With the exception of one photo I HAD to share, this report will be photo free. I bought a new camera before DC and I didn’t figure out the settings until Saturday. So unless you enjoy blurry photos or bright blobs there is not much to see from Friday.
I don’t have many complaints about DC, but I wish that they would start the con earlier on Friday. I have no problem with panels not beginning until 1:00pm, especially if people don’t arrive until Friday morning and need to register, but why not open the dealer rooms and Walk of Fame at 10 or 11:00am? Maybe in years past this didn’t make sense with most people not arriving until Friday, but given the long registration line on Thursday and the number of guests I saw wandering about the Marriott that evening it seems they could open the con up a bit more on Friday. Maybe they will next year. They do seem willing to make changes given they expanded the con to four hotels this year.
So my little group largely did nothing until the afternoon. If I recall correctly, molly_may and thomasina75 attended 1:00pm panels while the rest of us headed for our second line of the con to see the boys of Firefly.
The Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion Show
• I’m not sure why they decided to do this, but at every panel they gave away signed trading cards and other gifts to whoever asked a question. A special edition of Alan’s Reelz Channel interview with Nathan was given away to the person who they deemed asked the best question. The first woman who asked a question gave Alan a hug – which he’s stated in the past is not cool with him – and when she started to move towards Nathan he waved his hands and said ‘No Thanks’.
• Nathan began the Q&A by announcing they had already learned one thing, “You guys sure do get into the room slow. That’s a half hour of cracking jokes you won’t hear.” Alan informed us it was OK since their jokes are pretty bad.
• They were recording the panel for a radio show and let us know they would be stopping to say secret things into the recording. This led Alan and Nathan to keep bending under table to record their messages. You can imagine what this looked like if you haven’t seen the pictures. ;)
• Via applause, they determined that a fair share of the people in the room had not seen them before at a con which meant they could use a lot of the same jokes.
• Nathan was asked what he would like to be called and he stated, "Captain Horrible Hammer Tightpants".
• Alan was asked about the farting contest at the end of ‘A Knight’s Tale’ and who won the contest. He pointed out that they really didn’t do that, the sound was inserted post-production, though he did recall Paul Bettany actually making a rather loud noise on set. It was a foreign country and the food was questionable.
• Someone asked Alan about his role in the play ‘Wonder of the World’, his character Kip’s need to swallow Barbie doll heads to achieve sexual gratification, and if he was a method actor? Nathan interjected, “All been there”, and Alan admitted he has swallowed some cabbage patch doll heads.
• Attendee: "I have a question for Nathan Fillion."
Nathan: "Good, he’s here."
• Nathan’s was asked about Captain Hammer’s hammer and he stated it was just a veiled attempt at asking to see his pee-pee. Alan: "Are you saying you have a hammer as your pee-pee?...I have a follow up question...What kind of hammer? Like a 16oz ball peen?"
• Nathan gave away something from ‘White Noise 2’..."the blockbuster hit".
• Nathan told an amusing story about being cast on Firefly. It was his first one hour show and he was the captain. He had a responsibility! Joss had hired an actress (who he wasn’t sold on) to play Inara who only worked one day. Things were not going well and Nathan thought someone was going to think *he* needed acting lessons and tell him to “Quit fucking around!” Joss eventually asked to talk to him for a second. Uh-Oh. "I wanted you to hear it from me before you hear it from anyone else….Sometimes these things just happen and it’s nobody’s fault." Nathan’s thought - OMG, I’m being fired! "Sometimes the chemistry just isn’t right…We’re letting go of our Inara." Nathan’s immediate reaction? Good choice! Good choice! Alan asked if he just tossed her aside like that? Nathan responded by saying he’d sell him down the river, unless it was between him and another guy, depending on who that guy is. "But between me and you?" ;)
• Asked for funny stories, Alan talked about a party at his house, telling Joss he could park in a certain place, Joss getting his car got towed, and it costing $250 to retrieve it. "Thanks for coming to my party Joss!"
• Both autographed a DVD and Nathan pointed out that they "kind of blew it for you because we signed the wrapper." Hee!
