly, thank you David for being YOU”

DB: I’ve always loved how different my fans are. Every project I’ve done seems to draw in a different, yet equally passionate, group. I feel like I’m trying to win over the world one fraction of the population at a time. I may be overshooting here, but I’d LOVE for the “Moonlight”/”Ugly Betty” fans to come into the “SGU” world. I really feel like there is a lot in the show for everyone. There’s great character development, thought-provoking plots, amazing special effects, romance, pulse-pounding action, beautiful music, amazing cinematography… what’s not love? But then again, I’m a bit biased. You tell me after FRIDAY! EEK!

You know you've made it once you've got your own on-set chair.
You know you've made it once you've got your own on-set chair.

Dodoalda writes: “Does Eli like aliens?”

DB: As a general rule? I think Eli believes all aliens should have the rights and respect that the rest of us are all easily granted. I think he’s a bit outraged that aliens are treated differently. I mean, in the end, aren’t we all created equal? Except the Sith. Screw those guys. …and maybe the aliens from “Independence Day”. I mean, why the hell were they so pissed? The Borg had issues too. Oh well, nevermind.

Malaika writes: “Hi David, Will you ever go back to Ugly Betty?”

DB: God willing. I would welcome any chance to come back to “Ugly Betty” for one episode, 5 episodes or 15 episodes. Great cast, great writers, great crew, great role. All that it takes is for the timing to work out and, more importantly, for them to ask me. I’d be there in a heartbeat. Why? Do YOU want me back? 😉

R1015bill writes: “On paper, your new character Eli sounds a lot like Logan Griffen (less Logan’s confidence and being a vampire). How else do you think they differ?”

DB: Honestly, R1015bill, it was very important to me to make Eli a completely different person. I think all actors are terrified at ever making a role similar to one they’ve previously played. It’s more fun to explore different aspects of these people (and in a way, of yourself) than you have before. I spent a good deal of time before my initial audition for the role of Eli breaking down where I felt he was coming from. Inventing things from his past that fit with the initial mold I was provided (by Brad and Robert). Really getting inside of the character and filling him out. And most of the time, when I came to a fork in the road I found myself thinking “okay, how would Logan see this?” …and then going in the completely opposite direction. There are some crossovers there, but for the most part, they are completely different people. Logan, for one, was more into video games and the world of new technologies. (This is from my own mind, not necessarily the writers of “Moonlight”) I always envisioned Logan as an extremely old vampire. Even older than Mick St. James (Alex O’Loughlin). Probably just a little younger than Josef. Which is why I think Logan loved technology and computers… because they didn’t exist when he was human.

Eli, however, has grown up in THIS world and uses it as a tool to do what he loves. Challenging himself, connecting with like-minded people, solving problems. Eli is more of a TV/Film/pop-culture junkie. He relates to his world through the things he grew up with… his favorite shows, movies, etc. I could be wrong about this, as it’s something I came up with to help me approach the role and not necessarily something provided me by the brilliant writers/creators, but I’ve viewed Eli as somebody who plays video games to challenge himself. Because somebody says something in this one can’t be done, or something can’t be beaten or solved. Not because he just wants to waste time.

Also, Logan was a recluse. He did what he did to get the blood he needed to survive, or the money he needed to get more technology or blood. Eli WANTS to have friends, wants people to like him and to get to know them.

Pastrygirl writes: “: Which is the most difficult type of scene for you to shoot, technical scenes with greenscreen and special fx, or heavy character interaction scenes with lots of dialogue and emoting?”

DB: They’re both challenging in their own ways, Pastrygirl. What types of pastries do you like, anyway? … the greenscreen scenes require a lot of imagination and visualization, whereas the character scenes require a lot of preparation and being-in-the-moment. With theatre you get weeks and weeks of rehearsal to learn where your co-stars are coming from. With television and film, you often get only one rehearsal before you shoot. So you have to be ready to shoot when you get to set. And not just for the first scene, for all of them. And it’s often that a co-star will bring something to the table you weren’t expecting. Then it’s about knowing your character well enough to be able to run with it, to give-and-take. I love both aspects. Though I will say I’m spoiled. I have a well-trained, talented, smart cast. I trust their choices and know they’re willing to “play”.

Montrealer writes: “…does all the major actors in SGU have a stand-in?”

DB: Yes, we all do. Some really great ones, actually. We have a core group of stand-ins that are such hard-working people. They are there as long as we are, sometimes longer, doing a lot of hard work that never gets recognized.

Shawn Cassidy writes: “What was it like being the ‘tour guide’ for your fellow actors in this new universe introducing them to the lore?”

DB: I love every second of it. (Love “Da Doo Run Run” btw. 😉 ) It’s kind of funny how second nature it is now. I’ll just get a call here, or a text message there, asking me to explain something. Sometimes I feel guilty, like I’m taking away some of Brad, Robert, Joe or Carl’s fun. I think they sometimes enjoy explaining what something means, and calling it back to one of the other shows. But in general, I get excited telling the story of how it came to be and how it relates to the plot of our episode. It’s a bit of pressure though. I mean, if I screw up, because I’m not nearly as well-versed as a lot of you really die-hard fans, I just messed up someone else’s performance! Nah… I’ll keep pretending I know everything. Don’t blow my cover!

