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!
PART 2 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.”
A fan asked about charity name where fans could make a donation in his new baby’s name and Joe grinned, saying "How about mine?" He said he'd think about but he's so busy doing charity work for other charities. "Actually, if you ever want to donate anything to Waterkeepers (www.waterkeepers.org). I do work with them. They’re a good organization, an environmental organization." He said charity thing is "awful difficult" because so many have good cases to make. At some point, a fan tossed a dollar bill on the stage, which Joe eyed, then sorta shoved aside with his foot.
When asked about the new baby's name, he said "Fergus. He's called Fergus. It sounded like… I looked at him and I said 'Trouble. Trouble.' (points finger) I just heard this Irish teacher going "Little Fergus Flanigan, get over here!" and he said that in a great Irish accent.
Question: how much of Joe Flanigan is in John Sheppard? Joe replied "I think an interesting question when you start a project - when we started the first season - I think they saw Sheppard as somebody different and I saw Sheppard as somebody different. What they do is they start writing for you as you interpret the character. Now it's hard to distinguish the character sometimes from the character you created, so… sometimes I don't see too much difference but I'm probably a lot more (pauses) … I think I'm a little more of a team player than I think the character is. I'm pretty social. I like going out, having drinks and saying hi to people. I'm a pretty social guy," he said. "I don't know if that comes off in his character or not. But uh, I also don't know how to fly anything," he added. The same fan complimented on his eye contact with people and Joe thanked her for that. "Oh thank you, I appreciate that. That's my hangover," he joked. “Thank you.”
A fan asked Joe a scary question: Now that he's a successful sci-fi actor, how does he feel about attending these conventions for the rest of his life? (laughter from everyone) "Well, like I was saying…" and he pushed around the dollar bill with his foot. "Listen, Like I said, I did 11 pilots in a row. I've been on series that lasted three episodes, six episodes, ten episodes. Getting a show going and keeping it on the air is such a difficult thing to do these days. The airwaves are very crowded. So anytime - and you get a show like this that's got some stability - I've got nothing but gratitude so, you know, I'm perfectly happy to keep the audiences and the fan base satisfied. I'm grateful because you guys unfortunately will have to watch me in the next TV series, I do, I hope. It may not be a science fiction show either, so ….you tell me. How do you feel about having to watch me the rest of your life?"
A fan asked a question about Sheppard, "The Return" part 1 that I couldn't quite make out, to which Joe said "Wow, you're like a White House press secretary," and then mimicked an outraged Donald Rumsfeld: "It's a TV show!" Anyway, the fan repeated the question, which was how does Sheppard feel about Atlantis? "You’re dealing with this evolved race - it's very evolved - and I think that, you're protecting the legacy of humanity. It's kind of heavy-duty, I guess. So, it's not unlike the pyramids of Egypt or something. It's an important legacy to the human race so, uh, I think you feel like a guardian of that and I think he does. One thing that you don't see in the show as much as I'd like to see is how bizarre it is for the character to be in this situation. I mean he's in space and there’s all those aliens and stuff." He then said of the show's writers. "They've done this for ten years and they tend to sometimes write as kind of glib and casual that they're making contact with all these others worlds, but it's not, it's bizarre and I think they need to keep the incredulous look going so you're like 'wow, this is bizarre and this is an adventure,' so I don't think you that as much in the character…but, season four.”
Between Joe, David and Jason, you're like the Three Stooges. "Which one am I?" Joe pondered. The fan asked about crazy stuff done off-screen. "You know, I oughta start recording this stuff because there is a lot of crazy stuff but it happens so often it just becomes a blur. Truthfully, you work hard, you go home, but… I moved my family out of Vancouver and went back to L.A. and so I 'm in a hotel and what happens is that now I'm hanging out with Jason all the time, which is trouble.(grins) So Jason and I, uh, have you know, perhaps checkered history in Vancouver… and there's always practical jokes and guys like Jason want to have a good time all the time. I've got only so much energy. I don't know that I can do that, but we pull pranks together all the time but they tend to be more subtle in dialogue, you know, sometimes you'll be shooting and somebody's doing their close-up and you give them a completely different line," and then Joe got this look on his face and said rather seductively, "I love you, Doctor McKay. (lots of laughter at that one). And the thing is he's such a good actor that he just keeps right through it. So you try to sabotage people as much as possible. That's our form of fun."
