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Creation's Official Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis Convention, Burbank

July 8-10, 2005

Burbank Airport Hilton, Burbank, California


by Michelle

Please do not reproduce this article in whole or in part without permission from the author. Images are for personal use only. This report has only minor spoilers for SG-1 and Atlantis, and reveals no major plot points.

Contents

Photo Gallery
Photo Gallery: 36 Photos for Your Enjoyment
Event Reports
Peter Williams
Dan Shea
Friday Night Cabaret
Gary Jones
Don S. Davis
Joel Goldsmith
Joe Flanigan
Saturday Autographs
Sunday Charity Breakfast
Michael Shanks and Christopher Judge
Torri Higginson
Sunday Autographs
Future Cons

Events

This was the second annual Creation Stargate con in Burbank. Versus last year, there were somewhat smaller crowds, which peaked at about 400 during Michael and Chris' talk on Sunday. Everything was a bit more relaxed this year, from social events to autograph sessions, so I felt there was a nice amount of time with each guest. Everything was well-organized and ran smoothly, and it seemed a safe, secure environment for the actors. Following are my impressions and experiences from a very enjoyable con.

Peter Williams
Peter Williams

Peter was once again his charming, handsome self. He wore a bright orange tee-shirt and jeans, and had his hair done in 'dreadlocks' style which he can easily reverse with a comb. He looked more muscular than last year and said at one point that he had been working out more seriously in the past year. Whenever no one was waiting at the microphones to ask questions, he riffed pretty well with the audience. He kept up a running theme about wanting to work and how Apophis' death cost him on a personal level, which was funny.

He started by reminding the audience that the reason he wears sunglasses to conventions is… in case the eyes would start glowing and hurt someone. It's an insurance requirement.

He's done a lot of conventions in the past year. While he had quite a bit of acting work in 2003-2004, there was not so much in 2005.

He gave a special thanks to whoever it was last year who gave him Hawaiian kukui nuts, which symbolize honor, love, and friendship in Hawaii in addition to having practical purposes. Peter was grateful because his daughter loved them because she had just read about them in fashion magazines, and 'all the girls' were wearing them, in particular models. So he said to tell the woman who gave them to him that Apophis was real glad he got the kukui nuts.

As far as what he has going on, he's been doing tons of conventions. He looks at 2005 as a bit of a year off, a year to stay in the gym and get fit. He is in the early stages of working on a low-budget feature called "Life Skills" which would be produced out of Toronto and would feature Peter in the lead role as a social worker. They are working on securing funding so that he and the other actors would get paid. He also just went for a role on X-Men 3 which he would really like to get.

His advice for aspiring actors is to learn how to balance three plates on your arm [like a waiter]. But really, he recommends the stage first to find out if it's really what you want to do.

Next he talked about being in the movie the "The Chronicles of Riddick" and how it was to work with Vin Diesel. He had forty filming days on the set and was very happy to have that much work. It was wonderful working with Vin Diesel. They got along very well, and Peter was happy to realize that Vin is also from his part of the world, in particular from St. Croix (Peter is from Jamaica). Peter mentioned to Vin that his daughter was about to turn 15 and would be home alone. So Vin invited her to the set and on the day of her birthday announced it to everyone on a megaphone, brought her a birthday cake, had photos taken and generally gave her the VIP treatment. His daughter was thrilled, and other parents accused him of raising the bar too high for birthday parties. Vin was very good to Peter. Peter remembers him most for his biceps; he's a great 'arm actor'. Working on the film was very physically demanding. There was a gym on set just for everyone to stay in shape for shooting.

He's very sorry "Dead Like Me" got cancelled. He had a recurring role in it and thought it was a good show.

He talked about being a 'closet DJ' and how much he enjoyed DJ'ing for Creation at the Vancouver convention. He realizes now he can't just play Reggae but also has to know how to play the theme from Star Wars and Doctor Who as well for the sci fi crowd. So he's still honing the skill. He said he was willing to help DJ at the Saturday night dessert party with the small amount of music he'd brought with him. He did in fact DJ the party for a while, but it was after I had retreated to my room in exhaustion, so I didn't get to see it.

His favorite SG-1 character to kill was Sokar, because Peter figured Sokar was after his job. There was then a big discussion about whether Apophis had killed all of SG-1 in 1.08 "The Nox" or not (his Jaffa did kill all but Teal'c) and after the confusion he said "I forget, it's science fiction."

His favorite way to die was in 2.17 "Serpent's Song" since it took the whole hour. He thought the replicator death sucked the big one. His favorite episode was 1.01 "Children of the Gods," though he liked "The Nox" and "Serpent's Song" a lot too.

When Peter got the part of Apophis his hair was much longer; he had dreadlocks down to his shoulders. The producers decided he needed to play Apophis with short hair. The dreads are still in a plastic bag in his garage. In 8.20 "Moebius Part 2" they got around his now longer hair with a new headdress and costume that accommodated it. At a recent German con, he did a workshop on how he turns his hair from an afro into dreadlocks.

His favorite costume item was the one from 8.20 "Moebius Part 2" because it was regal and created to accommodate him as well. He also liked the warrior costume because it was all gold.

He filmed his parts of 8.20 "Moebius Part 2" on the last two days of filming of the last episode of what was supposed to be the last season of the show. Everybody had already wrapped and gone home, and they were shooting 'second unit' in a hired studio with a split crew. Michael Shanks was there for one day, but otherwise there were no actors from the show there, so it was very lonely. He still hopes to come back to Stargate. There are always flashbacks and alternate realities to explore, and he would love the opportunity. It's sort of a family thing and would give him something to talk about at cons besides.

Peter's son has begun doing commercials in Canada and has done commercials for Germany and the US. He's working as an extra in a movie at his own school in Vancouver this summer.

Someone asked what he thought about Ben Browder joining Stargate. Peter was embarrassed to admit that he had no idea who Ben Browder is or what he looks like; he had never watched Farscape. Someone in the audience showed him a photograph of Ben. Peter had a look and said, "He's good lookin'. But he kinda looks like a poor man's Michael Shanks." The audience erupted in screams and cheers; Peter had just stumbled onto the whole look-alike thing. He would like the chance for Apophis to kill Ben's character.

And on that high note, Peter finished up.

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Dan Shea
Dan Shea

In spite of flying in that morning, Dan was full of energy. He never stopped moving or talking, and he was very funny. He has some background in stand-up comedy and it showed. He had a lot of good stories to tell whether anyone had questions to ask or not.

He began by showing us the sunburn he'd acquired at the pool that day. It was truly horrid looking, but at least we got to see his very athletic tummy! The poor guy was in pain and said he had blisters besides the lobster-red skin. He was better by the next day, thankfully.

He asked who had come the furthest to the con, and there ensued a long argument about whether New Zealand or Australia is further from LA. He dreams of going to Sydney; it's Vancouver but with sun.

Dan calls Richard Dean Anderson (RDA) "Big Boy". He has been RDA's stunt double since the pilot episode of Stargate. He talked about doing 'ratchet' stunts in which you wear a harness and get attached to cables connected to a crane. The crane pulls you up and back as if you've been blown back by an explosion. The crane is operated by a crazy German named Kurt who wears his pants low so that he gives everyone a 'teamster smile' from behind. He also has long nose hairs. They've done a lot of ratchets this season, in one case with six people being yanked at once from a single crane. After that stunt, Peter DeLuise gave Kurt electric nose hair clippers as a gift.

