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!
STILL WORKING ON JASON & JOE PANELS. SOON!!
a) Breakfast: Joe Flanigan, Cliff Simon
b) Cliff Simon
c) Joe Flanigan Photo Op
d) Joe Flanigan
e) Autograph line: Joe Flanigan & Cliff Simon
Up at the crack of dawn, well, almost. The alarm actually awoke me (maybe it was the Nyquil I took cuz at the dessert party, my voice was getting hoarse and I’m like, ohgawd, I’ve got Alex’s bug!)
a) Breakfast with Joe & Cliff
Our little crew of the dinner were nearly first in line for the wait to get in for the breakfast (which basically had the same food as the hotel restaurant – bacon, those rubbery scrambled eggs, sausage, potatoes, some pastries, juice, coffee), but at least it was hot this time. Our couple (Lucci/Foxworthy clones) arrived a little late as they drove in from Connecticut.
We ate, joked, etc. and then Cliff Simon arrived. One thing I noticed is that, yes, the camera does add ten pounds. All the actors looked slim – not skinny – but for some reason, you think they’ve got more bulk when you look at them on TV.
JOE FLANIGAN: JF04.jpg – Joe talks with some fans
Anyway, Cliff arrived, snatched some food, then (drum roll) Joe Flanigan arrived. Okay, first thing you see is THE HAIR. Yes, the trademark spiky Sheppard look which was wild but very appealing and you just want to run your hands through it and SLAP, get a grip! Where was I?? Ahem…. He was in blue jeans, black boots, black Sugar Ray Robinson T-shirt, white jacket/coat and had a cup of coffee in hand. Minders took both Cliff and Joe around to each table. Cliff sat, but Joe stood, but Joe also (at the ‘half time’ mark) moved so that all the fans at the table could get a chance to see him/talk. Oh yes, wait, sorry, Colin was there too!! He just bounds in so fast he’s a blur.
When Joe got to our table, Salty was actually coherent and did justice and did not drool uncontrollably at the sight of the gorgeous Joe ;) He stood just off to the side so I had to look up, which wasn’t good for shots, but I took some ‘blind’ anyway and have one or two shots of the underside of his chin and the ceiling.
JOE FLANIGAN: JF10.jpg – uh, odd angle of camera aimed up from table
Anyway, he came over, said hi, and I said, “Oh, I know that shirt” and he said “you do?” and I said he’d worn it on the Sci-Fi Special. This stuff is all like catalogued in our heads and he had to think a moment and he made a humorous remark about “I do wash my clothes you know” or something to that effect. And that actually got onto a discussion about wardrobe – you arrive on the set, change into costume and change back at the end of the day, so, you could conceivably wear the same clothes all week without washing them. He lives in Malibu (let that slip twice at the con) And then the discussion went to kids (we had several moms at our table) and he spoke briefly about his kids and how his wife handles them and is probably overwhelmed by the four boys (and I’m including Joe as one of the ‘boys’<G>) and how he’ll never let his kids drive (he’s in California) and I think he agreed that girls are worse than boys. Oh, found out that he pretty much stayed in that young short teenage mode until he hit college, where he got his growth spurt (seen lots of boys like that) and in the meantime, got by on attitude. He got snatched by his minder and taken off to another table, but he was great – at all the tables – paying attention to everyone. ‘So, what did you talk to Joe about?’ ‘Oh, laundry.’
JOE FLANIGAN: JF09.jpg- even odder angle!
JOE FLANIGAN: JF07.jpg – just a funny shot
JOE FLANIGAN: JF06.jpg – aw....
JOE FLANIGAN: JF12.jpg – darn, came out dark (update: thanks to 'Pixley' for cleaning up this picture!!)
