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Creation Stargate Convention, 2009

April 2-5, 2009

Vancouver, BC, Canada


by Michelle

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Thursday Appearances

Gary Jones
Andee Frizzell

Friday Appearances

David Nykl
Dan Shea
Connor Trinneer
Teryl Rothery

Saturday Appearances

Paul McGillion
Robert Picardo
Joe Flanigan

Sunday Appearances

Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper
Michael Shanks
Amanda Tapping

Gary Jones

Unfortunately I didn't see all of the Vancouver actors' panel that happened before Gary's talk, although what I did see was quite interesting! All of the actors seem to keep busy with all different types of paying acting work, from TV to stage to voiceovers to teaching. It seems they're all doing pretty well at it too. Kirby Morrow was especially funny, and I'd love to see him again.

Gary has very much a stand-up comedian persona on stage. He started by making fun of himself, noting how his family doesn't believe him when he says he gets recognized by fans, even at cons. Gary soon revealed that, surprisingly to him, he'll be in Stargate Universe. It was an odd experience because first of all, he has a new costume. Instead of the flight suit, which he found impractical due to no pockets in the right places, he'll be wearing a camouflage outfit. Given he'll be working in an office, he's not sure what the purpose of the camo is. He got to work with Richard Dean Anderson, which was great, at least for Gary. Gary also revealed that O'Neill will be promoted to a Three-Star (Lieutenant) General. He then had second thoughts about having told the audience, given that the PR department had called him to tell him not to reveal anything about the show. Too late!

He doesn't know much about Universe; he did a day or two of work on it. He jokingly recited his one line, "Sir, Dr. Rush would like to talk to you." He noted they've re-dressed the SG-1 sets, so Harriman is not sitting in the control room anymore. Andy Mikita was directing the show the day he worked.

Gary told some funny filming stories, such as the time another actor was standing behind a see-through map and accidentally flicked one of the planets off. The actor freaked out at what he'd done, ducking out of frame to look for it while filming was going on. Peter DeLuise then had to explain himself in the dreaded "how come" room, where directors have to explain to producers "how come you did it like that".

Gary talked about what a shock it was to lose Don S. Davis. He imitated Don the first time they met: Don said, "Hi. I'm Don S. Davis. I'm 235 pounds of romping, stomping Missouri bullshit." Gary talked about how they would go to conventions, and he'd see Don tell very long-winded stories and read poetry to the audience. Gary would groan that Don was going on forever, and he'd be in the back saying, "Don, what are you doing?". Then he'd imitate Don on stage, and Don would be in the back laughing his head off. Gary would try to tell him to shut up with the drawl and get on with it. In any case, Don is sadly missed.

In 200, filming the scene where Harriman changes uniforms going from the control room to the gate room, they did a camera lock-down on set to prevent it from moving. Even so, he had to change his uniform extremely quickly to film the two parts. He actually had the black uniform on under the green one and ripped off the green one to get to it. Wardrobe was waiting off-stage to help him. So that was not simple movie magic; he actually had to change in just a few seconds to accommodate that shot. He thanks his theater training for being able to do it so fast, since actors on stage have to learn very fast changes.

Gary recently got hired for a television movie, called "Held Hostage," and the character's name is Walter. So yes, perhaps his Stargate character will follow him forever. In the movie, he'll be...a hostage. So he has to do hostage acting. He was a bit over-the-top in the audition. He accidentally made the casting person laugh at him. But she loved him, apparently. His imitation of her telling him so was hilarious.

Gary told the story of getting the SG-1 part in Children of the Gods, and how director Mario Azzopardi appreciated the humor he injected into his lines, "Chevron 1 encoded... etc". By Chevon 7 he was imitating Jerry Lewis. Brad Wright and Michael Greenburg cracked up at the audition. Then for the call-back, Jonathan Glassner was there. Glassner was a much more non-humorous sort, and Mario didn't back Gary up, so Gary had to read the sequence straight. Gary felt like he was reading a grocery list. Gary had to go through a day or more of hell waiting to hear if he got the part. Which of course he did.

Gary related the very funny story of filming his first episode with Beau Bridges (General Landry). The director was Peter DeLuise, and he always insisted that Gary redo every scene as Captain Kirk. Gary's impression is great! So Peter had him do that for Beau without telling him, and Beau reacted by standing as still as a statue, not reacting. The way Gary told it was hilarious, and I can't do him justice here!

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Andee Frizzell

Next up was Andee Frizzell, who played many Wraith Queens on Stargate Atlantis. With her height and svelteness, one can see why she played that role! She also has tons of personality and tells great stories. Andee started her Q&A as she prefers, "with a long story about something that happened to her." It was about how she accidentally went to the wrong kind of "traditional Chinese massage shop" in Auckland, New Zealand. Suffice to say the worst-case scenario was in fact what happened. Andee's attempts to communicate with the Chinese proprietress were quite ill-fated and funny.

Her favorite Wraith Queen to play was the one in Allies because that Queen had the most fantastic Chanel traveling robe. And it was the same outfit Dolly Parton wore at the Grammies! It's the same costume that was used for the Wraith Queen action figure. She also really enjoyed the one where she's stalking Teyla and her baby, since she got to be so creepy. She doesn't know why she didn't play the Queen opposite Teyla in The Queen, but she suspects it was because she is so much taller than Rachel.

She did enjoy exploring the different aspects of the various Queens, whether it was being seductive or coming alive after long isolation. In the table reading for the pilot, the actors each gave the backstory for their characters. Andee told the rest of the cast, "I was an egg; I came from the sand." Everyone laughed at her for that one.

Andee made note of the large quantities of K-Y Jelly that were used on the set, to give the Wraith that slick-shiny look. So now she can admit she's a consumer of the product.

Her voice went through a synthesizer after filming, partly to add the Wraith effect and lower the pitch, but also because all the prosthetic teeth prevented her from speaking properly. She gave a demonstration: "I think I thaw a putty cat."

As for the make-up, it took five hours to put it on, and two hours to take it off, with twelve hours of work in between. The hours for the pilot were definitely the longest because everything was new. She was in the make-up for 21 hours one day. It's not easy to eat in the make-up, as you'd imagine, even though the teeth came out. She ate lots of squished finger food. Over time, the make-up got smaller, as did the teeth.

Andee finished with a very funny story of the "wet wedgie" she received when she had to slide under water in full Wraith Queen costume for "Submersion". She was worried enough about holding her breath for one minute, but didn't expect that all of the foam prosthetics would want to float. So they all pulled on her face and body very hard. It all wanted to launch out of the water. Even holding onto the 50-lb weight on the floor was not enough. And the foam wig was attached to the leather pants, and those rode up very strongly. So she had to put up with those sensations for a minute before the lovely Queen emergence from the water that made it to the episode.

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David Nykl

Friday opened with the charming David Nykl, who is more handsome and less scruffy than his alter ego, Radek Zelenka. I'd never seen David in person before, and he's a pro at the con thing. He was kind enough to be on the Atlantis set during the studio tours on Saturday as well, starting at an unholy 6:45 am. On the visits, he sported the costume and mussed hair of Zelenka and stood for a professional picture with every fan, much to fans' surprised delight.

David immediately started comparing himself favorably to David Hewlett, and noted he'd just seen David for lunch down in Los Angeles. He remarked they're both unemployed astrophysicists looking for work.

He joked about Sci Fi Channel's new name, SyFy, and about why someone would want to put a "y" in the middle of a word. Then he pointed to his own name on the screen. It's a Czech thing to skimp on the vowels.

David knew nothing about the SGA movie and suggested fans write "Zelenka" to the writers to make sure he's in the movie, if there is one.

David was born in Prague and is truly fluent in Czech. In fact he recently did a long translation and wrote the sub-titles for a Czech movie. He doesn't have an accent, since he grew up in Vancouver. He's able to switch between Czech and English at will, although there were times he forgot to switch to Zelenka's accent in filming; the director would gently remind him of his heritage. He indulged someone in the audience and said "Harry Potter" in his Czech accent, then added a few more iconic phrases. Very funny.

