And by unusual, I mean unusual to me at the time they were first sampled. Today, I don’t find most of them unusual at all.
Well. Most of them.
10) Beef Tendon
This one was an usual one for me to wrap my head around at first. No meat. Just the tendon? I’ll have to admit, I wasn’t convinced the first time I tried it but, on subsequent outings, the dish has grown on me – at first as an accompaniment to beef, and now a favorite all on its own. Served with a side of white rice – delicious!
9) Snake Soup
I have always considered myself an adventurous eater, so when the opportunity presented itself to try some snake soup at the Hong Kong airport enroute to Tokyo, I thought “Why not?”. The verdict? I found it unremarkable. More notable, however, was the ensuing week of gastrointestinal distress that saw me shed 15 lbs, inadvertently allowing me to stumble upon what I would later coin The Snake Soup Diet!
Recommended? Hell, no!
I first tried alligator at a cajun restaurant in Montreal back in college days. I found it an uninspired dish that would be best described as as a cross between overcooked veal and frog.
7) Frog’s Legs
Less chewy than alligator, but more fishy-tasting.
Recommended? Also no.
The first time I tried fugu was on one of my first trips to Japan when I was served it, sashimi style, as a part of an omakase (chef’s choice menu) meal at a high-end restaurant in Tokyo. I was, admittedly leery. We all remember that episode of The Simpsons, right? The fish is deadly and can only be prepared and served by trained masters. A misstep could mean certain death for the diner. I have since learned that most fugu in Japan is now farmed and toxin-free – although some high-end restaurants still kick it old school. I suspect my experience was the latter. Although Akemi loves fugu, I found it neutral in flavor.
Recommended? Not really.
Sheep stomach stuffed with offal, oatmeal, onions and spices. What’s not to like? Well… I picked up a haggis out of curiosity back in Vancouver and looked up preparation methods. Most were incredibly unappealing, but I happened on one that involved roasting the haggis and serving it with a butter-whiskey sauce. When I mentioned this to actor Robert Carlyle, he briefly looked like he was going to throttle me – before politely and calmly informing me that boiling is the proper preparation.
4) Chicken Feet
It’s all skin and bone and, to be honest, cartilage. But the sauce really puts it over the top.
Recommended? Depending on the preparation, a cautious yes.
3) Lamb’s Brains
I came home from school one day to discover my visiting roasting up some lamb brains in the oven. Seasoned with oil, garlic, salt and black pepper, they smelled delicious. But had an off-putting coppery taste.
Recommend? Afraid not.
A.k.a. thymus gland. It has a bit of a brain-like appearance and, in that respect, is instantly off-putting – BUT is surprisingly delicious served bacon-wrapped, fried, or pan-roasted with garlic and thyme.
1) Century Eggs.
A terrific accompaniment to most any congee, but I find a little goes a long way. A deeper dive into their preparation methods has somewhat dampened my enthusiasm.
Recommended? Yes. Occasionally. In congee.
And one for good luck) Shirako
On my first trip to Tokyo, I enjoyed a soup at the Hyatt in Shinjuku that contained some unusual dumplings – slightly sweet and very creamy. When I asked the waitress about them, she informed me I was eating milt. I asked her for the English translation and she told me that milt was the English translation. It wasn’t until I got back to my hotel room that I was able to google it and learn milt is cod sperm. I’ve since been served it steamed (not recommended) and tempura’d (high recommended).
So how successful could a Stargate movie campaign prove if it attempted to follow the successful five-step strategy he outlines? Well, according to Paul, “There are a number of factors at work here, and they’re worth exploring in order to understand if this kind of thing can or will happen again…”
Okay, proper planning is key but, in this case, it requires MUCH consideration. In the case of Veronica Mars, Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell approached the studio and cast first, and THEN started their campaign. Which is, of course, what would be required here. So, how interested would MGM be in a Stargate movie? That’s the biggest question. And the answer all comes down to economics. Would it be worth their while (aka – not only financially feasible but lucrative)? Will the potential rewards outweigh the risks? Five years ago, the answer would have been a resounding “Yes!” given the fact that Ark of Truth and Continuum surpassed expectations. But, of course, that was before the bottom fell out of the DVD market. Could alternate viewing platforms make up the shortfall? Streaming? Broadcasters? Maybe the big screen treatment?
Which brings us to another question – “What does MGM have planned for Stargate? – because, let’s face it, as one of their most successful franchises, it’s not going to lie fallow for long. Do they already have something in the works?
But, for the sake of argument, let’s say, it’s a best case scenario for fans of SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe. The studio proves amenable to the idea. Next up is ensuring we have a cast in place. So, which cast? SG-1? Atlantis? Universe? Or would it be a selective amalgamation of all three (which was Brad Wright’s original idea for an SGU movie)?
3. Offer rewards people want
Now this one is much easier to deliver on. I, for one, would be more than happy to send you a signed script, arrange a set visit, or deck you out in prosthetics before blasting you out an airlock if it would ensure your support.
4. Leverage social media
Are you kidding? Stargate fans are the kings (and queens) of social media. We’ll get word to them and they’ll get word to EVERYONE.
And finally 5. Understand that not everyone will be able to do this
Why not? Well, some former cast members may well be too busy to participate (Robert Carlyle now stars on Once Upon A Time while Jason Momoa has been burning up Hollywood post-SGA) while others may have simply moved on. Still, provided we manage to cross this particular bridge as well, there’s the question of money. To put it bluntly, we would need A LOT more money to produce a Stargate movie. A LOT more to pay for the construction of new sets (alas, the Destiny, Atlantis, and Stargate Command are no more and would have to be rebuilt from scratch) and visual effects (I haven’t read the script, but it’s unlikely the Veronica Mars movie will feature much in the way of space battles), not to mention other related costs like cast, crew, and the onset aerobics instructor for my pug, Bubba.
So, conservatively, three out of five aint bad – unless you’re looking to make a Stargate movie in which case it aint good either. Even if you could convince MGM to get onboard – and that’s a mighty big IF – there’s still the matter of the amount of money that would be required to produce a scifi movie. How much? Well, ballpark, I’d say significantly more than the 3 million dollars the Veronica Mars campaign has raised to date, but somewhat less than the $39 million dollars the Forbes article claims Serenity cost.
Certainly not impossible but, damn, them’s long odds!
Hey, check it out! Look at what was in my Happy Panda bento box the other day: oatmeal Teal’c!
Rolling along on production and prep. Shooting at the airport today and apparently the footage looks amazing. Meanwhile, meetings for me…
Akemi and I were just about to head out to dinner tonight when I got a call from Marty G. who was looking to the same. He’s been putting in some late hours on his new show but caught a break today when one of his staff writers came down with the flu (YES!). And so, we met down in the lobby and braved the sweltering heat. Our destination: Rodney’s Oyster House…
Today’s entry is dedicated to long-time regular Kelly Hurt.
Shiny writes: “So I’m guessing no comic-con for the TSPTR gang — maybe next year?”
Answer: Alas, we just started shooting and will be in production straight through the November. No Comic Con presence this year. I’ll hopefully be going next year to talk Dark Matter and pick up some Randy Bowen statues.
Randomness writes: “Those are the facts. SGUs lack of success forced MGM to end things, you dont need to be an ass to put that point across either, as actions speak louder than words, and with the shows and staff gone from the bridge, it tells me MGM lost faith in the former crew.”
Answer: First of all, MGM didn’t force any issue. SyFy did when they canceled the show. The prospect of direct to dvd movies have been an iffy prospect for quite some time and the alternative, simply producing a movie for broadcast, didn’t make financial sense. Also, you bandy about facts like you actually know what you’re talking about with regard to the cancellation which, I’m sorry to say, you aren’t. Sorry if that offends. You can certainly feel free to make assumptions, but don’t kick ’em around as truths.
Randomness writes: “Had movies of been made its not like Syfy wouldnt want.”
Answer: Really? Under what circumstances? Are you privy to how much they would have been willing to pay to make this reality or is this sort of a “Hey, if you’re giving movies away, we’ll take one!” situation? Hell, if there were some produced movies lying around for the taking, I’m sure they wouldn’t be the only one in line.
jojo writes: “Is your crazy idea to move the production to Vancouver?”
Answer: Nope. My not-so-crazy idea is to move ME back to Vancouver.
jojo also writes: “I hear Bridge studios has some space available.”
Answer: Not sure they do. From what I hear, Once Upon A Time (Robert Carlyle’s new show) has moved into our old production offices. Also, heard from Michael Shanks and he is shooting a film in Stages 5 and 6, the former homes of Stargate Command and Atlantis.
Debra writes: “How are the other dogs doing? Didn’t you have a new stem cell treatment scheduled?”
Answer: I’m holding off on the next stem cell treatment. Jelly is doing great, even pulling off a wobbly hallway run on occasion. Maximus seems to be under the weather. Treats no longer excite him and he takes forever to walk anywhere. I’m bringing him to the vet Saturday to get checked out. As for Bubba and Lulu – still troublemakers.
Thornyrose writes: “My comments on a second season and beyond is alas, not based on reading the fall patterns of my dog’s toenail clippings, or of visions provided after spending a few hours in the insane heat and humidity striking my part of the country. Rather, I am making a prediction based on the confidence I feel about the people working on the show, the nature of the show itself, and the interest my non-sci fi loving coworkers have expressed about the show. ”
Answer: I have no doubt The Transporter will be great and that the show will get that second season pick-up – and a third, fourth, and fifth. There are a lot of very talented people on this production and I’m sure they’re in for a nice, long five-year run.
susan TTT writes: “If you didn’t know that the Ice Cream van was there how did you manage to take the photograph?”
Answer: I didn’t! Alex had Trevor take the picture. The jerks.
Dweeb writes: “You should get out and enjoy the 120ºF humidex now in Toronto. Miss the cold depressing Vancouver rain yet?”
Answer: Almost every day since my arrival.
lucas writes: “Joe – to maintain consistency in how a character spoke or what was siad, did only certain writers write or at least correct lines for only certain characters?”
Answer: Nope. All of the writers gave input on every script, providing notes on everything from plotting to dialogue.
Heading out for dinner tonight after which I’ve got to hit the gym, start The Wise Man’s Fear, and finish up the last two episodes of Eden of the East.
Here’s a long overdue mailbag for you to peruse…
Chevron7 writes: “Now onto Colonel Cockblock – love that name Joe. Did you write in the closed eyes swallow Young gave once Varro left his quarters or was that an actor choice? Said all that needed to be said.”
Answer: That reaction was all Louis Ferreira. Prior to shooting, we discussed the scene and he wanted Young to demonstrate maturity and acceptance in an instant where lesser men would have responded with jealousy. Given everything T.J. has been through, Young pushes his personal feelings aside to focus on what’s best for her. And, at that moment, best for T.J. meant showing her the support she so desperately needed. Still, that “closed eyes swallow” reaction makes it clear that, despite what he may be saying, it hurts him to think he may be losing her to another man.
Chevron7 also writes: “Was the inspiration for the creature a crocodile? ”
Answer: No. My original inspiration was a komodo dragon.
Chevron7 also writes: “The creature vision and ratchet scenes were fantastic…certainly created a sense of panic, confusion, drama. Do you do the ratchet stunts all in one day?”
Answer: No. It’s all location dependent.
John D. writes: “For what it’s worth, I didn’t buy the “Rush cares” stuff at all. It really doesn’t play that way. Trying to teach Eli a lesson came off just as Rush being mean-spirited, which was further reinforced by Rush being vile to Volker and pushing him toward a relationship that doesn’t make sense anyway.”
Answer: Rush is not the type of guy who would waste his time. You can certainly view his actions with regard to Eli and Brody as mean-spirited if you like (that’s certainly not the way it was intended given the humor of the situation and his secret smile at episode’s end), but there’s no arguing with results. Argue against his methods all you like but there’s no denying it proved very effective in snapping Eli and Brody back in line. As for his conversation with Volker, I don’t know what you mean by “pushing him toward a relationship that doesn’t make sense anyway”. Why wouldn’t it make sense? I think Volker and Park would be very sweet together. Volker is in love with Park but prepared to let potential happiness slip through his fingers. There’s nothing worse than a missed opportunity. And I’m sure Rush would agree.
Sue Jackson writes: “And…what rotten thing to have Young knock just as TJ and Varro were gonna kiss. That was just mean. Who’s idea was that?”
Answer: As I said in yesterday’s entry, the “almost kiss” was a compromise in response to a note I received. The general feeling in the room was that things needed to progress a little more slowly with these two. In the original draft, they actually do kiss.
Randomness writes: “Speaking of SGU, I hope you and Paul do a thoughts on Episode 20 – Gauntlet entry. Would be interested to know what you think about the episode too, although Paul wrote the thing.”
Answer: Actually, Paul and I co-wrote Gauntlet. I wrote the first draft, he did the rewrite, then I added the Last Supper speech.
