June 19, 2010: The Farewell Tour! Back On Top! Janina’s New Music Vid!

A short and early blog entry today as I’m heading off to the first stop in Robert C. Cooper’s farewell victory tour.  “What’s that?” you say.  You didn’t know hew was leaving?  Well, yes.  Sad but true.  His appearance at this year’s Comic Con panel will mark his final Stargate-related contribution, so if you happen to be in the San Diego area in late July, make sure to say goodbye and thank him for fourteen years and countless hours of gate-tastic entertainment.  But, please – no tears.  If you start crying it’ll only be a matter of time before he starts crying as well (the ole softy) and that’ll just embarrass him.

To all those wondering – roughly zero of you – after predicting the results of all three of today’s matches, I find myself in first place in our Office World Cup pool.  Alas, I’m not alone.  Carl, my writing partner Paul, and the ever low-key Louis Ferreira (SGU’s Colonel Young who, by the way, is looking forward to fielding your questions – provided you remember to post them), are also at the top looking down on every one else (ie. Ashleigh currently wallowing in third spot alongside Remi, Lawren, and the production mascot, a chimpanzee named Kerwick, who picked his selections out of a hat).  Anyway, if Paraguay and Italy come through tomorrow as expected, and pesky Cote D’Ivoire manages to tie those overrated Brazilians, I’ll have the top spot all to myself come Monday morning.  Just like old times.

Got an email from actress Janina Gavanker, Leigh Turner from The Gates, Papi from The L Word, and, most importantly, Sgt. “Dusty” Mehra from Stargate: Atlantis’s “Whispers” who pass along a link to a music video she recently completed.  You can check it out here:

And comment here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjzaJ3mw_uw

Okay, got my iPhone Maps function set and I’m heading out.  If you don’t hear from me by Monday, start organizing search teams.

June 18, 2010: Finally! Office Pics! Yet Another Guest Blogger Announcement! And the Mailbag!

What a difference an idea makes.  I’d been spinning my wheels on my latest story, trying to find that elusive through-line that would tie all its narrative elements together – and then, yesterday, I found it.  Or, more appropriately, it was presented to me by fellow Exec. Producer Brad Wright.  And, just like that, the pieces of the puzzle finally fell into place.  Well, more or less.  I’m still missing some corner pieces and portions of the sky on the upper left, but I’m in much better shape.  Today, I put together a preliminary beat sheet which I’ve started to flesh out.  I aim to have a reading document ready for early next week.  Have to say, I am very excited about this episode – probably more excited than I’ve been for an episode since Atlantis season 5’s Remnants.

Well, damn.  I’ve fallen to third place in our office World Cup Pool.  Carl “Mr. Soccer” Binder is in the lead, but I’m only two points back.  Tomorrow, I really need Denmark and the Netherlands to step up.  And for Ghana and Australia to prove equally inadequate.

Ashleigh practicing for the Stargate choir. She sings like an angel. A beautiful tone deaf angel.

Lawren wins the Saturn Award for best...whatever it is he does.

Sadie auditions for the role of Drekmarr, leader of the Poochians (episode 12).

Snap enough pictures of Ashleigh, and she'll throw you THIS look.

Okay, looks like the guest bloggers are coming up fast and furious.  I’ve collected your questions for Jennifer Spence and will be sending them her way this weekend.  Next up…

The lovely Louis Ferreira, SGU’s Colonel Everett Young, is looking forward to hearing from you.  If you’ve got questions and comments for Destiny’s commander, start posting!

Mailbag:

Heather writes: “In my favorite episode “Faith” TJ goes to a river where there is a waterfall. Can you tell me the name of that waterfall?”

Answer: I don’t know whether the waterfall has an actual name, but I do know that it’s located in Widgeon Park, where the episode was shot.  According to Carl, who produced the episode, the waterfall required a bit of a trek to get to – and Alaina, pregnant at the time, was a trooper throughout, making the hike there and back without a peep of protest.  Also according to Carl, there are plenty of park rangers in the area who could probably point you in the right direction.  Or recover your body if you wander off the trail and happen to encounter one of the many bears that frequent the area.

Brian writes: ““Given the events of the Stargate: Extinction – unlikely.”  Does this mean something bad happens to Atlantis?”

Answer: Not necessarily.

Ian Z. writes: ”

In Continuum I think. Carter says (off the cuff) something about a Moon base.  Was this ad-lib? Or did you guys really mean to portray that there is a moon base and/or it is wanted to come up at some point down the road?”

Answer: It was scripted.  And, yeah, it may come in the (hopefully) not too distant future.

crayonbaby writes: “Peter DeLuise is back?! Directing possibly?”

Answer: Directing definitely.  Episode #11: Deliverance.

Tammy Dixon writes: “Mr. M., how will they get the stem cell donor for Jelly?”

Answer: The lab will use Jelly’s own stem cells for the procedure.

Philbert writes: “1 – So, um, potentially, will there be any standout moments for Becker? I’d like to see him appear a bit more.

2 – In Incursion 1 when the gate shut off someone was standing in one of the gate vents. He screamed, so can it be assumed he was burnt by the blast when the gate shut off?

3- In Incursion 2 we saw TJ walk up a set of stairs and through the gate. We’ve always seen shots of all the characters from the “console side” of the gate room by and going through those main doors. Whats back there?

4 – Will it be explained, or will Eli determine, about why the Destiny gates (both planetary and Destiny) is using Ancient symbols rather than constellations as in Pegasus/Milky Way??

5 – Both Destiny boarding parties (from the Milky Way) seem to be thrown out of the Destiny gate quite literally, and it seems that radio communication isn’t two-way. In Air 1, Scott was telling them to slow down and they continued piling through and in Incursion 1 Kiva asked for confirmation of safe arrival at Destiny and nothing happened. Is there a reason for this? Will we find out?

6 – This is a very silly question, but all stargates shown have 9 chevrons. Could Atlantis dial there? Does the Destiny stargate have nine too? Could Destiny in theory dial the ninth chevron from the ship?”

Answers: 1. Depends what you mean “by stand-out”.

2. Yes.  He was steamed like a giant siu long bao dumpling.

3. The shuttle.

4-6: Stay tuned.

Scifan writes: “I just read that you guys are doing a SGU MOVIE!!”

Answer: Says who?  I was simply referring to a potential – albeit unlikely worst-case – scenario.

RebeccaH writes: “I assume from your remarks about the movies that we can consider the Atlantis movie pretty much dead?”

Answer: Nope.  Nothing has changed with regard to the SGA movie.  It’s still in a holding pattern.  As is the SG-1 movie.  The only news is that there have been continued rumblings on the SG-1 front.

Ahem writes: “It’s nice to know that Brad Wright is “tireless” in his efforts to get another SG1 movie into production. However, you made no mention of his efforts on behalf of even one SGA movie. Should I surmise that he has made none?”

Answer: Brad isn’t producing the Atlantis movie.  He’s co-writing and exec. producing the SG-1 movie and, in his capacity as said movie’s Executive Producer, has lobbied hard to keep the project front and center and very much alive through this extended holding pattern.

Jeff writes: “I really hope you guys are bringing RDA back for a couple of guest spots in season 2……….his remarks are hilarious and its always a pleasure to see him in the episodes……”

Answer: Well…who knows?  Rick’s always a blast to work with.  Oh, and a public retraction is in order.  Apparently, that “I know what makes me special” line from Subversion wasn’t an ad-lib.  It was actually scripted by Robert Cooper.  I simply assumed it was an ad-lib because it was so – well – incongruous. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one to think so.  But Rob wasn’t worried.  “It’s a Rick line,”he assured everyone.  “He’ll nail it.”  And he did!

BMc writes: “Our best chance may have been when SGA was summarily cancelled, its sets were up and the cast planning on returning for season 6, but all resources were immediately diverted to the new baby, SGU.”

Answer: Incorrect.  We’ve run simultaneous productions before (ie. SG-1 and Atlantis, producing 40 episodes of television a year) and would have been fully capable of shooting a movie had we been given the go-ahead.

June 12, 2010: Actress Julia Benson Answers Your Questions!

Exec. Producing Stargate: Universe is not unlike coaching an immensely talented sports franchise.  You go in to each script – or game – confident in the talent you’re working with, solid starters and a deep, deep bench that never lets you down.  And, on many occasions, even though you’re expecting them to excel, they still manage to surprise and delight.  Take Julia Benson (SGU’s Lieutenant Vanessa James) for example, an actress who started off strong in the opener and just keeps getting better, delivering everything from throwaway humor (Space) to  emotional intensity (Pain) with the skill and professionalism of a seasoned performer many years her senior.  It’s not surprising that, between the time I announced this Q&A and today’s entry, Julia picked up the Leo Award for Best Supporting Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series.

Congratulations to Julia on the win, and a big thank you for taking the time to field our questions.

Over to Julia…

Chevron7 writes: “Questions for Julia:

1. What’s your workout routine? Did that change when getting the role of Lt James?

JB:  I am always changing up my workout routine, otherwise I get bored!  But I have a chocolate lab that I run with almost daily.  That is definitely my favorite form of exercise.  When I got the role of James, I did start working out with a trainer.  I find it helps with the weight training. I did some kickboxing to toughen up physically and just recently I have been taking kickboxing classes with Sharon Taylor from Stargate Atlantis.  She’s amazing!

2. Which cast member would you most like to beat in an arm wrestling contest?

JB: Jamil, just for bragging rights!  He’s not only in incredible shape but we have a fun banter with each other and it would be awesome to bug him about something like that! Lol

3. Some people are surprised at James’ reaction to losing Scott to Chloe. I see it as a normal reaction exacerbated by the fact that she’s in close proximity to them in a stressful situation. How do you see it?

JB:  I agree with you.  Regardless of what the exchange was for Scott, James developed feelings for him.  It would obviously be different if his relationship with Chloe wasn’t in her face constantly.

4. I loved the scene of James looking after Franklin in Sabotage. I sense a backstory there, like she’s been the primary carer for someone in her past. Any clues?

JB:  I love this scene too.  Mark Burgess who plays Franklin was so amazing to act with.  He was so powerful.  I can’t give away too much back story as we have yet to explore that on the show, but I will say that James has had some challenges to face in her life.

5. What was the first job you ever had? – Acting or non-acting.

JB:  First Acting Job was on a show called Tru Calling.  I guest starred in an episode in the first season with SGU’s Patrick Gilmore!

The first Joe job that I had was at a restaurant in West Vancouver called Trolls.  I was a waitress, a terrible waitress at that!  I was 16 and I think people felt sorry for me, because I got amazing pity tips! Lol

6. Do you like to cook? If so what’s your fave dish to make?

JB: I love to cook!  My family is full of amazing chefs and I was the last to jump on board.  My go-to is Chicken Parmesan, with Marscapone pasta.  Both the recipes came from my dad.  He makes the best pasta ever, second only to the pasta I have had in Italy!

7. What are your aspirations for Lt James in Season 2?

JB: I would love to see James put in a position where she really has to step up and be a leader.  And then I would like to see her succeed at that.  Like all of us her confidence goes in and out, but James is a fighter and she has a ton of strength in her.  As an actor I have loved any opportunity to do fight scenes and stunts so I would love her to continue in that direction.

Tanie writes: “So, questions for Julia:

1. What sort of research did you do for this role?

JB:  For me the most important aspect of the research was to find out as much as I could about being in the military.  I have a family member that was in the Canadian Army so that was a great resource for me.  I did a ton of reading about the different ranks and tried to get a good grasp of the mental state and the discipline that I would have in my life to be in this role.

2. How do YOU think James has grown or changed over the course of S1?

JB:  In Season 1 we saw James struggle to find her place on the Destiny.  She definitely started to break down with the loneliness and isolation.  Hopefully in Season 2 she gets to keep developing her strength.

3. Have you had any ludicrously early calls to set as yet?

JB:  Whenever you are shooting a series you will definitely have early calls.  I think I had to set my alarm for 4:30 one day and that was the earliest.  However my sister works in the stock market and is up every day at 5 am so I am cautious to complain!  I always call her on my way to set just to tell her I am up!

MyNameIsNada writes: “Yeah for a Q&A with Julia!
Her are some questions:

1) Do you think Lt. James is as cool as I do?

JB:  Lol- Of course I do!  I love playing James and think that she is a great character.

2) Do you think Lt. James will ever confront Lt. Scott? Speaking of, you can’t expect to go through a Q&A here and not spill some details on those sex scenes. So, feel free to share anything.

JB:  I don’t know what the writers have in store for James and Scott.  Maybe it’s time James moved on and found a new love interest….

3) What are some things we the fans can do to ensure your survival of the series?

JB:  Ahh, that is sweet!  Just keep sending the love for James…you guys have been amazing!  I hope to get to a convention soon, so I can meet some of the fans!

4) Lt. James has yet to really be given a chance to come into the spotlight-what do you think she has best to offer Destiny and the rest of the crew?

JB:  Well, I think that James has had some time to shine in Season 1 :)That being said, she still has a lot more to offer on the show.  She is a fighter with a lot of compassion and that is an interesting balance to explore.  I think James has the potential to step up in combat and get into some fun action!  It would be great to keep exploring her tough side!

5) Finally, pretending you, yourself, are stuck on Destiny. What would you do to preserve your sanity?”

JB: I would find routines in any way that I could.  I would give myself goals to help me feel like I am still growing and moving forward in life.  I always want to be learning new skills so maybe I would organize a group where we all teach each other our skill set.  I would also need to laugh as I think that is so important.  So, games night would be a must and Brody’s still would come in handy!

Mr Anonymous writes: “Question for Julia:

1) Have you ever been on the lonely end of a love triangle (similar to Lt. James?)

JB:  Fortunately I haven’t been in a similar situation.  Not that I haven’t experienced heartache but not like James.

2) You play a military officer convincingly. Have you had military training?”

JB:  Thank you.  I haven’t had any official training but we did a few days at the beginning of our season with our military advisor Ron Blecker and he was incredibly helpful.  He was often on set throughout the season and we have people there to advise us as we go along.

Lou Zucaro writes: “For Julia:

1) As a couple other people have touched on, James has shown an interesting duality, being both tough / strong as well as almost a bit desperate as far as the relationship / romance part of the character goes. Do you relate to any part of James?

JB: Absolutely, I don’t think any one of us is one thing.  People are so complex and have different strengths in different parts of their lives.  As far as relating to James, I actually just answered this question on my blog @ www.juliabensononline.com

I relate to the fact that she is in a situation where she has to live by a certain set of rules.  Part of her wants to lead and prove her worth in the eyes of Young.  I think what I keep learning in my life is that no matter who gives you validation, it only lasts if it comes from within.  So that is something that James is going to have to conquer.

2) Do you think the controversy regarding James’ freakout re: inhabiting Amanda’s body in Sabotage was warranted or not?

JB:  What controversy are you referring to?  I know that there was some controversy about an early draft of Sabotage.  It is tough for writers as they cannot reflect every single person’s outlook on every issue.  Every script I have read from SGU has dealt with delicate matters with class and respect.  When James had a hard time in the body of Amanda it was not meant as any disrespect to anyone in Amanda’s situation.  I saw it as one character’s response to a situation.

3) When James, TJ and Chloe dress up as Charlie’s Angels in the Very Special Halloween Episode™ of SGU, which Angel do you want to be and what are you prepared to do (as James, of course) to keep TJ and Chloe from calling dibs on your favorite? Who should dress up as Bosley?”

JB:  We are a little to young to remember the TV show but if we are talking movie- Alaina for Drew Barrymore’s part, Elyse for Cameran Diaz and I would take Lucy Lui’s character.  I bet Louis would do a great Bill Murray impression so he has to be Bosley!

Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

Cat4444 writes: “Q for Julia:

1. What do you think of the criticism that you were only cast for your “chest” rather than your ability to do the job?

JB: To be honest, I really don’t pay much attention to criticism like that.  I am an actor who happens to have a large chest. Period. So I think people can think and say whatever they want.  I can only control what I think.  I know why I was cast, and that’s all that matters!