The question was about the Wraith and portrayal of evil (such as “Common Ground”). "Pure evil is just one-dimensional kind of rendering. Eventually you have to see the whole picture and really, that helps for all sorts of storylines. Now you've got different storylines. You can actually use them in an alliance of some sort as opposed to 'oh my god, they're always evil.' There is a greater enemy out there than the wraith so eventually we're going to have to occasionally use them, and that's where it gets into all sorts of interesting political parallels." He said he's not really crazy about "backslapping kind of thing where you're sitting down and having dinner together” in relationship to forming alliances with the enemy.
After that question, he poked again at the dollar on the stage (at one point, another dollar ended up there) and he said "I gotta give this to charity. I'm starting to feel really bad."
A fan asked about the 'Hope and Crosby' theme (between Sheppard and McKay) and Joe said humorously "I did! It was my idea… Actually, the first few shows we did together it felt like a road show with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby so I said to Brad [Wright], 'you know, that's what we should do, just do a road show in space.' And it actually was a great place to mine for a while because we did a series of things where we went off on these adventures and got stuck. We’d always maintained that quality. I think the second season was more complex and we did these weird things and I think that they realized that they've gone back to that [road show aspect] quite a bit in the second half of the third season where you see a lot more of the banter between the two of us and the whacky little absurd situations we find ourselves in."
JOE FLANIGAN: JF27.jpg
A fan came up in Stargate Atlantis fatigues. "So that's where my outfit went," mused Joe. The fan loved the character development, then asked about the 'Marine Corps love interest' to which Joe said "What's that?" of which there was mention in "McKay and Mrs. Miller" with Teyla. Joe replied, "That’s something we mentioned - you're always trying to plant seeds that can come to fruition at various points. It doesn't mean you’re always going to do them but you have to give yourself those possibilities, so if they've written that, I think that's something you definitely have to kind of look into. I think it would be good for her [Rachel]. As an actor, she wants something like that… I think she wants a … few Marines. And the fan asked when viewers would see the Navy on Atlantis, which Joe felt was a good point as after all, the city is surrounded by water. "You know, that's an awfully good point, we should have the Navy… and… I'll make sure we do it!" Joe then added that the Armed Forces are our "best fan bases. Those guys are great. They are super supportive. They send us stuff all the time. They call us all the time. The Air Force people come on to the set a lot. They give me a ride in one of their F-16s (oohs and ahs from audience) . “Yeah, yeah. It's fun - until you throw up. And I guarantee you will. Those guys, man - I was really excited to do this, too and they do you preflight training where they say 'all right, what we're going to do bank left and we're going to say 'left' and you have to breath and go like this," and he hunches up. "You're in your G-suit because the blood will all rush out of your head. It's a physical thing flying nine G's. It's very physical and so we get up there after all this training and I've got mister 'dashing guys looks like George Clooney, you know, how are you doing? Come on, jump on my plane' and we get up there and he never says left or right. Yeah." Then Joe makes noise and action of severe turning of aircraft. "And then I realize these bastards are doing this on purpose! They're like 'yeah, you play an Air Force pilot but let me tell you, I'm the real thing,” and Joe imitates looking nauseous and goes “Yes, you are. So I hold them in such high regard. They're amazing, these people. Absolutely amazing people. I'm so impressed with those guys. So we’ll put the Navy on maybe, I can take a slow boat ride instead. Don't want to do any more F-16 stuff."
