June 25, 2009: The Doctor Is In! Actor Paul McGillion Answers Your Questions.

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Some of you know him as Ernest Littlefield.  Most of you know him as Dr. Carson Beckett.  Me?  I know him as good ole Paul – talented actor, all-around good guy, and the most entertaining person to hang with at a con (as I discovered at the 2007 San Diego Comic Con).  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the charming Scotsman, Paul McGillion…

Lexi Proudfoot writes: “1] You said in June of last year that Hakkasan is one of your favourite places to eat. What is your absolute favourite restaurant? If you had to pick one dish to eat every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?”

PM: Hakkasan in London is still my favourite restaurant. If only one dish, it would have to be the duck salad – delicious!

“2] If you were invited to a costume party and the theme was ‘childhood heroes,’ who would you go as?”

PM: Flash. That way I could be everywhere at once.

“3] Will you ever start a blog? Please, please start a blog! For the love of ceol mor, man!”

PM: Don’t see myself ever doing my own blog. Joe’s a tough act to follow.

“4] Have you ever visited your Gateworld thread, a.k.a. The Gutter? I hope you brought some hipwaders if you ventured there…”

PM: I’ve popped into the Gateworld thread a few times. No hipsters were needed – everyone seemed pretty cool!

“5] Will you marry me?”

PM: As flattered as I am, I’m spoken for.

Rhonda writes: “Do you have any con appearances coming up? You and Aaron Douglas really need to do one together. You guys are hilarious. Anyway, hope to see you back on TV in a regular position soon.”

PM: Thanks Rhonda. As it happens, Aaron and I are appearing at Dragon Con. Should be a blast! Hope to see you there!!

GateGeek in Canada writes: “Whoo! Thanks for doing a Q&A! My question is completely unrelated to Stargate but…
Can you share any amusing anecdotes/stories from the Star Trek set? Your scene (though far too short) was brilliant and I IMMEDIATELY burst into a huge grin when you came onto the screen! I also began frantically pointing you out to everyone I was with; I didn’t know when you’d appear and so it rather surprised me. Bravo! And thanks again.”

PM: Hey GateGeek! Thanks for the Star Trek kudos. Yes, it was a  lot of fun to be part of such a cool movie. Maybe not so funny, but unusual was riding in a Pope-mobile type thing to and from set – top secret and all.

Michael A. Burstein writes: “Were you as surprised as the rest of us when you died so quickly on 24?”

PM: Not really – everyone gets killed by Jack.

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Elyse writes: “Thanks, Paul, for taking the time to answer some questions. Had Stargate Atlantis had a sixth season, where would you have liked to have seen Beckett go, story/character-wise?”

PM: Hi Elyse. Beckett, 6th season? Finally ending up on that island inhabited only by Swedish swimsuit models.

“Any word on whether Beckett will be in the SGA movie?”

PM: Yes… looks like Dr. Beckett will indeed be in the SGA movie. At least that’s what Joe says!!

“What’s the next project we can look forward in seeing you in?“

PM: I currently have a couple of things on the go. Most exciting, is an independent feature I’m working on with a friend of mine. Working title: ‘The Bad’.

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flygirl writes: “Hi Paul – You were absolutely super in “A Dog’s Breakfast”. Do you have any future plans to take a turn behind the camera as a producer/director? If so, would it be a comedy, adventure, mystery, or scifi???
Enjoyed meeting you in Vancouver, BC in the Hilton’s restaurant, after you met with the lovely lady who led your “Save Beckett” campaign!!
Take care – Evelyn
(co-producer of your “Lean on Me” vid)”

PM: Hi Evelyn.  Nice to hear from you! No directing is in my immediate future, but I’m co-producing an indie. Hoping to get it behind the camera by the fall; working title, ‘The Bad’.

Ricky writes: “I watched “A Dog’s Breakfast” few times as you were wonderful in it! Any word for ADB 2?”

PM: Hey Ricky! Thanks for your kind words about my performance in ADB. You’ll have to ask Dave Hewlett about a sequel. I certainly hope so – it was fun to do.

Bailey writes: “For Paul:
1.Do you keep in touch with any of your colleages from SGA?”

PM: Hey Bailey.  Yes, I keep in touch with all of them. Infact, I saw the lovely Rachel just last week.

“2. I loved you as Dr. Beckett, what do you think were his best qualities? His worst?”

PM: Thanks. Some of his best qualities were his sense of humanity and his sense of humour. Worst? Would have to be his lack of love interests.
P.S. There’s always the movie.

“3. Did you try to play the second incarnation of Beckett differently than before he was cloned?”

PM: I think Beckett, as well as the rest of the crew, had some trepidation about his return to Atlantis. He was certainly aware of the changes that had occurred in his absence and his own circumstances, ie being a clone. That being said eventually, by the end of season five, I think we had good old Carson back.

“4. Whatever happened to the “wee turtles?”

PM: Rodney still has them. The bastard! “Give me back my wee baby turtles!!”

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Arctic Goddess writes: “Questions for Paulie: Where did you get the name, “Paulie”?”

PM: Hello to the Arctic! It was a nickname, “Pauly”. It was given to me when I was a wee boy from my sweet mum, and it just stuck!

“Are you going to be at Comic Con in San Diego this year?”

PM: No Comic Con for Pauly this year, unfortunately. Dragon Con in Atlanta though.

“When you were on Atlantis, who was your absolute favorite guest star to work with and why?”

PM: We had a lot of great guest stars on Atlantis over the years. But for me, I’d have to say Richard Kind, in the epidosde Irresistable. Great comic timing, and just a funny, funny guy.

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“Thanks for answering the questions, Paul. As a mom, I suggest you give your parents a call and tell them how much you appreciate them. You can never say that enough to the people you love. “

PM: I talk to my parents everyday – you’re absolutely right!

Adna writes: “Since David Hewlett said that there are high hopes ADB’s ‘Starcrossed’ will see the light of day, are you going to participate in the project?”

PM: Hi Adna.  That’s totally up to David, but I’d love to.

PoorOldEdgarDerby writes: “Questions for Paul: Can you comment on whether you’ll be in either the Atlantis movie or SGU?”

PM: PoorOldEdgarDerby, Nice to hear from you. Altantis movie – yes. SGU – haven’t heard, but if they asked me, I’m sure it would be a blast.

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“3. Who is your second favorite Beatle?”

PM: Assuming my first is Sir Paul (little known fact – I was named after him) I would have to say John Lennon.

Silversi writes: “Hey Paul, Do you get to Scotland often? If you were to recommend the best place to visit on vacation–what would you choose? I’m hoping to get there one day, and I’m looking for suggestions!”

PM: Hey Silver, I do indeed get back to Scotland – love it there! Glasgow’s a party, Highlands are a must, and get tattooed in Edinborough.

“Also–with your parents having fairly heavy Scottish accents, and while you played Carson on Stargate–did you ever randomly find yourself slipping into a bit of a Scottish brogue at all? It seems like you can slip in and out fairly easily–did that take much practice at all?”

PM: No, I can go back and forth quite naturally. Lucky for me, because the brogue can be quite a tongue twister at times!

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Ponytail writes: “Questions for Paul McGillion. You have always been one of my favorite characters. Nice, sweet, non-threatening, always there to help.
What was your favorite episode of Stargate Atlantis?”

PM: Thanks Ponytail! You’re sweet.  My favourite episode would have to be “Poisoning the Well”.

“Who did you most like to work with and why?”

PM: Had the opportunity to work with Sally Field in a movie called ‘Cooler Climate’. She was just such a professional, down to earth – a genuine sweetheart.

“What would be a dream project for you?”

PM: Working on a film where we could cast all the talented actors I know, have an endless budget, and tons of laughs.

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“Were you surprised when Martin Gero wanted to be your brother “Danger Beckett” in the hilariously funny Road To Dream featurette?”

PM: Not at all. Martin has always looked up to me.

Hachi writes: “Hi there, I love Paul McG!
I was wondering what he thought about some of the moral dilemmas and medical decisions that Dr. Beckett went through during his tenure on Atlantis?
Some of the medical experimantation on both humans (the ATA gene therapy which turned out well), and the Hoffan virus and Michael transformation (which didn’t).”

PM: Hi Hachi. Great question. The moral and ethical issues that Carson had to deal with over the five seasons of Atlantis weighed heavily on the character. As an actor, it made for great story lines with complex scenes, that were thought provoking and challenging at the same time. One of the great things about Carson’s journey is that the character had the opportunity to deal with many different issues on a human level.

“And was his work with the Pegasus Galaxy natives upon his return part of a way to assuage his percieved guilt?”

PM: I think you’re right Hachi. Carson wanted to give back to the Pegasus Galaxy, aka his Doctors Without Borders within the Pegasus Galaxy.

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Vecturist writes: “Questions for Paul – I know you have a teaching certificate – what classes have you taught or what you like to teach given the opportunity? (If you want to come teach my college intro bio courses, give me a call).”

PM: Hello Vecturist. I have teachable subjects in science, history, physical education and theatre. For the past fifteen years, I have been focusing of my acting. As far as teaching your college courses, I think I’ll leave that to you – I wouldn’t want to get you fired! I’m sure you’re doing a great job. Keep it up.