Randomness writes: “Sorry about the mistake Joe, just everywhere including Gateworld has creditted Paul as writing the script for Gauntlet. Easy to forget when every Stargate Universe website credits just Paul”
Answer: Well, that’s…annoying.
KevinNS writes: “…does this mean that Varro is the last remaining Alliance member on board now?”
Answer: That he is.
Randomness writes: “1. Did you prefer writing for SG1/SGA over SGU?”
Answer: While I enjoyed writing for both shows, I think I had an easier time writing for SG-1, particularly during the Vala years.
“2. Were you trying to give off a fatherly vibe with Rush when he messes with Eli/Brody after telling them not to touch the Stasis room stuff.”
Answer: Yes. I’ve always viewed Eli’s relationship with Rush and Young as a “my two dads” situation.
“3. As the series was ending, why did you not kill off a main cast member?”
Answers: There’s still time, no? Four more episodes to go.
“4. When you wrote this episode, did you put Young on the planet because you know he has a thing for TJ or was it more him looking after his own?”
Answer: Both but, clearly, this was special circumstance. The only other times I can recall Young heading off-world were in extremely perilous circumstances (Time, Water).
“5. Were Varro and Greer originally planned to be friends in Season 3? Or at the very most two comrades in arms?”
Answer: Nope. I wanted to have Varro redeem himself in Greer’s eyes, which is why I teamed them in this episode.
“6. Why do you believe Greer was so hostile towards Varro on the planet, and what do you think Varro was thinking when Greer was treating him that badly?”
Answer: Greer is naturally cautious and Varro WAS a part of the incursion that took Destiny, however briefly, at the end of season one. He never trusted the Lucians but Varro went a long way toward proving himself in this episode. As for what Varro thought – I’m sure he was somewhat disappointed but not at all surprised.
“7. How do you think Volker was feeling at the end of the episode when he saw Park and Greer, and why do you think he went to see her with what he had in his hand at the end?”
Answer: Well, obviously he took Rush’s speech to heart and decided to “man up” and tell Park how he felt about her.
“8. Do you believe Volker is more looking for a shoulder to lean on, a female friend of sorts, instead of a romance with someone?”
Answer: No, he is definitely interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with Lisa. Again, it’s pretty clear in the episode.
“9. What do you think Young was thinking when the Lucian Alliance joined them on the planet to hunt the beast?”
Answer: I think that, while Young may also be cautious, he’s also logical. He saw the benefit of having the Lucians assist in the hunt and genuinely appreciated their willingness to help. After all, Tamara’s life was at stake.
“10. Is Mike Dopuds performance good enough in this episode for you to cast him as Frank in your new Transporter series, or at the very least, give him a decent role?”
Answer: Mike is a terrific actor and a pleasure to work with. I wouldn’t hesitate to bring him in to audition for any role I thought would be a good fit for him. However, unilateral casting decisions don’t happen. In the case of the Transporter series, about a dozen different voices will be weighing on casting.
RFVDevil writes: “1. What happened to Wray? I didn’t see her at all in the episode and it seems like it would have been easy to work her into the script. Does Ming Na only have a contract that allows her to appear in a limited number of episodes like Picardo and Amanda on SGA, or did her scenes get cut.”
Answer: Yes, like Woolsey and Carter in Atlantis, the character of Camille Wray doesn’t appear in every episode.
“2. Was this episode at all inspired by The Host? It’s a Korean monster movie.”
Answer: No, the episode wasn’t inspired by any particular movie.
“11. Why did Matt Scott although injured, not join Varro and Greer hunting the beast?”
Answer: Because Young leaves him in charge of Destiny when he leaves to head up the rescue op.
“12. Was there any scenarios out there that involved Young ignoring Varros comments and staying on the planet because of TJ?”
Answer: Nope. As much as Young wants to go on, he sees the logic in Varro’s argument and elects to leave the rescue to Varro and Greer rather than risk slowing them down.
Joan001 writes: ” Robert Carlyle has not been heard of since the cancellation notice. Has there been any word or opinion from him. Does he keep in touch with anybody in SGU?”
Answer: Actually, I hear he’s got quite a few projects on the go. And he has been in touch with both Brad and Robert.
Michael A. Burstein writes: “Do you use Movie Magic Screenwriter as your primary software? I have Final Draft on my Mac.”
Answer: Yes. We used Movie Magic Screenwriter on Stargate and have convinced Alexander to switch over from Final Draft for Transporter: The Series.
Ashleigh writes: “I was woken up at 7:00 AM by Joe this morning with a question I had answered last week via email. When I thought he was done responding he had found his answer…but he obviously became distracted.”
Answer: Still sleeping at 7:00 a.m. Talk about lazy! No wonder I had to register my own Cavco number!
Paloosa writes: “1) Will Transporters be as post production heavy as SGU or Atlantis was?”
Answer: Not as heavy although the Transporter: The Series will have limited visual effects.
“2) Is there a date by which you have to have the first episode in the can?”
Answer: Still solidifying our production schedule.
“3) How many episodes are being produced?”
Answer: The show’s first season will consist of 12 episodes.
“4) What network will be airing it?”
Answer: Stay tuned for the official announcement.
“5) Will entire episodes be filmed in Europe, or are only different segments being shot there?”
Answer: Elements of most every episode will be shot in Europe will main unit photography will take place here in Toronto.
Randomness writes: “How’s the casting side of The Transporter going Joe? I realise you can’t say any names or anything, but is it going well? Like do you have ideas as to who you want for each character?”
Answer: Yes, casting is going very well. A lot of terrific candidates to choose from. We’re narrowing down our selections and meeting to discuss this week.
BoltBait writes: “So, Joe, am I to understand that the flashback scenes were filmed? Or, did you cut them before production began?”
Answer: No, they were shot, then cut in editing.
Renegard writes: “Does stargate travel guarantee continuity of consciousness? Or could one argue that the person is killed on one end and an exact replica is recreated on the other end?”
Answer: I think it’s more an interruption than a death. The traveller is disassembled at the molecular level, then reassembled to his/her original form.
Debi writes: “Concerning THE HUNT that was aired, was that Cpl. Marsden that was killed? Say it isn’t so! :O”
Answer: Alas, ’tis so.
Holloway writes: “Joe, I can respect your opinion that Varro is a better fir for TJ than Young. But did you have to play such favorites by having Young go down with injury leaving Varro to be the guy who has to work with Greer to save TJ?”
Answer: Actually, there was one scenario in which Varro teamed with Young to rescue T.J. but, ultimately, I decided to go with Greer. I think Young’s decision to turn back showed great maturity. He places T.J.’s well-being over his own pride and that says a lot about the man’s character.
Holloway also writes: “That’s a nitpick. The other nitpick is that I would have love to have seen those TJ flashbacks. Time could have been made for them if you had jettison the whole Rush/Eli/Brody subplot.”
Answer: While the T.J. flashbacks were informative, the Rush/Eli/Brody subplot serviced a bigger arc. It addressed the emotional fallout from the previous episode and established the stasis pods for…the not too distant future.
Holloway also writes: “Also was there really a need for another nerd vs soldier for a woman’s attention storyline? I’m referring to Volker’s subplot. Even though it ended badly for Volker in this episode there seems to be little doubt whom your sympathies were with in this episode.”
Answer: Not sure what you mean by whom my sympathies were with. The subplot focused on Volker and his feelings for Park. If I’d written a story about Greer and his feelings for the same woman, I’m sure one could argue that my sympathies lay with Greer.
Nothing. Nothing even comes close. I hate the packing, the boxing up, the hiring of the movers, the move itself, the unpacking and unboxing, the farewell to your old comfy place, the hello to your new weird surroundings. As I mentioned in a previous post, even though I’m moving cross-country for work, I don’t intend to give up my home in Vancouver. At least not yet. That will entirely depend on how things pan out with the new job and the city of Toronto in particular. THEN, I’ll decide what will be in my better interest. According to my accountant, regardless of how things go in T.O., it would be in my best financial interest to sell it and downsize. He argues that, now that I’m separated, I no longer need a big house. I disagree. My dogs need running room, especially Jelly who, since her spinal surgery, has slowly but surely started to regain her ambling ways –
I’m in a cranky mood, the result of no one major annoyance but, rather, an avalanche of tiny little irritations.
Like, for instance, the “grilled cheese” croutons served with the tomato soup at Romer’s Burger Bar here in Vancouver. When they first opened, the croutons were nice, large squares of grilled cheese. Between then and last month, they’d been reduced to about a third their original size.
And then today, I go for lunch, and they serve me this –
I mean, seriously. Now they can’t even be bothered to grill them? I’m afraid that next time I go, they’ll just toss me a slice of bread and a pre-packaged Kraft single and tell me to knock myself out. Ah, screw it. With only a month to go before I hit Hogtown, I’ve got to be selective about my final meals.
Refuel, for instance, is one of the restaurants on my Farewell Tour – especially since owner Tom Doughty has advised me Chef Rob and Chef Ted have designed a special going away menu for me. Very much looking forward to it – and seeing them. On my last visit to Refuel, they weren’t around. I enjoyed two fantastic additions to their pasta menu – and then was utterly baffled to be served a dessert containing fruit and chocolate (note: You know what I hate more than moving? Nothing. But you know what comes in a close second? Fruit in my dessert.). Apparently, Chef Ted took ill and the rest of the kitchen staff was unaware of my dietary requirements. Anyway, Tom assures me there’ll be no fruity desserts on my next visit.
Oh, and another thing that bothers me is this ridiculous ten film limit for the best picture nominations. Why only ten? Why leave equally worthy candidates on the outside looking in. What about Clash of the Titans, Sex and the City 2, Furry Vengeance, and The Back-Up Plan? Where’s their reward for getting made?
Also the SGU cancellation. Which brings me to this – another behind the scenes vid. This one, console playback of (a section of) the cool new section of the ship the crew discovers in the back half of season 2:
woody woodward writes: “I am trying so hard to locate a SGU Ball cap for my bald head. Is there some place I can order,buy,steal …well, not steal one?”
Answer: There’s one sitting in my office. You can have it if you’re in the Vancouver area.
IggyMing writes: “BTW, I love how Space/CTV was such a great supporter of SGU and the Stargate franchise in general. They really pulled out all the stops to market it, and it paid off big time.”
Answer: Exactly that. A perfect example of a terrific promotional campaign paying off in the form of great ratings. Also, the trailers Space cut for the show were nothing short of fantastic.
for the love of Beckett writes: “Aw, Joe. This is just sad, this pathos of departure. And you’ve taught us that until you and Paul sign your contracts, it’s too soon to celebrate. Where does that leave us?”
Answer: In a comfy little limbo. But don’t get too comfy.
hal ehlrich writes: “He must be pretty upset with them,, along with all of the other Stargate people.”
Answer: You have to understand that this is a business. Nothing personal. At the end of the day, unfortunately, Universe wasn’t getting the strong ratings that SyFy’s other Fall scripted shows were pulling in.
Bryan M. White writes: “Is Rob planning on doing any directing for the new project? -or is it too early to tell?”
Answer: Too early to tell, but I certainly hope so.
E writes: “Once SGU’s fate is determined, will you share with us an AU season 3, like you did with SGA S6?”
Answer: Unlike SGA, we didn’t have stories in place – more general ideas of where we wanted our characters, and the show, to go.
DP writes: ““It can now be found at the end of Act III.” Is that a cryptic hint about what the “suspicious character” talk is all about? Just being silly?”
Answer: Sorry, not a clue to anything beyond my skewed sense of humor.
DALLAS MARSHALL writes: “Sir, Is there any truth to this rumor? “There was a report over here in the UK last week saying that Robert Carlyle asked to be let out of his contract and that the new head of scyfy was not a fan of the series.””
Answer: Absolutely no truth to the rumor that Bobby wanted to leave. He had a great time making the show, loved Vancouver and the people he worked with – and we were very, very lucky to have him. He was a class act who put his heart and soul into the character of Nicholas Rush and I know he was just as disappointed as we were to have it come to a premature end.
walkersguidetomiltonkeynes writes: “How are you supposed to submit mailbag questions? Every time I try it this way nothing happens…”
Answer: Maybe you’re doing it wrong.
Mike McGinnis writes: “So, are you a rob or russel fan this season?”
Answer: I’m in the Boston Rob camp.
Michael writes: “Have you decided on an area in Toronto that you find suitable to look for real estate?”
Answer: Not yet. Still looking. Have a month to decide.
glennh73 writes: “Question, want to start reading books. Havent read book for about 10yrs. But want to start up but need a good book to start. I love scifi like Stargate an Charlie Jade. Any suggestions?”
Answer: Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi (who was, incidentally, a Creative Consultant on Stargate: Universe).
Gina writes: “As you are now currently between two different shows, are you finding it hard to shift back and forth between them or has Stargate been a part of your life for so long its just second nature?”