A fan talked about having the Stargate Atlantis ringtone on her cellphone, and took time to air it on the microphone. Joe praised Joe Goldsmith for the music. He said he had to steal stuff from his own production office ;) She then asked how he got into acting and showing off his talent. “Well, I started with none. I have no talent. (said mockingly) I had to buy it. … I was very shy as a kid. I got very shy and to the point where I was so shy I didn't want to really ever be up in front of any kind of group or anything. In college, I'd actually drop out of a class if they asked me to read in front of class," he admitted. "I hated it, and I actually went to an acting class because the shyness had gotten so bad that it was affecting my whole life. I wasn't able to do any of the things I really wanted to do and it started to really snowball into greater fear so I just did it simply because I thought psychologically it would be healthy not to be too shy about this stuff. And then go figure…. I became an actor. Wow, I mean that was a huge jump…. Truthfully speaking, it's one of the most common fears in the world is to be in front of a group of people." Joe then related how he took his 6-1/2 year old son, who's also shy, to Comic Con. He told his son, "I said I used to not even be able to get in front of a classroom and now I can speak in front of five to six thousand people and he didn't understand how I could do that so I said 'come with me' so I took him down to Comic Con, which may or may not have been such a good idea….(laughs) I hopefully taught him that he doesn’t have to be scared. So there you have it. I think there are people who born to be actors and they’ve just always known what to do and I didn’t, so I envy them but I was one of those people who never quite knew what I wanted to do and I’m still not quite sure what I want to do, and so I just explore and so, it’s okay to be like that.”
The question was about Sheppard and the ATA gene. He said they injected people with the gene therapy now. “Yes, it’s true, I’m apparently better than everybody else,” he said in regard to Sheppard’s stronger ATA gene, stating that if others didn’t have it “I’d be running around doing all the technology all of the time so you don’t see that much. There is a long road here that ties in a lot of genetic predisposition and the eventual future of Atlantis, which I can’t tell you or else I’d have to kill you, but thank you.”
The second question is about Farewell to Harry. Joe said “Oh god…” and the fans said there were some lovely moments in that film. “Was there? Like the credits?” he questioned. “Here’s the thing. I got that script, and I said ‘that is a great script, I want to do that movie.’” So he told his agent to set him up for a meeting, which ended up with multiple meetings. “They liked what I did, and I love the movie and I really want to do it and the guy got another meeting with me, had to do dinner, go to his house, talk to his wife, girlfriend or whoever… it went on and on and it was his pet project…” and all Joe wanted was the guy to make a decision, but then the guy, out of nervousness, started changing the script as they were shooting. “He didn’t have faith in himself and the script to really go forward with it,” and the script was changing more and more, which ended up with some great scenes “and a movie that I didn’t think that held together all that well. Granted, I haven’t seen the latest cut. They are selling the DVD and I have not seen that cut and maybe it’s a lot better than I remember it, it was that it had high potential that it didn’t quite live up to.”
Question: What is Sheppard’s greatest flaw and greatest strength? Joe thought his greatest strength is “the ability to perform under pressure, and when you’re training these guys in the armed services, and this is obviously no thinly veiled content at all, these guys are trained. I mean they’re amazing. I have a tremendous amount of respect for them. Once you get into a crisis situation, they’re trained and they perform really well under pressure.” As to the weakness… “I think he’s a little anti-authoritative, anti-establishment…yeah, he’s sticking it to the man. It’s hard to stick it to the man while you’re in uniform, let I tell ya, or else you’ll end up in some outpost like Atlantis, so I guess that’s why I’m there. Good question. Thank you.”
Someone asked him if he had a wraith stunner, is there any member of the Atlantis crew he would shoot. Without hesitation, Joe replied “David Hewlett… yeah, especially when the camera’s rolling. Yeah, I think I’d think everybody once, just to spread it out equally.” Then the fan mentioned Jason’s idea of doing a script about taking over Atlantis, with beer in fountains, and have Joe painting his nails. “Yeah, we want him to work on that script a little more,” Joe replied thoughtfully. “It has potential though. Uh, yes, he would, he’s funny. He’s a great character to work with. I think he should write a script. By the way, I think he did a great job on ‘Sateda.’ All these actors, they’re very capable – they just need to be given opportunities to deliver an episode themselves, to carry the episode on their own shoulders. So, yeah, he’s got a lot of potential. I think Jason could be a movie star like that (snaps finger). And I think maybe he will. He has got potential and great presence on film. If he becomes a movie star,” Joe added, sounding rather, hmm, piteous, “I just want to be his friend. Just be his friend. Just follow him around. Be one of his like entourage guys with the baseball caps. Get into the nightclubs with him.”
