wraithfodder (wraithfodder) wrote,

NJ 2008 Stargate Convention 3/5: Kavan Smith, Dessert party

Kavan was so much fun!


Great Lorne video, by Elephantgirl, shown before Kavan Smith came out on stage:

First, Kavan checked to see if there were kids in the audience and there were, so that took care of a number of stories not being told. Darn! (But he told us the Outer Limits one during the dessert party later that night.)

What would he have done if he had not gone into acting? He said his family were all race car drivers… stock cars, so might have done something like that. He loves to cook. “Be a crappy chef somewhere. I got into acting in prison. No seriously, I was in juvie. They had these acting teachers who came in so that’s how I got into that.” He joked he’s reformed now.

Regarding guns on set. He said that he thinks most guys, even if they’re anti-gun, have a lot of fun firing off the weapons on the show. “I wouldn’t even kill a bed bug, but it is a lot of fun to shoot those things. It gives you a high that’s really like nothing else.” This was close to the cancellation time. The gun wranglers are super strict – you can’t screw around with guns – “as soon as you finish your take, some guy has got your gun in his hand and he’s walking away from you. He knows you’re an actor and you’ll probably shoot somebody in the back,” he joked. But not long ago, around third or fourth last episode, they had a kid who visited the set via the Make-A-Wish Foundation (from San Diego?) He wanted to meet the cast, he was only 12, but it was really heartbreaking. But all of a sudden, the gun wrangler went up to the kid and said “you want to shoot some guns?” The kid, who had been shy up until that point, his face just lit up. Rob took the kid out back and let him shoot any gun he wanted, and “we all sat there like idiots cuz we’re not allowed to do that. If we did that, we’d be fired!” But it was cool to see that kid enjoy himself.

When asked if he was offered a job on “Stargate Universe,” Kavan grinned and said “No, I don’t want to do that. Jobs are so overrated.” But he said he’d be stupid if he didn’t “put his hat into the ring. It seemed like a sort of logical fit to me. You can have a sort of crossover with a character that hasn’t been too explored yet. And I am brilliant.” ;) What he was told at the get-go is that – and you get told this a lot as an actor – that they wanted to have a ‘name’ for the new military guy, so that’s just not Kavan at this point, but was told recently they might be looking more at the doctor role for the ‘name’ so they it might open up the military role.

Regarding “Sanctuary.” He did another episode past the pilot, it was episode 6 or 7. They’re not shown in the order filmed. “It’s a really great episode, of course,” he grinned. “But Martin took me aside – I know Martin sort of outside the business a bit as our wives are very good friends – and he told me that his intention in the first season, in the first 13 episodes, was just to use him [Kavan’s character] just a few times. Then if it got picked up again (20) that they would use the character a lot more.” He could see being in more episodes, and “the character is great. I mean they really wanted it to be a sort of ‘NYPD Blue’ smartass kind of cop, and it’s fun to play.”

He’s done fairly well in the business, and very few make a good living, but he’s never had a fan-following per se, until he got on Stargate Atlantis. He’s only done a few conventions and “the first time I did one, I was shocked.” The fans knew everything about his character, and that Lorne wasn’t developed, “which is kind of embarrassing.” He never thought there would be. He’s been involved with Stargate since the beginning, as he auditioned for Daniel Jackson initially, and that was a long time ago, and over the years, every time he saw Michael Greenberg, Michael would say “Oh, we’ve got a spinoff, we’ve got to get you in the spinoff.” He never thought about the fan base, but he has seen “Galaxy Quest.” And there are websites and more, and he always wants to go to see what people are saying, but he’s scared to log on because then people will know his email address, and then “if they [the fans] say anything good about you, it goes to your head. If they say anything bad, I’m done. I’m an actor, I have a fragile ego,” he laughed.

A question about the “Time Tunnel” pilot, in which his character died. Although it was originally planned for his character to die, the director said if the show gets picked up, he has a job. “Oh, that’s awesome,” said Kavan, “but I die! And we already shot the death stuff,” and the director said “it’s the time tunnel. We can do whatever the hell we want.” So, no one ever dies, at least in sci-fi.

All he knows about the upcoming Stargate movies is that there will be one of each – one Stargate SG-1 and one Stargate Atlantis. And he thinks the Atlantis one will begin shooting in April. “Any of the stuff can change as I just hear rumors. I know that the only obstacles are signing the lead guys, the lead actors. I think that any time you can a show when it’s popular and on the rise, as far as numbers go, you piss off your actors a little bit, so they’ll all do it, it’s just a matter of how long it’s going to take to sign them all to it, so.. my guess would be that maybe I’ll get a little something to do in there, but I don’t know.”

