Dec 282013
Siege3 feature photo SGAFAN

Joe Flanigan contributes to this commentary of Season 2 opening episode (The Siege III), together with David Hewlett, Martin Wood and Martin Gero. Martin Gero is extremely talkative, so Joe’s interventions are rather rare and quite brief. Consequently, this transcript is not complete, since we’ve focused mainly on the parts where Joe can be actually heard, or the conversation is meaningful for the filming process. The overlooked comments are indicated by [...]

The lines in italic blue font indicate moments when the commentary is silent and the actual performance is heard. Some screencaps were added for better understanding of the references.


MG: Hi, my name is Martin Gero

DH: And I’m David Hewlett

MW: I’m Martin Wood

JF: I am Joe Flanigan


MW: …and this is Siege, part III. We’ve done a lot of three parters before on Stargate, but we never called them one, two and three. It seems like this is bigger, since it’s “part III”. Generally, if we do a two parter, closer, then we do a pick up afterwards. Still, there’s something about this that makes it a bigger episode.

MG: The difficulty in this episode is that Siege 1 was a fairly big episode, then Siege 2 was one of the bigger episodes we’ve ever done, and by naming it Siege 3 we really felt like we had to go all out and pull of the stuff.

MW: Did you plan to have three parts?

MG: Yes, we always knew we were going to do a twoparter with a cliffhanger, that was always Brad’s idea, and then move into a part three. It’s our own failing, because we couldn’t think of a better name. I wanted to call it “Dawn of the Daedalus”

JF: I was going to call it Rocky III

MF: Can I just mention that [the Wraith] didn’t have a seam on his hand, the feeding part of his hand wasn’t there, because it’s the wrong hand

MG: Oh, no.

[Major Sheppard, decloak your jumper immediately]

MW: There’s something else, Joe you know this, but most people don’t.


MW: Look at the “previously-on” and then look at that shot that we just saw and you’ll notice that the bomb is different. It’s changed, because we shot it over four months apart.

DH: We’ve upgraded the bomb?

JF: I didn’t know that until just now.

MG: Someone’s gonna get fired [laughs]

MW: Until I saw the cut I didn’t realize it was lit differently, and so when you look at it…

DH: You’ve ruined it for the kids at home


MW: When you do a three parter like this, and you go back and pick up everything… This scene was shot three months after we shot the last one.

JF: This was the first thing after the hiatus, right?

MG: There you go, Mitch Pileggi, surprisingly sexy, “People’s” surprisingly sexy.

DH: And he made the mistake of mentioning that, and since then I have been teasing him mercilessly.


JF: This is one of our weapons’ guy



MW: The guy that ‘s holding the ZPM there, he’s actually Ron, he’s our armorer.

JF: And he knows his armory.


MG: This is a great shot, the big first reveal of Daedalus, and then the hive, the cruisers. James Tichenor came on this year, he was of course a long time visual effects supervisor on SG1, took a year off to do some other things, and so he wasn’t a part of season 1.


MG: I don’t to say that visual effects in season 1 were bad, they were very good, but he came on board and they are markedly better this year. He has done a phenomenal job and also for the first time in the franchise history we have our own in-house department. It’s useful for us be able to just walk across the studio and discuss shots.

JF: This is the old main title.

MG: We made the choice to keep the old main title for the first two, I think maybe three episodes, because Ronon shouldn’t be in this one, and also Rainbow’s still in these episodes, so we didn’t want to hint that Rainbow was about to go too.

JF: The battle scene in Siege 2 is fantastic. Actually we shot this in Siege 2.

MW: We shot this during Siege 2. The inserts of the hand weren’t done, we just moved them from Siege 2 into Siege 3.

MG: This is the most visual effects that we have done in a single one hour episode. …and the puppet!

JF: Oh, man…

MG: Ellie Harvie is great!


DH: We were watching this and I was killing myself laughing, she’s just genius.


MG: There was a lot of fighting whether an Asgard should be pissy or not…

JF: But when did it take a turn? When did…

DH: Joe did not like the puppet.

JF: I don’t like it. I’ve tried to kill him a number of times [laughs]

DH: And you did refer to him as Hemorrhoid…

MW: This is interesting: we have now a new operator on the show, steady cam (meaning the camera that float like this), and he was the same one who shot the pilot with us, we’ve actually swiped him from SG1.

JF: A guy named Nathaniel Massey.

MW: Most people don’t realize how complicate this shot is.

JF: The grandson of Raymond Massey, the famous actor.

MW: Great grandson of Vincent Massey.

MG: And future great grandfather of Norton Massey, inventor of the teleporter. [laughs]

All: Chuck!

JF: Chuck has just been patient as hell.

MW: Chuck is David’s stand-in, actually, and we have upgraded him to the “chucknition”. He’s a very good actor.

DH: A well deserved upgrade, the guy really is a consummate professional.

MW: He likes to do “chucknition” as a robot.


MW: This kind of scene is difficult, because […] it’s difficult to have reflected surfaces like that in the back that look so great and have explosions going on outside. Often we’d use actual flames to do it. In this case we couldn’t.

JF: There is Ron again.


DH: Ron is the scariest man I’ve ever met.

MW: Ron Blecker.

DH: He’s great, but you just don’t goof around with him.

JF: He’s an actual veteran of the Black Hawk group. He was one of the guys in Somalia.


MW: We’re on location shooting “Runner” right now when this was happening.

DH: And a frantic shoot I might add. This was like “We gotta get this in ten minutes!”

MW: And I came back and I’d blocked this shot out for Peter and he did a great job of moving it around and getting it.

MG: You guys really know how each other shoots though. It’s funny to watch you adopt each other’s style when you step in.

DH: It’s like impersonation. Martin makes dirty jokes.

JF: That’s a oner, too. A long oner.

MW: I really like that sound, it’s the only sound you ever hear that drones make.

JF: I think one of the coolest things about the franchise is that we have just present day weaponry. Most times you go to Space, all these scifi shows have super sophisticated weaponry.

MG: Now this is the beginning of a kind of an interesting fan laugh back… They felt like in the early part, up until Duet, that we were making Rodney kind of a stupid oaf, that he was being too comic-book-ish. I don’t know, I mean…

JF: …more in line with his real character. And you know, he’s a good actor.

MG: I just try to write him closer to David, and more oafish and… [laughs]


MW: That gag was, originally, a gun-jammed, because it’s more visual, if the clip drops.

DH: It’s incredibly hard to do. I don’t understand how you’d do that by mistake.

MW: It was physically very difficult for you to get it.

DH: I got grumpy, because my thumb couldn’t reach…

JF: It’s very hard to do it.

DH: That’s the point, that’s why such things don’t happen.



DH: She does just a fantastic job, I’m in awe!

DH: Great shot!

JF: Nice!

MG: This is one of the first shots we saw for the new year. James did this and I was like: Oh man! We are in for a treat, we are gonna take them for a ride! A lot of this comes from the success of the show, because with the success you have a little more money to do bigger things.

JF: Right. I actually get three meals a day this season.

DH: You’re so lucky!

JF: That’s another interesting thing we have been talking about, which is window reflection. Are we finding that the window reflection, where we’re putting it, does it help?

MW: We’re working more and more and trying to get it. Again, it’s an expensive thing, but what’s missing … When you put something up against a window, it’s difficult to tell it’s a window, because you have no reflection. The light in the window is always missing. It’s much more expensive to do that, but we’ve been pushing for a lot.

[Sheppard: Better get the damn shield up.

Weir: How much time do we have?

Zelenka: Forty five seconds 

Weir: Rodney, we need the shield up in 40 seconds or we’re dead.

McKay: What, are you kidding me?

Weir: No

McKay: Because I can’t help but think you’re trying to determine the point when I completely snap. 

Weir: Rodney!

McKay: That should do it. Fire it up.]

MW: This is my favorite line! The Okay, snap! line.

MG: It’s Brad Wright’s. Brad’s not doing full drafts of my scripts, but he always does a polish, cleans it up, makes some cuts, adds some stuff, and without fail, he always adds the two funniest lines in the show. People are like: that’s my favorite line, and I’m yeah, that was Brad’s, I didn’t do that.

MW: We’ve talked about a number of times, this speed-speed-speed-speed, stop. Speed-speed-speed-speed, stop. To give impact to the impact, you have to have that beat before the shield comes up. It’s running along, running along, and then it comes up.

[Weir: We’re still here, that’s our status.

Sheppard: Don’t scare me like that.]

MW: The thing about Siege 3, and I say it every time anybody asks me, it’s such a roller coaster. It goes up-up-up, ok that threat’s gone, and then up-up-up-up. In order to go through the hour…

JF: Ok, can you be quiet now, I’m trying to watch the show? [laughs]

MW: We’re fourteen minutes into it right now and… “we did it! Now what’s gonna happen?”

MG: From all the episodes that I wrote this year, it was the absolute hardest, logistic wise, because you had to do so much, you had to tie up all of last year, keep an episode going – we wanted essentially three major set action sequences, and then the B plot that essentially launched the arch of the first three episodes.


DH: This is nice, now we see actually for the first time like a physical contact thing.

JF: I found this one of hardest episodes to shoot because we came back from the hiatus and we were supposed to just pick up and I had completely forgotten. I remembered the name of the show and that of my character [laughs] It was confusing.

MW: That scene, it’s the first time we see physical contact, because we cut the sex scenes out of Siege 2…

MG: I love that stuff though, although there’s a whole kind of fan-division  who doesn’t like what they call “shipping”, relationshipping, relationships on the show…

JF: Is that what they mean by shipping?

MG: …yeah, they think it’s kind of a cheap soap opera. In reality a hug is a hug, she is just happy to see him, she though he was dead, he though she was dead, you know, it’s nice that you can acknowledge… it speaks to a type of emotional turmoil that you don’t really get a chance to explain because of all the action and plot and stuff like that. So just doing a simple gesture, like a hug, says that these are people that care about each other and… the end [laughs]

MW: We took the incident with Joe’s hand out…

MG: Yeah, that was a little inappropriate… [laughs]

S III 10

MG: This scene, we thought about maybe cutting…

DH: The grandpa scene?

MW: He does a great job.

JF: You know, it’s funny, because we did this and I was like whatever, and Brad really really loved this scene.

MW: This salute that you do here, is such a nice…

JF: I was actually saluting the chocolate tray off camera.

MW: You did a really good job of containing the emotion there but it still feels like Oh man, something is on.

MG: Not only this, but also the Robert Patrick thing, it’s like a full circle. That’s why this episode has tied up so much stuff.

JF: We had Robert Patrick on the show, and he’s dead! Oh, we’re scifi, we can have him back.

MG: It’s also the last show that has those blast.

MW: That’s right, we’re fixing them after that. Interestingly enough, we came from the beginning of this shot, we came from outside the set, and we had to paint the inside of those doors. But, just a tidbit, it’s an area of the set that originally, when we designed the set, was supposed to be used. And I’m forcing us to do it, and what the audience won’t know, is that there’s a spiral staircase that I’m hoping we get to use.

JF: The set looks nice when it’s half lit.

MW: In the twilight light.

JF: It’s a good dark kind of color.

MW: And Michael Blundell does such a nice job! We walked through, before we started to shoot and he said we have got to have more shadows cast.

MG: I love Hermiod: Are you seeing this?!?  I have you to thank, on two occasions: I remember when we did Siege part 2, and you were coordinating various people in peril in the end of the episode, and you put Ford surrounded by ten Wraith guys on either side, I remember looking at that and going: oh crap, how the hell are we getting him put of there?  And you were kind of like: good luck, have fun!  You actually said: he’s on a bridge, we can have him jump off the bridge!

MW: It was mostly because I did it to show it wasn’t just guys we could shoot off.

MG: No, absolutely, it was great insofar Siege part 2, but then sitting down to write Siege part 3, I was like alrighty

MW: Actually, it kicks it into high gear with him. This scene started with a steady cam right on top of them, that rolled over his face and then you guys decided not to show his eye.

MG: No, it’s because this scene was underexposed. Slightly. We were having problems with the cameras, and you actually couldn’t see any detail, so it didn’t feel like it was much of a reveal.

MW: The reveal of Ford, in Weir’s office, is much more effective.

MG: It was one of those happy accidents.

MW: And here we go again: this is now taking us to the second roller coaster hill. I think this is great, Martin, a really nice way of doing this.

MG: I’ve said before, as much as I would like to take all these lovely compliments, with doing this “banner” episodes, it really is a team effort. All the writers sit down at the beginning of a new year, it’s all seven of us in the room, figuring out how to… These episodes are much bigger than just one writer and it’s a privilege to write them, and I really have to give a shout out to the props and the other writers, I’m so street!  [laughs]

MW: I was just about to say, you are so street!

MW: David screwed up his line, and we left it in.

DH: What did I screw up?

MW: It’s just the way that you… [laughs]

MG: Let’s point out other ways David made mistakes in this episode!

DH: We’re not on me now, because it was all one big mistake. [laughs]

MG: This was very important, Brad really wanted to… we had been on the defensive all of last season and he felt like Sheppard would, and rightfully so, be like: you know what, screw this, let’s take the fight to them!

[Sheppard: …we have the capacity and the will to go kick their asses for a change.]

JF: This part had to be changed in looping, it was vey bizarre.

S III 11

MW: And this is when David does his favorite thing: slide around the material.

MG: This is my favorite… it’s just a pause, when he’s like…

MW: Right here.

MG: I love that [laughs] he’s like: seriously, c’mon. That’s McKay in a nutshell. What’s great too, it’s like a lot of the times, just because we can’t afford to do three big action sequences in a show, there’s gonna be a bunch of scenes in between and then getting ready, let’s cut to Daedalus coming out of hyperspace.

MW: Yeah, and you’re climbing up that second hill. Just so you know, this is the re-dressed Prometheus. Much more updated and a way cooler set as the Deadalus.

MG: The puppeteer getting that thing to walk, is really hard.

JF: I have to admit something that may be truly embarrassing: when we shot Siege 3 and they mention Hermiod, and you notice that Hermiod and I are never in a scene together, I didn’t know who Hermiod was, until two more episodes, when I had a scene with him, and I realized he was a puppet. I wanted to kill him. And I wanted to kill everybody else for doing this to me.

S III 12

MW: This is the reveal. Even this shot isn’t as effective.

DH: There’s something on your face [laughs]

MG: This was actually a lot of Rainbow’s doing. He really wanted to have some sort of physical mal-normality.

MW: Yeah, we talked about it a lot. We went through a lot of different… originally it was a white eye, and we’ve changed that because that was the way the Priors would look like.

MG: Exactly.

DH: What about the giant nose?

MG: Again, if you have the chance to see the show in HD, this sequence in phenomenal.

S III 13

MG: These were the first sequences that were in-house made, so we were like: thank god!


MW: This is one of my favorite shot. Look at that!

S III 14

DH: They’re sweeping off…

JF: And the shield.

MW: It’s hard to show size, because speed is so difficult. When you have a ship that big moving, it can’t move fast.

DH: It’s almost like a sailing boat.

MW: She grabs her and throughs her away [laughs]

MG: We did that a lot in the second season. McKay did that a couple of times in that season.

DH: It’s an homage, right? [laughs] I’ve been pushing people for years.

MG: I don’t want to argue, I think it looks great, but apparently the Daedalus is steam-powered.

MW: Yeah! [laughs] […]

S III 15

MW: That trick, when he lifts up Paul…

JF: Apple box!

MW: …it’s actually a dolly.

JF: Oh really?

MW: He’s on a dolly, it’s one that we push camera around. We have a platform built in front of it and all we did was just have him there. We were all around with Ford and then lift him up, and then just let him down slowly. Rainbow did a great job on this one, with the transition in and out.

DH: He’s like you’re kidding me. And McGillion, with his many chins. [laughs]

MG: He’s gonna love you for that.

DH: He already does!

MG: He’s got some pretty hard core fans, they will come after you.

JF: They will. I’m hopeful.

[Weir: Sedate him, if you have to.

Beckett: Aye.]

MW: This was a difficult thing for me: how do you… Rainbow kept falling asleep during the scene… I’m honestly holding on to his toe, and when I want him to open his eyes, I squeeze his toe and he comes awake. That’s the truth: he is actually asleep before that.

S III 16

MW: I always had trouble with the super-hearing. It’s hard to show.

MG: It kinda worked though. I gotta say, on the record, those glasses are silly! [laughs]

MW: Because the laser isn’t working across them […] I put the same glasses when the blast comes out.

MG: This is, by the way, the most expensive shot, and no one knows: right now they pass a green screen that shows a view of the city. And no one can tell. It’s so quick.

MW: That was me in the background. Okay, this is cool.

MG: This is a CG cup.

DH: Really?

MG: Yeah, it would have been too dangerous to…

DH: But, surely, one man’s life is cheaper than CG.