When he spoke Czech on Atlantis, the script would just indicate "mutters in Czech". It was up to him to decide what to say. He used real Czech curse words at times, knowing the English-language censors would never pick up on it. Of course, that will be a different story if the show is ever sold in the Czech Republic. He feels he is teaching the world to cuss in a foreign language. He noted somewhere on YouTube someone has cut together and translated all of his Czech words (this might be what he was referring to. He seems a bit wounded by YouTube in general, noting anything he does never goes away.

He is circumspect about his upcoming work. He has a few "brands in the fire" but doesn't want to jinx them by talking about them. He's going to direct a play in a couple of months. He was recently in LA pursuing things. He was in an independent film called "The Beast of Bottoms Lake" that should be coming out soon. It's a Moby Dick sort of tale. For more info visit David's web site.

He went a bit wild when asked which hockey team he'll root for at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, crying "I knew I was going to get that question!" When he gets that question in Prague, of course he says the Czech team. But with the Olympics in Vancouver and him being Canadian, he'll be rooting for Team Canada.

In a WWF-style wrestling death match between McKay and Zelenka, of course Zelenka would slap down McKay. But, he teased, of course David Hewlett is a very nice guy and doesn't deserve to be beat up.

What he'll miss most about Atlantis is the people, because there was a lot of levity on the set. He loved some of the effects shots, too, especially the sequence where Zelenka and Sheppard are floating between Atlantis buildings in space (Adrift). That was a combination of effects and practical (real) shots. For example, the space suits were built to match some NASA designs that the props department found on the internet. The detail was fantastic, down to the writing being backwards on the chest of the suit. That's because the person in the suit has a mirror on his/her hand to be able to read everything on his own chest. There is also a cooling layer inside the suit connected to a dolly that pumps cool water in. In the scenes where they were hanging in air, they'd stay in the suits between takes for up to forty minutes. There's a picture of David asleep in his suit, sunk down into it. To get him back for falling asleep, Martin Wood told the stunts guys to throw him into the wall especially hard. It's not clear whether they really did that or not!

He'll also especially miss his scenes with Hewlett. Those declined a bit in later seasons, but they were very fun to do.

He'd love to work on Eureka again, and he noted Fringe is moving to Vancouver to film (if it doesn't get cancelled of course!), and he'd love to work on that. He predicts the new Star Trek movie will spawn a new ST series, and surely they'll need a Chekov!

While David was talking, someone in the audience "twittered" David Hewlett about the death match thing. David Hewlett twittered back "Radek Who?", and the Creation guy had David read this to the audience. David declared Hewlett to be jealous, predicting they'd do a series together, "Smart and Smarter". He later told everyone to twitter back "Rodney Who?", which must have gotten Hewlett's attention.

David has always been a science aficionado, so the dialog he had to say as Zelenka was not a total mystery to him. The show furthered his interest in science, but he was already a fan. He also likes Chess and noted that while filming "Sunday," they brought in a real Chess Grand Master, who taught him some great tricks he hadn't known.

He refused to do another impression of Joe Flanigan. He was tricked into it at another convention, and it ended up the number one thing on YouTube. So he won't be doing that again.

As far as asking the writers for Radek to sometimes get credit for things over Rodney, he realized there was an imbalance there, and that was intentional. It was party off-set by episodes like "Quarantine" where Zelenka go to be right. And he really didn't make inputs to the writers about his character. He didn't want to be the kind of actor who would say, "I wish I could have done this or that." The writers and producers have their own creative process, and of course it was a collaboration between the writers who created the character and him as an actor. He made suggestions, but he didn't ask for a certain direction for the character. That said, he would have liked his character to have a bit more closure at the end of Season 5. He didn't think it was stated what Zelenka is up to now.

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Dan Shea

Dan Shea was as manic as ever, if not more so, and very funny. Some people had trouble following the frenetic pace of his speech and the many tangents he tends to take. I found it very entertaining. In any case, I'll focus on actual stories extracted from the many funny gags and asides. Dan works on Psych full-time now, which I didn't actually realize until later.

Dan is playing a zombie in a new show called Mordecai. He had to cut his hair short for that; he's in make-up for five hours to become a zombie. They make him wear white contact lenses, and when light hits those, he can't see anything. His gag, planned for the night of the con appearance, was to be in the backseat of a Hummer and drive it into the water. Then the shooting would switch to a wave pool, and the Hummer would fill with water, submerging him. He was going to have to kill some people, then breathe under water on a regulator, but he wasn't sure how he was going to fit it into his mouth with all the zombie teeth. He seemed quite nervous about the whole thing. I hope this went okay for Dan!

A man waiting to ask a question was wearing faded blue denim shirt and jeans. This prompted a critique from Dan, who suggested perhaps a darker denim jacket on top over a baby blue shirt, with the faded jeans, would be better. He suggested rolling up the sleeves for some forearm action. He insisted he wasn't criticizing, just simply suggesting the darker denim to anchor the outfit. This was hilarious.

After all that, the man wanted to hear about "vehicular stunt exploits". This combination of words threw Dan for a loop; he called the guy a smart-ass and asked him to compute the square root of 49. Then he talked about the tunnel driving scene in Silver Surfer. He filmed that scene in the middle of the night in the only tunnel into Vancouver, and all the drivers were told if they fell asleep, they'd be fired on the spot. He'd worked on Stargate all day then had to go work on the movie that night.

So then he went to work in the tunnel stunt, with Coke Classics to keep him awake. In one take a guy had fallen asleep and everyone had to drive around him. He indeed got fired on the spot. The next challenge was everyone needing to pee from all the soda, and there was one port-o-potty, which was already occupied by a large teamster. So before he could go, they all got called back to set. But everyone had to pee, so everyone peed all over the place, in the tunnel into Vancouver. It was like a mist they used to keep everyone awake. So that was his somewhat story of "vehicular stunt exploits".

As far as Psych versus Stargate, Psych tends to be a bit smaller in stunts, but still demanding. He explained how the various layers of fire retardant are put on a stunt-person for the big fire stunts. And how they tried a new product that goes right on the skin with nothing in theory required over it. They were forced to try it earlier than expected when their stunt man had to match the clothes of Dulé Hill, who was wearing only a tank top in the scene. So they had to put the retardant right on Dulé's stunt double's skin with nothing above it. The fire was way bigger than expected, but it worked out okay.

Between being a stunt man, stunt coordinator, and actor, he prefers... all three. Each has aspects he enjoys, with the coordinator being more like a real job with planning and budgeting and everything. He also enjoys the precision of being on-set doing the stunts or acting. So he likes all three, and loved Stargate for getting to do all three at once.

I really can't do justice to Dan's delivery — see him in person if you get a chance!

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Connor Trinneer

Compared to Dan, Connor is practically zen-like. He sat still, for one thing, and answered questions a tad more directly. He comes off as a thoughtful actor. This was his first Stargate-only convention. He was warmly welcomed and got a mix of Stargate and Star Trek questions. I'll emphasize the Stargate ones.

His hair is darker now, but that's his natural color. They made him lighten it for Enterprise. He has a bit of grey too; he turned 40 just a couple of weeks ago.

Right now work-wise, he's reading for an audio book, a biography of bicyclist Lance Armstrong. He read one last month on the Bernard Madoff story and now knows more about Madoff than he ever wanted to know. The Armstrong one is being done by Phoenix Books. It is likely to be this one although that link lists a different reader.

He has a movie-of-the week upcoming on SyFy Channel, in which he co-stars with James Kyson Lee of Heroes. They have a Han Solo/Chewy dynamic, where he is Han Solo and James is Chewy. He chuckled saying, unlike some of the SyFy weekly movies, this one is...pretty good. It's called Termination Shock and should air later in April or in May 2009 in the US. It features giant termites, and it's funny!