Someone asked about his work on the “2400” – they meant “The 4400.” His character’s power at the end was cloning himself and the cancellation “really sucked. I really enjoyed working on ‘The 4400.’ I think they started off really strongly… just awesome… the middle it struggled to find themselves a litle bit, but in the last season I think it finally really started to get together.” And they used motion-capture photography to do the replication of his character. He was told that they would have 15 or 25 Garrity’s “running amok” so it “would have been really cool.” His understanding that the head of USA Network – “she had it in for the show, she just didn’t like the show. She had a different mandate. They wanted to do more of the ‘Psych’ type shows.”

Pranks on set. He couldn’t think of any off-hand. He gets asked that question all the time. He said to ask Jason about it. “The man is a gas machine. He just farts non-stop, and he and I have a contest all the time. I give as good as I get, and I seem to get blamed for it. They expect it from him so when I do it, I don’t know, I guess it’s a bit more noticed.” David (Hewlett) and Kavan are friends, because their wives are, “but David’s notorious, and he’ll tell you this, he has a famously short temper on set, and he just likes to freak out at nothing,” said Kavan. “The first time I met David – this is before our wives became friends – he was on set and he was in the puddle jumper thing, and we were just about to go” - and they’d greeted each other – “And he turns around, ‘WHO’S DOING MY GOD****ED HAIR?! WHO’S THE HAIR PERSON?!” and Kavan was like “oh man.” This was leaving a bad flavor in his mouth, so he went home and he told his wife that everybody was cool “except for this David character. He’s cracked! He was sooo bitchy. He’s like a little old lady who just wants to complain about everything. And he’s very old,” joked Kavan. So they all go to the first cast function “where his wife and my wife just totally hit it off and you can see us looking at each other like ‘oh crap. I’ve got to be friends with this jackass now.’” He said he doesn’t really prank David per se, but when he’s on the set and likes to throw his tantrums, Kavan likes to make fun of him.


On “Search & Rescue,” there was somebody above them (in the trapped scene) who was fluffing dust down on David. “I knew that wasn’t going to work well. I knew he would have a problem with that, so of course the guy got a little too much dust in David’s eye and David just freaks ‘MY EYE!” (and to her Kavan do David’s voice is hysterical) MY EYE!” and I’m like “oh, for Christ’s sake, you whiny baby.” Halfway through his ‘freakout session,’ David turned to Kavan and said “you make me feel like a loser.” “Yes, I do,” agreed Kavan, and then David stops. So from that moment on, whenever he throws a tantrum and if Kavan is around, David stops.

Video at

Why was there so much confusion over Lorne’s first name? He’s thinks that maybe the producers figured Lorne wouldn’t be around long, but he blames the fans for the name. “There was all sort of crazy speculation about names like Spansky and Dweezil and stuff like that and I couldn’t understand where that was coming from, so I think the producers found that entertaining and they liked having fun at my expense, so they just let it go for a couple more seasons and finally, there was a mixup because Martin Wood (in an episode where Lorne had to wear a flight suit)… so he just came up with Evan, but then right after that, none of the producers knew about it, it just sort of slipped in under the radar. So they were still trying to come up with a name, and I’m like ‘why are they coming up with a name? I already have a name.’ “I don’t know where Martin got Evan from but it’s better than Spansky so I’m grateful!”

Video at

Favorite episode of the Stargates? His favorite SGA is “Runner,” “because it’s basically just David and I… and it was great because my Lorne was just naturally annoyed by McKay and there was no acting. I’m annoyed by everything he says, so it was really easy and a lot of fun.” The audience roars with laughter. As for SG-1, the second one where Carter goes to an AU Earth (she’s married to McKay) . “That was cool.” Near the end of season four when he was General Lorne, and both he and David had prothestics. “Everybody thought that he [David] looked like Richard Nixon, and I looked like Ronald Reagan. Neither of them particularly complimentary, but I’ll take Reagan over Nixon any day!” And they he stole the little sign at the end of the day, that said General Lorne ;)

Is there a genre he’d like to do? He says he’s done everything. Western is tough because he comes from Calgary and it’s cowboy-ville, Stampede. “I hated it. I didn’t belong in that city. I fought it my whole life, so when I do play cowboys, it’s like being a guy who doesn’t smoke playing a smoker. It just doesn’t work.” He loves doing the cop stuff. He loves doing sarcastic, and humor when he gets the chance, bad guys are always fun to do.

The painting in “Sunday” was scripted in. “I do paint. It was another thing we did in prison, I won’t say prison, it was juvenile detention.” So, he started painting when he was pretty young. He didn’t paint the original picture in the episode “but I definitely improved on it during the course of the day.”