“Do your siblings give you a hard time for being an actor, especially since it seems you have a lot of female fans?”

PM: My siblings love the fact that I’m an actor. As far as the female fans go, they’re just curious to see if they actually exist – that I’m not putting them on.

Carolyn writes: “Question for Paul: As with all actors, there is probably a part out there that you’ve dreamed of playing – whether it be a character from a favorite book or screenplay or maybe a part that you’ve seen played by another. What would be your dream role?
Paul, thank you for the years of happiness you’ve given your fans playing Dr. Beckett. I watch TV shows for the characters – and the depth and soul you gave Carson will forever make him one of my favorites.”

PM: Carolyn, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for your kind words. That’s very thoughtful of you to write. As for my dream role, it would have to be Bond. Pauly Bond. 008. What do you think of that?!

ChelleDeBoer writes: “Question for Paul – Mr Mc – first off I’m looking forward to meeting you for the first time when you pop down under in October. I know you’ve been to Australia a few times already but I’ve never had the chance to get to one of your cons til now. So, I hope you brush up on your Australian accent coz I’m likely to ask you to give it a try!! Most folks who try to imitate an Aussie end up sounding rather Cockney!
Anyhoo, my question as boring as it may seem, is: do you ever find yourself slipping into a Scottish accent when chatting to either the fans or just anyone in general?
Also, if you could have chosen…if it were possible, who would you have liked to have seen Beckett “hook” up with??
Thank you so much for taking the time out to answer the fans questions. Again, I’m looking forward to meeting you in Melbourne in October. Oh wait…do you prefer red wine or white?? Or would you prefer a good Aussie beer? I’ll shout you a drink at the cocktail party! Cheers!! “

PM: Gidday Chelle! Looking forward to the accent challenge. Scottish accent slip? Sometimes – depending on the number of drinks. As for hookups, Beckett and Teyla would’ve been a solid pair in my humble opinion.

Kabra writes: “Duet has to be one of favorite episodes. The scene with you and David kissing… I have to say I did not see that coming.
I think it was on the DVD to that episode you talked about that scene. What was you initial reaction when you were approached? Did you receive extra pay for that kissing scene?
Both you and David did a great job with that scene.
I was very shocked when Beckett died – and I was thrilled when he came back, even though he was clone.”

PM: Hey Kabra.  First off, kissing scene – creepy. As far as extra pay goes, sadly no. But should’ve.

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Johnny E! writes: “This question is for Mr. McGillion: Having seen you on roles in Smallville, 24 (nice death by the way), and other roles that do not feature your accent, my question is 1. Is the accent on Atlantis yours, or is it exaggerated? 2. How long did it take for you to “loose” your accent for the other roles? Thank you for your time.”

PM: Johnny – Born in Scotland, but raised in Canada, so I don’t normally have a Scottish accent. What you do hear in Atlantis, is from years of being around my parents, who are Scottish through and through. All best, Paul.

Sinan writes: “Hello Paul how are you? Thank you so much for answering fans questions. I have a few questions to ask you.You don’t have to anwser if you don’t have the time. I’ll try not to ask to many questions.
If it’s ok i’d like to ask some questions about acting. I finished a course in April at the VFS (Vancouver Film School)and i was wondering how you got started,what steps did you take ?
Thank you so much Paul for your time and from me i’d like to thank you for helping me find an awsome school (Thanks to your biography)and making making my first Stargate convention Gate Con (April 4th) really specail.Also thank you very much for your work on Stargate.
Take care and all the best and good luck for your future projects.”

PM: Hi Sinan, I’m so glad my bio pointed you in to the right direction (Hey VFS, can you say free advertising?!) Welcome to the biz! As far as advice I could give, do as much theatre as you can, do as many independents as you can, and act because you love it, not because you want to be famous.

Chevron7 writes: “Questions for Paul: Have you ever used the Scottish accent to get an advantage in real life, such as dealing over the phone with a customer service person or does it come with great responsibility? p.s. Listening to you as Beckett makes me remember my Physics teacher. He rocked!

PM: Hey Chevron7, funny that you’d mention that. I’m famous amongst my friends for ordering pizza, and working a deal – Scottish style. Works like a charm! I know it’s bad, but it’s so much fun!

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“What was the best thing, personally or professionally, you did while your character was off Atlantis?”

PM: I moved down to L.A. and set up camp down there. I met and worked with J.J. Abrams and Star Trek, but perhaps most important, perfected my highland dancing.

“Has your hair recovered from the unfortunate “Elvis” dyejob of 2008?”

PM: Thanks for the reminder. Yeah, no kidding – what was that?! Yes, my hair has recovered. But our hairstylist, Richard, hasn’t.

“Read any interesting books lately?”

PM: I’ve recently finished Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink.

“Who would win in an arm wrestling contest, you or David Hewlett?”

PM: Oh definitely David – if he used TWO arms!!

Paloosa writes: “Actors seem to have to go with the flow in their quest to find interesting work. Do you enjoy moving, or would you rather stay rooted somewhere?”

PM: Hey LolaPaloosa, I’ve been very fortunate to be able to travel quite a bit, working all the while. That being said, there is definitely something about coming “home”, having a routine, and being able to spend time with close friends. So to answer your question, I guess I like a bit of both.

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Joflyaway writes: “For Paul: Love your work. I felt you played Beckett as a relunctant hero; one who just wanted to do his work and let the soldiers do theirs. Was this your choice to play him this way or was he written in this manner? What did you think when you learned of Beckett’s death in “Sunday”? Did the fan’s outrage over Beckett’s death surprise you? What did your parents think of your accent? I heard you tell the story of when you called your dad to tell him of your role on Stargate–he thought you said Star Trek. What did he think when you did get a part on the Star Trek movie? You and David Hewlett have great onscreen chemistry. Does the friendship continue offscreen as well? Last question: How did you get to be so bloody awesome? Did you grow up that way or do you just acquire additional awesomeness as the years go by?”

PM: Hey Joflyaway.  First off, thanks a lot for the kudos, brother. Carson turned out to be a reluctant hero. If I had something to with it, great, but really it was the writers who made him the hero.
Beckett’s death on ‘Sunday’, surprised everyone, including myself. The fan response was truly overwhelming. To think that you’ve affected that many people simply by playing a character in a television series, and then for those people to then mobilize and campaign for your character’s return, was pretty cool.

My parents give my accent a thumbs up – and trust me, they’d tell me otherwise. As for telling my dad about my role on Star Trek, let’s just say, I had to say it a few times.

I’d have to agree, David and I do share great on-screen chemistry. And of course, our friendship transcends the set – unfortunately though, I don’t get to see him enough.

With regards to being awesome, it takes one to know one! Thanks for the great questions. To quote from Anchorman, ‘Stay classy.”

Newkax writes: “Dear Mr. McGillion.
I live in the Czech Republic.
I ¥m sorry, because I don¥t speak english very well.
Do you like reading or watching the sci-fi?
What is your favourite genre in the movies or books?
Thanks”

PM: Hi Newkax.  I actually grew up watching sci-fi as a kid – Star Trek, Dr. Who, Phoenix and the Carpet, etc. I’d my tastes are pretty eclectic in terms of genres.

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Maggiemayday writes: “Question for Mr. McG: do Americans with Scottish ancestry annoy you when they trot out their knowledge of the clans in their past?
and I’ve never made it to Scotland, but perhaps in the next few years I can swing a week. So, Edinburgh or Glasgow?”

PM: Hi Maggiemayday.  No, it doesn’t bother me. It’s nice that they have the interest in their culture and heritage. Though a lame Scottish accent – that can really get on my nerves!
Sorry dear, but do yourself a favour and make time for both Glasgow and Edinburgh – too hard to choose one over the other!

Sirle writes: “I’ve got a question for Paul:  how has the Stargate experience been for you and given the chance would you change anything at all? If so, then why? Also, all the best for future endeavors.
I’d like to thank in advance for even considering my question. This is so exciting!”

PM: Thank you for the question for the Sirle! The Stargate experience has been one of the best I’ve ever had. Would I change anything? Well let’s put it this way: beware of exploding tumours.

Perragrin writes: “Paul, firstly.. a heartfelt thanks for five absolutely wonderful years of Carson Beckett. Your portrayal of him is second to none and it’s been both a pleasure and honour to watch. It really wouldn’t have been the same without our adorable Doc. How surprised have you been with the overwhelming show of support from your Fans, especially towards the end of the third season/begining of the fourth season?”

PM: Hi Perragrin.  To be honest, I have been flattered. The fans never cease to amaze me. The support after the demise of Beckett completely blew me away.

“Looking forwards, is there any particular direction you’d now like to take with your career? Perhaps something you’ve not been able to indulge in before now?”

PM: Every actor hopes for the opportunity to play a character that allows them to stretch themselves as an actor. Be it film, television, or theatre, I’m looking for the next opportunity to be involved in something like that.

“A friend once mentioned that you’d make a perfect ‘Q’ for James Bond Would a role like that attract you?”