As far as the role of Michael on SGA, he hadn't planned to do more sci fi for a while, but when he saw the casting sides on-line he found it very interesting. He asked his agent to call and see if he could read for the role. His agent called back to say the role was his if he wanted it! He doesn't think it was intended to be a recurring role when it was first conceived. It was a nice run for him.

Connor isn't a method actor at all when it comes to playing emotion. He just lets the words guide him. However, one crying scene in Enterprise was very easy, and that was at the end of the series when his character, Tripp, speaks to the Vulcan T'Pol (played by Jolene Blalock) about having a baby with her some day. He had just found out that morning that his wife was pregnant. He wasn't going to tell anyone so early on, but he couldn't get hold of himself filming his scene. Jolene asked him what was wrong, so he told her and swore her to secrecy. So those tears were very real. Otherwise, if he can't get the juices to flow crying-wise, he puts a bit of Vicks Vapor-Rub under his eyes just before the scene. Then he's able to cry with no problem.

On theater versus film, they are different animals. The challenging part of TV is filming everything out of order, so you have to find the continuity of the character. Being able to do multiple takes helps. In theater, at the end of the day you've done an entire role, which is gratifying. But film definitely pays better.

He loved playing a bad character like Michael. He had to do two hours of make-up, and during that period he'd start to feel more like Michael, more evil, perhaps out of crankiness. Once he put on the costume and eyes, it wasn't him looking back in the mirror. He loved playing Tripp, too. No one could have played that role and walked away feeling ripped off. They were very different, but both really fun.

As far as what he would do with Teyla's baby, he would have "held it, loved it, and taught it to be a good person." Or, to take over the galaxy. Or, if it were left-handed, taught it to throw a curve ball.

In Enterprise he did a story where Tripp was pregnant. He asked for extra scenes of Tripp being emotional for no reason because that's what he'd heard about pregnant women. He endured a lot of razzing from the cast and crew, but loved doing the episode.

As far as whether it was justified for Teyla to kill Michael finally, considering Michael had been created by Atlantis against his will, Connor felt Michael really had a thing for Teyla. Getting killed that way was a bit surprising for him, but it was a nice moment for Teyla, because Michael hadn't done the nicest things in the world to her. But yes, he feels Michael's feelings were a little bit hurt by that. And she didn't even say anything to him! Connor mimicked Teyla peeling his fingers off the ledge.

As far as favorite actors to work with on both shows, a guest actor named Greg Henry played an alien in an episode of Enterprise where he and Tripp were dying. Henry had no words in English, but he did a fantastic job. Connor was very impressed by that performance. On Atlantis, he didn't get to work with any one actor that much. He mostly got beat up by Jason. He liked Joe for his sense of humor. Rachel was fun, and he loved working with Paul. He didn't work with many of the other actors, though.

He talked about how Jason can truly fight. And not only Jason, but stunt coordinator Bam-Bam Bamford, who brings a martial arts sensibility to the show. So when Connor would go up to film the fight scenes with Jason that Bam-Bam had choreographed, he was blown away. He was also afraid of his nose being moved around on his face. In fact one day he had to leave to catch a flight, so his stunt man took over. Just moments later, Jason caught the stunt man with an elbow to the forehead and knocked him out cold. Connor was very glad he'd had to go catch a plane.

Everyone on the show is a good fighter, and he gives all props to Bam-Bam for that. The best was Jason; he can fight for reals. But Rachel and Joe were great, too.

Is Michael really dead? Well, if he didn't clone himself, shame on him! After all he made an army of clones, so he must have cloned himself, too.

As far as how the cast treated him when he was in costume, he said he wasn't as fierce as he looked. In fact with the contacts in he didn't have any peripheral vision, so he had to have someone walk him to the set until he got used to it. So he'd say to himself sarcastically, "I'm such a bad-ass".

For shows he'd like to do, The Sarah Connor Chronicles because it's well done, or jokingly, American Idol or Dancing with the Stars. But he loves Sarah Connor Chronicles; it's one of the few shows he watches.

His favorite moment on Stargate was when the producers came up to him at the end of his first episode and said, "We're probably going to have you back."

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Teryl Rothery

Teryl looked great and was incredibly nice, vivacious and funny. She referred to working on SG-1 as the best years of her career. She became like family with both the cast and crew. At first, the guys on the set viewed her and Amanda as "the girls" and would treat them as pretty ladies, with RDA flirting like crazy. After a while they became "one of the guys" and "sisters" of the boys. To the point where Chris Judge would pull out his nose hairs and put them on their clothes. So at that point, when female guest stars would come in, they would get all the attention. The boys would puff up like male pigeons or peacocks. The difference was very visible to Amanda and Teryl, and they named that behavior the infamous "puff and ruffle". On one cold morning on set, Teryl and Amanda were freezing, and a pretty female guest star came in, and RDA quickly called for wardrobe to bring a coat for her. The "sisters" were on their own.

Teryl flirted very cutely with a man who was clearly smitten, even though his wife was in the audience. She gave him a lovely hug and cuddle. He then asked her how she felt about her death compared to the gentler one given to Daniel. She noted Daniel got the nice ascension, and she got a staff blast to the chest; she died with her eyes open and lying in ice-cold mud. She kept hoping they would bring Fraiser back. She thinks we should write in to ask for her back on Universe.

As far as how she heard Fraiser was being killed off, it was in a phone call before the season started. Rob Cooper called to make sure the play she was doing wouldn't interfere with the shooting schedule. She assured him it wouldn't. Then he said, "While I've got you on the line, how would you feel if we killed you off?" And of course that was her livelihood so she replied, "What do you mean, how would I feel? I'm an actress!" Cooper explained that they wanted to "shake things up". And then she had to stop her story when remembering what she said next, because she told Cooper, "If you want to shake things up, why not kill Hammond instead of Fraiser?" Of course now that Don S. Davis has passed, she feels terrible saying that. At the time, she called Donny and told him what she'd said, and they had a laugh about it. And now she misses him terribly.

Teryl talked about her baby girl, London, who was six months old that day. She finds her role as a mom the best one she's taken on in her life. London was a surprise. Teryl actually thought she was going through early menopause, since she was feeling sick and very emotional. Her partner, Doug, actually suggested that perhaps she was pregnant, based on how she was, to put it kindly, "being a bit more emotional than usual." She refused to believe it, but she did the test and made him read it, since she didn't have her glasses on. He said very carefully, "Well, honey, according to the instructions and the little window, you're pregnant." She insisted on doing the test again, just in case. So he patiently read the test again and confirmed she was pregnant. And her daughter is the joy of her life now.

Work-wise, Teryl was in The Guard while she was pregnant. Steve Bacic played the father of her baby on the show. She did Smallville after having the baby. Otherwise right now she is doing a lot of voice work. She's also teaching tap-dancing and directing and choreographing tap dancing shows. She's up for two roles and hopes at least one comes through.

While playing Fraiser, the one time that she got grossed out was in Hathor when she had to reach inside RDA's guts to feel around for a symbiote. It was a really gooey pouch they filled with the syrupy stuff they make milkshakes with. It was very slimy and gross.

She had a great time filming Totally Awesome; they gave her a lot of freedom on set. She was indeed a back-up singer on the Tom Jones show!

Unfortunately I had to leave Teryl's talk early. I'm very sorry for that! She was a real hoot. Hopefully someone else will post more notes on Teryl's appearance.

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Paul McGillion

This was Paul's first convention on the West Coast of North America, and he was clearly excited to be there, looking very fit and LA tanned. He said he was really happy to have been part of Atlantis, and to be able to come back after the events of Sunday. He gives much credit for his return to the fans and was very glad to be back in the fifth season. He's proud that the show went for a hundred episodes.

