Stargate Creation Con Report
Secaucus, New Jersey
November 3-5, 2006
© 2006 Wraithfodder
Disclaimer: Please note these transcripts were done from shorthand notes, so there may be errors. Also, material is copyright so feel free to link to it but please do not copy and post elsewhere because I will most likely be editing text as folks point out mistakes or add to it. Thanks!
THIS WILL HAVE TO BE DONE IN TWO POSTS. PART 1 OF 2
a) Breakfast: Joe Flanigan, Cliff Simon
b) Cliff Simon
c) Joe Flanigan Photo Op
d) Joe Flanigan
e) Autograph line: Joe Flanigan & Cliff Simon
d) Joe Flanigan: " I gotta keep sticking it to the man.”
Joe came out on stage in this giant rabbit costume. Oops, wait, no, that was Ben Browder, who apparently - on this same weekend at the Burbank Farscape convention - did just that. Joe spared us that kind of spectacle and wore black boots, blue jeans, black Sugar Ray Robinson T-shirt and white shirt jacket, which he took off nearly immediately (the jacket, that is).
Joe came onto stage in the dark (as a video had just finished playing) and when they finally turned on the lights, Joe said "I've stepped out of my light a few times, but not in this environment." This is his first East Coast convention and he apologized for taking a few years and instead of "boring" us with a speech (as he said he's suffered through some speeches himself), went straight into Q&A.
JOE FLANIGAN: JF20.jpg
I was the first one up to ask a question - knowing that the Q&A lines would be very long - and asked what his most challenging episode to film was on Stargate Atlantis, and how his kids felt about the show. Joe just stared at me and said "That's two questions. These guys [CC] will probably charge you for two questions. (audience laughs) Sorry… You know, I gotta keep sticking it to the man. (Cheers) I’m sorry, it’s just part of the show,” he says to CC people off-stage.
He answered that it was hard to say. Some episodes were challenging physically, "getting put into prosthetics, doing a lot of stunts. I'd say things like 'Common Ground,' um, what was that other one where I turned into a bug, what's that called?" Everybody answered "Conversion" but he repeated "Convergence," but hey, who's gonna correct him? ;) He continued that "those things are difficult physically and you have to go through that long-- that's where people say 'oh, science fiction. Don’t you have to sit in a make-up chair forever?' "It was at that point I realized that yes, you do I guess. Some people do. It was extraordinary in that regard. And then there are episodes that are challenging to do from an acting perspective because you're facilitating a very complex plot and you don't have the money…" While a movie takes $150 million to make, you can show it all - "we have a little over $2 million to do the same thing so we end up having to tell quite a bit in the dialogue. You have to actually tell people some of the storyline and that's when you get into those incredible moments of exposition*. It's incredible. David Hewlett does a very good job doing that stuff. I try to do it badly as possible and I'm hoping they don't give me his material. It's my way of keeping them from dumping all that exposition on me." He couldn't say which episode was most challenging, "but then there are some that are - they hand you a script – for example, 'Common Ground' - that was a good one. They said 'oh god, this is going to be a real challenge. It's a meaty piece of acting.' But I don't find those things difficult. I find them fun. It's the ones that are not really written to give you a good piece of meat as an actor that are complicated." He went on to say that those actors with limited dialogue have it a lot worse. "It's tremendously difficult. It's a lot more difficult than when you're one of the head guys on the show. Don't ask me why. Acting is mysterious."
* Joe said exhibition instead of exposition.
JOE FLANIGAN: JF21.jpg
"As far as the kids," he said in response to the second question. "I don't know. Boy… the kids get scared watching the show. Yeah, they think daddy's going to die, so they actually don't really like watching it unless I'm there and they can clutch my hands to make sure daddy's not going to die… And they also have a very unlimited attention span," he continued. "Not unlike their father. They'll be like (changes to small child voice) 'oh my god, daddy's going to die!' to 'where's that candy?'" He's got three kids, all boys: a 6-1/2 year old, a 4-year-old, and a new 6-week-old baby. (lots of aws) "I had very little to do with it, but I’ll…." he said with his typical self-deprecation. ["I have] a newfound respect for my wife, oh my god,” and you could tell he really meant that.
He switched to the next question (questions were fielded from either side of the room). A fan wanted to know about older guest spots he'd done and did he have a favorite one. "A lot of those things you talked about were not guest spots. They're actually pilots where I would have gone on to be the star of the show, had they picked it up (laughs)…. But I did 11 pilots in a row. They keep saying 'oh, we're going to launch you out of the cannon, you're going to be a star!' (he then imitates something crashing) It's a mysterious process: the shows that actually succeed and the shows that don't. It's an even more mysterious process when you come into the world of pilots. I would say that 80% of Hollywood exists one this developmental world of shows that haven’t even been picked up… they employ a tremendous amount of actors and everything else. People who are about to make it. It's a very frustrating process," citing that his last pilot - Thoughtcrimes - "It was pretty good, and go figure? Why didn't they pick it up? Well, NBC bought us and then went on and made Medium. And really, that’s what they did. They kind of gutted our show and made Medium, which I don't think is as interesting as Thoughtcrimes was, you know, because they take themselves to seriously on that show, but that's hard to watch sometimes. (he laughs) No offense, I've got a great friend on that show. He's great… And then you get on a show like this [Stargate Atlantis] and these shows have such longevity and it's mostly because of you guys. I mean the loyalty [and the] fanbase is enormous. It's incredible and everybody on every network would kill to have this type of loyalty. So, uh, so they can go to hell," he joked. "We got it. After 11 pilots, I can say that.”