PM: If Bond is taken, then sure!

“4. Talking of roles.. what type of character portrayals give you the most satisfaction when acting? And which do you find most challenging?””

PM: As I said earlier, any role that has forced me out of my comfort zone, and helped me learn to test the boundaries of my skill and confidence, give me the most satisfaction. Ironically, they are usually also the most challenging. I hope that answers your question.
Thanks for your support!

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Scary writes: “Question for Paul. Thank for doing this because I will probably be too nervous to ask it to you at Dragon*con.  I saw your cameo in the new STAR TREK movie. It went by pretty fast but I knew to keep an eye out for you. What was it like to film your scenes? Personally I thought Simon Pegg played Scotty a little too slapstick/over the top for me. Other then that I love it. : ) Have you had the chance to see the whole movie?
Only 85 more days to Dragon*con!!!!!!”

PM: Hi Scary!Glad you caught me in the movie! Yes, I saw it too – I thought J.J. and the cast and crew did a great job. Stop by and say hi and Dragon Con.
Best,
Paul

Quade1 writes: “Question for Paul McGillion:
How did you feel when they decided to bring back Beckett?? Did you think the character was brought back for the fans or for the show??”

PM: No doubt, the fans had a huge role in bringing Beckett back. I was happy to come back and reprise the role, as I personally thought he had some unfinished work to do.

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Trish writes: “Hey Paul! Thanks for doing this Q&A with us! My husband met you on the elevator in Vancouver back and April. He warned you about me. Remember that? Then I met you at the photo op. I gave you a mousepad with Ryan on it from “A Dog’s Breakfast.” I just wanted to say that meeting you was one of the highlights of the entire convention! Not really a question, I know. But thank you, all the same! By the way, our picture is fabulous, naturally.
David Hewlett is *supposed to be* working on his next indy movie, Design of the Dead. Will you be in that, hopefully? I think you two work so well together.
I do love Simon Pegg. However I need to tell you that you would have made a better Scotty. That’s the truth. Even my mom and dad agree. So does my big sister. We did enjoy seeing you in the latest Star Trek movie, all the same.
Any exciting plans to tell us about? Work or otherwise?
I wish you the best! Again, thanks for stopping by Joe’s blog!”

PM: I remember your husband and of course, I remember you! Thanks for the mouse pad. Of course it’d be grea to work with Daivd again. Thanks for the comments about Star Trek. See you at the next convention! Stay out of trouble..
Paul

Miz writes: “During your time on SGA, who used more hair product? You or Flanigan. Cause really, when you get right down to it, it’s all about the hair.”

PM: Hi Miz! I would have to say Flanigan. I mean c’mon, you’ve got to give it to him. The man has good hair.

LibKat writes: “For Paul McGillion:
After doing the cross-dressing role in A Dog’s Breakfast, were you surprised by any of your reactions to acting as a woman? How’d you like wearing nylons? (Of all the tortures inflicted upon women, they are the worst, IMO.) Do you think David Hewlett wrote that bit simply so he could make fun of you at all future con appearances?”

PM: Hey Kat.  I can sincerely sympathize with women out there. The nylons were tough, but the heels were the worst. As far as David goes, and him torturing me at conventions? I didn’t make the best looking woman, but I’d put money down that I’d beat David in a pageant.

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KaziWren writes: “PAUL “WOULDA BEEN A HOTTIE SCOTTY” MCGILLION QUESTIONS: Do you go after all the roles you can, or do you have projects you prefer to go after?”

PM: Hi Kazi. Generally speaking, my agent send sme projects that we feel confident we’d like to pursue.

“Everyone is so careful not to pry, but I’m going to pry a little (forgive me): Do you want to settle down and do the family thing at some point, or are you a destined bachelor?”

PM: I’m thinking a Mrs. McGillion, and an army of kids one day. Someone’s got to take care of me, right?

“3. Are you considering any projects in the UK, such as Torchwood, Dr. Who, etc?  My husband and I adore your work. We’ll be supporting you in all you do!”

PM: Sure I would. Please tell them I’m interested.
Appreciate your support,
Paul

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Lcshepp writes: “For Paul- At the VanCon Joe F. stated he won the ‘wrestling’ match between the two of you. When you poked your head into the room, you stated you won. What’s your version of that match?
Do you really occasionally call him ‘Josey’? Beautiful job in ‘Star Trek’!”

PM: Hey Leshepp.  Let’s put it this way: I don’t think Joe’s going to want to wrestle me any time soon. He’s a good athlete, but he should stick to the surfing. No, I don’t ever call him Josey. Wouldn’t that make the rest of the cast the pussy cats?! Thanks for your words about Star Trek – it was great to be a part of it!

Laura writes: “Question for Paul: I’m a premedical student, and from what I can tell most of the medical stuff in Stargate is relatively accurate for a scifi show. Did you get to learn about any of the medical procedures that you were supposed to be doing or did you just memorize your lines? Thanks for taking time to answer questions!”

PM: Hi Laura.  Thanks for the question. Truth be known, we have a med tech on set most of the time. Although I did get a chance to learn some of the minor procedures, I wouldn’t look to me to perfom surgery in the near future. I’ll leave that to up and coming professionals like yourself.
Best,
Paul

C.C. writes: “Question for Paul McGillion: You’ve worn a kilt at more than one convention in europe, so I was wondering, is there any way you might be convinced to wear a kilt at some of your USA cons too? It just doesn’t seem fair that only the europeans have had a chance to get a photo op with you in your kilt!
Loved seeing you in Star Trek and 24!”

PM: Hi C.C. I think there’s most definitely a chance the kilt will make a U.S. appearance. Thanks for watching Star Trek and 24 – really appreciate it!

Clementine from France writes: “Questions for Paul :
1) What is your feeling at the end of a convention ? Easiness or not ?
2) Do you think the conventions are more tiring than days of shooting ?
3) How do you feel the behaviour of the fans toward you ?
Excuse me for my bad english . I hope the best for you in the future. Thank you for my wonderful birthday in Facts Belgium and your kindness.”

PM: Hey Clementine.  After a convention, I feel energized and touched after meeting all the fans. That being said, conventions are indeed tiring – not often do I shoot 12plus hours and talk to new people. You’re most welcome, and many more birthdays to you!
All best,
Paul

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Nichola Dennigan writes: “1)If you could invivite five famous People living or dead to dinner who would you ask and would you include David Hewlett?”

PM: Mohammed Ali, Elvis, Bill Clinton, Johnny Depp, and of course, Andre the Giant. David Hewlett will be serving us all.

“2)Did you enjoy making the star trek movie?”

PM: Of course!

Tina writes: “Question for Paul : How much fun was it getting to take part in the stunt demo at P4 back in January??(you definitely showed those stunt guys whose boss!!thankfully I had gotten off the stage by then!) how does Carson Beckett:Action Hero sound
Dude you are an absolute one in a million..total legend!!!! P.S thanks for the bottle of water!!!“

PM: Hi Tina. Yeah, it was great to be a part of the stunt demo. From what I recall  though, you’re the action hero! Great work out there! Carson Beckett Action Hero? I like the sound of that!

BlondieChemGirl writes: “Thanks for hosting the Q & A with Paul McGillion.
I went to the Michael Shanks Online Auction and found the recorded book that Paul McGillion read/voiced and signed. I am going to go bid on it.
1) Did you enjoy doing the characters and voices on the SGA recorded book?
Recorded books are a great way to “read” a book and get lots of other things done like housework, gardening, and driving and it can save your sanity on long trips. And my sister is sight-impared and recorded books are the only way she can “read”, so thanks for that.”

PM: Working on the SGA record books was a lot of fun and an interesting challenge.

“2) How are the fans at the conventions? Are they cordial and friendly or over-the-top crazy?
I have yet to go to any fan convention, but would hope that I wouldn’t make a fool of myself or just stand there in awe of a favorite actor.”

PM: Conventions are great – you should check one out sometime. A lot of fun, friendly people.

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JYS writes: “Hi Paul, you rock. If you were offered a regularly recurring role on SGU as Carson Beckett the clone, or another character, which role would you choose and why.   I was at the Save Carson rally at the Studio years back. Skipped an important English class for ya! And when I was at the Bridge Studio’s Haunted Studio Tour, the guide forgot to mention you as part of the cast, so I yelled out your name. That’s how much you rule Best of luck!”

PM: Hey JYS! If I came back, I’d definitely come back as the one, and the only, Dr. Beckett. Thanks for going to the rally – that was really cool of you.
All best,
Paul

Neverstop writes: “A question (or two) for Paul McGillion:
As much as I’ve enjoyed your work on SGA and laughed at “A Dog’s Breakfast”, I would really love to see more of the amazing acting you did in “See Grace Fly”. (I’ve tried to promote it through the Cinemateque club at the Swedish Film Institute, so far without success…) Do you have any similar projects planned? And will you be working with Gina Chiarelli (absolutely fantastic!) again in a somewhat near future?
Thanks for taking the time and good luck with your career!”