In regards to contracts, he said that traditionally at the beginning of a show that if they shoot 20 episodes you’re guaranteed 18, but they have no idea which. The producers can move them around at will, which makes it tough to do other projects. “It’s very difficult not being a contract player on a show.” He works on other shows, and when there’s conflicts “everybody gets pissed off, and you can’t make anybody happy.”

He said it was to do Lorne on uppers (in “Tabula Rasa”). “I don’t even drink, really, except when I’m drunk,” he deadpanned, adding “I certainly don’t do drugs, unless I’m high.” He just improved that role. “It’s very farfetched from my natural life.”

When he was a kid in high school, his friend’s father turned their basement into a gym so he and his friends practiced kickboxing and kicked anything and do splits. He did kickboxing, some karate, but the longest was akido, but “it’s not applicable anymore. I blew my knees out. You do a lot of knee-walking in akido, spinning on you knees, fighting on you knees, and my tendons loosened up so now my kneedcaps swim –and they swim all over the place.” It’s rather major surgery to shorten them, and a year and a half recovery and it’s both knees, so he lives with it instead. Occasionally, a kneecap might pop and the leg freezes. “It’s painful but it’s more gross pain.” (and the audience groans in sympathy). The last time he’d done any martial arts was a long time ago. The only belt he has is the brown one on his pants.

Kavan said there were times when he didn’t realize they were filming and he’d just naturally roll his eyes or look exasperated and then “got it, moving on.’ What? He said they move filming quick. He said that as an actor you’re supposed to ‘be in the moment,’ but sometimes it can backfire because you actually are in the moment and think ‘shut up’ and it’s exactly what you see, and he did apologize to Joe (Flanigan). ;) “And I’m better looking,” he cracked (hey, he is good looking!)

He had spent some time with Don S. Davis and got to know him. He was two people: one was probably one of the nicest guys you’d ever want to meet, but he could also beat himself up a lot on the set and he was very, very tough. I think in all honestly he could have taken [on] Chris, and Jason and the stunt coordinators at the same time. He was a very, very powerful strong man.”

Kavan brought up an amusing (now) incident at DragonCon. Don had bought about ten beers (and Kavan drank four) and they’d drunk them before going up on stage. They’re talking on stage and “I have a very small bladder” so it was getting uncomfortable and Don kept talking and more questions “and it got to the point I thought I was going myself damage.” And just as they’re finishing up, Don grabs the mike and goes “not yet” and Kavan groans, and Don went into “this beautiful oratory about how he was so appreciative and how he loved everybody and he was crying and ‘I’m like, oh, I can’t walk out. I’m going to pee in my pants. I have no other option.’ “I would have looked like the biggest jackass in the world” had he left. He would have had a better reputation if he’d peed in his pants, but he held it and as soon as it was done, he jumped off the stage, though the crowd and out the door.

He said he’d shot a movie in Auckland a few years ago, and when he was there a few weeks ago (for the conventions Armageddon), they went out drinking. “I had an enormous pop hangover the next day.” In the week between Auckland and Melbourne – his wife was going to come but his very young little boy does NOT like flying – so he’s on his own so he went scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef and stayed at a fancy resort. He said “it was unbelievably gorgeous” but had no time during the con to sightsee. And he missed his son so much he went home as soon as he can.

Would he work in Los Angeles? He is legally able to work in L.A. “The problem with Los Angeles IS Los Angeles.” If you want to be an actor, that’s where to go. “And everytime I’ve gone there and have had roommates who are wonderful people, I’ve always been pretty alone, and it’s a very wrong place to be lonely.” Especially if you’re an actor and are always looking for work. He had an apartment there, right in Hollywood for the last 2-3 years, but finally gave it up recently. “I hadn’t been inside the door of my apartment in 14 months, so when I went in, it just smelled AWFUL. I moved my stuff out. I can’t believe they didn’t kick me out before that. So anybody here who’s a landlord? I’m the wrong tenant.” He said he and his wife weigh the L.A. stuff all the time, but he’s lucky he got three more jobs he’s working on. Plus Vancouver is a beautiful place, even if it rains a lot.