Ohhhh, so THAT'S what it says. Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.
Ohhhh, so THAT'S what it says. Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

October 1st, 2009: Only 1 Day to the Stargate: Universe Premiere! A Handy SGU Cast Primer! The Mailbag!

Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television

Only one day to the explosive SGU premiere!  And, in advance of the big event, I offer you this handy visual guide to our extensive cast of characters:

Dr. Nicholas Rush (Robert Carlyle) - photo courtesy and copyright SyFy
Dr. Nicholas Rush (Robert Carlyle) - photo courtesy and copyright SyFy/MGM Television
Camile Wray (Ming-Na) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Camile Wray (Ming-Na) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Colonel David Telford (Lou Diamond Phillips) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Televison
Colonel David Telford (Lou Diamond Phillips) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Televison
Colonel Everett Young (Louis Ferreira) - photo courtesy and copyright SyFy
Colonel Everett Young (Louis Ferreira) - photo courtesy and copyright SyFy/MGM Television
Sentor Alan Armstrong (Christopher McDonald) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Sentor Alan Armstrong (Christopher McDonald) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Eli Wallace (David Blue) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Eli Wallace (David Blue) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Lieutenant Tamara "T.J." Johansen (Alaina Huffman) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Lieutenant Tamara "T.J." Johansen (Alaina Huffman) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Chloe Armstrong (Elyse Levesque) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Chloe Armstrong (Elyse Levesque) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Lieutenant Matthew Scott (Brian J. Smith) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Lieutenant Matthew Scott (Brian J. Smith) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Sergeant Ronald Greer (Jamil Walker Smith) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Sergeant Ronald Greer (Jamil Walker Smith) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Vanessa James (Julia Benson) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Vanessa James (Julia Benson) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Adam Brody (Peter Kelamis) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Adam Brody (Peter Kelamis) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Dale Volker (Patrick Gilmore) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Dale Volker (Patrick Gilmore) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Lisa Park (Jennifer Spence) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Lisa Park (Jennifer Spence) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Jeremy Franklin (Mark Burgess) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Jeremy Franklin (Mark Burgess) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Sgt. Riley (Haig Sutherland) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Sgt. Riley (Haig Sutherland) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Sgt. Spencer (Josh Blacker)
Sgt. Spencer (Josh Blacker)
Dr. Caine (Tygh Runyan) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television
Dr. Caine (Tygh Runyan) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television

Darren Becker (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman)
Darren Becker (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman)

Andrea Palmer (Christina Schild)
Andrea Palmer (Christina Schild)
Curtis (Bradley Stryker)
Curtis (Bradley Stryker)

Whew!

Mailbag:

Christine writes: ““If it’s successful do you think it could restart Stargate Atlantis?
“No – that’s done, I can tell you one thousand percent!”
Any comment on the above statement by Robert Carlyle. How can he be so certain that SGA is done when fans keep getting told that a movie may still be made.”

Answer: You’re misinterpreting what he said .  Te interviewer is asking about the chances of SGA returning as a SERIES – which, as Robert pointed out, is not going to happen, something I’ve said several times in the past.

Sebi Meyer writes: ““The finish line is within sight!” Odd way to put it. It STARTS on Friday, it doesn’t end.”

Answer: It starts for the fans this Friday night, but the finish line for the show’s first season of production is within sight – only on more month!

Thornyrose writes: “Though speaking of pics, when are the pooches going to post another on their Twitter account?”

Answer: They did last night.

O6untouchable writes: “SGU: best birthday present ever!”

Answer: Happy early birthday!

Fuchsia writes: “Joe, please tell my husband Graham to stop being boring and to watch SGU with me on Friday night.”

Answer: Graham, stop being boring and watch SGU with Fuchsia tomorrow night!

DasNdanger writes: “Joe…are you nervous about the premiere, or excited?”

Answer: Let’s go with “cautiously optimistic”.  I think that Stargate: Universe is a great show and I’m proud of the work we’ve done.  Still, if there’s one thing I know about predicting fan response it’s that it’s impossible to predict fan response.   I’m continually amazed by the wonderful shows that fail to capture an audience and end up being canceled well before their time (Firefly and Arrested Development come to mind), and equally amazed by the truly atrocious programming that DOES manage to find viewers and survive (too numerous to mention).  So that said, I’m thinking positive thoughts, not so much for myself (after ten years with the franchise, I think I’ll be okay) but for the many, many incredible individuals I’ve been fortunate enough to work with on SGU this year.  They’re good people and I wish them nothing but the best – like, say, another four seasons.  At least!

September 29, 2009: Actor Brian J. Smith Answers Your Questions! Only Three Days to the Stargate: Universe Premiere!

SGU's Lieutenant Matthew Scott (Brian J. Smith) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Televison.
SGU's Lieutenant Matthew Scott (Brian J. Smith) - photo courtesy and copyright MGM Televison.