PM: Hi Neverstop. Thanks for your comments about “See Grace Fly”. I’m currently working on another indie film, “The Bad”. Gina, however, is not in this one, but I’m sure we will work together again soon.
Take care,
Paul

Caitlyanna writes: “One question for Paul McGillion – Out of all the roles you have played in your life, which was your favorite and why?”

PM: Hi Caitlyanna. It’s got to be a toss-up between Carson and Dominic McKinley, the character I played in “See Grace Fly”.

BloodyB writes: “Hi Paul.
You never gave me a right answerd for my question at FedCon in Bonn about the number of takes it took to finish the kiss-scene in “Duet”
Here is another try to get an answer
Wish you all the best.”

PM: Hi BloodyB. I was done after the first take.
Best,
Paul

DSC05158

Halessa writes: “Hi Paul, just wanted to say hi! and send you all the best wishes from the members of your fansite. We just want to know your plans about future conventions in the UK or in Germany for the next year. Hope to see you in the future. Cheers, -Tanja”

PM: Hi Halessa. No plans as of yet, but would love to come back to Germany and see all the fans there. Have your ptb make that happen and I’m there!
Take care,
Paul

Dini writes: “I hope you feel fine. It’s great that you’re taking time for this Q & A These are my questions I forgot to ask you during the interview at F.A.C.T.S. in Gent / Belgium: Could you tell us something about the signifaction of your tattoos?”

PM: Hi Dini! Flag of Scotland – need I say more? The other one, I share with two close friends of mine – guy bonding!

“What has been the most lovely gift, that you ever got from a fan?”

PM: A terrific bottle of 18 yr old Scotch – delicious!

DSC07712

I want to thank all of the fans for the great questions. I’m sorry I couldn’t get to them all. Quite honestly, they were in the hundreds! Wow!

I did my best and I wish you all a great summer.

Keep on checking out Joe’s blog. I would also like to thank Joe for letting me come on here and talk to you all.

All the best,
Your Scottish Doc,

Paul McGillion

June 9, 2009: Ashleigh’s Feeling Punchy! Paul McGillion Wants Your Questions! MSOL Charity Auction! Elric Discussion! And The Mailbag!

Well looks who's feeling feisty.
Well looks who’s feeling feisty.
Mmmmm.  Space food.
Mmmmm. Space food.
Director Will Waring
Director Will Waring
Hit him with your best questions.  He's ready.
Hit him with your best questions. He’s ready.
I don’t even remember what it was I said. I’m sure it was some perfectly innocent question or passing comment. But Ashleigh’s response was unexpected to sat the least. KAPOW! Her fist impacting upside my arm practically knocked me into a nearby recycling bin and caused everyone within earshot to glance at us – me, rubbing the pins and needles sensation out of my shoulder, Ashleigh smiling back mischievously like some naughty toddler. “Sorry,”she said in a way that seemed to imply she wasn’t sorry at all and, in fact, just the opposite. “Did that hurt?”
I shook it off and went about my day but, later that afternoon, had to drop by her office to grab a bottled war (she hoards them in her mini refrigerator). She was sitting at her desk, immersed in whatever she was reading. I crept along, keeping close to the wall, carefully reached for the refrigerator door. Suddenly, her head snapped up and she fixed me with an icy glare. “Don’t hurt me!”I blurted out. “I only came for some water.”
She made no sudden moves or threatening gestures, so I quickly grabbed myself a water and retreated as far as the doorway. Then, keeping a safe distance, twisted off the cap and took a sip. She smiled. “How is it?” I threw her an uncertain look. “The water,”she clarified. “Is it good?”

“Why?”I asked, eyeing the water bottle.

“No reason,”was her sunny reply and then, with a shrug, redirected her attention back to her computer.

I sniffed the water, took another cautious sip. It tasted fine. And another sip. From the corner of my eye, I noticed her watching, looking on almost expectantly.

“No reason,”she repeated.

Now I’m far from the paranoid type but, perhaps coincidentally, I have been feeling a tad under the weather ever since. Nothing major. No tears of blood or massive organ failure. Yet. Just a faint queasiness and slight numbness in my earlobes. Probably nothing to worry about but I mention it just in case something should happen. In which case…Avenge me!

Otherwise – all quiet on the production office front today.  Director Will Waring and co. were away shooting on location.  Everyone is back tomorrow for the first day of Space.  Stage 4, Destiny set. 

Just spoke to actor Paul McGillion who called to let me know that there’s an opening in his busy schedule and, why yes, he’d love to do a fan Q&A with us. So to all you Beckett boosters and Scot supporters out there, start posting. I’ll be gathering questions for Paul until Friday night – afterwhich it’ll be too late and you’ll only have yourselves to blame.  Tsk, tsk.

Meanwhile – those of you who have questions for author Michael Moorcock, please post them before tomorrow afternoon as I’ll be sending them off by day’s end.  Take advantage of this rare opportunity to dialogue with one of the giants in the fields of literary SF and Fantasy.

Hey, for those interested in helping out a good cause and/or acquiring some Stargate swag, the gang at MSOL (Michael Shanks Online) are hosting their 5th auction to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. It started June 8th and runs for approximately 2-3 weeks. Head on over to place a bid on items donated and signed by Michael and Lexa, David Nykl, Colin Cunningham, Bill Dow and Tom McBeath – additional signatories include Amanda Tapping, Claudia Black, Ben Browder, David Hewlett, Joe Flanigan, Scott Bakula, Jeffrey Donovan… and more.

 

http://www.michaelshanks-online.com/auctions/auction05/index.shtml

Today’s blog entry is dedicated to

Some Elric discussion:

Iamza writes: “Someone much smarter than me pointed out in comments to my frothing and ranting that the Melniboneans are kind of like Tolkien’s Elves, only they’re the total bastards such a long-lived and magically powerful race would likely be. And in such a world it is not entirely surprising that their views are kind of backward when it comes to things like gender equality.”

Answer: Oh, they’re bastards alright. There’s a passage in one of the books which describes how the Melniboneans tortured slaves in such a way as to produce an almost musical tune in their varied screams. Apparently, not a very progressive race.

Iamza also writes: “One thing that struck me throughout the stories was how human Elric seemed. Not evil, or wicked, but human. I mean, aside from the first story in which Elric betrays his people’s trust by showing the raiders how to get into Imrryr so they can lay waste to it, and then betraying the raiders to make good on his own escape, Elric never really does anything I’d consider evil, per se.”

Answer: True. Even his actions after the fall of Imrryr can’t be described as evil. Cowardly perhaps, certainly self-serving, but he clearly feels guilt for abandoning his allies, just as he feels guilt for some of the lives sacrificed to Stormbringer: Cymoril, Zorazinia, and Rackhir the Red Archer. It feels as though, with each of these tragic deaths, Elric’s own soul is cast ever-deeper into that black pit of despair until, by saga’s end, his own death is a release for him.

DasNdanger writes: “I was not ready for Moonglum’s sacrifice. I think this was the most poignant moment in the entire series, both in showing the depth of their affection for one another, and in what each – at that moment – had to sacrifice in order to usher in a new world and save the earth for men who would never even know they had ever existed.

Answer: Agree. As I said yesterday, the friendship between these two really forms the emotional core of this epic, making Moonglum’s sacrifice all the more tragic.

DasNdanger also writes: “ Though Elric is physically weak, his will is astonishingly strong, driven by a fledgling conscience and all the emotions an ordinary Melnibonéan would be loath to entertain.”

Answer: And the souls of Stormbringer’s many victims.

DasnNdanger also writes: “ But it’s also about how his comrades react to his weakness, to the burdens he carried in both his duty, and in his physical body. I was particularly touched at the way Moonglum and Dyvim Slorm avoided looking at their friend and kinsman to save him any unnecessary embarrassment. I think more than the man’s weakness that appeals to me, is how those closest to him react…how they feel for one surrounded by friends, and yet so utterly alone.”

Answer: Isn’t it always the way. It’s often the surprisingly frank and sympathetic responses of friends and loved ones to a personal tragedy that proves most effecting, sometimes more than the tragedy itself.

DasNdanger also writes: “But having read that book first, I am well-aware of what unremorseful Melnibonéan torture is like…the slow hacking away of flesh and appendages to spite the screams and moans of the dying. To Elric it was nothing – it was his nature – that which he was since before he was ever born. And you all know who THAT reminds me of!”

Answer: It’s true. Occasionally, the wraith do enjoy playing with their food. It’s no doubt a bad habit they picked up when they were kids.

DasnNdanger also writes: “I just want to leave this post on a more…amusing…note. As this book is written in the gothic style, full of symbolism and erotic suggestion, I couldn’t help get a little chuckle out of this passage from Kings in Darkness:

”He seized her, kissing her with a deeper need than that of passion. For the first time Cymoril of Imrryr was forgotten as [Elric and Zarozinia] lay down, together on the soft turf, oblivious of Moonglum who polished away at his curved sword with wry jealousy.””
Answer: ! I didn’t even notice the passage. Then again, nothing out of the ordinary there. After all, would you expect Elric to polish Moonglum’s sword? More importantly, do you think Moonglum would expect Elric to polish his sword? 