JOE FLANIGAN: JF01.jpg – shakes hands with a fan
JOE FLANIGAN: JF11.jpg – and the obligatory ‘I wasn’t taking this picture but I ended up with this weird shot’ and it makes me think … is he auditioning for Alvin the Chipmunk? ;)
After breakfast, I put my luggage in the car. Well, actually, not that quickly. One of the friggin’ elevators was dead. One worked. SLOWLY. So I walked all the way up seven flights, as I was doing most of the weekend, get to my room and (insert scream and one or two words of profanity) the door key was DEMAGNETIZED! Walk all the way down, get it re-magnetized, walk all the way back up. Didn’t die. Took the stairs down with the luggage and about two flights down this really nice guy took my suitcase down to the lobby for me. THANK YOU anonymous person!
Stuck luggage in car, dragged around only essentials for rest of day.
No lunch. Hung around in auditorium until Cliff Simon’s session. Heard someone behind me in the audience talking about possiblyeBaying off one of Jason Momoa’s empty beer bottles that they’d actually scarfed up, probably at the dessert party… aiee…
b) Cliff Simon: “You keep dying but you keep coming back”
Okay, Cliff is a class act. That accent definitely does it, and he was THE most tanned person on the East Coast, I swear! ;) The night before, he went over across the river to New York City and just walked the streets, visited Ground Zero (Trade Tower site). He thinks NYC is “awesome” but doesn’t know if he’d ever want to live there.
He’s not doing anything work-wise at the moment but has been given a ‘Hollywood yes’ for a movie (see below), which means I think a verbal commitment but no contract has been signed yet. He’s pretty sure he’ll be in one of the Stargate SG-1 movies which, by the way, should start filming in May-June of ’07 for a Fall ’07 release on DVD (actors seemed to vary on whether it was straight to DVD or TV first – only TPTB know for sure).
Apparently this movie is about some botched CIA-Smolia raid in the 1980s that has to do with Osama Bin Laden, and if I heard right, he’s doing the Osama role. He’s “very excited” about doing it. It’ll shoot in his birthplace – South Africa – and in fact will be in his home city. He’s hoping he’ll be included in one of the SG1 movies.
Regarding playing Ba’al clones (and I think he’s heard every single ‘ball’ joke in existence by now) means that he gets more air time, “which is great” – “You keep dying but you keep coming back” (as another clone). He said one of the more complicated shots was one Ba’al resting his arm on another Ba’al’s shoulder. That cost $35K to do. “When I was talking to myself – that sounds so weird,” Cliff said wryly, “we have to make sure we’re looking into each other’s eyes.” Sometimes they’ll have a stand-in, other times, or a mark on the wall opposite - because the cameras aren’t operated by a person but a digital computer, you can’t be off on your mark or else it screws it up. It’s much easier to do with a stand-in. He said that kind of stuff is “very challenging” for an actor.
Favorite Goa’uld? The audience kept guessing – Hathor? No. Nirrti? No. Finally found it out it was Athena (can’t recall her myself) but he also brought up that although the goa’uld are asexual, the hosts aren’t, so he had fun playing Ba’al as a goa’uld who actually ‘checked out’ a fellow goa’uld’s host’s body ;)
CLIFF SIMON: Cliff-01.jpg
His favorite episode is “Abyss.” “Lot of fun,” he said, even though it was difficult to shoot. O’Neill and Ba’al had this weird connection and they played off Richard Dean Anderson’s humor. Cliff would love to work with RDA some more. When Cliff first got on to the set, he was a fan himself. “When I first met with him [RDA] on the set, it was MacGyver. I even had a mullet like you!” And Cliff said that really, yes, he did! Although Cliff and RDA seemed to have a lot of scenes together in that episode, RDA actually only spent one day on the whole episode (doing the acid and knife scenes). He flew back to L.A. and Cliff did the rest with a stand-in.
Playing a bad guy vs. playing a good guy. He doesn’t like 100% bad guys. He likes to bring out a third dimension in the character, because otherwise, it’s no fun to play them. His model for Ba’al was Robert DiNiro, whom he loves as an actor and spoke briefly about the movie Heat. “If you can get an audience to sympathize with you [r character] you’ve done your job – to be a ‘human’ bad guy.”