Answer: Not much shifting going on as the work left to do on SGU is minimal: commenting on the remaining mixes. It certainly will be a different to go from a well-oiled machine that has been in production for some 15 years to a fledgling production.
Hey, Canadian Stargate: Universe fans! Did you get a chance to watch last night’s post-SGU episode of Innerspace. It featured special guest Robert C. Cooper who fielded a rapidfire barrage of fan questions on everything from directing to the furlings. Ah, the furlings, those mysterious aliens, alternately loved and despised (I suppose it depends on whether you’re a fan or simply working in the Stargate writers’ room). “When are we going to see the furlings?” was the question. To which Robert replied: “I never get that question.” He then went on to reveal that he is presently working on a furling spin-off series. With a straight face no less. The guy plays a lot of poker. Which is something he’s good at – unlike, say, naming alien races. As a matter of fact, his alien-naming privileges were revoked shortly after he came up with “the furlings”. True story.
Hey, check it out. Snow Day today!
Akemi is thrilled! Me and the dogs…not so much.
So yesterday I was leaving the doggy daycare and rolled up to a tricky intersection. I needed to take a left turn across two lanes of traffic. On my right, all clear. On my left, all clear except for a slow moving van inching up to take a right. I crept up. Right still clear. Left still clear. Tapped the gas. At which point a speeding SUV, perfectly blocked by that creeping van, came streaking up to my left. I happened to catch it from the corner of my eye and hit the brake just in time. It zipped on by and away. Had it been going a little faster, had I not hesitated, I would have certainly been demolished – along with my car. I thanked my lucky stars, took the turn and headed home. Then, some five minutes later, almost had another car merge directly into my driver’s side (for the second time this year: https://josephmallozzi.com/2010/06/17/june-17-2010-aw-resurgence-day-1-mailbag-day-872ish/
But of course that’s not possible because tonight is the SGU season two wrap party. Yes, I’ll drive extra carefully. And, yes, I’ll bring my camera to document the evening. And, finally, yes – I’ll post the pics as part of tomorrow’s blog entry. While you’re waiting, how about a little…
Aaaargh! writes: “An analogy: if you read in the newspaper that someone got run over by a car you don’t think twice about it (causal viewers). If that person is your best friend, however, you’ll visit the hospital to be at his side every day (true fans). Are you having fun ? Why are you still visiting your friend if you’re not having fun ? Because now he needs you the most, that is what real friendship is all about.
I think this is *the* reason why so many people are angry, you’ve been trusted to take care of our good friend, the Stargate franchise, and you betrayed our trust. Not only did you rape and murder our friend, you’re offended that people don’t thank you for it.”
Answer: Aside from the fact that your analogy is both shallow and offensive, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. A more appropriate analogy would be – after losing your girlfriend to a tragic accident, you decide to start dating her cousin. This cousin reminds you of your ex-girlfriend but, very quickly, you realize that she is not enough like your deceased ex for your liking, so you start pestering her to dress more like her dead cousin, talk more like her dead cousin, and generally behave a lot more like her dead cousin. When she resists, you get angry and begin harassing her incessantly, stalking her online and wishing her dead as well.
Michael White writes: “I hope you read the comments because I had the strongest feeling to share this with you.
Ponytail writes: “Joe what’s wrong with you? No patented peace sign and no big grin. I must say, I’m a little disappointed.”
Answer: To be honest, I was holding my patented phony photo smile for what like forever, then relaxed – at which point the picture was snapped.
JYS writes: “also. I went to Meat and Bread on cambie today. Really good porchetta sandwich. they’re closed on sundays, but, i suggest trying it before you head to Tokyo”
Answer: As a matter of fact, I did. And enjoyed the porchetta sandwich. Great minds eat alike…
Meat & Bread’s porchetta sandwich.
And their maple-bacon ice cream sandwich.
Johnny writes: “Since there’s no DHD placed along with the respective gates, are we to assume the gates were only meant to be accessed from Destiny alone?”
Answer: That’s a safe assumption.
Elliot writes: “You said that Destiny has a repairing drone. And if they can make it work again, that means they can build back the damaged ship parts?”
Answer: Yep. First up, the dome that will house the new hydroponics lab.
zaghy2zy writes: “I just had to ask, why is Robert Carlyle way at the back not with the rest of the main cast?”
Answer: Despite his celebrity status, Bobby is an incredibly quiet, and humble guy. He passed on front and center for a more casual position amidst the rest of the crew.
PJR writes: “The Comic Project – Thanks for your response. I’d like to ask further: is the script format somewhat along the lines of a TV/film script?”
Answer: No. It’s a very different format that requires some getting used to.
PJR also writes: “- and assuming (dangerous!) that ‘general structure’ you mention refers to plot/arcs, etc and not the script body – I’m wondering more about how through the brief you were given you see similarities and differences to the plotting/breaking/etc you do on a show like SGU, or Atlantis. Quite different animals or more similar, at least in essence, than we’d figure?”
Answer: I was referring to the format specifically. Elements related to plot and story structure remain more or less unchanged. The end of the first issue lines up naturally with the end of the pilot script’s second act, the end of the second issue with the conclusion to the pilot script.
PJR also writes: “Now you’re working both on episodes and comic story planning, I’m wondering how many pages a 45 minute episode might run on the basis of the standard 22 page/issue comic format – much more or pretty much there?”
Answer: It’s really story dependent because the two formats are so different. That said, it’s looking like your average minute script will translate to two 22 page comic book issues.
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.
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.
Curse the Seattle Seahawks’ offensive line and the team’s inability to establish a running game. Thanks to them – and several other notable underachievers, my Snow Monkeys head into tonight’s Monday night game needing a monster night from both QB Matt Schaub and RB Arian Foster to pull off an unlikely week 8 victory. At this point, it’s not looking good. Thanks-for-nothings also go out to WR’s Dez Bryant and Brandon Marshall. Also, TE Tony Moeaki. As the regulation time was ticking down in the KC game, I was cursing myself for having unwittingly started an inactive player only to realize that Moeaki WAS active – but only in the theoretical sense. I’m hitting the waiver wire hard tomorrow.
Anyone watch the premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead? That’s a rhetorical question because, in fact, MANY did. 5.3 million viewers is pretty damn impressive and, frankly, well-deserved. Beautifully shot and wonderfully written with great performances all around. And, have to agree with #1 zombie fan Ivon Bartok – those were probably the best-looking zombies I’ve ever seen. Creepy good!
Louis Ferreira (a.k.a. Stargate: Universe’s Colonel Everett Young) swung by my office today to say hi – giving me the opportunity to throw a few more of your fan questions at him. Today’s question –
How was it to have Robert Carlyle as a director for one episode of season two?
Great answer – up until he’s interrupted by my cellphone’s Yolandi Vi$$er ringtone…
Oooh, some interesting developments abound. A tricky first step finally negotiated. Less cryptic revelations to come!
I got a sneak peek at the Stargate: Universe season two trailer this afternoon and it’s – well – is “crazysuperfantastic” a word? Steve has done an incredible job and I can’t wait for you guys to check it out. I’m still aiming for the week prior to the SGU second season premiere (Tuesday, September 28th at 9:00 p.m. on SyFy). Trust me, it’ll be well worth the wait. LOTS to look forward to this year.
Please keep those questions and comments coming for September’s Book of the Month Club, Masked. We’ve got a slew of special guests lined up to field your queries including: Matthew Sturges (“Cleansed and Set in Gold”), James Maxey (“Where Their Worm Dieth Not”), Paul Cornell (“Secret Identity”), Daryl Gregory (“Message from the Bubblegum Factory”), Gail Simone (“Thug), Mark Chadbourn (“By My Works You Shall Know Me”), Marjorie M. Liu (“Call Her Savage”), Lou Anders (our fearless editor), and yours truly (“Downfall”)!
And now, I’d like to turn this blog over to Destiny’s sassiest scientist, Dr. Lisa Park – a.k.a. Jennifer Spence – who has kindly taken time out of her space-suited forays (Come to think of it, what IS she doing in that space suit?) to spend time with us. Thanks, Jen. Now back to work on those shield emitters…
Me writes: “Not really a question for Jennifer Spence, but I loved your delivery as Dr. Park of the line in the SG:U finale to Col. Young — Don’t Yell! It was totally unexpected and spot on. I was laughing out loud on that one. Keep up the good work Jennifer, and I look forward to seeing you in Season Two.”
JS: Aw thank you Me! We’ve got some pretty fan-freaking-tastic writers on the show and that line came from none other than Mr. Joe Mallozzi and Paul Mullie 🙂
Michael writes: “Questions for Jennifer Spence
1) What do you want to see happen for Dr. Park in season 2, besides surviving?”
JS: Hi Michael. I would love to see her become even stronger and explore more of what makes her human. We know she’s smart and can hold her own with the other scientist boys, we know she likes to get it on with the military lads, now I’d like to see what else she can offer the team. Perhaps an episode where she takes on more of a leadership type of role or one in which she must overcome a fear or issue from her past in order to get the team out of a dire situation. I love the idea of secrets. And of course it would be so much fun to have some scenes where she just loses it on someone, like maybe she develops a temper.
“2) What was your initial reaction to Park’s method of coping with being stranded on Destiny; sex?”
JS: Shock followed by absolutely loving the idea! It just added so much depth to my character in that she now had this secret and it’s always great fun as an actor to come up with a reason for a character’s behavior.
“3) What do you like to do the breaks between scenes-hang out with the other actors or hide in a trailer?”
JS: We’re almost always all hanging out between scenes unless someone’s got a big scene to prep and even then everyone is so awesome about offering to run lines. We goof around a ton and regularly get our wrists slapped for getting out of hand 😉 I mean you put some of the funniest people I’ve ever worked with in a room together and you get non-stop entertainment. I think I now have about 5 videos I’ve shot on my iPhone of Kelamis doing various impressions and bits that we keep pressuring him to perform for us and the man is so sweet that he always obliges! Actually Patrick posted one of them on youtube the other dayhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSE7TOd1ieU&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Lou Zucaro writes: “For Jennifer… 1) You had one of the best lines to date in the series last week (“Don’t yell!”). When you read a line like that when you first get your script, is it always obvious how simply great it is, or is it not until you perform it (or even see it when it’s done) that it hits for you?”
JS: Hi Lou. It’s usually obvious to me when I read it thanks to our stellar team of writers. Whenever I see a line like that I get super excited about saying it and I love that those types of lines are generally of the comic variety which can be a nice little addition to dramatic scenes.
“2) You’ve worked on a fair amount of sci-fi. Are you / have you been a fan of the genre or is it something that’s “just happened”? If you’re a fan, what (other than things you’ve been in) are some of your favorites?”
JS: Honestly I was never really a fan of sci-fi before SGU. A lot of the productions that have been shot in Vancouver over the years have been of the sci-fi variety and I’ve been lucky that those that I’ve worked on have all been high quality but in general, I usually didn’t watch shows or movies of that genre. I do remember loving E.T. though and having all the E.T. paraphernalia: stuffed toy, t-shirt, shoelaces, etc. as well as rushing home from school to watch Dr. Who. I finally saw Galaxy Quest a few months ago and LOVED it!
“3) In “The Core” you were an assistant to Stanley Tucci’s character, Dr. Zimsky, and now in a way on SGU, you’re an assistant to Rush. In a knock down, drag-out, cage match of the minds, which difficult genius would you put your money on?”
JS: Probably Rush just cuz he’s always thinking outside the box. Plus Zimsky didn’t end up making it out alive 😉
Tim Lade writes: “Dear Ms. Spence. What is it like to wear the same clothing over and over and over again? I imagine I would get pretty annoyed with whatever I happened to choose to wear the day Icarus Base was attacked.”
JS: Haha! As an actor it’s not so bad just cuz you always know what to expect and our fabulous wardrobe department keeps like 6 sets of the outfit on hand. As the character though, you’re right, it would be pretty frakking annoying to wear the same outfit day in day out. I mean, there’s only so much B.O. you’d be able to get out what with a limited water supply and steam showers!
Mike writes: “Question for Jennifer, how much are you like Dr. Park, being the optimist and placating presence, in real life?
JS: I try to be an optimist as much as possible in real life and I think that’s who I am at heart but of course I still have my moments where I cross over to the dark side.
“What one item would you want to have with you if you were stuck on Destiny?”
JS: I think if I could have only 1 item on the Destiny, it would be my iPhone much as I don’t want to admit my addiction to that blasted thing!
“Are there any actors on the show that you hang out with when not filming? Thanks for answering, and keep up the good work it is nice to see a beautiful lady as part of the science team.”
JS: Aw thanks Mike- so sweet! I think I’ve hung out with pretty much all the cast off, but I think I’ve probably spent the most time with Gilmore & Kelamis. Patrick and I just recently spent a week in L.A. with Kelamis and his lovely wife in their gorgeous home which they completely re-did THEMSELVES!