Dovil writes: “ I’m not sure that I’m prepared to re-dip my toes back into epic fantasy any time soon, which may be a bit unfair being dismissive of an entire genre, but it saves me becoming frustrated and throwing books across the room.”

Answer: Might I suggest checking out Joe Abercrombie’s Best Served Cold if you’re looking for a strong female no bullshit protagonist.

Iamza also writes: “Nevertheless, I cannot help but think it would be a good thing if there were a few more fantasy novels which featured characters as well rounded and developed as Elric, but where those characters also happened to be female.”

Answer: Again I urge you to check out Joe Abercrombie’s Best Served Cold for a truly complex and colorful female protagonist.

Thornyrose writes: “the other thing that bothered me, especially in the earlier stories, is how Elric and the Melniboneans seem too human. Later, we get a better sense of their inhumanness, but in the early stories there is little to mark them apart from greater humanity other than the longevity of their Empire and their dragon riding.”

Answer: What moments in the book gave you a sense of the Melniboneans’ inhumanness?

Mailbag:

Iamza writes: “I couldn’t help noticing you’d recently read DMZ vol 1, and the first volume of Krueger/Ross’s Justice. What did you think of them?”

Answer: Kind of undecided after the first volumes. There’s a lot to like in both and yet there are elements I’m not completely sold on. Neither gripped me to the extent that Jason Aaron’s Scalped has. That said, I’ve enjoyed them both enough to check out the second volume of each.

C.C. writes: “Hey Joe, is it safe to say that Carson had been weaned off his dependency on the Wraith enzyme by the end of season 5, or is he still addicted to it until they find a more permanent treatment?”

Answer: By the end of season 5 (and the beginning of Stargate: Extinction) Beckett has made a full recovery and is no longer dependent on the enzyme.

Major D. Davis writes: “1. What average neilsen rating do you think it will take to renew Universe. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3………?

2. I watched the new SGU trailer and saw quite a bit of bsgish movement/mild shaking of the camera during the talking scenes that made it feel like I was watching bsg(minus the dark ship). This is just for that scene right, cause it was too bsgish and annoying.”

Answers: 1. This is a question for the network as they’ll be the one making the renewal decision.

2. I think a good part of this is a reaction to the editing as well. Keep in mind that trailers are often made up of rapidfire sequences intended to give the viewers a “taste” of movie or series. As a result, you’ll see more chaotic, action-driven instances punctuated by quick cuts. The look of the series itself will be much more balanced.

Chevron7 writes: “OK, since I’ve got you here, what did you think of the idea of the separate pages linked at the top for the dogs and your reading recommendations? Oh and changing the banner image?”

Answer: I’m kind of attached to the banner. As for the separate page link – I don’t know how many people would bother clicking. I think it would probably be easier to just put it in the sidebar as well.

Thornyrose writes: “Do we have a date for the premiere of Universe set yet?”

Answer: I’m not sure whether the network has announced an official premiere date yet.

Paloosa writes: “Speaking of food, I’ve always wondered. For the Wraith, do humans come in different flavors?”

Answer: Only three – vanilla, strawberry, and butter rum.

Crayonbaby writes: “As a writer, do you think that Carl’s style is going to fit SGU better than most of the other writers on staff?”

Answer: Not really. I think everyone has done a terrific job on the scripts to date. The cast is excited about the stories and we’re having a great time writing them.

PG15 writes: “1. What do you think about the quality of the portrayal of women in Stargate? How does it compare to the quality of the portrayal of the male characters?

2. About Teyla; quite a few people raised the criticism of her wearing particularly skimpy costumes in order to appeal to the male viewers. Do you have comments on this?

3. Another interesting point raised was how you guys tend to write mostly just specific kinds of female characters, namely those who are a love interest for a male character; those who are permissive, maternal, and caring; or your typical “alien chick of the week” (whatever that means; their words, not mine). Comments?

4. About leadership, some complained that, while the male leaders were portrayed as mostly authoritative (Hammond, O’Neill, Landry, Woolsey), the female leaders (Weir, Carter) were portrayed as non-confrontational and having to defer to the men around them. Again, comments?”

Answers: 1. I think we’ve had some strong and wonderfully unique characters in Stargate. Obviously the first one that comes to mind is Samantha Carter who, over her many years on the franchise, has become one of the most recognized and respected female characters in SF television. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have the equally strong but certainly more, uh, colorful Vala Mal Doran whose mercenary outlook belied a certain vulnerability. The women of Stargate: Universe also possess a depth of character we’re just beginning to explore.

2. Hey, she’s a warrior. Baggy clothing makes it tricky to maneuver. That said, while sexy (and I’m sure the same thing could be said for Ronon’s attire), it was always tasteful and appropriate.

3. I’m sure that if you look hard enough, you’ll find touchstone elements in any of our characters – McKay (the awkward nerd), Teal’c (the noble warrior), O’Neill (the wisecracking hero) – but these are simply surface impressions.

4. I’m not sure how to answer this. Could you give me examples? In the case of Weir, her non-confrontational style was a result of her experience in the field of international negotiation. She wasn’t military and so, whenever possible, opted for a less confrontational approach because, to be perfectly blunt, it’s the smarter way to deal with a problem. Weir was always sure of herself. Compare this to Woolsey who was on very uncertain ground when he first took over command of the Atlantis expedition but gradually came into his own.

PG15 also writes: “5. There was also criticism of how Carter was rarely personally invested in the series’s main plots (she was kind of just “along for the ride”, while the male characters had personal storylines; i.e. Daniel and Sha’re, and later Daniel and his connection to Anubis, and his guilt at bringing in the Ori; Jack and Skarra; Teal’c and his people), and when she is, the fact that she was female was integral to the plot, i.e. Fifth loved her and she betrayed him, and that started the whole human replicator plot; Martouf and Carter during the Jolinar plot. Her gender was the focus of her stories, while the same does not hold true for the male characters. So, uh…comment?”

Answer: Carter’s connections to Fifth, Martouf, and Pete were really no different than similar stories and arcs we explored with Teal’c and Drey’auc, Teal’c and Ishta, Teal’c and Shau’nac, or Daniel and Share, Daniel and Sarah, Daniel and Vala, or Jack and Sam. Also, Daniel’s guilt for bringing the Ori or the Jack and S’karra storyline paled considerably to the exploration of Sam’s relationship with her father Jacob and his tok’ra Selmak.

Dankriss writes: “Have you changed how we put up comments?…usually we get to see the comment but with awaiting moderation come up?”

Answer: Nope, nothing has changed. However, comments with links are initially re-routed to the spam folder (which is why you couldn’t see your last comment in queue).

DasNdanger writes: “So, Joe…all kidding and snark aside…would you continue to support the consumption of an animal if you were to learn that the very survival of the species was at stake, or if the suffering of the animal was beyond that with which you are comfortable?”

Answer: Hey, I’ve stopped eating panda haven’t I?

Alexandre writes: “ On the new sneak peak of Syfy, Robert Carlyle is DAVID Rush, but I tought he was NICHOLAS Rush ? isn’t is ?”

Answer: It’s Nicholas.

April 24, 2009: Bon Voyage! (And if not “bon” then at least not “mauvais”). One Doctor Checks In, The Other Doctor Drops In. And, Some Mailbag.

I walked into Ashleigh‘s office and leveled with her. “I’m worried. All this morning, I was reading about that possible pandemic in Mexico…”

The implication was clear. She was about to head off on a week-long Mexican getaway and the prospect of her flirting with danger was paramount on my mind. No doubt touched by my concern, she nodded, wide-eyed, and said: “And it’s not just me coming down with it. The worst part would be if I came back to work and brought it back with me.”

Deadpan, I informed her: “Uh, yeah. That’s what I’m worried about.”

She threw me a look, then redirected her attention to her laptop. I pointed out that the chances of her coming down with something while down south were much smaller than, say, contracting some form of dysentery or getting kidnapped. All things being equal and given the choice, getting kidnapped would probably be the way to go. While we wouldn’t be able to offer any assistance on the dysentery, Lawren helpfully pointed out that Tanya in the front office, besides being an excellent coordinator and marvelous cook, is also a skilled hostage negotiator, so she’d have that going for her.

Hey, you’ll never guess who called yesterday. Well – uh- yeah, right on the first guess. Paul McGillion. He’s in L.A. and gearing up for the Star Trek premiere. For those of you who don’t know, Paul has a part in the movie. Oh, and he also just shot a guest spot on 24. He sounds like he’s doing great and will be up in our neck of the woods neck week.

And, hey, you’ll never guess who dropped in for lunch today. Uh, right again. Michael Shanks. We had Thai and talked about old times, then he swung by my office and approved some of the pics I snapped of him for blog use. Oh, and he was also quite pleased about the performance of his favorite hockey team, the Vancouver Canucks…

Who are in my bad books. Why? Because they won their series against the St. Louis Blues, thereby costing me my bet with my co-worker Kerry that will see me accompanying her to a musical production of her choice. I need as much advance notice as possible on this one as I’ve decided to research the production and memorize the songs in advance so that I can belt them out unabashedly on the night of the performance.

