The second week of the writers’ room has drawn to a close and not only have we made great progress, but we’re picking up steam. Following a week of world building, we started talking stories and managed to get the first three episodes broken. I’m trying to complete all three outlines for Monday (two revisions and one first pass), but find myself struggling with a short fourth act. It’s always the way: You distribute an outline, receive great notes, then sit down to implement them only discover your fourth act is now short.
And it’s ALWAYS the fourth act!
So, I’ve been pretty cryptic about this new series to date simply because we’re in the early stages, the production company has yet to establish a social media campaign, and, admittedly, I like to maintain an air of mystery. But today, it gives me great pleasure to reveal the man behind the show: director, writer, producer, and just one of the smartest, most collaborative, good-natured individuals you could ever hope to work with on a new science fiction series: R.T. Thorne.
Always grasping for that ever-elusive je ne sais quoi. Call it inspiration, ethereal epiphanies, or floating ghost marshmallows. He will NOT be denied.
And it turns out we have a mutual friend – none other than Writer/Executive Producer (Stargates SG-1, Atlantis, Universe, L.A. Complex, Bored to Death, Blindspot, etc.) Golden Boy Martin Gero. Small world!
Anyway, just a good, good guy – and a major part of what drew me to this project. Can’t wait for you to get to know him.
In the meantime, head on over to twitter and follow him: @directedbyRT
Who knows? Maybe he’ll offer a few hints on what we’ve been working on…
And there you have it. Everything I had planned for Dark Matter’s fourth season premiere. It would have been a blast.
Well, I feel much better having gotten that off my chest. Of course, it’s just 1 of the 26 episodes I had burning a hole in the back of my mind since the show’s cancellation. Still, it was a most satisfying exercise and, who knows, should I ever again have the urge, the motivation, and the fan support, I may well offer up a second installment of Dark Matter’s Virtual Season 4 – Episode 4.02 – somewhere down the line.
I experienced a range of emotions upon hearing of Dark Matter’s surprising cancellation: disbelief, anger, sadness, and a lot of frustration at the thought of leaving this story incomplete. As most of you know, I went in with a game plan from Day 1, a thorough narrative blueprint encompassing every story and character arc over the show’s outlined five season run. Of course, I know fans were equally frustrated given the fact that the show ended on the promise of aliens and androids and their disappointment compounded my own. Over the course of the eight or so months since syfy dropped the ball (and us), I’ve been keeping busy with various development projects. I’ve written scripts and overview and takes and, while enjoyable and creatively fulfilling to a certain extent, the process made me miss my show and my characters all the more. And then, yesterday, while perusing the Dark Matter subreddit, I happen across a thread titled Season 4 Premises. On a whim, I clicked replied with an overview of what I had planned for the first act of the first episode of season 4. It was incredibly cathartic. So, I headed over to twitter, and announced that I would do the same there, in more detailed fashion, offering up a breakdown of Dark Matter Season 4 Episode 401, Act 1.
In truth, it was really just a therapeutic exercise, but the fan response was overwhelming. And so, I’ve decided to follow up with Act 2 tonight – and Acts 3, 4, and 5 over the next few nights – to give fans a glimpse at what might have been. And, also, to finally get this story off my chest.
Depending on how things go, who knows? Maybe I’ll do the same for Episode 4.02. And beyond. It won’t be season 4 and 5 on the small screen but, hopefully, at the very least, it will offer fans some satisfaction and, most importantly, a degree of closure.
So, what did you miss last night? Here’s the rundown of Dark Matter Season 4 Episode 4.01, Act 1…
What do you think? Leave me a comment in the comments section.
One of the many highlights of working on Dark Matter was the opportunity I got to collaborate with some truly gifted individuals, both in front and behind the camera. Actor Andrew Moodie, who played the role of Teku Fonsei, is one example. He’s not only talented, poised, and professional, but one of the nicest guys you’ll ever have the pleasure to sit down with over a lunch of grilled octopus and crispy pig’s ears.
When last we met, I asked Andrew if he’d be interested in doing a fan Q&A. He happily obliged and, today, I turn this blog over to him. Thanks, Andrew!