Someone asked about the Men of SciFi calendar (apparently, Cliff has uh, er, impressive abs.) “Chris [Judge] and Michael [Shanks] aren’t going to let me be in the calendar because they’re scared,” he joked evilly, and it had something to do with fans who obviously had seen Cliff before, and somebody about dropping pants, but I can theorize… ;)
Why did the ‘flanging’ stop with Ba’als’ voice? (That is the weird Goa’uld accent). He said once the Goa’ulds were unmasked as not gods but parasites, it stopped. Ba’al only uses it to intimidate the masses. “And,” Cliff added happily, “they [TPTB] like my accent.”
Someone asked an animal question. Cliff Simon is part of various animal rescue organizations. That started when he grew up in South Africa. At one time, he entertained become a game ranger as he loves animals. He told folks to check out his website regarding that. Then he talked about once actually breeding birds when he was a boy, and is actively involved in dog rescue. It takes about $300 a month to keep one dog in the shelter, and they try to place pit bulls and terriers, dogs that have gotten bad reputations. He’s got a British bull terrier himself so he can’t adopt another dog right now as his dog is about 10 years old and set in his way. He said (correctly, really) that many little dogs are the ones that bite! (I know cuz I have been bitten by a dachshund) and that if he were to walk his dog and a tiny poodle came up and harassed his bigger dog, he’d be the one in trouble if his dog defended himself and growled at the annoying poodle.
He also spoke about the marine life rescue – seals, whales, etc. and how when he went kite boarding, he’d seen Mylar balloons in the water (lethal to many aquatic life)
How did a South African actor end up in Los Angeles? He’s been there for seven years now. He’d always wanted to move to the States and wanted to leave South Africa because of the intolerable situation there. He was in the military (and I assume had bad experiences there) and admitted honestly he has resentment toward his home country because of the corruption and poverty (which is a result of the corruption). He’d had a lot of violent encounters and one day just thought, are are they (him and his wife) waiting for? They could get killed, so they sold off everything and moved to the States in 2000. He knew Michael Greenberg and got work on Stargate, and shows like Nash Bridges. “I’m very, very lucky,” he said.
Did he think Ba’al would last so long? No. Thought it would be one episode or a couple.
A fan asked him to sing happy birthday, which he did, and he gave the fan a kiss.
His career is multi-layered. He started out as a trapeze arcrobat and dancer. He modeled for a long time but that was a ‘dead end’ career. Was in the Moulin Rouge. Danced professionally for 12 years. He modeled in South Africa and in TV ads to the point that in his home country, he was overexposed career-wise. In 1992, he entered the Mr. South Africa contest and won but wanted to act full time, so studied drama for four years.
Would he like to join the SG1 team? Perhaps as a sidekick like Vala but “as a guest star you’re always unemployed.” However, since he’s guest-starred so much, the set has a warm family feel to it. “The people are just amazing,” he said of SG1 cast and crew.
What makes Ba’al so bad? “He smiles a lot,” said Cliff. He said he used to have a lot of street fights in Africa and “I used to smile and hit.”
Does he get input on his wardrobe? No. However, he was smart enough to say no to contact lenses. Apparently one of the Adria’s (adult, I think) wore contact lenses and tore her eye. Had to get to the doctor! This question got brought up as Jason Momoa had mentioned his wardrobe tips, but Jason is a regular cast member, and Cliff is a guest star. However, Cliff said “Next time I’m going to be in leather chaps – and nothing else.”
He mentioned a humorous moment between Teal’c and Ba’al, which he says is part of the Stargate magic. They have some fight and then Teal’c pulls out a handkerchief, which makes Cliff start laughing. “It was brilliant.”
Would he want to play a good guy or a bad guy? He loves to play bad guys, but it would depend on the project. He’d love to play a romantic role or something like Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon. “Yes, I want to be James bond,” he admitted to applause. “That would be my dream role.” But he’d like to play a Bond villain, really, as they have fun.” If he had to play a Stargate character, he’d choose Jack O’Neill.
Okay, is this spoiler-ish? He said he’d be in two more episodes in season 10: “The Quest part 2” and “Dominion” and I won’t blow the spoiler for “Dominion.”