Went over the Stargate: Atlantis movie script today and I think it’s pretty tight. I’ll be sending it Paul’s way next week as I switch gears to work on the rewrite of Space (They’ve been threatening to give me notes for weeks now and I have a feeling it just might happen this time.).  Once that’s done, I’ll finally finish up that short story and send it on its way. 

SGU cast news of note: Holy crap is David Blue a funny guy! Yes, in person he’s laugh-out-loud hilarious but I’m talking about onscreen where he’s added so many wonderful little touches to his performance as Eli that the character has motored past likable and directly into lovable territory.

The Mailbag:

Major D. Davis writes: “1. Will the Atlantis Movie’s A plot be about the Wraith?

2. Will there be lots of action? Such P90 fire, Space battles, hand to hand scenes. Or will it be like a common episode’s dose of action? Do you think it will have more action than the previous movies?

3. How do I contact Mrs. Val Halverson?

4. So are you done Filming Water yet? Has it taken longer than usual to film? Has Life Started Filming yet?

5. How close is Air to being finished.? How are the visual effects coming? Are they almost done? How is the music coming?

6. Do you think the Atlantis movie will be released in the summer or the spring of 2010?”

Answer: 1. While Todd the wraith will play a significant role in the proceedings, the A story will not focus on the wraith.

2. Yes, plenty of action for those who like that sort of thing.

3. Someone in today’s mailbag already posted the production office mailing address.

4. Nope. As I mentioned in yesterday’s entry, Will was on Stage 2 shooting Water. Life started filming today. Carl was away on location.

5. Significant sections of Air III have yet to be shot. The visual effects take time so our premiere won’t be finished until August.

6. I have no idea what MGM’s plans are regarding the movie’s release.

Tammy Dixon writes: “I’ve read that SGU is going for an ediger, younger crowd. Will those of us that are not edgy/older like the show, also?”

Answer: As Brad Wright pointed out in a recent interview, the term “young” and “edgy” are industry buzzwords. We (the production) never referred to SGU as “young” or “edgy”. I think that most Stargate fans will enjoy the new series and, hopefully, plenty of franchise first-timers will also join the ranks.

Major D. Davis also writes: “Will the unlimited ammunition aka unlimited p90 clip situation be delt with on SGU, cause they could not have possibly evacuated the icarus base with all the ammo they could possibly need for the coming years?”

Answer: Yes, this will eventually be addressed.

January 13, 2009: Production Developments, Literary Discussion, and A Debacle of Olympic Proportions

 Well, just a quick blog entry today as I’m off to have dinner with author John Scalzi and wouldn’t want to besmirch the image of the polite and prompt Canadian. Suffice it to say that today was an interesting day. We walked through Stage 4, the Destiny standing set, and it’s looking mighty impressive. And big! Over on Stage 5, it was a bittersweet stroll through what was once the SGC control room and briefing room.

 

Brad and Rob put out the revised Air two part opener. Paul has apparently finished his outline. I’m motoring along, hitting the sixteen page mark of the first part of the mid-season two-parter. I’ll be writing from home tomorrow as Brad and Rob are in meetings all day tomorrow as prep begins on Air I, II and III.

Yes, I’m still on the program (Sugarless Day 10) and don’t plan on abandoning it so close to the finish line despite the fact that we have reservations at Fuel.

Finally, to anyone surprised by the enormous cost overruns suddenly presented by the upcoming 2010 Olympics = told you so. To those who, like me, made a point of voting against the games, I feel your pain. To those who voted for the games and are now whining about the fact that taxpayers will have to foot the half a billion dollar price tag for construction of the Olympic village = Suck it up. It’s your fault we’re in this mess.

And, on that note, let’s move on to some On Basilisk Station discussion:

Jon K. writes: “I also like the way Weber handled the role of gender in this novel, i’ve read many scifi/militray novels that make most women the “had to face all the hardships of being a woman in the military type”. Yet in this novel all respect Honor earns from her crew is all earned on her actions.”

Answer: Yes, this is an aspect I really appreciated. Honor is unique not because she’s a woman in a command position but an exceptional individual in a command position…who just so happens to be a woman.

Iamza writes: “One of the things I like most about Honor Harrington’s universe is that gender doesn’t seem to be a huge issue. Women are captains and soldiers and engineers and doctors, and some of them are great at their jobs and some of them (the doctor, for example) suck.”

Answer: Exactly. With the exception of Pavel, no one ever targets her for the fact that she is a woman in the military. Those who admire her, like those who despise her or take issue with her, do so because of her character and not because of her gender.

Thornyrose writes: “I love the loathsome evil of Pavel Young, and the type of aristocracy he represents.”

Answer: Agreed. One of my favorite moments in the book comes when Pavel learns of Honor’s successes in clamping down on smuggling in the region. Utterly humiliated, he is desperate to return to Basilisk Station but, with his ship under repairs, he’s screwed.

Antisocialbutterflie writes: “The thing that stuck out to me was that the “captain” barrier was always maintained. It would have been simple to let her turn emotionally to her XO or her chief engineer, seeking more personal interactions, but like a true captain she kept her pride and pain separate from the crew.”

Answer: Yes, which made our glimpses into her thought processes all the more effective in allowing us to get to know her. The fact that her tough, by-the-book exterior belied a very human capacity for self-doubt made her that more endearing.

Antisocialbutterflie also writes: “My one complaint was in the character of Nimitz. While normally I am all for semi-sentient non-human characters, Nimitz didn’t exactly seem to serve a purpose. Any of the parts of the books where he might have been significant, Honor left him in her room. I suspect this may be one of those situations where he will be a bigger player in a later book…”

Answer: I liked the fact that Nimitz, as a creature empathically bonded to Honor, reflected her inner thoughts, in a sense tipping her true feelings despite her otherwise unfathomable front.

Shirt ’n Tie writes: “ I loved the character of Dame Estelle, perfectly drawn as the faded and jaded doyenne of the system though politically isolated, a very capable politico.”

Answer: Next to Honor, my favorite character in the book.

Sparrow_hawk writes: “I felt like I could really understand McKeon: he had been hoping to finally be given command of the ship he loved, but found himself passed over in favor of the younger, less experienced Honor Harrington.”

Answer: My next favorite after Dame Estelle. I appreciated the fact that, exactly as you said, he resented the fact that he had been passed over by someone younger and less experienced. The fact that she was a woman was never an issue for him.

Today’s entry is dedicated to birthday fan Specter177.

Today’s video: Paul laments his pairing in the show’s finale scene…

September 16, 2008: My Simple Meal Plan Goes Out the Window, Keeping It Real, and Paul Mcgillion Says Goodbye

Sablefish liver, grilled scallops and melon
Sablefish liver, grilled scallops and melon
Salmon (and “wing”) with homemade potato pierogi
Salmon (and “wing”) with homemade potato pierogi
The presentation...
The presentation...
The rack!
The rack!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cake
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cake
Chocolate overload!
Chocolate overload!
Foie gras with Corinthian grapes
Foie gras with Corinthian grapes
Ted
Ted
Ted calling the shots
Ted calling the shots
Dinner and dessert
Dinner and dessert
Alvin is back from a year in Italy and raring to cook
Alvin is back from a year in Italy and raring to cook
Spot prawn one way...
Spot prawn one way...
And another way
And another way
Veal meatballs with gnocci in black truffle brodo
Veal meatballs with gnocci in black truffle brodo
Alvin amazing
Alvin amazing
Alvin amazed
Alvin amazed
Fuel's trademark crispy duck
Fuel's trademark crispy duck
Pulled duck with charred scallion and whole roast garlic tortillas
Pulled duck with charred scallion and whole roast garlic tortillas
Carl gives 'em the thumbs up
Carl gives 'em the thumbs up!

With Fondy out of town for two and a half weeks, I was fully prepared to follow a simple, no-fuss home meal plan (a.k.a. eating a sandwich standing over my kitchen sink) but, despite my best intentions, I’ve ended up dining out far more often than I’ve eaten it. Last week, it was a final Atlantis 2008 dinner with Bob Picardo at Fuel. We had the ever-delicious corn soup, perfectly prepared salmon (and “wing”) with homemade potato pierogi, and a spectacular rack of lamb served with corn succotash and crown pork. To end the meal, Bob enjoyed the crème brulee and split the Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cake

with albion strawberries, caramelized cream and vanilla foam with me (I know, I know. I don’t usually mix fruit with dessert but these strawberries were incredibly sweet with not a touch of tartness).The gang in the kitchen also created an extra-special, mind-numbingly decadent dessert that incorporated dark and milk chocolates, rich cream, crushed hazelnuts, and Nutella. I was so overwhelmed that Bob had to guide me back to my car, put a brick on the gas pedal, and carefully steer me into traffic before seeing me off.

Two days later, I was back with a hankering for more corn soup. I sat at the bar where I chatted with the crew, left me meal in Ted’s infinitely capable hands and enjoyed, yes, a bowl of the corn soup, sablefish liver a la Ted (golden fried to smooth, crispy perfection), foiegras with Corinthian grapes, pork loin and gnocci, and a sneak savoring of a new seasonal addition – a gorgeous and aromatic chanterelle soup. I decided to forego dessert in favor of a second bowl of corn soup.