I asked which actor was the bravest and least brave about doing their own stunts. He said they're all incredibly brave. They are all heroes, braver than we could ever imagine. There is no non-brave guy that he has to work with twelve hours a day who might hear about anything he says. However the craziest one is Ben, the new guy. He wants to do everything. They had him in a fly harness doing flips. In one episode they actually hand-jerked Ben into a wall, using a cable and harness. Dan had to fight hard to limit the length they would jerk him to a safe, short distance. They had to calm down the guy who was going to do the pulling to make sure he didn't take his anger at actors out on Ben. Ben did the stunt; it was the first time they had ever hand-jerked an actor. I know there's a joke there but I'm going to refrain.

When it comes to setting up stunts, it's always a struggle with realism versus time and cost. Also, the audience wants to see the actors' faces. In modern filming you can't get away with wide shots of stuntmen and close-ups of actors like the old days, so you have to stretch things each way to use the actor as much as is safe. So there's a trade-off between safety and realism of course.

Once Amanda struck her head in an elevator and got a mild concussion (1.03 "The Enemy Within"). Dan and his colleagues got called into the 'How-come Room'. All the producers line up and, even after you've done just what they asked for, ask you, "How come you did that?" That's when you start talking real loud and apologize and hopefully the next time you show up, your parking spot is still there.

As far as Siler and the wrench, that started with Martin Wood, who asked him to carry around a 50-lb working wrench. Siler and Martin would always be in the background using the wrench. Sometimes they would have him cranking a huge wrench on a little tiny nut. Then one day 'Big Boy' said, "That's not funny." They had Siler in an infirmary bed with the wrench under the blankets next to him. 'Big Boy' saw it and said it wasn't funny. So that was the end of the wrench. Someone has suggested he market thousands of tiny wrenches.

Dan used to be a stand-up comic. He says he switched to stunt work because he wasn't funny. Really, stand-up comedy is the worst thing in the world you can ever do. It's ugly. He was a prop comic, the lowest form of comic, like Carrot Top. He used a chain saw as part of his act. Once he started working as a stunt mant on MacGyver, he never looked back on being a comic.

A woman asked who's a better hockey player: RDA, Shankster, or him? He was reluctant to answer but said it depends on how you define 'better'. If you define better as "being faster, being stronger, being able to stick-handle better, being able to see the whole ice, being totally unselfish," etc, etc, being at a higher level, then he would say him. But that's not necessarily 'better', just different. That was very funny. He claims both Shanks and 'Big Boy' are 'sticky' on the ice, and Big Boy would hammer guys for no reason, and they couldn't hammer him back because they couldn't hurt his face.

He told the story of the female fan who, at a Lightspeed event last year, drove him to the wrong airport and nearly cost him his life. The woman was in the front row at this con and was good-humored while he described how she drove him to Burbank Airport when he was supposed to be leaving from LAX. Once she realized the mistake, she drove like a complete maniac back to LAX, darting through traffic while chatting about the show. Dan nearly needed to change his underwear. When they got there and he dashed out of her car, he never said goodbye or thanks. He arrived at LAX minutes before the flight and somehow made it to his flight in time. Dan seems a bit traumatized by that experience still.

He finished by doing a great imitation of the way RDA runs. He partly got the job on MacGyver because he could run like 'His Boy'. Dan's rendition of it was quite unwieldy but perhaps not too far from the truth.

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Friday Night Cabaret

I attended the cabaret but didn't take any notes. It was enjoyable, especially Don S. Davis' recitations of some bittersweet stories about aging and dogs and life in general. Gary Jones told some great stories that he repeated on Saturday. Dan Shea was a last minute replacement for Teryl Rothery but did a fine job keeping everyone laughing.

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Gary Jones
Gary Jones

Gary Jones was the first one up on Saturday. He is a professional comic, and it shows all through his talk, which was energetic, funny, and polished. He was happy to start telling stories without anyone asking questions. His humor was all in how he told each story, with lots of gestures and funny phrases and the occasional Captain Kirk impression.

First he did his impression of Don S. Davis as General Hammond, consisting of long, deep-voiced growls and groans. A funny distillation of Don's voice.

He told the inside story of how veteran movie actor Wallace Shawn got cast as an alien in an episode of SG-1 for Season 9 (9.04 "The Ties That Bind"). Gary's friend Mike Roberts was up for the part and had an unusual call-back for a second audition. Unfortunately for him, his audition was great, but he reminded director Will Waring of Wallace Shawn. Joe Mallozzi heard about this and asked if they could actually get Wallace Shawn, and surprisingly they were able to. So Gary's friend Mike acted himself out of a gig.

Gary talked about filming an alternate universe episode in which his character would be his civilian counterpart, in a fire fight in the SGC. Since he would be firing a machine gun for the first time, they gave him a whole 15 minutes of training out in the parking lot. The actual filming was a lot more difficult, with all the noise and charges going off and people yelling instructions. His one line was to yell at General Hammond, "Sir, we have to get out of here!". He thought he did it just fine, but afterward the director said they had to do the scene again. He asked Gary to exit the scene in a more 'manly' way and showed him what he had done, sort of backing out of the scene. Gary demonstrated this for the audience, and it was quite amazingly bad.

He said some of the equipment in the SGC control room set is real and ancient. Things like toggle switches that would make no sense at all. What do they toggle? It's a challenge for him to come up with something to do with his hands if they will be on camera. There's not much there to play with. When his hands aren't visible, he does 'shoulder acting'.

Gary started doing improv with Second City in Toronto. He came out to Vancouver for a six-month stint with Second City and ended up staying behind when they went back to Toronto. He worked in comedy clubs doing improv and couldn't get an on-camera acting gig for anything. In auditions he wasn't getting parts because he was acting too 'big' for television due to his stage experience. He figured that out when he got a part on "Wise Guy" and saw how subtle the acting was. So after that he had more luck getting television parts.

He talked about how he did an improv show at the home of Bill Gates on New Year's Eve of the millennium. The house was amazing as you might imagine and has amazing security, with guards speaking into their sleeves like secret service agents. But he had a nice time and Bill Gates was hilarious, dressed all in browns like the ultimate geek, and with bed head.

He told the fascinating story of his character's last name. It's been nine years of "who is this guy?" He started out as Davis, just to have a name for his name tag, for close-ups. Then they added the first name, Norman. Then, in "2010", RDA called him "Walter" during an ad-lib. After the scene they told RDA, "Walter isn't his name." But RDA said, "It is now." The lawyers had to make sure there wasn't a Walter Davis in the states who would object. So then he was Norman Walter Davis. Then in another episode, Don S. Davis called him "Airman." But the production people weren't sure if he'd said, "Airman" or "Harriman." So they began to call him Harriman. Then he was Walter Norman Harriman. Finally they dropped the Norman, and he became just Walter Harriman. He figures he's not far different from a 'red shirt' on Star Trek, with such a fluid name.

He talked about doing episode commentaries with Peter DeLuise, who often doesn't want to talk about the episode itself [no kidding, dude]. So it's like they're watching TV at home or something, goofing around. That's how he got talking about 'reaching and grabbing,' meaning how he pretends to be doing something at the console. It's especially hard to do something useful because the set people don't let him touch the computer keyboard because the keys make noise that messes up the shot.