What’s the best thing about working on Stargate? Whenever I’m asking this question, the first answer that comes to mind is: my co-workers (followed closely by the catering, the end-of-season crew gift, and the chocolate fountain at the SG-1 200th episode party).   The truth is, at the end of the day, no matter how much you get paid or how personally satisfying you may find your job, if you don’t like the people you work with, your workplace will be a miserable place.  Fortunately for me, I’m on a show with some truly wonderful people, from the girl in post-production with the notebook made out of recycled elephant dung to our illustrous cast – all of them a pleasure to work with.  And, when it comes to “truly wonderful”, you’d be hardpressed a better example than actor Brian J. Smith, both on camera and off.  Not only is he incredibly talented, but his friendly, down-to-earth attitude never ceases to amaze.   And I’m sure you’ll agree once you get to know him as well.

Enjoy Brian’s Q&A, check out his twitter page for his latest updates (http://twitter.com/BrianJacobSmith) and, of course, be sure to tune in for the world premiere of Strgate: Universe this Friday night, 9:00 p.m., on SyFy (Space in Canada) for your first glimpse of Lieutenant Matthew Scott in action.

BJS: Hey ya’ll! Thanks for all the great questions. I tried not to repeat myself so just picked “new” questions as I went down the list. I’m very excited for SGU to premiere – it’ll be great to finally get to share our “baby” with the world. Ok, question time…

Cherluvya writes: “Brian: You were in theatre…did you have hopes of TV or movies while there? Do you find yourself missing it? Loved the poster, did you know you had been chosen for the center, or did it come as a surprise?”

BJS: It’s hard to make a living purely as a stage actor, so financially I was hoping to get involved in TV, mainly doing guest spots or multi-episode characters. I never thought I’d get to be a regular on a TV show. But it’s awesome that I’m doing a TV show that I find so creatively fulfilling and challenging – I honestly think I’m going to walk away from this season a better actor than when I first got involved. Funny story about the posters: we weren’t actually running when they took the pictures, we were striking this crazy looking pose and then sort of falling forward. But I was surprised I was in the center – so are my friends in NY who see me running on their bus-stops!

CatholicDenise writes: “Have you decided on a Cavalier King Charles or is that still an open question?”

BJS: I think I could love a dog no matter what the breed. Just depends on the pooch, I guess. But I must say I’ve fallen in love with Cavaliers – they’re very affectionate and they bond very quickly with whoever is willing to show a little love.  Well, that and whoever is willing to feed them!

Sherry Harris writes: “I’ve got a Question for Brian: Where the hell is my poster?”

BJS: Mooommmmm! Jeeze, okay! 🙂

A pensive moment (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television).
A pensive moment (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television).

Ytimyona writes: “Questions for Brian Jacob Smith:
 I have heard you are a classically trained stage actor (at Juilliard!). What is your favorite part of being on stage/performing before a live audience?”

BJS: All that freedom.  You can be incredibly spontaneous moment to moment – whereas in TV and film you have to constantly watch what you’re doing so that it matches in every angle. But film allows you  to be incredibly intimate and real – you don’t have to bump up your voice or your physical life in order to reach people hundreds of feet away. You can relax and be true to the situation, as if it’s really happening for the first time.

“I’ve heard of your exploits with Crossfit (differently fun, but effectively painful). Do you workout because Lt. Scott is a buff person, or for your own reasons, or both?”

BJS: I wanted Matt to have a very specific look – he doesn’t spend hours at the gym, but his military training has made him very fit and his military fitness scores are probably exemplary. So I was looking for a program that was calisthenics based and crossfit fits the bill. In fact, Matt would love all the rope climbing, push-ups, pull-ups and running that we do. I’m actually not that great at crossfit. I’d love to make the leader board before we finish this year, but crossfit’ers are usually part-time athletes or just naturally fit so I’m constantly humbled. Which is a good thing, right?

“Have you had any adventures in Vancouver you can regale us with?”

BJS: Well, I’m working on this CRAZY show where we travel through wormholes . . .  🙂 Actually I’m a home-body and my Vancouver adventures usually just involve a bike ride around Stanley Park or a good hike in the mountains – OR a really great meal. Vancouver has amazing restaurants, and my favorites are Market, Quattro, Viji’s, and La Quercia.

“How do you get into the mindset of your character? How much research did that require?”

BJS: I’ve always been interested in the military, so all the military research was (and is) a blast to do. I read a ton of books. A few that have helped me are “One Bullet Away” by Nathaniel Fick, “Joker One” by Donnovan Campbell, and “The Last True Story I’ll Ever Tell” by John Crawford. For some reason I started getting into Vietnam while doing the show, so I read the classic Vietnam books “Dispatches”, “The Cat From Hue”, and Philip Caputo’s “Rumor of War”. I also got a lot out of a documentary called ‘Carrier’ – really helped me understand how military minds work in long deployment situations, especially on tight-quarter ships.

“What is your favorite kind of cookie? How about your favorite kind of candy?”

BJS: Any kind that my grandma makes.

Brian also seems to enjoy the desserts at Quattro.
Brian also seems to enjoy the desserts at Quattro.

“Have you had any experiences where you overhear people talking about Stargate and they have no clue you’re an actor in it?”

BJS: No, not yet!

“Which do you prefer: Star Wars or Star Trek?”

BJS: Star Trek from start to finish!

“You and the rest of the cast all seem like best friends. Did you know any of the cast members before you got the SGU gig?”

BJS: No – but now I feel like I’ve known them for years, hahaha.