Then, Sunday night, Marty G. took me to dinner. Guess where. Yep, we were back at Fuel. Again, we sat at the bar and this, time, Avlin called the shots, More corn soup, prawn two-way, incredibly flavorful veal meatballs that even my traditionally dubious Italian mother would have loved (again, served two-ways), and the restaurant’s now trademark de-boned crispy-fried duck. Martin tapped out and skipped dessert. I, uh, opted for a finishing bowl of corn soup.

Last night, Carl and I hit Cobre, the Nuevo Latino hotspot in gastown. The neighborhood is a little skeevy but, on this night, our window seats overlooked the street level action and included an unobstructed view of the crafts service table for some production shooting in the area. Between courses, Carl and I entertained ourselves by playing a little game I like to call “Teamster or Tramp?”. As for the food – Carl was mightily impressed. We ordered five tapas dishes – actually six if you count the second order of pulled duck with charred scallion and whole roast garlic tortillas – and, when all was said and done, Carl was already making plans for a return visit. In addition to the aforementioned pulled duck tortillas, we had the wild boar chorizo and nugget potatoes tortillas (a little light on the chorizo and a tad heavy on the potato), a superbly salty and sweet Indian candy tamale with green apple jalapeno jelly and plantain fritos, a fine white corn free range chicken taquitos with homemade guacamole, and the Maple chipotle glazed beef short ribs with that proved tasty but a little stringy and not all that meaty. All in all, a very good meal.

Tonight, Paul and I are heading out to dinner with some friends, including Jennifer Finnegan who most of you know as Annabeth Chase from Close to Home but Paul and I know, far, far better as Kim McCloud from our very first live-action series, Student Bodies. Well, I suppose we also know here as Jen Finnigan as well… Also joining us tonight will be fellow Student Bodies alums Sarah Edmondson and Ross Hull.

Then, this Friday night, it’s dinner with my agent followed by Saturday night’s series wrap party. Hell, there is no way I am squeezing into that tux.

Thank you to everyone who has weighed in with their thoughts on Keeping It Real. Just a reminder that you have one more day to post your questions for author Justina Robson…

Drldeboerwrites: “I definitely wanted to hear the song and was disappointed to find theNoShows.com to be offline. I then checked Cynic Guru’s site for it and have to say that the song Doom (I agree it’s funny in itself if you ever played the game like we used to) does fit what I imagined The No Shows played, stuff not my taste (synthy rhythym & bubblegum) but technically pretty good.”

Answer: What did you expect? The band is made up of an elf and fairies. Did you know that Britney Spears is half elf on her mother’s side?

Antisocialbutterflie writes: “ I liked the fact that the demons weren’t the traditional evil creatures as defined by Christian standards, but rather they present a different side of the magical coin from the elven magic.”

Answer: Oh, agreed. I also loved Zal’s half-sister and was kind of hoping she’d play a bigger role in the proceedings. Maybe next book?

Antisocialbutterflie also writes: “ Zal failed to capture my attention to the degree I am accustomed. It may have been that he remained disconnected from the audience just a bit too long to for me to connect with him. Or it was because he was a self-absorbed jerk.”

Answer: Perhaps a little of both. It’ll be interesting to see what Robson does with the character in future books. I suspect there’s more to Zal than the mere surface impressions we were treated to in Keeping It Real.

Narelle from Aus writes: “Firstly, I Loved It! But then again I have a thing for elves…”

Answer: I knew it! The last line of my first paragraph in yesterday’s entry was a specific reference to you.

Narelle from Aus also writes: “It took me a while to grasp Lila’s essence. Her modifications made her insecure in the way a lot of women are.”

Answer: Yes, the parallel insecurities of both main characters (Lila and Zal) wasn’t lost on me. However, unlike Zal, we were offered a glimpse into Lila’s mind and, thus, were better able to sympathize with her as she struggled with her cyborg modifications. As you pointed out, Zal’s acceptance of Lila said a lot about him given the emphasis placed on the physical scarring she must live with.

Terry writes: “ The revulsion that the elves have for Lila, a product of science, is most interesting especially since Lila had an initial feeling of dislike for the non-science bound elves–I could suggest that it’s a deliberate display of the divide between the ‘green’ environmental nuts and those who live through science.”

Answer: Hey, interesting. I never thought of that but now that you mention it, yes, it’s very easy to draw parallels.

 

Today’s blog entry is dedicated to Ivanaaa’s cousin’s little girl.

Today’s video: A goodbye message from Paul McGillion.

August 23, 2008: Questions, Answers, Guests, and Pics!

Jason serenades our guest star...
Jason serenades our guest star...
...while Dawn feigns interest in the script.
...while Dawn feigns interest in the script.
"Zoink!"
Actress Dawn Olivieri. To quote Shaggy from the old Scooby Doo series: "Zoinks, Scoob!"
It's a good old-fashioned Stargate sing-along
It's a good old-fashioned Stargate sing-along
Is she for real?!!
Is she for real?!!
Hey, her time is limited...
Hey, her time is limited...
Dawn prefers not to share the spotlight
Dawn prefers not to share the spotlight
Actors are encouraged to criticize each other's performances in an open and constructive manner.
Actors are encouraged to criticize each other in an open and constructive manner.
Of course, if there's a lesson to be learned here, it's..
Of course, if there's a lesson to be learned here, it's "Don't mess with Momoa!"

"Don't mess with Momoa!"

Well, not surprisingly, you guys have more than a few queries concerning recent developments. I’ve received about 650 comments over the past two days and, while I can’t address them all, rest assured I have read them. Still, many of you bring up some very interesting questions that I’m going to try to respond to in this entry.

I’d like to start off by recognizing your anger and disappointment. Hey, many of us wish it could have gone another way too, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to give up on the franchise. Like SG-1, Atlantis will love on in a different format. Now, at present, a lot of you aren’t exactly feeling charitable toward the forthcoming spin-off, Stargate: Universe, and I understand. But the premiere is a long way off and I’m hoping that, when the time comes, you’ll at least consider giving the series a shot.

There’s been a fair amount of talk about SGU being little more than a shallow space romp based on the preliminary buzz. Well, given that the series has been created by Brad Wright and Robert Cooper who will assume co-show running duties once SGU goes into prep, one can expect a certain level of quality. After all, these are the guys who, between them, have written such episodes as Sateda, Beachhead, Unending, Abyss, Meridian, 2010, Torment of Tantalus, and, most recently, The Shrine. They are adept at crafting stories that are fast-paced and entertaining yet resonate with the humanity and spirit of the characters at their core. A better example of their talents can be found in Stargate: Atlantis, a series they created and helped build over the past five years. There’s no doubt in my mind that SGU is in infinitely capable hands and that viewers who tune in to check out the latest Stargate incarnation will not be disappointed.

Also, keep in mind that most of the people who worked hard to bring you Atlantis will be working equally hard to bring you the new series (and, if we can steal some of them away – the Atlantis movie). That includes the directors, most of the staff and crew, in addition to our kick-ass VFX team who were kind enough to post a much-appreciated thank you note in yesterday‘s comment section that I have copied and pasted for anyone who might have missed it…

“Official Memo From The VFX Department of SGA:

As we near shooting of the fifth season of SGA, we at the Stargate : Atlantis VFX Department would like to collectively give our thanks to all the people involved in an amazing five year run of a wonderful series:

To the fans: So many thanks, for all your continued support, appreciation, critiques, well wishes, love and appreciation for a television show we really, really, really have loved to make and be a part of. The SGA fans will always be the best.

To our Writers/Producers: Thank you so much to Brad, Robert, Joe, Paul, Martin, Carl, Alan, Alex for giving us the best and most challenging/interesting material to work with in all of television. We would never have any fun if it wasn’t for you.

To our cast: Joe, David, Jason, Rachel, Jewel, Robert, Amanda, David, Paul, Kavan. You guys are the best. Thank you for your confidence and belief that something was going to be there at that big screen you were looking at. Without your conviction, we would never get the accolades we do.

Our amazing crew: Thank you for experiencing five amazing years with us, it have been a blast.

Sincerely:

Department of Monkey-Headed Waffle Trumpets (TV Division)”

Well, as promised, here are some of the fun photos I took on set the other day. Guest star Dawn Olivieri is, to use Costume Designer Val Halverson’s words, “a hoot”! The native Floridian and former Deal or No Deal Model #14 is possessed of a quick wit and sharp tongue. Oh, and she also happens to be doing a kick-ass job as Identity’s Neeva. Don’t mess with Dawn! A couple of our actors learned the hard way.

To those of you asking – the Book of the Month Club guests and discussions will continue as planned. Catherynne M. Valente will be dropping by and we begin discussion of Stephen Dobyns’ The Church of Dead Girls on Monday.

We’ll also be moving ahead with actress Sharon Taylor’s Q&A. Thanks to all those who submitted questions for Sharon. I hope to hear back from her this week. Next up in our continuing line of special guest bloggers will be Stargate Atlantis props master “Evil” Kenny Gibbs. If you have any questions for Evil, start posting them.

