UNITED FAN CON
Saturday, November 11th
10:15 a.m. talk
© 2006 Wraithfodder
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I only did a one-day ticket as I couldn’t do two cons in a row, and honestly, didn’t even know if I’d be going as I was watching the UFC boards and it seemed they were saying that the ‘at the door’ people wouldn’t be allowed in until 11 a.m., even though panels started at 10 a.m., which seemed, well, stupid! Since a line was building, they let people in at ten but it took a while. Courtesy of two very, very nice fans, I managed to get in just five minutes before David’s talk began. But, still can’t get over how nobody on staff could agree on when the con started.
Gary Jones was probably on stage 20 minutes before David Nykl bounded into the room. He’d overslept as he’d come in on a flight that arrived at 3:00 a.m., but you really couldn’t tell. They talked about working with stars, like Katherine Hepburn (Gary related a long story on that). Afterwards, Gary explained the fans were in assigned seats, and David suggested everybody move around.
Questions were then fielded by fans…and here are a few.
Did David think the role of Zelenka would last this long? “Heavens no, did I think it would last as long as it did? No, you never do. As an actor you just do what you can, you go as a day job, you show up and that particular episode was ’38 Minutes.’ The very first one that they cast me for and they were looking for a Russian scientist which is sorta generic Eastern European wash that is applied to all sorts of scientists who wear glasses and have stubble, I guess. (laughter)” Gary made a remark about no razors in Russia. “Yeah, I know it’s crazy, isn’t it? And then when you do, it’s a hockey stick or something…. Um, so it started as that and then they found out I’ve got Czech heritage, Czech background, I speak Czech, so when I got the script, it ended up being Dr. Zelenka and that turned into a… turned into an episode the next time… ‘Suspicion,’ the roof (in the puddlejumper bay) comes off, and Brad Wright was at the monitors and he said ‘this is the kind of character we’re looking for’ so it was happenstance, it was luck and it was quite lovely.”
David mentioned that Vancouver is “kind of sci-fi central” as Battlestar Galactica shoots across the street from Stargate Atlantis and any number of different scifi shows going. He did some of them, like Seven Days.
Gary said that Steve Bacic lives on his street!
David was asked “How cold was it on that lake during that Subway (sandwich) commercial? Have you been on the internet?” to which the fan replied “Haven’t we all?” David mimicked that and said “I did an ad for the Subway restaurant chain, ladies and gentlemen in a place called Cochran, Alberta in a lovely part of the world called the Kananaskis. They put up there at five o’clock in the morning and it was minus sixteen and the script called for minus sixteen Celsius which is about the same Fahrenheit. I think they sort of meet down there, don’t they, when it gets that cold it’s just cold, is what it is. And I knew things were amiss when in the gloom of early dawn the first thing I see is like firefighters and nurses who are there – for me. In case, you know, hypothermia sets in but you’ll be safe. And the script called for it because they were introducing the toasted sandwiches, so the script called for things being hot, so cars would melt and things would melt and I was so hot that I had to take all my clothes off – on a frozen Alberta lake!”
Gary: “Did you really?”
David: “Yeah, happens all the time, Gary. I just see something hot and the clothes start coming off.”
And then Gary made a joke about ‘shrinkage.’
The next question was about a commercial David did with lobsters. “That was Jim Hensen Muppets and Associates that brought out the retractable arm that came out of the pot of boiling water. That was for the Terasen lobster ad where I’m boiling a lobster in the kitchen and yeah, they flew out this puppeteer from Chicago or something like that – I was in Vancouver – and the guy was like strapped in with all these things. The guy was big and the lobster was only this (small) big, so he had all these different moves. They put the lobster in the water and it took him hours to figure out how to get it to go so then they just like jury-rigged a popsicle stick… so you know, the simplest solutions are always the best. That’s the moral of the lobster story.”
Gary then brought up the movie Snakehead Terror and David started laughing. “Oh man, I auditioned for that show!” Gary brought up how he was eaten alive by a bunch of snakeheads. “Don’t you hate how that happens?” joked David. “You get up in the morning, you think you’re okay.” He brought up how ridiculous these scripts can be. “There are moments when you’re lying there going ‘I can’t believe I’m doing this’ and you say ‘I hope they have a really good CGI department because there’s no way that looks real.’” Gary said how they poured blood on him in the night and it was cold. David they brought up Snakes on a Plane where one actor they both knew got ‘devoured’ from the head down by snakes in that movie. David then remarked “What are you going to do today? Get eaten by a pterodactyl.”
Gary said how when you get your script on Stargate, you just thumb through to find your part, to which David replied, “I don’t know, Gary, I read them and I cross-reference them to all the other ones that I’ve read, and then I rewatch the DVDs. I don’t know. This is an interesting approach that you take,” to which Gary laughs.
Gary was asked “Who is the biggest practical joker on the Atlantis set? I think between the. however many of us are on set on a given day. I mean when Hewlett and I are together we fool around so much sometimes it’s a wonder scenes get done. We don’t stop sometimes until the clapperboard goes. This is a good one. I actually wasn’t part of it but I thought it was really funny. Joe [Flanigan] did this to Paul [McGillion]. They’re outside in Langley where do a lot of our off-world stuff – a lot of our off-world stuff is all in Langley, I don’t’ know why – and he [Paul] had his medical kit with him and they had to run up this rise and look and that was the end of the take. And they kept having problems with this and kept having to do it over and over again and so whenever they’d come to the bottom, Joe would put an extra stone into Paul’s bag and by the end of the fifteenth take it was ‘oh man, what is in this bag? It’s getting heavier and heavier and heavier’ (and David did a staggering imitation of Paul and laughs) in his bag. Yeah, that was funny. Paul gets the brunt of a lot of – poor Rachel [Luttrel] does too. I was just in Australia with Rachel… so she gets a lot of practical jokes put on her.”
How many permanent Atlantis sets are there? “We’re in stage five with a gateroom, a control room, and Weir’s office is all in the complex.” (Gary corrected him as SGA is in stage six) “They’re right beside each other—“ and then Gary said “Yeah, we’re cancelled so you’re just taking over.” David replied “Oh, you’ll be making movies…. The FX stage where we have our puddlejumpers and the Athosian village. I think we’re in like three studios and we have like six sets.”
And that’s it.
I did the autograph line (well, not really a line as this was for folks who didn’t buy the $$$ tickets and could do the ala carte a bit cheaper) and ended up getting two as I wanted both pictures and couldn’t decide. David was really nice, quite friendly (he vanished before signing to get coffee and a muffin as he hadn’t had breakfast yet). Later I saw him in the Photo Op (couldn’t pass that up) and he was late for that due to the registered members autograph line which apparently went a bit slow.
It was great seeing David Nykl in person and I wish I’d had more time to talk with him as he seemed pretty delightful.
Had to head home and didn’t buy anything. Was tempted to buy this little Dalek and should have when the dealer said it was $15 as when I came back after lunch, I was told it was $25! Ack!
NOTE: David's sweater was black, but just came out, well, a different color in the stage area. New camera. Don't know. But he looked fine :)
Check out David’s website at http://www.davidnykl.com/
Found a few LJ entries on the con (Warning: watch the language in some)