“Does Cassie come to work with you every day? Does she hang out in your trailer or come to the set with you too?”

BJS: Yeah, Cassie hangs out in the trailer (where she makes life quite difficult for the AD’s who come calling me to set) and I take her on walks in between set-ups when I can. She’s getting pretty spoiled this month.

“Having puppysat Cassie, do you now think you will be getting a dog?”

BJS: Definitely thinking about it. I think the beginning of season two would be the best time to get one, though.

“Just out of curiosity: are you single? ;-D”

BJS: I think so. 🙂

Relaxing on set while filming the pilot.
Relaxing on set while filming the pilot.

Lisa writes: “Q’s For Brian: Who has emerged as the biggest prankster on the set thus far?”

BJS: Actually, our hair, makeup and wardrobe folks have pulled some BRILLIANT pranks. And I’m talking about some incredibly intricate stuff here. Bobby got a great one a few weeks back.

“What has been your favourite episode to work on and if you can answer, why?”

BJS: Oooo that’s tough one.  They’ve all been a blast, especially Air and all the stuff we did in New Mexico. But Life really meant a lot to me – I love what Matt went through in that episode and the stuff I got to do as an actor. It’s a real heartbreaker.  We recently wrapped an episode called Faith and I thought it played very well, and the location we worked at was breathtaking.

I love our directors, and I want to say a bit about them – Andy, Peter, Will, Alex, Felix, Ernest, Rohn, Rob. They all bring something unique to the show, and I think you’ll soon realize how important a good director is, especially considering the shooting style. Our directors have been incredibly collaborative and always find a way to set up their shots based on what happens in rehearsals, which isn’t easy and requires a lot of on the spot creativity. I’ve learned something special from all of them.

Chevron7 writes: “Questions for Brian: OK, let me get the awkward one in first….why are you blocking me (@imwebgurl) on Twitter? Is it an accident or on purpose?”

BJS: Hmmm…not sure. Don’t think I’ve blocked anyone – are you sure you’re blocked?

“What was your first job ever?”

BJS: I worked at Winn-Dixie as a grocery bagger.

“What’s more nerve-wracking, the audition process or the first day on set of a new role?”

BJS: Auditions are terrible, and I’d say the screen-test was by far one of the most fearful moments of my life. The first day on set for this one was great. Yeah, you always have those first day jitters but we had time to bond as a cast before-hand so that helped a bunch. Plus our characters are in a scary situation throughout the pilot, so I got to use whatever nerves I was experiencing in the moment.

At Icarus Base (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television)
At Icarus Base (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television)

“What kind of research did you do for the role? I can highly recommend Jetstream (just for fun), a Discovery Canada doco following a group of rookies through Fighter pilot training in the Hornet. With Kavan Smith narrating.”

BJS: Like I said before, lots of reading and documentaries. Also checked out some episodes of SG-1 that were pertinent to the mythos or technology we deal with on SGU. Will check out Jetstream – sounds like a good one!

“Is your character tested more emotionally or physically during the first season?”

BJS: Both. I think you’ll find that Matt really gets thrown around a lot and has no problem sacrificing himself. He wants desperately for everyone to get back to their families and he’d rather die than fail.

“Who do you go for in the NFL, Cowboys? What do you think their chances are this year? Personally I’m a 49er fan and I’m looking for a better season.”

BJS: I’ll always have a soft-spot for the Cowboys. I grew up during their “golden age”, when they were America’s Team. I’d love to see a come-back.

Otros Ojos writes: “Questions for Brian Smith: I know there are limits as to what you guys can say about SGU at this point, but can you tell us a little about what you and Lt. Scott have in common, and where you’re different?”

BJS: I think we’re both emotional people, for better or worse. Sometimes we both do things out of passion without thinking through the consequences first. We both have a need to prove ourselves and to undo past mistakes. We’re also both pretty earnest and maybe a little bit lost.. I also relate to his unlocked potential – we both have a lot on the ball and yet we’re struggling to unlock that energy. It ain’t easy being a rookie! But he’s definitely been through a lot more than I have, and I don’t know anyone who can relate to being trapped on a run-away space ship several billion light years away from home.

“What are you currently reading?”

BJS: Shelby Foote’s narrative on the American Civil War, Women in Love by DH Lawrence, a great biography on Tchaikovsky and an awesome episode of SGU called Incursion.

Ready for action (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Televison).
Ready for action (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Televison).

“Was this role the first time you’ve gotten a military “buzz cut”? If so, what did you think when you looked in the mirror?”

BJS: No, actually, and I wish I could have my hair that short all the time! I had to get it buzzed for my role in a film called The War Boys. Oddly enough I found myself getting more jobs when my hair was buzzed. Matt’s hair is starting to grow out and I’m missing getting to jump out of bed and not worry about it.

Anais33 a ecrit: “Etes vous un grand fan de SF? Si oui qu’elle film ou serie aimez vous?”

BJS: (I don’t speak French, but I’m gonna TRY to answer these…….)

Well, I’m not sure I was a “grand” fan of Sci-Fi, but I certainly have enjoyed Star Trek, especially when I was younger. I’m now a big fan of Battlestar Galactica after having finished the full series on DVD. Grace Park? Oy vey.

“Aimez vous le sport? Lequels appréciez vous?”