3. Is there a particular storyline, or type of storyline, you’d like to see for your character?

JB: I would love to see James put in a position where she really has to step up as a leader.  And then I would like to see her succeed.  Like all of us her confidence goes in and out, but James is a fighter and she has a ton of strength in her.  As an actor I have loved any opportunity to do fight scenes and stunts so I would love her to continue in that direction.

4. Lt. James seems to be having a hard time getting over Lt. Scott. Why do you think this is? She appears to be a pretty self-reliant and confident woman and it seems kind of odd that she would moon over him to such an extent.”

JB:  I agree that she is self-reliant and confident, but people are different in love.  James has been burnt by the whole Scott/Chloe situation and to top it off, she has to live in very tight quarters with them.  I think she will get over it, but it may take some time.

CrayonBaby writes: “Questions:

1) Have you ever accidentally hit one of the cast members while filming a fight scene? I know sometimes accidents happen. Or someone ate the last doughnut. Or took you parking space.

JB: Louis, Jamil and I almost accidentally ran somebody over in a golf cart.  It didn’t go over that well. 🙂

2) Are you hoping for in season two that Lt. James will be happier? Poor gal has been put through the ringer this season so far.

JB:  I think it would be great if James found some happiness in her accomplishments.  If she were successful in some of her missions then it would be great to give her some moments to let that sink in!  I would also like to see James continue to have bonding moments with the girls, particularly TJ.  I think that they could continue to find comfort and friendship in each other.  Maybe out of that would come some happiness 🙂

3) Who on the set makes you laugh?”

JB:  Everyone!  But off the top of my head-Louis Ferraira and Jamil Walker Smith

Arctic Goddess writes: “Question(s) for Julia:

– Why did you decide to get into acting?

JB: I got bitten by the acting bug at 13 when I did my first play.  I had been competing as a dancer for years and always loved performing, but once I did a play there was no looking back.  It’s all I have ever wanted to do.

– Do you have a Facebook or Twitter page?

JB:  Yes I do!  My facebook fanpage is under Julia Benson and my twitter is Julia_Benson!

Michael Jones writes: “Question for Julia:

I’ve noticed that James has been said to be the only person to be friendly to Spencer (though, it’s described as “tolerating” him, that’s more than anyone else did), and she’s seen to take an active role in caring for the unresponsive Franklin, who was also reasonably unpopular.

Do you think James is starting to take up a position of caring for the crew’s “lost sheep”? Do you think this is a result of how isolated James herself feels, or is a remnant from the abandoned idea of her having a paralyzed brother she cared for?  Also, I just want to say I love where your character is going. James has easily become one of my favorite characters on Destiny.”

JB:  Michael, first thank you for your support and for such a thoughtful question.  Two things, I do think that there was a nice parallel storyline in the original draft of that script that tied in well with James caring for Franklin.   I also think that there are definitely different divisions amongst people on board the ship, beyond the natural divide of the military and the civilians.  James is not always kept in the loop of what is happening and there are times when she bonds with people in a similar situation to her.  James is somewhat of an outsider herself and so she does relate to people as individuals and has compassion for their situation.  This was the case with her and Spencer.

Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

Major D. Davis writes: “Questions for Julia….

First off thanks so much for doing this Q&A… been looking forward to this Q&A for a while!!

1. What is your favorite episode in season 1?

JB:  My favorite episode is Space.  I love the balance of action and drama and I think the aliens were incredible!

2. What is you favorite episode in season 2…which one do you think will be a fan favorite(of the ones you’ve read and shot so far)?

JB:  So far in season 2 Malice would be my favorite episode.  It was written and directed by Robert Cooper and we just finished shooting this week.  I think that the fans will love it because there are high stakes and lots of good action.  There is also some great stuff between Rush and Simeon.  When two actors like that get to square off it is explosive.  I also got to do a fun stunt, which I love, so maybe I am biased!

3. Will we get to see you character visit earth in season 2, or at least get to know more of James’ past?

JB:  That is a question for the writers…..Joe? lol

4. What TV shows do you watch beside SGU?

JB:  I have quite a big list of shows that I watch, in no particular order:

Friday Night Lights, Grey’s Anatomy, Glee, Lost, Six Feet Under, Modern Family, The West Wing, True Blood, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance and Celebrity Apprentice!

5. Who is your favorite character from SGU(or maybe what character do you respect the most or relate to the most)?

JB: I find Colonel Young fascinating.  He carries the weight of the world on his shoulders and is constantly making impossible decisions.

6. What was the hardest episode to film so far… and what episode did you have the most fun filming so far?

JB:  The hardest episode to film so far was “Pain”.  It was incredibly intense and exhausting, but it was also the most rewarding for me as an actor!  I loved getting to play so many different emotions with James in this episode.  Going away to New Mexico with the cast to shoot Air Part 3 was the most fun!

7. What do you do to pass time on set? What are you favorite hobbies(on or off set)?”

JB: Last year I was working on a series that I created with my husband Peter and another colleague.  In the down time, that kept me very busy both on and off set!  When I wasn’t working on that, the rest of the cast and I would hang out in between scenes.  Our set is a ton of fun to be on and there is always someone to catch up with.  Someone usually has music playing, our trailer doors are typically open and we all really enjoy spending time together!

Shawn Cassidy writes: “Question for Julia,

I thought you were absolutely fantastic in “PAIN”. The emotion and pain was obvious in your eyes and on your face when you broke down sitting on your bunk when Col. Young came in. I felt for your character. That’s something only a gifted actor can deliver. What is your process as a actress when prepping that scene? Was it a gut and go kind of thing or did you need to invoke some long lost torment from your past to deliver the goods?

Thanks Joe and Julia, keep up the awesome work!!

JB:  Thank you Shawn!  My process is different depending on the scene.  For something this intense I do as much work at home as I can, trying to get into the mind set of what she is going through.  I always drill my lines so that the last thing I am thinking about is the lines.  Then I trust that if I am present and really listening to my scene partner, the emotion will be there.  Over the years I have learnt that trusting yourself as an actor is half the battle.  In the episode “Pain” I did use music to ground me and keep me focused and then I let it all go and played the scene!

Shiny writes: “My question for Julia Benson is did she do her own stunts in the scene where James rifle butts that Civvie in “Divided”? Cuz it was very satisfying to see one of the more whiny Civvies get a beat down by James. And will Julia get to do more fight choreography in the future? I love BamBam’s work. Great work on James, she’s quickly become one of my all time favorite SGU characters!”

JB:  Yes Shiny that was me and yes BamBam is awesome!!  He has been so instrumental every time we have a fight scene.  He knows when to push me and makes me feel like I can do anything.   I am hoping that James will get to do some more fight choreography and stunts!  Thanks so much for your question and comments!

Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

Tammy Dixon writes: “Questions:
Are you a cat or dog person? How does your family like that you became an actress?
Have you always wanted to be an actress?
How did you get interested in playing “James”? What kind of hoops did you go through to try out for “James”?

I really enjoy your work as “James”! “James” has a bigger story to tell. So, I believe the writers should give you more!”

JB:  Hi Tammy, thank you!  I am honored to play James and hope to keep exploring more and more as the episodes go on!  So for your questions:

-Dog person, love cats but my husband is allergic!  We have a 3.5 year old chocolate lab named Bauer.

-My family has always been incredibly supportive of me.  My mom taught me to follow my dreams and spent most of her life driving me between dance lessons, theatre and figure skating!  She is one of the main reasons that I followed my passion.

– To get the role of James I had to go through several rounds of auditions. First I read for the character, Andrea Palmer, then I was in consideration for the role of Riley, and then they asked me to come back and read for James. I knew instantly that this was the role I wanted.  It just felt right!

Amara MacLeod writes: “Julia, you and the SGU cast are fantastic. I am very glad to see your character being given intriguing depths as we go on.

Now for a silly question (meant completely tongue in cheek no insults or evilness attached): Was it fun for you to kill Brian Jacob Smith?

Sorry. Couldn’t resist. *grins* If I am too inappropriate, please, at least pass on the comment.

Thank you for being on SGU!”

JB:  We are lucky to have such a great cast!  Not only is everyone amazing in their roles but they are also fabulous people, which makes going to work so fun!  I have tons of respect for Brian J. Smith.  He is a dream to work with and he plays his role with such conviction.  Fun, terrifying, emotional, adrenalin inducing…these are some of the words I would use to describe that scene.  It was intense.  I know that you were joking when you asked but truly there were so many crazy emotions running through me when we shot that scene!

Randy White writes: “For Julia:

1.) It has been asserted in some comments by women (most notably a GateWorld podcast basically involving two women) that the writers do not let women be complex characters, typically using juvenile male stereotypes for writing the female characters. Would you agree, or would you say that you have been able to display a fairly broad range of your acting ability and the depth of your character on SGU, given the (still) less than one full season that has been aired?

JB:  Given the amount of screen time James has had, I think that we have seen many sides of her character.  In general I think the writers do a great job of exploring the complexity of humanity in both their male and female characters.

2.) Without revealing too much about season two, are you looking forward to showing even more of your (and the other actors) abilities and the depth of your character, going in directions not even contemplated yet?

JB: Absolutely!  The great thing about being on a sci-fi series is that the possibilities are endless.

3.) How do you feel about the decision to cut the scene more fully explaining your inability to transfer consciousness with a person restricted to a wheelchair and on a respirator?

JB: As an actor, you never know how scenes are going to be cut together.  I trust that they edit to tell the best story and in this instance I don’t think we needed to see more of what James was going through.  The episode was truly about Wray’s journey at home and Perry’s journey on the ship so they needed to get to focus on those stories.

Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

Bolbait writes: “Here are more serious questions for you:

1) Who do you hang out with on set? Off set (other than your husband)?

JB:  We all spend time together off set.  We like to get together and have Poker nights, which usually end in Rock Band.   Louis Ferreira, John Lenic and I all have dogs so we often go for dog walks together in any one of the amazing trails we have in Vancouver.

2) How much time do you devote to running your lines before filming a scene?

JB:  It depends on the scene, but I always drill my lines until I know them so well that I don’t have to think about it!

3) I really enjoyed watching you “kill” Scott. You showed a great range of emotion, not only in the act, but also later when you were surprised that he was still alive. (This isn’t a question, is it?)

JB:  No but…thank you!

4) Any other characters you want to kill?

JB: No….James didn’t want to kill Scott- I look at it as her fear of what she could be capable of.  Have you ever been so mad or hurt that your mind goes somewhere that scares you?  I think that is what happened for James during that hallucination.

5) Do you think you’re character will ever get together with Eli? It seems that lots of “shippers” would like to see that happen.

JB:  Lol- David Blue and I are always joking about this happening as it seems to be of interest to a lot of the “shippers” as you say.  I think so far Eli and James probably have better chemistry as friends, but who knows….anything is possible on The Destiny!

6) Do you have a lot of input to the writers about what your character would say or do? Or, do you pretty much do what is written down?

JB:  The writers have your storylines mapped out before you get to see all the scripts, so although you have input when you are on set in terms of how the lines are said and what your character is feeling in that moment, I don’t have a ton of input on where my character is going.

7) Do you enjoy the Kino video’s as much as us fans do?”

JB:  I think the Kino’s are great.  It is a great opportunity to show the fans every day life on the ship and for the characters to have fun with each other.  We have such a big ensemble cast that it also is a nice way for you guys to get to know everyone a bit better.

Craig writes: “Question for Julia Benson: are we going to see Lt. James hook up with one of the other men on Destiny (Eli?) now that Scott isn’t available? And are we going to see Lt. James get to kick some ass in “Incursion” or the second season?”

JB:  Good questions!!  Unfortunately I can’t give anything away but James does get some fun stuff to do in Season 2.

Michael writes: “Questions for Julia Benson:

1) What was it like playing one of Lucius Lavin’s six wives in the Stargate Atlantis episode, “Irresistible”?

JB:  Atlantis was great!  I loved working with Richard Kind.  He was hysterical and very down to earth.  I had a wonderful time on that show!

2) On Stargate Universe, what would you rather explore in Vanessa James’ backstory and why: her empathic nature (as she seems to care about others on Destiny like Franklin or tolerating Spencer) or her assignment in Iraq (that she mentioned in “Air” Part 3)?

JB: Both!! Lol, but if I had to choose I would love to explore her life at home.  It would be great to delve into what drew her into the military.

3) What was a bigger challenge to you as an actor and why; the body switch with Dr. Amanda Perry in “Sabotage” or the hallucination sex scene from “Pain”?”

JB:  They were both challenging scenes but the hallucination scene in Pain was emotionally exhausting.  You have to throw yourself in and go to a very dark place, which can be very draining.  It’s interesting though…you don’t realize how tired you are until the end of the night when you get home and all the adrenalin has left your body!

Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

E writes: “What do you think of James/Scott relationship?

JB:  I think it is like a lot of relationships….complicated!  On the one hand, James has a lot of respect for Scott and on the other….she has been very hurt by him.  I don’t know if it will happen but it would be great for James and Scott to have a scene together where they get to talk about what happened.

James is easily one of my fav secondary characters. Will we see more of her in the 2nd season?

JB:  Thanks E!  Yes James is around in Season 2!

Where do you see your character in, say, a few years from now?

Most fun experience you’ve had while working on SGU?

JB:  Hmm good question, hopefully James and everyone on board The Destiny are still around in a few years! If so, I hope that James has kicked some serious alien butt!

The most fun days are when everyone is around and the weather in Vancouver is good!  Those days the music is playing and everyone is usually laughing…when they are not working of course!

What’s your fav James moment in SGU S1? Mine was in “Space”, where she talked about Caine without knowing that he could hear her. That was funny, hehe.”

JB:  I love that scene as well! There is always so much intensity on the Destiny that it is great to have a bit of fun with the characters.  I also like the moment between Chloe and James in Water when she tells Chloe about Scott.  I think it was a powerful statement about the kind of character James is.

Freeman writes: “How do you like your character and do you think that the series will have an episode on her past?

JB:  I love the character and I think it would be great if we got to see more of her past.

How do you like working with so many people from some many different backgrounds on the show and behind the scenes?

JB:  It is one of the best things about this business.  You are always meeting and working with tons of different people.  Everyone has their own story and bring such different experiences to the table.

Kabra writes: “Quick get know you questions:

1. Q: Bottled water or tap?

JB: Perrier

2. Q: Beach or Mountains?

JB: We’ve got both in Vancouver, but beach if I had to choose.

3. Reading or watching SGU?

JB: Watching SGU of course!

4. Q: Joe’s homemade ice cream or Ben and Jerry’s.

JB: Ben and Jerry’s!

5. Q: Diamonds or Pearls?

JB: Diamonds!

6. Q: Dogs or Cats?

JB: Dogs.

7. Q: Brothers and sisters?

JB: 4 sisters and 1 brother

8. Q:Hockey or Football?”

JB: Hockey, I am a Canadian Girl thru and thru 🙂

PBMom writes: “Julia Benson question (since everyone has asked some really good ones, this is the only other one I could come up with):

For a SGleeU episode, what song would you like to sing and why?”

JB: Oh tough one PBMom.  Let’s go with “You Give Love A Bad Name”- Bon Jovi.  It seems appropriate for the situation James is in and who doesn’t love to rock out to Bon Jovi! Lol

Sgugeek writes: Questions for the amazing Julia Benson

1) What would be the ideal gift to get from a fan? What is the coolest thing a fan has ever given you?

JB:  Umm…how about a house, the real estate market in Vancouver is crazy! Lol

A longtime fan of Stargate named Ian made me a website. He continues to work on it with me and has been very generous with his time! He also made me a great poster from a shot in “Darkness”.

2) Do you ever feel like James gets lost in a sea of main characters?

JB: It’s such an ensemble cast and as a supporting character, I think the key is to try and make all of your screen time count.

3) Do you have any convention appearances coming up? Would you like to go to a con, if invited and your schedule permitted it?