Some asked about the Stargate SG-1 movies and is there a chance of him being in one. “There’s talk about that, yeah. I just met with MGM last week and they are doing some SG-1 movies so there’s talk about crossover there and if that model works also we’ll probably end doing some Atlantis movies, too.” (cheers from audience)
JOE FLANIGAN: JF24.jpg
A fan asked about Sheppard’s backstory, or rather, the lack thereof. “You know,” said Joe. “I’d have to say that’s one of the most commonly said things [about the character]… I would say it’s the thing I see the most – people say ‘where’s the backstory on this guy?’ – and for some reason, the writers say that to themselves, too, and then finally we did that thing [“Phantoms”] …. I think backstory in general can be difficult… you just don’t want to just do an episode where ‘we’re going to reminisce, sir, we’re going to go back.’ It has to have some type of important thing in the present. They’re figuring that out. They’ve got actually this coming season, they want to sit down and really create some arcs – character arcs – all right, we’re going to start the character here and we’re going to end here at the end of the season. Before they didn’t do that and a lot of it was because you weren’t sure if you were going to get picked up for another season and we’re putting out episodes that really stand out completely on their own, because they’re seen all over the world at different times of the day. We don’t want to get into a situation like Lost or 24 where you say to yourself ‘I didn’t watch the first four episodes, I don’t understand what’s going on.’ They have to stand on their own. Well, now we have a body of work and we’re going to attempt to do some arcs that really hold together but it won’t be serialized like say Battlestar or anything like that where you really don’t know what’s going on. (pauses) I don’t know what’s going on there. It’s very dark and scary. Their monsters are much more beautiful than ours. That’s the only thing I noticed but, so you’ll see some [arcs].”
Someone asked about the possibility of Rainbow Sun Francks returning as Ford. “Rainbow? Oh, I think you’ll see him come back…. I think that, yeah, definitely, that door is definitely open. They don’t know exactly where they’re going to go all the time, but they definitely have thought long and hard about having him come back or pop up, so that would be fun. I know he’s got a lot of followers.”
A fan brought up a question asked of Jason – if Teal’c and Ronon got into a fight who would win, and I think the next question was about McKay. Joe replied, “David fights like this,” and he flung his hands out in a Three Stooges slapping fashion that we got to see David use in that one episode and to see Joe do it was very funny. “Getting into a fight with a cat, so yeah, he would win, hands down.” (Not sure who he was talking about).
This seems to be an oft-asked question, as someone asked Torri Higginson this one at DragonCon – if you had control of Atlantis, what would you do? Torri’s response was ‘we’d all smoke pot and we’d listen to “Imagine.”’ Yesterday Jason was asked the same thing and mentioned the pedicure, etc. but… what would Joe/Sheppard do? “Well, I’d have a big surf day. We’re covered with water. I’m sure there’s some great surf out there. I’d have us take a little surf trip. You know, I’d have Jason painting my nails (said with big grin), so that’s what I’d do, or peeling my bananas, whatever. Whatever he wants to do. Keep them all busy. Torri can peel my grapes.”