A fan asked him to sing happy birthday but he asked the audience to participate "because you don't want to hear me to sing 'happy birthday.' I need some backup." So this young teenage girl - Nicole - just turned 16 and everybody sung it and hey, he's right, he can't sing! Oh, I feel in such good company now. Heh, Dan would have voted him off the stage too ;)
He joked briefly about swear words saying that Battlestar Galactica uses 'frak' a lot and that maybe they [Stargate Atlantis] should come up with their own.
Next question was how does Stargate Atlantis deal with ethics, such as like parallels to the war in Iraq. "Good question," he replied. He said that Battlestar Galactica loves to do thinly veiled political comments. "We tend to do that in a much more, actually sophisticated way," and he says 'sophisticated' in that trademark cute Sheppard way. "We really do. They're [BSG] beating you over the head with that stuff…. We do it but don't like to make it a primary element of the story,” he replied. “Science fiction is as profound as you want it to be. So if you read into that, good, there was definitely some thought that went into it, however, it’s not the primary element. So you're not watching a political drama here. And we're not making comments all the time, and we're not preaching to anybody, but it doesn't mean that there aren't messages." The fans then corrected him on the question (didn't quite catch it) and then Joe went "Oh boy… you’re like a professor. You get an 'A'." He said they deal with ethics. "At one point we had this wraith in a jail and we were kind of torturing him and we had the American patches on, and it was during the Abu Grabhi scandal in Iraq, and we thought, 'well, this is a tricky situation. This is way too close to home right now, maybe we should tear the American patches off and make this a little less kind of serious.' And so you think about the ethics involved in it." He said that with Sheppard's character. "I'm okay with sacrificing a few people if it's going to save more people. So, and then you get a character like Torri's, who never wants to kill anything[body] - she wants to negotiate her way into everything and out of everything and I play a more realistic leverage than that." He hoped that answered the question as "that was a lot harder than" he thought.
JOE FLANIGAN: J23.jpg
Next. A fan asked about Sheppard / Teyla / Weir 'ship.' Joe amusingly replied, "It’s going to be all three of us. I’m greedy,” when asked whom Sheppard might hook up with. The fan wondered if it would be kept that way – like with Moonlighting - or would he 'finally give it up to somebody.' Joe then said "You mean we're going to pimp them out or something?". Will it be Shep and Teyla, or will Ronon give him a run for the money? Joe said, "You know what they say, friends never let women get in the way (in regards to Teyla and Ronon) so we can't do that. You won't see any of that." He said "I think that the whole issue of the sexual and romantic tension - you have to have that in a show. I'm not sure that you have to fulfill it, because I think it's a dangerous place to go when you fulfill it because you basically—and it's an interesting contradiction, actually, because sometimes what they'll do is they’ll actually test audiences and audiences will say - after doing eleven pilots you do a lot of testing," he said wryly. "And they'll say 'we really wanted Joe to get together with that girl' and they'll say 'we're thinking about reshooting and having you get together with that girl'. Well, the problem is that the audience say that's what they want, but they actually don't want that. What they want to see is you wanting, is what they want and it's a distinction that is lost on a lot of network executives, like many other things…so once again, gotta stick it to the man." He laughed, adding "I'll find myself walking the streets out here pretty soon looking for money." He doesn't think fans will see "a lot of fulfillment but you will see a lot of interesting angles, but having said that, you actually never know because the writers will pull some rabbits out of their hat," citing developments in the second half of the third season, "where you'll see really surprising things. I was surprised. I showed up, there was no trailer,” he jokingly concluded.
JF25.jpg – The back of Joe Flanigan – he always turned to whomever he was talking, so I decided, why not take a picture? ;)
Question about interpersonal dynamics occur on the set of Stargate Atlantis? "Well, we're remarkably close to what you see onscreen. It's kind of strange actually. The dynamic is not that much different in a lot of ways… David's is pretty funny. I'm a bit of a smartass. Torri's really thoughtful. Rachel's very beautiful…we all get along very well and actually, I feel very lucky about that because it's hard to achieve." He went to say that he's seen some movies and shows where everybody gets along great on the set, "you watch these shows and 'my god, this is BORING!' and I've seen some shows where you walk on set and people are miserable and they hate each other. They won’t come out of their trailers and talk to each other, but then you see them on screen and 'wow, this is fantastic, do we all have to hate each other to get a good show here?”
A fan asked about David Hewlett's new movie, A Dog's Breakfast, which he wrote, produced and directed, and is right now promoting it, to which Joe said "Yes, shamelessly." Does Joe have similar ambitions? "Absolutely, yes. I tend to be a little lazier than David Hewlett. Sometimes it takes me a little longer to get me off the ground there. No, truthfully, I absolutely do. I've written an episode, I'm going to direct one this season. The only thing keeping me from doing that is an over-active Canadian director's union which could literally not let me do it because I'm American but we'll see. I'll probably raise a lot of hell if they don't let me do it." He thinks that "any part of the creative process" is fascinating but it doesn't necessarily mean he'll end up there. "Acting can be a lot of fun, especially if the material is good. It can also be pretty tedious if the material is not good. Directing is sometimes a more—there’s a lot more responsibility with directing - in that regard you could learn a lot and grow a lot as an artist and so I look forward to doing that. I'd like also to do theater but you know, you have to make a living. Theater isn't exactly the most lucrative thing in the world with those three kids I've got to feed. I'm only giving them two meals a day," he joked.
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