September 26, 2009: Six Days to the Stargate: Universe Premiere! A Sneak Peek for the Cast and Crew!

Yep, only six days until the world premiere of Stargate: Universe!  Have you told everyone?  And I mean EVERYONE?  Your pharmacist?  That ex-girlfriend you dumped in college?  The Hungarian woman in Accounts Receivable from your last job?  No?!!!  Well, what‘re you waiting for!

We’re not waiting.  For October 2nd that is.  Today, we held a special matinee screening of SGU’s first three episodes – Air I, II, and III – for the cast and crew.  I’ve gotta say, there’s nothing like seeing it on the big screen.  The performances were spectacular, the visuals stunning, and the last ten minutes of Air III had me on the edge of my seat (despite the fact that I’ve already watched it about a half dozen times).

IMG_4737x

Lawren, Ashleigh's guy, and Ashleigh.  Before leaving the office on Friday, I asked Ashleigh to text me a reminder about the matinee.  About an hour before the matinee, having received no reminder text, I texted her: "Hey, am I supposed to be somewhere today?"  A moment later, I received her response: "No.  It's Saturday.  You're free."  Later, I received a follow-up text: "Oh shoot.  The premiere is today.  I hope you can make it in time."  I got it about five minutes after I'd taken my seat beside her in the theater.
Lawren, Ashleigh's guy, and Ashleigh. Before leaving the office on Friday, I asked Ashleigh to text me a reminder about the matinee. About an hour before the matinee, having received no reminder text, I texted her: "Hey, am I supposed to be somewhere today?" A moment later, I received her response: "No. It's Saturday. You're free." Later, I received a follow-up text: "Oh shoot. The premiere is today. I hope you can make it in time." I got it about five minutes after I'd taken my seat beside her in the theater.

The eccentric Carl Binder and my writing partner Paul Mullie.
Producers Carl Binder and Paul Mullie grow increasingly anxious for the movie to start.
Actor David Blue (SGU's Eli Wallace) scopes the crowd prior to the screening.
Actor David Blue (SGU's Eli Wallace) scopes the crowd prior to the screening.
I look like one of those eccentric European fashion designers.  Zis seazun zebra iz in!
I look like one of those eccentric European fashion designers. Zis seazun zebra moccassins are een!
A candid shot of David Blue enjoying a little popcorn.
A candid shot of David Blue enjoying a little popcorn.
Show Creators/Executive Producers Robert Cooper and Brad Wright give a speech before the screening.  "The blue honda hatchback, license number 987 DFJ - you are parked in a fire lane.  You WILL be towed!"
Show Creators/Executive Producers Robert Cooper and Brad Wright give a speech before the screening. "The blue honda hatchback, license number 987 DFJ - you are parked in a fire lane. You WILL be towed!"
SGU Director Will Waring strikes a pose.  Then remembers too late he is camera shy.
SGU Director Will Waring strikes a pose. Then remembers too late he is camera shy.
Actor Brian J. Smith (SGU's Lieutenant Matthew Scott) intermissing at intermission.
Actor Brian J. Smith (SGU's Lieutenant Matthew Scott) intermissin' at intermission.
The lovely Kerry McDowall shows off her Irish beau Alan.  Do I sense a little magic in the air?  Oh, no, sorry.  I think that's flare from the black light.
The lovely Kerry McDowall shows off her Irish beau Alan. Do I sense a little magic in the air? Oh, no, sorry. I think that's flare from the black light.
Actor Jamil Walker Smith (SGU's Sgt. Ronald Greer) wonders whether I'm going to keep the camera after I'm done.
Actor Jamil Walker Smith (SGU's Sgt. Ronald Greer) wonders whether I'm going to keep the camera after I'm done.
The ever pleasant Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman (SGU's Airman Darren Becker) shows off his stylin' headwear.
The ever pleasant Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman (SGU's Airman Darren Becker) shows off his stylin' headwear.
VFX Supervisor Mark Savela supervises the crowd at intermission.
VFX Supervisor Mark Savela supervises the crowd at intermission.
Yowza!  Actress Elyse Levesque (SGU's Chloe Armstrong) reminds me of those beautiful starlets from the 30's and 40's.
Yowza! Actress Elyse Levesque (SGU's Chloe Armstrong) reminds me of those beautiful starlets from the 30's and 40's.
Director Andy Mikita and his better half, wife Candace.
Director Andy Mikita and his better half, wife Candace.