JB: I would love to do a convention.  I was supposed to do one at the beginning of the year but scheduling didn’t work out.  So I am working on getting to some soon!

4) When you were little, what were your career aspirations?

JB:  I have always wanted to act or perform in some capacity.  I grew up in competitive dance and always loved being on stage.  As soon as I did a play, there was nothing else that I wanted to do!

Yazid writes: “What is your favorite scene/episode from SGU ?

JB: On the whole, I think that “Space” is my favorite episode, but I also love “Divided”.  There are so many great scenes throughout the season that it is hard to pick one.  That being said the scene between Rush and Young fighting in “Justice” was incredibly intense and will always be a favorite of mine.

You seem to have fun on set, what’s your favorite moment?

JB: Peter Kelamis is a standup comedian and he was doing impressions of the crew one day.  His Peter Deluise is bang on!

What are your similarities/differences with Lt James?

JB: As a lot of people have noted, James has a strong mix of strength and vulnerability.  I am very similar.  Luckily for me the big difference between us is that James hasn’t been very lucky in love!

Did you know Stargate before playing in SGU ?

JB:  Yes I did.  Stargate has always been a huge part of the film and television industry in Vancouver.  I had also done an episode of Stargate Atlantis called “Irresistible”.

Did you cast just for Lt James or any other character ?

JB: To get the role of James I had to go through several rounds of auditions!  First I read for the character, Andrea Palmer, then I was in consideration for the role of Riley, and then they asked me to come back and read for James. I knew instantly that this was the role I wanted.  It just felt right!

In your opinion, how the relation between James and Scott is gonna progress ?

JB:  I think James will have to get over him…not saying that it’s going to be easy but he ends Season 1 very attached to Chloe.  Can’t tell you what happens in Season 2, you will have to wait and see 🙂

What was the hardest scene to shoot ? The funnier one ?

JB: The hallucination scene in Pain was emotionally exhausting.  You have to throw yourself in and go to a very dark place and that is incredibly challenging but also draining.  It’s interesting though…you don’t realize how tired you are until the end of the night when you get home and all the adrenalin has left you!

Shooting scenes with David Blue in “Darkness” was fun!

Few words in French ?

JB:  Bonjour je m’appelle Julia.  That’s all I’ve got!

June 7, 2010: Production Update! Persons Unknown Premieres Tonight! Remi Aubuchon wants to hear from you!

Prep week for episode #10, Resurgence, kicked off today with a 9:00 a.m. concept meeting.  Those in attendance included all department heads, Director Will Waring (yes, apparently he IS directing this one), my writing partner Paul (who sat in to get a sense of who will be where on that new set), and yours truly.  Assistant Director Alex Pappas ran the meeting, guiding us through the script, stopping only to direct questions my way or regale us with tales of his youth spent as the Entertainment Director of a local Buddhist community center.  As Paul predicted, we ended up mired in the “Who’s where?” logistics of the new set and, after much discussion and dialogue tweaking, it was decided I would have to offer detailed positioning of each player in my next draft.  I actually ended up sketching out a handy diagram in the margin of each scene to keep it all straight!.  It looked something like this:

X     X     X

xx

X      X

And it’s various brevpy variations.

After a ten minute break, we sat down for a very brief Art Department meeting – very brief because we’d had a pre-concept meeting meeting last week in which we’d brought in Wray and Scott from SPFX to discuss how we planned to shoot one of episode’s more interesting sequences.  There was talk of ramps, rigs, cranes, and parallelograms until we finally decided on our game plan.  More talk of relative speed and vectors of intertia, this time initiated by Paul rather than our Creative Consultant John Scalzi.

Next up was the props meeting – which proved equally brief.  Talk of backpacks, pelican cases, weapons, shovels, crowbars, and big-ass flashlights.

After which we rolled right into another short meeting: Costumes.

Since we’d already had our preliminary discussion with the Special Effects team, the Stunts and Special Effects meeting went quickly.  A couple of stunts, atmosphere that shouldn’t look like atmosphere, and sound and fury.

Given the brevity of the meetings so far, you’d think this episode would be relatively inexpensive.  Think again because, tomorrow, we’re looking at THE meeting – Visual Effects – which is scheduled to run for an hour and a half, but could go longer.  The 8:30 a.m. Playback meeting that precedes it is also going to be busy.  Also on deck tomorrow: Extras and Hair & Make-Up.

Well, tonight’s the night!  10:00 p.m.  NBC.  The premiere of Persons Unknown…

It has an intriguing premise and, most important of all, was Exec Produced by none other than SGU’s Remi Aubuchon.

Speaking of Remi, I think it’s high time he got the official Stargate fan welcome – and no better way for the fans to officially welcome him than with a trial by fire, coal-raking, fan Q&A.  So, if you’ve got questions for Remi, start posting them.  Ask him about SGU!  Persons Unknown!  How delightful Joe is to work with!

Remi says: "Give it your best shot."

And make sure to check out his show tonight.  It’s common courteous, after all.

Mailbag:

Rex Carter writes: “One question though if the sgc should find another a 3rd icarus planet with enough naquadria desposits in it to gate to Destiny can they only use it once one shot per icarus planet and of course one-way travel to destiny.”

Answer: Theoretically, yes, they would be able to make multiple one-way trips to Destiny.

Ytimynona writes: “By “juicer” do you mean blender?”

Answer: Nope.  I use the blender to make smoothies, and the juicer (that extracts the juice and discards the fiber) for juice.

SG7 writes: “With ScyFy moving SGU to Tuesdays, do you think that SPACE will do the same? And have you done any Q&A’s with Louis Ferreira or BrianJSmith? And if you haven’t are you planning on any with either of them?”

Answer: I don’t know what SPACE has planned for season two.  As for Louis and Brian – I haven’t asked Louis yet, but Brian did a Q&A prior to the show’s premiere – http://josephmallozzi.com/2009/09/29/september-28-2009-actor-brian-j-smith-answers-your-questions-only-three-days-to-the-stargate-universe-premiere/

dasNdanger writes: “Joe…you stopped reading Wolverine Origins and Dark Wolverine, right?”

Answer: I stopped reading everything, but am still picking up trade paperbacks of The Walking Dead and Scalped.  I’ll certainly pick up both of your recommendations and check them out.

JulieAloha writes: “Are you thin crust or pan pizza man? Tomato, white, pesto sauce or other? Wild toppings or standard?”

Answer: Depends on my mood, but I tend to prefer the New York style thin over the Chicago deep dish.  While I’m more than happy to experiment with exotic ingredients, I like to keep the toppings minimal.

Louis answers: “On the topic of SGU though Joe I was wondering if I could ask u a small question, will we by any chance be introduced to any other LGBT characters onboard the Destiny in the future?”

Answer: It’s possible, yes.

Mix-Martes writes: “Hey Joe, just read the other day’s post about that World Cup pool and I was wondering… why no-one bet on Spain to win it?”

Answer: I think it could be because they’re a perennial underachiever.

Fiorenzo writes: “I have a question that you might not be able to answer but giving it a try anyway (note: I’m also a Lost fan) … do Brad and Robert already know how the series is going to end?”

Answer: As a matter of fact, yes, they do.

JeffW writes: “You could try making your own Pizza, or am I missing the point?”

Answer: I know, I know.  My mother makes her own pizza and I really should make the effort but, well, it’s so much effort.

Chevron7 writes: “Btw, how are Brie and Stewie doing?”

Answer: They’re doing well.  Apparently, very needy.

Tammy Dixon writes: “Sorry, Mr. M., I’ll try to keep the post down after this but do you know when/where Brian J. Smith’s film “Murder on the Orient Express” is going to be shown?”

Answer: Alas, I don’t.  I’d suggest posting the question to Brian on twitter.

Salmo writes: “Way back when I used to live in Kits and Sympatico on Fourth Ave. was was the place for pizza. Is it still there?”

Answer: Doesn’t ring a bell.

steph writes: “1) Are there any rules/standards as to what you are allowed to do when using another person’s body (i.e. having sex with someone)?
2) Will we be meeting Dr. or military officer Cassandra any time soon? I know an episode of SG1 showed her in the future talking to the team, which implies she has access to the base.
3) Is there any chance of meeting some of the cool peoples we met previously (i.e. Asgard, Tollan, Nox, the old man whose wife died in Babylonia)?
4) Do you believe commanders of ships out all alone in space become alike or is it happenstance that there are many similarities between Col. Young and Admiral Adama of BSG?”

Answers: 1) Common sense dictates behavior although participants are required to sign a waiver.

2) No plans to revisit the Cassandra character.

3) Again, no plans to introduce alien elements from either of the previous shows.

4) Didn’t see BSG, but I imagine most commanders would need to demonstrate both unwavering strength and compassion.  A tricky combination.

May 16, 2010: Actress Alaina Huffman Answers Your Questions!

Stargate: Universe, Water (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television).

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…

Stargate: Universe, Water (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television)

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 🙂

Stargate: Universe, Water (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Televsion).

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!”

AH: Welcome!


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.

Stargate: Universe, Space (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television)

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.

Stargate: Universe, Justice (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television).

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!

Stargate: Universe, Fire (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television).

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.

Stargate: Universe, Faith (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television).

“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!

Stargate: Universe, Air (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television).

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).”

AH: LOL

“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”!)”

AH: Thanks:)

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!”

AH: Thanks

“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.”

AH: 🙂

“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.

Stargate: Universe, Incursion (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television).

Mailbag:

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.

April 21, 2010: Author Christopher Barzak Answers Your Questions! And maybe YOU can answer one of mine!

Author Christopher Barzak

Production Day #3 on Awakening had me at work, bright and early, for the 7:00 a.m. crew  call.  There, I watched Director Andy Mikita work his magic on an extremely challenging set – with ten actors in play!  Between the goings-on on Stage 6 and my office, I also found the time to join my fellow producers in taking in a matinee double-feature: Carl Binder’s producer’s cut of Pathogen (actually, I only caught the last 15 minutes, but I liked what I saw and loved those pick-up scenes, particularly that wandering look…yeah, I’m pushing this particular arc), and Will Waring’s kick-ass director’s cut of Rob Cooper’s equally kick-ass script for Aftermath (in which actor Louis Ferreira delivers his best performance yet in a suspenseful, absorbing, emotionally-draining episode).  Oh, and I also found time to eat a piece of key lime.  How’s that for multi-tasking?

Today, I turn this blog over to Christopher Barzak, author of The Love We Share Without Knowing, April’s book of the month club pick.  If you haven’t gotten around to reading it yet, I highly recommend you do – especially if you have an interest in Japanese culture.  A terrific book and the fact that it received a well-deserved Nebula nomination in the Best Novel category should put it on your radar the next time you’re looking to pick up a rewarding read.

Chris has kindly taken the time to field your questions.  After you’ve perused his take on writing, influences, inspiration, life in Japan, and what he has in the works, maybe you can answer one of mine: Why hasn’t Ashleigh introduced me to any of her cute, single friends yet?  After considerable thought, the only answer I can come up with is that she’s the jealous type and wants to keep me for herself.

Over to Chris…

KellyK writeS: 1) You lived in Japan for a couple of years teaching English. Was there ever a point when you stopped feeling like an outsider and considered it home? Do you think it’s somewhere you could settle down?

CB: By the time I’d lived in Japan for a year, it had started to feel like home to me.  Having become capable enough with the language to be independent and communicate with my coworkers and neighbors who didn’t know English helped me ease into the community and show that I had a “When in Rome” way about me.  I’ve heard many expats talk about the alienation they feel or have felt when living in Japan.  In my own experience, though, I felt as if I’d come home to a place I’d expected to feel very foreign.  It was definitely foreign in many ways, but not in ways that made me feel so much like an outsider.  I loved it there.  And in many ways, if my writing career here in the U.S. hadn’t taken off, I would probably still be there.

“2) Your book touches on the battle between tradition and the modern world (typified by the struggles between parents and their children). Since you lived in both rural and urban Japan, I’m wondering if you noticed a difference in the way this struggle played out in either environment. For instance, would you say youth were more rebellious in the big city as opposed to the countryside?”

CB: There are differences, yes.  The city youth largely take on different kinds of alternative identities than the rural youths do.  Tokyo youth culture offers young people a chance to inhabit roles like the Gothic Lolitas and Saintly Marys who parade around Harajuku in Baroque period French costumes, for instance.  And their is a subculture of young women and men who attempt to take on American hip hop personas, some going so far as to dye their skin darker.  There’s a slight Goth scene in urban environments too.  In rural areas, you find more youths falling into the role of a “Yankee” which is sort of motorcycle riding, roughneck imitation of Western bikers.  I’d say rebellion from youth cultures exists in both places, but they manifest in different forms.

“3) Did you do any research on suicide clubs? They seem to be especially prevalent in Japan. Any idea why that would be?”

CB: I did do research on suicide clubs.  I became fascinated by them for a while, actually, because they seemed so different from anything I understood about suicide in Western culture, where we tend to commit suicide alone, individually.  There are certainly people who commit suicide alone in Japan, but the group suicide is definitely a phenomenon there.  I don’t think they have any particular answers yet either, but largely I do think it reflects the communality of Japanese culture to some extent.  How your culture is structured permeates everything a person from that culture does in so many ways.  My gut instinct about this tends to take me in the direction of seeing the communal suicides as a trend shaped by a communal culture.

4) While I liked or at least understood most of the characters in the book, the one I didn’t and who rubbed me the wrong way was the American mother who comes to Japan to visit her son. She embodies the worst traits of the ugly American stereotype. Was this character pure fiction or did you encounter people like this while you were there?”

CB: This character is the one who most readers get hung up on.  She’s a reflection of some of the worst traits Americans (and other Westerners) display while visiting other countries, for sure.  And I think people tend to not like to see characters who display “bad” or “negative” traits in their reading material unless they are clearly labeled as a villain or nemesis in some way.  I’m not that kind of reader myself.  I enjoy reading Flannery O’Connor’s short stories, for example, where lots of characters are horribly flawed and there’s a sort of dark humor that surrounds them in the stories.  A lot of people say Flannery O’Connor is a mean writer because of this.  Others think she’s just observing elements of our humanity that people don’t want to look at.  While I didn’t surround the American mother with a ton of dark humor, I did want to portray a variety of American characters who all respond to being in a foreign country in different ways.  That seems most realistic to me, as people DO respond differently.  What I find most interesting when I come across readers who dislike this character is that they feel that perhaps as an author I have treated her unfairly, that I should have represented her as less of the Ugly American.  I myself don’t find her to be a terrible person, though, which it seems others do.  I simply find her to be the kind of person who has no experience outside of her own circumscribed world.  If you look through the book and find the clues about who she is, you can put it together that she is from a very rural area of Western Pennsylvania.  She’s a country girl, really, and the only reason she’s come to Japan is on a mission to bring her son home.  I think that’s a valiant character trait myself.  A mother who comes to her son’s rescue despite being afraid of a foreign place.  But some readers focus on her inability to be at ease in the foreign land than they do on her good traits.  She loves her son.  She wants to understand him, even if he himself is foreign to her with his sexuality.  She wants to love him despite that, too, being something foreign to her.

All that said, is she fiction or did I witness Ugly Americans while in Japan?  She’s a fiction, but she’s definitely drawn from some examples I’d witnessed.  A friend of mine in Japan, for instance, told me a story of her mother coming to visit.  They went to an onsen, a Japanese public salt spring bath, where you’re required to bathe in the nude among strangers (of the same sex, of course).  Her mother went through the motions of doing this very courageously, but was approached by a group of older Japanese women in the bath who were fascinated by the differences in their bodies and wanted to observe her more closely.  This was uncomfortable for her, and she freaked out a bit.  I took that story and used it.  I witnessed other pieces of this character displayed in other visitors or tourists I came across in Japan as well as when I toured Thailand.  So the mother is something of a composite character, made up of bits and pieces of a variety of people I encountered, heard about, or observed.  Which, in the end, makes her a fiction.  But a fiction made up of real parts.  I feel badly that some readers focus on her less attractive traits to the extent that they also don’t sympathize with where she’s coming from and how hard exactly this is for her.  In many ways, I think she deals with Japan much better than she deals with her son, but she’s trying hard.  I like people like that.  She didn’t put me off at all as I wrote her.  She just seemed like a real person who is struggling with a lot of new things all at once.  She did come to the country after her son disappeared there for a few months, after all.  So she’s already dealing with a lot of stressful emotions when she’s in Japan.  She didn’t come there as a tourist with intentions of enjoying another culture, is what I mean.