• Apparently Alan catsits for Nathan quite often. One time, while taking care of the car, Alan went to leave note and was shocked by the pen, a shock pen. Nathan’s response to the gag: "I like it when they slow cook like that." Nathan also discovered a calendar of pictures of Alan when he was young that was left at his place. He made copies of the goofiest pics and posted them on the Firefly set - on Alan’s birthday. When Alan was asked who could have done this he responded, "Probably Nathan."
• Someone asked to how the series could continue without Book since he was so important. Alan believes it could, "I think Buffy died twice, didn’t she?" Nathan pointed out that Alan clings desperately to the hope Wash will be resurrected. Alan has created a scenario where Wash can be clone and have to be brought up to speed. Alan: "It could work". Nathan: "I’ll make sure it doesn’t."
• In reference to the recording they were making someone pointed out that everytime one of them went under the desk, the other one smiled.
• Asked how Drive ended, Nathan said his character used his superhuman power, heat vision, to melt the wall, then he won the race and got his wife back. They all felt the heat of cancellation and wrapped it up quick.
• Nathan commented that at DC he sees the connections people usually make at smaller cons, but not Comic Con. (I was getting the sense at DC that the guests aren’t thrilled by Comic Con and what it has become.)
• Someone asked Alan, "Were you sad you weren’t in ‘Horrible’?" To which he responded, "Sure. I’m also sad I wasn’t in ‘No Country for Old Men’, ‘Hairspray’...an episode of ‘Dexter’ would have been nice." Nathan would have created a character for Alan, The Ginger Giant, growing to heights of 7’4”.
• Nathan discussed his charity, Kids Need to Read, but failed to recall the website address. I think I found it - Kids Need to Read - but the odfd graphics make me wonder.
• One of the things Nathan gave away was a prized possession he made himself and had been on his car for the longest time, ‘My Other Car is Serenity’, which was given to a trucker.
• Alan says he’s similar to Wash in that Wash is more of pacifist. Nathan, on the other hand, is almost always getting into a fight. He almost got into a fight with the cabdriver on the way to the hotel. "That guy was ripping me off! $15 to go eight blocks?!" He pointed out to the guy that the sticker on side of window stated per trip, not per passenger. His argument didn’t hold water. "You want my money, just ask for it, don’t try to trick me." Which led Alan to ask for money and Nathan to tell him not to spend it all on headshots of himself.
• At the 2006 DC, Alan was giving a pin to give to Nathan. The woman who gave the pin to Alan asked if Nathan got. You could tell from the reactions, not.
Friday's BSG Panel
The sound in the Atrium ballroom had some issues and Eddie in particular is hard to hear on my recording so I’ll try cobble this together as best as I can.
• Eddie claimed this was his first convention in North America…accept he had been in Toronto the week before.
• The guy leading the panel asked, “Earth, WTF?” to which Eddie responded, “What did you expect?”
• They were all asked what surprised them most about their arcs? Tahmoh said the fact that he had an arc given Helo was to die in the mini. Richard is still amazed he’s alive up until this point. Michael asked "The biggest surprise?", paused, and then there was a lot of laughter. Eddie said finding out his best friend is a Cylon. He went on to say they get information as we do (meaning as it unfolds) and that Michael, to this day, refuses to accept he’s a Cylon. Aaron stated the chief drinks more than he does, that his character can beat up Adama, finding out he was a Cylon…and loving it. James said the writing staff has been magnanimous enough to let him stick around.
• Aaron was asked about Tyrol smiling on earth. Originally, Aaron didn’t like the twist, but once he accepted it he decided that the chief would be different than the others in their meetings. Deciding this, it suddenly all made sense to him. A weight was off his back and he could say, "Oh, that’s why...". The scene where he, Starbuck, and Anders check the viper, he’s going to think it’s a joke, see the irony in the situation. It’s the only time on the show he’s really made a choice as an actor. He’s received a lot of positive feedback about loving that moment on earth.
• Tahmoh was asked about Helo being the moral compass of the show and he began talking about AMoS. Eddie interjected at some point and discussed how Helo was suppose to die, he even had the ’hero shot’ on Caprica …and now he has his own television show! Tahmoh said people approach him pissed off, like he, Tahmoh Penikett, has a choice in the direction of the show. People are unhappy with him. ht then went on to talk about working with people on the show he doesn’t often get to work with and mentioned he got to share a scene with James recently and hasn’t really been in a scene with him since mini.