BJS: I played soccer as a kid, and was also in gymnastics for a while. I appreciate football and watch it whenever I have the time.

“Que pensez vous de Joseph Mallozzi?”

BJS: I think Joseph Mallozzi is the bomb! Although I’ve never seen him wear pince-nez, sorry.

Delynn writes: “Questions for Brian Jacob Smith:
What inspired you to pick acting as a career?”

BJS: I needed something to keep me occupied in High School. But then I realized I could work out a lot of crap in my life through the characters I played. So it was like, “I get PAID for therapy? Awesome, yo, sign me up!”

“Do you have any advice you’d give to a young aspiring actor?”

BJS: Find out about the actors that intrigue you – if you can, study with their teachers or people that are like-minded. I really admired the work I saw coming from some young actors out of Juilliard (Michael Urie of ‘Ugly Betty’ being one of them), and I knew I wanted to be that good. Also forget about a “career”. Don’t go to audition classes or any of that crap unless you really feel bad about your auditions. Do your work to satisfy your own good opinion and a career will happen organically.

cats writes: “Q’s for Brian: Are you happily anticipating a Lt. Matthew Scott action figure? Would you faithfully play with “you”? Welcome to the Stargate family!
I understand Rachel Luttrell’s son and David Hewlett’s son each enjoy playing with their respective parents’ dollies.”

BJS: I think it’d make a great chew-toy for Cassie! Honestly, I think SGU action figures would be a little odd. None of the characters are action heroes, you know? They’re recognizable people in a tragic situation, stranded and missing their families. I can’t imagine some kid at Wal-Mart being like “Hey mom, can I get the Lt. Scott doll? When I pull the string he cries!

“Will you dine with Joe M again and partake of more gourmet entrees?”

BJS: You betcha! Except next time Joe needs to let ME pick up the bill.

Sweating it out in New Mexico (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television).
Sweating it out in New Mexico (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television).

Artdogspot writes: “Really looking forward to seeing you -very soon- in SGU.  What was your experience like moving to and living in NYC? Which neighborhood(s) did you hang out in? And, how was the whole Julliard experience?”

BJS: Uh, culture shock!!! Although Julliard was such an insulated community that we didn’t get overwhelmed by the city at first.

Juilliard. I’m still processing that whole experience. I don’t think anyone goes to Juilliard in order to feel good, you know? It’s a tough environment and they still hold to that old-European Conservatory style teaching so it’s not based on the kind of considerate teaching methods we grow up with in the states. It’s like boot-camp for artists. They break you down, strip you of your bad habits and then try to rebuild you starting in year three. Sometimes that rebuilding process never gets completed and I’ve seen wonderfully talented young actors get destroyed.  Which should never be allowed to happen, in my opinion. Still, I owe everything to that place even though I still get shivers when I walk by the building. It gave me a life-long need to keep improving, keep pushing myself and to never settle for crap work. I learned what I’m capable of there – in both a positive and a negative way.

“If you go back to do stage work in the future, will it be Broadway or off-Broadway?”

BJS: Either one is fine – the venue doesn’t matter. I’ve seen genius performances in garage spaces. I’d do regional theatre work if I felt I needed to play the role.

“How does it feel to be in Vancouver now and working with the Stargate team?”

BJS: It’s been the best year of my life.

Lahockey11 writes: “ Question for Brian: As you researched your role for SGU, what aspect of the character did you think would be the hardest to portray? And after filming a few episodes did it end up being as hard as you thought?”

BJS: Well, I had never done this much work in front of a camera before and I was worried about adjusting to the demands of film-acting. But I was surprised to find that I like it as much if not better than stage acting.

Caitylanna writes: “I do have a few questions for Brian – What was your initial reaction to the crowd at Comic Con?

BJS: “Awkward – they have no idea who we are!”

“What is your favorite thing to do while not acting?”

BJS: Play XBox and read.

“If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?”

BJS: The mountains of North Carolina.

Aboard Destiny - a long way from the mountains of North Carolina (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television).
Aboard Destiny - a long way from the mountains of North Carolina (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television).

Caitlyanna writes: “I thought of one more question for Brian – I’m attempting to gain enough courage for stage acting, what is some good advice you would give to an aspiring actor?”

BJS: Well if you’re starting out, find a place to study. And choose that place carefully because there are a lot of hacks and egomaniacs out there who will do you more harm than good. Make a list of actors whose work you admire and then find out how THEY went about it.

Coronach writes: “I asked this question of David Blue, but I’m curious to see what your answer will be. So, question to Brian: What is the funniest/weirdest/most memorable thing to happen on the set of SGU so far?
Thanks, and looking forward to SGU!”

BJS: I think Jamil Walker Smith is the funniest/weirdest/most memorable thing to happen on the set of ANY Stargate show, hahaha. But seriously, getting to ride in the Huey Chopper while we were in NM was awesome. We also hung out for a bit at the Officer’s Club at Holoman AFB and had a few beers with some German fighter pilots.

Aboleyn24 writes: “First off welcome and thanks for wanting to do a Q & A with us. I enjoy following your tweets. I am really looking forward to SGU. I am a TV addict, do you watch much television and if so which shows are your favorites either currently airing or shows no longer on?”