Pen_Gram writes: “1. Your novel contains fantasy elements and has been nominated for a Nebula. Would you categorize it as fantasy? If not, how would you describe it? In other words, if I’m at a bookstore, what section would I find it under? Fantasy? General Fiction?”

CB: I would definitely categorize the book as a fantasy novel.  Obviously there are ghosts in it.  And mountain spirits that offer a young Japanese pilgrim girl the truth about her life.  A man acquires his blindness from another blind person.  Another character is cursed to live within his dreams, unable to wake.  To me, all of these elements aren’t realistic.  Are they?  Now, that said, is it what avid readers of the Scifi/Fantasy genre would label as a fantasy?  No.  But I think that’s a very limited view of what fantasy literature is.  There are a wide variety of fantasies in existence, and the kind I write is simply one of those kinds.  It’s a sort of magical realism, I suppose.  Or a contemporary fantasy, in that it’s fantasy that occurs in a contemporary real world setting.  But not everything that occurs within it is reality-based.  Here’s another difference:  when I write fantasy, it’s subtle, and I like to make the fantasy elements feel as real as the familiar reality of the real world settings I write within.  So it’s unconventional fantasy, rather than the conventional fantasy that is largely shelved in the Scifi/Fantasy section of a bookstore, which is why my books are largely shelved in General Fiction.  But are they fantasies?  Yes.  They’re fantasies of the real world.  And I always attempt to forge the fantasy elements out of the cultures in which my stories are set.  In the case of The Love We Share Without Knowing, many of the fantasy elements are grown out of the folklore and mythology of Japanese culture.  For example, the curse that can trap a person in their dreams is a real curse, an Old Wive’s tale of course, but of the Japanese culture itself.  I took it and made it literally happen in my book.  In my first novel, One for Sorrow, the fantasy elements are largely grown out of a Christ-haunted rural/post-industrial region of Ohio where ghost stories are plentiful, and believers in ghosts are as plentiful.  In my writing, I want the fantasy to grow out of the reality and cultural beliefs of a place, to literalize it and observe it as if it could be real, rather than imposing some fantasy element that has nothing to do with the inherent nature of a place and the people who live there.  Perhaps this is organic fantasy?  🙂

2. What do you like to read? Do you have the opportunity to read genre fiction? If so, do you have any favorite authors?

CB: I read widely and across all genres, really.  I love genre fiction.  Some of my favorite authors are Ursula K. Le Guin, Kelly Link, Carol Emshwiller, Jonathan Lethem, David Mitchell, A.S. Byatt (great fairy tales), Jeffrey Ford, Jonathan Carroll, Steven Millhauser, George Saunders, Aimee Bender, Theodora Goss, Alan DeNiro, Graham Joyce.  I could go on and on, but those are a few examples.  I’m always surprised when a scifi/fantasy reader who has just come across my work wonders if I consider myself a writer of speculative fiction or not.  I do.  I was “raised” by genre authors like Karen Joy Fowler, Jonathan Lethem, James Patrick Kelly, Mary Rosenblum, and Richard Bowes.  Others, too, but these are a few of the genre writers who invested their time and energy into me as mentors at various points.  I’m incredibly obliged and loyal to this community as a place of great worth and value.  The editor of my first two books is a genre editor, Juliet Ulman, who also edited The Windup Girl.  While Paolo Bacigalupi’s book and mine are worlds apart in many ways, our editor’s taste is eclectic and she sees the genre as a wide ranging spectrum of various shades and tones and coloring.  Paolo’s books are deeply dyed futuristic scifi.  Mine are of a watercolor magical realism variety, I’d say.  Where books get shelved in a bookstore are where a publisher or bookseller thinks they’ll sell the most copies most easily.  They’re not necessarily indicative of what you’ll find in the books themselves.

3. I’m curious about what inspired you to write the novel? Was it a case of being fascinated by the Japanese culture on your visits there? Did you draw on any real-world experiences in Japan when writing the stories?”

CB: It doesn’t take much to inspire me to write, really. It’s just something I’ve always done.  I’m always writing something.  And I tend to write stories and books set in places where I’m either living or have visited for some length of time.  I’m fascinated by any culture, Japanese and American both, and lots of others.  Writing is a way for me to figure out things about the culture where I am.

AvidReader writes: “What was your approach in writing The Loving We Share Without Knowing? Did you start with the idea of making it a collection of short stories and had it evolve into a more cohesive whole or was it always envisioned as a novel?”

CB: I wrote the very first story in the book as a short story for an anthology of young adult fiction called The Coyote Road, which Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling edited.  Then I moved on to writing the second story, The Suicide Club, as part of the process of my encountering and trying to understand that particular cultural phenomena, and while I was writing it, suddenly one of the characters turned out to know a character from the first story I’d written.  I hadn’t planned that to happen, but my subconscious threw it out there.  After I saw this occur, I realized I was also exploring the connections between disparate characters just within the Suicide Club chapter itself, where you can see a microcosm of the entire novel within that chapter: characters who previously didn’t know each other come together for some purpose, or by accident.  There’s a “companion” chapter in the book called Outlanders, which traces the same kind of idea through Americans living together in Japan, coming together out of their American ties rather than any other particular reason.  I was trying to investigate how people come to be acquainted with others, how they make connections and form bonds, and around what elements or factors people connect.  Sometimes it’s to fall in love, other times it’s to enact self-destructive desires.  Or for the purposes of desire itself, for some characters.  Lots of reasons, really.  I wanted to thematically display many of these ways we connect, the why and how of it.  The book formed very quickly after that first and second story was written. After those two stories, I couldn’t see any of the other ones as disconnect short stories.  They were all written as one piece of a whole after that.

“What has the reception to the novel been like for you? Did you ever imagine a possible Nebula Award being in the cards?”

CB: Well I think that the novel was received very well initially by reviewers.  Starred reviews, some great initial discussion of the book occurred.  It was an Indiebound Notable Book, and it was also short listed for the James Tiptree Jr. Award (a genre award).  But it sort of faded after a while, and I was a bit dispirited because I honestly think it’s a better made book than One for Sorrow, which got a lot of attention the previous year.  But since it was nominated for the Nebula, it’s definitely got more attention, and what I noticed immediately (on the internet in particular) was the response by people who had already read the book when it first came out saying how happy they were it was recognized, and that made me really excited to see that, in fact, the book did have readers out there who saw its worth and interest.  Did I ever imagine a Nebula Award in the cards?  No, I hadn’t imagined that.  But it’s really gratifying to be nominated.

“What’s next for you in terms of upcoming books or short stories?”

CB: Well, right now a new story, “Map of Seventeen,” (actually the title of a famous Japanese song, though the story has nothing to do with it or Japan) has been published in a YA anthology called The Beastly Bride, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling.  It’s a collection of stories that riff off of animal bride and shape changer stories in mythology and folklore.  Next summer another short story of mine, “Gap Year,” will be published in an anthology called Teeth, also a Datlow and Windling book, which are all vampire stories.  Mine is sort of an ironic vampire story, hopefully funny and entertaining, about the popularity and trending of vampirism in American culture at the moment.  After that, I’ll have a story called “We Do Not Come In Peace” in Welcome to Bordertown, edited by Ellen Kushner and Holly Black, which is an anthology of stories that reinhabit the old Bordertown anthology series that Terri Windling produced in the 80s and 90s.  Very cool stuff.

And lastly, right now I’m attempting to complete my third novel, Wonders of the Invisible World, which is a historical/domestic fantasy/coming of age novel which traces a hundred years in the life of a northeastern Ohio family, their various involvements with wars, and incorporates a lot of the organic fantasy I’ve mentioned in another response.  Curses, ghosts, spirits, visionaries, alternate realities, etc, live in this book.  The title comes from a pamphlet written by the Salem Witch Trials minister Cotton Mather, which was a document to educate people about the realities that exist beyond the material world we see, and how to spot a witch, and how to kill one.  Crazy, fascinating stuff.  I’m hoping to complete the book by the end of this summer.

Ponytail writes: “What was the reaction from your Japanese friends to The Love We Share Without Knowing?”

CB: I have a Japanese adopted mother who said that she loved the book, though she did mention that I certainly picked out some of the difficult flaws in Japanese society.  She said, “That’s okay, though.  You pick out American flaws too.  So all is fair.” 🙂

Some of my other friends from Japan have noted that they feel it’s captured elements of their culture they hadn’t seen before, but can’t help but see now.

“In your opinion, what are the two biggest cultural differences between American and Japanese people?”

CB: I’m not sure if I can tell you the two biggest, but I will tell you one:  the difference in the communal versus individualist cultures we live within.  Japanese culture is communal and a social harmony is striven for there.  American culture is about the individual, being independent, moving away from the group to stand on one’s own is valued here more than communal work.  I have to say, I found the communal values of Japan so much more attractive than the individualism of America.  I see value in both, but I wish we had a bit more togetherness here than we do.  We tend to focus on our differences from one another here in America, rather than our commonalities.  But commonalities are what bring people together, and we’re a very divide country at this point in our history.

“Why did you decide to move to and teach English in Japan? What brought you home?”

CB: I had always wanted to live in another culture, to experience being a foreigner, and to learn another language through immersion.  A friend of mine from grad school had moved to Japan a few months before I did, and she emailed to say, “Hey, you always said you wanted to live in another country.  If you want, I can get you a job here.  Want to come over?”  I said, “Heck yeah!”

Largely I came home because my first novel had been purchased, and I wanted to be at home to celebrate that and to renew ties with my family and friends here, who had put up with me for many years with my weird dreams of being a writer.  They were finally about to come to fruition, those dreams, and I wanted my family and friends to be a part of that when it happened.

“Did any of the stories from The Love We Share Without Knowing grow from personal experiences while in Japan, or from student observations and/or their personal experiences they shared with you?”

CB: Some did, yes, but whenever I take something from personal experience or observed experience, it’s changed radically through the process of writing fiction.  What may have been a seed for a story is never recognizable, even to me, after the fictional narrative begins to grow and develop out of it.  But yes, the book is informed, at least in part, from personal experience and observation.

“Are any of the book’s characters drawn from your Japanese acquaintances?”

CB: Not entirely, though some characters may say something that a Japanese friend or acquaintance might have said that I found funny or interesting or apt for the story.  But no character is drawn whole clothe from an acquaintance.

“Did you go to Japan with the intention of writing a book, or just teaching and becoming a part of their society? If the latter, how did the book come about?”

CB: I didn’t go with the intention of writing the book.  The book just happened to be something I wrote while I was there, and was an integral part of my becoming a part of Japanese society.  Writing the book helped me see what I was learning there.

TimC. writes: “1) What drew you to Japan? Was it just a desire to travel, get away, live somewhere new?”

CB: It was the desire to live elsewhere, as I’ve mentioned, as well as a desire to get away from a very upsetting political and cultural climate in America at the time.  I didn’t feel very at home in my own country at that juncture.  I wanted to see what some other country had to offer.  What I learned is that all cultures have their various problems.  But I also learned that there are other options for how we can live.  We can make a different world, and strive for a better one.  We have that ability, if we can get past a status quo or fear of change mentality.

“2) What kind of culture shock did you experience? Was the contrast between your life in the U.S. and your new life in Japan more striking when you were living in the city or the countryside?”

CB: The differences were more striking in the rural areas, but I wasn’t truly ever in culture shock, to be honest.  The weirdest things were maybe heated toilet seats and no insulation in houses?  Some cultural differences in regards to how to present a gift?  But I’m a really flexible person, and adapted very easily without too many problems.

3) How much did the feelings of your American characters mirror your own feelings toward your Japanese co-workers? The general sense I got from the book was that the westerners are welcomed and treated politely but never really accepted as
part of the community. Is this true?”

CB: The American characters in the book aren’t necessarily placeholders for my own feelings.  Some of these characters exhibit the feelings and thoughts of other Americans I encountered while I was there, and came to know.  And their thoughts and feelings were various, as the Americans in the book have varying thoughts and feelings.  Some people had difficult transitions into a new and different culture.  Others took to it like a fish to water.  However, in terms of the work world relationship, at least in the schools, I do think that the foreign teachers are generally treated politely and welcomed very warmly, but that your friendships will be established with a few individuals within the work community while others will remain civil and polite without taking steps to really accept you into their lives. But, really, when I think about the American workplace, it’s kind of the same, whether you’re foreign or not.  We make ties with some people but not others.  In terms of your “agency” as a foreigner working in another culture, there I definitely felt like I had very little control or power.  In that realm, I very much always felt like a guest.  This started to change a little bit, though, as I became increasingly more adept at the language.  The more I was able to speak for and represent myself to those who couldn’t speak English, the more I was taken in by others.

“4) You present a number of cross-cultural relationships (ie. westerners dating Japanese men and women) but never explore the reaction of the older generation with more traditional ways of thinking. From your experience, is this still an issue with many Japanese (that some say is a pretty xenophobic society) or has the modern world caught up with their social mores as well?”

CB: It’s fairly common for Japanese girls to date Western men in Japan.  As one Japanese friend told me, “It’s kind of expected.  It’s normal.”  It’s less normal to see a Western woman in a relationship with a Japanese man, though on rare occasions I did encounter that type of couple too.  I think it’s really not a big deal culturally any longer, though I do know there are people who are very traditional there.  But, really, that’s no different than some of their American counterparts who still hold that view that races shouldn’t mix.  We have our own xenophobic demographics in America, too, I think.

5) Now that you are back in the U.S., what are some of the things you miss most about Japan? And, given the chance, what Western ideals, ideas, or comforts would you like to transplant back to Japan should you ever go back?”

CB: I miss the food SO MUCH.  And the incredible kindness that people exhibited there on an everyday basis.  And I miss the feeling of exploring a place that I don’t know well.  Placing myself in an unfamiliar world brought a sense of awe and wonder into my life.  I miss that.  For a while after I got back to America, America was strange and unfamiliar to me in many ways, but I’ve been home three years now and it’s familiar again.

Sf_reader writes: “I’d like to know what kind of research the author did in preparing to write his book. Were the folklore elements culled from reading actual Japanese myths and legends or were they embellishments of information he may have heard from Japanese friends.”

CB: As soon as I knew I was going to Japan, I began reading books of Japanese mythology and folklore, as well as cultural studies of Japan.  I read newspaper articles about various Japan related topics.  I set a Google search to various terms that would bring me information about the culture.  I wanted to know as much as I could before I got there, and then once I was there, I continued to read Japanese literature while I was learning the language, and of course I also learned from my Japanese friends as well.  They had various ways to tell the same stories, the way we do for some of our Western myths and legends too.  I tried to take what I could from the people I encountered as well as from experts and established authorities whose books I read.

Trancer67 writes: “What does Mr. Barzak have in the works? And does he have a preference between the short story and novel form? Thanks.”

CB: I already mentioned the stories and the novel that I have in the works right now.  I’m also working on a series of flash nonfiction and memoir pieces that investigate the sites, experiences, and history of the Mahoning Valley, where I grew up and now live again.  It’s a very interesting place once you begin to explore its origins and where it has landed in modern American society.  In a country where our founding myth is the American dream, it’s largely a region that has been left out of that dream after a period of deindustrialization that occurred in the late 70s and 80s, leaving the place without a stable economy, way of life, or defining identity.  It’s kind of the counter story to the American Dream.  The series is tentatively called Map for a Forgotten Valley.