MG: You know what? You’re not wrong! As a producer now. [laughs]

S III 17

MW: As we’ve got into this scene, I felt like it needed more than the threat of the shot. Originally it was scripted that he just holds a gun to the doctor. We felt like it needed more jeopardy, to somebody other than Beckett.

JF: The hard part about the scene is that that guy was actually expendable.

MG: Beckett’s like go ahead!

MW: We took out the sound of the gun shot, because he actually does kill him. [laughs]

DH: So that’s a bag of enzyme.

[Ford: Is that all of it?

Beckett: I promise you.

Ford: Toss it over. Toss it!]

MW: That scene ended differently than it ends here. It ended with Beckett turning and saying everything is okay, but we felt there was no immediate action to stop, and so it makes more sense the way we cut it there.

JF: McKay pushes another guy away.

DH: It’s all about pushing.

S III 18

MW: This is very cool.

JF: These are like little mosquitos on the windshield.


S III 19

MW: I leanrt something from that shot, Joe, that I’ll never do that again: that camera rotation, that up-down rotation.

JF: Yeah?

MW: From up left to down on the right side. It doesn’t “end” the act as well.

JF: As opposed to?

MW: As opposed to a push-in. It was just a rotation around.

S III 20

DH: I like that staying on the balcony.

MW: So do I. Both of us did and we actually fought a lot TPTB to keep that, because originally it was just looking up, cut back to them, they walk in.

MG: One of the great things James Tichenor, the visual effects supervisor, wanted to do was the ability to track camera moves using tracking points, which are big X’s that you put everywhere and there’s a piece of software that can extrapolate how the camera’s moving in tridimensional space. The ability to do that quickly and cheaply, well, it’s not cheap, but cheaper than it was even last season, it’s that we have to move the camera for effect shots, as much as possible.

MW: It’s organic, and this is the whole thing for me. We do the shot down in the hallway, and when you look past, you see the exteriors. If you don’t do things that are organic, and if you stop the camera from moving, you “point” to the viz effect and say: “there’s a viz effect behind us”, and then you’re in trouble. But if people walk through with active puddles on, or people walk past windows…

MG: It really brings the whole thing alive.

MW: It really does.

S III 21

[Zelenka: Okay, what about the hard part?

Sheppard: Hard part?]

S III 22

JF: That’s an interesting shot. You see it’s an over the shoulder, although you have no idea whose shoulder it is.

MW: It’s over Zelenka’s shoulder. And there’s an option here, whether it’s pushed in past the shoulder or not.

JF: Just in general though, I think the camera moving certainly aids. When, as a director, do you decide when you’re going to move the camera or you’re not going to move the camera? And how do you do it?

MW: Generally, the problem with moving camera in a still scene, like this, is that it reminds people there’s a camera there. If people are in motion, or something is happening that allows the camera to move innocuously, that’s when you do it. But if it’s a static scene, or people are sitting in the same spots all the time, then moving the camera draws attention to the camera.

MG: That’s also the end of the Teyla arc, her ability to connect and sense with the Wraith.

MW: Watch the floor, watch the floor, watch the floor, there’s a yellow mark right in front of her…

S III 23

JF: Damn, did she hit it!

MW: We use those marks to tell the actors where to stop.

JF: Damn, did she hit it!

DH: And then we remove them.

MW: But this one we didn’t.

MG: Still a good show!

DH: It ruined it for me!

MW: When I saw the show finished, I saw that mark on the floor and I was like that’s gonna take people out of…   Most people don’t realize it, but on the DVD it’s visible.

MG: It’s pretty cheap to fix.

DH: All I’m doing is looking at the floor now.

MW: Well, you should, we’re relying on this.

MG: Here we go, another montage.

DH: You know what they say, the montage is helping the story.

MW: It takes the production a long time to shoot.

DH: Nobody loves the montage sequences.

MG: Martin, I’ve said this before, you really use the standing set better than anybody else, you really do make them look like much bigger.

S III 24

MW: That’s nice.

JF: Awesome.

MG: Fantastic. It’s great because for the first time we see the city all lit up, we have a ZPM finally.

MW: Joe, I want to go back to what we were talking before. One of the things that happen in HD TV rather than in film is that if you have something in front, it stops it from being very flat. HD TV (high definition television) is very very flat, so I’m going to keep moving all the time, so I’m going through things in the foreground, because that gives the three dimensions.

MG: Was that the first time we used the new puddle jumper dash board? Nobody liked the puddle jumper dashboard last year, so we’ve blew those up and came up with some new ones.

S III 25

MW: Hey, I love the pop up! “I’m hiding, and no one can see me”

DH: He loves his hidings. [laughs]

MW: I love doing it as a director.

DH: “Where did Martin go?” “I’m right here”

MW: See, like this, when the camera can keep moving all the way through, cut with something where the camera can’t move.

MG: This shot was reused from The Gift.

MW: Yeah, because it’s difficult to dress that many Wraiths.

MG: Originally, there was one shot that we almost taught ourselves into, I wanted to do a shot of a Wraith walking down the hall, when the big nuke got beamed in, and he was looking and then blowing up.

S III 26

MG: This is my favorite shot in the whole show.

JF: So beautiful.

MW: It’s very cool.

MG: It tells the story so well.

MW: I had no idea they would put a sunset there.

MG: They love their sunsets, the Rainmaker.

DH: And for good reasons.

S III 27

MW: I love this, and I love doing it to David. [laughs]

DH: This was my audition for Batman. “I am the Supervillain?!?”

S III 28  S III 29

MW: Amazing! And you don’t realize they’ve changed the axis of the shot.

MG: This is funny, I don’t know how other people write, but when I write dialogue, I actually improvise it and talk it out loud as I do it, and play all the characters, and so…

JF: You should use Simpsons characters…

MG: That’s Joe Mallozzi… and so, as I was typing David’s dialogue, I was whispering, and I was like what the hell am I doing?, it’s ridiculous, and then I had Weir calling him here “Why are we whispering?”

[Ford: I could have shot you a couple of times by now]

MG: Such a fourteen year old kid thing to say.

DH: “You’re totally dead”.

[Sheppard: Well, I'm glad you didn't]

JF: That’s such a grown up thing to say.

MW: This was, originally, a very cool shot, all one-shot, where he runs in, Joe shoots him and then he disappears, but in order to keep the action going, we couldn’t have it in one shot. What happens here is that Rainbow gets in and steps aside. We cut to that, but this all one shot, when Joe runs towards the transporter, and Rainbow is actually at his left, right there.

JF: Yes, he is.

MW: And Rainbow’s waiving at him [laughs]


MW: Acting like he’s not [waiving at him]!

MG: It’s for the first time we have two puddle jumpers in the same shot.

MW: I took the “traveling puddle jumper”, that normally goes outside and put it beside the other one.

DH: That jumper looks way better, I have to say.

JF: Yes, this season the jumper definitely looks better.

MW: This was a really tough scene to block. With Joe getting down there…

JF: And getting in front of it…

MG: Great score, by the way. One of my favorite pieces of score this year.

MW: Actually Ford is in the co-pilot seat, he’s not flying it.

MG: One onliner explained how he did, because people were freaking out: Ford doesn’t have the gene, Ford can’t fly the puddle jumper.

MW: Well, he doesn’t, he’s sitting on the other side.

MG: The DHD can be activated by anyone.

[editor's note: the fact "the DHD can be activated by anyone" still doesn't answer the question how does Ford FLY the jumper, does it? Wrong question, Mr. Gero!]

JF: Could we have ever stood in front of the puddle jumper? In front of the screen? Or would it have costed too much?

MW: No, it wouldn’t have costed too much.

DH: We could have been stuck to it, like on a windshield [laughs] “Noooo…”

MG: Hoping he didn’t dial a space gate.

MW: Every show ends with Joe in jeopardy. “Is he coming back next time?”

MG: Great score.

S III 30

MW: I like this, this is one of my favorite endings to a show. We did all the stuff, up and down, up and down, and the way that you guys play this… Joe and Torri decided to play it at this level, they just decided to play it so down, that I thought, okay, we’ll do it in one shot.

MG: Seriously guys, we’re awesome! I would actually watch the show. Can you see David in the background, trying to steal the show?

DH: They keep moving the camera to avoid me.

MG: That was a Rob Cooper thing at the last minute, because we couldn’t afford to shot the city turning off, he was like we need to see it coming back on, which is a great idea, and is a very late addition by the Image Engine people who were thankfully able to do that.

MW: Nice show.

JF: Awesome.

DH: Thank you for watching.

MG: Enjoy the rest of the season everybody.


Siege3 feature photo SGAFAN


Most of the screen caps are curtesy of and the featured image for this post is one of idahogrl823‘s screencaps and comes from this daily-flan LJ post.


May 042013
screencap courtesy of @idahogrl823

Joe Flanigan can be heard on barely a handful of the 100 episodes commentaries, and Rising is one of the few. This is the transcript of the DVD commentary with Joe and Martin Wood, the director of Rising (the pilot, a double episode), which was first aired on July 16th, 2004. The DVD set has no subtitles for this commentary.   

Since both Joe and Martin make a lot of references to the actual scenes in the pilot, we’ve added screencaps or short references for a better understanding. There’s also a rough time code matching the video, for easy navigation through the text and the DVD (however, it appears that there’s a very slight delay between the BluRay and DVD. Note that this transcript was done from the DVD).

While the whole commentary is very insightful and revealing for the birth of the Atlantis series, you’ll notice Joe’s particular focus on the filmmaking craft (acting, camera, directing, script development, lights, production issues) and on giving credit to other members of the cast and crew.

On a side note: we’ve tried (hard!) to put in the transcript all the onomatopoeic vrooms, whooshes and wows that Joe is so frequently using in order to interpret (and re-live?) the scenes, but we couldn’t keep up with him. You really need to listen for yourselves.


MIN 0:00

MW: Hi, I’m Martin Wood.

JF: And I am Joe Flanigan.

MW: And we’re here to talk to you about Atlantis. This is the first one. This is the first “two”. And this…

JF: …is several million years ago.

MW: We went through this about a billion times to get this effect right. On the left is Ona Grauer, you may recognize her from Frozen, and on the right, that’s her husband, her actual husband, Aaron, and Ona was the girl we found in the ice, in Stargate’s Frozen, and I really wanted to bring her back for this […] She would be the one that was left on Earth as this takes off. When you watch these things, you don’t realize how much R&D actually went into them, and Joe you saw some of these things in their infancy, the animatics, and you know how far they’ve come, like with that snow particles and stuff like that.

JF: Oh, that’s incredible. I think my entire salary went to special effects.

MW: I’m really glad you actually gave us that, thanks so much for that. That shot outside, we’ve took that on the day we were up in the helicopter, I took some stills that day, we’ll talk about it when we get to it. This is the set that we’ve used in the Lost City […] It wasn’t intended to be a 360 set like this, we weren’t intending to shoot all around the whole thing. You could tell how cold it is.

JF: Yes, it was freezing, absolutely freezing. The whole method you guys used to actually freezing us is effective.

MW: Just by putting fog on the ground.  Joe has just reminded me, this was our first day in high-definition television, we’ve actually changed from 35 mm film to HD, and it was a big thing for everybody to change, although it’s an amazing thing, I love working in HD.

Joe: A big thing, and frightening, there’re a lot of challenges due to HD which I think most people don’t realize. You can see the sharpness, is something that you battle a lot with camera, you have to filter the hell out of this stuff, to soften it up. That was kind of challenging.

MW: We keep trying to get it looking like film, but I think it’s its own beast and it’s never going to look like film. We use longer lenses, we do a whole bunch of stuff trying to make it look like film to crush that depth of field, to put those guys in the background out of focus.

JF: What I don’t understand is that sometimes everything is in focus, like that, for example…


MW: Wide lens would do that. This we would shot a couple of times, this scene, mostly because of the fluorescent lights, we hated how it looked the first time, and also, these two actors, right here, Torri and David, are terrible.

JF: It’s amazing they’ve survived.

MW: We had to do it so many times. Finally Joe and I were actually feeding them lines off camera.

JF: And what’s even better now is they’re paying us now to be in the show, which helps a lot.

MW: Interestingly enough this was a big moment for me and I don’t think I’ve ever captured it the way I wanted to. The dialogue gives us a lot of leeway in the way that we normally shoot things. This one doesn’t; you HAVE to figure out that we’re trying to get to another galaxy, and that’s the whole premise of the show.


JF: You know something important; Michael Shanks’ glasses are slightly crooked.

MW: This is Joe Flanigan actually flying…

JF: This was one of my favorite days of shooting actually in my entire ten or eleven years as an actor.

MW: We had a lot of fun on this day.

JF: Should have brought my skis.

MW: Richard Dean Anderson, Joe Flanigan and a very small crew flew up in this helicopter. Actually we had four helicopters up here; one just bringing equipment up. That’s actually Rick in that helicopter and a Joe look-alike. At this point, when we were shooting this stuff, Joe is climbing up one of the hills behind us, trying to get the best view and to ski down.

JF: That’s right, I’d grabbed the guy’s skis. That’s a Joe look-alike, but that is in fact Joe.

MW: This is fake.

JF: That’s interior. That’s amazing. I remember we shot this, what, six weeks later? It threw me off completely. I forgot my character’s name and all sorts of things.

MIN 5:00

MW: We were inside a studio with this, and to make it look like it’s in a helicopter, you shake the camera and you mix it with the stuff from outside. Nobody ever believes you you’re actually sitting inside and we’re blowing wind against the windshield to keep the little orange thing flying.

JF: It’s indistinguishable, I’d have to say. While you’re shooting this, as an actor, you feel like it’s the fakest thing in the world, it can’t possibly ever fit in… And then you see the results and you’re like: oh, I should have acted better

MW: Notice the difference between the chair now and the chair when Torri was standing besides it earlier? It was broken on the first day.

JF: Who did that?

MW: Special effects guys.

JF: I thought I’d broken it.

MW: You may have, actually, sitting in the first day and pushing it back.

JF: One of the many props I’ve broken.

MW: But now it’s fixed and sitting upward.

JF: Wow!

MW: That was a cool prop. This is good, we’re blowing up the whole set. That’s Rainbow, the first time you see him.

JF: What is that effect of the bubble-like wave quality? What’s the post-production effect?

MW: Just a computer vis-effect. Here we’ve got Rick sitting… The trick is to keep one of the actors in there, show him, and then on the fake stuff, when we’re in the studio, like this, we’re moving the camera. The whole is storyboarded from the beginning. See the little orange thing that indicates the wind speed, flapping around? We’re blowing snow at the front of it. Remember the time we were trying to crash land the helicopter?

JF: …and we basically did?

MW: There’s a shot coming up, where this helicopter has to crash land, with Rick sitting in it.

JF: What’s remarkable is that essentially it was a crash landing. It doesn’t look like it, but it’s a hell of a landing if you’re in the chopper. The tail touches first.

MW: And it dug a big hole. That was a difficult part of the shot, with Nathaniel Massey sitting in the back.

JF: Nathaniel Massey is our steady cam.

MW: This is the crash land right here. It doesn’t look like it’s coming down very hard. We couldn’t actually use the landing part of it because it blew the snow up all over the place. Now, this is actually Joe and Rick on the mountain. This is hilarious, I love doing this it with you.

JF: This is about my fourteenth jump.

MW: That was a fluke.

JF: That was a well placed drone, placed by none other than Martin Wood.

MW: How many times did I throw it? Like ten times…

JF: I was of course freezing my ass.

MW: I’m throwing that drone from like 10 feet. The original storyboard didn’t have that. It was supposed to stop 20 feet away from him.

JF: But that’s the improvisational nature of being on an isolated set.

MW: That was a great way to start.

JF: It was a great to start shooting the pilot, it was a lot of fun.

MW: That was the first stuff that we shot, and we went up the glacier and start shooting.

This was originally one shot.

JF: And then you would follow me into all the other places.

MW: And we followed him from here in this big long shot discovery for Joe, but this scene was actually flipped around in several different ways.

JF: Yeah…

MW: It didn’t originally start like this.

JF: We were kind of trying to balance the idea of following the story from the point of view of my character, versus slowly introducing him as a central character.

MW: And introducing Pegasus, the galaxy, and figuring out how to get there.

[O’Neill: Why did they leave?]


[O’Neill: Pegasus]

[Daniel: Yes it's a galaxy…]

MW: “Pegasus”, “Yes it’s a galaxy…”, those were the first two lines of the scene, and when Brad wrote them, he took them and shifted them around all over the place…

JF: Because Brad Wright is a deconstructionist, and a very good one. He’s made a lot of lemonade [laughs]

MIN 10:00

MW: A lot of this movie is… and I can’t take credit for it…

JF: I can, thank you!