Actress Julia Benson (SGU's Lieutenant Vanessa James) and actor Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman (Airman Darren Becker)
Actress Julia Benson (SGU's Lieutenant Vanessa James) and actor Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman (Airman Darren Becker)
Actress Julia Benson (Lieutenant Vanessa James) with husband and fellow actor Peter Benson (playing himself).
Actress Julia Benson (Lieutenant Vanessa James) with husband and fellow actor Peter Benson (playing himself).
Exec. Producer Robert Cooper snacking it up before Air III.
Exec. Producer Robert Cooper snacking it up before Air III.
Actor Peter Kelamis (SGU's Adam Brody).  And rumored french bulldog owner.
Actor Peter Kelamis (SGU's Adam Brody). And rumored french bulldog owner.
The beautiful Ming-Na (SGU's Camile Wray) with hubby.
The beautiful Ming-Na (SGU's Camile Wray) with hubby.
Special Features Producer Ivon Bartok.  Hey, where's his camera?  Shouldn't he be getting all this for the DVD extras?
Special Features Producer Ivon Bartok. Hey, where's his camera? Shouldn't he be getting all this for the DVD extras?
Check out the hot couple!  Actress Alaina Huffman (SGU's Lieutenant Tamara Johansen) and husband John.
Check out the hot couple! Actress Alaina Huffman (SGU's Lieutenant Tamara Johansen) and husband John.
The lovely Jennifer Spence (SGU's Lisa Park).
The lovely Jennifer Spence (SGU's Lisa Park).
Actor David Blue let me post the first two goofy pics so long as I posted at least one good photo.  This one's going to be my desktop wallpaper.
Actor David Blue let me post the first two goofy pics so long as I posted at least one good photo. This one's going to be my desktop wallpaper.

Finally, as I was driving today, listening to the radio, I heard a radio advertisement for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in which they mentioned some upcoming performances,  among them Itzhak Perlman and Lang Lang.  Seriously!  Lang Lang!  Who wouldn’t pay to see a panda play the cello?  I can’t wait!

September 22, 2009: 10 Days and Counting to the Stargate: Universe Premiere! Actress Ming-Na! No Fan Left Behind!

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

Late last year, before we’d even started the casting process, when all we had were those first few scripts and a general idea of where we wanted to go, there was one character that really stood out for me from among the many amazing characters Brad and Rob had created – a fascinating player with attitude and heaps of potential.  That character was Camile Wray, the I.O.A. rep who finds herself stranded aboard Destiny, much to her horror and the chagrin of several military personnel stranded with her.  I loved the character because she was fiercely independent, a force to be reckoned with, and a fiery wildcard in an extraordinarily volatile scenario.

Ming Na (Camile Wray).  Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.
Ming-Na (Camile Wray). Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

Of course the character we imagine at the script stage is never quite the character we end up with on screen.  Sometimes, they’re very close.  Sometimes, they don’t live up to those lofty initial expectations.  And, still other times, with the right person in the role, they far surpass that original incarnation.  A great actor not only gives life to the attributes that so engaged you on the page, but adds layerings of  depth and complexity that, in turn, open up a host of wonderful possibilities for both the character and the show in general.  And that’s exactly what actress Ming-Na has accomplished in the role of Camile Wray.

Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Televison.
Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

From her breakout performance in The Joy Luck Club to her turn as Disney’s Mulan to her ten years as Dr. Jing-Mei Chen on the long-running hospital drama E.R., she has proven herself both immensely  talented and incredibly commited to her craft.  Off camera, she is an utter delight – sweet, upbeat, and very funny (After only his first day on set with her, my fellow producer Carl Binder declared himself a HUGE fan).  Oh, and she’s gorgeous (as if you hadn’t noticed).  And, for bonus points, she’s a big science fiction fan.