I love the short story and the novel forms fairly equally.  There are differences in what I love about them, of course, but I love them both passionately.  The short story can be a perfect gem.  The novel is a huge tapestry.  I like the smallness, the precision and economy of a short story, and the many ways it can trick you as a reader.  I like the mess-of-life and largeness of the novel, the way it can wrap its arms around so many things.  The short story is a star.  The novel is a constellation.

April 20, 2010: Spoilers! Chocolates! And Cake!

I spent a couple of early hours on set this morning to watch Director Andy Mikita work his magic on Awakening (Day #3 of production).  A lot of jumping around in this one which resulted in our block-shooting a number of successive scenes.  Producer John G. Lenic swung by to inform me that we were pulling up a big scene from tomorrow’s schedule in order to give Andy time to shoot in that impressive new set in Stage 6.

What lies behind these walls on Stage 6? The super-secret new set for Awakening, of course.

Andy was confident that he could get it done – and so long as my director was comfortable with it, I was comfortable with the decision.  And props go out to Louis Ferreira, David Blue, and Jennifer Spence who ended up having to pull up and prepare yesterday’s scene today on next -to-no-notice – and still hitting ’em out of the park!

I eventually returned to the office where I tackled the infernally frustrating scene.  Once I get pat it, I wrap up Act II and it’ll be smoooooooth sailing from there.  I would have finished it up sooner but every time I get into a conversation with my fellow writers, I end up having to tweak the scene (or other scenes) in order to track a recent change or development in the ongoing story arcs or character through-lines.

Speaking of which, here’s peek at what was up on the board today – a cryptic hint of what’s to come.

SPOILER ALERT!

I hope I didn’t spoil anything for you.

Anyway, guess what we had for lunch today?  If you guessed “chocolate”, send yourself an autographed self-photo.  Ashleigh contacted the people at Vosges about the late chocolate shipment that arrived yesterday and she was told we could keep it.  I felt bad and phoned up the company, offered to pay for the chocolates, only to be told the chocolates were on the house because of the shipping error made on their end.  The woman I spoke to sincerely hoped the experience wouldn’t dissuade me from ordering from Vosges again.  A classy act all around?  Anyway, today’s lunch consisted of –

Peanut Butter Bonbons topped with Maldon sea salt. Yeah, these never last long, no matter how many I order.
Smoked applewood bacon milk chocolate truffles with sea salt. Incredible! One of my top five fave truffles.
Rose Truffles. Paul and Lawren weren't won over, but Ashleigh adored these delightful floral morsels. She's bringing the leftovers to her girl's night get-together (Which I wasn't even invited to. What's up with that?")

We also enjoyed their Exotic Truffle Collection (which includes Oaxaca, Gianduia, Ambrosia, Viola, Absinthe, Naga, Black Pearl, Budapest, Woolloomooloo, Red Fire, and Dulce de Leche), the Sweet Coquette Collection (described as “a dossier of aphrodisiac truffles” – which, in hindsight, explains a lot with regard to my late-afternoon mood), and the Collezione Italiana (Taleggio Cheese, Sicilian Sea Salt Caramel, Wild Tuscan Fennel Pollen, Olive Oil, and Balsamico).  Linda declared them the best chocolates of the week.

More cause for celebration as today marked the birthday of one of our new writers, the lovable Remi Aubuchon.

Pretending he doesn't know cake is coming.
Growing tired of pretending he doesn't know cake is coming.
Where's my damn cake?!
Oh! Here it is!
Birthday Boy Remi. And Carl.
Remi and Linda
Linda, me, and Remi. Look at the fun we're having! I must be a joy to work with!

And a pic of the white board in Remi’s office.  Spoiler alert for every episode Remi has written and will ever write:

Today’s entry is dedicated to other birthday individual vv4072.

April 16, 2010: Awakening Day 1

6:00 a.m.: Wake up early to get in for the 7:30 a.m. call.  Check my phone and notice a message from the production office informing me that shooting ran late yesterday and the crew call has been pushed to 8:30 a.m.  I go back to sleep.  I dream that I offer a stranded Ashleigh a lift home, only to have her abandon me when I experience car trouble a block from her place.

Lulu. The girl loves to sleep in!

6:30 a.m.: Wake up, angry with Ashleigh, take the dogs out, feed them, give them their eye treatment and treats.

7:00 a.m.: Green tea, shower, harness the dogs, buckle them into the car and I’m off.

8:00 a.m.: Drop the dogs off at daycare and get into the office.  Ashleigh greets me as if nothing is wrong.  I ask her if she is going to apologize. She plays dumb.

Apologize? For what? I don't know what you're talking about. And thanks for the lift, sucker.

Miffed, I retire to my office where I work on the script, banging out three glorious pages.

Little Miss Innocent.

8:30 a.m.: Swing by the catering truck and pick up breakfast – a breakfast burrito with avocado and cereal with protein shake which I eat while chatting with actor Louis Ferreira about his character, Colonel Everett Young.  He pitches a more lunatic Young, one that will allow him to delve deep into his wide repertoire of hilarious impressions.

Fuel up because you'll be doing a lot of sitting around in front of a monitor today!

8:45 a.m.: Andy picks up the “smoking gun” scene from the other episode.  I’m bouncing emails back and forth between Vancouver and Vegas, growing increasingly frustrated.

Director of Photography Jim Menard tells me to lighten up!

9:30 a.m.: Blocking begins on the first big scene.  What has the potential to be a disarray of complicated  choreography goes off without a hitch – thanks to Director Andy Mikita. Damn, he’s good!

Johnny Z. all smiles and smooooooooooth sailing!

11:00 a.m.: Onto the next scene, an important exchange between two characters that will set things in motion for a little arc I’m pushing for (and Carl is resisting).  It’s a brief conversation but loaded with significance.  Both actors are amazing.

Blankets by the sealed door. What does this mean? To quote Scooby Doo: "I ron't row."

12:00 a.m.: I head over to Stage 5 where Robert Cooper is directing the second unit scenes from Aftermath and Awakening (Robert Carlyle is scheduled to assume directing duties on Pathogen’s outstanding scenes later today).  The all-important seating issues are settled.

12:30 p.m.: Back to Stage 4 where they’re setting up the kino room scene.  David Blue and Alaina Huffman  coincidentally, given this morning’s email flurry, start talking about Vegas.  David loves it.  Alaina, not so much.

1:00 p.m.: Shoot the kino room scene.  Gorgeous.  We leapfrog scenes 65, 66, 67, 68, 79, 70, and 70A, tackling scene 108 that we end up moving up to a pre-lunch window of opportunity.  Andy suggests shooting the scene in such a way that we never really see HIS face.  I like the idea – but, just in case, we get coverage.

2:00 p.m.: We break for lunch.  I head back to the office for a cold veggie burger and soggy yam fries (well, what are left of my yam fries that Ashleigh didn’t pilfer).  I retreat back to my office to deal with the Vegas situation.  Alas, it doesn’t end nicely.

3:00 p.m.: Picking up a pre-lunch shot, then launching into that gaggle of scenes.  I tell the production office to give me the heads up when they’re ready to block scene 24, the last scene of the day (for main unit anyway.  Looks like Carl will be here late, keeping the second unit crew company).  Everyone is amazed that things have gone so swimmingly.  Main unit may actually wrap early!

4:30 p.m.: Linda puts out the outline for Alliances.  I file it away for later perusal.

5:25 p.m.: Wrap up the slew of scene and move on to scene 24.  It’s a complicated little sequence for a number of reasons.  While they work out the blocking, I spot “the prop” and wonder what the hell it’s doing there.  I’m assured it was there at the end of last episode.  I find it hard to believe and phone up Rob who passes me on to Carl who informs me the prop WAS there for the rehearsal, but he killed it before the scene was actually shot.  So I kill it once again.

They get the blocking down and run through it.  I make a minor adjustment, adding a line to end the scene.

6:15 p.m.: Lighting and green screen issues cause a delay.  I leave to pick up the dogs from daycare and drop them off in my office.  Their piercing unison howls echo through the production offices, much to the chagrin of David and Nathan still manning the front lines.  I return to set and watch the sequence being shot.  I love it – except for the passing background extras who only serve to distract.  Andy kills the background extras.  Not literally.  I hope.

7:15 p.m.: With only the coverage to go, I head back to the office, pick up the dogs, and hit the road.

Arrive home, feed the dogs.

8:15 p.m.: I enjoy a bowl of ricotta, protein powder, and fruit, then am back on the computer, cataloging.  Soooo tired.

9:30 p.m.: Hey, Faith aired!  And the back of my kitchen chair gives out!  Two down, two to go.

11:00 p.m.: Post my blog and prepare to head up to bed.

I thought today was busy.  Tomorrow looks even worse!

March 4, 2010: The Stargate: Universe Cast Dinner at La Quercia! Check out the new network SGU 1.5 trailer!

BEST – CAST DINNER – EVER!  And I’m not just saying that because I ended up sitting at a table with Alaina Huffman, Elyse Levesque, Jennifer Spence, and Julia Benson.

Okay – maybe that had a lot to do with it.   They were lovely company and, as an added bonus, were completely stuffed after the pasta course, leaving me to tackle the entire pork platter all by my lonesome.

Elyse Levesque (Chloe), Jamil Walker Smith (Greer), and Patrick Gilmore (Volker) – best of buddies?
Director Will Waring says: “Hey, it’s Carl Binder!”
Brian J. Smith (Scott) and Patrick Gilmore (Volker).
Louis Ferreira (Young) and Rob Cooper (creator, writer, director, exec producer)
The waiter came by and offered us some veal appies. “You mean veal tongue,”I said. Yes, indeedy. Veal tongue. And delicious.
Kaleena Kiff (co-creator of Riese).
The always awesome Alaina Huffman (Tamara).
The sablefish – which Brad likened to butter.
Julia Benson (James).
Saffron risotto. Carl's favorite!
Our main course: the porchetta.
Jennifer Spence (Park)
Elyse Levesque (Chloe).
Michelle Mullie, Paul Mullie, and Carl Binder.
Michelle enjoys the vino while Paul feels a migraine coming on.
Jen Spence wonders where the hell dessert is.
Oh, there it is. As usual, these desserts are served with never-quite-enough ice cream and/or cream. In the case of our table, it was cream but in the case of the other tables, it was ice cream - which, quite frankly, I would've preferred. What gives?
Brian J. Smith says: "Good night."

And finally – Hey!  The new network trailer for the back half of SGU’s first season is up at SyFy.  Head on over to the SyFy website to see out and check out the other goodies (http://video.syfy.com/shows/universe/promos_trailers_4/the-ride–stargate-universe/v1206467#self) or scroll down to the bottom of this blog’s right sidebar.

MGM studio trailer to follow.

Tomorrow will be your last day to get your questions in for Cherie Priest!  Post ’em if you got ’em.

Today’s entry is dedicated to our friend and blog regular MaggieMayDay.

January 27, 2010: Which SGU character would you like to see more of in the back half of season one and beyond??

Wow!  160+ comments and counting!  Who knew haggis would prove such a popular topic.  Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment on my first attempt at the Scottish delicacy.

Also, thanks to those who have been weighing in with their thoughts on Stargate: Universe – their likes, dislikes, and hopes for the future.  As I stated in yesterday’s entry, you have the entire back half of season one to look forward to come April and I can assure you that many of your requests will be magically honored when the show returns.  While the first ten episodes established the series, the ship, its characters and their various relationships, the next ten will be more action-oriented, focus more on exploration, and delve deeper into our crew.  Still, this is the perfect time to chime in as we gear up for the show’s second season.

I’ve received a slew of comments (and expect many more), but would like to address each of the topics in term.  So today, let’s discuss the responses to the first questions asked:  1. Which character would you like to see explored more?

Not surprisingly, you weighed in with a wide selection of worthy candidates ranging from main characters to background players.  But leading the pack was SGU’s resident medic, Lieutenant Tamara “T.J.” Johansen.  Many of you cited the character’s potential and the surprising depth of Alaina Huffman’s performance in even the most cursory of scenes or exchanges.  It’s something that struck me as well, especially in later episodes, Alaina’s ability to masterfully convey so much about her character in subtleties like a simple line delivery of a thrown look.  Although most of your diehard fans know where we’re going with the character, but I’ll resist the urge to spill the beans for those who don’t want to be spoiled.  Instead, I’ll simply assure you that T.J. will have a developing story arc through the back half of season one, one that will have major ramifications for her character well into season two.  A lot of wonderful Tamara moments throughout the back half, but Faith, episode 13, is the episode that fans of the character (and fans of actress Alaina Huffman in particular) should really look forward to. And the show’s second season gets off to a very interesting start for her as well.  One of the aspects of the T.J. character we see flashes of in episodes like Water that I truly love and want to explore is her military side.  In short, I want to see her kick ass!

Two more characters who you’re requesting to see more of are the Machiavellian Dr. Rush (Robert Caryle) and SGU’s spirited warrior, Master Sergeant Ronald Greer (Jamil Walker Smith).  While Rush has been front and center to date, many of you are hankering for a peek at Rush’s motivations, his backstory, what potentially dark events from his past shaped him.  Well, fans of the character won’t have to wait long for some answers.  Human, episode 14, will explore the Rush character and, if not answer many of these questions, then at least offer some major hints to a troubled past.  And, of course, Rush will continue to follow his own agenda (which we’ll begin to piece together as time goes on), ultimately taking this game to a whole new level as we head into the show’s second season.

As for Greer, many of you have expressed a desire to find out a little more about his backstory as well, what makes him tick tick tick.  He’s one of the more fascinating members of the Destiny crew, a soldier’s soldier with an explosive volatility simmering just beneath his ice cool exterior.  And, in episode 15, Lost, we finally get a glimpse at Greer’s past, some of the events that shaped him as well, for better and for worse.  In addition to that episode, the back half of season one is sprinkled with plenty of wonderful character beats both dark and humorous, as well as moments that will speak to the bond of friendship between Greer and Scott.

Plenty of other characters made the wish list.  Quite a few of you want to see more of  Eli Wallace (David Blue), find out a little more about how his mother is doing, and see the character mature a little over the course of his incredible adventure aboard Destiny.  Check, check, and check although, admittedly, the latter requires us to walk a fine line between having the character mature over the course of his experiences yet keeping him the grounded, fish-out-of-water the viewer can continue to identify with.  There are many challenges ahead for the young genius, not the least of which being his uncertain positioning in the ongoing tug-o-war between two diametrically opposed father figures: Young and Rush.  Remember that last scene in Justice where Eli goes to visit Young after Rush has been left behind?  You figure he suspects something’s up?

Chloe Armstrong (Elyse Levesque) was another character that received quite a few votes and more than a few requests to see the character developed beyond what we’ve established to date.  Well, things will get very interesting for Chloe almost immediately upon our April return and her harrowing experience will have repercussions not only for her, but for the rest of the crew as well.

Camile Wray (Ming-Na) and Colonel David Telford (Lou Diamond Philips) also received mentions.  Wray is a civilian with a background in Human Resources and while, at first blush, the skills she possesses may seem impractical in a space-faring scenario, Camile will step to the fore later this season, especially when all hell breaks loose in the show’s two-part season finale.  And then there’s that hate-hate relationships she’s got going on with Greer. We’ll be exploring that throughout – and in very interesting fashion later.

Several of you wanted to know more about Telford.  As one poster mentioned: “There has to be more than what we as viewers have seen of him”.  True, true. And we’ll find out plenty more about him later this season.  Also, someone else cited his past with Young and suggested that this was an element that warranted further exploration.  Well, yes, we have hinted at some history between these two and some of these shocking and tragic details will be revealed late in season one.

Also receiving votes: Luis Ferreira’s Colonel Everett Young (big trouble looms for our anguished commander on the heels of his shocking decision in Justice), Brian J. Smith’s Lieutenant Matthew Scott (Faith, episode 13, in particular offers us a better understanding of his selflessness and willingness to self-sacrifice for the greater good), secondary characters (some great moments upcoming for the likes of James, Brody, Volker, Park, Franklin and Riley), and Destiny itself (shipboard exploration and discovery to come).