BJS: Friday Night Lights, The Shield, Battlestar Galactica, True Blood, Generation Kill, Intervention, and Dog the Bounty Hunter.

Shirt ‘n Tie writes: “Hi (again) Brian. Thank you so much for taking the time to do the Q and A. With SGU being your first Sci Fi gig…what has been the most unexpected aspect to the process (as against rom-com / drama / feature etc)? Keep up the tweets! Best from Ireland.”

BJS: Well people always ask about working in front of a green screen, but really the most unexpected and the hardest sci-fi part of the job is looking at something three feet in front of you that isn’t there now but will be added digitally later. You feel like you’re just crossing your eyes for no reason and you know the crew is like “what the hell is he doing??” Thank god for Mark Savela!

AscendedTauri writes: “I am a student at the Manhattan School of Music, which in many ways is a copy to Juilliard w/out the drama and dance programs… I was wondering if and how often you would attend any of the music performances at Juilliard? How much interacting did you do w/ that part of the student population?”

BJS: Great question, so glad you asked! I actually fell in love with classical music at Juilliard because many of my friends were pianists, composers, violinists, etc. And I spent hours in practice rooms listening to them rehearse their pieces. I realized that the things they grapple with are really no different from the things I deal with as an actor! How do you communicate the writer’s intention? How do you phrase this melody (or line) so that it rings true? How do you find the style of the piece? Do I need to “feel” the music in order to play it well? I mean, it was a HUGE revelation – musicians talk about music the same way actors talk about acting: intention, truth, emotion, technique, phrasing, style. Sorry for the long winded answer, but it’s something that really gets me rolling!

Jennie writes: “Hi Brian,
First off welcome to the Stargate world. My question is an easy one. What is your favorite part about working in the world of Stargate? Good luck with this season.”

BJS: The Stargate family. The crew, the actors, the producers are all in this together and there’s no ego about it. We all realize how blessed we are to get to do this. Plus I think Brad and Rob are good at building this family and maintaining it.

Juralas writes: “Have you been hurt during a stunt yet?”

BJS: No, but there are some very intense episodes coming up and you never know. That being said, Bam Bam is the best stunt coordinator in the industry and I trust him completely.

“As an American working in Canada, what do you think of the whole health care debate?”

BJS: I’m hoping this is the last time we need to HAVE a health care debate.

Fsmn36 writes: “Questions for Brian: Were you a sci-fi geek/afficionado/watcher before your SGU role? If so, give a short list of what you like! If not, do you enjoy the sci-fi setting now?”

BJS: Well, frankly I like where sci-fi is GOING. There’s an attempt to mix in a more realistic  and grounded sensibility to sci-fi programming and I find it exciting. Sci-Fi explores the big questions – why not ask them in a way that engages and provokes and isn’t afraid of taking itself seriously?  That being said, I always considered Star Trek to be a guilty pleasure – I never took the show seriously. It was sort of like reading a comic book. I guess as I get older (well, not THAT old but still . . . ) I’m much more into shows that challenge me to look deeper, and might allow me to relate to the characters I’m watching, foibles and all. If I just want to be entertained I’ll play XBox.

“You’ve obviously just started your career (based on IMDB): what is life like right now that’s different from college, from how you grew up, etc. Are you taking to it well (the fame, the fans, you know), or is it a bit of an adjustment?”

BJS: Well, the fact that I’m working is a blessing. Besides that my life hasn’t changed, and honestly I don’t think it’ll be that different in November or beyond. I’m not interested in THAT kind of a career. Plus we haven’t even aired yet and frankly we have no idea how people will respond to the show or to the characters. We’re too busy working for our own good opinion at this point.

In the Icarus Base gate room (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television).
In the Icarus Base gate room (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television).

“In that line, how do you like having a more prominent role on TV? Do you enjoy the TV schedule/style as opposed to the stage/movie format?”

BJS: It has it’s challenges – sometimes you’ve got a number of days off and you can get lazy or loose your “fire”, and you find yourself warming up during the first few scenes when you’re back, which is never good. Sometimes you’re shooting sooo many scenes in a day, one day after another, that you can get burnt out, especially if they’re intense. You have to find a way to pace yourself while staying disciplined when you have a day off.  Sometimes you NEED to just do nothing and go on a hike or play XBox or whatever, to get relaxed. When you’re doing a play, your whole day revolves around that 8:00 curtain – so you gear everything towards that. Working stage actors have to live like monks.

“You graduated from Julliard, which is awesome. Way back when I considered dance as a career, that was a school I was interested in. Share some insights on the type of learning, your favorite prof, or some kind of funny story for those of us who didn’t end up majoring in the arts.
And I just have to pass this on (because actors always need more ego-boosting, right?), I think you’re absolutely adorable, Brian! I’m excited to follow your role on SGU.”

BJS: Haha, thanks!  One of my favorites at Juilliard was a movement teacher named Moni Yakim. He came up with a movement regimen that combined yoga and Israeli Army boot-camp techniques! God, we were sore after that first week of classes with him. One of the movement sequences was called The Spanish Inquisition! We would have to hold certain impossible poses for like thirty seconds AND HE WOULD COUNT OUT THE TIME IN HEBREW!! He wanted us to put emotion into our workouts. He said, “you must never make a movement without an emotion behind it.” And if you were faking it or half-assing it, he’d sniff it out and pounce.