PBMom writes: “To Jennifer Spence: 1. We know how Dr. Park copes with stress, but what is your coping mechanism (if you can share)?”
JS: Chocolate cake with LOTS of icing.
“2. What are your similarities to Dr. Park and what are your differences?”
JS: I think we’re similar in that we’re both optimistic, solution-oriented and nerds. I think we’re different in that she got her doctorate whereas I went to theatre school, she uses sex to relieve stress whereas I’ll eat a whole chocolate cake, she works with a couple of male scientists who bicker like a married couple whereas I work with a couple of male actors who… you know what- we’re not that different 😉
“3. Dog or cat person (or both?)”
JS: I’m definitely a dog person but I like cats too. Especially the ones that seem like dogs trapped in cats’ bodies.
“4. What was your favorite chocolate at Joe’s party (if you attended)?”
JS: Aw man, how to narrow it down?… It was actually probably the brownie (wish I could remember the company). Twas the creamiest, richest, most perfect-level-of-sweetness brownie I’ve ever devoured in my life!
“5. If you had a say in it (which I know you don’t), who would you like more screen time with as an actor with another actor, or as your character with another character.”
JS: Naw don’t make me choose- it’s too hard! I think it would be interesting though to have more scenes with whatever other character brings out the most conflict when paired with Park.
“6. What would be your SGleeU song to sing? Julia Benson answered “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi if that helps.”
“7. I read somewhere you own a bookstore in Vancouver? Thank you for being so kind to answer our questions.”
JS: The bookstore you’ve heard about is called Biz Books which is owned by the talented and outstanding Catherine Lough Haggquist who not only has been my boss but a very close friend and mentor AND she played Mary in the SGU episode Sabotage! She has taught me almost everything I know about the film industry and her belief in me is a lot of the reason I stuck it out with acting. She opened Biz Books 14 years ago and it is the only bookstore based in Western Canada that specializes in film, television and theatre related books. The store has just recently evolved from a bricks and mortar retail space into an online and on-location only bookstore www.bizbooks.net. Very excited for its next chapter!
Sean D. writes: “Question for Jennifer: What’s your favorite episode of season 2 so far?”
JS: Aw man, too hard to choose- they’re seriously all good! One that was especially exciting to shoot was Malice because we traveled to New Mexico and it put Park in an extremely challenging situation which then changed her perspective about Rush.
E. writes: “Yaaay! Lisa Park – again, one of my fav secondary characters! Questions for her: Did you practice a lot for the kino sequence in “Darkness”? ‘But it might be great!’-moment made me fell in love with Park’s character.”
JS: Aw you’re sweet, E 🙂 I actually only ended up having a few hours to practice that one. As I recall, it had originally been scheduled to shoot after a long weekend so my plan had been to take the weekend to memorize it and make sure it stuck. A day or 2 before said weekend, I got a call from production asking if I was available to come in later that very afternoon because they wanted to shoot that scene a few days ahead of schedule! Hello heart palpitations! I was working at the bookstore at the time and was slotted to be working there for the rest of the day but of course Cat (see info about Biz Books above) being the awesome woman she is told me to skedaddle and I spent the following few hours memorizing and practicing with anyone and everyone who made eye contact with me 😉
“What exactly is Park’s area of expertise? Is it astrophysics?”
JS: She definitely has a lot of knowledge about astrophysics and I think she also has done a lot of research in the fields of computer science (specifically computational linguistics) and geophysics.
“What do you think – does Park feel guilty for sleeping with various guys on Destiny, while she has a boyfriend on Earth?”
JS: I think she definitely feels guilty about cheating on her boyfriend but manages to adopt an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude 😉
Paul Moody writes: “Question for Jennifer: You’re cast as a civilian on Destiny; do you ever wish you could have been cast as part of the military contingent so you could run around shouting ‘hoo-rah!’ a lot?”
JS: Haha! Naw, I think the role of a civvy is a lot more fitting for me. I’m a nerd through and through. That being said, I would love for Park to get the opportunity to shoot a gun or backhand a bad guy in an upcoming episode.
Lisa R. writes: “Questions for Jennifer Spence: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. 1) How did you get into the acting business?”
JS: Hi Lisa. I’d always loved acting since I had done skits and stuff at summer camp as a little kid but when I did a community theatre production of “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller just before graduating high school I realized I didn’t really have a choice anymore – it was just what my little heart wanted!
“2) What kind of studying do you do to make your lines believable especially when there’s alot of science in the script? (if you’re not already familiar with the science concepts.)”
JS: When there’s tons of science-speak in the script, I usually start with wikipedia. Then when we go to shoot it, I’ll double check with the writer(s). A couple of times, Patrick and I have gone up to Brad with sketches of what we think the science-speak is referring to and then Brad will draw his own little sketch and patiently explain what’s actually going on!
Simon writes: “Questions for Jennifer: 1) First off, congrats on the Leo Award nomination! Will Dr. Park be getting more screen time in Season 2?”
JS: Aw thank you Simon! Twas truly a thrill! And yes the writers have given Dr Park lots of fun and sometimes unexpected stuff for me to play this season. Many times now, I’ve found myself clapping my hands in delight when I get any sort of tidbit of what’s on the horizon!
“2) How many episode will Park be in this time around?”
JS: As I write this, we are about 15 episodes in and I have been in all but one. Of course being a little greedy guts, I’m hoping I’ll be in all the rest of ’em!
Yazid writes: “Q’s for Jennifer Spence : First, thanks for answering our questions, it’s nice of you. Did you cast for Lisa Park first or any other character?”
JS: Hi Yazid. I read for 2 other parts first and then the producers were lovely enough to find me something else to play. The first incarnation of Dr Lisa Park was actually written as a male scientist named Miles Henry!
“How is the atmosphere on set?”
JS: Rindonculously fun. But also super respectful, patient, supportive, focused and generous.
“How funny is it? Who is the most funny? Were you the victim of someone’s joke on set?”
JS: Super funny. My abs get a mean workout any time I’m on set or between scenes. Everybody on this show is pretty funny but of course it’s always a blast when Louis is around. Haig played a brutal joke on me first season. We had just gotten the script for an upcoming episode so we hurried into our trailers to flip through and see if we were in it or not and if so, if we made it out alive. I think I had just turned to page 1 when I hear Haig (whose room was right next to mine) say “Oh no!” and I yell, “What?!” through the wall and he says, “You die.” Blink blink. “Huh?” I squeak and he shouts, “Yeah Brody says ‘what happened to Park?’ and Riley says ‘she died'”. So at this point I leap to my feet, fly out my trailer door, clamber up the steps to Haig’s door and he opens it laughing his ass off. I think I manage to mumble “I hate you” as I retreat down the stairs backwards never breaking eye contact with him. This is not a set on which one should be gullible. And I am. Oh how I am.
“What is your favorite scene/episode of SGU and why?”
JS: Really really hard to narrow it down to just one. They all have special moments and I can honestly say that I have gotten goosebumps at some point during every single episode. I think “Life” was one of my favorites because we learned so much intimate stuff about the characters.
“Did you know Stargate before playing in SGU?”
JS: I had heard of it and knew how popular it was but I hadn’t actually seen it tsk tsk!
“When are you gonna do a “Chevron/Symbol locked sequence”?”
JS: Haha! Joe?
“Are Rush/Brody/Volker and Park a kind of control room gang? ^^
JS: I think we are! It’s a good dynamic because we’re all so different. What could our gang be called? Maybe Brush-polker? Or Volkush-bark?
“What was the hardest/funniest scene to shoot?”
JS: I think the hardest as well as funniest scenes to shoot were my “reading” scenes in the episode Life. I had never done love scenes like those before so I was kinda nervous but both Zak and Jamil were perfect gentleman and super professional. Because they’re both awesome guys, it ended up being a lot of fun and because both scenes took place in the same location with similar lighting, we shot them back to back so Zak got wrapped and then it was like, “Next!”
“What would you do if you were really stuck on an old rusty ship, billions light years away from home?”
JS: Find out where they kept the chocolate cake.
“Few words in french maybe? Thank you Jennifer =)”
JS: Merci d’avoir poser ces questions!
Lis writes: “For Jennifer – 1. Do you have any particular science background? You seem to do a lot of tech talk, that must be intimidating.”
JS: I don’t have a science background so it certainly can be intimidating to do the tech talk but once you know what you’re really saying and you run it a bunch of times it’s a lot of fun!
“2. Not really a question I guess, but the reason I find Dr Park so endearing is that she’s obviously an extremely intelligent person but also an extremely normal person. That scene way back at the beginning where she is expressing concern about visiting a planet – melted me a little.”
JS: Aw thanks Lis! I’m glad you feel that way because that’s one of the things I like most about her too is that at the end of the day, she’s just human like all the rest of em.
“3. Why don’t you tweet more often?”
JS: I will try to! No excuses 😉
Yazid also writes: “Oopsy, I forgot a question: Thanks. What would you bring on Destiny to make life better?”
JS: Earlier I answered ‘my iPhone’ but now I’m thinking a massage chair.
Myhelix writes: “First of all, you are doing a great job as Dr. Park, hope we´ll see more of you!
JS: Aw thanks Myhelix! And you will definitely see more of me second season!
“1) How is it to work with Louis Ferreira and Robert Carlyle in the same scene together? I have heard Louis is a prankster.”
JS: Being in scenes with those two rocks my world! When I first started on SGU, I didn’t know what to expect – I just had memories of Bobby as Begbie the psycho in Trainspotting and Louis as the psycho serial killer in Durham County. But Bobby is the truest definition of a gentleman. He’s a real sweetheart, completely open and one of the most gracious people I’ve ever met. Louis is totally a prankster and a super funny guy but he also has one of the biggest most generous hearts ever and looks out for us all. I think it was Elyse who dubbed him Papa Smurf. Perfect. One time we were rehearsing a scene and Bobby and Louis switched roles with each other just for the rehearsal and they did it complete with accent reversal and imitation of each other’s physicality! Wish someone had filmed it 😉
“2) Is it just my imagination or is Dr. Park a bit afraid of Dr. Rush. Or let´s say, quite uneasy around Rush. Why do you think is that the case?”
JS: I think as much as she wouldn’t want to admit it, Park is a little intimidated by Rush mostly because of how he interacts with the scientists that work with him but also because of his vast knowledge and experience.
Nuno Barreto writes: “For Jennifer Spence… Playing a recurring character, does your time on set differ much from the actors who are playing main characters?”
JS: I think us recurring characters generally get fewer shooting days per episode than the main characters but sometimes we have had just as many depending on the episode.
“Also your “Don’t yell” line is going to be a classic, it was delivered spot on!”
JS: Thanks Nuno! It was a lot of fun to say!
BoltBait writes: “Questions for Jennifer Spence: 1. Do you enjoy working on the Kino videos? Which was your favorite?”
JS: The Kino videos are always fun to work on! I’ve enjoyed watching all of them for different reasons. I think my favorite was probably the one where Volker is helping Riley and Brody into their spacesuits. Riley tells Volker he has to pee and the ensuing interaction is hilarious. Brody then finishes donning his spacesuit, tries to take a step forward and proceeds to tumble face down. Anytime those 3 get together, I end up peeing my pants 😉
“2. Have you ever said to Joe (or any of the other writers), “My character would never say this! She’d say it like this…”?”
JS: Not yet but now you’ve got me curious to know how they’d react! (Just jokes, Joe.)
“3. How many “takes” do typical scenes take to finish on SGU?”
JS: For each ‘set-up’ within a scene, I’d say we do an average of 2 or 3 takes.
“4. Have you ever said to the director, “Let me do that again, I can do better.”?”
JS: Yes I said that to Peter DeLuise once cuz I knew I could appeal to the actor part of him and he let me!
“5. Your character has a Doctorate. What is it in?”
JS: My interpretation is that Park got her doctorate in Planetary Science from MIT and through her studies has also acquired a vast amount of knowledge in computational linguistics and geophysics.
“6. Your profile page on imdb.com doesn’t say much about you. You (or your agent) needs to update that page!”
JS: You’re right! We’re working on it!
“7. Does your character believe that one day she will return home?”
JS: I think she does. Because she’s an optimist I think she believes it’s possible but at the same time, the longer this adventure continues, the more attached she grows to the whole experience and the people she’s sharing it with.
“8. If you were really aboard Destiny, what would you need to preserve your sanity?”
JS: A journal.
Randomness writes: “I have 1 question for Jennifer Spence 1. First of all, let just say you do an amazing job on SGU, you really show a lot of spirit with your character, my question to you is, do you see Lisa Park being around till the end? And with the many years she will of spent aboard Destiny, how do you think she will be, like growth wise? Can you see her becoming stronger, a different person? In a deep romantic relationship with someone?
I know thats a long question, well several questions in one Joe, but it was me asking her if she thinks her character will survive till the end, and if she does, how does she think her character will be.”
