August 1-3, 2008
(reporting only on the 3rd, which I attended)
Amazingly, traffic was smooth going up to Hartford and when we got there, the place looked deserted. Hartford, CT is mainly businesses, so on the weekend, it’s dead, like film an end-of-the-world film there type dead.
Anyway, this three-day convention was held at the humongous Connecticut Convention Center. It was billed as anime/scifi, but I’d say it was, well, anime with a smattering of scifi in several of its guests… Robert Picardo (Star Trek/Stargate Atlantis), Colin Cunningham (Stargate SG1), Ethan Phillips (Star Trek) and Ellen Muth (Dead Like Me).
We got there early, about 9:15 and when I got the schedule, I went, oh look, Colin’s movie is in room 21! So, rush up there to find… empty room. Darn! So, went down and around and found the dealer’s area, in front of which was where they situated the actors to do signings but no one was there yet. So we wandered a bit, checking out the fluffy anime toys and whatnot. Most of it was foreign to me (I know, bad pun), but overall, it was a very friendly convention atmosphere.
Robert Picardo showed up at his signing booth and I chatted with him a little, got an autographed photo. I discovered that he said “there are photos of me looking stupid posing with a bunny on the internet” which perplexed me, but then when I got home, yes, indeed, here’s the shot he was talking about!
Robert Picardo and the Bunny
Anyway, I chatted with Robert a little about the ‘levitating’ cast shots for season 5. Apparently they did do group shots, but afterwards, the photoshoppers moved them all over the place. We chatted about the uniforms, and he hopes they can refine them (better material, darker gray, and I agree) and when no one was around his table, he was busy reading a new script for a movie, hm,m which I think he said was called Trail of Blood. I remarked it sounded like it would end up on SciFi and he thinks it will. He’ll film it before going back going back to work on SGA. He does have a wry sense of humor, is a impeccable dresser (even with jeans, he wears a jacket). Oh, and I asked and got a photo taken with him – for free! Other fans came so I drifted down the other tables, said hi to Ethan and Ellen, but didn’t buy photos, etc., as well, I was a short budget, but did make Ellen happy when I told her I’d seen her show, and ohmygawd, she is TINY. A size minus zero or something!
So after a while, we went out for lunch, and discovered the Dunkin Donuts was (gasp!) closed on Sundays. How… un-American! Eeek! But Subway was open, and we ran into a trio of fans – two local, one from NYC – and had an interesting talk with them about the con, anime, horror films and train schedules. When we got back to the con, I figured I’d stake out room 21 for the Stargate panel at 3:00pm, and then I heard an announcement going “if you want to get autographs, do it now, and they mentioned Bob and Colin’s name, so I ran downstairs, and yup, there was Colin at the previously empty table.
There were probably half a dozen Stargate fans at the con. A few were in BDUs and obviously had hobnobbed with Colin over the weekend. And it’s an odd thing to say, but I’m glad it was an anime convention as it wasn’t like Creation with ‘move along, move along.’ After I got my photo signed by Colin, I noticed no one else was waiting so I asked if I could hang around and chat and he seemed quite alright with it, so we talked about Stargate, fandom, producers, the potential SAG strike, CSI , which he appeared on (and I think this is where I told him about Zombie Bambi), to which he remarked in horror ‘Do you live in the wilderness?” and I said ‘no, the suburbs’ (Zombie Bambi was a deer that got killed and eaten over a few days in out front yard, for those who didn’t read the earlier entries). Anyway, Colin, hope I didn’t scare you with that story! ;) I think we talked for half an hour, with people drifting in an out for autographs, etc.. I also got a picture taken with him as well J
Then he had to go up to his room and I went back to the panel room, which was basically empty, so my friend Dawn and I went in, and waited, and others came in, and I’d say there were about a dozen fans there (which, for an anime convention, is pretty good!).
Colin arrived on time and he was GREAT. It was Q&A, and when he’d go “any questions?” and look around, I’d raise my hand just to ask anything as the anime people didn’t know a lot about it, I think (so, no no, not a whacko stalker, just wanted to keep the flow going and heck, I did have questions) J
Oh, and if the young lady fan with the duct taped arm who told me and my friend all about Death Notes reads this, Colin remembered AFTER he was downstairs about the phone call with Vicktor (can’t recall last name) so hopefully you managed to run into Colin later that day. He did remember, but just twenty minutes after the panel ended.
Meanwhile, here are some tidbits from the Stargate panel with Colin Cunningham.
· Colin said when he went to work on the Sixth Day with Arnold Schwarzengger, he told a friend that oh, “he’s gigantic! He’s like nine feet tall!” but his friend said, nah, he’s five eleven, and the next day when Colin went to work on the film, yup, Arnie wasn’t six feet, but he had been in Colin’s mind.