• Eddie commented his career is as known for things he hasn’t done. He made some comparisons to Bladerunner, how that also helped to create a world, and talked of technology and cloning and how BSG isn’t that far from reality. He also told Ron and David that the first four eyed monster he saw, he was going to faint in front of the camera, then walk off the show. They could have Adama die of a heart attack or whatever. He’d give them the faint, then they could write whatever the frak they wanted to write. They were actually afraid to let me see the hybrid. But, to him, it made sense. They weren’t making a creature from outer space, but something half machine and half human, and it would happen with their understanding. He feels the series in the finest view of what scifi does at it’s best. Twenty-five years from today they will look at the show and it will hold true. And god forbid the ending be the ending, we need to learn something from this. After Eddie rather long response (as you can see), Michael stated, word for word, that’s what he was going to say. ;)
• A guy got up and did a dead on Tigh impression which Michael LOVED. Michael said he made the whole event. Eddie added that ‘Hogan would never come here, does not leave his island…he has his own little island…Thank you so much for making this happen.’
• Has Baltar really found god? James feels Baltar is changing. In the next group of episodes there will be revelations for every character. Politicians do a lot of glad handing and holding babies, they are ego driven. In Baltar becoming a mystic or someone searching for something else, he is starting to find himself, whether that means finding religion or the cylon god in the process, it’s less important to him.
• They were all asked what the stupidest thing they’ve done on set was. Eddie jumped into tell a story about Aaron. The actors have their sound equipment taped to their bodies. Most choose to put their sound packs at their ankles rather than their waist, it’s a more relaxed way of wearing it. Aaron puts it at his waste. Aaron was wearing his jump suit and, after finishing a scene, one of the crew came to reclaim the pack and Aaron decided to rip his jumpsuit open. Aaron doesn’t wear underwear. Guess what he cold cocks the sound guy with? I think Tahmoh or Michael joked the guy quit and is still in therapy.
• Tahmoh talked about how when you get a large group of people together for a long period of time they start laughing and can’t stop. He specifically referred to Lee’s goodbye in ‘Six of One’ – Bodie was laughing and couldn’t stop. He’s laughing so hard he’s crying and Tahmoh kept making him laugh. This went on for about 45 minutes. Tahmoh said we should watch the scene closely the next time we see the episode to see Bodie’s expression. I just watched the episode this weekend – it’s Tahmoh who appears to be the one struggling to not laugh. ;)
• The moderator pointed out that Richard has been in almost as many eps of the new series as the original. Richard talked about the controversy surrounding comments he made about the reimagined BSG. His fears for BSG were that remakes tend to be poor versions of the original and he had no idea what they would do with BSG when the project was first announced. He envisioned a continuation like they did with Star Trek. As soon as he saw Ron’s vision it addressed his concerns.
• A friend of Aaron’s, Colin, who plays Sgt Noward(?) on BSG tagged along for the weekend and appeared on a couple of panels. His character was named after Angeli’s childhood best friend and Angeli had told him it would be hard to kill him off, yet planned to in ‘The Son Also Rises’. Aaron ‘made some calls’ and Cheedle, not Noward, dies in the ep while protecting Romo. That led to Tahmoh lamenting how his friend had been killed off the show (Dee’s partner in ‘Rapture’). But that was a result of her originally supposed to drag him to safety after being injured and, given the size differential between them, deemed not possible.
• The Letterman appearance was brought up and James was none too happy about it. He suffered a very bad bout of food poisoning, he even had his stomach pumped, then went to the studio feeling wretched. The writers wanted him to say something else about someone being drunk, be he told them, "That’s not funny, it’s mean". He was told to ‘get with the program’, he still refused, and they were forced to come up with something else. James believes BSG was bigger than that and felt "part of Letterman’s creatures" rather than being their in their own right.
• Eddie was asked about Adama’s breakdown in Lee’s arms. He talked about how Adama was drunk and it was the beginning of the end. It was all done in one take. And he reiterated that the final season is brutal and it’s not an uplifting show.