Yet another standout in an already exceptional cast.

Director Peter DeLuise wields the Sceptor of Power.  Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.
Director Peter DeLuise wields the Sceptor of Power. Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

Well, we’re in the home stretch.  We’re shooting Subversion and prepping our final two episodes, Incursion I and II.  Carl is in post, working on his producer edit of Pain.  Today, we watched the Day 2 mix of Light with its finished visual effects.  All I can say is: Wow!  This one gets the award for Most Beautiful Episode.  It’s full of lovely shots and SF eye candy.  Kudos to Director Peter DeLuise and the Mark Savela’s VFX team.  Oh, and we’ve also cast a couple of major roles for the season ender.  One heavy hitter (a Boston Legal alum) flies up at the end of this week for a costume fitting – hopefully, pug in tow.

Robert Picardo as Atlantis Expedition Commander Richard Woolsey.  Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.
Robert Picardo as Atlantis Expedition Commander Richard Woolsey. Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

Hey, just got off the phone with Bob Picardo (aka Stargte’s Richard Woolsey).  As some fans have pointed out, he and his lovely wife Linda are about to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, so I thought I’d give them a call.  I’m pleased to report that between his film and television work and the many convention appearances, Bob is as busy as ever.  Still, despite his hectic schedule, he’s planning to make time for the  SGU season premiere next Friday night.  I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again (and again and again).  The guy is a class act.

Ten days to the Stargate: Universe premiere!  Tell your friends!  And tell them to tell THEIR friends!  Leave no fan behind!

May 19, 2009: Victoria Day, Developments on the SGU Front, Michael and Lexa Drop By But Don’t Stick Around For the Spring Cleaning!

Well, we were all back at work today following the Victoria Day long weekend – Victoria Day, of course, being a recently adopted Canadian holiday commemorating one of history’s most remarkable pioneering female Brits. Yes, I refer to none other than Ms. Victoria Beckham. Looking back, I suspect the vote to bestow the honor on the former Posh Spice may have had more to do with a desire to have an extra holiday in May than anything else. All the same, this is the third year the country has marked the occasion with songs, dance, and goat kebobs in a vast nation-wide celebration that brings together peoples of all races and religions. Except, of course, for the Irish who are prohibited from participating and have to go to work instead. It was a great three-day break and now, Canadians have to wait a whole month for their next big holiday when the Emeril Legasse Day long weekend rolls around in late June.

Today, the SGA movie script, Stargate: Extinction, went out to the writing department. No one has gotten around to reading it yet but I imagine it’s just a matter of time before the accolades start rolling in. Carl, however, did read my short story over the weekend and, to my delight, enjoyed it. So 3 down and 2 356 689 to go!

Before lunch, Carl, Paul, and I headed down to Stage 1 where work is ongoing on the jungle set for Time. It’s looking mighty damn impressive. I took plenty of snaps, including a couple of shots of Carl posing beside a giant alien fern. From there, we headed over to the Destiny set where Peter DeLuise was directing Bobby, Louis, and David in scenes for Darkness and Light.

After lunch, we sat down to watch the director’s cut of Life. I can’t say enough good things about this episode, from Carl Binder’s script to the individual performances to Alex Chapple’s direction. Some incredibly poignant moments delivered by Brian J. Smith, Ming Na, and a couple of wonderful guest stars. I LOVED this episode.

Later, I was sitting in my office when I heard a familiar voice ask: “Is Mallozzi here?” I glanced up and, sure enough, it was Michael Shanks – with his lovely wife Lexa. I was mortified. Had I known he’d be bringing her by, I’d have cleaned the place up. My desk is a drop-zone. They stopped in and we spent a good half hour talking about exorcists, chiropractors, and exorcist-chiropractors. On their own, they’re very funny people but together, these two are absolutely hilarious. A terrific couple – who, conveniently enough, had to rush off to buy some roast chicken after I suggested my office would be clean in no time if we all pitched in.