He told the PG version of the ”Outer Limits” audition. But first, he talked about an awful commercial audition, one which went well, and one which was dreadful. He went in and was handed a broom and he had to imagine a six-foot cartoon dog at the end of the broom pulling him around. He didn’t think he could do that, so he didn’t do that. They did the audition in trailers with, alas, thin walls. The scene he had to audition for was a love scene which ended with him getting devoured by Alyssa Milano, who turned into a monster. He was a lot younger then, so didn’t mind taking his shirt off. It’s embarrassing. “You have to really go for it and commit to it” or else you look like a loser. He had to do it several times and then he went into the other room and all the other guys are like “oh, I don’t want to do this.” He got home “and what was even more embarrassing” was his agent saying they loved him and wanted him to audition because he was ‘too feminine.’ “THAT is a shock to a man’s ego. It took me a long time to get over that but in the end I got the job.” He skipped telling the x-rated part, in which he had to do the scene basically nude – against a green screen by himself.

He said he was literally doing SGA and “The 4400” at the same time and sometimes he’d mix up names and say “Yes, Colonel Sheppard” while working on “The 4400.” “You do have an identity crisis” while shooting dual roles and he’d also done “Blade” “so I thought I was a vampire playing Lorne on ‘The 4400.’ So it was a nightmare. It can be a handful at times, but that being said I think it’s easier for the actor than for the AD [assistant director] on the show. To schedule that, it is a nightmare.”

He says he definitely wants to get on Stargate Universe. He did a pilot with Torri Higginson, a drama that he hopes gets picked up. Until he gets his ‘own ticket’ (show) he’s constantly auditioning.

He said he was “fired once” due to “lack of chemistry.” He didn’t necessarily feel that but felt when he got on that show they’d already made up their mind. Someone told him “you are nobody in this business unless you’ve been fired a few times,” so he didn’t take it personally. “It was a real slap in the face at first. The pilot was a good show. In the end it didn’t work out. They fired the guy they went with.” Maybe it was the character they didn’t like.

Has he ever done any voice work? He has a penchant for doing documentaries. He loves doing them. In acting, it’s rare to get a job that inspires you in other than an artistic way. Unless you’re a very big star. He’s had the opportunities over the last couple of years of doing some documentaries. One he’s particularly proud of is “Uganda Rising,” yet when it went down to the Discovery Channel in the States, he wasn’t a big enough name, so they had Kevin Spacey redo it for the U.S. market. “So it’s not so bad,” admits Kavan. He still didn’t like it though. He doesn’t do cartoons but does love documentaries. Did one called “Jetstream” about aircraft and some tree logging ones. “I really enjoy doing those.”

Favorite director? There are some he’s felt really comfortable with. I think he said the best director was Todd Hallis(??). Likes Brian DePalma and says that Martin Wood is wonderful, and he’s done his own stuff on short films. “I’m my own favorite director,” he cracked.

“The wraith ship sucks,” Kavan said. “it’s a giant latex glueball. It’s awful. If you walk in, literally within fifteen minutes you’ve got a toxic headache that won’t go away and it sits right in between your eyes, somewhere halfway in your brain and it won’t go away. If you just open up a tube of model glue and after you stop feeling good, THAT’s what it’s like,” he said. There are vents but it’s “awful.” Yet, it’s funny, “because you sit there and you poke at it, like an elastic band all day, and you know it’s making you’re sicker, because of the stuff it’s releasing, but you can’t stop.” He said none of them are particularly intelligent, after all, they’re actors, and the crew leaves and the actors stay behind playing with the latex ;)

Any phobias? Two. Spelunking and sharks. The idea of getting trapped and wedged…” that freaks me out.” He sorta blames his father for the shark phobia as when he was a kid, he and his dad would go to lakes and he’s in the water and his father would go “Shark!” When he was in Australia, there were sharks and barracuda. “Interestingly enough, without my father there, it wasn’t as bad.” But the worst would be anything happening to his son.

Favorite actor? He says there are so many great ones it’s very hard to choose. But someone he could learn from. This segued into a theater story. He was doing a play called “Dark of the Moon,” and he played a 200-year-old witch doctor and the other guy flies in and they talk and yell and then that guy runs off and the stage goes dark, at which point he leaves, following the glow tape, but they’d forgotten to put it down! “I was completely disoriented, and oh crap, I’ve got to get out of here!” and as the crew was moving in furniture, he ran, banging his head right into a pole and I went “Oh shit!” and then staggered, and gets behind the stage, and alas, the steps weren’t lit either and he fell down the steps. “All the best stories I have are theater stories.” He said doing outdoor theater is really weird, as homeless people come by and curse you. One time he did a play where the mikes were limited so they were passed back and forth. He and his friend Bob were doing a scene, when suddenly this little ‘hellraiser dog” came out of the woods and grabbed Bob’s leg, and he’s trying to finish the scene with the dog on his leg. Finishes the scene, somehow, and they got off stage and Bob started screaming about the dog, and “he was saying much worse things that that (swearing) and all of sudden it’s like, is there an echo?” He’d forgotten to swap the mike, and all the parents are out in the audience mortified… “We got dive-bombed by geese once, there was poo everywhere.”