Finally, re: the unclickable photo situation. I did click “File url”, but this only serves to lead to a dead end. I assume I’m supposed to actually add the URL in the space provided, but if I’m uploading directly off my computer rather photobucket or flickr, how does that work?

Today’s pics: Blowing off steam on set!

Mailbag:

DasNdanger writes: “ Wait…you’re not moving over to SGU… Are any of the writers?”

Answer: It’s still to early to say who will be involved and in what capacity.

Missy writes: “Just a quick question, Are you planning on wrapping up the wraith story line between now and the movie, or are you gonna save them for other movies?”

Answer: Some storylines will be wrapped up by series end, but the wraith will continue to be a presence beyond our 100th episode.

Thornyrose writes: “I’m really looking forward to your Stargate version of a horrror story, not to mention seeing Mr. McGillion back on the show.”

Answer: It’s a fun little episode. More edge-of-your-seat popcorn fare than last night’s character-driven drama, but that’s what I love about the show, its ability to tell wildly different stories. I’ll be posting more behind-the-scenes Whispers pics in the lead-up to its airing.

Kimberly writes: “Also, does this affect Creation’s con in April…the one with the Bridge studios tour?”

Answer: I don’t believe it will.

DasNdanger also writes: “Is it possible that this movie is merely a ‘bone’ tossed to both fans and crew/cast alike to appease them, with no intention of making a second or third movie down the line?”

Answer: Definitely not. Much will depend on how it performs but we’re confident that this will be the first of many Atlantis movies.

DasNdanger also writes: “If the first movie is well-supported and successful, then how often do you see SGA movies being produced? Once a year? Twice? More – less?”

Answer: This is a scheduling issue. I think that we could produce as many as three Stargate (either SG-1 or Atlantis) movies a year. Four is a longshot but very possible.

DasNdanger writes: “If all goes well, what do you foresee as the earliest possible release ‘date’ (i.e. beginning/middle/end of a particular year) for the first movie? Latest date?”

Answer: No idea. This would be a question for MGM and Sci Fi.

Laura writes: “…was the Arthur line ad-libbed?”

Answer: Nope. It was scripted.

Tardishart writes: “Stand alone? What? To me that just says filler, no connections emotionally to what has gone before.”

Answer: I disagree. Last night’s episode, for instance, was what I would consider a standalone. The story was self-contained and yet it contained instances that paid off past episodes and developed elements for future stories.

June 21, 2008: Gremlins, Curses, Psychics, BOTMC Winners, and Kung Fu Scotsman!

Kung Fu Scotsman!

Furious Monkey stance

Carson Beckett M.D. - Mighty Debonair

The doctor is in.

Paul practices his new dance moves on Kerry

So which one do we feed to the wraith?

I realize this may sound a tad crazy, but I actually believe I’m being harassed by gremlins. Last month, it was the water damage in the furnace room. Weeks later, my satellite stops working. The other day, my cell phone dies on me. This morning, I go to turn on the t.v. and am greeted by a loud pop not unlike a balloon bursting. Suddenly, my plasma has been transformed into the world’s most expensive radio. I can hear the broadcast but the screen is dark. I hop in the car to run some errands and – PING! – a little orange light on my dashboard informs me that my right brake light needs servicing.

One, two, maybe even three of these things happening to me within a one-month period I could chalk up to coincidence. But five?! No, the only logical explanation is gremlins. Well, gremlins or some sort of curse.

I’m kind of bummed because there was a masseuse that used to come by the production offices a couple of years ago who, beside offering massages, also offered psychic services. It said so right on her card: Masseuse, Healer, Psychic. If I remember correctly, she also sold Mangosteen juice out of the back of a van. Unfortunately, I threw away her card ages ago thinking “Hey, when the hell am I ever going to need a psychic?”. And now look at me. Okay, granted, a psychic probably wouldn’t be able to help me with the gremlin/curse problem, but she probably could have put me in touch with a good exorcist or carpenter. I understand they all hang in the same circles.

Of course, far be it for me to make fun of psychics. Someone I know actually swears by them. They even played me a recording from their last visit to demonstrate the clairvoyant’s uncanny abilities. The sessions go something like:

Psychic: I’m seeing the letter L. L as in Larry. Leo. Lawrence. Lex. Lana. Lacey. Laura.

Friend: I have an Aunt Lori.

Psychic: Has she been sick?

Friend: No. She’s as strong as an ox.

Psychic: Tell her to bundle up this Winter. I see possible pneumonia in her future.

Friend: Oh, dear.

Psychic: I’m also seeing a man whose name starts with the letter P. Peter. Paul. Perry. Friend: Pat?

Psychic: Yes, Pat! You shouldn’t trust him.

Friend: He’s my neighbor. He borrowed my trowel last week.

Psychic: You should get it back. Also, he covets your azalea.

Friend: I knew it!

So, are there any bona fide psychics out there who could pinpoint the source of these supernatural afflictions and help rid me of their nefarious machinations. Or, at the very least, take a look at my picture tube?

 

Hey, what’s everybody reading? I hope it’s Kage Baker’s In the Garden of Iden because it is July’s SF Book of the Month Club selection and, in a little over a week, Kage will be dropping by to answer your comments and queries about the book. So finish up and start composing your thoughts for the discussion which begins the week of June 30th. And if you haven’t started…What are you waiting for?!

Congratulations go out to the randomly selected winners of the previous BOTMC discussions (The Blade Itself/The Android’s Dream/Crawlers): Jens and Ytimynona! I’ve sent you both emails regarding the prize so get back to me!

Today’s pics: Kung Fu Scotsman and such.

June 13, 2008: Grass Roots Movement Killed After Being Sprayed with Glyphosate

Where the hell do you think you\'re going?!

Marty G. makes the cover.

A happy Carl Binder is better than a furious, cursing, chair-throwing Carl Binder.

Lawren\'s ice cream epiphany 

I slept downstairs on the couch last night. Now before you all start making assumptions about the state of my marriage, I’d like to make it clear that I wasn’t banished I went of my own volition. It’s all because Fondy has decided to realize a dream. No, she’s not skydiving or learning to play the cello. She’s having the upstairs carpet replaced with hardwood flooring. As a result, HER dream has turned into MY nightmare as I spent most of last night dismantling bed frames and lugging furniture, emptying the contents of three guest rooms and squeezing them into the master bedroom. With all of the precariously perched boxes and teetering headboards cluttering the place, Fondy felt it prudent to sequester the dogs in the kitchen. For their own safety. Of course, try explaining that to the dogs. Believe me, I tried. Bubba almost seemed to understand, cocking his head right, then left in an obvious attempt to figure me out. But, in the end, he proved just as clueless as Jelly, Maximus, and Lulu who, at a little after midnight, launched into a mournful group howl that startled me out of a deep sleep. Whoever said dogs have short-term memories clearly hasn’t met my pack. I lay in bed, listening to their mournful wails, thinking about what they were thinking: “How come we’re not allowed upstairs with them? Did we do something wrong? WTF?!”. Finally, unable to bear it, I grabbed my blanket and both by pillows, and headed downstairs. The pooches were thrilled to see me and, naturally, piled on the second I settled in, making the narrow confines of the downstairs couch all that more uncomfortable.

I woke up at the crack of dawn (no blackout curtains for me), took the dogs out, fed them, then headed upstairs. By the time I’d showered and shaved, Fondy was awake. “How did you sleep?”she asked.

“My back is killing me,”I offered by way of a response. But thankfully, it was a one-time sacrifice. By tonight, the work would be completed, the contents of the guest rooms moved back, and the dogs would once again be permitted free reign of the house.

Or so I thought. As it turns out, Fondy’s prediction of a 3-day project was a tad optimistic. It’ll be more of a 5-day project. Oh, and since they won’t work on weekends, let’s say 7. I’ll be sleeping in my own bed by Tuesday at the latest.

Unless it is later.

Well, I can honestly say I have never looked forward to a Friday the 13th like I did this one. It was our last day of shooting before the month-long hiatus- still, the mood was fairly subdued on our side of the production offices. I was working on my Remnants rewrite. Carl and Alan were working on their outlines. Martin left yesterday to go promote the premiere of his movie, Young People Fucking. If it‘s playing at a theater near you, do go check it out and help promote the needy Marty G. Brad and Rob were in today and we discussed Brad’s trip to Monte Carlo, pending developments, and a little something I’m calling Project Twilight.

Things picked up after lunch with the return of Ice Cream Fridays. Today’s flavors: Vanilla Butter Tart and Milk Chocolate Macaroon. Check out the look of utter contentment on Carl’s face. Doesn’t it just warm your heart?

Mailbag returns in tomorrow’s entry when I will answer almost none of your questions. But some. In the meantime, here’s a vid of the beloved Paul McGillion walking the back lot enroute to Stage 2. Click on the link or just check out the video below… 

http://s230.photobucket.com/albums/ee164/BaronDestructo/?action=view¤t=McGillionbackonset.flv