I Remember the Future discussion:

Michael A. Burstein writes: ““Like “I Remember the Future”, this one resonated with me on a personal level, reminding me of the day I came across the webpage of Thomas M. Disch only days after his passing.”

Wow. You probably had the same thoughts I had when I came across Charles Sheffield’s webpage after he died (which, as I noted in the afterword, was the genesis of the story).”

Answer: Camp Concentration is one of my favorite SF novels. In fact, just the other day Paul returned a whack of books I’d lent him over the past year and he singled CC out (alongside Frederik Pohl’s Gateway) as his favorites. I considered making the book a Book of the Month Club selection and inviting Disch to take part in a Q&A but, sadly, never got the chance. While surfing for news about his sudden passing, I came across his website and was surprised to see that he kept a fairly active online presence. Sadder still to learn that, late in life, he suffered depression for his failure to gain recognition for his work. Too late to post a comment and let him know his work was appreciated by this reader at least.

Sylvia writes: “Re the old ending and the new ending. I loved the new ending as it gave Sarah the choice and the rite of decision – to take action – to get the tattoo. She did not have to prove her love and devotion. She chose to take a stand to make progress in the struggle that we learn from the lessons of the past. I rather liked that posture of doing the right thing and because one wanted to do the right thing.”

Answer: Yes, it’s a tough call because both endings offer up two very different but very positive elements. In the end, I think Michael’s editor (and his wife) echoed your sentiments – which is why he decided to go with that particular ending.

Sylvia also writes: “Was a bit surprised but gladdened to discover that Miss Ellis also resorted to changing appearance.”

Answer: I kind of suspected the surprise but loved it nevertheless. It cemented her relationship with Tony and offered up the most touching beat in the ensuing story, TelePresence, in which we learn of her dedication and eventual passing.

Thornyrose writes: “TeleAbsence was the best of the stories in combining emotion and sci fi elements. “

Answer: I would agree. All of these elements were nicely balanced and despite the future setting, the depth of the characters grounded the story in the here and now.

Thornyrose also writes: “It’s all too easy to look at technology as the solution to all social ills, but Mr. Burnstein rightly points out that economics and human nature will prevent an even distribution of such technologies.”

Answer: Which is something the author goes on to discuss in the afterword, making reference to someone who predicted that everyone would have a computer by the years 2001 (I believe it was). Well, not quite. While the technology is there, the means to acquire said technology remains problematic for many.

Thornyrose also writes: “With Spaceships, we’re given a slightly melencholy view of immortality. ( Can one say Ascension?). It seems even in the far future, eccentricity is frowned upon, and Kel is victimized by those who are not actually harmed by his peculiar obsession. I did have a minor quibble here; how did Kel get possession of the actual originals?”

Answer: I assumed that, in time, as humanity shed their corporeal forms, they gave up on what they considered physical affectations – like spaceships. Kel collected the abandoned ships, amassing them into a personal collection.

Thornyrose also writes: “While I found it a bit suprising that the Church would rule aliens as soulless, and thus ineligable to become members, the device works well enough here.”

Answer: That was curious – but not altogether surprising. By the way, if you’re looking for a terrific novel that explores the issues of faith and alien visitation, I strongly urge you to pick up Michael Flynn’s Eifelheim. From Booklist: “In the fourteenth century, the Black Death ravaged Europe. Most towns decimated by it were eventually resettled, except for Eifelheim, despite its ideal location. Mathematical historian Tom discovers this anomaly and an unexpected connection to his domestic partner Sharon’s research in theoretical physics, which seems to be leading to a method of interdimensional travel. In fact, as Eifelheim’s priest back then, Father Dietrich, relates, before the plague’s arrival, an interstellar ship crashed nearby. The encounters between its passengers and the people of Oberhochwald, as Eifelheim was first called, reflect the panoply of attitudes of the time, from fear of the foreign to love and charity for one’s neighbors to the ideas of nascent natural philosophy (science), and the aliens’ reactions are equally fascinating.”