JS: Thanks Randomness! I do see Park being around til the end and I hope that’s the case. I think after all those years she will be a much stronger, tougher person, wiser person who probably will be in a deep romantic relationship with one person and will have given up most of her casual ‘reading’.
Tanie writes: “Questions for Jen: Thanx kindly! 1. How did you get into acting?”
JS: See above.
“2. What’s the best part about working on SGU? The people, the scripts, BTS stuff?”
JS: All of the above. It’s got everything going for it! I hope it goes on for many years to come!
“3. Ice-cream or custard?”
SG7 writes: “Hi Jennifer! My Questions: 1. If you could go anywhere in the world or have been anywhere in the world and want to return where would you go?”
JS: Right now, I’d really love to go to Hawaii. I’ve never been and I’m dying to see those incredible volcanoes and that beautiful water and attend a luau!
“2. Where would be your favorite place to shop & or Eat & or Drink (ie coffee etc)?”
JS: Probably Italy. I LOVE Italian food, love drinking coffee (even though I’m a wuss and only drink decaf) and damn those Italian ladies sure know how to dress, don’t they?
“Just wanted to say a HUGE congrats on your awesome work on SGU! And I hope TPTB give you lots more screen time in season 2 as you truely add sooo much to the show! And thanx for taking the time to answer our questions! You rock! Cheerz, Heather”
JS: Aw thanks Heather- that means a lot! And uh… feel free to let TPTB in on your wishes there 😉 Or put it out there to the “universe”, as it were.
Feanor writes: “Questions for Jennifer Spence: I: What is the background for your character’s constant optimism?”
JS: Hi Feanor. My take on it is that she grew up with 2 brothers and always felt underappreciated by her divorced parents especially her father so she had to build herself up in her own mind in order to feel good enough. I think she then started getting so practiced at it that she was able to do the same for her friends when they were feeling inadequate and soon, she’d adapted the “habit of hope” for life.
“II: Do you feel a similarity do the character you are playing?”
JS: I think the biggest similarity between the 2 of us is that we’re both nerds (except I don’t have a friggin clue when it comes to technology). That and we look alike 😉
“III: How many times your charachter has approximately done ”reading” during season 1 and will that continue or will your charachter find a new hobby?”
JS: She has “read” with at least 4 guys (that we know of): Greer, Rivers, Marsden and Dunning and I’m wondering if she will next move on to the scientists after she’s run out of military 😉
“IV: Is it fun to play in SGU? Good luck and good night!”
JS: Aw man, it’s da best!
“V: What episode do you like in season 2 most from the ones that are already made?”
JS: I think I’ll have to watch the completed versions of all the episodes before I can say J
Nekomajin writes: “I’ve got a question for Jennifer Spence. Lisa Park is one of my favourite character aboard the Destiny. She is pretty, funny and clever. A true geek. Do you think that Lisa can be the female Eli in the future? Thanks for answering.”
JS: A true geek – well said! I think Park is really smart like Eli but nobody can else can be Eli like Eli.
Thank you so much for all your wonderful questions and support! And a very big hug and special thanks to Joe for hosting the q & a and for managing to find the time to write a blog that never fails to entertain and put a smile on our faces.
avabird writes: “…I attended Dragon Con. (…) What I remember is that one or two people did ask rather rudely-toned questions about SGU. Usually, the actors representing a particular branch of a franchise fields those questions. When the questions were asked, the majority of the audience “oooo”ed in a way that should have tipped off the one asking that it was rather rude.”
Answer: Yes, that’s in line with what I heard from other sources, that the crowd oooh’d, leading someone to speak up in the actress’s defense, something along the lines of “keep it up and she’ll end up scared of you.” – to which some classy individual resplied “With good reason.”.
Mel writes: “So instead of apologizing to the innocent SGA fans at the Dragon Con, you misdirect people towards an incident, which has nothing to do with the Dragon Con.”
Answer: First of all, I never referred to the “innocent SGA fans at the Dragon Con”, only the rude ones. So, if you were rude and you were offended by what I have to say, tough. If you were innocent and offended by what I had to say, I wasn’t talking about you. Second, if you check out the comment above, someone who attended one of the panels pretty much confirmed the story I heard.
Mel also writes: “And finally blackmail! SG1 and SGA movies will be made on its OWN merits. The ratings were great, the DVDs of them sold MUCH BETTER than SGU. The SG1 movies were a huge success. It doesn’t matter how good or bad SGU is doing.”
Answer: If you want to believe that, then by all means knock yourself out. But the reality is that should SGU end prematurely, it would be bad for the franchise and have an adverse impact on the SGA movie.
Answer: What does this fan have to do with what we’ve been talking about? You’re assuming that this is the incident I was referring to. It’s not.
Mel also writes: “The simple answer is, because he likes to stir trouble and put fuel to the flames of the “fandom war”, which is going on.”
Answer: Yes, Yes, I know there are many out there who assume I put in a lot of time and effort into hatching these diabolical plots designed to target them specifically but the truth is – and I hate to break it to you – outside of this blog, online fandom is an insignificant part of my life.
Sean D. writes: “Person X enters a stargate a long, long time ago, and finally, present day, the destination stargate is made available, and (poof!) out pops Person X, who should be about 46,000,000 years old now but is still young.
I’m curious though…
What would initiate finally making that connection once the second stargate is made available?”
Answer: Hmmm, now that I think of it, we’ve dealt with a similar scenario back on SG-1 in an episode titled 48 Hours. I believe we said that the gate buffer stores the traveler but that degradation occurs over time. Say, 48 Hours. I still prefer the original working title: Teal’c Interrupted.
crayonbaby writes: “How did the truffles turn out? Were they gone by the time the game ended? Does the alcohol evaporate in the cooking process? You will have to tell us which one is your favorite so far.”
Answer: I brought the leftovers to work and they were a hit. All three flavors went over well, but the Guinness Dark Chocolate Truffles – surprise, surprise – were the clear winners.
Abbas Karimjee writes: “1. Are you concerned about the fate of the movies, given the ongoing delay. Essentially, are you concerned that ecen if the films are ultimately given the greenlight, it may not be possible to have the required main cast for both films?”
Answer: Not especially, no.
Abbas Karimjee also writes: “2. As far as the second season of Stargate Universe is concerned, will we have the chance to touch on the issue of Colonel Young’s relationship with his wife, Emily especially given TJ’s pregnancy?”
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!
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!
It’s been my experience that making a contribution to charity leads to nothing but trouble. A few fleeting seconds of contentment at the prospect of helping out those in need isn’t worth the endless follow-up phone calls from not only the charity in question but the countless other organizations your charity has sold your information to, asking if they can “Put you down for a hundred dollar donation. No? Well, we realize times are tough so why don’t we say fifty? No? Well, we totally understand that the economic downturn has made things difficult for everyone, so why don’t we say twenty-five? No? How about ten dollars? No? How about five dollars and a promise to pick my mother up from Walmart Saturday afternoon?”. It’s reached the point where I don’t even bother answering my home phone anymore.
So I imagine my surprise when I answered my cell phone the other day to receive more or less the same spiel from – all places – the local Arts Club Theatre. No sooner had the word “Hello?” left my mouth than the caller launched into a lengthy ten minute pitch for that season’s show schedule, describing each production in glorious detail. She eventually paused, presumably to catch her breath, and reminded me of the last Arts Club Theatre production I had attended. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the only reason I’d gone at all was because I’d lost a bet to my good friend Kerry McDowall who had chosen to make me take her to a parody Christian musical in the mistaken belief that I would have a worse time than she would. As it turned out, any misgivings I had about the high-steppin’ production were trumped by the look of utter horror that had descended on Kerry with the first song and dance number and had remained frozen on her face like some death-rictus until the final curtain.
Before that, the sole other Arts Club Theatre show I’d attended was a production of Witness for the Prosecution put on by the local law society. And before that, I’d have to go back some twenty three years to a very low period in my life when I was dating a drama student and, thus, ended up sitting through A LOT of amateur theater. Yes, it’s not something I’m proud of, and I would never do it again, so let this be a warning to anyone out there who is considering dating a drama student. The same applies to anyone thinking about dating closet musicians. You know the kind I’m talking about, the ones who bring their guitars, lutes, and tubular bells to house parties in anticipation of that lull in the festivities – usually between one to two a.m. – when the mood has sufficiently mellowed and everyone is either too drunk or high to protest their launching into a folksy rendition of Justin Timberlake’s Sexy Back.
Next to serial killers, the only worse thing than dating a drama student or closet musician is going out with an amateur singer, the kind who will burst into song at the slightest provocation, creating an instant sense of mortification only slightly less embarrassing than having your underwear stolen right off your ass in the middle of a public space. To this day, the desperately cheerful strains of “Fooood glorious foooood!” is enough to send me into paroxysms of terror.
To any theater students, amateur singers, closet musicians, and serial killers I may have offended over the course of this latest rant, please rest assured that the sleight was wholly intentional.
Anyway, another little something from the Art Department…
I smell barbecue!
Delivered by first draft of The Hunt this afternoon. This one is going to have a bit of everything: exotic locations, tricky builds, cool visual effects, and, of course, one hell of an episode budget.
We called up Rob and gave him notes on his final script of the season, episode #217, Common Descent.
As Brad pointed out, the actor playing the part of Dr. Andrew Covel in episode #213 brings to four the number of guest stars who also appeared in the original Stargate movie.
The crit mixes of #203 are going out. Look forward to reading the reactions.
Lisa R writes: “Does anyone in the office listen to country music?”
Answer: No, but Carl, Ashleigh and I watch Friday Night Lights. Does that count?
Shawna writes: “Are online sources like Hulu or iTunes taken into account at all when it comes to ratings (and therefore which shows are likely to get canceled or not)? If not, do you think the ratings system will ever catch up with the way people actually watch TV these days?”
Answer: Technology has far outpaced the existing ratings system. With more and more people time-shifting and downloading their programming, the old ways of gauging audience numbers become just a part of a much bigger picture. Steps are being taken to rectify this, but we’re not catching up fast enough. At present, download numbers are not reflected in a show’s ratings, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important. From what I’ve heard, SGU (as well as SG-1 and Atlantis) performs very well on downloads and this added source of revenue ensures the studio will fight all that harder for the series when the time comes. The shows are also available on Hulu which is owned by NBC (SyFy’s parent company), so those downloads will hopefully play a role in deciding SGU’s future as well.
Laura writes: “There is a million things i would like to ask, but i know that you are a busy men, so i will try to post them here from time to time.”
Answer: Fire away. And welcome to the blog.
Michael writes: “In light of Vince Kwan in today’s blog, did every character that ended up on Destiny have a name or does the staff come up with them on a need-to basis?”
Answer: The latter. Characters with dialogue will almost always have a name.
hyperion writes: “1) How are the chances of a Q&A with Robert Carlyle?
2) When´ll you release the other part´s of the Louis interview?
3) What are your favorite SGU characters?
4) Can you give us a little hint what´s in store for Dr. Rush next season?
5) Will we the a bit Rush/McKay interaction (head banging?) as well on the crossover episode, or just Eli/McKay?”
Answers: 1) It’s possible, but since he’s one of the busiest actors on the show, I don’t want to impose too much on what little downtime he has.
2) I plan to ask him more questions as the season progresses.
3) I love ’em all, but I’m particularly partial to those with a sense of humor.
4) Oh, Rush is going to make some decisions he may live to regret in the show’s second…
5) Remains to be seen.
airelle writes: “Oh yeah, Can Carl dance??”
Answer: Carl dances every chance he gets!
Mel writes: “Unfortunately you are not speaking for all of TPTB.
“Answer: To this day, I still don’t know exactly why the show was cancelled but I do know it certainly wasn’t a case of us being tired and wanting to try something new.”
Answer: Hi, Mel. You’re making a big leap here, assuming that Rob and Brad wanting to try something new meant they wanted to kill Atlantis. It’s an incorrect assumption for a number of reasons. 1) As Rob states “Neither one of us really wanted to do the same thing again.” True. They’d decided that years earlier when they left after Atlantis’s third season. They didn’t have to orchestrate SGA’s cancellation in order step away, not “do the same thing again”, or create a new show. 2) Internally, we knew that SGU had received the greenlight but had yet to hear word of Atlantis’s fate. An “either/or” (SGU or SGA) scenario was never presented to us. If it had been presented to us, then we would have known about the Atlantis cancellation much earlier – specifically, the second SGU was greenlit. 3) Rob and Carl share a common characteristic that has earned them my respect: they are straight shooters who don’t waste time with bullshit or concerns of “letting someone down easy”. If Rob knew Atlantis was cancelled, he would have told us. 4) This is supported by the fact that – amid all the talk about preparations for the new show – Paul and I, frustrated as we waited out a decision on SGA, went to Rob and asked him whether he’d heard any rumors. He responded by picking up the phone, calling one of the major players, and putting us on speaker phone while he grilled them about Atlantis. IF, as you’re inferring, SGA was cancelled to make room for SGU – and since SGU had already been picked up – then Atlantis’s fate would have already been decided. The person on the other end of the phone, rather than discussing potential scenarios, and pros and cons, would have simply said the decision had already been made (and, if Rob had known, said something like: “What the hell are you asking for? You already know!”). If there’s one thing I’m damn sure, it’s that: a) A decision on that sixth season pick-up had yet to be made well after SGU was greenlit for production meaning it was NOT an either/or scenario, and b) No way did Robert Cooper have a hand in Atlantis’s demise. Absolutely, positively, no f&%king way.