Iggy Ming writes: “For Andrew Moodie: No questions, just wanted to say that I worked at the Grace Hospital about 25 years ago and knew your Mom, Marjorie. She was the loveliest lady, and I remember her talking about you with pride. I hope she is doing well and is still tending to her garden. I was only there for about 3 years and doubt that she would remember me. Loved your role on DM. I will keep an eye out for any upcoming shows that you might be in.”
Andrew: Iggy! It’s amazing that you worked with my Mom. I will get your information from Joe and we can say hi the next time I’m in Ottawa. I’m very proud of my Mom. Both my sister and I have our work ethic from her. Next time I chat with her I’ll say hi from you. And thanks for the kind words about her garden. It’s very impressive. Unfortunately I have a really bad pollen allergy so it’s actually torture for me when the garden is in full bloom. Ah well. I am in a feature film that should be coming out this summer. But nothing as good as Dark Matter. And I’m not just saying that to make Joe feel good. It really was such a great experience.
Shinyhula writes: “Questions for Andrew Moodie, what’s your favorite meals in Vancouver, after pigs ears of course. What has been your favorite stage role so far? What is your favorite store in Vancouver that you can spend all day in (that isn’t Ikea)? Did you keep any of Teku’s cool wardrobe?”
Andrew: Shinyhula, you are a Vancouverite I take it. I really miss Vancouver. I lived there many decades ago back in the early nineties. And all the places I loved to eat are long gone. There was a Goth Burger joint on Granville street I used to go to. I would listen to the Cure on my Walkman and write poetry about death. Good times. I have very fond memories of working at a restaurant with my friend Pat Garland. I won’t tell you the name of the restaurant, but it was owned by some guys who won the lottery, left their jobs and opened up a restaurant. They also quickly developed a habit for hard drugs unfortunately. We never knew if we were going to get paid from one day to the next. One day, my friend Pat was fed up, and went into the fridge, took out the ingredients he had found and he made a white chocolate blueberry ice cream for everyone who worked in the kitchen. It was AMAZING. One of the best desserts I’ve ever had in my LIFE. I still talk about it to this very day. If you ever get to Ottawa, you HAVE to go to his restaurant, it’s called Absinthe.
Most recently, I’m a big fan of La Mezcaleria. I hope it’s still there. Best Mexican breakfast EVER.
I don’t spend that much time in stores generally, but I still love walking around Granville Island. Seeing shows at the Arts Club. Go see a show there if you can! Some of the finest work in Canada.
And there was a beautiful Kimono that Teku wore in one of the early episodes. Such incredible craftsmanship. Hmmm, maybe I should ask Joseph what happened to it?
TheOtherOne writes: “Hi Andrew. I really loved your character Teku Fonsei in Dark Matter. You/Teku had a very calming, higher being, presence throughout the ‘shenanigans’ in Season 3. Do you do yoga or any martial arts? Was Dark Matter your first sci-fi project? If it was, how did you find it? I’ve read you’ve had much acclaim playing Shakespeare (amongst many other things!), which is your favourite Shakespeare play and why? Have you ever visited Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire or The Globe in London? And finally, what do you prefer doing
– acting theatre, TV, film or radio
– playwriting or writing books
(gosh, that’s truly an amazing repertoire!)
Thank you for taking time to answer our questions. I was so looking forward to seeing more of you in Dark Matter.
I will keep my eyes open for any of your projects and really honestly hope one day I can see you perform Shakespeare or one of your plays in my home town in London”
Andrew: Thanks TheOtherOne for the kind words. I really REALLY loved working on the show. I wish I knew Martial Arts. It’s on my bucket list. And as a theater actor, there are many yoga exercises I use to prepare for the stage. And for Teku there were a few exercises that I used to get into character. I won’t tell you which ones, that’s my little secret 😁
Dark Matter wasn’t my first Sci fi show, but it was the best experience. It was his skill as a writer and his passion that made the show my favourite experience.
I have been in many Shakespeare productions but my favourite is Macbeth. It’s his tightest, most powerful tragedy with one of the greatest twist endings in theatre history. I have been in Othello twice, and I’m looking forward to my next performance in Othello, whenever that might be. But one day, ONE DAY, I would LOVE to play Iago. He’s ambitious, envious, vengeful. I really understand that character in ways that I really shouldn’t admit to anyone.