Thornyrose also writes: “ Decisions was a story that had me waiting for Rod Serling’s voice to speak out of the ether.”

Answer: It had a definite The Outer Limits feel for me.

Thornyrose also writes: “As soon as Reverend Haas mentioned a steamboat excursion, I recognised that the tale was centered on the tragedy of the General Slocum. […]. But the “instant romance” of Schmidt and Adele just didn’t ring true.”

Answer: Agreed. This was the one element in the story that felt awkward and forced. I could see Adele being smitten with Schmidt, but to have the two of them suddenly profess their love for one another, in spite of the circumstances, seemed all to quick.

Thornyrose also writes: “Of all the stories, Absent Friends is definitely my least least favorite. Levinson’s obsession over his dead friend goes beyond any sane level of grief. There is something more than a little creepy about his insistance at seeking out his friend’s alternate self.”

Answer: This is something I agree with as well. It seemed a single-minded obsession one would reserve for the love of one’s life rather than a friend, no matter how close.

Sparrow_hawk writes: “ Many of the stories just felt flat to me. When I tried to analyze what was missing (for me) in the stories I realized that although the premises of many of the stories were interesting, the settings were weak or non-existent. I’m a very visual person, and just couldn’t “see” where the story was taking place.”

Answer: Are you saying that you would have benefited from a more descriptive narrative?

Mailbag:

Morticae writes: “You know, there was an episode of SG-1 with a guy that used toothpicks and whatnot to booby trap his doors. Something like that!”

Answer: I know. Paul and I wrote it. Point of No Return.

DasNdanger writes: “1. We know that the Iratus bug that attacked Sheppard was in a sort of web, and in The Defiant One the Wraith webbed up his victim, suggesting that – perhaps – he produced the web/silk from his own body. So, in your mind (or had it ever been discussed), do Wraith have the ability to produce ’silk’ from their bodies, and if so…from where?

2. Since a Wraith – by definition – is a doppelganger, has this ever been taken into consideration in how Sheppard and Todd deal with each other? Todd, the ‘harbinger of bad luck’, ‘haunting’ his double – Sheppard – always present, reminding John of his darker side? Or am I just thinking too hard about this…lol.”

Answers: 1. In my mind, the webbing/cocoon is a byproduct of the ship, itself an organic construct.

2. While the wraith warrior class are clones, queens and the other males are not. They are unique.

O6untouchable writes: “1. In “Misbegotten”, Weir and Woolsey travelled to Atlantis on an Asgard ship, and got there nearly two weeks faster. That’s in roughly the same ballpark as the Daedalus’ 4-day trip from “The Siege”. Since the Asgard designed the Daedalus’ hyperdrive anyway, are their ships faster only because they’ve got a better power source?

2. If it is an issue of the power source, do the Daedalus, Apollo, et al now have better generators (to power the Asgard beam weapons and what-not)? Are they capable of making the trip to Atlantis faster?

3. After “The Return”, the ZPMs that the Asurans put in Atlantis were split up; one of them went to the Drone Chair. When the chair was moved to Area 51, was it still powered by that ZPM, or by some Asgard Core-inspired alternative? If the former, what happened to that ZPM?

4. The other ZPM from “The Return” went to the Odyssey. Between the Asgard Core and the fact that the Ori aren’t a threat anymore, did the ZPM get removed at some point? Was it depleted during “The Ark of Truth”, or is it still alive and kicking somewhere?”

Answers: 1. That’s a safe assumption to make.

2. No. Again, it comes down to the power source not the engine design.

3. Yes, the ZPM went with the chair.

4. More on exactly what is up with the Odyssey upcoming.

Scifan writes: “When it comes to guest actors, do you know who you want for the roles while your doing the script or do they have to ask? I remember someone told me that Goran Visnjic aka Dr. Luca Kovac from E.R. is a big fan of SGA. Do you look for those types of actors?”