Mel also writes: “““Do you still maintain that Stargate Atlantis was not canceled in favor of Stargate Universe?”
BW: My preference would have been another season of Atlantis, alongside two new movies, then Universe. I wholeheartedly admit that I had no desire to make two series at once again.”
Answer: Again, he’s stating a preference. The bottom line is, has always been, and will always be the almighty dollar. If the financials of keeping Atlantis on the air for another season had made overwhelming sense to the decision-makers, then you can bet someone would have forced the issue. Also, keep in mind that while Brad may not have been keen on the idea of running a double production, the lion’s share of the coordination and script work on an Atlantis sixth season would have been assumed by our team: Paul and I show running, Carl, and Martin and Alan (who I guarantee would have been there had Atlantis received that sixth season pick up).
Sean Grisham writes: “I know that stargate usually sells props to the public, (and I’m assuming that show designers and staff usualy recieve the royalties) but I’m wondering, would you ever do the same for the 3d models? (such as the Hive Ships/Ori Ships/Stargates). That way the designers who made them would get the $$ love that they deserve and gamers would get a priceless piece of SG History to fool around with/photoshop.”
Answer: Doubtful, but I can’t say for certain. I don’t play a role in deciding what goes up for auction.
In the recently released Masked anthology of all-original superhero fiction, ace editor Lou Anders assembles talent from the worlds of comics, television, and prose fiction. In the case of author Paul Cornell, we have a veteran of all three in addition to accomplishments in the fields of non-fiction, audio-plays, and determined blogging (http://www.paulcornell.com/). All three episodes he scripted for Dr. Who (Father’s Day, Human Nature, and The Family of Blood) received Hugo Award nominations as did his novelette ‘One of Our Bastards is Missing’ and his work on Captain Britain and MI13 for Marvel Comics (with artwork by Leonard Kirk). Some of his other comic book work includes Wisdom (with artist Trevor Hairsine who also illustrated the cover for Masked), Dark X-Men, and Black Widow: Deadly Origin. He has a horror pilot, Pulse, set to go to series and, as of issue #890, Paul is taking over the writing reins on Action Comics.
His contribution to the Masked anthology, “Secret Identity”, is a terrific tale about an atypical caped crusader – The Manchester Guardian – protector of the Canal Street gay quarter. Although others have tackled the premise of gay superheroes, I’ve yet to read one that delivers the depth of humanity and good-natured fun of of this protagonist. I wasn’t surprised to learn that Paul ranks “Secret Identity” his personal favorite of all his own short stories. Yes, it’s that good.
I asked Paul to offer up his thoughts on “Secret Identity”, perhaps share a little insight into its genesis, and he responded with the following for this special blog entry:
Lou Anders asked me to take part in the Masked anthology, because we go back a long way, and he’s hoping I’ll forget he owes me money. I’ve always been fascinated by the Shazam type of superhero who turns into a completely different person when he’s a hero. Given that this was to be an SF anthology, I felt that could easily open up questions of identity, nature vs. nurture, etc.. Given that superheroes often represent a community, and that those questions are written large in the gay community… well, here we’re at the point where one can say ‘it wrote itself’. I showed it to some of my gay friends, particularly the ones who’ve frequented Canal Street, a line of bars and clubs in Manchester that prides itself on being the city’s gay quarter, and made changes accordingly. The Manchester Guardian’s name is a bit of a pun, because that’s also the full name of one of the UK’s leading broadsheet newspapers. I’m very proud of this short story, to the point of thinking of it as the best I’ve written. The shape of it pleases me. And I think I’m in some brilliant company. Introducing comics writers to prose and prose writers to superheroes seems to me to be an exciting thing to do, particularly since there seems to be so much crossover these days. Myself, I write comics, prose and television, notably Action Comics for DC, a BBC3 pilot(we’re waiting to see if it goes to series) and a novel out from Tor next year. It’s great to see more and more writers becoming ‘amphibians’ like that.
Thanks for letting me go on and on, Joe, and for SG:U (my favourite show!) and for a blog that brings media and prose fans together.
And a Stargate: Universe fan to boot! How cool is that?
Speaking of Stargate: Universe – as promised, I continue to offer cryptic clues to the show’s second season using pics from a few first season episodes…
And, also as promised, a couple more behind the scenes pics from Atlantis starting with – Aint they the cutest? Nicole de Boer and Paul McGillion…
Ponytail writes: “Think there is something in that book for me, who has never read a comic book in my life?”
Answer: Absolutely. If you like good, character-driven stories, you’ll enjoyed Masked.
link022 writes: “1 Is destiny looks like the ships before oris and ancients part”
Answer: That’s a safe assumption.
“2 Shall have we the opportunity to see one of them”
Answer: Hmmmm. I’m going to go with “no comment”.
“3 Is it possible the database of atlantis Could contain the solution of return to earth for the destiny (we have translated everything yet)?”
Answer: Possible but unlikely. It’s more a power issue than specific strategy.
“4 Will you do a movie a movie about the fourth alliance?”
Answer: No plans to touch on the fourth alliance in either movie.
Lana writes: “Hey sorry if you already said this, but when are the answers to our questions for Erika being posted?”
Answer: Assistant Director Alex Pappas, Master of the Blade…
ytimynona writes: “Hey Joe, when does the hiatus end?”
Answer: Production resumes next week.
SG7 writes: “Just curious if you’ve ever written a bucket list?”
Answer: No. Why? What’ve you heard?! WHAT’VE YOU HEARD?!!!
german_2 writes: “A few days ago in your blog are submitted questions from Russian Stargate community. Perhaps it is not correct to bother you with this, but our fans are very much looking forward to your comments.”
Answer: To be honest, next to questions about the Ancient timeline, I find technical queries the least interesting to field. And when these technical questions arrive in a bunch, my eyes glaze over and I tend to move on – especially when there are eighteen of them. If I have to field tech questions, it’s far easier for me to do them in smaller batches. In this case, I’ve picked and chosen from among your questions…
“Ancient communication stones. Does the terminal have the opportunity not only exchange the bodies, but also to transmit data, for example, text information, drawings, reports?”
Answer: No, it doesn’t.
“How did the Ancients themselves plan to get on the Destiny? Is there a specially equipped place, which could, if found, to use the earthlings?”
Answer: Presumably they possessed a power source capable of getting them aboard.
“What happened with a young clone of O’Neill? Will he be mentioned in Revolution or in other franchise series, because he has almost all O’Neill memories. Will he generally join SGC?”
Answer: Given his experience and knowledge, he probably will join Stargate Command – but we have no plans to follow his story in Revolution or SGU.
“What dishes makes Destiny’s chief cook?”
Answer: Protein powder porridge at first. Eventually, the cooks will incorporate off-world produce as well as produce from the ship’s hydroponics lab into the menu. Lots of ratatouille and caponata.
Arctic Goddess writes: “You have bars on your windows? Don’t you live in a safe area, or is that normal for Vancouver?”
Adaminator1 writes: “1.What 3D Program are the Visual Effects created in? I just wanted to know, because i’m learning Lightwave3D which is a pretty cool 3D app!”
Answer: Not sure. This is a question for VFX Supervisor Mark Savela. I’ll ask him when I’m back in the office – and happen to remember.
“2.I’m currently writing a book called Project Scythe, its in its first draft stage at the moment and im about halfway through writing a basic mass-description-free draft which is around 45,000 words so far, and was wondering: What do you do to cure Writers Block?”
Answer: I write. Nine times out of ten, pushing myself does the trick. When it doesn’t, I just set my script aside and take a break.
“3.Also, would you have any tips for a new writer? Just like, things to watch out for?”
Answer: Read a lot. Write a lot. Rewrite a lot. Learn to accept constructive criticism.
E writes: “If you had given the pregnancy storyline to some other female character instead of TJ – as it was originally planned – would’ve the outcome still been the same?”
Answer: No. The pregnancy storyline was originally planned for a minor character in the episode Faith. When Alaina became pregnant, we excised the storyline from the episode and gave T.J.’s pregnancy a more significant arc through the back half of season one.
Gabriele writes: “you said that we have not heard everything from Goa’uld-possessed Kinsey. Are we going to hear something in the movie “Stargate: Revolution” or generally speaking in the future of “Stargate” or there are no plans yet?”
Answer: No plans to revisit Kinsey in Revolution.
Major D. Davis writes: “1. When do you resume filming of season 2?”
Answer: Next week.
“2. Do you think reuniting the cast of SG-1 and SGA a problem for the movies, or do you think it won’t be a problem?”
Answer: No idea.
“3. I remember you talking about VFX shots in SGU. What counts as a VFX shot. When theres VFX in a live action shot, or just pure VFX shots?”
Answer: Both. A VFX shot can be anything from a pure CG shot of a shuttle in flight to a shot of someone being zatted.
Simon writes: “1) Was at my Dad’s tonight (UK time) and we were both watching the SG-1 episode you wrote called ”Prodigy” how was it writting a scene for General Ryan?”
Answer: Both General Ryan and General Jumper were a pleasure to work with. And they were much better actors than we expected!
“2) On the subject if ”Prodigy”, are the glowing creatures we encouter in that episode the same creatures that appear in SGA’s ”The Defiant One”?”
Answer: I don’t think so.
“3) Any chance of getting Robert Carlyle to do a Q&A?”
Answer: It’s possible. I’ll have to ask him.
“4) I’m writing a fic based on SG, but I am unsure what the usual number of pages/scenes go into an episode. I know you said a while ago it usually comes down to five scenes per act, but what I was unclear on was, is that a story factor?”
Answer: It’s not written in stone but, from my experience, it usually comes down to 4-6 scenes an act.
“5) Will we be seeing an AU storyline in SGU sometime?”
Answer: The magic 8 Ball says “Signs point to yes.”.
susan the tartan turtle writes: “Is Akemi a ‘foodie’?”
Answer: Not yet. I’m working on her.
Juergen writes: “1. Have you ever watched any fan movie about stargate? I know, you aren’t allowed to copy the stories , but have you ever seen one? And if so…which one? What’s your opinon about such projects?”
Answer: Alas, no, haven’t seen any fan movies.
“2. Do you have any plans to appear yourself as a cameo in SGU? Or have you been in there before and we only didn’t see you? ”
Answer: No plans to make a cameo. I’m holding out for a much meatier guest role.
“3. Asuming, SG-1 movie will be green-lighted in winter 2010/2011. How long from that moment on would it be, until the movie get’s finished?”
Answer: That’s a pretty big assumption. Three weeks of prep. Three weeks to shoot. About five months of post. However much time the studio will need to put together a push for the release. A while.
silver_comet writes: “There was an article in our local newspaper about the characteristics of pets. According to them pugs are anxious to please their owner. Are you under the impression this is true?”
Answer: Quite the opposite, actually. Pugs are anxious for their owners to please them.
dasNdanger writes: “How does Akemi pronounce her name? Like A-chem-ee or Ac-eh-me?”
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.!
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?”
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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!
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.
“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?”
“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.
As I always do, I forwarded the fan/reader questions with the understanding that work and other commitments would probably prevent a quick turnaround. “Here are the questions,”went my standard accompanying message. “Feel free to pick and choose among them, then send them back my way whenever you’re done. No rush and no deadline.” The next day, I received the following missive from actress Alaina Huffman: “I have a bunch answered, gonna take a break but didn’t want to lose any so am passing on what I have answered and will get the rest tomorrow night!” She’d already answered half the questions! I marveled over the quick turnaround. Her response: “Moms. We multi-task ;)”. Oh, yeah. I forgot. This was the woman who twitters through the birth of her last child.
Anyway, what can I say about Alaina? Well, the word “awesome” comes to mind. Awesome in her onscreen ability to convey immense strength and depth of character in something as simple as a single line or look. Awesome in her relaxed and upbeat off-screen attitude that instantly puts everyone around her at ease. Just all-around awesome.
Over to Alaina and her smilerific (this has gotta be a record!) Q&A…
Arlan writes: “Questions for Alaina Huffmans: How does it feel having your real-life pregnancy written into your character?
AH: I am thankful that they found a great way to tell the story and that they were so cool about the whole pregnancy thing 🙂
“Was it a relief that you wouldn’t have to spend episodes wearing baggy clothing, standing behind something, or sitting down in order to cover your baby bump?”