So plenty of character development headed your way, most of which will hopefully satisfy your numerous requests (while simultaneously stirring further interest in our extended shipboard family).  And if what’s ahead in the back half of season one doesn’t clear your entire wish list, well, there’s season two to look forward to as well.

To JimfromJersey who complained because I didn’t post a pic of my finished haggis.  Sorry.  I forgot.  Here it is.

Sweet potato mash on the left. Haggis with whisky cream on the right.

Viewer mail:

PG15 writes: “I just got accepted into the Calfornia Institute of Technology as a Graduate Student!! Woohoo!!”

Answer: I echo Carl Binder’s congratulations (If you missed it, check the comments.  He posted especially for you!).  Go Beavers! (to quote Cal Tech alum Dr. Alison Porter in Whispers).

Michael A. Burstein writes: “Haggis is one of those foods found in every culture, that people within the culture appreciate and people outside generally can’t understand. (In my background, that food is kishke.)”

Answer: Now kishke I have done, back in Montreal where some of my Jewish friends also introduced me to the joys of chicken liver dumplings.  Yum on both counts.

dasNdanger writes: “Now…how about that 100-year old egg.”

Answer: Also done.  It was a tasty ingredient in the congee Fondy and I would get when we used to go to Richmond for lunch.

Kerry writes: “You should now try Blood Sausage – a traditional Irish breakfast DELIGHT! Black or White pudding are your options, and I have to admit, if you don’t think about what you’re eating (much like Haggis), it’s a pretty great part of a Sunday fry. Alan makes his friends from home stock him up when they come to visit because the good stuff is hard to find in Vancouver.”

Answer: First Carl, now you.  It’s a practically a Stargate reunion in the comments section today.  So, yeah, I gratefully accept your invitation to try blood sausage the next time Alan’s friends come to town and bring the good stuff.  Looking forward to it.

Dasndanger writes: “But I was wondering about the writing team – what’s really better? A team of the same writers, or mixing things up a bit by bringing in new blood? Personally I think having a consistent team of writers is good, since they really get a feel for the characters. Sure, outside writers can bring in new ideas, but what if those ideas are at the expense of the characters? Just wonder what you think of regular writers v guest writers…if you have a sec or two to share.”

Answer: You started your post by referencing Mark Harmon (who I hear nothing but good things about on and off screen) and NCIS and I just wanted to say I LOVE the fact that this show has been pulling in some of its best ratings ever in its 7th season!  Hats off to them on a truly impressive achievement.  As to your question – Which is better, established writers or new blood? – I would answer: Can’t we have both?  On the one hand, established writers know the show and its characters better than anyone and they’ve developed a strong working relationship with the cast and crew; on the other hand, new writers could inject some new ideas and approaches to the stories and characters.  Why not the best of both worlds?

Steve Eramo writes: “Glad to read that your first Haggis experience was such a positive one! I wouldn’t steer you wrong.”

Answer: Hey, Steve.  So what’s next on the menu?

December 29, 2009: Actor Peter Kelamis Answers Your Questions!

Today, it gives me great pleasure to turn this blog over to actor Peter Kelamis, Stargate: Universe’s Dr. Adam Brody, for what I hope will be the first of many cast Q&A’s.  I remember Peter from way back when he first graced graced the Stargate franchise with his presence, guest-starring as the fleet-footed Dr. Langham in SG-1’s Smoke and Mirrors.  Today, he spends less time being clothes-lined by Jaffas and more time exploring the vast outer reaches of space alongside the rest of his fellow unlikely crewmembers aboard Destiny.  Which, I’m sure, is the way he’d prefer it.

Anyway, a big thank you to Peter who has taken time off from his very demanding twittering schedule to swing by and spend time with us.  And, to everyone else – enjoy…

Caitlyanna writes: “I do have a few questions for Peter Kelamis: What’s your favorite thing about Brody? Have you done any sci fi before SGU? What was the most memorable thing on set during the filming of the first season?”

PK: One thing about Brody is that he is way smarter than I am in real life…I think if Brody met Peter Kelamis in a bar he’d leave saying, “That guy was an idiot!”.

I have done Sci-Fi before…I was on SG1 twice, did 4 appearances on the X-Files…a film called Can Of Worms for Disney where I was buried under 14 hours worth of make-up among other things…a pretty complete list of my work is on www.IMDB.com and then punch in my name…

SGUFanatic writes: “What has the experience of working on SGU with such a phenomenal cast of talented people been like for you?

PK: The cast is truly an amazing bunch of people…not only as actors, but as actual people…they are very kind, caring individuals…and I am proud to call them my friends.  I would have to say that working with them this year has been the best acting experience I have ever had in my life and I hope it continues for a long time.

“Also, because I may have missed it (hard to imagine because I watch each episode so often), why exactly was Brody on Icarus and what were his exact duties?”

PK: Brody is a Science engineer, and was hand picked by Rush to work the Icarus project, he also has an excellent knowledge of the Ancient language and is devilishly handsome…(OK that last part was me.)

“I like Brody, he works well with everyone. I give him huge kudos for dealing with Rush and in Light he gave a great performance especially on the shuttle, being the go to guy to back up Scott.”

PK: That was my first time on the shuttle set that particular day and the experience was jaw dropping…the set dec crew are amazing!  That was one of the first opportunities for Brody to really share some of his character’s knowledge and skills, and I loved it.

Arctic Goddess writes: “Question for Peter Kelamis.

How did you and Ryan Robbins get to know each other? Is there a story behind that?”

PK: I had never spent any time with Ryan prior to the Stargate Con in Los Angeles in November 2009.  We knew of each other and would see each other in passing at auditions but that was about it…Patrick Gilmore, whom I accompanied to the Con, knew him quite well, so it was cool to hang out, have a couple of beers and get acquainted.  He is a very cool dude.

Poor Old Edgar Derby writes: “Question for Mr. Kelamis:

Coming into a show where most of the crew has been together for a decade or more, do notice the difference in working with such a troupe? Professionalism aiside, how do the Stargate team measure up?  And thanks for taking the time.”

PK: The crew are amazing…you probably hear that a lot from actors and it sounds fake but these people are great.  It has been cool getting to know them all better as the year went by.  They are an extremely well oiled machine and know their crafts amazingly well.  The feel on set is always light and jovial, even when we are in the 14th or 15th hour of shooting in the day…my hats off to them…they are the reason the show looks as good as it does!

Gilder writes: “So Kelamis is a pet psychic? OK…How do I get my pet spouse to talk more and snore less? (Can’t have animal pets due to allergies, so substituting Husband.)”

PK: I recommend “Breathe Right” strips and a bottle of Cabernet…and if he soils the carpet, rub his face in it…he’ll catch on.  For the dogs lovers out there I have sent some pics of our pups along to Mr. Mallozzi.

Ah, you mean these cuties! Peter's pups: Marylyn and Bugsy.

JohnnyE! Writes: “These questions are for Mr. Kelamis, 1. How difficult was it for you to enter the Stargate world, knowing it was going into a different (albeit good) direction than the others, and that it would cause fans to react negatively to your show?”

PK: The fan’s reaction has definitely been one of transition, but we were prepared for that…there are some die-hards that were going to hate us from the start without ever giving us a chance…but there’s not much you can do about them…it is funny though that those same people tune in every week to tear the show apart…at least they are watching.  As far as people whom I have met that have shared their appreciation for the show…Thanks!  While answering these questions, I just found out we were renewed for a second season…I extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone who supported us this past year!  We hope to entertain you next in Season 2 and beyond.

“2. How difficult is the tech speak to remember, and how do you remember it? Thanks so much for your time, and keep up the great work.”

PK: I am not going to lie, it is extremely hard…it takes double the amount of time to get that stuff in your head sometimes.  As a scientist on the show, I have my fair share of it, but I consider it a challenge.  I have on more than one occasion had to ask, “What the hell am I saying?!”.

DP writes: “For Peter Kelamis: How has twitter affected you?”

PK: Twitter is something I used to make fun of Ming Na, Patrick Gilmore and David Blue for doing…I now find myself checking it constantly.  They introduced it to me much like a drug dealer introduces a potential user…the first time is free…and then then you are hooked…I will be appearing on the show “Intervention” soon…

“What makes something funny?”

PK: As a comedian, I would have to say both the unexpected and the observational…things you’ve never thought of being thrown back in your face…

“What should we ask Patrick Gilmore?”

PK: OK, you have to do this…ask him…when you are playing Wii Frisbee golf…when you sink a hole that is even better than a Birdie, and an Eagle…what is that called?  He will be very mad…and he will hit me.

“What about an acting part makes you want that part?”

PK: Being allowed to try something new or a character that is soo interesting and different from yourself.  I am about to play a role in the series “Riese” that should frighten people.  Or at the very least, creep the hell out of them.  It’s not a type of role I often get to do…thanks to the Riese folks for the opportunity.

“How do you feel about being the first of Joe’s post-airing Q&As?”

PK: It is nice to be asked…Joe always seems to be the most exuberant guy on the set everyday…he truly loves the show and is always excited to see the actors…the feeling is mutual…and he always wears a nice suit…and has good food tips…and is a “Dog” person…and has good book suggestions…I have to stop now.

“In what ways is acting for a KINO different than typical acting for a camera?”

PK: From a personal perspective the Kino has been my best friend.  I have got to do scenes that Brody may have never got to in the regular part of the show.  The writers have also given me more comedic stuff in the Kinos after finding out I am a stand-up comic…I love it!  From a technical perspective, you have to know your stuff very well…because the camera does not cut during a Kino scene shoot…it films from beginning to end…very Robert Altman, you better be prepared.

“Will you be doing any DVD commentaries?
What do you wish we had asked?
What do you wish we hadn’t asked?”

PK: I would love to do a DVD commentaries segment…I have never done it before…I would insist that I have pizza and beer supplied and that I got to do it naked…who would know?……I have a feeling, I will now not be asked to do a DVD commentary.

Ask me anything…I will answer…not always honestly, but I will respond.

“What shouldn’t we ask Patrick Gilmore?”

PK: Ask him if he is was able to hold his liquor at the “Regal Beagal” charity golf tournament…I have photos that he would kill me for posting…and I am holding them for an undisclosed amount of money….truth be told, we have become great friends…but I still have the photos as insurance.

Marilyn

Cait writes: “Question for Peter: I saw on Twitter you’re also in the web show Riese. How did you get involved with that? Will it conflict with your work on Stargate Universe? Are there any other sci-fi shows you’ll be joining?”

PK: I had auditioned for the role of Herrick which is now being played by the very talented Ben Cotton…but I suppose I made enough of an impression on the Producers that I was offered the role of Ormand…Patrick Gilmore actually arranged the audition…once again…I have pictures of him!  No plans for any other Sci-Fi shows right now, but you never know what the future holds…hopefully many years of SGU!  Riese filmed during the hiatus from SGU, so there were no conflicts…

Brian writes: “Are the questions still open? If so What was everyone’s favorite episode to shoot this season.”

PK: Might sound self serving and I can’t talk about it but the final episodes of the season are very very cool…like I say I can’t talk about it, but there is some very neat stuff on the way.

Sheryl writes: “Questions for Peter K. First It was a pleasure to meet you and Patrick at the con in LA- (Twins of mine) Thanks for the pic. 1. How did you like the con. ?2. Did you find it overwhelming? 3. And did you get recigonized? Sheryl.”

PK: Hey Sheryl, I totally remember you.  The Con was a great experience, it was my first one and it was awesome to meet some fans.  It was not overwhelming but rather educational.  It was also great to see Ryan Robbins do his Q&A session, and catch up with old pals Gary Jones and Dean Haglund.  Patrick and I were there unofficially, so a cool experience was had.

Edith writes: “Question for Peter K – hello! I’m enjoying the changes in the relationship between your character and Robert Carlyle’s character. My question concerns keeping the timeline of such changes straight as an actor. Is this easier to do in a tv show which at least is filmed episode by episode, rather than in a film, where scenes will be shot in the most convenient order?
In addition, so much of this show hangs on the people and the relationships – has this been as satisfying as I am imagining it might have been?”

PK: It truly is satisfying.  This show is very relationship based, possibly more than previous incarnations of the series.  And watching those relationships develop over time is as rewarding to the actor as it is to the people following the story.

It is much easier to keep timelines in your head on TV as opposed to movies but you have to be on your toes…I was educated on that fact while being directed by Peter DeLuise…I showed up on set and he asked me where Brody last appeared in the script and where he will appear next?  I was stumped for a minute and was embarrassed to say that I had a pretty good overall idea, but didn’t have an exact answer….I have never made that mistake since…a lesson well learned.  Thanks Peter!

Cindee writes: “If SGU gets picked up for a second season, and I hope it does, what direction would you hope the writers take your character…eventually siding against Rush or against Young or just neutral to them all and with a nasty agenda of your own?”

PK: While answering these questions, I found out Season 2 is a go!  The show can go in many different directions.  From the Communication Stones to the Gate itself…a character can end up anywhere.  As far as a personal direction for Brody…the more intense the better…hidden agendas and secrets make any character more entertaining…no doubt about it.

DasNdanger writes: “Joe – just a few quick questions for Peter Kelamis:

1. Stand-up or working on a series – which is more challenging?”

PK: I have been scared sh*%less by both at different points in my career.  You would have to really think, what is scarier?…telling jokes in front of 3 thousand people or reciting extremely technical lines under the pressure of 300 of more sets of eyes waiting for you to hit your mark, get your lines straight and nailing a performance…so they can end the work day and go home to their families…on the flip side…when either of those things go well…it is really gratifying.

“2. Hockey or Aussie Rules?”

PK: Although I was born in Australia…there is only one sport in this world and it is played on ice with sticks…my apologies to my Ozzie brothers and sisters….the best sport in the world would be Aussie Rules Hockey!  Go Canucks!

“3. Hardest accent to pull off?”

PK: South African is a tough one to do really well…a sort of German/English blend…it was great to watch “District 9” this summer and get an ear-full of it.

“4. Boxers, or briefs?”

PK: I wear a boxer-brief hybrid, I have now shared too much.

Bugsy's Birthday

Craig MD writes: “For Peter Kelamis: Who would you say is Brody’s closest friend on the ship? And does he have his eyes on a potential romantic interest at this point?”

PK: Art may be imitating life here, but Volker and Brody seem to be pretty good pals…ironically Patrick Gilmore and I have become friends as well.

Romantically, I have no idea what could possibly happen to be Brody.  Actually Patrick and I bug Jen Spence all the time…Park has had a lot of action on the ship and Brody and Volker are sitting around going, “what about us…some lovin over here please?!”

Michael writes: “Dear Mr. Kelamis, your character, Brody has grown on me as SGU goes on. Even though it seems like the Eli Wallace character is the joker of the show, I really enjoyed your various Kino-related scenes-your good bye recording, when you put on the suits and tripped, and the intercomm chatter with the Linda Park character. My question is, do you draw more from yourself in these scenes or more from the guidance of the script and crew?”

PK: Being a stand-up comic, I was thrilled that the Producers  gave Brody some more comedic stuff to do…I would be lying if I said I wasn’t drawing more on the Peter Kelamis side of things for the comedy…as far as the techy dialogue…that is pure Brody…not Kelamis.

Major D. Davis writes: “. If you were in control of your character for an episode (like you could write for him), what would you do with him. Would you have him visit his family, would you have him be the hero of the story, would you have him go to dark places?”

PK: I think as the series went forward this season we learned a little more about Brody.  Being a new show it was important to clarify the main characters’ backgrounds first.  That being done, I think the producers have been increasingly exploring the supporting cast members histories and lives on screen.  Where Brody goes…time will tell.

“2. If you were actually Brody and you yourself got stranded on the destiny, how do you think you wouldd react. Would you have a nervous breakdown, would you keep your head, would you try to ease the situation using your comedic gift?”