He told the story of how he got the role and how it was he who pushed hard for the character to be Scottish. Based on the sides he saw for the audition, Paul felt Beckett was Scottish from the start, given the comedic sensibility of the scene in the Antarctic chair. The director didn't want him to do a Scottish accent, fearing no one would understand it; he told Paul's agent that he wanted him to do an English accent. Paul went to the casting trailer and went ahead and did "an educated Scottish" accent for the casting agent. The agent reluctantly admitted it worked well, and Beckett ended up being the first one cast.

He was unexpectedly in seventeen of the first twenty episodes, and then got invited to be a regular. This was in large part due to the fan response to the character. He gives credit to the unique Stargate fan base and loves seeing familiar faces at the cons he goes to in London, Paris, Australia, Ireland, and elsewhere around the world. He loves the community and seeing fans have a great time at conventions.

He then told the infamous story about how he told his parents about his new role on a show called "Stargate". His dad was skeptical about him being an actor in the first place so always asked him if he had any "gigs". He told his dad about the role, but his dad kept insisting it must be "Star Trek," which he'd been watching for years. Paul finally gave in and let them believe it was Star Trek. And ironically Paul did get a role in the new Star Trek movie, which confused his dad again. For one thing, his dad didn't understand why he didn't get the Scotty role.

His take on Carson is an extension of his father in a way. He loved playing Carson because he got to be a comedic as well as dramatic character who wears his heart on his sleeve. They put him through the ringer, including having to kiss David Hewlett, but he knew it was a special show from the pilot.

On possibly working on Starcrossed, David Hewlett's project, he'd love to do it if David had something for him. He reminded the audience that the idea came from A Dog's Breakfast, a movie he loved doing. He doesn't know where the Starcrossed project is but would love to work on it in any capacity.

Regarding how much David paid him to dress as a woman in A Dog's Breakfast, Paul answered, "not enough." He now has a huge respect for women who walk in heels. During the entire shoot, it was pouring rain, and they filmed one scene where David is lying on the mud naked with soap suds on his butt, and for continuity it was a woman's job to place more soap suds on his butt between takes. And Paul, dressed as a woman, was standing over David, in his heels with an umbrella. And they had to stop to fix something with the camera, and Paul's heels started sinking into the mud. So he looked at David and said, "this had better be funny." And David said, "you're telling me." The dynamic on the ADB set was very similar to Stargate, since everyone knew each other from Stargate. There was a great camaraderie, which was critical to getting it filmed in only fifteen days. It was a great accomplishment for David to write, direct, act, and co-produce his first movie. Paul felt very comfortable dressed as a woman with them, yet for sure they gave him a very hard time about it.

As far as the order they shot his scenes in "Sunday," they did shoot out of sequence. His death was shot in the middle of the episode filming-wise. (In fact he shot more episodes after Sunday.) He asked not to be on set the day of the funeral scene. He hopes it was sad on set that day; at least people told him it was!

He loved the experience of working on the new Star Trek movie. He never even saw the full script, it's all so secret, but he got to chat with J.J Abrams and work with him, so it was a great experience. He doesn't mind at all that Simon Pegg got the role of Scotty; Simon is a great actor whom J.J. had worked with before on Mission Impossible III. Paul appreciates that James Doohan's son Chris endorsed him for Scotty and would love to buy him a beer if he ever meets him.

He loves both comedy and drama, as long as it's well written. For comedy you need a good partner with whom you have a good rhythm and comedic timing. He felt he and David Hewlett had that on Atlantis. It's a tricky thing and sometimes it just doesn't work. But he loves playing them both and feels fortunate he's had the chance to do both.

On how he was told he would be leaving, the producers brought him to the office and told him they were switching things up and were going to kill Beckett. It took him by surprise. Before filming his remaining episodes, he had a chat with the crew to let them know it was all good, so they wouldn't walk on eggshells around him. He doesn't really know the reasons; that's a question for the producers, whom he noted would be there the next day.

Answering a lighter question on jokes on set, he told the story about how Joe Flanigan added rocks to his backpack while they were filming Phantoms in the forest. It was around the scenes where he and David Hewlett had to lift and carry a very large extra (guy) on the stretcher. So David kept whining and Joe kept adding rocks, and by the end of the day his pack probably had 40 lbs of rocks in it. Paul just thought he was tired, while Joe teased him about being sweaty. Joe had the prop guy tell Paul to look in the knapsack after he left. Paul claims it's not over with him and Joe, heh.

Paul got his Education degree in Newfoundland, Canada. His undergrad degree was in physical education and sciences, and he got his teaching roles in history, physical education, science, and theater. He taught kindergarten through Grad 8 drama for one year in Toronto. Then he moved out to Vancouver. He taught a bit at the Vancouver Film School as well before becoming an actor full-time.

As far as favorite moments on Atlantis, there was a fun scene he and Joe Flanigan filmed in the Puddle Jumper during Irresistible. Carson is crying hard over Lucius and asks Sheppard to wipe his nose. So Joe actually blew Paul's nose for him. Unfortunately, that scene was cut for time from the episode.

Paul will be on an upcoming episode of 24. He can't say much about it, but he did have scenes with star Kiefer Sutherland. It will be the second-to-last episode of the season, so give it a watch!

Paul kindly went on to auction off some of his personal scripts and call sheets, with autographs, in exchange for correct answers to trivia questions.

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Robert Picardo

Next up was Bob Picardo, a very intelligent, funny guy who was also attending his first Stargate-only convention. Bob had killed at the Cabaret the night before, playing scenes from his comedy work with Acme Brand Comedy (warning, adult content!) and wowing the audience with his great singing voice.

He started by talking about Richard Woolsey, whom he feels was not originally cut out to be a leader. He was introduced in Heroes and was a dick. But the thing that saved him was that the producers seemed to like him. They got the idea they could write him as a dick who means well, as they did in Inauguration. So by then he was a dick with a conscience. Then in The Scourge he displayed some comic foibles, as when he led the retreat from the bugs, and he was aware he was annoying. So the producers kept tweaking the character to be more understandable, if not more likable. Still when Joe Mallozzi phoned him to ask if he'd like to lead the Atlantis expedition, he thought Joe was kidding. But as he thought of it, he thought it could be very interesting to watch a man re-invent himself as a leader in the middle of life. He thought it went well, the ratings were up, and yet...they were cancelled. He was reassured by the audience that it wasn't his fault.

Over his career, his stock and trade has been to play characters who are not likable, but yet are very relatable to viewers. For example, when he played the coach in The Wonder Years. Likewise The Doctor on Voyager was flawed — self-centered, arrogant, and cranky, but able to rise to the occasion when needed. It's much more fun than playing a character with only positive qualities; to have obstacles for the character to overcome to get to the heroic position. If you reveal enough about the psychology of the character, the audience will tend to like him.

His only request for this year to Joe Mallozzi was to have a scene where someone comes to Woolsey's quarters and finds him relaxing in a suit and tie. He got that scene in Remnants, of course.

Each year he tries to find one project that is not for the money, but for the creative fun of it. The past year, that has been the Acme Brand Comedy work. He's been afraid of some roles yet forced himself to take them for the creative challenge, for example the full-on musical he did after Star Trek.

Bob played the lead in an independent film called Sensored, but he's not sure when it will be released. He plays man who does very bad things, and as the audience you don't know if he's a CIA de-programmer, or if he just thinks he is. Bob is assured that the film is done except for the sound mix. Since it was done on a low budget, they had to wait for good people to have spare time to work on it. Anyway, check out the very cool website for the movie: SensoredTheMovie.com.

A fan was amazed that Robert had played the humpbacked water witch Meg Mucklebones in Legend. Yes, that is indeed amazing! He was kind enough to say a couple of lines in her voice just to help the fan accept the reality.