And yes I have been to Stratford on Avon but to watch my sister perform actually. Her name is Tanya Moodie and she’s worked at the Royal Shakespeare Company playing Gertrude in Hamlet, she was nominated for her work in Fences, she was in Sherlock, she was in Prime Suspect, and she’s going to be in a show in the West End soon called Rasheeda Speaking. See her if you can. I am a little biased, but it’s going to be a really great show.
And to answer your last question, I LOVE IT ALL. I love everything about this business. It’s such a blessing to be a working artist. And I’m trying to get one of my plays to London. Trust me. If I can make it happen, I will see you opening night!
Paula Zimmerman writes: “Andrew, do you think Teku’s ship would have joined with the Raza and they’d travel together? Would you be on the next Stargate team? Also, I am impressed with your work in a couple of shows, and hope to see you in more!”
Andrew: Oh I know exactly what Teku would have done in the next episode Paula. But I can’t tell you. If I did, Joseph would send Ryo after me. And that wouldn’t end well. For him. 😉 Thanks for the kind words and who knows what the future holds…
cudaker writes: “Teku Fonsei whats your favorite character you like or would like to act? (Good bad comic tech engy spy FBI ….? anything you can think of )”
Andrew: Oh I have no favourite character that I want to act. But as I said earlier, I would love to play Iago in Othello. And there are other Shakespearean characters I would love to play. Like Coriolanus or Malvolio. And, of course, when I was a young boy, I always thought that I could play Lando Calrisian if there were any films based on Han Solo, but apparently that role has been given to someone else. Hmmmph. Other than that, I love being challenged to do something I’ve never done before. I prefer to be surprised. And hopefully a little scared!
MaggieL80 writes: “Questions for Andrew if not too late: What direction would you have liked to see your character go? What about his relationship with Ryo? Did you get to keep any props? If so, what? If no, what would have liked to have had?”
Andrew: MaggieL80 I didn’t get any props, and I WISH I had! I would have taken one of the blink drive cards. Totally. I loved the direction the character was taking already. And I would have loved to see what Joseph had in store for the rest of the series. Who knows. Maybe we’ll get a second chance…
AdamS writes: “Hi Andrew. I’d like to know how did you land the role of Teku Fonsei on Dark Matter? What was the audition process like and what did you think of the character? Were you familiar with Dark Matter before you got the audition?”
Andrew: Well AdamS I was very lucky to get asked to audition for Teku. I knew about the series and I really really liked it. I knew one of the actors in the show, and I really loved the characters and the pace, and the world that was created. Even though I love theatre, and drama, I am also a science fiction fan. Harry Harrison is my favourite sci fi writer, and as a kid I dreamed of staring in a Stainless Steel Rat feature film. Who knows, maybe some great show creator and show runner could make it into a series. Ahem, ahem.
FortunateSon writes: “Out of curiosity, what kind of career path did you set out for yourself before deciding to become an actor? And at what age did you decide to make acting your career? What kind of training did you do or are you a natural?
Andrew: I always wanted to be an actor. Never wanted to be anything else. Actually that’s not true. I grew up in the 70’s and when I was a kid, watching Pierre Trudeau, he made being Prime Minister look like fun. So there was a time as a child when I thought I wanted to get into politics, but I had a very sobering thought as a child. I realized that actors don’t get voted out of office. It’s the fortunate politician who gets to retire. Actors don’t have to retire. We can keep going literally until we drop dead. And some actors have. And I applied to the National Theatre School in Montreal, but unfortunately they didn’t accept me. I applied again, but I soon had a professional gig, so I became a working actor very young. But I wish I had the opportunity to study, and I am jealous of those who get the chance to do so.
Ricardaneel writes: “If you could have played any other role on Dark Matter, who would it have been and why?”
Andrew: Oh, I LOVE the role I have on Dark Matter, so I wouldn’t change it for the world. But I my first audition for Dark Matter was for a Mysterious Man who takes Android apart in episode 304. I could not be happier that I didn’t get that role and that I got Teku. He was a gift.