He then told a very funny story that he'd told the night before about shooting an episode from Season 6 [perhaps 6.13 "Sight Unseen" but not confirmed]. The scene was a complicated one in the control room, and Gary knew it was going to take forever to set it up. So he sat in his usual chair reading a magazine. He wasn't paying much attention to what was going on. He'd hear "action" and "cut" but figured it was just all the rehearsal takes going on. Then the director, Peter DeLuise, yelled "cut" and "moving on," which meant they were done filming. People started moving equipment. Gary was mortified, because all he had done was read a magazine in every take! So he admitted it to Peter, but Peter said yeah, he knew, and he figured he could say that Harriman was reading a technical manual. Gary didn't find it too believable that Harriman would be browsing a technical manual when the world was about to end, but at least they didn't need to re-shoot the scene.

And with that, Gary finished his entertaining Q&A.

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Don S. Davis
Don S. Davis

Don was his charming, sweet, Southern gentlemanly self. He told some old stories and some new and in general demonstrated that he has a great view of life.

Don has been very busy with acting work. This year he's gotten to play everything from mad scientists to evil art dealers to sheriffs who get shotgun blasted to death. It's been a lot of fun. He's been away from Stargate for a while so all he can say now is that he misses the people a great deal and that it was one of the best experiences of his life.

He admitted that he's been too busy to prepare for the painting and carving art show he was planning to do in France. He hasn't had time to make any progress other than doing some art for his and his wife's home. He's done a couple of TV series, 2 films, and a British movie of the week. And now he has a horror movie coming up, a series, and some other things. So he couldn't keep his promise to fans last year to get back to his art.

He and Michael Shanks have similarly not been able to make progress on the movie "Maggie Rose" because they've both been too busy.

He keeps in close contact with about half the staff from the show "Twin Peaks." In fact some of those friends take care of his LA home when he's up in Canada. He's formed similar close bonds with some of the people on Stargate; after all they worked together for nine months of the year and then traveled together for the other three!

He feels he's the luckiest person he's ever known. He's traveled to every continent except South America. He's lucky that there have been three shows that the whole world knows about that he's worked on: Twin Peaks, The X-Files, and Stargate. And it was all luck that he got to work on them. He got on the X-Files job through a friend who was directing an episode concerning Sculley's dad. He got the Stargate job because of RDA, Michael Greenburg, and their MacGyver connection. He got the job on Twin Peaks because David Lynch likes weird people.

As far as his art being for sale on line, he would like for that to happen, but the domain name donsdavis.com was taken by someone in London, and that person won't give it back to Don. He's been trying to get it back for three years, but they won't give it up without a lot of money. So that effort is on the back burner for now. What a pity.

He spoke about how nice Mark Harmon is and how he enjoyed working on the television show NCIS. That role was supposed to be recurring but so far it hasn't recurred.

I pointed out to Don that Gary does an impression of him that's pretty much just growling. He said that Gary is "an evil young man." He said sometimes when people think he's growling at them, he's simply trying to digest his food. Gary was always whispering obscenities to him and telling him that for someone who made as much money as he did, he should be able to pronounce three-syllable words.

Don talked about his time at Southern Illinois University and the nice article that was recently written about him in the alumni magazine.

He expects to be asked to reprise his role as a Southern preacher in the opening three episodes of The West Wing, but there appear to be scheduling conflicts with other work he's already committed to, so he's not sure if it will work out. He had a great time working on that show and really likes the character. But, he couldn't not sign a contract for a sure thing in order to wait for something that's a 'maybe'. For example, his role on NCIS was supposed to be a recurring character, but nothing has come of it yet.

He will have a recurring role in "Dead Zone" and he's doing a pilot called "Three Moons Over Milbury" where he would play a town psychologist in another recurring role.

He was asked about working on "Miracle" with Kurt Russell. He admires Kurt for his honesty in admitting, in regard to his role in "Poseidon Adventure," that he has a great fear of swimming under water. He's another great guy like Mark Harmon and RDA, where what you see is what you get.

Don then told the story of how we went from being a Professor of Theater at the University of Vancouver to being a stunt double for the late Dana Elcar in MacGyver, and finally a television and film actor. I've reported that story before so I won't repeat it here.

He talked about using the college ROTC program to make his way through college, after which he toured with the USO in the musical "South Pacific." Then he entered the Army as a 2nd Liutenant. He was on active duty for 36 months and left as a Captain. From that service he was able to get a Master's degree and Ph.D.

He talked about how he's gone through life with an angel on his shoulder keeping him out of serious trouble. He still has close friends from his Army days who would drop everything to help him out. One old friend looked after Don's son while he was at college. His philosophy of life is to be a good guy, because whatever you put out there comes back to you.

Asked who "General Hammond" has the hots for, he said his wife, Ruby, but that he has a real fondness for Janet Fraiser and Sam Carter.

He misses the show but is very happy to see the great cast they have added. He lamented that he hasn't had time to pick up a golf club in two years. Once he got back to LA and got reintroduced to everyone, he got very busy again. It was harder than he'd expected to get jobs at first. He thought he'd be known for Stargate, since it is so popular, but found most of the Hollywood crowd weren't aware of it.

He loved Stargate. He made friends there who will be his friends for the rest of his life. But in the end the show is about four people who travel through a 'giant sphincter,' not about Hammond. Hammond's basic job is to call the squad in before the mission and say "go get 'em". Then maybe he gets to get angry or get half a grin. Then at the end he gets to say "we will debrief in thirty minutes".

He played Hammond as an officer who cared more about taking care of his troops than anything else, because that's what he learned to do himself in the Army. So that's what he brought to the role. And after seven years, there wasn't much more he could do with Hammond as an actor. Don is obsessed with acting, has been trained to do it, and there's only so much subtext you can read into "all right troops, the bad guys are invading again." He said that line in two different ways to great effect.

And with that, Don signed the banners and made his way off the stage to much applause. Thanks, Mr. Davis!

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Joel Goldsmith
Joel Goldsmith

Joel Goldsmith, son of composer Jerry Goldsmith, is the composer for Stargate: SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis. Though he didn't write the title music for SG-1, which was carried over from the movie, he has written a lot of other music for the show, and all the music for Atlantis.

The room had fewer people for Joel's talk, but ironically he gave the biggest news scoop of the whole convention, namely that SciFi Channel had asked for the opening credits of SG-1 and Atlantis to be cut to 10 seconds. I reported that news here at Solutions within half an hour, and it sure caused a reaction all around fandom, all of it negative. Those negative feelings were borne out by the airing of the premieres of both shows: the credits were truly horrible and did a disservice to both the show and the composer. End rant!

Joel is sort of a shy guy who seemed truly grateful for all the praise people heaped on his work on both shows. He had his colleague Rick with him and a computer techie assistant as well I believe. He described how they do the scoring for the shows using sampled music and synthesizers, but still achieve an orchestral sound. Each season they score 10 episodes using their music library, and score 10 others from scratch. This is due to the music budget for the show.

Joel acknowledged that MGM never really tried to market the music for the show. One of the CD's they did release was so bad Joel had nothing to do with it. But now Sony owns MGM, and since Sony has a big music presence, they are already talking about a series of CD's. I think he said the first would be the score of Rising for Atlantis, but I'm not sure about that, and that deal was struck before Sony came on board. In any case, we can expect a lot more music merchandise as a result of Sony buying MGM.

Joel iterated with Brad Wright on the theme for Atlantis. He would like to release all of the different versions as it evolved on the web if they can ever get their web site set up. Of course this was all before he knew he'd get an Emmy nomination for that theme. Way to go, Joel!

I had a short chat with Joel in the autograph line. He was very nice and appreciated knowing we all notice the music for the shows and value what it brings to the experience.