PG15 writes: “What do you think of Stargate fan conventions (i.e. Creation Con in Vancouver), and do you see yourself participating in them?”

BJS: I think they’re awesome and, if invited, would love to participate. I love talking to fans.

Simon_SGU_Supporter writes: Also, who, from work do you interact with the most?”

BJS: I’ve spent quite a lot of time with David and Elyse. Also John Lenic, who introduced me to crossfit. We spend most of our time telling crossfit war stories.

E writes: “Have you ever heard of thunkers…. or worse… whumpers?! *evil grin*”

BJS: Someone on twitter explained thunking to me, but not whumping. Is that like the inverse of thunking? I have a feeling I don’t want to get whumped.

Major D. Davis writes: “First off I just want to say thank you Brian for doing this Q&A. What is the hardest part of playing you character(especially considering he is in the military)?”

BJS: Trying to make him come alive in three or four takes.

“What episode would you say is going to be a fan favorite(besides air)?”

BJS: I’m predicting Time and Space to be the big fan favorites. Water, Light and Human will be high up there too. Action packed, fast-paced, surprising, full of some crazy twists. I also predict a few kino scenes will be played over and over again.

“Whats your favorite episode of SG-1 and Atlantis(or some your favorites)?”

BJS: I loved the 200th episode of SG1!

“Once SGU is over(hopefully 5-7 years down the road), do you think you will go back to theater, or continue in television and movies?  Thanks again Brian and Joe for doing this Q&A!!!!!”

BJS: I’ll be doing all three. At least that’s the plan. 🙂

Gilder writes: “Q for Brian J Smith: same as for David B–favorite means for memorizing lines?”

BJS: I use a tape-recorder – I record the whole scene and listen to it over and over again while speaking whatever random thoughts come to mind. It’s kinda strange, but it works really well.

Cherluvya writes: “Brian Questions: Matthew is military. Does he wear the same thing everyday? I know, not for the *cough cough* scene.”

BJS: Hahaha. You’ll see variations – the people aboard Destiny slowly start to build a routine for themselves, and this routine includes new habits. Scott knows a lot of eyes are on him as the de facto second in command, so he does wear his uniform all the time – but sometimes he’ll opt for just the t-shirt when he’s off duty.

Standing by to shoot a kino scene.
Standing by to shoot a kino scene.

“An article mentioned how “young” the SGU actors are (after seeing the first three episodes). Thought it was intentional to speak to the “wrong people” angle. How do you feel about the key roles of a young cast? They compared you to 90210.”

BJS: Yes, that inexperience  is vital to creating a lot of the predicaments in SGU. Sorry guys, but it’s not a marketing ploy to get teenagers to watch the show. It’s an attempt to create dramatic tension in a way that’s not possible when a certifiable genius can solve a problem with the push of a button and a joke. I find the 90210 comment flattering – I actually auditioned for that show and didn’t even get a call-back. 🙁 Hey, maybe they can call the casting directors at 90210 and get me a guest spot!

Joflyaway writes: “questions for Brian Smith: 1. What attracted you to the SGU show and the role in particular?”

BJS: The writing in the pilot and a phone conversation I had with Rob Cooper where he outlined the new approach to shooting the show. He basically said, “We’ll be expecting a lot from you guys (the actors). You’ll have to come in incredibly prepared because we’ll be shooting rehearsals, you’ll be coming up with your own blocking, and you won’t know where the cameras are.” What actor can say no to THAT?

“Are you aware of the passionate and loyal Stargate fan base and are you ready to be a part of its world?”

BJS: Bring it on, Gaters!

“What do you enjoy most about Vancouver?”

BJS: The weather and the food. The people are also very chill.

duneknight writes: “question for Brian J. Smith: do you see yourself as a ladies man?”

BJS: No, I’m a goofball, actually.

“yeah sue me lol, i dont know what else to ask him now. oh and that pic should be very helpful to the folks at gateworld who are trying to find out how many made it to destiny.”

BJS: It’s a very small number – around 80, I believe. I like it that way – we’ve tried to keep continuity with the background actors and it’s helped create a sense of small town intimacy aboard Destiny.

“wait another question for Brian J. Smith: what do you think about the negative fan reaction?”

BJS: I don’t think about it. I’ve got a job to do.

DP writes: “Are you from Ky.? If so, how Kentucky are you?”

BJS: No I’m actually from TX, although my mom lives in Kentucky. It’s beautiful there.  I have some fond memories of the mountains in that area from when I was a kid.

Cherluvya writes: “Brian: After a long day working, do you turn on music, TV or computer…or maybe all three? Oh, games..almost forgot that. What is your favorite of each? That’s a big one huh?”

BJS: All of the above! Right now my favorite game is Battlefield: Bad Company.

Cherluvya writes: “Brian Question: I guess all actors have usually had a tough road to get to where they are. Have any stories you would like to share?”

BJS: Oh, I’ve got tons of them! I almost joined the military – – – twice! Not as a last resort, but because I wanted to do something meaningful with my life, and auditioning and bartending just wasn’t cutting it. But each time I was about to join I ended up getting a job, so I guess I’m getting the message loud and clear.