PK: I would probably freak our for a while…but after I calmed down…I would probably set up a comedy night on the Destiny, with a two drink minimum.

“3. Out of all the SGU characters, who do you admire most? Who would you want to be like and why would you want to be like them?  Oh and thank you Peter for taking the time to do this q&a!!”

PK: Your very welcome, great to be interacting with everyone.  I admire Young.  Not only does he himself have to deal with his own demons, but the stresses and hopes of an entire ship of people.  He has to keep the peace, keep hope alive and deal with a guy like Rush, which can be very trying indeed.  Kudos to Louis Ferreira for making it look soo good.

Chevron7 writes: “1. Hey Peter, thanks for doing a Q&A. Cheers from Melbourne. Why does everyone call him Mr Brody? A little formal, no?

PK: Go Melbourne!…I have not returned to Australia…since birth…far too long…if anyone has any influence with the Australia or New Zealand Conventions…could you put in a good word for me…I want to come back!!!

I have been wondering about the “Mr. Brody” thing myself…I hope it is not because I look like the oldest guy on the ship!  I take it as a “Mr. Spock” sort of thing…what was Spock’s first name again?

“2. Did Brody leave family behind?”

PK: We actually filmed personal messages on the Kino and Brody actually addressed that a little…because I am not sure if they will air it or not…I will stay quiet about it…for now anyway.

“3. Who’s the toughest scientist on Destiny?”

PK: Brody!  Are you kidding me, he could kick Volker’s ass into next week…and Park, well, she may know some Asian self-defense technique that Brody is not aware of, so I wouldn’t count her out.  Actually, Rush may have some Druid moves!  Some sort of a “Stonehenge” sleeper hold!

“4. What have you found most surprising about working on Universe?”

PK: The sense of home.  I am hating the Hiatus for that reason…I can’t wait to get back to work…I love it more than I could have ever expected.  I think the moment we hear that we have been picked up for Season Two, a couple of beers may go down.  (and it happened!)

“5. What book are you reading at the moment? Or the last great book you read.”

PK: This is awful, but I am not a reader at all…I am a “wait for the movie to come out” kind of guy…I think I have a medical problem related to not moving for a long period of time…I should try reading on my motorcycle…no wait, that won’t work.

Bathtime for Marilyn

Kristen S writes: “Question for Peter:
It has just been released that you will be starring in the webseries, “Riese” alongside Patrick Gilmore. Is there anything you can tell us about your role in the show?”

PK: The character’s name is Ormand and all I can say is, that if he doesn’t totally creep you out, I will not have done my job.  Very disturbing stuff.

Cherluvya writes: “Peter: I LOVE your art. I still would like to hear more. What is your favorite medium? Will you post more art? Your FaceBook page doesn’t allow for comments from fans. Not that you want to hear from me more than you do on twitter, but I was just wondering.

PK: My Official website has been down for a while as I re-vamp it.  When I do I will be posting lots of stuff…promise…and always a pleasure to hear from you!

“Peter, love your work on SGU. You are so funny at times. I love Brody. Such a great character. You must love playing him. What part of Brody is the most NOT like you?”

PK: The Scientific side.  Brody can be very stiff at times and very clinical.  I, on the other hand, ride a Harley, love Hockey fights, and love a beer or two on a patio…but I think Brody is slowly coming around.

“I won’t harass you with more questions. It is always a pleasure Peter…”

PK: Harass away, always great to hear from people…seriously.

Lantean Whale writes: “Questions for Peter K.  1. Brody and Volker seem to have an established friendship. Do you think they were friends before, or is it due to the recent events of being stranded on Destiny? Who else on board does Brody have a connection to?”

PK: I think working on Icarus together, they would have hung out, but events such as being stranded together obviously make people behave in strange ways and interact with more intensity.  Also, Brody and Park are definitely a team.  Brody’s respect of Rush has to be taken into account also.

“2. Ive seen some of your comedy on youtube – great stuff! Also read you’ll be involved in Riese the webseries – will we see more of your comedic side here? (That kino video, with you in the spacesuit was hilarious)”

PK: Thank you for the Comedy kudos.  The “Riese” role should freak some people out…all I can say is, if you find it comedic, you are a sick puppy.

Ellenoz writes: “Question For Peter K?

PK: Brody helped Rush get Telford off the ship (well at least told Rush when the trouble making trio had gone)
Do you see him as Rush’s ally in any similar situations in the future? How do you think Brody views Young’s leadership?”

PK: I think Brody is definitely on the side of Rush, as witnessed by a certain Kino scene.  I think Brody respects Young’s position or the difficultly of it…but make not mistake…Brody is on Rush’s team….although, things can always change…right?

Duneknight writes: “Question for Adam Brody:
—- how does it feel being second to an inexperienced geek?”

PK: It pisses Brody off…but the kid is growing on him….

Question for Peter Kelamis:
—— What attracted you to this role?
—— Do you see your character as smarter than Eli?”

PK: I was excited to audition for a new series, especially one as respected and established as the “Stargate” franchise.  A new series gives you a chance as a actor to create a character from scratch, one that you can call your own…Is Brody smarter than Eli?…Hell Yes!  But Brody respects intelligence…even if it takes a while to get used to it.

Yazou writes: “Qs for Peter :
- What did you imagine when you did “Stargate Universe” casting and when you were sure to play in SGU ?
- Have you cast for Adam Brody first or for an other one ?
- A few words about atmoshper on set ? An anecdote maybe ?
- How will Adam progress in the rest of the Season ?
- A few words in french..? ^^
Thank you.”

PK: I auditioned with the knowledge that it was to be a possible re-curring role…to be honest as an actor, you hear that a lot and most of the time, it doesn’t actually materialize.  But from the get-go, we were made to feel very much part of a team…that feeling is still there and it is an awesome team…I only read for the part of Brody, although at the callback they gave me some of another character’s lines to read as a second scene.  I found out about an hour later that I was shortlisted for the part…and found out shortly thereafter that I got it.  It was a great piece of news to get early in the year.

The feeling on set is amazing jovial and everyone has a blast.  It is actually quite opposite to the often somber mood  of the storyline itself…we are often killing ourselves laughing right up until they yell “ACTION”.  In between takes we play quick rounds of 21 at the basketball hoop they have just outside the studio door…I often kick Louis Ferreira and Patrick Gilmore’s asses…but they will lie to you and tell you different.  Louis, by the way, is the goofiest, most hilarious guy in the world…an absolute blast to hang out with.

As far as where Brody is going as a character, they don’t tell us such things…it keeps both the audience and the actor guessing and that is fine by me.

Merci et je t’aime…


October 29, 2009: Rescheduling My Rant! Final Day of Production! More Mailbag!

I can’t remember the last time I had a good night’s sleep.  Even though I’m exhausted by the time I turn off the lights, I’m so wound up that it takes me forever to actually doze off.  And, when I finally, I’m only out for an hour or two before I’m awake again. I’ll eventually drift off again and wake up an hour later.  Drift off.  Wake up.  Drift off.  Wake up.  And so it goes throughout the night.  Surprisingly, I get out of bed feeling fairly well-rested – but it eventually catches up with me.  Right around, oh, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m., about the time I settle down to work on my blog.  Which is a shame since, earlier today, I was all fired up to deliver a rant certain to make Lemming-Gate pale in comparison.

Oh well.  I’ll get around to it eventually.  In the meantime…

Today was the last day for everyone else – Alaina Huffman, David Blue, Brian J. Smith, Patrick Glimore, Jennifer Spence, Peter Kelamis, Haig Sutherland, and Julia Benson – all incredibly talented and wonderful people.  I advise them to rest up well this hiatus because, based on what we’ve come up with so far, they’ll be VERY busy in season 2.

Well, those who survive the season finale anyway.

This morning, Robert Cooper was on Stage 5, directing some scenes owing from Lost.  Then, this afternoon, Ivon Bartok was on Stages 2 and 4 directing the last of the kino scenes.  For those of you who weren’t there (Where were you?!), here are some of the highlights:

IMG_5318
Art Department package featuring kino director Ivon Bartok (cover design by Chris Beech).
IMG_5396
Carl pulls a Martin Gero. Fortunately, no stitches are required.
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Guess the mystery man.
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Director of Photography Jim Menard and Director Ivon Bartok - best of buddies. I think.
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On set with Director Ivon Bartok.
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Actor Patrick Gilmore (SGU's Dale Volker) regales Ashleigh and me with a tale involving coffee, magazine thievery, dubious heroics, and suspect use of the term "hotshot". Get the details here: twitter.com/patrickgilmore
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Actor Peter Kelamis (SGU's Adam Brody) has joined the dark side = twitter.com/peterkelamis
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David Blue got me a going away present. And, as is customary, I weigh the gift. Oooh. Heavy!

Mailbag:

Ytimynona writes: “But then Young asks him if her knew that the lottery was pointless anyways, and Rush doesn’t answer him. So now I’m wondering if Rush is as evil as I thought he was in the first three episodes.”

Answer: Or, at the very least, wants to have everyone entertain the possibility that he is.

Chad writes: “The Ori/Ancient Home Galaxy..does it have a name? How far away is it from the Milky Way? And do you guys ever plan to revisit it in a new SG-1 movie?”

Answer: I believe Ark of Truth was the final chapter in the Ori storyline so, no, I don’t think we’ll ever be revisiting it in a future movie.

Chad also writes: “And have you ever heard word that they may finally answer that question about humanity’s origin or creation and why exactly we are called the “Second Evolution” of the Ancients when we seem to be less evolved really…except the subconscious?”

Answer: This is another matter – that we may or may not be touching upon in the new series.

Me writes: “Not really, but I think the stories of both SG1 and SGA were more about what they experienced, what happened wherever they went, rather than ‘will they survive?’.”

Answer: Which is ultimately what this series is about – the experiences of these characters and this microcosm of society in the heat of adversity and the struggle for survival.

MaggieMayDay writes: “How is Mom? Any updates?”

Answer: Still undergoing tests.  Thanks for asking.

Thornyrose writes: “The only redeeming fact for her is that Young was the only one to witness this. But he is also the highest authority on the ship, and I can’t imagine him giving her some of that authority after her attempt to sway him.”

Answer: Well, that really depends on Young.  As the ranking military officer on board Destiny, he is the logical choice to lead.  That said, there are plenty of civilians on board who may chafe under military rule and they may look to someone who best represents their interests – and, at first blush, this may well be Wray.  If this does turn out to be the case, what does Young do?  Does he dismiss Wray based on their experience in Light or  does he take the high road and honor the choice made by a rival and potentially hostile faction?

Erik writes: “will we be finding out a lot of information about the Ancient/Alteran timeline in SG-U? Or will they eventually fade into the background and new alien races pop up to take the forefront?”

Answer: While we do touch on the Ancient/Alteran timeline, the greater part of this series will focus on the exploration of new alien encounters.

Narelle from Aus writes: “Chicken or fish? Should I take a coat or not? Do I avenge the death of my pet rabbit from when I was 10 by holding the culprits hostage in a cage for weeks and see how they like being made into stew?”

Answer: Chicken, yes, and without a doubt.

Skye writes: “I was wondering if u can dedicate your posts on Nov.1 to my dad Rodger for his 62nd birthday and Nov. 3 to my Mom Toni for her 60th birthday please. They have been married for 36 years and counting.”

Answer: Sure, but please remind me on the day.

DasnDanger writes: “Scott shined in Air III. Maybe I was the only one, but I was very moved by Brian’s performance in that episode.”

Answer: Brian J. Smith is equally amazing in tomorrow night’s episode, Water.

DasNdanger also writes: “It seems to me that Eli is like this – am I right in seeing it that way, Joe, that he has purposely been written as socially awkward?”

Answer: Yep.

Herbertsommerfeld writes: “Today was my last day of extra work on season 1 of SGU. I feel blessed to have been one of the few to have been on the Destiny all year.”

Answer: And it was great having you aboard, Herb!

Pastrygirl writes: “Loved the shuttle model – any chance of getting pics of the Destiny model? I’m assuming there is one, or is it all CGI?”

Answer: We talked about building a model but, for now, it’s all CG.

Cody writes: “I have a question, to take advantage of your culinary expertise Joe. Are there wine/chocolate pairings?”

Answer: Alas, I’m not a wine guy.

Flappo writes: “Something I also want to ask, are we going to see more of TJ?”

Answer: Yes, definitely.

K-Man writes: “1. When you wrote your first script for SG-1 were you a fan of the show first, or was it just a job opportunity for you and Paul?
2. If there is a 2nd season will Marty Gero be contributing a script, or is he officially done?”

Answers: 1. No.  I’d watched a season one episode, Emancipation, and it – uh – “didn’t do it for me”.  Fortunately, I did get to read some much better episodes and scripts prior to pitching.  2. Marty G. is busy on the second season of HBO’s Bored To Death.  If he does find the time, however, we’d love to hear any ideas he may have for SGU.

Logan writes: “My criticism of this episode is that the solar powered stuff was fairly obvious, and despite your explanation that they had to approach it as a life or death scenario, it seems that someone (Rush/Eli) should have broached this possibility, only to be told that it was a possibility they couldn’t afford to entertain.”

Answer: It appears that Rush DID consider the possibility but chose not to share his find with the others.

Amac251 writes: “Did you and the other writers/producers ever think/wonder (before this episode aired) that the scene would get a big response like this from the fans?”

Answer: Oh, we expected (and continue to expect) wackier.

Matthew Stoner writes: “Is there only one Stargate-dropping ship ahead of Destiny, or were other ships also launched before Destiny?”

Answer: There were several seed ships.

DasNDanger writes: “When did you start reading Wolverine?”

Answer: I picked up every title about a year ago and dropped titles as I lost interest.  Still loving Aaron’s work.

Rednor writes: “ But if so many people are saying that they find certain characters to be shallow or self-centered or immature, you need to listen to how they are being received, especially if it’s not how they are intended.”

Answer: I disagree.  With all due respect, it may seem like “so many people” but, in truth, this the opinion of a tiny portion of online fandom which is, in turn, a tiny portion of overall viewership.  It’s food for thought in many cases but certainly not a reason to rethink or change direction.

Rednor also writes: “The Stargate world, to this point, has been populated with very smart, very disciplined, very interesting people. They have not all been perfect.”

Answer: Actually, they were pretty damn close to perfect and were generally beyond reproach.

Montrealer writes: “Was wondering if the Destiny is organic in the same way like the Wraith Hives and ships so that worn out parts gets replaced over time.”

Answer: Nope.

Gilder writes: “…do you know of any situations where an actor auditioned well but could not deliver in production?”

Answer: It’s been a while but, yes, I have.  Thank goodness for great editors.

Abby writes: “Okay, another question. Is there a set amount of time between each episode or does the amount vary depending on the episode?”

Answer: It really depends on the individual episodes.  In the past, a season has roughly equaled one full year.  However, this first season of SGU will cover a significantly shorter stretch.

Dakota writes: “When do we get to see a good ol’ fashion firefight on an alien planet?”

Answer: Soon, soon.

Shadow Step writes: “Do you keep a bible of all things said on your blog, and the individual developments the posters go through, so that you might later catch them in a slice of humanity and snicker at them?”

Answer: No need.  It’s often the same people who seize on preliminary character or story descriptions, imagine the worst, scream bloody murder, and then conveniently disappear once they’re proven wrong – only to reappear later with some other axe to grind.  You say “humanity”.  I say “idiocy”.  You also say “snicker at them” while I say “Call them on their bullshit histrionics”. J

Simon writes: “1) Can you give us a list of which actors will be doing audio commentaries for the split season(?) DVD?
2) Still no word on the SG-1/SGA movies?

Answers: 1) I can’t give you a list because I haven’t been keeping track.  So far, I’ve seen David Blue, Brian J. Smith, Elyse Levesque, Ming-Na, and Louis Ferreira.
2) None.”

Airwolf writes: “I’ve noticed many people stating “this is not Stargate” and wonder to myself why it wasn’t simply named “Destiny?” […] Rather than having Stargate in the name. Some people are downright irate about this!”