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Joe Flanigan
Joel Goldsmith

Here's where I sheepishly admit that my notes for Joe's talk are gone. Missing. Beamed away. So this is a reconstruction based on my aging memory. I'm very sorry about that.

General impressions first. Joe appeared very relaxed in word and posture but by facial expression sometimes a bit bemused: a bit perplexed by the whole fan thing. He was more thoughtful about his character and his portrayal than I might have expected based on his casual demeanor. He handled the questions with charm and agility, even a long exchange with a woman who thinks Sheppard is descended from Elves and had mentioned that to him at the Vancouver con. He said he and Brad Wright had had a long conversation about that but still couldn't quite get their heads around it. Joe is the only one in his family with pointy ears, however.

He was looking forward to going the following Monday with Brad Wright to Nellis AFB, Nevada, to get a ride in one of the Thunderbirds' F-16's. Even though the Air Force doesn't officially sponsor Atlantis, they managed to wrangle rides. [Joe reported the following weekend at ComicCon that he got his ride but sadly lost his lunch in the process of reaching 9.5 G's.]

Joe was born in California but grew up in Reno; he went to boarding school in Ojai, California for high school, then to the University of Colorado, Boulder, for a History degree. He was painfully shy in college and would drop out of a class if he heard he would have to read in front of the class. He took an acting class to get over his shyness but never expected to make a career of acting.

Someone asked if his character would become 'darker' in Season 2. He said Brad Wright believes it's very important that the heroic leads of the show don't go permanently dark, and that the audience has to respect their decisions. Brad thought that Firefly failed as a show because the Captain made bad decisions that after a while would leave the audience wondering why he was in charge. So that won't happen to Sheppard, but look for him to go temporarily 'dark-side' under alien influences now and then.

Asked about the rumored kiss between Sheppard and Teyla, he said there would be a kiss, but it would not be what we expect it will be. He talked about kissing your co-stars and how, while some actors might be very 'method' about it, Joe is nothing but professional, of course. Besides that, he co-stars are his friends now so it would be weird.

He got the job on Atlantis in a very low-stress way. His manager was at a party with MGM's Hank Cohen and Joe's name came up. Joe said it was very dignified compared to how it can often be to get an acting job.

I told him the McKay/Sheppard dynamic is my favorite part of the show and asked if we'd see much of it this season. He said you can't overdo it or it becomes too much, but there would be quite a bit of the two of them doing their banter. He first arrived at the idea that the two characters are like Crosby and Hope in the road show movies because David Hewlett's nose has the same shape as Bob Hope's. The producers don't really want to go too far down that path, but Joe thinks it would be a lot of fun.

His favorite episode to shoot this year has been "Instinct", which, according to the SciFi special, involves learning more about Wraith physiology. He really enjoyed last season's "Underground" because he got to work with Colm Meaney. Of course he thought "The Storm" and "The Eye" were great ones to watch in Season 1.

Joe is a true extreme sports enthusiast. He's done skydiving, SCUBA diving, snow-boarding, mountain climbing, surfing, etc. He told the story of going blind in one eye at the top of Mount Ranier in Washington. It turned out his cornea was frozen but he didn't know it at the time and was afraid his other eye would go, too. He felt very stupid for possibly being about to die with a pregnant wife at home. So he and his friends scrambled down the mountain in a horrible storm rather than risking him getting stuck up there blind and helpless. His vision came back once his eye thawed out.

His brother took him up in a Cessna 182 private plane and nearly killed him. He was his brother's first passenger after getting his license, but Joe didn't know that until they were up flying. Joe said they landed almost sideways.

He just spent a week surfing in Baja and is planning a golfing trip to Scotland in November. He might try to fit a con in while he's there but the whole trip is dependent on whether he gets work during the hiatus.

Okay, that's what I remember from Joe's talk. Did I mention he's really good looking? I think the pictures tell that story pretty well.

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Saturday Autographs

My one autograph story for Saturday was that I got the nerve to tell Joe Flanigan that I'm a fellow (former) Reno-ite and CU Boulder alum. He was amazed by that coincidence. I told him which high school I went to in Reno, and it turns out his brother went to the same one! Of course I was too flustered to ask him why he went away to a boarding school in Ojai instead of staying in Reno. Too bad I couldn't control my blathering about college life in Boulder, but he peacefully ignored me as he wrote a nice note on the picture I had him sign, telling me I have a good background - Reno and Boulder. Very cool.

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Saturday Dessert Party
Dessert Party

The dessert party featured Joe Flanigan, Don S. Davis, Peter Williams, Dan Shea, and Gary Jones. All of the photo ops were at the beginning, paparazzi style, then we were asked to put away our cameras. The good part about that is the actors aren't mobbed with photo takers, and the time at the tables isn't taken up just with photos either, so there's time to chat. The desserts were good I'm told; after our gourmet feast at a nearby Wendy's, I was too full to eat the lovely ice cream or pastries. Each actor spent a few relaxed minutes at each table so we all got a chance to chat a bit.

One interesting thing Don told us is that he is getting rid of his Santa Monica house and looking for a small apartment in the valley. His wife, Ruby, could not take the bad air in LA and had a series of health problems from it. So she had to move back to their home in Vancouver, and Don is anxious to join her there. He will commute to LA as necessary for work, which sounds like it will be quite frequently.

Since we had an Air Force Sergeant and his wife (former Air Force) at our table, Joe talked some more about the Air Force and its involvement in the show. They aren't official sponsors of Atlantis like they are of SG-1, so they don't approve the scripts. They would like to be sponsors, but Joe would have to cut his hair to be within the regulations. (The Sergeant at our table thought it would just about pass the way it was.) Brad decided he'd rather have Joe's wild hair than Air Force approval. Joe said hair is a big deal in Hollywood. The producers and studio people have entire meetings about hair. That was funny.

I asked Peter Williams if people in Jamaica smoke as much of the 'gange' as they are rumored to. He smiled and said at the time he left at age 20, he had never smoked any. That said, he agreed it's available everywhere and that it goes with the music. He's not against the practice but values his health too much to smoke anything. He looks very healthy, so something must be working for him!

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Sunday Charity Breakfast
Charity Breakfast

The charity breakfast started at the ungodly hour of 8 am. On a Sunday! Seven of us lined up early so we could sit together, and that worked out well. I'm sure the early hour was to leave time for all the actors visiting before their photo ops but still, 8 am, wow.

Michael Shanks, Christopher Judge, and Torri Higginson arrived ahead of schedule, well before 9 am. After the paparazzi-style photo frenzy, the actors had time to eat some breakfast themselves; they ate with a lucky table of fans with three empty seats. I witnessed personally that Michael puts ketchup on his eggs. If you report that, please give credit to Solutions :-)

Once again the actors went separately to each table. The time was more relaxed than I'd expected. A few minutes in, the handlers realized that 3 minutes per table was not going to happen. I'd say 5 minutes was more the average, which is a nice amount of time to chat and ask a few questions.

When Michael got to our table, he was in very good humor even if he looked a bit tired. I asked if Chris had had him out late the night before, and he said, no, they'd just visited at their hotel for a while. But he admitted he's simply not a morning person and hasn't been since he and his brother were kids and his mom would try to cheerily wake them up for breakfast. I noted that early mornings seem required for filming, and he said he often wondered if it was the wrong business for him on that account.

I asked Michael how things were going on set this year. He said things have been "interesting" and emphasized that he means that in a good way. There's a lot of new territory to explore as an actor, getting used to the new actors and characters. It's been great for him.

He said his new daughter is fine but has a set of lungs on her and inherited both her parents' stubbornness. Very sweet.