How has Stargate changed his life? He would like to full time, which is hard to do as an actor in the U.S. He’s at the stage where he’s doing very, very well, but not where he wants to be. He’s not about being recognized on the street, but realizes popularity means more work for him. He says people now recognize him in L.A. when he goes out for coffee and once, he was wearing a cap and sunglasses (bright sun) and some guy accused him of trying to hide who he was! He was very well known in South Africa to the point he couldn’t go out anywhere. He owned three houses, five cars but had no quality of life because of his popularity. Stargate got his life/career started in the U.S. Got him an agent through MGM.
He’s not familiar enough with Stargate Atlantis to answer the next question about a Wraith, but said he wouldn’t mind playing a Ba’al ‘getting involved’ with a Wraith (oh, really? <G>)
He prefers film over television because film is bigger, less constricting. When someone asked if he could demonstrate an example of dancing, he said those days were over, that all the years in South Africa took a toll on him. His one wrist (left?) is fused so he can’t bend it back, and darn, he can’t do handstands anymore and he loved doing those.
Ba’al was named after Beezelbub, the devil.
He became a U.S. citizen this year. “Such an amazing day,” he said proudly. His great grandparents were from Poland but got on the wrong boat.
He spoke about South Africa, how corruption begets the overwhelming poverty afflicting that country. S.A. is where the work is, but many immigrants go there to find jobs and the locals find themselves unemployed. He’s a second generation African and “it’s in the blood.”
He said while kiteboarding, he actually flew over a whale, but close and low enough that he could have touched it and it was incredible. He loves South Africa, the land, but not the politics and military.
His father and two sisters still live there. His sisters are married, and his father is getting on in age, so doesn’t know if he’d want to come over to the States at that stage of the game, as all his father’s friends are there, and then Cliff would ‘have to entertain him.’
He related one situation where Peter Deluise actually wanted Cliff – in one episode where multiple explosions were taking place on board a ship – to scream after every explosion. ‘You want what?” No way. “It would destroy the character,” Cliff defended. He said as an actor, you do have to protect your character and even the cameraman came up afterwards and couldn’t believe what Peter had asked.
And that’s the end of Cliff’s session. Actually, it wasn’t the end. Joe Flanigan’s photo op was next. I left while Cliff was signing a banner so I missed him flash his abs for the audience. Darn. DARN!
Check out Cliff's website at http://www.cliffsimon.com/
c) Joe Flanigan Photo Op
The schedule had Joe doing the photo op before his talk.
It was a long line consisting of many people. There were a number of people I talked to there who weren’t going to this particular con for various reasons (guest lineup, or they disliked Creation for one reason or another) but when Joe was announced, they showed up for the day.
I was up front as I’d left Cliff’s talk a minute early so I was in the first 2-3 dozen people, I think. They whisk you in and out. I shook his hand, thanked him for coming to the con and got a picture taken (can claim it online on November 20th). I just remember looking at him thinking, great smile, great arms, warm eyes, so nice. I mean, well, he was! I did a simple smile into the camera shot. Nothing goofy – on a second photo op if I get the chance, I might do that but wanted something where I looked normal ;) At least I didn’t act like an idiot but really didn’t know what to say as this is the first time I’ve met him… I don’t know… I just didn’t want my first impression to be ‘whacko fan’! ;) He puts his arm around you. So after my session ended (“next!”), sigh sigh sigh, melt melt melt, I go back to the line, found Salty to tell her what it was like. “Was it good for you?” Oh yeah. She said I was flushed. Uh, no no, room was warm. That was it. Yeah…
Then back to dealer’s room to wait for Joe to finish the huge line and do his session, which was the last of the day.
Sometime during this day, before Joe talked, maybe before Cliff talked, the Creation con guy (Adam?) came out to apologize for some of the swearing/drinking in the previous days talks (guess that was Jason as yeah, he did curse on and off). It was the first time I’d ever heard of Creation referred to as family entertainment, as I’ve heard more rowdy reports from cons than anywhere else, and honestly, Jason said less bad language than I hear at work.