Robert very much enjoyed filming an episode of Chuck recently. The set was great fun, and Zach Levi is a very funny guy. Adam Baldwin is too, even if he plays a dour character. The actor who played Tom Parris on Voyager, Robert Duncan McNeil, is an executive producer on the show, so that was very familiar too. He also has a recurring role on Castle, with the very charming Nathan Fillion. He'll be a forensic pathologist and friend of Castle's, and he discovers something tied up with the cliffhanger plot, so they have to bring him back. He also just got back from Mexico City, where he guest-starred in a new show called Persons Unknown, which is a paranoid nightmare combining concepts from The Prisoner, Twilight Zone, and Lost. That has no scheduled US premiere yet, but keep an eye out for it.

The scene where Woolsey can't get out of the briefing room (in Broken Ties) was the idea of Joe Mallozzi. It perfectly crystalized Woolsey's predicament as the new leader of Atlantis, the fish out of water. The filmed scene was longer and ended with him calling "hello?" very quietly through the door.

His most fun of Season 5 was during Remnants, where Woolsey is having an affair with a woman who turns out to be an artificial intelligence. He got to play the confusion over her flirting, and had great fun in the scene where he's talking to Shen Xiaoyi while also talking to the AI, but having to cover up that he's talking to her. He got to stretch things there improvisationally.

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Joe Flanigan

Topping off Saturday was Joe Flanigan, slightly stubbled, energetic, and yes, handsome. People noted he looks smaller in person; I also heard he smelled shower-fresh up close, but I was not able to confirm that.

This was Joe's first time back in Vancouver since wrapping filming, and his first time doing one of the Creation cons without the show going on. He wasn't sure whether to call himself the ex-John Sheppard, although he admits Sheppard will probably go on forever.

Adam from Creation described what we'd seen on the Atlantis set that day. It was all up except the gate had been replaced by a one-bedroom apartment. Joe speculated that Brad Wright has actually moved in. Asked about the movie, Joe said we should ask Brad and Robert about it the next day. He suggested we take them hostage and not let them leave until they'd committed to something. He's looking forward to the movies, too, and had thought they would be shooting by now. But he hasn't heard anything.

Regarding working with David Hewlett, they had lunch recently and have several ideas for projects they'd like to do. He's sure they'll work together many times in the future.

A fan started to ask about the rock-in-backpack story. Then the fans pointed out to Joe that when Paul had signed the banner (as all actors do), he'd signed on Joe's picture, "Paul McGillion. I love you." Then he declared it was "on" between them. So then Joe did tell the story, about how it was one of the first exterior locations they'd shot, which he enjoyed a lot. And after ten takes Paul and David were complaining about carrying the real body, and they were bitching and whining together. And all the while Joe was filling the backpack with rocks. He thought Paul didn't know about it until the next day.

If he had his way, he would like the for Sheppard and Ronon to end up bounty hunters in space, chasing Wraith and other bad people. He thinks it would be a good idea for a new show.

As far as what it was like when Ronon first became a character on the show, Joe said it was very funny. Joe had met Jason weeks earlier in LA, since he'd been there for the auditions for the new role. And Jason was given the backstory that Ronon hadn't spoken for about six years, while he'd been a runner. So director Martin Wood told him to play it that way, and Jason responded by having Ronon mumble a lot. So then Brad and Rob came to Joe and told him, "Your friend doesn't know how to talk!" And Joe defended him as doing what he'd been told. He feels Jason learned a lot from that experience, to take ownership of the character. Not to dictate what will happen, but to spearhead what the character would or wouldn't do. And after that Ronon spoke better, too. It was fun for Joe having Jason show up, and Joe immediately thought "Chewbacca".

He noted he'd had dinner with Jason the night before in LA, and that he'd paid again!

It was Robert Cooper's idea for Sheppard to have the nickel-plated pearl-handled .45 gun in Vegas. Joe said he and Robert were on the same page for that episode, each contributing ideas. The episode was a lot of fun to shoot. It was brutal too, as he could tell when the crew got really grumpy, saying it was their hardest shoot in 30 years. They had dust storms and really long hours. But since it was Robert directing, and he's the boss, he could do as much coverage as he wanted. So the moral of the story is to be the boss.

He was given one of the Johnny Cash posters after filming. He thinks it's in his garage somewhere. He's happy they used Johnny Cash in the show.

He noted he has too much time on his hands, because for the last two days he'd been building a downhill mountain biking course at his house. He'd broken three tractors. He admitted it was sad he was spending time that way.

As far as whether Paul ever got Joe back for the rocks, Joe said the payback involved wrestling late at night and was very embarrassing. He told the story of Paul coming over to his and Jason's suite at The Sutton Place, where they had all sorts of visitors; that hotel is where everyone in the entertainment business stays. So Paul was up there one night, talking about his experience wrestling. Joe had had a few too many and challenged Paul to wrestling. Paul is an expert and immediately got Joe in a choke hold. Paul told him he had to tap out, to give in. Joe refused to do it even though he couldn't breathe. Paul didn't want to hurt him, but Joe refused to tap out. At this point in the story, Paul showed up at the entrance to the hall and smiled as fans cheered them on. Joe told him "Technically, you didn't beat me, Paulie."

In terms of how he heard about the cancellation, he had assumed if there were a third show (Stargate Universe), they'd need a companion show to make it more economical. He mentioned that a few times up at the office and was met with sort of a non-committal response. So he went to David Hewlett and told him he was picking up on some strange Ju-Ju in the office. He felt they were perhaps reluctant to tell the actors the show was cancelled, for fear the rest of the filming season would implode. But of course that would not have happened, since they are all professionals. Anyway, it was a surprise to him. He thought they had a couple more years left for sure.

Joe was really jazzed when he saw the script for "Vegas". He didn't think he was getting a lot of scripts for Sheppard, and felt Robert thought so, too. He thought each actor should get their own episodes, partly as some relief to the others. He was also very happy to go on location and have the episode be set on Earth. It was refreshing after all the years on space ships. It had a great feel. It could have been a whole off-shoot series. As far as how he played that John Sheppard, he purposely didn't play him too differently. They wanted the audience to be a bit confused, thinking they were seeing their own Sheppard until it was revealed. He didn't want to make him too gnarly, cynical, beaten-up or alcoholic, like the Sheppard after Season Five.

In "Midway", he thinks Sheppard was hedging his bets on the fight between Ronon and Teal'c. Ronon was his friend, but Teal'c is very big. In his prime, Teal'c was physically stronger, but Ronon is nimble for his size. There was a lot of competition, a lot of man-energy on set during that shoot. They bet real Yankee dollars on the fight, provided by the props department.

A woman asked why his co-workers refer to him as "an interesting guy". He said he couldn't really answer that, but maybe it's because when someone has him in a headlock and he can't breathe, he gives them the middle finger. Also he pursues a lot of different interests aside from acting. He doesn't like to just talk about acting all the time, because to him it gets boring.

Asked how it was to film they scenes where they run and dive through the gate, he said when they'd throw themselves through the gate, they'd land on the big mats on top of each other. The key was to stay out of Jason's way. Jason would jump the highest and you'd seem him and all the hair coming at you. Jason would crash and hurt his back, then ask for a massage. He was the king of getting massages, paid for by the production.

Asked why he doesn't have a web site, he noted someone has all of his domains (joeflanigan.com, etc). But really he doesn't know what to do about building a site. He's too busy building his mountain bike course. He was planning to ask Gateworld for a blog or something on their site. And maybe that would coerce people into giving his domains back. (Of course he could make the case in court easily, to get his domain back, but maybe he doesn't know that!) He recently went to "bigdaddy.com" [sic] and chose a domain for his new business. He just put in his first hive of bees. He decided he would sell honey, again, he said, proving he has too much free time. So he secured the domain "malibuoceanhoney.com". There isn't actually a site yet, but at least he has the domain. So let us all contemplate Joe Flanigan raising bees to sell their honey.