Is the Johnny Cash poster, etc. was part of Joe or from the writers? “Yes, that is my little thing [contribution] and had a lot of other ideas but there’s only so much you can do. Remember, that’s in the background so sometimes they make it in the shot and sometimes they don’t. But, the Johnny Cash poster was definitely my idea. I wanted to put the Johnny Cash poster in the puddlejumper and I wanted fuzzy dice [like on the dashboard] but the sad thing is I’m totally serious. Brad just kept saying ‘well, I don’t think it will work’ [and then Joe said] ‘it will too.’ You know these truck drivers have posters – Merle Haggard or Miss Playboy or whatever. They’ve got them all in their truck. I should have that stuff in the puddlejumper, right? So I thought Johnny Cash would be perfect. Getting permission from the estate wasn’t difficult at all. They were happy to be the first country western singer in space. That is my pitch, by the way, because I got a couple free skateboards by telling the guy ‘I ride the skateboard around all the time on set, I have it in the episode, you’re the first skateboard manufacturer in space.’ So I got a few free skateboards so I prop ‘em up and do my thing and we have golf clubs too but I didn’t get those… so a lot of that stuff is my idea and once again you plant seeds that eventually can be used further on when we have a Johnny Cash in episode three hundred…”
A fan wondered about similarities between SG1’s Jack O’Neill and Sheppard. “This might sound sacrilegious, but I’ve actually never had seen SG1.” Audience gasps. “Actually, I didn’t want to before I did it because I thought I’m not sure if I want to. I don’t know if I want to know exactly what it is they’re doing until after we start shooting so then we establish our own identity, and then I can start watching and get into the myth of everything,” he explained. “I wanted to establish a character before I see exactly they’re doing and don’t want to taint anything. So from an acting perspective, no. I didn’t watch the show and I purposefully kept it that way. If you’re talking within the story…no, I [Sheppard] was a troublemaker. I was always getting into trouble. Remember the whole show started and I’m stuck in the Antarctic flying helicopters. My career was not going so well.” Someone asked about Richard Dean Anderson. “Rick? He’s MacGyver, man, that’s cool. I still can’t do anything with a paperclip and a rubber band. The first day we were shooting the show, we were up in helicopters on the Pemberton Glacier shooting the stuff, and he and I are flying and stuff – of course, we had a real pilot – I handed him a paperclip and a rubber band and I said (grinning like a kid)‘you know, in case this ship goes down’ – I thought I was so clever, I was laughing and [Joe pauses for dramatic effect] he didn’t crack a smile. He was like ‘you think I haven’t heard that one?’ But I think, ‘my god, I’m in a helicopter with you. It may go down. You may need that paperclip!’ So anyways, that was as close to character overlap as we got.”
JOE FLANIGAN: JF28.jpg
A fan asked about introducing new characters, and mentioned Mitch Pileggi Colonel Caldwell. “Introducing a character is always fun because it’s fun working with people. Mitch is one of these guys… I can’t imagine anybody not getting along with him. He’s one of the nicest guys in the world and he’s just done a million things. He’s done so many different TV shows, and we really haze him. We’d give him the hardest time. We loved it. We’d tell him how gay he looks when he’s acting…and he’s unflappable. You just can’t break the guy, so I really like working with Mitch. Mitch is on a new TV show. I want to say The Nine?… Daybreak? Okay, [ABC] Daybreak. That’s what I meant to say. And I think he’s pretty busy on that so I’m not sure you’ll see him as much as we’d like so… his availability is a little low and his rates are going up and I’ve got two extra dollars” He poked his foot at the dollar bills on the ground. “So maybe I can get something worked out here for Mitch. Anyway, guys, thanks so much.”
JOE FLANIGAN: JF40.jpg
And that was it. Like all the rest of the guests, he signed the banners on both sides of the screen, then went off to the autograph line.
I really, really enjoyed Joe’s talk. He’s got that laidback Sheppard style (which is obviously) his own, he’s polite (said ‘thank you’ after answering each question) and well, hey, he was just plain darn fun.
e) Autograph Line
Well, the usual get in line and wait, and it was Joe and Cliff. The CC lady punched your ticket right at the table and slid the photos in front of Joe and he signed, and figuring it couldn’t hurt (and I really, really wanted it) I asked if he could personalize it and wow, he did! Wrote “Great meeting you in NYC. XXOO” and I had two little squishy balls I’d set aside so I gave them to him for his kids, or to throw at Jason, whichever he’d like to do ;) I can’t remember if I said anything. My mind, uh, blanked. I do recall going to Cliff next, getting a signature on my convention badge and chatted briefly about, uh, er, oh, blast, mind blank. I do remember they both looked sooo good up close and in person.
JOE FLANIGAN: JF41.jpg – shot caught while he was doing autographs
Afterwards, we (me, Salty, WWLH) made sure we had everything, got in the car and zoomed into traffic, got some Dunkin Donuts (of course, I get home after and find a ton of Dunkin Donuts coupon in the newspaper!) and got stuck in post-football traffic, which really, was better than my daily commute!!
It was great meeting everyone, and I know I’ll forget names, but special thanks to the people at the dessert/breakfast. You were all great!!
Big thanks to Salty and WWLH for the ride (right to my house!) and amusement and for Salty to say “you gotta go to this con, you gotta!”
The END – Hope everyone’s enjoyed the con reports J and feel free to add your links to your reports.