· He said he counts himself blessed for having worked on Stargate. A friend said “Do you realize you can literally sleep on anybody’s couch anywhere in the whole world. It’s so cool.” He said he probably auditioned for the show twelve times. Daniel Jackson was one part, and it wasn’t until Major Davis came up that he got the role. He said there was word that the show was good about bringing people back.
· He said that fans are nuts, but in a good sense. He said when he was at Gatecon, to which he hadn’t even been invited, a fan he knew invited him down and he said when he came down the fans just parted (and he waved his arms out) and went “Oh wow, Major Davis,” and he admits it was a “bit of a trip.”
· He thought it would be cool if they came out with a Major Davis action figure. “Especially if it kind of looked like me. I would love something like that. I don’t think I’ve ever had an action figure before.” He remembered being in a supermarket once and spied the Sixth Day novelization with Arnie on the front cover, and he wondered if his character was in it, so he looked inside. His character was now a seven-foot character with dreadlocks. “Okay, that’s a bit of a departure.”
· He related a tale of how when he was working on Elektra (Jennifer Garner movie) that he ran into Goran Visjnic (Luka on E.R.). And Goran spotted him on set and started walking toward him on set… “Major Davis! Holy cow!” Goran is a huge Stargate fan, who went on about having the DVD sets, etc. etc., and they developed a friendship. And Colin arranged with Bridge Studios to have Goran visit and Goran got photos in front of the gate, etc.
· The coolest thing about being on Stargate on and not being on it every day was seeing how much the show was built up each time.
· He said it is odd how fans will look at you as though they know everything, but that everything you say is hilarious, etc. He understands how fans are around celebrities, as he’s felt the same way, particularly working with Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, he did have something in common with Arnold. Colin’s father, now 73, who is an amateur (non-drug) body builder who still competes. Colin grew up around the gym with famous bodybuilders like Jack LaLane, etc. And oddly enough, at his father’s gym, there was a coffee can there for donations to fly out this kid from Austria – Arnold S! Small world.
· Colin talked about his movie, Centigrade. In order to get it funded, he needed a mentor, so he went to Peter DeLuise. No problem. Trouble was, he was mentoring someone else, and the mentor’s can only mentor ONE person, and Colin found out the day before, so Peter suggested he call Martin Wood, who helped score Bridge Studio space for free. So five months later, Martin contacts him about working on “Continuum.” Alas, they’ve run out of money, but Colin said he’d do it no matter what. When he showed up, it didn’t even say “Major Davis” on the trailer, but “MD” which sort of kept it quiet. “I was stoked,” he said of working on the movie.
· Colin talked about the trials and tribulations of auditioning. He says he’s a character actor, and doesn’t want to be the lead, as they tend to be one-dimensional.
· Also talked about the business, how to do get into it, and what kind of passion you need in order to stay in the business.
· His favorite character on the show is Daniel Jackson because Michael does such a good job with it.
· Colin said that Don S. Davis had such a presence on the show, and said how years earlier, Davis had helped him out.
· Colin spoke of how he had the last line in a series of dialogue involving several actors (RDA, CJ, etc.) and he kept messing it up. So, he keeps mucking it up, and Gary Jones is offering to hold up the script (very embarrassing) so they do it again but then Peter DeLuise yells across the set “who did you have to **** to get this job?!” which he did to break the tension, but “I just wanted to DIE.” But he did get it right the next time!
· He says he has to learn his lines by simply memorizing then. Unlike Keifer Sutherland or Meryl Streep, who have photographic memories. He says on soap operas (he worked briefly on one) the actors would tape their scripts off-camera and just read them. In fact, in one movie with Marlon Brando and Johnny Depp, the lines were taped to the coffee cup in their hands, so they’d just look down and read them.
· Because there was time, Colin showed his movie, Centigrade, which was a rather dark Twilight Zone type movie. I can see why it’s won several awards, and is up for an Oscar! Darn, now I have to watch the Academy Awards??
· Colin said that Peter DeLuise is the encyclopedia on Stargate. He knows everything about it! [Except for that they kept killing off any guy who tried to date Sam Carter.]
· He said that Gary Jones is a riot at conventions.
· He doesn’t have a preference between film, tv or stage, but does like film as you get more time to work on it, whereas with television, it’s done in 7-8 days. Film is more ‘actor friendly.’
· He hopes to be back on Stargate again one day.
· He spoke quite candidly of how difficult show business can be. While an actress may be “totally hot,” the casting directors are looking for “totally totally hot.” There are actors who have been on successful shows who have tough times finding an agent.. He actually spoke with a few fans after the talk was over and offered advice, which was, wow, very nice to do.
And here are a bunch of photos and I’m trying to remember what they match with but, uh, memory fails me, so just enjoy ‘em for what they are.
He was imitating someone, I think. It was very funny.
Note: Photographs/text are copyright so please do not repost elsewhere, but you may ilnk to this post. Thanks!