Asked about running up and down the stairs on the Atlantis set, which fans had seen that day were quite steep and had no rails, he noted that when you're filming you get out of shape. You're not eating properly, and you don't have time to exercise. He'd get tired. So he would always welcome scenes where he had to run up and down the stairs twenty times. He would feel like he was still there.

About filming the "beer on the pier" scene in The Shrine, he agrees it was a really touching, nice scene. Brad was there, as he wrote the episode, and he seemed to enjoy it. Joe loved doing solo scenes with other actors, the mano a mano stuff. But he actually got a bit drunk filming that scene. They couldn't get the fake "near beer" in Canada, so it was real Budweiser they were drinking. It was going to be Heineken because Budweiser had said no to having their beer on screen. But Joe's dad had been an executive at Budweiser, so to him there was no way they weren't going to drink Budweiser. So Joe called up August Busch IV, chairman of Anheiser-Busch, and asked him, "Do you want to be the first beer in space?" and Busch said "Hell, yeah"! So that's how they ended up drinking and spitting real Budweiser in the scene.

He was not at all disappointed not to be in A Dog's Breakfast. He was so tired by the end of filming Atlantis, and with his family being in LA, it didn't even come up.

He always wanted to do an episode where he was McKay, switching bodies. There were other body switches filmed, but not that one. But then after McKay and Beckett had to kiss, he stopped pushing for Sheppard to switch bodies.

Joe thanked the crowd and moved on to the rest of his activities for the evening, which didn't finish until he was done signing autographs at nearly 11:30 pm.

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Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper
Brad Wright and Rob Cooper were full of newsy bits, as we wrote on the day here. They were lauded by the crowd and individual fans, although a few expressed their disappointment about the lack of news on the SGA movie, and lack of details on Stargate Universe.

Brad expressed his excitement about Universe, the cast and the sets, and said they'd just seen their first cut of the first episodes. He and Rob are very excited about the show.

Someone asked why the first episodes are element names (Air, Fire, Water, Earth, etc). It was Brad's idea to name them that way. They wanted the first episodes to be simple, elemental survival stories. Man against nature, man against man, etc.

Rob added that one thing they really wanted to do with the new show was keep the elements that were successful about the first two series while adding others. They wanted to keep it in the here and now, but also wanted to populate it with characters viewers could identify with. In some ways, Atlantis was the best and brightest and therefore not quite "you and I". So they wanted Universe to be populated with characters who were more identifiable, and up against identifiable obstacles, beyond just really bad aliens.

Even though the teasers that have been shown are dark and moody, there will be humor in the show. The people will be from the here and now, not serious, humorless futuristic people. Bad things happen, and people still make jokes. And the characters are the kind who will just have to be funny.

The show will have touchstones to SG-1 and Atlantis. There will be visitors from those shows; it takes place in the same time period. And there will be back-references. For new people to the franchise, they will be able to follow along, but long-time fans will be rewarded as well.

Asked to confirm an Atlantis movie, in the context of the promises made when the show was cancelled, Brad said they really do want to make it. The sets are up, and MGM doesn't pay for those sets to stay up if that isn't their intention. That said, the economy is a bit different and the guys who say "yes" have said to wait a second. Joe Mallozzi and Paul Mullie are working on the script, and they want to make it as much as we want to see it.

Regarding the SG-1 movie, it will probably start shooting it in the Fall, but that depends on whether they do the SG-1 and SGA movies back-to-back. The Summer of 2010 would be the release time, like "Continuum" was last year.

Regarding the episode "Vegas" and whether Universe would have similar off-beat episodes, Rob was very happy for the chance to have something a bit different to do, creatively. "Vegas" was originally conceived before they knew the show was going to end; the idea was to look at the characters a bit differently. All of Universe will be different in a way from its predecessors. Otherwise it wouldn't be creatively stimulating.

As far as the release of the re-cut version of SG-1 pilot Children of the Gods, it's been delivered to the studio (MGM with Fox distribution). It features the very first commentary by Richard Dean Anderson, as well as Brad. Brad said it was as though Richard was seeing it for the first time, so it was funny. He's proud of it and thinks it's good. He can't predict when it will be released.

Brad revealed he has a personal aversion to bloopers. Sometimes they just aren't charming, and he doesn't want people to see the actors saying a certain thing, or messing up a scene. He also fears intentional bloopers once the set knows they will be published. Someone might intentionally mess up a scene to be funny, and that slows down production. Not to say they don't save them just in case there are appropriate ones; they've been setting aside good ones for a few years.

Someone asked why the Stargate doctors get killed off, referring to Fraiser and Beckett. Rob said it's like Kenny from Southpark. Brad said in part it's because they put themselves out there in danger. For SG-1, they really did think Season 7 would be the last, which figured into killing off Fraiser. And, Beckett came back. So doctors on the show should know how to clone themselves so they can come back.

Someone asked about the mythology of Universe and whether it would unfold like SG-1 did, and like SGA really didn't as much. The fact the ship will be exploring the actual universe gives the opportunity to invent entirely new races and new experiences for the characters. There will be tie-ins to the Ancients, but there will be new ideas.

Someone asked why there was no ZPM-making equipment on Atlantis. Brad said if there were, there wouldn't be enough obstacles in the path of the characters. If there had been unlimited ZPMs, it would have been too easy to solve problems.

They don't know if Universe will be available on iTunes, but it should air very close to the US airing on Canada's Space Network.

Someone asked if it was intentional for Stargate to show ritualistic spirituality as somewhat of an obstacle to the planet uniting as one, and what their thoughts were on religiosity. Brad handed that one right over to Rob. Rob said if the question is whether people should overlook their differences to join as a world community, he agrees with that. He hasn't meant to be critical of religion, but has tried to allow for people to interpret what they want from the stories. Science fiction allows one to tell stories that are metaphors for the truth.

Brad brought up that they did explore blind faith and how that can lead to bad things. The filmed The Warrior right before 9/11, and it was about a Goa'uld posing as a Jaffa, sending followers through the gate with bombs strapped to them. So that made them uncomfortable, but they were still proud of the episode. Rob doesn't think it's bold to say killing people for what they believe in is wrong.

Regarding aliens on Universe, the ones they have at least initially will be very alien. They won't be people in prosthetics speaking English. They will be as alien as you'd expect to find out in the universe. They're going to film part of "Air Part 3" in New Mexico. They're looking for new ways to have episodes that don't take place in forests.

He said they would also be able to tell stories about the crew interacting with their loved ones on Earth. So they will be able to tell Earth stories.

As to why they changed the leadership of Atlantis so many times, perhaps referring to the change from Weir to Carter, Brad said there are other pressures outside the production offices, and things like ratings they have to respond to. Rob added it wasn't just ratings. In any workplace, somtimese things spill over into the creative side, and they aren't always related to the writers' feelings about a particular character. Wright added they wanted from the beginning for no one to be safe.

The SG-1 movie will feature O'Neill because Brad thinks he's cool, and because of the story idea Brad had. O'Neill wasn't in "Continuum" that much, but Brad loved it when he was in it. It won't be only about O'Neill; it's a Stargate story that happens to bring back O'Neill in a big way.

It was Paul Mullie's idea to not only dedicate an episode of Atlantis to Don S. Davis, but also to have the characters pay tribute to Hammond by talking about him in an episode and to rename a ship the USS George Hammond. The "Children of the Gods" DVD will be in memory of Don.

Someone asked about the new gate, how it would look, and if it would have all nine chevrons visible. Rob said the SGU gate is the coolest ever, and there will be a shot of the Earth gate with a chevron locking that we've never seen lock before.

Brad's favorite part of the creative process is first in the writer's room spinning stories collaboratively on the white board. The other one is editing the shots together. Rob agreed, editing is where you see it come to life. Rob also loves directing. And they both loved getting to see a live orchestra playing the scores for "Ark of Truth" and "Continuum". They were amazed watching Joel Goldsmith, his orchestrator, and those skilled musicians do something they could never do.