MW: …it’s Brad’s and Robert’s creation, from start to finish.

JF: I have to say it’s remarkable, from my perspective, I’m an actor who had never done science fiction, you and I talked at length about this, the size of the frame, for example, and the “level” of everything in science fiction is very different. It was hard for me to believe how things were going to turn out. And this is when I first start to realize that you, Brad and Robert were clued in into something that I didn’t understand at all, which is how to create science fiction and what it turns out well and what doesn’t turn out well. It’s a far cry from the tight court room dramas and the other things that I had done.

MW: There is a scene, I’ll comment when we will get to it, in the helicopter when you’re about to leave, a pivotal scene for you and I to discuss the character. It gave to me the best look at who Sheppard was going to be, and it was just the way you were playing it. And this is another one, this scene, right here… My feeling on the read that you had was like it was a little bit off… but then, when I saw how the character evolved, especially over the first season, I looked back and I think now that you had a way better handle of it than I thought, at the beginning, than either of us did.

JF: I thought I had a good handle, for a while, until we started discussing it. I think a lot of people when watching a movie or a TV don’t understand that your performance is very different when you look at the frame. You look now at the frame of Torri and then you look at Rick and those are fairly tight frames, so you keep things fairly tight. But, with science fiction, as you were saying, and the sets that we have, for example this shot is so much larger that you can’t keep things on a super-tight performance level, sometimes, and they do get lost. And so, understanding what you’re going to use is what’s critical. It was a big learning curve for me.

MW: And this, the whole scene plays out in a single shot, so whatever is happening has to happen on a scale that we can see on this frame. This is a good point.

JF: That chair was too short for me, so my legs are hanging over… [laughs] It was made for tiny people.

MW: Yeah, the Ancients were small…

JF: Quaint!

MW: Quaint little people.

JF: This is the first scene when we’re all together

MW: That black thing behind you? You know what it is? All the stuff from the wraith hive. […] Here Rick looks at this coffin, in which he ended up in the end of… There was nothing in the script, but I felt he had to acknowledge he spent time frozen in it.

JF: I guess he did. I like how Rick always seems to have a spring in his step.

MW: He’s got a bad arch.

JF: He’s like: I’m trying to get out of here. Are we done with this scene?

MW: Here there’s some backstory for Sheppard, which, over the course of the season, we’re going to learn a little more about. But we really don’t examine it enough in the first season. The second season is about you and Vietnam.

JF: Afganistan.

MW: Afganistan. I was thinking about your vacation in Vietnam.

JF: That’s right. My holiday in Cambodia?

MW: This elevator makes so much noise when it goes up.

JF: What I like here is that I actually do know how to fly a helicopter, but they wouldn’t let me.

MW: That’s right, because we’re in a studio! Even if you were…

JF: [laughts] But then they took the rotor out.

MW: Here’s the definitive scene for me, as a director.

JF: It was after we had shot the pilot.

MW: I hadn’t a handle on Sheppard, all the way through the pilot, but every time we did a scene, we talked about it. We were trying to figure it out, and I’m giving him stuff that I think Sheppard is doing, and he’s been giving me stuff in the performance, but right here, this line:

[Sheppard: Right now, at this very second, whether I decide to go on this mission or not seems to be about me.]

MW: Remember we went through this line four or five times, and you said I’m going to play it like this, and I said you have to amp it up, amp it up, and you wouldn’t do it, and I’m glad you didn’t.

MIN 15:00

JF: I remember that, because that was the most frustrating day of shooting for me. It came after the pilot, because although we had shot the pilot, were still talking about the character, and I genuinely didn’t understand what you were talking about. I just did what I thought was going to be consistent with the character.

MW: You know what? You were absolutely right, and that’s the scene that taught me what Sheppard was going to be. I didn’t have a handle on where you were going with the character, I thought…

JF: Maybe I didn’t have a handle [laughs]

MW: I know you did, because we talked so much about it, but it wasn’t the way I wanted to go with it.

JF: That’s also interesting, for people who watch a show, they don’t realize that when you are given a script, each person who reads that script has an entirely different vision of they are going to see, and they have a visual image, particularly the director and particularly an actor, they have a particular visual image of how things are going to look and feel. And when you are going to shoot, and you try to fill the gap between expectation and reality, communication is the essential bridge. If you can’t communicate between what you thought the scene was like and what the director thinks the scene is going to be like, it becomes a complicated mess. It’s a lot easier with you guys, in Stargate, because after 6-7 years of shooting the show, everything runs accordingly, everything has a life of itself, you don’t have to create… In pilots… This was like the eleventh pilot in a row that I shot, so I had like a “pilot disease” at this point.

MW: But you did a great job, and you did a good job teaching me about it. This is a one-shot, this took us an entire morning to shot. Nathaniel Massey going through with his steady cam.

JF: We need more of Nathaniel Massey’s beautiful steady cam, because it’s an incredible quality. Here is none other that Robert Patrick, whom, by the way, I just ran into, a couple of days ago in LA, and he wanted me to say hi to everybody, and how much he loved working on the show. He wants to come back, do you know how to do that?

MW: He was so much fun, a lot of people thought we should have kept him as a series regular. We would have, if we could, but he had to die, otherwise your character…

JF: Yes, that would have been tough, I would have had to kill him later on.

MW: Going back into this, we were here for this scene, for the whole day. It was funny that there were only 5 of us who knew anything about this, everybody else was new.

JF: Yes, that’s true. Except for David, who had done Stargate.

MW: Yes, we brought him back and forth, but David actually didn’t show up. This scene was shot much later.

JF: We can talk about David later on, but the character that was written for him was to be entirely different. This is another shot.

MW: You don’t like this.

JF: I thought the shot was about to start from around the corner. But it didn’t. You talk about learning something from the other person you’re working with, what I learned from you, here, was… I was under the impression, perhaps egocentrically, that we were going to follow my point of view, from this pilot.

MW: It was originally written like that.

JF: It was, and I expected that, but the way you’ve done it is… you had the character creep up, which I think it’s a good choice, because you’re not sure who’s going to emerge.

MW: That’s the thing. It’s all about the discovery about who the characters are going to be, who’s going to be the main character. To keep you in the middle of this is a much cooler way than having the big wide lens following you.

JF: Specifically back to that scene, when you’re in the hallway, that hallway was really a hero-shot: bum, around the corner, music, ta-da-da, you know something’s going to happen to this character. This way is done here, I think it’s a much subtler approach, and creates more dramatic tension. You wonder what’s going to happen to this character, maybe he’ll become a critical character.

MW: We saw a montage of characters. This unfortunately gave away who the main characters in our show were.

MIN 20:00

MW: It wasn’t supposed to be there, it was asked for it afterwards, I didn’t even shoot most of it.

I love that line delivery “That would be Dr Weir, right?” And I love that shot, too. That’s the relationship, right here.

JF: He likes me, you know he does, c’mon.

MW: What happens is that we already know, unfortunately, who the main characters are supposed to be, and I didn’t want that to happen.

JF: I agree with you. You want these disparate things to come together. But I still don’t think watching would give away too much.

MW: Yeah.

JF: This is my first time I think in the Stargate room, the fabled Stargate room, which people actually try jumping the fences of the Studio to get into.

MW: This is the first time you ever went through a gate.

JF: Yeas, and I didn’t realize that this was kind of the Mecca for scifi fans. This little room right there. To be in it and be shooting and launching a new Stargate with the old Stargate characters… That was a very interesting day. The not-so-quiet MALP.

MW: Here again, there’s another set up…

JF: …more of Nathaniel Massey steady cam shot…

MW: …boom, right into a tight hero shot.

MW: The thing I liked about this day for me was being able to say good bye to the SG1 set, because it was literally leaving one and going into the other. I storyboarded this whole thing too, just so I can figure how to get from one to the other. Interestingly enough, the scene that David is playing here is a different scene than the one that was scripted, because we had it changed for Hewlett.

JF: I think people would be interested; the character of David, McKay, was a very different character. I had read in Los Angeles, with a number of people that they were looked into, to be cast for McKay, and they were entirely different. When Robert Cooper suggested David Hewlett, from Stargate, there was a complete reconfiguration, about… hmmm, that’s a good character, maybe we should make that character…   We started shooting the pilot before David was even hired.

MW: When I read this, originally, I was picturing McKay in there, and I asked the question the first day and both Robert and Brad said: we’ve thought of that, it’s interesting, we might do that.

JF: I think it’s proved to be one of the single best decisions of the entire series, because David’s McKay is… he’s an absolutely brilliant actor, and having that addition to the show… his humor and his acting skills are just, you know, they bring up the whole level of show, significantly.

MW: This was not how it was intended to be shot.

MW: Brad had come to me and said what are you thinking, why would you shoot it like this?  I needed you guys to have a moment there, by yourselves, without people passing by you. I didn’t want that many people in there, and so everybody says why are they standing there.

JF: I’m glad you didn’t because otherwise we’d be looping the whole thing.


MW: It’s a better character moment for you to be standing there by yourself. Splash!

JF: Now, this is going to be interesting, because I have an interesting comment about this. One mistake we did make: it’s my first time through a wormhole. Right here!

JF: Okay. What I was picturing was like wow, I just got out of a wormhole, but in fact, we end up in such a bizarre new environment, that I had to go into this military mode, of security and securing the environment. I really wanted a separate moment, just like you said before going into the stargate, a separate moment after the stargate, because, remember: I was just flying helicopters a few days ago. This is entirely new.

MIN 25:00

MW: This for me was about showing off the set, getting into this massive set. [...] We show off this place three times. The second time is of course when we get out of the water, but this time is very important to see… These are wide lenses, very wide lenses, almost to the point of distorting, and being able to show this progression through into the second level.

JF: This was our first day figuring out the lighting on this set, so it was really difficult. Poor Bruno, he was like: number 47! and the downstairs lights would go up… And that of course is our new stargate.

MW: The new stargate needs a whole commentary in itself. [...]

Creating that new stargate was a huge deal, and the special effects guys had been putting it together for months beforehand, and the way it dials up and things like that. It’s all new.

JF: That is one hardy mountain girl, with the backpack that weights one hundred…

MW: She’s got how many costumes changes?

JF: It’s remarkable, she actually has three seasons worth of wardrobe.


MW: This is amazing.

JF: Another lucky shot.

MW: I end up paying a hundred dollars to the prop person, she’s actually sitting right there, you can’t see her, she’s painted out, but her name is Ocean, and I said Ocean, if you can hit the camera with that

JF: But how come we don’t have that? Because it did land…

MW: She did, it landed, but it was the way they wanted to cut in.

JF: We put an enormous amount of pressure on our props people. Have the bullet hit the shoulder right in the middle of the word “and”.

MW: Through the season this room changes about 20 times, just like the table changes.

JF: It’s one of the cooler rooms of the entire set.

MW: It is, and those 9 doors that open…

JF: And this is downstairs. For everybody who’s thinking My god, this is a huge set, well actually it is a huge set, it is an absolutely huge set. This is an entirely different sound stage, which is one of the world’s largest sound stages where they built part of the Goldengate Bridge, that’s why they call it Bridge Studios.

MW: Spaceships!

JF: Yes, I love that read, it’s just pure…

MW: It’s what you would do if you walked into this room. Bridget McGuire did such an amazing job of production design. This is my favorite shot in the first part of the show.

JF: Is it?

MW: It’s so weird, I don’t know why I like it so much. It just shows off the set exactly how I wanted it to. It gets you, and David and Torri and Craig all into the control room.

JF: By the way, this is good to explain these “oners” as we call them, are a very complicated thing to get. As you see, everybody has to hit the mark precisely right, and the camera guy has to hit his mark and do his thing precisely right. And the camera guy, remember, can’t see where he’s walking. He’s got two guys holding his waist, so that he hits his marks, but he’s looking through the lens.

MW: This is interesting.

MW: This is where I actually got you to change your performance. And you fought this.

JF: I know, and you’re much happier with…

MW: The reason I had to do this is, to make you change it, is that line, right there.

[Sheppard: We're under water!]

MW: Because in the rehearsal, no, no, in the audition, you had that read. I thought: that’s what we need to feel! We have to feel that, we’re under water! That amazement that you would feel there. We’re shooting through a tank right here, that’s where the bubbles would go up here. That’s the tank I used in SG1 Watergate for the first time.

I just love the way of showing our set.

JF: By the way, of all the actors, who did a good job, this hologram girl would read this speech…

MW: Melia.

JF: …Melia, from beginning to end, without a single mistake, while we were all goofing off and making small mistakes.

MIN 30:00

JF: I have to say, this was a difficult day for me, because, once again, this was one of the first days with a lot of this scifi stuff I’d been taking about, which is: okay, you’re looking at a projected map of the universe. But I’m not! I’m looking at a bunch of … you know … lights! I had not done… I had done a fair amount of green screen and things like that, it was hard for me to understand how this thing was going to materialize. So, it was just challenging. Can’t you see the challenge in my eyes?

MW: I was gonna say, if nothing else, there’s challenge.

JF: It was pure challenge. Torture!

MW: Angst, mixed with challenge.

JF: And then, a little bit world’s crafty!


MW: A little hungry…

We’re in the same room that has the nine doors opening, I’m trying to make it look differently by having only one door open.

JF: People probably just don’t realize it’s the same room.

MW: The VR (virtual reality) room, it evolves over the season. We change the lights…

This was a difficult day.

We spent so long in that room.

JF: But we had a lighting problem, remember? It was the lighting, the hologram lighting.

MW: So here we are, back at another oner, rolling around with the steady cam again. Trying to get this many actors serviced in a scene, is very difficult. Let’s talk about David for a second here.

MW: David was searching for his character. He shouldn’t be as angry as he is. I let him get this angry, and it’s a mistake I made.

JF: I’m sitting down here, and that was a clear character choice, because I was actually tired.

MW: I put you in the background like that because I didn’t want to come up until there’s this decision at the end, with you throwing the line that actually gives us the solution. Until this point we really haven’t seen much from McKay. This is McKay coming up to the forefront, right here, and I let him get too big. David fought me on this.

JF: It’s interesting because Robert Patrick, along with what you’ll see of Robert Davi in the future were also at a loss with how to react, because one of the conundrums here is that’s a civilian mission, but you got the military. They’re used to clear military hierarchy, so to be spoken to the way McKay speaks to people, with that level of irreverence, is not military at all. So their character choices had to change with David’s. And it’s tricky, it’s tricky! He’s a brilliant antagonist, that’s what he is.

MW: And that’s what McKay was in Stargate. I was trying to hold that McKay. But he needed to evolve. He actually said to me: remember, at the end of Stargate I spent a couple of years in Russia, I was sent to Russia, so I’ve learnt something from that, I shouldn’t be like that.

JF: Which is how to drink lots of vodka and smoke Marlboro cigarettes (in Russian accent)

MW: This is our dialing sequence. I really like these lights flares.

JF: This is definitely a great Stargate. Although the purists… I have to say, this was an overarching theme through this entire pilot: a lot of Stargate fans watching a new Stargate show being launched and comparing: oh my god, this is not the same Stargate as the other Stargate. We were doing in this time a lot of press, lots of interviews, for all over the world, and they would always ask us questions like that: how does this compare with the other Stargate, even physically. How is the other Stargate different? They would ask all the time: how is your character different from Rick’s. It’s amazing that after we did the pilot, I’ve never been asked anymore any of these questions.

MW: True, because once people start watching it they realized it’s not the same show but it has the same mythology. It’s that mythology we needed to keep intact.

JF: I actually like getting through, by the way.

MW: Yes, it’s very cool.

This was fun.

JF: This was just an absolute… What’s remarkable is…

MW: The Stargate doesn’t actually exist there.

JF: …the eerie similarity between the landscape of British Columbia and the planet of Athos. And particularly a gravel pit, forty minutes north of Vancouver.

This was a cold wet day, everybody was cold and wet. And we could not see. As beautiful as these props are, you can’t see anything, so we were all bumping into each other. I wish we could’ve used some of the blueprint scenes. Ah! This is the introduction of the ever charming little boy named Jinto, who goes on to be the fabled Jinto.

MW: That’s Casey and Reese. And Halling, Christopher Heyerdahl.

MIN 35:00

JF: All three great actors, especially Christopher, he’s a phenomenal actor.

MW: There’s a great moment coming up here, when he stands up, and it was a joke, but I actually kept it in. Right here, Robert got his gun here, and Christopher stands up, and Robert purposely brings it up.

JF: I love that! I love that! That’s what a guy like Robert Patrick… he’s a lot of fun to have. A great actor is somebody who fills in all these blank spaces with small choices and sometimes are just physical choices or intonations and they create so many new levels.

MW: I loved having Robert in a situation where… It’s him in command but… you remember there was a whole piece to this scene that’s not in the show, when you have a conversation with him.