• Michael was asked about Tig getting into a relationship with Six. Aaron responded, "How the frak would you feel?" Eddie commented that Michael ends up with the best of the finest, yet he was shocked to learn in TMU, TMD that he would be making out/making love to Kate/Ellen.
I’m going to be lumping the three Stargate panels I saw (Friday, Saturday, and Monday) together. This is largely due to the fact I didn’t record these panels which was largely due to my presumption they would not be worth recording due to the panel moderation and I was largely right. For 2009 I’m contemplating funding a coup to overthrow the current track director. Or at least send a sternly worded email to the DC folks. The track director may be a very nice woman, but she is a horrible organizer and moderator. I think I spent half of Friday’s panel with my head in my hands.
First off, if you want to pimp your track, do it before the panel. Not at the start and definitely not while the guests are sitting there looking very uncomfortable. I’m not much for fan panels or track activities and I would say the majority of the people in a 2,500 seat (or whatever large number of people it can seat) ballroom feel as I do. Especially when one of their big events is a My Little Pony workshop. For the second year I must ask, "WTF?!" Who thought Stargate and My Little Pony are two creations that would be awesome together? I still have Michael Shanks look of horror etched in my brain from last year. This year, the panel just looked befuddled. And to make it even better, they had a My Little Pony Auction:
danceswithwords commented, in one of her posts, that the panels felt a little disjointed, most likely due to the fact that this particular combination of guests had really not worked much, if at all, together. Still, I found myself impressed. Cliff Simon, Morena Baccerin, Jewel Staite, Erick Avari, and Torri Higginson I had seen at DC before, but David Nykl, Beau Bridges, and Rainbow Sun Francks were new to me. Rainbow was probably the biggest discovery. He was he shafted by SGA, yet exhibited no bitterness, and he’s really funny!
What I remember from the panels:
• The moderator asked if any of them had any artistic pursuits. Cliff Simon voiced what most of the audience was thinking when he replied, 'Well, he ACTS!' There were also some inane questions regarding their flights and what they ate for dinner. Yeah, these are the questions we fly from around the world to hear answered. Rainbow joked about trying to buy food on the plane, but being denied when he pulled out Canadian money. He then informed the flight attendant it was worth more than ours. ;p
• Cliff Simon as asked at two panels about his CD projects. No, he’s not pulling a Shatner by attempting to sing. One CD teaches deep breathing (Cliff was a competitive swimmer) and meditation and the other I’m not sure how to classify. He shares his feelings about the United States which, even with it’s faults, he views as the best country in the world. Cliff has become a U.S. citizen (he’s originally from Zimbabwe) and it was obvious he thinks quite highly of his new home. I actually found his pro-American sentiment touching without being overly ra-ra. He’s aware that there is quite a bit of anti-American sentiment around the world and I think he wanted people to know not everyone feels that way. And he stated if there is ever a disaster any place in the world, the U.S. is the first country there to offer assistance.
• Ba’al wasn’t originally intended to be one of the Big Bads. The SG1 writers wrote the episode ‘Summit’ (I believe it's 'Summit') where a bunch of system lords gather to discuss universal domination, as they do, and he was the standout, apparently. It probably had to due with his choice to not play evil and try to have some fun with the role. (I’ve remarked in the past that Ba’al was written very different than the other system lords and wondered why. Now I know!)
• A member of the armed services, who just returned from Afghanistan, who we assume is also a member of Stargate Atlanta, was brought out on stage during one panel and stayed. I’m not sure if that was the mods idea or Beau Bridges, who grabbed him a chair and made room for him. I support the troops as much as the next person, but this didn’t seem appropriate and was yet another distraction from why the guests and audience were there.
• One of the Stargate Atlanta staff, who dressed like Rodney McKay and bares a resemblance to David Hewlett, came out on stage during a couple of the panels. Maybe it was the permanent smile and arched eyebrow, but the guy kind of creeped me
• The cast was asked why they decided to become as actor. Gee, I had no idea why Beau Bridges had chosen acting as a career. :p And, at some point, Beau referred to his "little brother Jeff" which danceswithwords and I found amusing.