Madwelshboy writes: “Questions for Brian J. Smith: What was your first reaction to the character of Matthew Scott and how has it changed as the season’s gone on?”

BJS: His backstory moved me, first off.  And I was impressed to see a young man in his twenties portrayed this way. The writers didn’t shy away from creating a guy with a good heart, and most of the crap I had been reading for in other TV shows portrayed guys my age as egotistical, mindless, sex-craved players. For whatever reason it’s very “in” to be cynical about human beings, and I don’t think Brad and Rob have a cynical outlook on human nature. Can I get an amen?

“The MGM site recently updated the character bio’s, with some pretty interesting stuff about Matthew Scott. How much of that back-story was in place when you were first cast?”

BJS: Most of it, although it has continued to evolve over the season.

“Out of the episodes you’ve read and/or shot so far, which do you think shows Matthew Scott at his best and at his worst?”

BJS: Water shows him at his best. Pain shows him at his worst.

“Who do you get to work with the most and least on set? Who would you like to work with more?”

BJS: Lately it’s been the quartet of “youngin’s” – Eli, Chloe, Greer and Scott. In the beginning I did lots with Young. I would love to have a HUGE blowout scene with Rush.

“Your Mom has said that she’s speechless after seeing the huge SGU poster on the side of a building. How dose it make you feel knowing that your face is literally everywhere?”

BJS: I mean, it’s definitely neat – but it doesn’t help me figure out the scene we’re shooting tomorrow! 🙂

“What effect has the fan reaction (if any) via Twitter had on you? What was your reaction to having your first very own fansite?”

BJS: It’s bizarre. I look at where I was this time last year and really can’t believe it.

“What’s it like working with Robert Carlyle, Ming-Na and Lou Diamond Phillips, who have had successfully long careers? Have you learnt anything from them?”

BJS: They’re the best. They’ve been very kind and patient with me. They’re great role models. These are talented, successful people who work their butts off and treat people right. Do you know how rare that is?

“What one word would you use to describe each of your cast mates?”

BJS: Bobby – chameleon. Louis – brilliant. David – hilarious. Elyse – vulnerable. Alaina – goddess. Jamil – free. Ming Na – moving. Lou – classy.

Fun in the sun - Air III (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Televison).
Fun in the sun - Air III (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Televison).

“You’ve played a few gay characters, both on stage in “Three Changes” and in film in “Hate Crime” and “The War Boys”. Some actors have spoken about the difficulties in playing gay characters, in particularly when it comes to intimate scenes with male co-stars. How did you approach these parts and did you experience difficulty with them? Did you have any fear of maybe becoming type cast?”

BJS: Hey you forgot one – I also played a closeted gay character in Good Boys And True, at Second Stage in NY!  I fell in love with those characters and their predicaments. It’s very rich territory, playing a young man who can’t be himself. And very sad. Again, I don’t like how a lot of writers portray young men my age, but those characters actually experienced life in a deep way as opposed to going out and making things miserable for other people. Well, maybe with the exception of ‘Three Changes’, but that was too much fun to pass up. 🙂 I hope I continue to get type-cast if the roles are this interesting.

Iamza writes: “Questions for Brian: You mentioned on Twitter how much you were enjoying BSG. What aspect of the show was it that most appealed to you? There has been some comparisons drawn between SGU and BSG, based in part on some of the early trailers — if it’s possible to do without giving too much away, may I ask what you think most distinguishes SGU from BSG?”

BJS: Great, great question. BSG was a very baroque show. It was nasty and dark and humorless and I loved every minute of it. SGU is about the “better angels of our nature”, even though the characters go through some dark stuff. They never give up. They’re survivors.  I don’t know how many times a character in SGU says “okay this sucks, but we’re gonna get through this – and we’re gonna get through it together.” That’s the difference – SGU is about the inexplicable ability of human beings to sacrifice themselves for a stranger and to find hope in impossible circumstances, and BSG was about whether or not the human species deserves to survive. I don’t think you’ll ever doubt the answer to that question after watching SGU.

“SGU has drawn a fair amount of flack over the past year. What do you think is the biggest misconception about the show that you’d like to set straight?”

BJS: Scott is NOT a Cylon, folks. Besides that, all the misconceptions are true.

“What’s the best thing you’ve found so far about being Scott?Do you find it hard to shake the character when you’re done shooting for the day? If you had to pick one thing about Scott that you most admire, what would it be?”

BJS: He’s a great character to play because he doesn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth at the end of the day. I like the kid a lot and I’d like to hang out with him if he were a real person. I admire his courage but am moved by his ability to care for other people more than himself.

“favourite last book that was read purely for pleasure (rather than research)? Many thanks for your time. I look forward to watching you in action on SGU in October!”

BJS: A Light in August by William Faulkner.

PBMom writes: “Question for Brian: Not so much a question as a comment of thank you for being accessible to fans especially via Twitter. I believe the Twittering by the cast and people behind the scenes has helped fuel the excitement for the show.”

BJS: Am glad to hear it. Thanks!

Crazymom1 writes: “Brian, my son Brian wants to know if your mother has ever embarrassed you in public on purpose. I can’t imagine what made him ask that.”

BJS: No, but god knows she’s got plenty of material!!