I asked if there would be any "Daniel" episodes in the second half of the season, since the spoilers didn't indicate so. He said there might be one; he wasn't sure. When I asked if they were more "team" type episodes, he chuckled that "team episode" is like the new watchword on the set. It's all about the team.

A woman at our table (one half of a very nice Air Force couple) asked Michael if he thought the new cast would 'revive' the show. He chose not to address the implication that it needed reviving but said that you can throw in all the gimmicks you want, the sci fi cachet, the special effects, everything, but at the end of the day the show has to be entertaining. And to him, as 'jaded' a person as they come, the new season is very entertaining. He loves four of the five finished episodes he's seen; the fifth is great, just not his cup of tea. He earnestly predicted we would like the new incarnation of the show. He said he thought if they'd continued on with the same premise as last year, it might have been like flogging a dead horse. He's glad for the changes.

While all this deep discussion was happening, there was a mini-muffin-based food fight going on in the background. Michael lobbed one a great distance and only missed Chris by inches. The young lady sitting next to Michael got hit, and Michael hugged her in protection and apology. So a little muffin rash was more than worth it to her.

Torri came to our table next and sat right beside me, which was cool, even though she sat there so as not to sit with her back to the table where Chris was sitting at the time. She admitted to being nervous but was very sweet with us. I told her we were nervous too. She explained that her tee-shirt says "Coexist" using the symbols of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. It's a sentiment she believes in. She told us she is Welsh and has lived lots of different places including some time in the US. We had a lovely chat, but to be honest I don't remember what else we talked about!

Chris was his energetic self, with a big dose of sincerity as well. He said he's thinking this will be his last year of conventions because he wants to be home with his kids, especially his new daughter. During filming it's just too hard to get time with any of them. He felt bad leaving his fianceé home alone with the baby; when he'd called Gia at 4 am, she hadn't been to bed yet, the poor thing.

I asked if the studio was treating them well this year. He said better than ever, really. With RDA gone the other original cast members are the anchors of the show and have more of a spotlight on them. So he misses Rick very much as a friend, but there are positive side-effects of his departure. I appreciated Chris' honesty there.

I asked if they are getting more money now that Sony owns MGM. He smiled but took it to mean I was asking if his salary was higher, and noted that that was quite a personal question. Ooops! I clarified that I meant the production budget and he said yes, the budget is higher. The backers are very committed to the show for the long term.

He talked in glowing terms about the new cast members and especially Claudia Black. While all the actors fool around off-camera all the time, she actually fools around on camera, forcing everyone to improvise with her. She has a ton of energy and keeps everyone on their toes. When I asked, he said he would love for her to be a regular cast member if that could ever work out. Lou Gossett, Jr is also a cut-up on the set, and Chris loves working with him.

And that was our charity breakfast. I appreciated the extra time the actors spent with everyone beyond their contracted one hour.

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Michael Shanks and Christopher Judge
Chris holding Michael at Michael's request

At the request of the actors, Creation put Michael and Chris together on stage for nearly two hours rather than the advertised back-to-back one-hour segments. I for one was very happy with this change. The guys played off each other very well, and the audience was frequently howling during their antics. They have great come-backs and comedic timing, and their friendship and familiarity really shine through. As well as their physical perfection, of course. In the past, people have complained that Chris takes over a bit too much when they're on stage together, but Michael was more than a match for Chris this time. It's hard to convey how funny they were just with words, but I'll do my best.

The guys watched their characters' respective introductory videos from behind the stage. For Teal'c, there was "Into that Good Night", and for Daniel, "A Kind of Magic". Both terrific videos were by Brihana and can be downloaded at TheAlphaSite. They were exceptional and well received. I should also mention that at other times during the convention Creation played a great Unas-themed video by Claire from New Zealand, who was there at the con. Her site is Little Heaven and the video is called "Walk the Dinosaur".

When Michael and Chris came on stage, Chris told Michael that watching those "wonderful" videos reminded him of how young and good-looking Michael used to be. Michael retorted that Chris's video showed he'd had a lot less surgeries years ago. A few minutes later (after the calendar discussion), Chris noted how fitting it was that Michael's video was to a song by Queen. Michael groaned, "oh god," as if he knew what he was in for for the next two hours. He was right about that!

Next they talked about their new calendar project. Chris did a rather sparse and lame introduction. Michael asked the audience how many knew what the hell Chris was talking about. At the low response, Michael imitated him and then gave a more coherent explanation. Chris and he have been producing a "Women of Sci Fi" calendar. Chris did all the photography, and Michael helped him produce it. (They acknowledged all of the talk of a "Men of Sci Fi" calendar and said it was pending, to much cheering.) There will be a behind-the-scenes DVD of the making of the calendar. The calendar and DVD will come out in September. They showed about a 4-minute teaser of the behind-the-scenes DVD. It was very high energy, with quick editing and a rock music track. The actresses include Lexa Doig, Teryl Rothery, Ellen Dubin (I think) and a tall blonde actress I didn't recognize. Each was shot in a variety of flashy sci-fi costumes and make-up so each will apparently have more than one "month" devoted to her. If this was filmed after Lexa had her baby, which is likely, then all I can say she has completely recovered. Her tummy looked perfect. Sigh. The guys later explained that Amanda Tapping was busy 'giving birth' during the photo shoots and refused to let them film that.

Michael's bracelet Roots bracelets

Michael was wearing a bracelet with the phrase "Give Hope" on it. I didn't hear anyone ask him about it, but I did find via google that it matches the bracelets created as part of a Tsunami Relief Campaign by the (very cool) Canadian clothing company, Roots. You can read more about the campaign at the Roots press announcement.

If Michael could play any part in any movie, he would play James Bond, because he goes on forever and the women just keep gettin' younger.

Someone asked if Chia Teal'c would be back. Chris took mock offense and asked if that meant his 'do' was too 'afro-y' last year. Then he compared Peter Williams' afro to 'Sideshow Bob' from The Simpsons. This year, Teal'c's hair is more of a Caesar cut, because it implies something more alien, like Spock. Michael questioned whether that many aliens really have a Caesar cut. Chris couldn't think of very many non-Vulcan examples.

Michael said the most annoying thing about Daniel Jackson is his… little buddy, Teal'c. The man's gotta choose his friends a little bit better. Chris said the most annoying thing about Teal'c is the eyebrow thing. At this point they even write it into the scripts, instead of dialog. Michael gave a perfect rendition of "Indeed" at that point. Chris then did an imitation of a frenetic, stuttering Daniel.

Michael said it's almost become a drinking game how often Daniel gets shot or killed. He got shot by everyone in 8.03 "Lockdown" and some people twice. It's like a form of sport now. In 8.11 "Gemini" he was only in two scenes, but in one, Carter came through the gate and shot him! He joked that they are now putting the squibs directly into his costumes.

He was amazed to realize he'd been in infirmary clothing for six different filming days in only a month and a half. So Season 9 is not shaping up to be much healthier for Daniel.

When asked if, since he just turned 40, Daniel would have a mid-life crisis, buy a Harley, and become a mud wrestler, Michael said simply, "Yes." Chris would buy a ticket to see that. He said Daniel could have a whole persona, "Injury Man" and get injured to Queen music all the time.

The best thing Daniel ever did was to open the Stargate. The worst was to die. And he keeps on dying. Chris was not happy with that answer, but Michael refused to "pepper it with anecdotes" whereupon Chris mocked him with "we're doing a Q&A; we're not going to pepper it with anecdotes?!" to much laughter. Michael assured that he knew if he didn't fill in the blanks, Chris would.