AH: I actually did do some standing behind things or holding props high 🙂 TJ wasn’t quite as far along as I was in my pregnancy. It is what it is… you make the best of it.
“Also, how do you juggle having a newborn with your busy SGU shooting schedule?”
AH: I have three amazing kids, who I actually get to spend a lot of time with. The baby comes to work with me and the bigger kids are at school and come to work after school, either my husband or brother-in-law brings them. but I also get to pick them up and drop them off quite a bit. I have a wonderful schedule.
“Thanks, and keep up the great work!”
AH: Thanks 🙂
Sky writes: “Hi Ms. Huffman, I was wondering how did u tell the Producers that u were pregnant and how did they react to the news?”
AH: LOL… that’s a funny story 😉 I called them into my trailer and explained the them that I wasn’t feeling myself over the weekend, I felt like I was coming down with something… Rob (Cooper) got a big smile on his face, and said “Congratulations” he knew 🙂 they were wonderful about it all.
Me writes: “I love the work Alaina has done in Painkiller Jane, Smallville, and now SG-U. My questions for Alaina are: 1) Is it tough being a Goddess?”
AH: GREAT QUESTION 🙂 Thanks… I will ask one when I meet one 🙂
“2) Will you be appearing in season 10 of Smallville as the Canary?”
AH: I really hope so, I love working on that show and it also shoots in Vancouver so it just may work out 🙂 That being said I love my job on SGU and it keeps me pretty busy.
MyNameIsNada writes: “1) Considering Stargate’s past treatment of doctor’s in the franchise, is any part of you worried about your character’s possible demise?”
AH: No 🙂
“2) Do we see the baby born in this season?”
AH: You have to watch… just a few more episodes till the end 🙂
“3) Help me interpret some of these scenes between TJ and Young. I definitely picked up on some tension between the two characters early on, before a past relationship was directly revealed. However, I’m having a hard time grasping the depth of this relationship. I like both characters and want to imagine that this past came about from some emotional need, but I also get the feeling that it was just a purely physical attraction that went too far. Any hints to their past or what you imagine it to be?”
AH: I think that they have something more than just physical. It did go too far, they both made a mistake and can’t take it back but I believe that they have something in each other that was missing… That being said, I think it’s over between them but they have a mutual respect and do deeply care about each other.
“4) If you were in TJ’s shoes-would you have chosen to stay on the planet to raise a child over Destiny?”
AH: Hard to say, it’s such a leap of “Faith” to want to stay. I am good with change, and can roll with most anything but I am not sure living on another planet would be a choice of mine 🙂 Glad I don’t have to make that decision 🙂
E writes: “First of all, you have been absolutely brilliant with TJ’s pregnancy storyline. I really feel for the character. What aspect of your character do you like the most?”
AH: Thanks 🙂 I love the fullness of the Character. I love that she is allowed to be unsure yet still possesses strength. I have learned a lot from her in my personal life, how to be strong and can take charge yet ask for help and be ok with the fact that you don’t have all the answers!
“How similar are you and TJ?”
AH: Like I said I have learned a lot from her but I don’t think we are very similar.
“What’s your favourite episode in S1 and why?”
AH: I loved the episode “Time” cause it was amazing 😉
Simon writes: “Questions for Alaina Huffman: 1) Are you more recognised by fans since you joined SG?”
AH: Yes, I get stopped at the airport now 🙂 LOL… weird 🙂
“2) Did you ever think you’d end up doing Sci-Fi or was that always the type of genre you would have prefered?”
AH: No never thought about it. I wasn’t a Sci Fi fan before all the Sci Fi work I have done so I wasn’t even aware of the possibility.
Sean D. writes: “Two questions for Alaina: 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?”
AH: We are such a tight group. We really enjoy each others company and truly support each other, it could be showing up to someones birthday, or attending someone’s play, seeing movies together or hanging out in each others trailers. It’s a lovely experience 🙂
“2. What was one of the funniest moments for you and the rest of the cast and crew during SGU’s first season?”
AH: Louis Ferreira with a fart machine… nuf said 🙂
“Thank you for your response!”
JperW writes: “Questions for AH: 1. What do you think was TJ’s (one of the) most defining moment on the show.”
AH: I feel like her making the sacrifice when leaving the planet in “Faith” shows her depth, her commitment to serving others and it speaks to the strength of her character.
“2. What was your favorite TJ moment?”
AH: I love the little moments, the intimate moments that just kind of slip out. Good and bad. Cute and funny. Vulnerable and strong.
“3. Could you give us some more insight in the whole TJ/Young relationship? What do you think happened in the past between them, besides the info we saw in the episodes so far?”
AH: see above 🙂
“4. There has been a lot of speculation about your character, TJ, losing the baby. What do you think? How will she react?”
AH: Have to watch 🙂
“5. Are you and TJ alike? Or are is TJ a completely different person to play for you?
AH: See above
“6. Why did you take this role? What stood out for you? And how did you get it?”
AH: Like most jobs that come along, it’s a process of auditions, negotiations etc. I loved TJ right away and am glad we were able to close the deal.
“7. How did Joe get you to do this Q&A?”
AH: Hahaha… he is tricky :)… He… Asked 🙂
“8. What’s your favorite stargate episode (in general)?”
AH: I loved “Time”
“What’s your favorite food/meal?”
AH: Yummm I LOVE lebanese food… then Indian… Ethiopian…I could go on and on… I think I am hungry 🙂
“Do you read this blog from time to time?”
AH: I do
“What’s your experience with fans and their reactions?”
AH: So far everything has been positive, I am attending my first convention, aside from Comicon, so I am looking forward to connecting with the fans more and getting to know them.
Matthew RD writes: “First, I’d like to say, love you as T.J., one of my favourite characters IMHO”
AH: Thanks so much!
“1) I am just wondering; how hard it was to work while you were pregnant? Where the crew easy (or easier) on you?”
AH: I am really lucky. I have amazing pregnancies so it was fine. The whole experience was WONDERFUL… from the cast to the crew, producers, studio and network. I could not have been any better off.
“2) How do you react from fan criticism of the show? Do you think they were fair? Harsh? Both?”
AH: What’s that? 🙂 no really… if you want to listen to the good than you have to listen to the bad, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. 🙂
Paddy writes: “Random questions For Alaina Huffman: YES its a wonderful family, the SG one i mean, but are there any really good friends you’ve made from joning SGU had you previously worked with any before you were cast as T.J?
AH: Anyone from our show? sorry I am a little confused so I am going to answer what I think your question is 🙂 I have never worked with anyone from our show before but we have all become fast friends. As for SG1 yes they are wonderful as well and it’s fun when we get to have them on our show.
“Whats it like working with THE MR ROBERT CARLYLE had you ever seen any of his other movies and what was it like meeting him for the first time…?”
AH: Yes I have seen his movies. He is a wonderful actor and a pleasure to work with. I just think the world of him and am thankful to call him my friend. As for the first time we met, he was at the screen test… That was nerve wracking 🙂
“On working on Smallville, was it fun to between the two?”
AH: I do love working on Smallville, it’s a great environment to work in.
“Tom Welling looks huge, tall, huge!! When in scenes with others… ne one on the Destiny Set taller???”
AH: No… he is huge and tall and so is Justin, but nobody on SGU is quite that tall.
Michael A. Burstein writes: “First of all, congratulations on your most recent child (although it’s been almost 6 months now)! How does your real-life pregnancy informs how you’re playing TJ, who (as far as we can tell) has never been pregnant before?”
AH: Thank you… I think it was fine playing like TJ was pregnant for the first time. I remember my first pregnancy and can relate… though I wasn’t stuck on a space ship 🙂
“Also, I’m assuming you have very little background in medicine (please correct me if I’m wrong). What sort of work have you been doing to get into the head of a medic?”
AH: I have a technical advisor on set that helps me do things properly, and my mom is a nurse so I can always bounce things off of her.
“Finally, slightly off-topic from SGU, did you do any particular preparation to play Black Canary on Smallville, such as researching the character’s history? Or, given that this was an entirely new incarnation of the character, did you approach it without reading up on her, so as not to influence your performance?”
AH: I did read up quite a bit on BC… I totally fell in love with her. Smallville made her their own but the history is the same as far as I am concerned so I play her the way I see her both from the scripts provided and from my knowledge of the character.
JIona78 writes: “My questions for Alaina: 1. Have the writers given you a backstory for TJ and Yong or do you sort of have to make one up in your own mind? If so any clues as to what it would be like?”
AH: See above.
“2. I’m going to assume there is going to be some kind of drama surrounding TJ’s pregnancy/baby at some point so in light of that, was it strange/emotional/disturbing having to portray a characters emotions/reactions to something that is obviously very close to your own heart?”
AH: Yes and No, because even though I was pregnant, my journey is totally different than TJ’s. For one… I am not suck in space 🙂 But I am married, Had two kids already etc. And I will be happy to answer the rest when we find out what happens 🙂
“3. How would characterise TJ and Youngs relationship at the moment?”
AH: I think they really care about each other, but I think it’s over. I think TJ needs to move on and make a life for herself but I do believe that there will always be a connection between the two of them.
Lisa R. writes: “Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Here is mine. How did you like filming when you were pregnant? Did you film any of your stunt scenes, or was some of that left to a stuntwoman? I am thinking specifically of when you were “thrown” across the room in Sabotage.”
AH: Sure thing 🙂 I am very lucky, I have amazing pregnancies and not much bothers me. I just get a big belly then have the baby so filming was easy. In sabotage I did have a stunt double for safety but in some of the angles I initiated the move to the point I felt comfortable and in control.
Tammy Dixon writes: “Where did you meet your hubby?
AH: LOL, in a night club in Dallas 🙂
“How does he feel about your acting career?”
AH: He is very supportive. In fact, he owns his own company and works from home so he and the kids can travel with me. He works from my trailer and takes care of the baby while the bigger kids are at school.
“Does it bother him to see you in love scenes?”
AH: …He understands that it’s part of the job but I am sure he’s not crazy about it… but neither am I 🙂
“I saw pictures of the baby on your twitter, she is beautiful! It’s not fair that you looked so great right after giving birth!!!”
AH: Thanks, she is fun and it totally is fair… I work hard 🙂
“Thanks for participating!”
AH: Thank you!
Chevron7 writes: “Questions for Alaina: 1. Even though TJ is a field medic not a doctor she has credibility that I found was lacking in another previous doctor. Did you do a lot of research?”
AH: Thank you… I have a technical advisor on set so it keeps me in the know 🙂
“2. I loved the way TJ told Young about the pregnancy. After agonising over the decision, it was like ripping off a bandaid. How did you prepare for that scene? Any differently than other scenes?
AH: Thanks. No different than any other scene. I go by how I feel. Not sure what the method is but I just like to feel and be, and that’s how I act. That is how I felt about that scene. I loved that moment as well. I loved how Louis played it, so refreshing to see him light.
“3. Do you think TJ has given up hope of returning to Earth? I do.”
AH: Really… that’s interesting! I do as well actually. 🙂 I think she is trying to move on and make a new life, whatever it may be… I am not sure how the writers feel about that 🙂
“4. So no-one else is listening….who’s your favourite writer on SGU?”
AH: Sorry I think question 4 got deleted 🙂 I LOVE THEM ALL! Cross my heart and hope to die! No, truth be told, they all bring such different things/ideas to the table and all of the ideas work together. They are a great team… that’s why there are 16 years of Stargate!
“5. Do you read the entire script or mainly focus on your scenes?”
AH: LOL, I can’t imagine only reading my scenes but I guess some actors do that. I read the Whole script a few times, then focus on what’s happening in the episode, and then what’s going on with my character.
“6. What’s your favourite flavour of ice cream?”
AH: Moosetracks! Ever had it? Sooooooooooo yum!
Logan writes: “My question for the talented and inestimable Alaina Huffman: Can you talk a little about your career evolution? From what I’ve read, you are a child actress-turned-model-turned-actress. Is that correct? What’s the story behind that?”
AH: Kinda. I booked a TV show when I was 13 but we only shot the pilot. Then, the modeling career started and years later I got back into acting. That’s the story… I just read about an audition in the paper and thought it sounded fun, then I was approached by a model scout and did that for a few years before acting presented itself again – and now I have made a conscious decision to make a career out of it. I love what I do and am so happy to be able to do what I love.
Montrealer writes: “Do you, the kids or hubby participate in any Winter sports activities? Since there’s so many venues around Vancouver.”
AH: I ski… We haven’t gotten the whole family up on the mountain yet. Since our hiatus was November thru March and most of March was settling back into town we didn’t get to it this year but maybe next year!
BoltBait writes: “Do you find it easy to memorize your lines? What is your routine like in that regard?”
AH: Yes, I just read them a couple of times beforehand, when I read the script and usually while we are blocking the scene. I like to get a feel for them in the scene instead of in my bedroom or trailer. It just feels more natural for me that way.