JF: And I love that scene too! The scene we’re talking about is a scene that the producers decided to pull, and it’s right about here, I’ll tell you in a minute.

MW: That’s the end of the scene right here.

JF: I say I think they want us to follow them, and he says: Good thinking, Sheppard. It was a very funny thing, and it would have shown more of the relationship between us, but Brad thought that it might insinuate that I’m not that smart. I didn’t think that it insinuated that, I thought it just showed that Robert was a smartass and had his own level of sarcasm.

MW: It played out very nicely but I’m glad they pulled it out, because this scene makes more sense now, with the whole walking, with you behind them. Remember, you said  I can hear them, and I said, yeah, react to it! That’s why we come to you with the camera. This is just one shot.

JF: You know, it takes out a good chunk out of our relationship and it would have been nice to have it left in.  The relationship is ultimately established, with or without it, but it was a nice little added flavor.

MW: That’s a huge shot with the steady cam that steps up to the crane and goes up in the air. This is the introduction of Rachel. This is actually shot in daytime.

JF: And this is the r-a-v-i-s-h-i-n-g RACHEL LUTTRELL! This was actually one of the first days of shooting, I believe.

MW: It was. And it’s daylight out there, we had to shoot it during daylight and make it look like night time. This whole tent is tented with blacks.

JF: I love this scene because we’re all stuck into a situation with Robert.

MW:… who’s supposed to command everybody and it’s a very weird power struggle between you guys.

[Sumner: Col Marshal Sumner, Mj Sheppard and Lt Ford]

MW: and Lt Ford… we were supposed to introduce his first name, but we were arguing about what his first name is going to be Aidan or not, because he was like: I’m not an Aidan, I shouldn’t be Aidan. So we didn’t use it, we just used the rank.

[Sheppard: Me, I like Ferris wheels and college football…]

JF: I didn’t even think twice about this line and for some reason people really like it.

MW: It’s a character line.

JF: I guess it does define certain things. See this scene? There’s so much more going on in this scene than meets the eye. It really establishes when Sumner decides alright, will let Sheppard do his MO, I’ll do my MO, and whatever’s more effective, will accept. Because until then, it was:  don’t even mess with me, I’m in charge, I know how to handle the situation.

MW: Which gives him…

JF: Because when you cut here, right here…

MW: He’s a smarter leader than you’d expected

JF: Yes, it shows flexibility that allows to get through a few situations.

MW: That was actually looking back at our trucks and we end up putting a vis effect in front of it.

JF: I think that’s one of the best-looking shots in the show.

MW: When he comes out like this?

FJ: I just think it’s great looking the village in the background, the mist, it gives it an epic quality. It’s also the first real exterior shot of the pilot, with the exception of the helicopters, and so you get the scope of things.

MW: It opens it up quite a bit, you’re right. This was bigger, too. This whole day, it started with a big crane shot.

JF: Oh, the crane shot, the famous Martin Wood crane shot.

MW:… going across the water. And we couldn’t do it, because we had to have time. So this scene starts actually half way through the original scene that we shot.

It was good, there was a lot of stuff going on, it’s the first time Sheppard killed anybody, it was at the beginning of this scene, remember how you killed that, … umm…

JF: Yeah, all of them! And then we decided to rewrite the entire pilot. Because I thought it was a solo show…


MW: We’ve had this conversion, Joe, you can’t kill them all.

JF: Who are these people?


MIN 40:00

JF: Rachel is such a great actress, and I think she has one of the most difficult roles on the show: it’s very to play an alien-type character. Chris Judge plays one. It’s hard because you’re tightening the parameters of your expression and you’re trying to develop a complex character underneath. It takes a very good actor to succeed.

MW: It doesn’t have our sense of humor.

JF: Right, exactly! I think she’s got one of the most challenging roles in the show.

MW: See those guys in the background? They’re looking at a Swiss army knife. That knife was the beginning of the scene. It was handed off and they were supposed to be looked at it in the end of the scene. He grabs it and says give me my knife back.

MW: Back to Rachel. The relationship that you guys had, everybody ask you about it, right?

JF: Yeah.

MW: Because nobody knows. Which is the best thing!

JF: It’s still out.

MW: It has to be enigmatic. It has to be an enigma, because you can’t instantly start with a relationship like that.

JF: It would also be natural… for two… you know… a man and a woman… in a desolate forest…


MW: This is all Joe! We had some set up here, and Joe just fell down and we decided to keep that.

JF: That was a choice. It was funny because I just thought, I don’t know, maybe they’ll use, maybe they won’t. Brad loved that! It was so funny that he liked it so much, that I was like oh, okay, I’ll give you some more of that.

MW: That was a huge scene, remember? It was all about the power bar…

JF: And we cut the whole thing!

MW: We cut everything out and went back to you falling down and to how far is this thing. I love that! It’s a good way to get there.

[Weir: You're saying we have to abandon the City?]

JF: Whoohoo…

MW: The only thing you can actually see here is the special effects guy shaking the windows. I did a terrible job of showing the City falling apart and that’s one of the things I really regret.

JF: How long did it take to light this thing?

MW: About 14 seconds.

JF: We couldn’t light this thing for the life of us. See, here’s the light!

[Teyla: We mastered the fire long ago ]

JF: We mastered the fire long ago. Actually, on the 25th take we’ve mastered fire.

MW: That’s right, because it wouldn’t light up.

JF: So I made fun of “her people”

MW: I thought you were speaking of the lighting of the scene…

JF: The lighting of the scene is great!

MW: …which is lit by one light, a flashlight.

MW: In scenes like this, when we use flashlights to light the characters, the DOP (Director Of Photography) is forever asking guys like Joe: flash the camera like that and shine the light in her face.

JF: Yeah, and that can prove challenging to people who haven’t been on a set a lot, like an actor who hasn’t done a lot of work, sitting there and trying to do all these things, and the DOP comes along and says: oh, when you’re halfway through that sentence, shine that flashlight on her face. It’s a lot to do!

MW: People asked me about this [the necklace], if we knew it was going to be a show later on about it

MW: We can’t tell you about that show is about, but there’s a lot about that necklace.

JF: But it was a double issue, which was establishing a potentially romantic situation as well.

MW: This set was originally supposed to be a bigger set, it was supposed to be a huge long cavern, and it was supposed to be a vis effect, but we end up putting the money somewhere else, and we end up with a very small area.

JF: This was the audition scene for this character, and in Los Angeles I read with all these characters and this is where they decided to cast Rachel. She was able to strike that balance between speaking normally, without sounding too “out-of-wordly”.

MW: She’s giving us the backstory to Atlantis.

JF: And it’s critical!

MW: It’s all about what happens for the rest of it, for the time we’re in Atlantis.

JF: It’s true.

MW: About the wraith moving, and sleeping, and moving out and culling. I love that scene. It’s a very intimate two persons scene.

JF: There’s also another part to that scene: I have to be kind of a smartass again, but…

MW: You’re talking about the 6 hours day alien planet?

JF: Yes.

MW: Remember that gate doesn’t actually exist there. It’s the first time we get to see the wraith darts. These are pretty cool. The first time we actually see a ship like this flying through. We haven’t seen them before.

JF: That actually is what marks our show from Stargate, we’re dealing now with “gate-ready technology”.

MW: That’s right, that’s a good point.

MIN 45:00

JF: The puddlejumpers, which you’ve seen slightly, they’re designed to fit perfectly through the stargate. Looks like a winnebago, of course…

MW: This was fun to shot, this whole night of running around and blowing up things. This is when the special effects guys go crazy, because I said these darts have to be more powerful than anything we’ve seen before. They have to be scary.  So they need to start blowing stuff up, and blowing them up in a big way.

JF: The first time that I saw that I was pretty impressed!

MW: That ray plays very heavily in a bunch of other stuff that we do.

JF: I have to say that one of my favorite parts of Stargate and Stargate Atlantis is that there is this kind of very basic technological quality to humans, and we’re still like just Commando guys, with basic guns, dealing with alien type people. This grounds us, this gives a such an earnest scifi show, while there is so much technology where everything is outwordly. I’ve spoken to a lot of people who start to watching scifi after seeing Atlantis, and they say the same thing, they feel like they could be watching a conventional military type drama, but it’s placed in space.

MW: You took that line away, do you remember? There was a line that said you walked right through it.

JF: No, I didn’t, I’ve said it, I don’t know where it is. Where is it?

MW: Seriously? I thought it was you who decided that…

JF: No, I can’t make executive decisions like that.

MW: Action in Atlantis is an important thing, and it’s important to you.

JF: It’s my favorite part of the show. As far as I’m concerned, there can never be too much action. It’s a budgetary issue.

MW: This is interesting: on the turn around in here, we’re no longer outside. I didn’t have time to shoot. This shot, right here, that’s inside.

JF: So it’s in the studio. I didn’t know that. I’ll be damned.

MW: That’s actually sitting on the same spot that…

JF: Whoosh…

JF: That was late at night.

MW: We were out of time every night we had to shoot there. This is the end of the first night.

JF: You know what’s funny? We were shooting in this area and it was the first time we were really running around, doing stuff and jumping. It was funny because you kept asking: are you ok? is it ok? are you ok with that?  And that’s the part I love! It was the only exercise I was getting.


MW: It’s so nice to have an actor who wants to do all that kind of stuff on their own.

JF: Well, sometimes a lot of actors want to do it for super macho purposes, while I just wanted to make sure I got a lot of exercising.


MW: This is cool.

JF: This was cool!

MW: I love shooting this kind of things because we don’t get much of a chance to be outside with these super long lenses. This wraith hand: that’s inside the studio, it was the same day we were shooting the helicopter shot. It’s an actual hand inside there and there’s a slot that it fits through and his hand is sort of bent and is moving, while the rest of the arm is hanging in the back.

JF: It’s a great apocalyptic quality to this whole shot.

MW: First chance we get to see the wraith.

JF: And the power of the wraith.

MW: This kind of long-lens shot:  you don’t often get in television, unless you’re outside. You have to go to super long-lens to compress the background like that and to make it look cool.

MW: This is more important than we realized, because I think I failed, I didn’t show the City destroying itself enough. Inside, in here, you don’t get the sense of it falling apart, until you come back. It just doesn’t feel it’s enough…

JF: … structural process…

MW: …chaotic going on. The jeopardy isn’t there! We don’t feel the jeopardy. The people are surprised oh, it’s falling apart?

JF: I think you and I see something, and other people see differently. I never heard that complain. I think as a director, you obviously are going to be a lot more critical of your work. Because I felt like, you know, the explanation early-on of the structural issues was sufficient.

MW: Because the audience doesn’t know the City, and *we* don’t know what it looks like, it was for me… We’re on the top of the tower here, and I should have played a little more of that top of the tower stuff.

JF: Would you like us to go back and shoot again?

MIN 50:00

MW: Yeah, I’d like to! For way more money! On this shot, we’re seeing the floor of the studio, in behind the window.

MW: And it’s something that we’ve addressed much later on, but didn’t until that point. This is the first chance I get to see my daughter on television. That’s her, on the right.

JF: These are very expensive shots, anytime somebody walks through water.

MW: Here, we have the vibrating… Remember the shakers? How the whole equipment vibrated?

JF: Yes, yes, those were great.

MW: So you guys were all yelling…

JF: Yeah, this is all loop. You know, one of my pet peeves is that I’m not crazy about looping. So I’ve become very sensitive when I hear background noise, I try to nail the dialogue with that noise in the background. This is my favorite line: I’m Jinto.

MW: She’s glad to meet you.

MW: This is amazing!

JF: Here’s where the money goes!

MW: And this is innovation, too. This is Rainmaker making stuff that has never been done before.

JF: John Gajdecki. He’s kind of a special effects genius.

MW: All those luggages were on shakers and started to fall.

JF: Yeah, and that helped quite a bit.

MW: This is the first chance anybody gets to see this City. This is a nice reveal, a beautiful reveal.

JF: This is a great shot. I think that, visually, this was by far the pinnacle of the pilot.

MW: I agree.

JF: Everybody I’ve talked to. My friends and family weren’t scifi aficionados, but when they’ve watched this, they really liked it, and particularly this shot. That’s the best shot, right there!

MW: This is the combination of John Gadejcki, Brad Wright and Robert Cooper.

JF: How many Emmi’s have Gadejcki and the Rainmaker guys? They’re so good at this stuff.

MW: And finding the angles, to show the water shedding off this thing and yet to get the sense of the size of this City, all in about 14 – 15 shots. It has to feel like it’s actually coming out of the water, and just to do that is so expensive.

JF: It’s enormously expensive, but we also knew it was money well spent, because we use it so many times.

MW: Yes, it’s title sequence stuff.

JF: Definitely title sequence.

MW: This is an interesting read of the major characters of the show.

JF: I think I had Jinto coming into this scene.

MW: Yes, you actually asked him to come in, and it worked very well to have him there. I find that that part of Atlantis, coming up, and sitting up and being there, that’s really where the pilot was aiming toward.

MW: Now we’ve got the next half of the show, when we start dealing with the wraith and the rest of it. I love that change that happens in the middle of the script, where you think ok, uh, we’re at the end of the show, but we’re not. We’re now into the second part of it, which is going to be sort of setting up what’s going to happen in the next few shows, because the show ended right here, so would the series.

JF: This is an important scene between our two characters.

[Sheppard: When can you tell me where the Wraith took Colonel Sumner and the others?]

MW: It is. I wanted to play it with you guys in confrontation like that, facing each other. A character beat for you to show that you’re no idiot.

JF: Actually we had two different takes on this, and the direction you gave us was the right one, because my initial reaction was to do military and to kind of physically intimidate him a little, when you said step back and just don’t be physically intimidating.

MW: Play your brain.

JF: And I think it’s good, because it established a more neutral environment for us to become friends.

MW: Everybody asked me why don’t we see what they’re looking at? The only one reason: too expensive.

JF: Very expensive. If the shot is shot from behind, like that, those are expensive shots.

MW: In a movie version of this, we would have seen you guys out there, from behind, seeing the whole thing.

MIN 55:00

MW: And it really is missing, I know it’s missing, Brad knows it’s missing. We saved it for the end, when she walks away, and it does work. This is looped completely, because we’ve got those fans going on.

JF: Uggf…

MW: And your hair is so plastered, so that we can’t move it.


JF: It helps if you do not wash your hair for a couple of weeks.

MW: And then use bear fat.

JF: Of which is plentiful up here, in British Columbia.

MW: I really like the scene.

JF: I still think it’s one of the best scenes, particularly for our characters. I, personally, I have a hard time with the look of this particular scene, because it’s the first time that we’re seeing the outside of Atlantis, and everything is, again, so crystal clear. Some people like that. It was very hard for me to get used to it. The clarity of this was very hard for me to get used to.

MW: Another point you made is shouldn’t we talk about this, since this is the first time we’ve been outside, and the conversation isn’t about what’s out there, it’s about the situation. It’s distracting.

JF: It is distracting, but it’s also very tough. We have, you know, two hours, or less than two hours, we have roughly 88 minutes, to introduce an entire new mythology. So you can’t address everything and that’s why there’s a series of compromises you make to get a pilot shot and introduce the pivotal moments of the characters and then send it off, so it self-sustains. It’s always the challenge of a pilot. It’s not the challenge of further episodes. See, now there is a shot that might have been the start of the scene, what we were talking about earlier.

MW: That’s true. The option was there, but just expensive, and there are so many places to spend money in here.

JF: This is a big money pit.

MW: This is the wraith hive, which is organic and completely different. We tweaked the color in this, because the whole thing is much bluer than we expected. Those dots in the background were originally yellow.

MW: There’s the wraith. Everything looked cartoonish and we didn’t want that to happen. This is James.

JF: This is Jimmy the wraith. He is the most patient person on the set, because he is covered in one of the most uncomfortable outfits, with the skin and everything else. The teeth, contact lenses, you name it, it’s a really uncomfortable situation to be in. And so are all these guys.

MW: The wraith, for me, were the biggest challenge. They were the hardest thing because introducing a new character, a new enemy that was going to be our enemy, was a very difficult thing for me.

JF: It’s a source of so many conversations; goa’uld vs the wraith, the wraith are over the top, bla bla bla. I think we struck it right now with the wraith, because I think they’re very menacing.

MW: The thing I hear most of the time is that they are too scary. People don’t want them to be that frightening.

JF: A lot of people have been scared, a lot of kids I’ve talked to, have said I’m really scared of the wraith. But weren’t you scared of the wicked witch of the East when it was revised?

MW: I was, especially when I realized that she was wraith with makeup on. For me, the Goa’uld were never frightening. All through Stargate SG1, there’s an evolution of them, until we get to Anubis, but when you are just dealing with the wraith themselves, my whole focus was to make them a menacing-menacing character, that scare you instantly! When you’d got back there you’d say: you weren’t there, you didn’t see what we saw. They’re scary, they’re not like these beautiful people, who are humanoid.