Chris remarked that since they've had their new babies, they've changed. The two of them hadn't had a drink so far that day. The night before, they didn't go out; they sat in Chris' room and talked, like two teenage girls, reminiscing about their old exploits. He said if they continue this not-drinking thing, they might find out they really don't like each other. Michael joked that he found that out a long time ago.

Asked what is new for Teal'c and Daniel this season, Chris replied, "As a couple?" He somehow segued into saying he'd seen the questioner's art on the internet, and thank you for making him so "heroic." With prompting from someone in the audience, Chris said he was only talking about his staff weapon. Michael predicted he would start drinking before the hour was up. What's new for Teal'c is a lot more talking. In one episode, Chris freaked out to see blocks of dialog for Teal'c.

Michael remarked that between Chris and Ben Browder not wanting to say dialog, it's like Daniel and a gaggle of mutes running around. Chris said Ben hates talking worse than he does. He just wants to get on with the action. He tries to give his lines away, like trying to get Teal'c to say, "Roger that," which would be just slightly out of character.

Chris said Ben is very funny. He's all about the action. He likes to do his own stunts. Chris pointed out that they have stunt men who are paid to do dangerous stuff. But Ben will do the whole thing himself and end up all bruised up. He's great at it, but his zealousness is amazing.

Michael said in 9.01 "Avalon Part 1" and 9.02 "Avalon Part 2", RCC gave him so much dialog, and Michael said it so fast, that he actually went backward in time. Not far wrong there, Michael!

Anyway, what Ben needs is a 'dialog double' instead of a stunt double, according to Michael.

Someone asked about leather pants and Michael said there is an episode where they all wear them. Chris said you can guess who is happiest about that. Then Michael said he was hurt by all the insinuation about himself and said to Chris, "Please hold me." Chris gave him a lovely hug, to much aww-ing from the audience.

Chris then asked to do an inventory of the young people to see if anything he'd said so far was offensive. He ran up to a group of younger folks. They seemed okay. He said Brad Wright had gotten some letters from fans not happy with the subject matter of some of their con appearances. Brad said he wasn't asking them to change anything but just to make sure the audience was okay with it.

A woman asked how Chris would have Michael pose for the centerfold of his next calendar. Chris said, "feathers and leather."

A woman asked Chris why Teal'c was sleeveless in Season 8. Was it just to show his huge muscles? He said, "Yeah." He upped his workout routine last year but they kept having to wear jackets. And he wondered why he even bothered to work out so hard. Michael also said it's a very pragmatic thing when filming in the hot Vancouver summer. "Plus if you look like that guy does, sh*t…" At which point Michael ran into the audience and handed out dollars to several kids to make up for the cuss word.

Anyway he said Chris should walk around half naked all the time. Chris asked if there was something Michael wanted to tell him. Michael said, no, he was just admiring his discipline and hard work. "It's a wonderful thing to love yourself as much as you do," he said, and then broke down laughing.

Michael and Chris waiting to be Puff and Ruffled

A woman wanted to know if they'd done the 'Puff and Ruffle' to Lexa Doig when she joined the cast. This led to a very long, hilarious segment in which Michael first asked if the Puff and Ruffle needed to be explained, then groaned at how few people knew what he was talking about. They then called up three women to act it out for everyone, using Michael and Chris to play the visiting actresses. Of course when it came down to it, the three women weren't able to do a very good job of it, understandably. So Michael and Chris did it to them, fawning appropriately and offering snacks.

Chris denied that any of this behavior was actually true, but someone in the audience said even Torri had confirmed that it was real. Chris yelled for Torri and then went backstage to get her. Michael could hear them bickering in the back. A moment later she came out with Chris, looking a bit shell-shocked as she gamely took a seat. Chris asked her to confirm that she had 'an opinion' about how they greet the women on set. Sadly for them, Torri did indeed say they acted differently around pretty guest actors. Torri said she found it endearing, in a very manly way. When Chris asked if they were indeed "flirtatious," Torri said they made a girl feel like a girl. At which point Michael said that Chris makes a guy feel like a girl. Anyway, after asking her time after time if they really come across that way and each time getting a reluctant but heartfelt "yes" from Torri, the boys had to acknowledge that something was there.

Michael giving Torri the P&R

Then Torri started to leave, but instead jumped into Michael's arms, put her legs around his waist, and gave him a kiss on the smacker. I think she did the same to Chris, but sadly I did not catch either with my camera. It was fabulous!

Chris' favorite scene of any season was the scene from 6.19 "Changeling", because he wrote it and because it gave him chance to bring "my boy" back, meaning Michael. He said as far as what scene, "You know, when me and Corin Nemec were in the fire truck?" Michael broke up laughing at that. Really, it was the scene in the park where they walked around talking. It was his favorite scene to do and probably the longest scene they've had together for the entire run of the show. Michael noted how sad it was that the longest scene they've had together was when Teal'c wasn't playing himself, Daniel was dead, and Michael wasn't even on the show. But Chris loved it because it embodied what they are to each other in real life.

He then said his other favorite scene was when he was "making it with Jolene Blalock" which Michael said with him exactly in unison. Hilarious. Chris doesn't know why that took six hours to shoot.

Michael's most memorable scene was the fight scene that he and Claudia Black did in "Prometheus Unbound." It's an interesting day when, two minutes after a woman jams a fire extinguisher up your crotch, that she sticks her tongue down your throat. That to him is a complete day.

Someone asked what their favorite prank on each other was. Michael's favorite is the bear story but he's told that a million times. His more recent favorite was when his daughter was on set and had eaten some chocolate dessert. At the end of the day he was cleaning the chocolate stuff out of the bowl with some toilet paper and got a brainstorm. He took the toilet paper and wiped it all over the bowl and then threw it onto Chris's floor just inside the trailer door. He ran back to his trailer and waited for a reaction, but none came. He went to Chris's trailer eventually and asked why he hadn't gotten mad about the toilet paper. Chris said, "Oh dude, I thought that was mine!" It wasn't the joke so much as Chris's honest response. Chris defended himself by saying he thought he'd had some stuck to his shoe or something.

A follow-up to that, along this same 'Turd Burglar' theme, was that Chris put some cookie dough into Ben Browder's toilet and made it look like the real thing. He and Claudia watched and waited from his trailer until Ben went in. All they heard was Ben yelling at the top of his lungs, "Judge!." He left his trailer looking completely freaked out. He thought it was real, and Chris didn't let him off the hook. He was white as a sheet. Chris refused to flush it for him. He said, "Welcome to Stargate." They finally told him it was cookie but it didn't change a thing.

A woman asked if they'd ever had a scare with a fan. Chris said at Comicon last year they had a big scare. They didn't have a lot of security and a couple thousand people rushed them. The fans weren't just trying to talk but were in a frenzy. They had gone out onto the merchandise floor and just didn't expect to be recognized since they hadn't been before. It was disappointing that they couldn't walk around, because this mob thing happened.

The worst one for Chris was in Paris, on the Mall. He had a body guard with him. A group of 20 or 30 20-year-old kids recognized them. His bodyguard pretended not to understand French to see what they were up to. The kids were talking about stabbing the bodyguard to get to Chris and get his autograph. So the bodyguard had them actually start running away, and Chris wondered if it would have been easier to just give the autographs.

Michael talked about the strange letters they get from people who are convinced they knew them in a prior life. But he hasn't had any dangerous stalker encounters. Chris imitated Michael's fans as being quite out there, screaming "Michael!!!" at the top of their lungs.