Answer: Who cares?  While it’s admittedly very different from the previous shows, it’s still Stargate – whether certain fans like it or not.  And, for the most part, they DO seem to like it.  Yeah, even those fans who claim NOT to like it.  In fact, I’d say especially those fans.

Shadow Step writes: “Not to make you paranoid but I guarantee that there are people in your life who have done much, much worse than have sex out of wedlock. ”

Yeah – but she didn’t have to see it.”

Answer: Uh, yeah, nice try, but we weren’t talking about being affronted by the sex scene.  We were discussing pigeon-holing characters on the basis of blanket moral convictions.

Shadow Step also writes: ”

“Hooking up with two people does make you a horn-dog. It makes you a perfectly normal twenty-something male.”

That presupposes that the avertage twenty-something male isn’t a horn-dog.”

Answer: I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess you’re neither male nor twenty-something.

Shadow Step also writes: ”

“Basically, we’re not nearly far enough into this series to have the audacity to think that we know the ins and outs of all these characters.”

What I fear is the audacity of soap – “who will sleep with whom! All new SGU!”

Answer: I know!  It’s taken up almost a whole minute of the 225 minutes aired so far!  I’m surprised you haven’t already been driven mad by the experience.

Shadow Step also writes: ”

“I can’t believe so many people had problems with the Chloe/Eli/Scott thing. The end of Air, Part 3 was all I needed to know those two were attracted to each other,”

Yeah, well some of us were asleep by then.”

Answer: Well thank goodness you were able to wake up in time to watch the subsequent episodes otherwise I would really miss out on this insightful input.

October 28, 2009: Another see-ya-later, this one to Jamil Walker Smith. More spinning! More Mailbag!

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Today we bid a fond see-ya-later to the wonderful Jamil Walker-Smith, SGU’s resident warrior – Sergeant Ronald Greer.  It seems like just yesterday we were watching his F bomb-studded audition stream (THAT got our attention!), marveling at his incredible onscreen presence.  His unique charm completely won us over (and him the part), then continued to wow us throughout the season.

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Trust me, he is damn likable both on camera and off.  I’ll miss his infectious laugh, his easy-going humor, his way of delivering a line with his trademark delightful quirkiness.  He’s a guy who’s as smooth and comfortable sprawled out on a couch in the production office talking about his weekend plans as he is firing off rounds at invisible aliens or lowering a Good Samaritan down a storm drain in search of the keys he dropped.  Always good for a laugh and a story, and always great for a performance that never fails to amaze.

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Ladies and gentlemen, Jamil Walker Smith has left the building.

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But he’ll be back.

More spinning today in the writers’ room and more headway made on those first ten episodes.  We ended up discussing the details of episode 1 (Paul will be doing the honors on this one), talking about the what’s and wherefore’s and, most importantly, answering Brad’s burning question: “How the hell are we going to get out of this one?!”.  Carl has requested Episode 5 while I’ve cast my lot with Episode 2.  Brad’s idea falls in the four slot, so he’ll take that one, which means Rob will be jumping on 3.  What fun!  One more day of broadstroking stories and arcs and then we get to breaking.  If all goes as planned, we’ll each have a story in hand by the end of next week, meaning we won’t have to come back to the office in December – except for Carl, of course, as fire regulations necessitate an Executive Producer be on premises at all times.

Today’s entry is dedicated to birthday gal Anne-Marie Sloan.

Another whopping mailbag:

Cherluvya writes: “Okay, so what am I doing wrong in asking questions?”

Answer: Not sure.  Are you asking the right questions?

Laura writes: “Do you ever stop reading a book that is not intriguing to you and how long to you give a book before you give up on it?”

Answer: A book has 100 pages not to lose me.  Notice I didn’t say “grab me”.  I’m already on board.  All I ask is that you don’t lose me.  And, every so often, it does happen.

Ytimynona writes: “Do you speak any other languages?”

Answer: Some Japanese.  Nihongo ga sukoshi hanasemasu.

Dasndanger writes: “It seems many of the complaints about the Chloe/Scott thing revolve around the speed with which the two came together. I do understand how some could feel that it was a bit rushed. The problem? A lack of verbal communication with the audience. A way to resolve the problem? It would have been very easy to include a short scene between Chloe and Eli where she confides in him that she is attracted to someone – and Eli, of course, would jump to the conclusion it’s him. This way the audience is prepared for the reveal when Scott takes Chloe’s hand…and it would have also made Eli’s hurt more profound.”

Answer: Sure, we could have done that.  Or had either Chloe or Scott clearly state in one of their bonding scenes: “I’m really falling for you!”.  Or had another character comment: “Looks like those two are getting together.”  I’ve always been of the opinion that viewers don’t need to be spoon fed and are fully capable of connecting the dots.  Show; don’t tell.

Dasndanger also writes: “…but when you have an audience that is used to being told everything, sometimes it takes a while for them to catch on that they have to watch carefully, because sometimes the story isn’t being told in just words, but in body language and facial expressions.”

Answer: Ah, there you have it.

Thornyrose writes: “There was the threat that wasn’t a threat(no way Destiny and its passengers were going to die, and given the characters aboard the shuttle no doubt they would make it back safely).”

Answer: But every time the Atlantis team went off-world, did you ever expect there was a good chance they wouldn’t be coming back?

Thornyrose also writes: “It’s peculiar that the same people who were so confident the ship knew what it was doing at one moment suddenly decided that the Ancient technology had failed and that the ship failed to calculate a relatively simple properly.”

Answer: I think you mean problem.  Rush stated that he believed the power issues were a result of their sudden, intrusive presence.  Also, while one could hypothesize that Destiny may be responding to the needs of its crew, it requires a big leap of faith to dismiss all evidence to the contrary and believe you’re in no danger – especially when you’re headed toward a star.

Thornyrose also writes: “How does a ship that generates a shield powerful enough to survive immersion into a star get battle damage? How does the ship convert the stellar energy, and how does the power compare to ZPMs? Why the difference in energy sources between Atlantis and Destiny?”

Answer: Flying into the heart of the star would have destroyed the ship.  Instead, it more or less skimmed the surface.  It also makes sense that the ship was designed to draw energy from a naturally occurring and convenient power source, like a sun, rather than a ZPM that could be eventually depleted.

Thornyrose also writes: “Wray has been undermined as a potential leader, having shown her instinct for self preservation overrides her concern for the whole.”

Answer: How so?  She stated her case and then reacted when Young threatened to take her name out of the lottery.

Thornyrose also writes: “Why would Rush allow the shuttle to be loaded with supplies and leave if he knew Destiny was safe? Why would he come up with a solution to retrieve the shuttle if he wanted to be rid of the other occupants of the ship?”

Answer: All good questions.  The likeliest response could be that he suspected, but had no way of knowing for certain, that the ship was designed to draw energy from the star.  He planned for the worst but hoped for the best.

Thornyrose also writes: “I am hoping to see more developments in the characters, especially developments that make the characters more likable.”

Answer: Oodles of character development to come.  Water, the next episode, does a wonderful job of exploring Scott, Young, and their relationship.  There are also some terrific moments for Greer, T.J., Eli, and Rush.

Thornyrose also writes: “Any idea on when you’ll get official word on the show renewal?”

Answer: Could be as late as December.

Belouchi writes: “ 1. Is that Pyramid shaped building on the back of the Destiny crew and general quarters?
2. Will we ever know who or what put all those holes in the Destiny?
3. What do you think of the Audi S5…. hint hint”

Answer: 1. Not sure what you’re referring to.  2. Possibly.  3. Looks nice.  Why, are you thinking of getting me one as a belated birthday gift?

EternalDensity writes: “Is Destiny millions of years old (necessary for it to be older than Atlantis, have the potentially oldest stargate, and be a millions of years long trip from Earth) or is it under a million years old (which seems to be indicated by a couple of lines of dialogue in SGU)?”

Answer: I’m going to say millions.

Arctic Goddess writes: “To Chloe, having sex with Scott may be a twisted kind of need to feel loved and protected. Which would be something she had gotten from dad and now she is trying to replace with Scott.”

Answer: Sure.  Or she could have been infected by one of those alien sex parasites like in Cronenberg’s Shivers.  Or Scott could have been hallucinating that she was James.  Or, hell, they may have both been attracted to one another.  Who knows.

Bailey writes: “All I can say is that John Sheppard was a gentleman and Lt. Scott is a horn-dog.”

Answer: Uh, yeah.  Right.

Skontel writes: “You mention how different Louis Ferreira is in person from the character he plays. Would you say his is the biggest person-to-character difference, and if not, who is even further away in real life from the character they play on SGU?”

Answer: Louis, Bobby, Ming-Na and Jamil are VERY different from the characters they play.  Alaina and Elyse are also quite different from T.J. and Elyse.  On the other hand, David does have a bit of Eli’s adorable geek in him, and Brian is as sympathetic and noble in spirit as Scott.

Shawna Buchanan writes: “If he’s still religious, it annoys me to see him being so hypocritical without any acknowledgment of that fact.”

Answer: Some religious individuals are flawed – although the majority, of course, are perfect human beings beyond reproach who pay the church a yearly tithe amounting to 10% of their annual income.

Grace writes: “UCLA got a sneak peek of “Boondock Saints 2? tonight. Writer/director Troy Duffy and actors Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, and Clifton Collins, Jr. attended the event. I spoke with Flanery afterwards and mentioned that I was a HUGE Stargate fan, loved him as Orlin, ecc. and he sung everyones praises. He seems to be a nice guy.”

Answer: He is a very nice guy.

Michele writes: “how did this darker tone for this spinoff come about? Also was wondering what was the most exciting part of creating season one and what was the hardest?”

Answer: These are questions that could be best answered by the show’s creators, Brad Wright and Robert Cooper (I’ll twist their arms and get them to do a Q&A before long).  From what I understand, they felt that in order for the franchise to continue, rather than end with Atlantis, it needed to be revitalized and taken in a new direction.  And SGU has done just that.

Erik writes: “Also, I don’t know if I would call Eli “immature” if he ignored Chloe. “Hurt” maybe, but I think that sometimes, to save oneself from too much hurt, distance can be the only solution.”

Answer: Sure.  And that would be Eli’s decision to make.  On the other hand, it’s kind of silly to expect Chloe to end her friendship with him.

gatelady writes: “In other words, Lt. Scott is not anywhere close to John Sheppard or Jack O’Neill as fan favs.”

Answer: Not yet.

Gatelady also writes: “Gateworld and Syfy forums both have polls for fav and least fav characters. Chloe is at the bottom, with Lt. Scott second from the bottom, at both sites.”

Answer: Well all the more reason for fans to get to know these characters and get past those first impressions.  Hell, before the show even aired everyone HATED Greer.  Suddenly, he’s on everyone’s favorite list and those people complaining about him earlier have suddenly developed a case of convenient amnesia.

Phil writes: “ What does that scene with Greer stripping down and (what appeared to be) meditating meant to symbolise? That he’s cleared his mind and bared his soul?”

Answer: That’s a great way of looking at it.

Joshua Meyers Extraordinary Teenager writes: “Wouldn’t you think Rodney or for that matter Daniel be a little more interested in the 9 chevron address in the database??”

Anwwer: Sure, but the project has been ongoing for a while and there’s no reason to believe they weren’t consulted.

duneknight writes: “i dont think eli or Scott had enough time to actually have real feelings for chloe. did you push this love triangle early on to grab as many viewers possible from the beginning? otherwise there was no need to introduce this relationship at this time.”

Answer: There was no need to make the corridor lights blue or put T.J.’s hair up rather than cut it short, but we did it anyway.

Rich G writes: “Young is one of my favorite characters. Authoritative, no-bullshit, straight-forward. He’s even been nice to Eli right from the get-go (saying it was time to eat after they’d been working for hours and hours in Air part I) instead of treating him like he’s just getting in the way.”

Answer: Yep, one of my favorite moments in the opener.  That small exchange and the smile he throws Eli said so much about the character.

DemonHunter writes: “I haven’t watched any SGU episodes (no access to them yet) but it seems from reading the mailbag that the show is mainly just a bunch of stranded people having sex. Is that where most of the story lines come from?”

Answer: Pretty much.  At the beginning of the season, we write all of the characters’ names down on little pieces of paper and put them in something we call “the sex hat”.  Then, we reach in and pull out two names.  This random pairing are earmarked to have sex in a given episode and, from this notion, we spin out a possible story.

Gen writes: “Think we can get a Q&A out of him, please please?”

Answer: Eventually.

Gilder writes: “As time goes on, I start to wonder if show creators Brad Wright and Robert Cooper included various shocks and surprises to distract us from more obvious plot developments.”

Answer: Be careful.  They also do this thing when one of them crouches down behind you when you’re not looking so that the other can shove your over.

Matt writes: “Is the crew of the Destiny going to encounter any Jaffa, Ancients, Goa’uld, or any other familiar races out there?”

Answer: The Magic 8 Ball says Most Unlikely.

Abby writes: “Are we ever going to find out where Eli’s dad is?”

Answer: Hey, David Blue asked this very question yesterday.  Suspicious…

Joesmom writes: “There is a huge difference between romance and sex. We just hope the writers realize this.”

Answer: Absolutely.  It’s like the difference between a rose petal-strewn bed and the cold linoleum of a bathroom floor.

Brooke writes: “Women like guys who are sensitive and caring (like Scott shows after Chloe’s dad dies), but not guys who move pretty quickly from one girl to another.”

Answer: Right.  You know who thinks this way?  Sensitive and caring guys.

Michael writes: “I loved the cameo of Peter DeLuise, it was a nice nod to the SG-1 days. Will we see any over-sized wrenches?”

Answer: Alas, the big wrenches were a Martin Wood/Dan Shea thing and they are not working on SGU.

Michael also writes: “Since SGU is much more of a serial than its predecessors, will there be less guest villains and one or two reoccurring Big Bad?”

Answer: Oh, there may be a recurring big baddie or two.

Majorsal writes: “i like the tj and james female characters; anything for them?”

Answer: Yep.  More goodly character stuff upcoming.

Genevieve writes: “I was wondering, will there be any lasting division or resentment between the lotto winners and the losers?”

Answer: No, for a couple of reasons.  First and foremost is the fact that those chosen to get on the shuttle had no hand in the decision-making process.  It was Colonel Young’s call and the selections were random.  Secondly, those who ended up aboard the shuttle ended up in far more danger than those who stayed behind.

Genevieve also writes: “Does Chloe actually know that Eli feels more romantically towards her than she does towards him?”

Answer: That remains to be seen.

Rednor writes: “Well, I think Chloe is immature and opportunistic, and Scott is a horn-dog. I’m not buying any deep connection, and I doubt either is capable of such a thing. I know you keep “saying” it’s there, but I’m not “seeing” it.”

Answer: Surface impressions can be hard to break through.  If you want to pass judgment on the characters because they don’t aspire to some romanticized notion you may have, then no amount of further development will change your mind.  Not to make you paranoid but I guarantee that there are people in your life who have done much, much worse than have sex out of wedlock.  And you just don’t know it.  Who could it be?  Who……..?

Maddog316 writes: “I smell 2nd season for SGU!”

Answer: That’s what I thought I was smelling too, but it turned out it was the chicken cutlets I made for dinner.  They share a very similar scent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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An atypically brooding Louis Ferreira

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

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

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

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

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

Mailbag:

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

Answer: Nope.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Answer: The latter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Answer: Nope.

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

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

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

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

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

Answer: Nope.

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

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

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

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

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

Answer: I was being sarcastic.

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

Answer: Uh, here.

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

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

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

Reponse: Il est bien cute!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Answer: A few.  Loved Guards! Guards!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But for now, I turn things over to David…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Whom do you fanboy?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opposite Brian J. Smith
Opposite Brian J. Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Which comedians have influenced your work the most?”

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

“Cake or death?”

DB: I believe I ordered the vegetarian platter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dodoalda writes: “Does Eli like aliens?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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