JF: I think the wraith are great and I think they make for a fantastic enemy. I think they’re scarier that the Goa’uld but I don’t to get into that… competing bad guys.


MW: Again we show something scary and gross, this wraith arm here.

JF: And this is played by Paul McGillion. And Paul is a very good actor. Now here’s a guy who took not so much and turned it into a lot, and he’s become an invaluable part of our show.

MW: I love that prop.


JF: One of the coolest props.

MW: That was created by the same guys who do our prosthetics, and when they first came to me with this waggling it back and forth, I said that’s exactly what we need, goo it up! And they put all this goo all over it, to make it even more disgusting. But again, a really important scene, to introduce what the wraith are, they’re unkillable.

MIN 60:00

JF: What has been left in the pilot is absolutely indispensable in terms of information. That’s the challenge of editing, having it down to the essentials, and every one of these scenes is very important information that carries on for further episodes.

[Weir: What is that noise?

McKay: He was right here. Major!]

JF: This scene was one of the single most frustrating scenes for me in the whole pilot. I was the first time in the puddle jumper, which I don’t like to be in, and I didn’t know if I was on speakerphone or I wasn’t on speakerphone, I didn’t know how far away I was from Torri and David, and, I don’t know, it was very frustrating.

MW: All of these things are my fault, for not being able to…

JF: Aaah, you’re right, it was *your* fault! [laughs]

MW: No, it is, it was up to me to paint that picture for you. When it’s a vis effect, I can say:  this is what is happening here

JF: But you had nothing to show, we had nothing to show! The storyboards don’t do justice.

MW: We didn’t know, on that case, what it was going to be until we actually built it.

JF: By the way, we reshot this.

MW: Yes, we did. We reshot pieces of the whole thing, because, at the end of the pilot, both of you knew what you were going to do: Rainbow figured out his character…

JF: I don’t know if you can see the discrepancy, I’m not going to point it out!

MW: That’s the retake.

JF: We shot the whole thing, and remember, you and I talked about it, and after talking to pilots… Well, that’s a little further down the road, so I’ll wait to talk about that.

MW: About how your body was affected?

JF: Well, it’s a lot about that stuff, about how pilots behave inside their ships.

MW: This is a new part of our set, a lot of people reacted: oh, okay, so we’re getting the geography of this place. Which is important.

MW: I love this shot.

JF: This is a very great shot.

MW: We minimized it. A lot of time, my feeling is minimize the effect, so it doesn’t seem like the technology of the gate is that great, but let things evolve, like okay, holly crap!, you know?

JF: This is when we’re discovering that Ancient genes can really help.


JF: That, of course, was an altered gameboy that I kept trying to play with. We’re working on so many kinks in the pilot, the wardrobe, in the chair, that was very… That is another great shot.

MW: I took a little bit of the speed off the camera shot, that is slightly faster when you play it at the normal 24 frames, so his hair moves a little bit slower. All the stuff on the wraith side we shot slightly overcranked, so that you get a little bit of sense of weight to them.

I liked playing this in the back of his head. He looks back at Bates, I’m scared, now look how long it stays right here. Instead of being on his face for that, I showed the back of his head and let us see what they see.

JF: Oh, yeah, it’s interesting

MW: Rather than playing it on his face. So much of what’s about to happen is going to happen on Robert’s face, that I didn’t want to take his character and show any kind of fear. I didn’t to show anything at this point, because I wanted to let the next scene to give his feelings. He had to put a brave face for everybody else.

Look at your face in this scene! As you’re landing, and you’ve never landed this thing before, that for me was an important part of how to do this.

MW: We’ve colorized all this to give an alien feel, and put the big wind machines.

JF: Huge machines!

MW: Which, unfortunately, are not big enough to move the big trees! Just the small ones.

JF: These were tough shots, once again with many actors.

JF: This guy just stayed to the party a little too long!

MW: This beast here was in the Stargate movie, the Stargate SG1 pilot and now it’s in our pilot.

JF: Interesting piece of trivia.

MW: I found it in the model shop, and I said we got to put it in this pilot. It was never addressed, where it comes from.

MIN 65:00

So here we now get to see Sumner’s reaction to this weirdness. And look on this face.

MW: And Andee…

JF: Here we have the Uberwraith!

MW: Played by  Andee Frizzell

JF: Played by Andee who’s, what, 6 ft 1 or something?

MW: Yeah. Was cast because she was a yoga instructor and had a sense of body movement that we needed to get that feeling all the way through it.

Some of the other shots we shot at the end of the pilot.

JF: Oh, yes, we did!

MW: This is my cameo right here.

JF: [laughs] We’ll show that in a minute.

MW: If you actually see Joe’s hands, and my hands… Because my hands double Joe’s all the way through the pilot.

Here, these are my fingers

JF: Ha, chubby little fingers!

MW: I kept the fingernails dirty, just like Joe Flanigan would.

JF: Oh, yeah.

MW: Whenever you see Joe looking at the life signs detector…

JF: Because Joe’s like: I like to get home and don’t want another hour for the insert of my thumb, and Martin, happily, filled in for me. Made the wrong choices with the thumb, though!


MW: How about indicating with a gun?

JF: I have to say, I’m an outsider to science fiction, so, I’m sitting in these sets and I’m thinking to myself: my god, this thing is plastic, and we have this fake arm hanging around, this is ridiculous, this can’t possibly work, right?  And then it works.

MW: And then you look at your paycheck and say Maybe it’s not so ridiculous! You keep comparing the two. But yeah, you get immersed in it after a while.

That scene that we just left, was much longer. There’s a whole explanation about where you were going and testing Ford’s loyalty.

JF: It was supposed to be a relationship point between Ford and Sheppard.

MW: Remember when we were playing on the back of his head? Here we were doing the same of his face. This is all about his feelings. Camera pivots on his face.

Both Andee and James were wearing contact lenses.

JF: You can’t see ANYTHING in those.

MW: I had to walk to her and say: Andee, it’s Martin, in case somebody else was giving her directions. She would sit in the middle of the set with this wild look on her face, and you’d think: she’s freaking me out. But it was because she couldn’t see anything, she was just standing there, watching shapes moving in front of her.

There’s another thing that I should have done: I should have put Toran in something different, because once we colorized this you lose the colors of his clothing, so people weren’t really sure it was Toran.


JF: You love action, and I love action, and so we were always trying to find as much action as possible.

That was an insert that we did later on, and you’d say: look left, look right, look forward. And they add to the physical, the velocity of the show.

MW: She can’t close her mouth, and when you actually hear her talk…

JF: The talkth liketh thith the whole timeth!

MW: So Robert was concentrating on not laughing. If you could see the outtakes for this thing… It’s so funny, because she sounds so funny, and Robert is standing there and finally he looses it. I’m going to kill you, with thith voith of mine!


JF: I created this little stance, I had to know how was I to hold it and press the little buttons? This costly prop… it’s a very complicated thing to hold onto these props, and you want to be in stealth mode, too.

She’s a very sexy wraith!

MW: Yeah.

JF: We need more female wraith!

MIN 70:00

MW: The red hair is something I’ve added much later, she originally had white hair, the same as the guards. I wanted her to stand out, more than the other wraith that we see, and make her feel like she was the one in charge of this hive.

JF: People don’t realize how physically demanding this scene is for Robert.

[Wraith queen: Earth first!]

MW: This is when we see how the wraith are scary, beyond how they look like. Look at what is happening, just by having a hand on you! Originally we were supposed to show all the details of the hand sucker. I kept asking: how are we going to do that? Her hand is against his chest, you can’t show that stuff happening. We hold on to it for a long, long time, to see that vis effect of that thing coming out from her hand. And then we figured, why? All you had to see was his chest.

What’s interesting here is, when you came in, you’re actually looking at somebody who’s not Robert. This whole scene had to played without Robert there, with the whole thing between the two of you.

That’s Robert, but by the time you came into the scene, he was gone.

That’s Robert’s mold.

JF: It was the first time we were actually shooting a wraith.

MW: That’s not Robert.

When you put another actor in prosthetics and he’s supposed to be… your face, and his face, back and forth…

JF: That’s a pivotal moment which I’m sure everybody knows. I’d like to have played more that, the clear signal, please kill me.

MW: I agree.

JF: Because it becomes an issue later on, are you sure you had to kill him?

MW: The whole thing about that moment, I don’t think it played as well as it was scripted. It was scripted much better than I shot it.

JF: That’s a great rack.

MW: In this scene we had to do this fight and a bunch of different things, and the set is so much smaller than it was supposed to be. People say why didn’t Ford shoot her?  He shot the guard that was holding you. But why isn’t he shooting her now? is the question. He still hasn’t shot her, the one who’s making all the noise. Because you needed to…

JF: That was a cool effect.

MW: She actually started with this thing stuck to her on her back, and Joe runs in with one that doesn’t have the big beak in front of it…

JF: And then the frame comes in.

MW: …and jabs her, and then we pull back on it, and that’s when you see the thing, and it looks exactly like the one he jabbed her with.

JF: More movie magic!

MW: And then, when you pulled it out, it was actually the one beneath her arm, and you pull out the one with the beak on it.

JF: It was not that easy to do. This, to me, it’s one of the best parts of the pilot, because this is when Sheppard realizes he has just created so much trouble for himself, which is an ongoing theme of how we’ve really made some critical mistakes.

JF: I love this part. And I get a handgun, of course, that’s really going to help up.

MW: We had to address Col Sumner, because both of you wanted to take him with you and not leave a guy behind. We couldn’t do it.

JF: But they didn’t show that we took his dog tags!

MW: You see Sheppard go down to get them, but…

JF: I do, and a lot of people don’t realize that I still have his dog tags.

MW: *I* knew that, because the props guys put them in

JF: Even a lot of directors that came don’t realize, and they ask why I don’t get rid of those, and I say these are Sumner’s dog tags that I keep in my room. As a reminder of the choice I had to make.

MIN 75:00

MW: I think that’s a point, over the course of the season this was not addressed as much as we could have addressed it.

This is the first time that you get the sense of scale, with the darts running like that.

This was a huge scene, between Rainbow and Rachel.

JF: You can’t tell, but we’re painted almost yellow, all of us, because they’re going to saturate. You can see that Rachel looks very different. They were supposed to be saturated with a blue saturation, but then we’ve toned it down, so the makeup is very strange.

MW: We called it jellybean faces.


MW: You were going to shoot them with your little handgun.

JF: That’s right, my handgun. And there’s the saw!

MW: That was my favorite shot.

JF: These shots… It’s getting really tricky, as you have steady cam stuff, you got to hit everything. And you got pyrotechnics. Surprisingly, we had a whole another shot to that, remember? that Nathaniel just nailed, but we couldn’t use it.

MW: We ran out of light. Ford loosed his hat right there, nobody saw it. If you actually look, you can see it fly off. I was going to have to shoot it again, but I couldn’t, because we didn’t have time.

MW: I love that. That shows what the puddle jumper’s all about!

JF: This is an important scene. To the audience this would be interesting; pilots, in their own ships, behave in that eerily calm fashion which is: we got our target locked on. This is true, and as this scene builds, we made the choice of having him a seasoned pilot. But after we looked at it, and we looked at the entire pilot together, we realized we were going to have to play it differently. So we went back and reshot that. This was done in, what, the fourth episode?

MW: You can tell what’s reshot, because there’s an Atlantis case up on the wall behind you, and they’ve forgotten to take that down.

JF: There’s a number of shots that we couldn’t use. Right there!

MW: That case should not be there. So that’s a reshot. You’ll see when you actually see the other ones, you’ll see that it’s not there. And now you know which is reshot. And again, I would amp up your action.

JF: Yes, I was to amp up the action, which in end helped up quite a bit on the overall pilot, because it’s actually, emotionally, the climatic point. For him to be calm was counterproductive toward what we were trying to get.

I didn’t even see any of this stuff until months later, and you ought to have it in your head. So when I saw it, I was…

MW: I’m getting you to fire back at these, with flashlights in front of you.

JF: There’s lights flashing and Martin is like: oh, three o’clock, no, two o’clock, there’s another one going for three o’clock

MW: This is the scene we were talking all the way through. See, there’s no case behind you, that’s the original. And this is wild! There’s the whole thing about how you didn’t get crushed by the G-forces.

JF: I love Torri’s look.

MW: This is something we don’t normally play on SG1. The fact that of course you can fire through these things.

MIN 80:00

JF: This is why they have a lock on the gate.

MW: This is great! Zoot! I love that, and there’re pieces of debris of the ship.

[Weir: Reactivate the shield!]

JF: Just in time!

MW: I like the action that happens. It’s just shot, shot, shot, motion, motion, motion. Again, in television we don’t the time to do that a lot.

JF: I know. There’s not a lot of action shows left on television.

MW: Because it’s too expensive.

JF: I think we’re still of the few action shows, which I love. I love action shows.

MW: Especially when you do an action-adventure, it’s good to have that action part [laughs], not just adventure all the time.

JF: That was another veeery funny scene.

MW: Here we are. With all the Athosians…

JF: We’re having that inter-mingling…

MW: This set, you might recognize, if you’ve seen Blade: Trinity.

JF: Which we now own.

MW: Which we now own, which is Atlantis.

JF: It’s massive, four storey of a skyscraper. It’s interesting that we had to strike the right tone at the end of the show. It’s supposed to be a fairly joyous occasion. We talked at length about this you, and me, and Michael Greenberg, and Brad, about what is the right tone to strike. We just killed Sumner and, yet, everybody seems to be celebrating the fact that they’re alive, more than Atlantis. So, essentially, I think we did it right.

MW: I do too.

JF: Torri balances it properly by saying let’s keep things in perspective, you did what you had to do.  We were afraid that our… that we were too solemn. Remember that? And we thought no, it’s not good to have a too solemn tone to strike.

JF: This was the hardest part for me, as an actor. I’ve actually never formed heads with another actor.


MW: It’s alright. It looked practiced. He wouldn’t rehearse it either. Okay, on the day we’ll touch heads, he said.

JF: I can’t keep forming heads in rehearsals.

MW: Mostly because your bear fat from your hair would transfer to hers. It’s important for me when I watch your character, and this is so cool about Sheppard, this is what I really like about Sheppard, that he’s not O’Neill. Your reaction is, this lower key reaction to things, where there’s still humor underlying it. There, look at you eyebrows there, that your humor is underlying certain things, but you take it a little more seriously, which I really like.

JF: This character is distinctly different. Brad and I would tell you both that Sheppard is more of an optimist, and he believes in the basic goodness of people. It’s skepticism, and not cynicism, and it gets tough sometimes.

MW: I like that, because it gives more direction, more room to grow. There’s a childish interest in things that you’ve got.

JF: That’s a great shot.

MW: I like that.

JF: It’s play time.

MW: And that’s Atlantis. That’s the pilot, thanks for watching.




screencap courtesy of @idahogrl823



Jan 042012
Marseille, 31 Oct 2011

We have collected Joe Flanigan’s interviews in 2011 and we are providing here the texts and transcript excerpts for the video/audio ones, as well as links to the original sources.


. <”h4″ class="collapseomatic " id="”PMC”" tabindex="0" title="”A">”A

1: How do we know you?

I had a short stint working at Interview Magazine for the late Tibor Kalman. I had just graduated from college and my last job was working as a White House Advance Man. You can imagine the culture shock of entering ground zero of New York’s Downtown scene after working at the White House. Ironically, there was more dysfunction at the magazine than the halls of power, but one figure who always remained unruffled and gracious was Patrick McMullan. We quickly became friends and I was essentially ushered into the downtown scene. There is no place like New York City.

2: What is your latest project?

I just completed two projects. A sci-fi movie we shot in Dublin and a new pilot that recently aired on Fox. We are waiting to hear if it goes to series.

3: Where are you living?

Malibu California with my lovely wife of 14 years Katherine Kousi and my three rambunctious but charming boys: Aidan (10), Truman (8), and Fergus (4). Also, 4 dogs.

4: What don’t we know about you?

I have bees and a large organic vegetable garden.

5: What is your favorite travel destination?

Should be a plural.

Destinations: Paris, Kauai, Aspen.

6: What inspires you?

I majored in History, primarily Intellectual History. I have always been inspired by ideas and how they evolve, gestate, and manifest themselves in civilization. We are living in an incredibly interesting time and the velocity of change is so great ideas are having a hard time reaching the public in any profound way. America has ADD while China is thinking 30 years down the road.

7: If not yourself, who would you be?

Teddy Roosevelt.

8: What book is your bible?