Regarding the involvement of science fiction author John Scalzi in SGU, they brought him in because they were fans of his writing. John has been reading every script and giving notes. He's been helpful especially with the science, helping root it more in reality. He might write an episode someday, but he's busy with many other projects.

They can't make a theatrical release movie of any of the Stargate shows because of rights issues associated with the original Stargate movie. They would love to do it, but for business reasons they just can't. So they'll make another feature instead some day.

Their intention is not to emulate Battlestar Galactica with Universe. The filming will be far more mobile than with SG-1 or Atlantis, but they aren't aiming for BSG. The concept they are using for filming is to shoot it how a documentary crew would shoot a documentary aboard the ship. They are trying to put the camera where a crew might have to go to capture the action. This is allowing them and their directors of photography to light the sets in a very natural way. It allows the actors to act as if they're on stage, and it's leading to far more natural performances. As a viewer you feel as if you're there; it feels less staged. He hopes it lets the audience connect with the characters in a more meaningful way. If there is any show they are emulating, it's Firefly, which was shot that way.

A woman asked who Joe Mallozzi felt was gay on Atlantis, and if there would be any gay characters on Universe. Rob said he couldn't comment about what goes on in Joe Mallozzi's mind. But, he said, on Universe there will be at least one, or more, gay characters. Wright said there are actually two. Rob said it goes toward the goal of making the characters as complicated and realistic as they can. It's not about ratings, but a desire to portray humanity.

Rob and Brad don't know why Stargate doesn't get more attention in Canada. The issue seems to be they are perceived of as an American show. Yet most of the cast, crew, writers, and directors are Canadian. So they don't quite get it.

And that wrapped up Brad and Rob and their SGU+ panel.

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Michael Shanks

Next up was Michael Shanks, looking fit and clean shaven on all visible surfaces. Michael was self-deprecating as usual, and happy to be there chatting Stargate and Burn Notice, which came up pretty often. A complete transcript of what Michael had to say is up here at MSOL, FYI.

Michael was surprised there were so few hungover people at the con. I guess he really doesn't know the con-going audience that well. Gratefully, not a lot of big-time drinkers there.

As for whether he'll be on Universe, he'll only say, "I'm not allowed to talk about it." Of course if he weren't on it, he wouldn't say he wasn't allowed to talk about it. But, he isn't.

Regarding his new role in the new pilot, The Eastmans, playing a paramedic named Jack... he said Jack O'Brian will be his third paramedic. His first paramedic role was Jack the paramedic on University Hospital. The second one was in the brilliant Sci Fi Original feature Megasnake. He said if you haven't bought it yet, good for you! In that one, he was Les the paramedic. Now he'll be Jack the paramedic. The Eastmans is a pilot for CBS starring Donald Sutherland, Jacqueline Bisset, and Saffron Burrows. It's about an aristocratic family of doctors. It's a character drama with some comedy; Michael's character is having an affair with the Jacqueline Bisset character. We might never see the show if it doesn't get picked up, but if it does, he'll have a recurring role and will be in the first few episodes in an integral way. He looks forward to seeing what happens with it.

Someone commented on how great he was in Burn Notice, and he said he'd noticed (perhaps in the autograph sessions the night before) that a lot of fans had said they'd watched it. He thought producer Matt Nix would be very excited to hear that. He said congrats to fans for making the finale the highest-rated cable show the night it aired. [If you don't know, Michael played ex-spy Victor, who started out as a foil for the main character, Michael Weston, but ended up on the same side just before (*spoiler ahead*) being killed in a very powerful scene.]

Michael did the DVD commentary for the finale with Matt Nix and star Bruce Campbell, whom Michael was a fan-boy of before being on the show. Matt had heard from many fans asking if there is some way Victor could be brought back, so on the commentary Michael asked Matt if it was possible Victor was really still alive, and Matt said yeah, they'd bring Victor back as "robot Victor" for the "jump the shark" episode of the show. So Michael doesn't expect to be back.

Michael made a lot of good friends there, and he met new colleagues at Fox Studios, who makes it, and USA Network. So something might happen in the future based on those new relationships.

As far as how similar Michael is to Daniel, Michael joked that Daniel is a lot nicer than Michael and that he means well.

There is no news to report on his project with Chris Judge called "Rage of Angels." Last he heard, it is in the hands of DirectTV and Starz Media for a two-hour pilot, and beyond that he feels it's better not to talk about it anymore since whenever he says it's getting somewhere, it doesn't seem to work out.

His main criterion for choosing a role is the character itself. He looks for complex, flawed characters, and for the most opportunity to explore the character within himself. And yes, he found Les the paramedic to be greatly flawed.

Sadly there won't be a Men-of-SciFi calendar. The women's calendar was not a "boon", so there is no men's one in the works.

Michael didn't know the backstory of his character "Victor" until he was working on his second of his four episodes. Once he did see the script, he felt the key scene was when he explains himself to Michael Weston, when he is tied to the chair and Weston is interrogating him. He felt that that was the scene where he had to make the audience sympathetic to Victor. The writers might have been reluctant to give him the script, since it ended in Victor's death. But Michael read it, and his reaction was to go to Matt Nix and say "thank you" for giving him, as a guest star, the opportunity for such great weight and depth in the story. Knowing the character was going to die wouldn't have changed his earlier performance. Victor behaved in an insane way because he was driven to the point where he didn't care anymore what happened to him.

He talked about the second-to-last Burn Notice episode (Truth and Reconciliation) where his character is supposed to jump up onto buildings and over them, and how he was absolutely the wrong actor for that type of action. So they hired an amazing stunt guy to do it, and he wondered how he would match that in his action scenes. So in one scene in the finale he had to run up and grab a box off of a power pole and jump into the back of a Saab convertible. The director told him not to worry about doing it himself, to not hurt himself. But Michael felt he had to do it, or it would have looked so obvious. (On the BN forum, Matt Nix called Michael a stud for doing that stunt.)

He talked about the small filming industry in Miami and how they write stunts into the scripts that they know the local stunt guys are good at.

As far as who pulled the trigger in Lesser Evil, it was deliberately ambiguous in the script. In Michael's mind, it was Weston who did it, because Victor had asked him to.

A fan brought Michael a foam puck-head hat and glove in honor of the Vancouver Canucks. He put them on for a few seconds, then took them off because the Canucks had played badly and lost.

Asked about pranks, Michael polled the audience to see how many people had heard "the bear story". Since the vast majority hadn't, he launched into an enthusiastic rendition of how he tricked Chris Judge into believing there was a bear near them on location, while filming "1969". It was really a darkly-dressed teamster digging a trench for them to use on the side of the road, but Michael played up that it was a bear, and Chris believed it just as he looked over and saw something dark bobbing out of the ditch. Chris went tearing down the mountain at full speed. Once he heard everyone laughing, he turned around and sprinted up the hill after Michael. That was a good prank because it scared the hell out of Chris.

Asked about when he had ever struggled filming a scene, Michael gave a great re-telling of how much trouble he had getting through the very long, one-shot Daniel and Jack exposition scene in Sacrifices. The scene was was added to the episode just before shooting started, and he hadn't set aside enough time to memorize it well. One aspect that was new to this telling was Michael describing how, whenever Daniel is moving his hands in a circular motion, that is Michael willing the script words up out of his brain. In that scene, it looked like he wanted to get off the ground. Luckily RDA was very kind about it and did his best not to distract Michael. It took about six takes to get it, which was a lot for him.

Michael got to spend three or four hours with Bruce Campbell on set on Burn Notice. They compared stories of shooting in Bulgaria, where Bruce Campbell filmed My Name is Bruce. They had many experiences to exchange about being in genre TV. He gave Michael a lot of advice about doing your own productions.