Answer: We generally write the script and then look to cast. There have been occasions when we have sought out actors who have turned out to be fans of the show – Isaac Hayes for one, Wayne Brady for another. Goran Visnjic was a big fan of SG-1 and actually visited the set while in town working on Elektra. He and the cast really hit it off. We even offered him a guest spot but, unfortunately, he was unable to make it work schedule-wise.

Jim from WVa writes: “Will Stargate Universe employ shaky camera techniques like the movie Cloverfield?”

Answer: The camera work will certainly be more dynamic, but not to a jumpy, nausea-inducing extent.

T’loc writes: “I have a question, I am watching the Shrine from this past season, what would happen if the team had flown to that planet instead of walking could they have dialed a space-gate to escape? Would the water flown out into space? Would love to know the answer.”

Answer: The planet was only accessible via the planet gate. However, had they traveled their through a space gate, then escape would have been much easier – yes, them along with an enormous amount of water.

SebiMeyer writes: “what software is this? I either use Final Draft or Celtx for scripts, but this is new to me.”

Answer: Movie Magic Screenwriter.

O6untouchable also writes: “On a Movie-related note… you’ve already hinted that an Earth Battlecruiser might crop up in Universe somewhere, but what about the Atlantis and SG-1 movies? Are we going to find out what happened to the Sun Tzu, or see the Apollo and/or Daedalus again? (My girlfriend is particularly eager for more Caldwell!) And what about the Odyssey – will we ever find out what that secret mission was, or was that just an excuse to write her out so that she didn’t kick Hive Ship ass before Atlantis got there?”

Answer: Several of these ships will be making future appearances in the, uh, Stargate franchise.

Major D. Davis writes: “1. Would you like to edit my 5 page script (a script for the FBI files part 2?

2. Can I please send you a link to my best video I made(the script I was telling you about is part two of the FBI files. The link I want to send you is part for part 1)?

3. So there are a few stargate suprises for MGM’s 85th b-day. So what day is MGM’s 85th?

4. How is time going? Almost done?

5. Do you guys have a email address I can email(Instead of physically mailing something)?

6. How is the music and visual effects coming for Air?”

Answers: 1. Thanks but no.

2. Sure.

3. Not sure. Carl knows as he’s ordered the cake.

4. Stage 1 is looking awesome ahead of production. The episode is still in prep.

5. Trust me, you’re better off posting a comment here.

6. Great. Brad and Rob had a spotting session with Joel late last week.

Dovil writes: “I’m bitterly disappointed that Stargate Altantis: Glitter Ponies of Hope didn’t jump the last hurdle to be selected, though a two hour movie on SGA-1’s attempts to save the Spotted Owl from the brink of extinction does somewhat make up for it.”

Answer: Glitter Ponies of Hope was our first choice, but it was already taken for the SG-1 movie.

Georgia writes: “I came across ostrich eggs ($29.99 ea) and Vosges bacon chocolate. Ever try either?”

Answer: Haven’t tried ostrich eggs but have tried the Vosges applewood smoked bacon truffles (which, in my opinion, are better than the bars).

Chevron7 writes: “Joe, can you please give us a hint whether you’ve finished judging the Fans Choice bluray DVD cover contest?”

Answer: Sorry, I don’t even know what that is.

Davidd writes: “So, now that you have joined the Twitter masses, do you think you will ever get a Facebook account again?”

Answer: Correction. My dogs joined the twitter masses. They have no plans to get on Facebook however.

David Blue writes: “You know, in my defense:

I ran into Rob at work and told him about the party. He said he couldn’t go because he was having you over for dinner. So I decided not to tempt you to stand him up because you were so interested in coming to my tiny, small apartment instead.”

Answer: Well I feel doubly bad because I returned your apartment-warming gift on Sunday = a home theater system complete with reclining chairs and big screen. And before you complain that it wouldn’t have fit in your small apartment, you should know that it was the second part of your gift. The first part was an all-expenses paid rental of a mansion in Shaugnessy for the show’s entire run. Oh well.

Ytimyona writes: “Wow, Rob Cooper is truly a man of many talents… writer, director, cook! Is there anything RC can’t do?”