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essays on Self Reliance were probably the most influential in my life. God/Nature or Nature/God. It’s hard to separate the two, but I believe there is a supreme intelligence in the universe. Some organized religions really take issue with this because they believe we are more evolved than much of the natural world around us. While there is truth to some of that, I believe mankind’s separation from nature is at the heart of our problems.

9: What is your favorite word?


10: Who is your biggest hero?

My mother and my late father. They loved each other like teenagers to the end. And more importantly, they knew how to have fun.

11: How would you define success?

He who dies with the most friends wins.

12: What would the last question of this questionnaire be if you were the one asking?

Why is everyone so damned scared?

Our lives are longer and healthier than ever before. We are more knowledgeable than ever. Our capacity for self-education and self-correction is historically unparalleled. And yet, we are scared. Kids aren’t allowed to go ride bikes around the neighborhood anymore because parents think it’s too dangerous. America is consumed with anxiety. The boldness and courage required by our ancestors that built this nation is in short supply. I think it may have a profoundly disturbing impact on our future. I really want America to crawl out from under the table and get back in the game. Now where’s that beer?

Joe Flanigan is an American actor.  He is best known for his portrayal of the character Major/Lt. Colonel John Sheppard in the television show Stargate Atlantis.


Joe Flanigan @ IMDB

Questions by PMc Magazine

Edited by Tyler Malone

Photography by Patrick McMullan for Patrick

Design by Marie Havens


Joe Flanigan, Malibu, CA, March 1, 2011, Photography by Patrick McMullan for Patrick


. <”h4″ class="collapseomatic " id="”BUZZ”" tabindex="0" title="”Audio">”Audio
JF: I feel horrible that I’ve dropped out of the tweet universe; I have to re-enter it. Maybe I’ll do it right now, I’ll do it after the show.

[…] I have ADD, I think; I get really excited about things and then I just completely forget about them.I’ll be sending video-tweets, and it’s kind of cool. Actually I like that idea a little bit better. […]

Q: Lets’ talk about Ferocious Planet

JF: I’m a marine colonel who did something wrong, namely something very patriotic and I’m punished for it. I get stuck guarding a national science laboratory and one of their experiments go wrong. This drove us into a parallel dimension, where there’s a different planet that also looks like British Columbia or Ireland and has very large monsters. I love saying that. I love to say m-o-n-s-t-e-r-s. And I love killing monsters.


JF: I’ll be woefully undreamed, not unlike Stargate Atlantis and I’ll have to tap into my inner MacGyver (and I’m sure Rick will appreciate that) and survive. It’s a real stretch.


JF: “Sisters” was my first series, and you couldn’t get farther away than science fiction than “Sisters”. It was a popular show, with an slightly different audience. I was not quite as heroic, I was “a guy”. A lot of guys came through that show, by the way, George Clooney was on that show too, right before ER. A lot of guys went through “Sisters”. The sisters ate them up and spit them out.  There were really good actresses on that show.


Q: Is there going to be something like a Stargate Atlantis reunion soon?

JF: The rumors have been all over the place. Unfortunately, there’s not going to be any Stargate in the near future. That doesn’t mean it won’t be in “the” future. I don’t think anybody would be seeing anything related to Stargate for at least another year. The franchise has been effectively kind of shut down. SG1 and SGA were canceled and they spun off a series simultaneously, called Universe, that unfortunately was not embraced by the audience, and that kind of sank the ship for a while. So we’re gonna have to resurrect that ship somehow.


Q: What is it about the movie Spore?

JF: Right now we just have a script and we are supposed to go into production in spring on Spore. I love saying that one: S-p-o-r-e.

Q: You know it’s spring now, right?

JF: Oh, my god, hold on, you’re absolutely right. I have to tell you where I am right now: on the streets of Aspen Colorado, in snow, I’m freezing and nothing looks like spring to me. But you’re right, I’d better call about that one, maybe I’m late for work.


JF: I’ve just sent my first twitter in five-six months as we were talking, you’ve instigated it. It says “I’m back” and that may be not such a good thing that I’m back, but hey…

source (the actual interview runs from min. 5:30 of the recording)

. <”h4″ class="collapseomatic " id="”pazsaz”" tabindex="0" title="”Interview">”Interview

This is an interview from April 6, 2011 with Joe Flanigan from the Syfy movie Ferocious Planet. In “Ferocious Planet,” an experimental device designed to view alternate universes malfunctions on its first demonstration, transporting a group of observers into a nightmarish new dimension. The team must use ingenuity and courage to outwit the bloodthirsty creatures of this bizarre world, while trying to repair the damaged machine and return home.

What are these aliens like compared to the types you’ve gone up against on Stargate Atlantis?

Joe Flanigan:
They seem to be almost impossible to kill. I seemed to be very good at killing the other ones. When we shot this, we shot it Ireland, and we worked strictly on green screen, and we weren’t given much in the way of what it was going to look like. And that’s kind of interesting because on the show, we always knew what the Wraith were going to look like. And so, you had an idea of what you were looking at and what you were working with. And in this case, I have to say they’re much bigger than I anticipated them to be.

You’re so calm.

Joe Flanigan:
Well, my calm and easy demeanor may be a bit deceiving because I didn’t think they would be that big until I saw the cut.

From the trailer Ferocious Planet looks a bit like the series Primeval. Were there any human-like aliens that you had to deal with?

Joe Flanigan:
Not in the movie. Just off camera. A lot of those.

What was it like working with John Rhys-Davies?

Joe Flanigan:
Oh, he’s a wonderful guy. And, he’s just filled with tons of fantastic stories. He’s done so much. We took him out to dinner one night in Dublin and he kind of regaled us with like all sorts of interesting stories. You know, he’s just done theater everywhere, movies everywhere. And he was wonderful to work with. Consummate professional.

Are we ever going to get to see Stargate Extinction?

Joe Flanigan:
Apparently not. I believe that those things have been postponed indefinitely. I mean as you know, the franchise has been summarily closed. That doesn’t mean that’s the end of the franchise by any stretch of the imagination, especially if I have my druthers, I’ll find a way to bring it back. I think the fans deserve to see some closure or at least some type of continuation. I think that – and especially in regards to my show, it was just unceremoniously closed and we need to do something about it.

What can you tell our site viewers about the movie? What should they expect?

Joe Flanigan:
Well, the movie is kind of part homage to the genre and also part actually the genre, so it’s one of those – you could call it in some ways a guilty pleasure in some ways. There are elements that are similar to Stargate in terms of the character and in terms of being kind of off world. But beyond that, I want to say it’s dinosaur-centric, but I guess it is. It looks like that.

You did Stargate Atlantis for five years. What’s it like shooting a movie compared to shooting a TV show?

Joe Flanigan:
Well, it’s really not that much different except that it’s a lot easier than shooting a TV show. It really is. I mean, I wish I was just a movie star. My God, those guys have a great life. They shoot one or two pages a day, and then they go back to their trailer. With Atlantis, for example, we would shoot 10 to 12 pages a day, and you’re really on your feet all day. You know, 12 to 15 hours a day and it’s work. It’s definitely a grind, and with no seeming end to it. And with movies, it’s more laid back. You tend to have a little bit more time and a little bit more money.

In this case, I don’t think that was the case. We actually had a very, very small budget. But because we were shooting in Ireland, you can make that money go a little bit further. Also in Ireland, they have this really interesting thing where they only work ten hours a day. You actually can’t go past that. And that gave us enough time to go to the pubs, and we liked that.

What can your fans expect to see you in next?

Joe Flanigan:
I did a two hour back door pilot that aired on Fox, and they were supposed to extend our contracts and they’re not extending those contracts, which leads me to believe it probably will not become a series. And I just assumed that that was going to be the next series, and we just found out Friday that it probably will not be. So, I don’t have any definitive answer on that right now. And I actually kind of liked that. There’s a kind of like wonderful freedom about that. I’m excited about being able to play my options out right now.

Could you talk about how you got started in acting?

Joe Flanigan:
By accident. I was in New York City and I was working at Interview Magazine and I managed to get myself fired, don’t ask me how, and I was pretty much out of money. And I had a neighbor who happened to be an actor, and he was always enjoying himself not working nearly as hard as me, and apparently making much more money than I was. And I said, “What is it that you do?” He said, “I’m an actor.” I said, “Well, what does that mean?” I didn’t quite understand what that meant. Now granted he was a commercial actor, but anyway he put it in my head that maybe this is something I should try out, since I was “in between jobs”, and I did. I went to the Neighborhood Playhouse and I just thought to myself, “Well, if I’m going to try this, I might as well try it now,” and I just happened to get very lucky.

You were on Warehouse 13 not that long ago. Is there any other Syfy series that you’d like to guest star on?

Joe Flanigan:
Oh, sure. I actually don’t think in terms of guest starring. I’m not really in pursuit of guest starring. Sometimes, if it’s interesting I would consider it, but it’s primarily as a reoccurring or a regular. But as far as guest starring on different Syfy shows, it’s not necessarily a goal of mine. However, there are a number of shows that are out there now that look awfully interesting to me, like – I consider True Blood a sci-fi show. You know, I consider anything with visual effects to that way is essentially science fiction.

And so, there is a lot of really interesting ones. Syfy’s got a couple new interesting shows. I have a friend doing this one called Alphas, then there’s Being Human. I think they have a lot of really interesting ones. And, I’ve been talking to Mark Stern recently about some new shows that he’s got in the works. So I’m in contact with Syfy about trying to nail down the next series.

Can you tell me something that your fans would be surprised to know about you?

Joe Flanigan:
I raise my own honey bees. I have my own organic vegetable garden. I’m actually a little bit of a farmer. In fact, I’m sitting here in Colorado actually right now andy fingers are all wrapped up. I almost chopped my finger off in one of these classic Farmer Joe moments dealing with large equipment and nonsense. A man of the Earth.

How did you initially get involved with this project?

Joe Flanigan:
Well, Syfy does obviously a series of these movies, and they’ve asked me on a number of occasions if I wanted to do them. Most of the times I’ve said no because of mostly location. Sometimes they shoot in Bulgaria and some places like that, and I just don’t have any interest in going to Bulgaria in the middle of winter. I’m spoiled. So this one actually came up that was shooting in Dublin, and I thought, “Well now, that may be a game changer.” I could actually go to Dublin for awhile. That would fun. And I was proved right. Dublin was amazing.

What did you find to be the most challenging part of making the film?

Joe Flanigan:
Well, a lot of the visual effects were not entirely fleshed out and shown to us. So when you’re acting, you’re acting against what you think will be the special effects in post-production. And you can only guess. So when you go and gauge your reaction to something, you have something in your head, I had some drawings they gave me. But when I saw the movie, the monsters were way bigger than I thought they were.

Oh, my God. It’s very, very tricky and fraught with a lot of obstacles when you’re doing science fiction acting. And I’m a bit of a stickler on set about making sure I know exactly what the levels of urgency are so that I don’t get a lot of egg on my face after they do a lot of the post-production. And you say to yourself, “My God! Why is he not reacting to the 300 foot tall monster?” Because I thought it was 3 feet tall. So you can imagine it gets tricky.

Honestly, I think science fiction acting is an art form, and I think it’s so much harder than people have any idea, and I don’t think it gets the respect that it deserves. And if you talk to people like Robert Patrick and these guys, they’ll tell you how truly difficult it could be.

Would you ever be interested in writing again or directing for you know a movie, TV show, whatever?

Joe Flanigan:
Oh, yes. Absolutely. In fact, this previous show that I did, it was a two hour, back door pilot which airs as a movie, and then could conceivably get spun off into a series. In that deal, I had a directing deal.

And so had the series gone, I would’ve been able to direct, and I was definitely looking forward to that. And presumably, I would write too. Any series that I’m on I would love to be writing and directing. And I just think it’s a natural progression of where you spend that much time on set and that much time in front of a camera, I think it makes sense to kind of expand your horizons a little.

The problem is in our business right now, the business is going through a really serious compression, and it’s so serious that it’s actually kind of sad. People are really losing their homes and they’re losing they way they’ve made their living for the last 20 years. So, the verbosity involved with protecting jobs these days is something else. So you know when you want to direct on a TV show, there are a number of directors who really don’t want actors to become directors or writers. The pie has gotten too small, and so it’s tricky in that regard.

Did you ever think of writing your own show?

Joe Flanigan:
I have. I’m busy definitely doing things. I just don’t like to talk about them until I feel like they’re kind of in their final stage and they’re going to move forward. The one thing that annoys me the most in this business is that a lot of people talk about things that are going to happen that aren’t happening, or may not happen, and I just don’t want to be another one of those schmucks.

How did you originally get involved with Atlantis?

Joe Flanigan:
Well, I mean the President of MGM at the time was a guy named Hank Cohen, and he ran into my Manager at the Golden Globes, and my Manager was representing Renee Zellweger, and she had just won something and he came up to congratulate him. And then, he started talking to him that he had this great new series, but he couldn’t find his lead guy. And he said, “Well, I have a client who’s perfect for that. Why don’t you meet him tomorrow?” And we met and it just literally happened in like a painlessly little time. It was really like within 24 hours, you know there was deal struck and that was it. It was interesting. If all deals could only work that well.

Back to Ferocious Planet. What was your favorite part about working on it?

Joe Flanigan:
Being in Ireland is just so much fun. I feel right at home in Ireland. And I had this wonderful Irish crew and this wonderful Irish cast, and they were incredibly professional and efficient. And it’s just a lot of fun. If I could shoot more there, I would. And I’m really glad I chose that because I would certainly try to encourage people to shoot in Ireland more often. And then it was fun to just get back into some camouflage and run around and shoot things. Call me crazy. I know it sounds a little weird, but I felt right at home.

When you have to act as if you are traveling to a parallel universe, did they provide you with any technical advisors that prepare you for such an adventure?

Joe Flanigan:
It would probably make my head explode, so they did not. I actually was thinking to myself, one of my favorite episodes in Stargate Atlantis was the Vegas episode. And we just kind of tapped into that at the very end, like unfortunately too late. So, it is kind of ironic this movie is about parallel universes also.

Do you prefer fighting aliens or dinosaurs?

Joe Flanigan:
I’ve got to say I think aliens are a little sexier, you know. I could at least talk to some of the Wraith. There’s no common ground between me and dinosaurs. Couldn’t really start any negotiation there.

In terms of genre, would you consider this your favorite one to work in?

Joe Flanigan:
Well I got to say it was funny. I approached science fiction with a lot of trepidation. I wasn’t really that enthusiastic about the genre when I started. And then as time went on, I’ve been converted you know 180 degrees, and I absolutely would say it’s now my favorite genre. And it gives you so much freedom. And I mean at heart, I’m an action/adventure kind of guru. I like that. And that you can do that and mix in science and fantasy and all sorts of things is pretty cool. And so, I really do miss doing my show, and I really hope to do another one. I think TV needs some more action/adventure, science fiction stuff.

You mentioned True Blood before. If you could be on the show, would you rather be human or other creature?

Joe Flanigan:
No. I wouldn’t want be human. It’s a lot of fun being the bad guy with big teeth. Playing bad guys is an awful lot of fun. You do it on a limited basis, but it’s an awful lot of fun.

A big part of the movie is about people who want to stay and explore, and the rest who say, “Let’s get the heck out of here.” If you were in a similar circumstance, are you a run kind of guy or are you a let’s stay and check this out guy?

Joe Flanigan:
I think it depends on what you left behind. I mean, you got a wife and kids left behind; you might want to run and go back. I think if you don’t, then I think it could be a nice permanent vacation. In our case, it’s unclear in the movie, it was kind of funny because all I really have to go back to is a boat. You know in retrospect, that’s really not a hell of a lot of to go back to. Maybe I should’ve stayed. It might’ve been the lack of cold beer or something that you know, like really wanted to make run.

Are you very adventurous otherwise?

Joe Flanigan:
Unfortunately I am, and I sit here talking to you with a third degree AC separation, a semi-chopped off finger, and it’s all from just nonsensical stuff like mountain biking. And, I’m actually sitting at the base of Aspen Mountain as we speak trying to figure out if I’m going to go cross country skiing, snowboarding, or just down-hilling.

Oh, rough life.

Joe Flanigan:
I know. I do. I live for it. And that’s why I think I like action/adventures, because I just need to physicalize things, and it’s tough for me to be inside and doing kind of domestic-like acting.

Did you do any stunts in the movie?

Joe Flanigan:
Yes. Well, I mean there wasn’t really any incredible stunts. But yes, I did everything. As you’ll see, there’s nothing really stellar going on. I didn’t get shot out of a cannon, but yes I did all the stunts.

Did you do any big stunts on Atlantis on your own?