Someone asked if there's a chance Corin Nemec will be back. Chris immediately answered, "No." He said he didn't know how he would come back because… Chris was struggling there so Michael said simply that there are no plans he knows of to bring Corin Nemec back this season. Chris then said the Daniel Jackson character is wildly popular, so when you bring in a new character to say the same lines, it doesn't work. It didn't work, and everyone knew it. It's not a diss to Corin, just a testament to how loved Daniel Jackson is. There was much cheering here. Chris then did a riff about Parker Lewis.

Asked about it, Chris talked about a Lifetime movie he did called "Personal Effects", broadcast this year. In it, his character was supposed to have a romantic relationship with the white female lead, Penelope Ann Miller. But Lifetime shied away from the mixed-race romance and cut those scenes out of the final version. The edits were very obvious, too. So the movie business still has a way to go as far as inter-racial romance on screen. That's the good thing about SciFi Channel, they don't even care if the two are even of the same species.

Asked about his biggest screw-up on camera, Chris talked about his flatulence problems and how they came back to haunt him while he was in various space suits. Michael said that's not his problem, it's everyone's! Michael said there's nothing funny about being trapped in a small space with him when he does that. That it's a truly foul smell.

Michael and Chris

Chris talked about the farting competition Rick started, that Chris and Dan Shea joined. They even altered their diets to get bigger, smellier farts. Chris would eat a box of raisin bran covered in Slim-fast and chocolate milk. He cleared out the control room one day for half an hour. The production office sent down a memo that said that bodily functions that cost costly production delays would no longer be tolerated. Michael assured that was all true.

They both talked about the fart RDA did one day that was continuous for about two minutes. It didn't seem possible to have that much gas in one's body. Chris said it was like a Kenny G note. It went on and on and on. And the amazing thing about it was it didn't smell at all. It was like God had reached his finger down and said, "Feel my power, and pull my finger."

Given the choice Daniel was given in 8.18 "Threads," he would have descended back to Earth rather than ascend. The woman wanted a poster of Daniel descending naked. Michael said that since there is now a Daniel Jackson coin sold by Creation, anything is possible. He seemed amazed by the existence of the coin. The woman then asked for a hug, and Chris hugged Michael. He seems to like hugging Michael.

Asked what they do to prepare for an intense scene, Michael said we'd just heard Chris's process. Chris said Michael knows all that Shakespeare crap. He breaks down his scripts with notes and beats and all the ways he can go. He said Michael is the one who will have a career whenever Stargate ends. Chris is the one praying we'll like this new show. Chris asked Michael how he prepares for those scenes in which he goes crazy or dies. Michael said in order to go crazy, die, and cry all the time, all he has to do is work with Chris for a couple more seasons. Chris kept pressing him for a serious answer. Michael said all that stuff is about going to different, dark places in your head, like when you're really tired and sleep deprived and feeling vulnerable and fragile. That's the place he tries to go when he needs to do those angsty scenes.

When asked, Michael said he and Teal'c don't have a lot of in-depth interaction so far this season. There is some in "Ripple Effect," and they're hoping for more as the season goes on.

A woman asked Chris is he misses Eugene, Oregon, where he went to college. He said he loved it because it taught him a different, slower-paced lifestyle. He learned that it doesn't take that much to be nice to everyone, that he didn't have to be this 'agro male guy'. Of course the city being covered in a haze of 'weed' helped. He always intended to move back to Eugene or to Portland, but now he loves Vancouver, and it reminds him of Oregon in many ways. So he doesn't think he'll ever leave Vancouver.

Someone asked what the relationship with Thor and the Asgard would be now that Jack is gone. "Ripple Effect" has an Asgard in it, but Thor isn't there. Michael wonders what Thor's fate will be himself. Chris said Thor is living in Malibu with Rick.

Michael cracking up

A young lady stepped up to the mike and said, "I just want to say, CHRIS!!!!" to reflect Chris' earlier imitation of Michael's fans. She really shocked both of them and they jumped in their seats. Then she commented how some people prefer them to appear separately because otherwise Chris overshadows Michael, while others like them together because they're so funny together. She wanted to know what they thought of that. Michael said he's of the group that thinks that Chris is too loud. Chris had to second that one. He said he is too loud and talks too much. But to him, their being together gives the audience a better glimpse into who they are and how they are together, because their interaction on stage is exactly like in real life. Michael said it's like having the radio on sometimes. Chris said, that's more like Ben. They call Ben "White Noise" because he talks all the time. Michael finds it ironic that they don't want to talk on camera but they talk all the time off camera.

Chris then got defensive and turned his mike off and acted pitiful. Michael said Okay! and acted quite happy with that arrangement. Then he answered for Chris that his favorite character is Daniel, while Michael's favorite is Thor. Then Michael took pity on Chris and told him to start talking again. He said if Chris doesn't talk for 20 minutes when he's conscious, he'll explode.

Chris then said his new favorite character is Vala Mal Duran. She is heck on wheels and Claudia is fantastic.

A woman told Michael he'd done an awesome job in 7.06 "Lifeboat". He talked about how he'd watched an actress trying to create multiple personalities with just two days notice before filming (Kim Schraner in "All Around the Town", 2002). He saw how she struggled to make the characters three-dimensional and distinct and promised himself that if he ever got the chance for a similar role, he would start thinking about the characters the minute he even had a hint of what was going to happen. For "Lifeboat" he had six days notice, while filming another episode. He did what he had to do and tried his best but wasn't completely happy with the end result in terms of the three-dimensionality of all the characters.

Chris stepped up to his defense to talk about how hard Michael worked to do that episode, late at night and during every down time on the set. He wishes we could have seen all that hard work. He said Michael is the real deal. Michael then asked the audience if Christopher Judge is really an actor, and we all said "yes" of course.

Someone wondered if they had 'lifted' anything cool from the set. Michael lifted the leather jacket from 8.05 "Icon". Chris lifted a $6000 custom-made leather jacket he wore in 6.05 "Nightwalkers". Chris claims they gave it to him, well, because they knew he was going to take it anyway. Chris also took 14 of the watches from the first season, and blamed Michael for it all the time.

I asked what it's like having Lexa on the set and getting paid to play doctor with her. I purposely didn't target the question to Michael, to give them an opening, and they didn't disappoint. Chris said "great" in a lecherous way. Michael was insulted by this, but Chris pointed out that he has had several scenes with her. I asked if Teal'c has been injured, but they didn't understand me and Michael said "every chance he gets." Chris asked me to repeat it and said "Thank God" because he'd thought I'd said "in her." Very funny. Anyway of course Michael has had a lovely time having the "mother of his child and the love of his life" work side-by-side with him on the show. Chris said, "What about Lexa?" and Michael gave up at that point. Chris said Lexa gets right in there teasing Michael on set.

The time was getting short so they announced a speed round for the remaining questions.

Someone asked how many co-stars Chris has 'hung out' (wink wink) with and who was best. Michael said, "so much for the speed round."

A woman asked Michael about the Unas and how it was acting against someone with all that make-up. It was great and the best part of it was for the most part he was working opposite Dion Johnstone, whom he'd worked with before on Hamlet. He missed having Dion there for 7.07 "Enemy Mine" to perhaps finish out the arc. There aren't any plans right now for more Unas episodes.

Someone asked him to do his Thor voice. He said, "Oh yes. Touch me there, O'Neill." and "I like the yellow ones."

And that wrapped up two hilarious hours with Michael and Chris.