When Michael first saw the character breakdowns for SGU, he did think of the young character parody from "200". But Robert Carlyle doesn't fit into that category, so he's sure opinions have changed since then. He polled the audience for who would watch it, who already hated it, etc. He cracks up that people watch shows they hate.

On Burn Notice, they have an edict from the studio to film five days of every eight days for an episode out on location. They want to see Miami in the episodes.

On the finale, Michael got to do some driving shots, even though they weren't much used. But being asked to drive a powerful car "hard" around a track was a little boy's dream come true. It was similar to when he got to drive the jeep-type vehicle in The Curse. He had to really gas it to get over the dunes, and he was very willing to drive it hard as ordered. Some parts of Burn Notice were the poor man's process, where the car is sitting still and the scenery moves by on screens outside the car. That felt very silly to him, especially as the passenger just looking around and pretending to move. It cuts together with the outside footage well, but when you're doing it, you feel like a moron.

A couple more short answers, and that was it for Michael!

Amanda Tapping

Amanda finished up the convention in a big way. She looked lovely and was as friendly as ever. She'd just started on the second week of filming Sanctuary, so she is Helen Magnus-ized in terms of her dark hair. But she will Carter-ize herself for the third SG-1 movie.

Asked if blondes really have more fun, she said to the blonde questioner, "Yes". Really, she misses being blonde, but she finds people take her more seriously as a brunette.

To memorize her scripts, on Stargate, where she'd get the scripts weeks ahead of time, she would get together with the other actors and run lines. She'd read the scripts six times or more before filming. Her husband helped her too, and does even more on Sanctuary, where she doesn't get the scripts as far ahead of time.

If Carter had had the same situation of "no consequences" as Jack did in Window of Opportunity, she would have done a lot more than kiss. She perhaps would have joined Jack at the pottery wheel a la the movie "Ghost."

As far as experiences she had as a result of being on Stargate, some that came to mind were going on a USO tour to the Middle East after 9/11, sitting in the cockpit of an F-16, and going to the North Pole to shoot a movie. Not to mention running through the woods in N. Vancouver firing a gun. It seems like every day was an adventure, right from shooting the pilot.

Amanda thinks the character Cassie Fraiser is at University, and isn't going to join the Air Force. She might break their hearts and join the Navy.

If she could guest star on any TV show now, she would choose "30 Rock".

If she were to have her dream of playing Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter, she thinks Rick (RDA) would be a great Richard II. In fact she could use the entire SG-1 cast, with Michael as Richard and Chris as Jeffrey. Teryl could be Alais Capet. There would be places for Ben and Claudia, too.

She directed only one SG-1 episode, Resurrection, because for the proper prep time and for directing and editing the episode itself, they would have to to take the actor mostly out of three scripts. Having said all that, she will be directing episode six of Sanctuary this year.

A fan asked her to give Brad Wright a lemon to express fans' unhappiness over Atlantis being canceled. She said since Brad is writing the 3rd SG-1 movie, it might not be something she'd want to do. Carter would end up teaching at the Academy for the whole movie. She doesn't think it's right to blame Brad necessarily. Now that she is a producer, she realizes producers don't have all the power. They have many puppeteers pulling their strings, so to speak.

As far as Sam and Jack and what they're doing now, she would like to think that after all this time, there is some pay-off. She knows some people wouldn't want to see it, but she thinks Carter and O'Neill are two vital people with healthy appetites, who have endured 11 years of puritanical rule, and it's time to go fishing. In the very least, they should have amazing... at least once, to say they finally did it.

Someone complimented her on the episode Grace, and Amanda said it grew partly out of her conversations with Rob Cooper before the season started, where she said she wanted Carter to explore what makes her tick and what's missing in her life, and to have an epiphany about what's important to her. Damian Kindler happened to already be writing "Grace" exploring those very things, so it worked out great.

Amanda has found right now a great balance between her family and her work. There are moments when she feels she doesn't have enough time for both, but for now there is a good balance.

If Sam and Jack did take it to the next level, she thinks it would last in spite of Jack's "idiotsyncracies". They've known each other for so long, been through so much, and nearly died together, so yes, it would last. The team wouldn't still be together if they didn't all love each other.

Amanda loves working with Chris Heyerdahl, who plays the mass murdering Druitt on Sanctuary. It's very hard for her not to let Helen fall in love with him, in spite of the fact that he's a murderer. So Martin and Chris have to remind Amanda on set, saying "Remember, he's killed women."

As far as how the set dynamics changed once Claudia was a regular and there were then two women and three guys, Amanda pointed it out they were two very smart and powerful women against three boys. The weirder thing for her was going back in Season 9 just weeks after having her baby. She felt she had missed the connection at the start of the season, like a new kid at school. Then Claudia left and Amanda missed her. So Season 10 was not that much of a transition. All along she missed having Teryl on the set, because they could sit and giggle til they cried.

During the filming of Unending, Chris and Amanda decided there was an extra connection between the two of them that would play out after Landry died of old age, when they met and hugged in the hallway. In rehearsals it worked great: Carter sat with Landry as he died then stepped into the hallway to be comforted by Teal'c. So they went to shoot the scene, with Landry dying and Carter crying, when the door opened, there was Chris standing there in nothing but a leather thong with the SG-1 logo on the front. She was so shocked she couldn't even look at him. She just kept covering her eyes. It was very funny.

In its first year on TV, Sanctuary got a bit toned-down by the network. But given its success, the network has more faith in them and will this season let them get back to the original spirit of the webisodes, with more dark humor especially.

She believes Carter's hero is probably her dad, Jacob. Amanda's hero is her grandmother, who lived to be 103 and was a ballsy, kickass, funny, smart woman. She lived her life honestly and gracefully, and wanted to outlive the Queen Mum, which she did. She didn't understand why she was an inspiration, but she was.

Amanda talked about how the idea for Sanctuary came from Damian Kindler, and it was a long, tough road finally to where they are now, filming Season 2. She loves watching Martin direct; he has such great intuition and loves actors. She and Martin actually had their first fight ever, on set, when he wanted her to push her acting way farther than she wanted to. (This was probably in the episode "Requiem" in which Magnus has a very intense scene.) They fought for two minutes, then immediately made up tearfully. That reminded her that Martin is on the journey, too.

She has mentioned to Ben that Carter is a Full-Bird Colonel now. She'll be interested to see who is in charge of SG-1 in the movie. She laughed that on the show they'd get excited about their characters' promotions as if they were real.

Asked about her favorite scene of SG-1 and Atlantis, she said there were too many to name just one on SG-1. On SGA it was the scene in Grace Under Pressure right after Carter and Rodney have kissed, when there is a really nice moment between her and David. In general it's hard to separate the experience they had filming from the resulting episode. For example they had so much fun in Trio and there was so much going on with the climbing and stuff, it will always be memorable for that. That was the episode where they started writing Stargate The Musical, which they want to perform at the Coquitlam Musical Theater when they get to be in their 50s.

Amanda was very happy to receive the Woman of Vision award from the Women in Film And Television Vancouver organization. It came at a stressful time and was much appreciated.

On filming with a lot of green-screen sets, it's almost like acting on a stage, where you have just a few props and have to imagine the rest. About 70% of their sets are added digitally later. Acting in that setting makes it more immediate and intimate. You and your acting partner just have each other, the words, and the moment. It's almost more pure that way. They get a sense of the scope of the set from green tape marks on the green screens, or corners marked with green plywood. Once you get used to it, it's cool and a pure feeling.

Amanda reads every letter she gets from fans and is overwhelmed with what people share with her and how open they are with her. She feels blessed that people trust her so much.

Amanda is interested in having a Sanctuary convention, in fact there might be one happening in England in the Fall, and the girls who run her GABIT weekends in the UK would like to do some Sanctuary conventions.

Amanda finished by expressing her amazement for how giving the fans are to her, and their goodwill and support, and she thanked everyone greatly.

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