• They were asked by the mod what they were doing or what they were watching on TV when they were 11 (seriously). Torri’s family moved a lot and she wasn’t allowed to watch TV so wherever they ended up she quickly made friends with whoever had a TV. Rainbow watches the same thing today as he did when he was eleven - Loony Tunes.
• They were asked how much input they had into their characters. It sounded as if Beau had contributed the most to Landry’s story since his character was the most undeveloped when he was hired. I think he may have even commented that Landry didn’t have a name. It was his idea to have Landry be a military historian, to have an Asian wife, and to have a failed marriage amongst other things.
• Cliff and Morena were asked about playing villains or playing evil and both commented that most ‘evil’ characters don’t see themselves that way, they believe in their actions, and that you have to find that justification for those actions. (James Callis has made very similar comments about playing Baltar.)
• There was a question about the Goa’uld’s glowing eyes and Morena recounted how she had to wear these special contacts her first day on set and, never having worn contacts, was struggling with putting the contacts in and keeping them in. Her eyes were tearing and she was in a considerable amount of pain, but feared if she didn’t try and tough it out she’d be fired on her first day. Michael Shanks told her to not worry and just say NO. Turns out it was good advice because a doctor examined her later and informed her she had a scratched her cornea and had she tried to force the contacts in she could have gone blind. O_o
• Cliff was asked about Ba’al wearing sleevless shirts. That was a result of one of the producers spotting Cliff in rehearsal in just a tank top. After noticing how great his arms were, the producer immediately went to wardrobe and told them to rip the sleeves off Cliff’s costume.
• Normally, when someone gets up and states "I don’t have a question, but a comment" it’s time to gird one’s loins, but, there are apparently exceptions to the rule. A woman got up to thank Torri for fighting for her character and trying to talk to the writers about the way women were written on SGA. Torri seemed touched and she commented about all the people coming up to her during the weekend, making similar comments and it meaning a lot to her.
• Jewel and Morena joked about cursing the shows they are on since they end up canceled. Though David pointed out that Jewel joined the SGA cast last season.
• Some comments were made about fanfic. Rainbow mentioned Ford/Sheppard fic which illicited laughter from the audience. Mock horrified, he quickly stated, "It’s not funny." And Jewel mentioned she’d started reading a fic that paired Kaylee with Jayne and had to stop reading because it was just wrong.
• Jewel talked about fangirling Matthew Fox. She finally had the opportunity to meet him at the SciFI party at Comic Con (her husband pointed out he was standing at the bar behind her) and totally lost the ability to form a coherent thought or complete sentence. She ended up feeling mortified and totally embarrassed.
• Erick Avari told an interesting story about voicing concerns/objections after agreeing to play a role. Ironically, it was a guest starting role on The Agency which Beau starred in, Beau even recalled the incident. Erick had agreed to play the role of a Pakistani general because, from the script he was given, the role was benign. However, when he arrived on set he was handed a new the and he found the role had been drastically rewritten...because the character was too benign and they needed more drama. As much as it pained him to do it, especially since he knew he’d be shutting down production for the day, he had to quit on the spot. His mother lives in India and he’s extremely careful about roles portray certain groups in a negative light. And he will never play a terrorist.
• Speaking of terrorists, Cliff Simon has been offered the role of Osama Bin Laden. He’s going back and forth on taking the role because while he has problems with playing such a reviled human being, he also feels it’s a story that needs to be told. Erick commented there is a difference between playing a role based on an actual person and having the time and opportunity to explore who that person is and doing a guest spot on a TV series where there is little to no character development.
After the panels, I think we may have wandered a bit before danceswithwords abandoned us to go have dinner with her brother and his fiancé. Some people’s priorities! ;p
I got an invite to meet some of the Bamber Bunnies at a nearby pub and with thomasina75, 50mm, and sugargroupie in tow, since it had been some time since we had all eaten, headed to the pub around nine. I spoke to bamberrific and xbeyondinsanex at some length about (who else?) Jamie and briefly met Kittenbiscuits and Sylverviper. There were a bunch of other Bunnies present, but most were immersed in con related conversations and I ended up eating with my friends and, as happens at cons, I didn’t get to mingle as much as I would have liked. Still, it was fun to meet everyone. :)
danceswithwords eventually rejoined us and, for the life of me, I can’t recall what we did next. More to follow at some point...