“2. Do you feel that your character should be using the stones to go to medical school?”
AH: That’s an interesting idea… I believe that was one thought that was kicked around early on.
“3. Had you, yourself, been in the situation on the Earth-like planet, would you have choosen to stay?”
AH: See above
“4. Are you self-conscious about being the most beautiful woman on board Destiny?”
AH: Self-conscious… yes, but probably for different reasons 🙂 Thank you! I am lucky to be among such beautiful people, inside and out each day.
“Jimbo writes: “When does the character TJ get some shiny new toys? Rush has a repair robot, Eli gets to play with Kinos and the remote, Brody has a still, so when does TJ get an advanced bio bed or some kind of ancient tissue regenerator?”
AH: Excellent Question… JOE?
Zoomeister writes: “Have you ever thought about winning (winning, not just being nominated) the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead/Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for your role on SGU? I think you’re perfectly capable and I also think SGU is the perfect environment to accomplish such a task. That would be something to strive torwards.”
AH: Thank you. It would be wonderful… pass it on to the academy will ya? 🙂
Mats writes: “Why did you become an actress?”
AH: I really don’t know 🙂 It is just something I found and fell in love with.
“Did you watch the previous shows before starring in SGU?”
AH: No, I didn’t follow the other two shows – but have seen some since.
“How is it being a parent too a 6 month old baby and work full time?”
AH: It’s life :)… It all works out and I bring Charley to work most days and my bigger kids come and hang out as well.
CJ writes: “For Alaina: Will we ever get more scenes of TJ with her hair down?”
AH: 🙂 There are some coming up in Season 2, but since she’s military she has to have it up or short. It needs to clear her collar… Those are the rules 🙂
Gilder writes: “What is one thing you know about TJ that the fans don’t?”
AH: Not anything I think…There is a bunch about TJ that I don’t even know let alone you all 🙂 Looking forward to learning more about her this season!
Randy writes: “And for Alaina, how do you feel the writers have dealt with your character? What would (or have) you asked them to do differently?”
AH: I trust that they know what they are doing with her and look forward to seeing what they come up with. I would like to know more about where she came from and who she is… She doesn’t have a backstory yet so that would be nice, and I have asked so hopefully we will find out more soon.
Kymm writes: “Wow, everyone has asked Alaina most of my questions already, except for a couple (OK five).”
“1. What were your favourite chocolate selections at Joe’s chocolate party?”
AH: WOW… do you know how many chocolates were there!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I loved the peanut butter cups… really daring I know 🙂
“2. Is your husband also in show business?”
AH: Kinda… He owns a new media company: realcontentgroup.com
“3. Do you live elsewhere and go to Vancouver just to shoot your scenes? Has any of the cast moved to Vancouver on a permanent basis?”
AH: We live in LA but have a second home in Vancouver. We spent most of last year there and will probably do so again this year, but WE try to get home as much as possible.
“4. You were born in Vancouver is this like a full circle moment for you?”
AH: I work in Vancouver a lot… I love Vancouver and I have a lot of family there so it’s always nice to be there.
“5. Do you still have family in B.C./Canada?”
AH: Yes, all but my mom and dad. They live in Virginia and my sister lives in Austin.
“Thank you so much, Alaina, for taking the time to answer our questions!”
AH: Thanks for asking 🙂
2cats writes: “Alaina question: I admire your up-swept, elegant hair style (as TJ is often seen) and wonder if you could persuade Mr. Mallozzi to capture a quick video of it being styled? If that is not possible, please just explain how the twisted sections stay in place to achieve the overall classy look. It’s so very attractive on you!”
AH: Thank you. It’s actually a funny little hairdo I came up with when I was growing my hair out and couldn’t put it all up. Forrest (My hairstylist on the show) also did this type of hair when she was going thru the same thing. It’s really easy and takes way less time than it looks like. She basically takes a section of hair and wraps it around her finger then pins it in 🙂 I will ask Joe and Forrest if they mind getting it on camera…
Heather writes: “My questions are: 1. If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be and why? (or if you have been somewhere and want to return)”
AH: There are so many places I want to go… too many! My family is from Croatia and I have never been so I would love to take a trip there. It looks so beautiful.
“Where would be your favorite place to shop and or your favorite restaurant?”
AH: LOL I know this isn’t too glamorous but I love Target 🙂 H&M for the kids and, as for eating, I prefer little “hole-in-the-wall” family owned joints… usually the best food.
“Congratulations on your baby! (albeit several months late as I try to avoid anything “spoilerish”!)”
Curiositykitty writes: “Question for Alaina- how much, if at all, did you and louis work out the scenes between tj and young? There were so many looks and other non-verbal things shooting between you two it was amazing. And in working out the scenes how in depth did yall get about backstory and the history between tj and young?”
AH: Not really at all 🙂 We just knew that we had a history and went with it.
Sgugeek writes: “Questions for Alaina: 1) What would be the perfect gift to get from a fan? What is the coolest thing a fan has given you?”
AH: I haven’t gotten anything from a fan. I haven’t ever thought about it.
“2) I know your brother is a huge Atlantis/SG1 fan. Were/are any of your other family members into Stargate?”
AH: No just him 🙂 And yes he LOVES anything Stargate. He lives with us so he gets his fix!
“3) Do you have any nicknames that you like to be called?”
AH: LOL John calls me Bambi and my family calls me Lain, Lainey or Laina but everyone else calls me Alaina and most people say it wrong 🙂 but that’s ok!
“4) I know you said on Twitter it only takes 20-20 minutes for the hair people to do your hair most days. Can you pretty pretty please teach us how to do it too? I want hair like yours! You are so beautiful!”
AH: 🙂 aw thanks… see above.
Holloway writes: “First of all I must commend you for your fine performance this season. Now on to the questions: 1)Do you prefer the on-location shooting to the filming that’s done on the set or vice versa? How does your castmates feel on this issue?
AH: I like both. It’s nice to shoot on a stage because all the elements are controlled which usually means we get more done in less time, but it’s also nice to be on location and be outside. It’s especially nice to be on Location somewhere fantastic. I did a movie in Turkey and it was amazing to be a tourist there on my days off. Not too sure how anybody else feels.
2)Considering you are a married woman with children does that cause you to have strong opinion on the affair between TJ and Young? Does the fact that Young and his wife do not have children and TJ is now about to have Young’s child sway you that TJ’s relationship with Young is more solid?”
AH: Every relationship has its troubles and I don’t know what was going on with Young and his wife. I don’t agree with what happened between the two of them and I don’t think TJ does either. I can’t speak for Young but I do feel that the affair was a mistake and one they both regret because he is married. I think they have feelings for each other, However I don’t think the baby makes their relationship “Solid” or more Solid… It happened and it’s something that they all have to live with.
“3)Would you have preferred if the folks running the show had hidden yout pregnancy on camera and not made TJ pregnant?”
AH: I am happy with the way it was dealt with.
“In “Water” TJ told Greer flat out that she did not trust him. Do you think that moment will ever be addressed again between those two characters?”
AH: I hope so, I loved that scene. I think TJ thinks Greer is a loose cannon.
Lou Zucaro writes: “Questions for Alaina: (and I’d like to echo the sentiments of others re: your performances so far in the last few episodes, particularly ‘Faith’, which have been great…thanks!) […] B. How is your original last name pronounced?”
AH: Ka-Lan-g (Kalanj)
“4thly) Do you think that somewhere out in space, situations like what’s portrayed in SGU are going on, or do you think we’re pretty much alone here on Earth?”
AH: How amazing would it be if there were life on other planets… maybe we would stop fighting then and realize we are all the same…
6) Finally, your character shares a name with a sci-fi legend, William Shatner, who played TJ Hooker. How much of what your character does on-screen is taken from Shatner’s portrayal of his TJ? How do you feel about the rumor (that I just made up) of a TJ / TJ crossover episode?”
AH: I had no idea so I have no thoughts other than “Cool”
Valaur writes: “Thank you Alaina for responding to our questions. First and foremost congratulations on your baby!”
“1) Before your role as TJ have you always been a sci-fi fan or has it been a recent blossom?”
AH: Just recent.
“2) Have you incorporated your own beliefs and desires into TJ’s personality or has it been a mixture of the writers and your feedback or something entirely different?”
AH: I try to keep with what’s written and talk with the writers about their thoughts. I don’t want to get too many ideas of my own and then a script comes along and it’s totally different.
“3) When you were cast for the role of TJ, was the original character supposed to wear military length hair or was it something that you were able to make a decision on yourself?”
AH: She just has to have her hair up is what I was told. I had short hair at the time and was trying to grow it out so I didn’t want to commit to short hair for a few years. That’s how we came up with the hairdo.
“4) I would like to apologize for my fellow sci-fi fans that cry havoc before an episode even airs. Personally, I have been looking forward to the series since its announcement and hope that you and the rest of the crew make something that you can all be proud of and can be a part of for years to come. Thank you for doing a wonderful job. Here’s hoping you double SG-1′s 10 year reign!”
AH: Thank you 🙂 No need for any one to jump to conclusions right 🙂
Shirt ‘n ‘Tie writes: “Q for AlaIna: Hi Alaina! Thank you for your many kind tweets over on Twitter.”
“My question for you is: Which actor/actress most inspires you, either past or present?”
AH: Currently I love Charlize Theron. I think she’s a great actress, diverse and elegant. I also really love Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett.
“And, given the choice to do a re-make of yor favourite Classic Movie what would it be? And what role would you choose in it? thanks again, and best you and your family from the girls and me here in Ireland.”
AH: I LOVE Greta Garbo and would choose Camille and of course to play Marguerite.
PBMom writes: “What aspects of your character do you like the best and the least?”
AH: I love TJs vulnerability and strength.
Tim Lade writes: “Question for you sir…although you may not know the answer. I have become slightly in love with the score of the show and was very curious to know if the piece that plays over the re-cap at the beginning of each episode, perhaps just the second half, is used in an episode at some point.”
Answer: I love it too. Let me double-check and I’ll get back to you.
Melissa writes: “Gateworld members and admins have pretty much prohibited any pro or anti talk period. You’ll be told off and censored if you love certain aspects of the show, or if you hate certain aspects of the show.”
Answer: To be fair, Darren was in a tough spot over at Gateworld. The site is, has been, and will continue to be the premiere site for all things Stargate. As a result, it has become THE place to gather for fans of the franchise. Over the years, however, as fandom has become increasingly fractured (something to be expected of any fandom, especially one following an 11+ year old franchise). Gateworld has always been a place that permitted fans to express themselves – but there has always been that fringe group that contributes nothing to the ongoing discussions, individuals merely interested in being petty for petty’s sake, who take advantage of the goodwill established. There’s a fine line between constructive criticism and being negative for the sake of being negative, and I think the gang at Gateworld showed immense patience for a very long time – and then, finally, simply got tired of having to continually police the haters.
Melissa also writes: “So this is one of the reasons why the other site has been created. Whether you’re an SGU lover or a SGU hater, you can freely discuss how you feel.”
Answer: Unless you have anything positive to say.
Shadow Step writes: “Because making TV is such a worthwhile meaningful endeavor which brings balance to the world.”
Answer: I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say that – but, given the fact you’re a regular poster to this comment section, it’s heartening to see you think so.
Shadow Step also writes: “And of course there is advertisement on the site, so they may be making money of gateworld banned ranters.
Answer: Er, right. I’m sure they got together and wondered: “How can we make some extra cash? Let’s see…we could get a part-time job. Or hold a bake sale. No, wait. How about we start up a site where we can whine about a show we (supposedly) hate.”
Bryan M. White writes: “I was just on IMDB and they show that the Atlantis movie is now in Pre-production for a 2011 release date. Can I, as a fan who first picked up the franchise as a fan of the movie in 1994 and came back to it because of the strength of the characters(and by extension the great writing) get my hopes up that production will begin after production on season two wraps?”
Answer: I can’t say yes because I’ve yet to hear anything.
vv0472 writes: “I also found it intriguing that they have a whole thread dedicated to you, but of course you know the nature of these people, it was mostly personal attacks.”
Answer: Heh. When he was first starting up the site, one of the organizers would come by here on occasion. He was always very careful to keep his comments civil and talked about how great it was that I was allowing him, and others, to speak their minds. Later I found out that for all that talk of respect, he was running back to his forum buddies and launching personal attacks against me and other fans, like a grade schooler desperately seeking the approval of his schoolmates. It was pretty immature and surprisingly gutless.
Zoomeister writes: “Will we see how wide-spread application this technology/knowledge could be both a benefit (and detriment) to Earth on SGU (hopefully in seasons 2 and 3)?”
Answer: Possibly, but only insofar as they effect our crew. Since most of the action will take place on Destiny’s side of things, we’re unlikely to spend that much time focusing on the development of Earth-based technologies.