Joe Flanigan:
Yes. Well I actually did quite a few. There’s some pretty serious climbing. We were on pulleys a lot. I mean, I got yanked off of two-story you know decks and all sorts of stuff. That is the part I miss quite a bit. It’s so much fun. It’s interesting because our stunt guy on Atlantis always had in his mind that I was some karate expert of some sort and would have these enormously like elaborate you know choreographed fights going on. And, I would say, “You know, I’m not that guy. I’m Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones. I just pick my gun up and shoot the guy.” I mean the path of least resistance. And it would frustrate him. However, we were able to make it up with my character getting kind of beat to crap and getting thrown around. And I think it worked well for that character. And in this case, it’s not unsimilar. The movie that – the Ferocious Planet, the guy gets kind of whacked around a good bit.

Do you have any advice for people who want to act?

Joe Flanigan:
Don’t. How’s that? There’s not enough jobs. Don’t come into our world. No. What I would say is if you enjoy it then pursue it. Acting is really difficult because it requires a tremendous amount of people to make it work, and a tremendous amount of money. For example with Stargate, we had 300 or 400 people working on the show. And you’re dropping $60 to $70 million a year. And it’s not like painting where an artist can go into a studio and nothing’s going to stop him from painting. Nothing going to stop a musician from making music. Well, a lot of things can stop actors from acting.

There are so many elements of dependency. So there’s a level of frustration that can come with the territory. I would warn people of that, and know that it sometimes may just end up being a hobby. So, that would be my advice.


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Q: Tell us about the plot of Ferocious Planet. It sounds, on paper, a little bit like an episode from Stargate

JF: I didn’t say that, you said that. It basically involves an alien planet and large inhospitable monsters, so yes, you’re not that far off in that regard. People who’d watched Stargate Atlantis will see in this character a lot of similarities.

Q: And probably not coincidentally. These movies are there to connect you to things that are familiar to you.

JF: These Saturday night SyFy movies, I’ve been offered a number of them before and I’ve mostly turned them down because they’re shot in places like Bulgaria, in December. When I was offered this one they just made a notation on top, that said: Dublin, Ireland, and I said: well, now that’s kind of interesting. I was immediately much more open to it, because it was Ireland, and then coincidently the character was similar to the character I play [in Atlantis].


Q: What is col Synn like? What’s his story?

JF: He’s a disgraced marine […] An experiment that takes place goes awry and then we all get thrown into a parallel dimension on a planet with m-o-n-s-t-e-r-s.

Q: The SyFy Saturday night monsters movies are deliberately ridiculous in many ways. They’re fun to watch, what about the fun to make them?

JF: I had a blast, I really did, I had so much fun, and so much of it had to do with the fact that “I’m in Ireland, working with all Irish cast and crew”, and I loved that. And thankfully, they put up with me.

These shows are kind of a guilty pleasure, they’re part homage to the genre and then they’re part “the genre”, you know, unironically the genre, as well. So it’s a fine balance to strike, between earnest genre and something a little self-deprecating. As you know, Stargate Atlantis is very self-deprecating and I think this was one of the really great qualities of the show. These things have their audiences and they are aimed at a very specific group of people and I hope that those people will like this.

Q: I guess you didn’t know what kind of monster were chasing you on the ferocious planet until long after you’ve done shooting. How do you look horrified not knowing what’s getting at you?

JF: I’m so glad you’ve asked that, because that’s something I try to explain to people. It’s one of the biggest challenges, I’ve seen some of the greatest actors getting assassinated on a scifi set. They don’t understand how do you have to incorporate the visual effects and how you can really get a lot of egg on your face in post production if you’re not very communicative with visual effects. You have to know exactly how big is that monster, what kind of noise does that monster make. If I’m reacting to this thing, how scared do I need to be.

In our case, they were not doing the post production, the same group that filmed, so what I had was very little. I’m hoping that my reactions are hopefully appropriate to the threat. That is one of the greatest challenges of scifi, not to mention a lot of times the dialogue itself could really kill a good actor.

Science fiction acting does not get the respect that it deserves. If you talk to a great actor like Robert Patrick he would tell you how truly difficult it is, and when it’s done well, you just don’t notice it. And that’s an accomplishment!


JF: John Rhys Davies is a child at heart, he’s a great guy and he’s incredibly well educated and knowledgeable about all sorts of stuff, filled with fascinating stories about his life and theatre. That was a highlight.

You said that: “do you enjoy shooting these things”. What is funny, the evolution that I have experienced as an actor… When my initial career was: “What is this project doing, where is it going to take me, will it accomplish the goals I’ve set up?” Now I don’t even think that way, I think on a totally different level: “Do I enjoy the role, and am I enjoying the people I’m working with?” And that’s really it, and that’s the end of the story, because all the other elements are out of my control. Consequently, I do enjoy myself quite a bit more. We just don’t have control about how these things turn out, where they end up, so you really do need to enjoy yourself. Working with guys like that, and especially the Irish cast and crew, I would go back gladly.


JF: We, as a cast [of Stargate Atlantis] were all very close and really miss each other and miss working with each other. We also felt like we have worked very hard and have done a very good job not only taping the Stargate SG1 area, but expanding it and kind of trickling it into the mainstream; we have won the People’s Choice award, and those are mainstream type of awards for a science fiction show.


Q: What do you have lined up?

JF: I just did a two-hours backdoor pilot that Walmart produced, we aired it on Fox, there’re hopes that it would become a new TV series, but it’s a complicated, very different model. These guys would potentially buy out the air time for the whole season, so they would only air the show and their commercials. It’s a very large business transaction that involves hundreds of million of dollars, that’s a little above my pay grade. There are intense negotiations on that, and it may or may not happen. But regardless, I’ll move forward and I’m in contact with Mark Stern at SyFy about trying to get a new series off the ground and I’d like to see that happen.

Q: Website, twitter, Facebook where people can find you online?

JF: I’m just so hopeless about that… I will start twittering again!

source (actual interview starts at min 3:00)

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Joe Flanigan is starring as a disgraced Marine colonel, who winds up guarding a science lab in the SyFy thriller,Ferocious Planet. Naturally, an experiment goes horribly wrong and tosses the lab into a parallel dimension.

“Of course there are monsters,”Flanigan tells us, “that’s the operative word…there are monsters.”

Fighting make-believe monsters can truly be a challenge,Flanigan explains with a laugh.

“You’re only told or occasionally given a drawing of what it will be like so you’re hoping that your acting is somehow calibrated to what the visual effects are going to be,” he begins. “And sometimes you don’t get it right. That’s why in science fiction you see this kind of discrepancy between what happens and the reaction of actors.”

His trick to making it appear realistic is simple.

“Yeah, I learned that as long as you scream, ‘I’m going to die! I’m going to die!’ it works in every show,” Flanigan deadpans.

Actually, Flanigan is an adventurer who mountain bikes, mountain climbs, surfs and more. In fact, the actor has been nursing an injury from one of his many outings.

“Right now, I’m currently a beat up adventurer,” he says. “I separated my shoulder in a mountain biking accident. I was coming down a single track trail at a furious speed – I just got brand new handle bars that were extra long – they snagged a branch and they just kind of threw me over and I landed on my back. I actually feel pretty damn lucky that it’s just an AC separation and not something more serious.”

Right, well apparently you can’t keep a good adventurer down. Flanigan is in Aspen, still thrill-seeking despite his injuries.

“I’m still skiing and snowboarding,” he confesses. “It’s about constant motion. I think I’m afraid of not being in a state of constant motion. My shoulder was immobilized for two weeks and I go back for surgery in another two weeks, so I thought I’d get the maximum adventure in before I got immobilized again – and I will be immobilized for quite a while.”

Crazy? No ways, Flanigan tells

“I thought to myself, ‘I can’t hurt my shoulder any worse than it is – all the ligaments are separated – so what the hell…I’ll just go snowboarding and skiing. It hurts if you fall and I have yet to fall. So, when I do fall I’ll call you screaming…I could be screaming I’m going to die! I’m going to die!”


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JF: It’s nice to come to London at this time in the year and have this ridiculously nice weather.


Q: We put it on just for you, we thought you deserved it.

JF: I had a feeling. It’s in my contract, actually.


Q: Have you done lots of fan events like this before?

JF: I’ve done not too many events quite like this, but I’ve been to a number of signings, I’ve been to a few. They take you to some very interesting places around the world, and that’s essentially one of the key reasons I do it. You go to Sweden, you go to Australia, you go to New Zealand… It’s fun in that regard.


Q: Do you have any particularly fan experiences?

JF: I do, actually. The best collective fan experience is that I have a friend who’s dying of the Lou Gehrig’s disease and I really needed the help for her and we were going to raise funds for her. I was able to get an incredible amount of support from the fans that they sent her directly, helping her get through what’s going to be the last chapter of her life, but they’re making it a lot more comfortable. I’m tremendously grateful to have that fan base to appeal to, and they delivered a lot of help.


Q: SGA and its large and eclectic fan base: What do you think it is about this universe that people love so much?

JF: I think it helps that SG1 was on the air for 7 or 8 years before we came along, I think that makes a huge difference, you can really underestimate that. We really walked into a preexisting fan base. For that we’re super fortunate, we didn’t really have to build step by step the fan base as other new shows would have to build. We inherited it and we were able to expand it in different directions. We were really lucky. I think a lot of it has to do with the mythology of Stargate and the chemistry of the actors, it was a big part of it.


Q: Were you a fan of the Stargate universe before, were you familiar with it?

JF: It’s frightening: I had never seen Stargate before! At all. I had to have a mea culpa at one point: “I have no idea about Stargate”. At the end of the day I think that was actually a good thing, because I remember when I was shooting the first episode of Atlantis a lot of people were saying: You’re no Richard Dean Anderson, and you’re never going to be a Richard Dean Anderson. I didn’t quite know what Richard Dean Anderson’s role was. There was no chance of me imitating that, having never seen it. As a result, we were able to put together a show that was a spin off, but was entirely authentic in its own right. So my ignorance worked. But I’m a big science fiction fan, and since then I’ve become a much bigger science fiction fan, I really prefer doing science fiction over a lot of standard scripted dramas that television have today.


Q: Why do you think science fiction offers you more as a performer?

JF: As an actor, I really enjoy action. Action-adventure to me is a lot of fun and our show has quite a bit of action-adventure. Science fiction has this realm of possibilities and literally it stimulates your mind a lot more than other shows. At least that’s my personal opinion; some people don’t like science fiction. Science fiction television has come so far because of the effects that we can do today, or movie quality; there are TV shows where we get movie quality. If you look at our first episodes of Stargate versus the end, they are dramatic quantum leap in terms of production value, and so you’re able to do some really cool science fiction television these days. It’s not corny, it’s pretty cool.

In that regard I like it. And it appeals to a huge age range, it’s not just for kids or just for older people or just for middle age people. I’ve never seen fan base like the one we’ve been lucky enough to have: you’d have a six year old kid come up with his 86 years old grandfather and they are all fans. That’s hard to achieve. I’m kind of proud of that.


 JF: If I could play another character other than my own it would probably be McKay, because he’s so hilarious. I just don’t think I could ever be as annoying as he is. I would try, but nobody can be as annoying as David Hewlett himself, and for that I have great respect for him. If he was here, I would smack him, we love to give each other a hard time.


Q: Is David like we see him on screen?

JF: David is surprisingly funnier in person than he is on screen, which is saying a lot, and he can be viciously funny. He would definitely give you a workout, your stomach would hurt sometimes. That is priceless, when you’re working for 5 years, I don’t know where that breaks down to, but somewhere between probably 11,000 or 12,000 hours on set, to shoot five years. You get to know people pretty well, and the fact that we all like each other and get along is great. The fact that you get to have somebody like him, making us laugh… it gives a huge mileage, and you can overcome some pretty long hours and some difficult times. We just had a great time, we’d all like to be back together doing something. And we probably will! We don’t know when.


Q: Is this a suggestion that you’re going to do Stargate Atlantis again, or maybe something else, with the same people?

JF: Both. I think we could probably do a show together, that has nothing to do with Atlantis, if we chose. But the truth is the greater potential for us would be to pick up at some point where we left off with the existing characters, in a form of a movie or a mini series or something. I think most fans feel pretty upset that the stories in Atlantis were never able to be resolved in a respectful way and it was a very rushed end to the entire series. There were claims that we were going to do a movie, which we never did, so there are a lot of loose ends that have never been explained.


Q: Do you have a message for Stargate fans watching this?

JF: Be hopeful, I think you’ll see some resemblance to Stargate in the near future. I really do, I believe that.


. <”h4″ class="collapseomatic " id="”step”" tabindex="0" title="”Interview">”Interview

BJ: Joe Flanigan! How’s it going?

JF: Good! Good good good good. How are you guys?


BJ: We’re good, thanks. I was just wondering whether you’d mind sharing a few words about Stargate?

JF: Yeah of course, go ahead.


BJ: Ok, well, obviously a lot of people were incredibly disappointed when Atlantis was cancelled after the Stargate franchise had been of the longest running SciFi shows on the air. Did you feel it ended at the right time?

JF: Oh no, the show definitely ended too early. Without a doubt. It could have gone for another five years. It was a strange set of circumstances, and it has to do with the decline of the DVD market, which is partly responsible. The producers were getting anxious about all sorts of different issues. In any normal set of circumstances, we would have kept going, but the circumstances were not normal, so we were cancelled essentially to be replaced by what they thought of as a newer, fresher show that they could make more money off of, which is of course Stargate Universe. But unfortunately, their plans went quite horribly awry, and they actually ended up losing quite a bit of money. And our show, really, you know, it got cut off too early.


BJ: Yeah, especially as you said in your talk about Vegas; it was really taking a new direction, and it could have continued along that route, but then it got cancelled.

JF: It was the penultimate episode, and we shot that knowing the show was going to be cancelled. It was always kind of a little bit of a tragedy, I was always like “aaah, that’s a shame, this is such a great episode, too bad we didn’t do this three or four years ago.” So, that’s the way it goes, in TV land.


BJ: And sadly it was replaced with Stargate Universe. It’s a shame that Universe didn’t quite match up to the calibre of shows like SG1 or Atlantis

JF: Well, it wasn’t really trying to be SG1 or Atlantis, it was really trying to be Battlestar.


BJ: Yeah, they attempted to blend the two, which could have worked, but I didn’t feel it was that successful.

JF: It could possibly have worked, but it would have to be under different helmsman-ship. The strength of Stargate was the sort of self-deprecating, wink of the eye, adventurous quality that we had. Not in anyway great pretence of sending messages and having intense drama, that was not really… I think the strength of Stargate. You know, they took what was successful, and they changed it, like when they made a new formula for Coke. They all ran back to the original formula, they realised it was wrong, so maybe they’ll do that. Who knows, we’ll see what happens.


BJ: Fingers crossed! There was word of an Atlantis movie, but nothing’s been said about that since about 2009?

JF: Yeah, the studio, MGM, has been suffering, it went bankrupt, I mean there were so many problems. So, we are largely a victim of their problems, and their problems are significant. If they had been Warner Brothers or Sony it would have been entirely possible we would have kept going. MGM was just a mess, and they’re reorganising and… But I’m sure they’ll become successful again in the near future, but right now it’s just a matter of cleaning up the mess. They lost a lot of money.


BJ: If you could go on to do an Atlantis movie, would you?

JF: Oh yeah, absolutely! Provided we could get all of our group back together.


BJ: Yeah, if you could get the entire cast back…

JF: If they couldn’t get everybody back together, it’s questionable, but yeah, no, absolutely. That’d also be weird if there were new people doing it, it wouldn’t be the same. Although, you’d be surprised what Hollywood will do to save a bit of money! “We’ll take Laurel out, and Hardy out, and it’ll be called Laurel and Hardy with different people!” You know, they’ll do that.


BJ: “Sod David Hewlett, we don’t need him! Nor that Flanigan fellow!” Nah, wouldn’t work!

JF: Maybe they’ll do an SG1 movie, or a Universe… I don’t think they’ll do a Universe movie. It wouldn’t have the audience for it.


BJ: It really didn’t take off and keep the spirit of Stargate alive as much as I’d hoped.

JF: It didn’t. I also think that they really upset the fan-base. You’ve got a real loyal fan-base that’s been nothing but supportive, generous and instead they go “oh, we don’t need that fan-base any more, we’re looking for a younger, hipper, cooler audience. If you don’t like it don’t watch it. We’re going in a new direction and don’t need our pre-existing fans.” Which is a really, really reckless approach, and it had very disastrous consequences as a result. The fans have not really forgiven that.


BJ: At the end of the day, a franchise is supported mostly by its fan-base. The cast can be fantastic, have some great scripts and all the money in the world, but it’ll be the fan-base that makes or breaks it.

JF: Absolutely. Assuming the fan-base… Well yes and no. Assuming the fan-base watches the show when they are needed to watch the show and buy the DVDs. If the fan-base is massive but they download everything, that show will disappear also. You need money to make a show, if your revenue streams are drying up and people are taking things for free, there’s no way to make quality programming. It’s one of those things.