If he could do a play, he’d love to do Cyrano de Bergerac. “A one-man masterpiece…the stage version usually involves singing,” which he doesn’t do. He says one thing that drew him to acting when he saw the play with actor Brent Carver, and at the end of the play, the character is dying “and it’s just heart-wrenching… at the time I was maybe 19 or something, macho 19-year-old martial arts kid… but I was like leaning over, with my head in my hands like this, bawling my eyes out. I was just like ‘oh my god’ and I looked and this is like a huge theater, 3,500 people, every single person” was doing the same. “That’s awesome. That’s what I would like to be able to do.” Said that Carver is a “brilliant, brilliant stage actor.”

Kavan Smith

5:20PM – Audience participation Pitch
I was in line for, oh, oh, yes, Kavan Smith photo op. No way I’m passing that up, so missed this. Someone one and told me who won for what, but can I remember? Of course not.

5:25PM – KAVAN SMITH Photo op
I remember standing in line, I remember he looked soooo nice, and I can’t recall what I said to him, but think we shook hands and well, I don’t know, in the presence of such hawtness I’m sure a few brains cells imploded from the close proximity. Think he did find my Godzilla shirt amusing though.

5:50OPM - AUTOGRAPHS – Kavan Smith and Chuck Campbell
They were both very welcoming to fans and personalized photos. Let’s see, autographs were done by Row A, B and so on, according to how much you paid, and Chuck was first, then Kavan. Wow, I know I talked to Chuck, but about what, um, mind blanks, I do recall Kavan saying he liked my questions. Wow, brain cells did burn out, didn’t they? But Chuck wrote “thanks for all your support” and Kavan wrote “seriously hot!” (what? Was I turning red? Hmm… J ) but man, Kavan is so charming. I gave him a copy of the motivational Stargate Atlantis poster entitled “Dustbusters,” and he said “I love those things!” although not sure if meant SGA posters or just the motivational posters in general and then said that just a few minutes before, he’d autographed the exact same photo!

9:30PM – Stargate Dessert Party – Dan Shea, Kavan Smith, Chuck Campbell
It was… um, like an elementary school ice cream social, minus lurking bodyguards. Chocolate or vanilla ice cream in plastic cups with sprinkles, cherries or whipped cream. I didn’t even spot any nuts! So, not all that great, which did not bode well for breakfast next day. One table was reserved, but it was never used. It’s pretty sad that in retrospect the idea of making an edible centerpiece would have been good, or better yet, we SHOULD have brought in a Cheesecake Factory sampler!

Oh, so, Kavan, Chuck and Dan were brought out on the stage and tried to do hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil but botched it but it was still funny. It must be really weird to stand there while everybody takes photos, and in my mind I was thinking, wow, we need one of those police lineup backgrounds with five feet, six feet, etc. behind them ;) Each actor spent about two minutes at each table talking to groups of 8-10 people. At our table, Dan talked about cars, driving in Canada; Chuck, asked where we were from and had he been there; Kavan told us the x-rated Outer LimitsSupernatural, playing an’ asshole magician’ type, but didn’t think he got the part. Oh, he’s 39 (Chuck). The centerpiece winner was announced and it a fellow from Gateworld with an illuminated Atlantis city. Oh, Chris the Creation photographer came by, talked about his family, the Greek wedding, etc. He stayed a lot longer than two minutes but then he wasn’t a guest! Got a photo taken with him.

Oh wait, sorry, the hastily and tackily assembledcenterpiece DID win a prize – a condolence, er, consultation prize – which I could get in the dealers room the next day (turned out to be choice of t-shirt, so I got a free long-sleeved Stargate SG-1 t-shirt). Cool. Insanity does pay off! Bwahahahha! Oh, back to the story.

The actors all hit the ice cream before departing, with Dan and Chuck coming back for seconds.

Dessert Party Centerpieces

Very nice centerpiece

The winning centerpiece.

This is what happens when you whip up a centerpiece in five minutes, with rubber bands, chopsticks and tape. If nothing else, it did amuse the judges quite a bit J

Dessert Party Guests

Went to pub and waited HOUR for food. Ran into Watcher652 and some sorta cute guy named Rob. The gang was playing pool while I set up action figure shots at the bar ;) Shep and McKay met their replicator counterparts (while Watcher652 insisted hers weren’t those evil things) ;)

Next, the great Dr. Z – David Nykl!


Tags: chuck campbell, dan shea, kavan smith, photos, stargate atlantis, torri higginson
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