Answer: Brain surgery. At least not yet. We’ll find out for sure tomorrow when he removes Lawren’s basal ganglia.

Quade1 writes: “I heard that SGU Pilot was to air during summer followed by the rest of the season in the fall. Is this still the plan?”

Answer: Sorry, no. That was never the plan.

 

Recycled Funk writes: “I found this very enlightening blog post by Neil Gaiman, writer of the brilliant Sandman comics, where he discusses the relationship of blogging writers and their fans and the entitlement issues that sometimes develop (http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/05/entitlement-issues.html). I’m not sure if you had come across it as well but I was wondering what your thoughts were on the subject. Since you are so visible on the web, do you think that sometimes fans can feel a little too entitled to your time and the next project, especially when it’s Stargate related?”Answer: I don’t think any fan is going to be pestering me for a release date on that short story – or any non Stargate-related project – anytime soon. Realistically, most of my blog regulars come for the Stargate, but stay for the snark, dog pics, and videos of me sampling strange food products. That said, I certainly do notice a sense of entitlement from certain fans who feel that online interaction should translate into some sort of working relationship. They bitterly complain when their hopes or desires regarding character or story aren’t realized, or adopt the attitude of a petulant child (Hello, Gate world’s Falcon Horus and G.O.D.) sulkily hating on anything and everything because they feel they’ve been personally sleighted by some creative decision made. Maintaining an internet presence has its rewards (as evidenced by the many, many wonderful people who frequent this blog) but it also makes you a convenient target for those terminal grumps seeking an outlet for their pent up aggression. And what better place than the arena of anonymity offered by the worldwide web.

 

Rachael writes: “ With the changes in the writer’s room in the past few months, I was wondering a) which writers were in the room for spinning the story for the movie, and b) if there were writers there at the time who are no longer on the SG writing team, would their departure affect the storyline at all (eg can’t use their ideas any more)?”

Answer: Back in November, Paul and I spun a general idea of what we wanted the SGA movie to be with Brad and Robert. Then, Paul and I went off and worked on the outline, pitching it back and forth between us until we had a pretty solid template. Paul wrote the first sixty pages and I wrote the last forty, although we did tweak one another’s passes.

February 25, 2009: Finally, That Cast Announcement!

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Well now you know as much as we do. No, no, that’s not exactly true. We still know more than you do. But at least we ALL know the names of our cast members. The news finally broke yesterday but, on the off-chance you were in your basement watching a Lord of the Rings marathon, here are the latest additions:

Alaina Huffman (Tamara Johansen): Alaina was one of the first auditions we saw way back in December (I was in Tokyo at the time and watched the stream from my room in The Peninsula). She was so good that, quite frankly, we would’ve been crazy not to cast her. I finally got the chance to chat with her today and discovered that, besides being quick-witted and absolutely lovely, she shares my affinity for Japan. Bonus points for that.

Elyse Levesque (Chloe Armstrong): Like Alaina, Elyse delivered a wonderfully nuanced audition, demonstrating impressive range in two very different ad demanding scenes. I only got the chance to speak to her briefly at the cast dinner but my first impression lines up with what everyone else has been saying about her: she is a sweetheart!

Ming-Na (Camille Wray):Back in my January 30th entry, I wrote “Meanwhile, we inch ever closer to casting one of my other favorites roles – the character of Wray.”. She’s one of my favorites because she has so much potential. That said, as I was working on the first part of the mid-season two-parter, I actually grew nervous. Wray has some nice, meaty scenes in my script and, without a strong actress in the role, the character would crash and burn. So you can imagine my delight to hear we had closed the deal with Ming-Na, a tremendously talented actress (and, apparently, poker player) who is more than capable of delivering bigtime.

Lou Diamond Philips (Colonel Telford): Speaking of talented actors, Lou Diamond Philips is another huge addition to an already impressive roster. He is a kick-ass Colonel Telford and incredibly charming both on and offscreen. I told him I’d enjoyed his work and, especially, his role opposite Mark Wahlberg in The Big Hit. He laughed and admitted it was one of his faves as well. Check it out!