4Star4 writes: “Hi Andrew. How do you see your career progressing in the next few years. Where do you want to end up? Where do you see yourself?”
Andrew: So… here’s the thing. The reason why I became an actor is that I love having no idea at all what’s going to happen to me in the future. All I want is to work with really interesting people on really interesting works. And hopefully be a good father and husband. That’s it, that’s all. Sometimes, in life, when you grasp at things, they slip through your fingers. When you open your hand, something will come to rest in your palm. I should have told that to Ryo. Crap.
LancasterAlan writes: “Hey Andrew, since you’ve done both stage acting and television performance, I was wondering if you could tell me the major differences between the two. The pros and cons of each. And which you prefer. Thanks.”
Andrew: Film is like a mountain, theatre is like the sky. Film lasts for a long long time. And it never changes. A theatre performance is different every night. I love both for their unique natures.
Basilisk7 writes: “Andrew, did you always know, or have a feeling, who was going to be revealed as the traitor in Ryo’s court? Was there a time that you suspected Teku could have been the traitor? How did you enjoy your time on the Dark Matter set? Where there any particular moments you can think of that really stood out for you? Did Joe give you any hints into what he had planned for Teku?”
Andrew: Joe was the most generous writer I have ever experienced and shared so much with me about the character and his history, and his relationship with Ryo. But I’ll be honest with you, I kinda suspected. I do LOT of preparation for any role that I perform in, and in my preparation, a few things seem to come together.
Loved my time on set. The crew was so generous. I loved shooting on those sets. The court scenes with Ryo were great. The only thing that drove me nuts was all the great food that was served ALL DAY LONG! It is a special torture that actors experience when they have to fit in a slim, form fitting costume, and all they can eat are carrots and apple slices all day! I know, sucks to be me.
Thanks for all the questions. It was really fun answering them, and please keep the dream alive. Dark Matter was the kind of science fiction that I loved reading when I was a kid. The kind of stories that ask real questions about life, about consciousness, and what it means to be human.
Well, well, well. If it isn’t Dark Matter‘s Teku Fonsei, actor Andrew Moodie, incognito.
Well, actually, it IS. And he’s pretty cognito. The beard is for a play he’s doing. The crispy pig ear he’s holding? Not part of the performance art.
Anyway, I was having lunch with Andrew today and thought – I bet Dark Matter fans would love to quiz him about his time on the show, before and beyond. So, if you’ve got questions for Andrew, please post them in this blog’s comments section. I’ll gather them up and send them his way this weekend.
Uh, guys. I think I may be dating a character from Futurama.
Still awaiting word from MGM on The Stargate Initiative. Adam Barnard offers up a neat summation of the recent #DriveToRevive campaign above.
Meanwhile, there was this tweet response from the official Stargate Command twitter:
Every so often, I get requests for concept work and designs related to the various ships featured on Stargate. I normally love to oblige but the truth is a lot of these files are scattered over so many folders on so many laptops and portable hard drives, that it’s almost impossible to track them all down. This past weekend, however, while prepping for the tweet-storms, I came across a veritable treasure trove of Stargate ship-related images. Combined with a bunch I already posted (mainly on reddit), they make for quite the curated collection.
Today, I present to you some of the Ships of Stargate: SG-1, many of which were designed by artist James Robbins –
Last night, Stargate fans took twitter by storm. Lead by @StargateNow and The Stargate Initiative, Fandom Force positively lit it up!
Pictured above: Actual footage of tweets being launched!
North American fans showed up en masse, and were joined by international fans in addition to more than a few familiar faces.
I’ll have a full rundown for you tomorrow but, for now, here’s are the key stats –
Over 100k tweets sent. We trended #1 in Canada, France, the U.K., #2 in the U.S., #6 in Australia, and #7 Worldwide! That’s HUGE!
In fact, we continued to trend hours past the scheduled one hour event and, in some instances, still trending into the wee morning hours. Not bad for a SciFi series that has been off the air for five years! Congratulations!
And we get to do it all over again when our international contingent hits twitter today in a little over 3 hours! Check the times in your area and join us for this final round! And make sure to follow @StargateNow and @StargateNow_EU for today’s secret hashtag (to be released 15 minutes before launch).