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Torri Higginson
Torri Higginson

Torri was very sweet and charming; she had a lot of energy and was a good sport. The first thing she said was that she was nervous, so she was imagining everyone in the audience in underwear and asked if we'd be willing to actually get into our underwear. Believe me, Torri, that would not have been a good idea. She suggested everyone introduce themselves, to much laughter. This was her second convention after one in England last year.

She talked about getting doused with water for days while filming "The Eye" and "The Storm". Martin Wood took her and David Hewlett to the set to show them what they were in for. There were huge fans that would blow the water right into their faces. So they couldn't open their eyes or hear their fellow actor, so they didn't know when the other had finished their lines. It was uncomfortable but just part of the job and she doesn't hold it against Martin at this point.

A young girl asked what she does in her spare time. Torri has three dogs and keeps busy with them. She reads lots of books and watches a great show called Stargate: SG-1. Apparently she lives alone apart from the dogs and joked about having a lonely life.

Asked about development for Weir, she joked she'd like them to develop her more until she's the only cast member of the show. Actually, she misses doing action scenes like she has done in the B movies she was in. Brad Wright is adamant that Weir will never pick up a gun on the show. There is an episode coming up for which she's been told she needs to do fight training. She's looking forward to that. She's glad that Weir has to defend her authority because she doesn't want Weir to be all powerful. She wants her to be strong but malleable because it creates good conflict.

As far as how she compares to her character, she shares Weir's belief that it's not all about Manifest Destiny, and that you can avoid violence. She had a hard time doing an episode where Weir violated the Geneva Convention because she thought Weir would have a harder time doing that. They've talked about doing episodes in the future where the issue of remorse is dealt with, and she would really like to do that. She joked that she has less confidence than Weir does, or she wouldn't be an actress. She admires Weir's ability to not get defensive.

At this point Torri was interrupted by a continuation of the earlier food fight; a muffin was seen in a high arcing trajectory. Michael came on stage to avoid Chris' antics behind the curtain. He took her seat on stage and remained there for the rest of her talk, throwing in witticisms and offering support as appropriate. I think it put her at ease to have Michael there, and he never missed a chance for humor that she then went with. Not that she wouldn't have done fine by herself, of course.

Torri and Michael

Michael then asked Torri a "two-parter" question in a sweet, innocent fan-like voice. He told her she is really pretty and asked whether, if Daniel Jackson had gone to Atlantis, would she have had an attraction for him, at all? She said "Yes" very sweetly. Then he asked for a hug. So funny.

In her mind during the Season 7 opening, Daniel wanted to go to Atlantis because he had a crush on Weir. Michael asked if she really believed that after spending seven years searching for the Lost City of the Ancients, even dying along the way, when it came down to it, it was… "all about me" she finished. It was very funny.

A fan brought Torri a "con book" similar to what they had given Joe Flanigan. She gave it to Michael, who started reading it while she continued answering questions.

She said she was very lucky that within six months of finishing theater school she started making a living as an actor. She did "Tek War" and a lot of theater and some films and a small role in "The English Patient." She's done a lot of action "B" movies too. One of them they discovered on stage Torri and Lexa had both been in. Michael said it wasn't a very good movie at all.

Without hesitation, Torri said if she could have dinner with anyone, it would be Johnny Depp. Johnny became a recurring theme of her talk; she's clearly a fan. When a fan said they'd like to have dinner with Michael, Torri asked Michael if he was busy that night. Michael asked if she was "pimping him out."

Michael and Chris half way to 8 hands

As far as what guest stars she'd like to have on Atlantis, Johnny Depp is number one. But she'd love to go to a planet with men with eight hands. Chris came out and added his two hands to Michael's, so they were half way there.

A guy said that for a couple of different reasons, he'd love to see what was written on her tee-shirt, which was partly covered by a blouse. Once she got what he meant as to why he wanted her chest uncovered, she blushed red as the audience cracked up. But she did show the shirt and the "Coexist" sentiment, which she believes in for this planet and others. Michael teased her for falling for the guy's ruse.

She talked about filming "Before I Sleep," in which Weir meets her older self, and what a great experience it was to play the older Elizabeth. She had to go through over four hours of prosthetics and makeup each day. It was very fast paced filming-wise. She got to act opposite an actress, which was good, but it was a great challenge, and exhausting. She was very grateful for the episode.

She liked "Home" because her dog was in it, and "Letters from Pegasus" because Weir got to deal with her remorse for the number of lives that had been lost.

Michael then read part of one of the pages of the con book, from someone inviting her to go to India or meet her in London and eat Indian food with her. The person also invited Torri to visit the "Weir/Teyla" thread at Gateworld, which Michael loved reading aloud. Who says he doesn't like slash? Torri thinks it's a fantastic idea, scandal, scandal!

Someone asked about what it was like to play a role someone else had started, namely Jessica Stein. She said yes to the job before she knew she was following another actress in the same role. The producers told her she should do what she did in the audition. She decided to let some of the softness come through that Jessica had portrayed. As far as why Jessica didn't get the role, Torri joked that she had spent too much time at the craft services table. Michael said when those sorts of decisions come down from 'on high' that all you usually hear is that "it didn't quite work out." That's all Michael ever heard about it.

Torri hopes for Weir to lighten up a bit, but given her position she can't wear her heart on her sleeve. Of course, Weir would love for Daniel to come to Atlantis. Purely for professional, cultural reasons. She wants people around her who love people. At which point Michael began to sing "People Who Love People" very sweetly, though he was making up the melody. Michael again made a plea that it needs to be addressed why Daniel would not have gone to Atlantis. If there hadn't been a Season 9, Daniel would have gone to Atlantis on the Daedalus, perhaps to join that cast.

A woman suggested that if Daniel went to Atlantis, then Jonas could come to SG-1. This was greeted with much booing. Then the person tried to backtrack to imply it would be win-win for everyone, and Michael told her she's cuter when she's kissing up.

Torri enjoys writing and is writing scripts that she hopes will be on screen one day. She asked if Michael would like to act in it. Michael said "yes" and she said "it's a porno."

She joked that David Hewlett is a big grump at work. But in reality he has everyone laughing even after the cameras start rolling, and this annoys the directors.

Someone asked about Torri's cat, Shaka Zulu. Torri said the cat is no longer with us, and that they buried her in her mother's backyard. Michael asked Torri whether the cat was in fact dead whey then buried her. Very funny. All of Torri's animals are mixed-breed rescues.

And with that, Torri ended her very entertaining Q&A.

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Sunday Autographs
A pro-Bush tee-shirt

My only story to tell here is that I gave Michael a tee-shirt I thought he would appreciate, being a Canadian and all. It has a nice irony to it. He laughed and said he would get a lot of mileage out of it.

And with that I headed back to lovely Burbank airport (motto: "our baggage carousels are outside and so are you!") for a quick flight home. This was a great con, and I thank the organizers, actors, and my companions Kristie, Sam, and Lucky for helping me enjoy it so very much.

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Future Cons

According to Gary Berman, next year's Creation Stargate convention tour will probably be to only four cities. (Since they are taking advance bookings for Vancouver and Burbank, presumably those are two of the cities.) Some of the cities on this year's tour have been less successful than expected, so some scaling back is warranted next year. Chris Judge and Michael Shanks may not attend all of the conventions due to their increased family commitments. Creation is working hard to bring David Hewlett on board; they are aware of his popularity, and he is 'at the top of the list' of desired new guests. Both Joe Flanigan and Torri Higginson are eager to participate next year.

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