Christopher McDonald (Senator Armstrong): Another experienced Hollywood veteran, Chris brings gravity and charisma to the role of Senator Armstrong. When I was on set the other day, he approached me, shook my hand, and told me how happy he was to be working on the show. A clas act.

Speaking of class acts – today, I was on set talking to some of the cast when the conversation turned to actors who are not only accomplished, but great to work with as well. And, not surprisingly, Bob Picardo’s name came up. As it turns out, Gateworld just posted an interview with him. Check it out here:  http://gateworld.net/interviews/man_in_a_suit.shtml

Had a nice, long chat with Brian J. Smith today. I continue to be impressed with his self-effacing, down-to-earth attitude. However, not so impressed with his NFL team of choice: the Dallas Cowboys. But fellow Romo-booster Rob Cooper certainly was. Hey, Sherry – unfortunately, the studio has put the kibosh on any behind-the-scene pics for the time being. I told Brian that I might convince you to provide some embarrassing baby pics of your son and, while he assured me that you have plenty, he strongly urged me NOT to ask. And so, in the interest of continuing to see that self-effacing, down-to-earth attitude – I’m not going to ask. For now. But I will welcome you to our little book of the month club.

If I had to give the award for Funniest Guy On Set (and I do believe I’ll be presenting the award at this year’s ceremonies), I would be hardpressed not hand it to David Blue. A very funny guy, but a professional through and through. Richard – I echo everyone’s best wishes for Buddy. Here’s hoping for a quick and full recovery that will see him bounding around that backyard in no time.

A pretty hilarious guy in his own right is actor Justin Louis who did a really nice job opposite Ona Grauer in some heartfelt scenes earlier this week. I told him: “You guys are eventually going to get tired of hearing it but – we are loving the dailies!”

Finally, late yesterday, Robert Carlyle delivered a performance in a key scene that was so outstanding it blew the doors off Stage 3 – and the entire crew away! “Masterful” would be one word to describe it. “Extraordinary” would be another. But I prefer to simply go with “Wow!”.

Hey, look at what arrived in the mail today! A super, special, advance copy of Joe Abercrombie’s latest: Best Served Cold. Regulars to this blog know that I’m a huge fan of Joe’s and consider his First Law trilogy among my favorite works in the fantasy genre. Will be jumping on it next and have a full report for you all next week. 

 

 

In the meantime, our continuing discussion of David Louis Edelman’s Infoquake:

AMZ writes: “Ironically, with my phone line and internet down I found I could really sympathise with the boys during Initiation…”

Answer: So could I.  Their technology-free wilderness survival training reminded me of my last trip to Montreal.  Minus the bears, wilderness, and training.  Still, my internet connection was kind of iffy.  I empathize.

AMZ also writes: “

I particularly liked the history he created, especially the Autonomous Revolt, which seems to have instilled in the people a fear of losing technology and creates a rich tension between moving forward with advancements and treading with a bit of caution…”

Answer: Which brings up an interesting point.  Given the repercussions of the Autonomous Revolution, is it difficult to accept that humanity would be willing to introduce nanite technology into their everyday lives?  Would they be more cautious given the past or could it be argued that enough time has passed to make them more accepting of the technology?

Sparrow_hawk writes: “ I’m not really a computer geek, but have a lot of friends and acquaintances who are. I was fully prepared to like Natch and his apprentices, but the more I saw of them, the less I cared about them. “

Answer: And how do these characters compare to your computer geek friends?  Is there a Natch in your midst?

Fsmn36 writes: “At the same time, it wasn’t a fully conscious act for Natch. I don’t think he can entirely be blamed for instinct. I don’t agree with it, certainly not, but was he fully himself in that moment? Or did fight-flight and self-preservation kick in?”

Answer: Except that he didn’t just happen to cross paths with Brone while the fight-flight instinct kicked in: “Until, as chance would have it, he spotted Brone.  Natch whipped around and headed in his direction.”  Sounds like he knew exactly what he was doing.