BJ: Yeah… And are you currently working on any new projects?

JF: Oh yeah. Look at that. [He lifts his right arm, pointing to a swollen elbow.] I’ve just finished a film with Jean-Claude Van Damme (Six Bullets), and I play an ex-Mixed Martial Artist world champion, and I had a tattoo that ran from here [points to shoulder] all the way down to here [points to wrist], a scar here and another scar here [points to cheek and eye brow]. When I came back from work and into the hotel, people would actually get out of the elevator. They were scared of me! And I was like “hey, this is kinda fun… Oh, your restaurant is crowded, there’re no tables available? Watch.” So it was interesting. We did a lot of stunts, and it still kind of hurts, but it was a lot of fun.

In case you were wondering why my elbow looked like it had a giant tumour; I hit it. Actually, somebody else hit it, it’s somebody else’s fault! With a machine gun. It was shot in Romania, and the rules of stunts in Romania are a lot looser… “Alright, we blow things up.” Yeah, great, what’re you using? “We use dynamite, that’s how you blow things up.” They do actually use dynamite – they’re a lot looser with the rules, so you gotta be careful.


JH: We’ve got to wrap things up now.

BJ: Oh, blimey…

JF: Oh, right, I just gotta sign this, sorry.


BJ: Thank you for your time, it was a pleasure meeting you.

JF: Yeah, you too. Take care.


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Q: What has been the impact of the role of John Sheppard on your own personality? Did it bring something new to you or were you always the perfect Colonel?
JF: No, it’s a different character, but there is obviously a lot of cross-over. I’m a bit of a soloist in life and I think Sheppard starts in the show as a soloist. Then I think he becomes a team player, toward the end.

Ironically, it’s a similar arch in my personal life with the show. I started looking out for myself on the show and then I became good friends with everybody. I feel close to them and I feel like we’re just one unit. That’s true in life in general, my whole life has gone from very singular to being very plural.


Q: What about the SGA movie?
JF: To be honest with you, there was never a plan for a movie. It was a rumour that the producers were perfectly happy to let out there, and I was always deeply uncomfortable with that. There were never any commitments for it, and I know because nobody ever contacted me. I did however say, well, it’s possible, but they would’ve been doing it without me, because nobody has talked to me. They had cancelled Stargate SG1, they’d cancelled Atlantis, and they were launching a new show called Universe; it was important to let the fans feel that there something else left from the other shows. I think it was not smart and it was disingenuous. Everybody who would have asked me, I said the movie is a no.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t think it will happen in the future. I think it will actually happen sometime. It could just be a very long time, could be in a year or two, I don’t know. I think the franchise has that dormant quality that it could sprout out at any time, not unlike Startrek.


Q: Do you like to see yourself on the screen?
JF: I hate it! I don’t watch it! I don’t watch anything I did. I watch the dailies and I try to learn from the dailies simple craft issues, like: am I moving too much, am I speaking clearly, am I at the right angle for the camera or am I turning too much; little craft issues I look at. Could I have done it better, am I breaking apart the scene well enough, how many layers did I put into it…

So I’m very critical, I think, in a constructive way. I do it in a constructive way and I actually don’t have any ego when I watch this stuff. But when it goes to film and they cut it out and edit it and they send it out there, I don’t like to watch it. I’m so far past it, emotionally, that when I sit down to watch it I find it to be uncomfortable.


Q: Would you like your children to become actors?
JF: I really don’t want them to be actors. It’s a very difficult life. Statistically it is a miserable life. I think there are 120,000 members of the Screen Actors Guild; I believe that less than ten thousand make over 5,000 $ a year. If you took out the top 20 movie stars, it’s probably more like only two thousand people make over 10,000 $ a year. So, really nobody works as actors, statistically speaking. It’s a very brutal life, very difficult, you have to deal with a lot of rejection.

If they really really wanted to do it, I’d just say: hey, go make a lot of money and bring it to me! Bring your daddy the money!


Q: What was your most awkward moment on set?
JF: Besides now? I’m just joking! We did something that was so out of the blue… David would tell you this, because he remembers it distinctly. It’s just me and David and we were doing a scene. It was on film, the tape was running, he said something and I looked at him and I go: “I’m so ashamed!”. That wasn’t the line at all! I don’t know where it came from.

It was a conversation that David and I had had from earlier, joking about doing science fiction and doing some other things and being very self-effacing, and somehow it just popped up. I was like [whispering]: “that’s really too bad, because that’s on the film”. It was funny. David seized at it, of course, making it double uncomfortably for me.

editor’s note: from several other recounts, it seems that shortly after they started shooting SGA, Joe invited his fellow cast members to watch together the “Galaxy Quest” movie and to compare notes with the characters. The “I’m so ashamed” moment appears to be connected to that.


Q: New projects?
JF: Tomorrow I leave to go shoot the thing called Heavy Metal, Metal Hurlant. It’s based on the Heavy Metal comic books and the movie. I’ve just finished doing an action film with Jean Claude van Damme in Romania and I’ll be finishing doing this French episode.

There’re always things percolating, possibly happening, but I don’t like to talk about anything unless it’s a done deal. So there will probably be something else before Christmas but there’s no way to tell at this point. Unfortunately in this business things change fast and you can think you’re doing something, and like a week before you find out the whole project is cancelled.


Q: Have you ever been here before?
JF: Marseille? I came here once, when I was like 15 years old and I remember walking the streets and that’s about it. I’ve been all over France but Marseilles is one of the places I really don’t know that well but it’s a great city. I mean I really like it. I, personally as an American, I like cities that have a authentic quality to them, and this is, you know, it’s a port city, and it’s also an industrial town, but that’s fine. I wouldn’t like a town that was trying to hide that.

I like towns like Detroit and Chicago because they’re real. They’re real cities, they’re not cities trying to pretend that they’re something else. Vancouver, for example, is a port city but they’re trying to pretend that they are Paris or Hong Kong or New York City, and they’re not. It’s not the same thing.


Marseille, 31 Oct 2011

Oct 312011
HalfWay Con, picture by krisrussel

Some tidbits from the recent convention in Marseille, collected from tweets during the two days. Should new info become available to us, we’ll be sure to add it here.

Post has been updated on 6 July 2013, scroll down for new stuff

Guests to the convention: Joe Flanigan, Torri Higginson, Paul McGillion, Dan Payne, Robin Dunne, Rekha Sharma.

First day panel:

  • Jetlag maybe? ‘I’m very happy to be here. I don’t know where I am, but I’m happy to be here.’
  • Paul: ‘I wish David Hewlett had never kissed me’ Joe: ‘I wish I had never seen this’
  • Joe: ‘Torri is very diplomatic and I’m not’
  • Joe: ‘For the record Paul is the guy with the hair gel’ / Paul: ‘For the record Joe had a beautiful young lady following him around set with a mirror for fixing his hair. And the girl was David Hewlett’
  • Joe went to Sorbonne b/c he wanted to got to Paris. One of the best years of his life.
  • Q: fav shows? Torri loved Dead Wood, now Torchwood. Joe Breaking Bad, Paul as a kid Star Treck, now The Killing.
  • Q: alien life? Torri and Paul think it’s pretty arrogant believing we’re the only ones. Joe claims he is an alien ;-)
  • Which SG character would you have liked to be? Joe’s answer ‘Weir – I would have worked only one day a week’ …. Paul’s addition: ‘and you could have been really smart’
  • Joe told Torri that her presence in SGA was felt.
  • Torri: ‘I’d been stalking Joe for about 15 years I was(n’t?) an actor and when I heard he was doing Stargate I paid somebody off’

Second day panel:

  • “J’adore Johnny Cash”
  • Joe doesn’t want to film things his kids shouldn’t see/might be embarrassed about.
  • Joe was asked to do a part in NCIS. He wanted to do a recurring part. They wanted to look for one but that was 4 years ago.
  • Torri was sick and she was barely able to speak, so the guys said they’d speak for her: “bla bla bla” Joe then said “What Torri is saying she really liked working with Joe” And she nodded. Also, Joe said they could’ve killed Carson in the end. Paul: “Again.”
  • After being asked about what they wouldn’t do on TV: Joe- “I would never kiss another man on TV.” Paul- “Are you flirting with me, cheeky little bugger?”
  • Joe’s shirt is a pic of an actual piece of art from Damien Hirst. A scull with diamonds worth 25 mio pounds.

Joe is ‘showing off’ his diamonds skull shirt, picture posted with permission by @silvercomet21

We’ll be forever in debt to silvercomet21 and AnnCarters for keeping us so promptly updated during the con. Also many thanks to krisrussel (great pictures!!), toomuchbuggy, LtMolly73, sez101, Anshiiie, AndreaKoeln, domdomjohnshep for words, pictures and retweets. Congratulations are in order for the HalfWay staff as well, who worked hard to make possible such a big event, their first.


Krisrussel’s wonderful album

New photos from Krisrusselliterally hundreds of them, each one better then the other (added on 5 Nov)

silvercomet21′s excellent album (added on 6 Nov)


Update 5 Nov 2011

We were also sent some new pictures, by the wonderful Baso Zachariadi on facebook, with Joe in-between-photo-ops.



Update 6 Nov 2011

Browsing through the very thorough con reports posted by @toomuchbuggy on her LiveJournal here and here,  by @sar101 in her LJ here, as well as the bits shared on the GateWord here and here, we’ve compiled some of the congoers memories all in one.


During Joe and Torri’s double photo as a joke a wraith ran in Torri who screamed and jump while Joe didn’t even flinch, the Wraith then ran over and knocked the background over hitting Joe, after rescuing him and repairing the set the photo shoot continued on.

Joe greeted most everyone in French, unless you beat him to it and he knew to respond in English.


Saturday panel

Joe said during one of the panels that he’s a real Francophile… euhm… lover of everything French. And you could see that when the translator was doing her thing, he sometimes really paid attention to what she was saying to try and understand her.

The first panel, Joe, Torri and Paul. They were asked about aliens Paul pointed at Joe, Joe pointed at Paul.

Question: In the 5 seasons, were there any episodes you’d like to have the movie direction gone different than they had gone?
Joe: It’s a difficult thing because you always wish something and you have it in your head, the script and you have it where the episode may lead in your head and when you see it cut together, it’s always different than you think. So, would you do things differently? Absolutely on a lot of cases but one of the beautiful things is that we’re in a business that is a collaboration it’s not like writing a novel or painting a painting. You have to work with all these people and each person has a contribution and each person changes the project and interact with it. *looks at translator* How long is that gonna take for you to translate that?

*translator translates*

Joe: Can you say that again?

Torri: I wish that Elizabeth had more active time. Halfway through season 2 she had become an administrator instead of part of…
Joe: Doing party tricks
Torri: Yeah… she’s way better than Torri, but I wish that I had the input which *looks to Joe* you seemed to have… I would have asked for her to be a bit more involved and to see – I wish we would have seen some of the tools more often coming from this place of diplomacy and yeah, I think she became a bit more secretary.
Joe: And you know, Torri is very diplomatic. And I’m not. So I’d go into the office to make a lot of suggestions and they were almost always the same thing; ‘Maybe I’m on a planet… with strangely beautiful women.’
Torri: I’d really wished to see that we’d visit an island… ehm planet with 8 armed men. We never got there.
Joe: No…
Torri: Then it switched to a planet with just men…
Joe: You were already on an Island with a bunch of men… It was called Atlantis.
Paul: I wish that David Hewlett didn’t kiss me.
Joe: And I wish that I had not seen David Hewlett kiss him.
Paul: Uncomfortable…
Torri: I heard you had been rehearsing that over and over again.
Paul: …like sandpaper…
Joe: After we yelled ‘cut’ they kept kissing.

Paul was asked about the kiss between him and David. He said that he had read the script and after Martin came over and asked what he thought about it Paul was like horrified but asked what does David think about it, Martin said David was cool because you were friends, then went to see David who apparently was also horrified and asked what Paul thought Martin said oh yeah he is cool because you two are friends. Paul says he still has the restraining order but it was actually the first guy on guy kiss in scifi which he thinks is pretty cool.

Paul: Less politics, less economics, less war, more stargate. Less Joe Flanigan. More Dr. Weir.
Joe: Paul, you should run for office.
Paul: I really should.
Joe: You could be the prime minister of Canada
Paul: Thank you. I’ve got better hair.
Torri: A better heart.
Joe: I’d vote for you. I’m an American, I can vote in Canada.
Torri: You could buy Canada (or Goodbye Canada?)
Joe: For the record, for the record, He (Paul) is the guy with the hairgel. It’s like a chemical plant! You cannot believe how much stuff he puts in his hair. For the record… *imitates Paul’s voice* my god he’s a handsome fellow!
Paul: For the record… Joe had a beautiful lady, on set, following him with a mirror, around so he could fix his hair. For the record. … It was David Hewlett holding the mirror.
Joe: True.

Joe told us how much he loved France he spent a year studying and although he didn’t spend a year studying as hard as she should had, Paul responded that he had seen a couple of French kids looking around that look like Joe. Joe said he had 3 sons that he knew off.
A fan asked who was their favourite SGA commander Carter or Weir? Joe immediately said with Torri there he was going to say Torri. He expanded saying the character of Weir was great in theory a diplomat but once in Atlantis the writers didn’t know what to do with the character, she rarely got to use that skill set that she was meant to have. Torri agreed saying they missed some really nice character points such as having Teyla teach Weir self-defence and she would have liked to see more of that friendship.

Joe: I wanted Torri to stay. I made it very clear, and then the producer stopped telling me things… it’s true.


Torri:  I begged them from season 1 to explore the relationship between Rachel’s character and mine. I thought it was a male’s world and it would be these two women learning from each other. And I thought it would be great if Weir went to Teyla and said; ‘Okay we’re now living in a dangerous place and I don’t know how to defend myself. I don’t wanna be someone who has to be taken care of, I’m a leader, I could be fighting.’ So they sort of missed an opportunity that they could have had, to embrace the idea of action and that would have been an interesting journey.
Joe: I think they missed an opportunity… they missed a lot of opportunities in that regard. For example, Torri and Rachel could have had this whole thing and I could have walked in…
Paul: Or Dr. Beckett…
Joe: Also though, and I’m said this to Torri before and I’ll say it again, You always felt like you weren’t doing enough. Because we were running around on different planets and stuff, but the truth is, when you broke it down and saw the episode, your presence was really powerful and your screen time was almost the same as ours. So you know, I know that it felt like that because she would come in and shoot and she’d be done in two days. Because she’s in one set, so it’s very easy to shoot. Our stuff we were shooting in a bunch of different locations. So… it never translated like that though.
Torri: I just wanted to be part of the team!
Joe: She wanted to go out and play.

Someone asked what they would have liked to see Atlantis do before it ended, Torri said bring back Weir and give her a proper goodbye.  Joe said Paul would like to kiss David again to which Paul said he would give him a Glasgow kiss which is a head butt. Joe would like to see more of Atlantis as they had this amazing city and they explored very little of it. Joe also said he felt that the background of the character of Sheppard had never been explored only in Outcast which he had helped write.


Sunday panel

The next day, poor Torri had really lost her voice of course it didn’t help when the microphone wasn’t turned on, Joe was more than willing to help, so started saying ‘I think Joe’s really talented and amazing’…

Question: What was it about Fringe that made you take the role?
Joe: Money… *laughs* They said that it would be a part that they saw that could have an interesting kind of ‘life’, so to speak. I had not read the part really and I didn’t know anything about Fringe but everyone I knew was really positive but dying in Fringe doesn’t mean anything because there’s two worlds so I still don’t know anything. They actually said come on up for two days of work and blablablabla It turned out to be NINE days of work, because I didn’t realize that they wanted me to be the dead guy, lying down. I thought they were going to use like a double. So it was very… I had to exercise much more patience than I thought I had. It was tough to check the ego as I was lying on the floor, dead. But it was a good experience for me.
Paul: Joe was a fantastic corpse. Brilliant acting.

Question: What would you not do for a role? 
Joe: I would never kiss another man on screen. I have values, that’s all. *smiles*
Paul: You’re a sexy cheeky… are you flirting with me?
Joe: You know, it’s a good question though, because I have had to make decisions and I have three little boys and I really don’t want to be doing things that they can’t see. Maybe not now, but I don’t want them looking at stuff saying; ‘Why did my dad do that?! That’s embarrassing.’ I don’t want them to see that.
Paul: Torri … *giggles* once got fired from an agent because she would not do a commercial for pharmaceuticals. She wouldn’t do that, she doesn’t like that.
Joe: But Paul ended up doing that commercial naked.

Joe and Torri got asked about their relationship on SGA. Joe said Tori was very sexual but it would have undermined her authority to have an affair with him as they weren’t equal she was his superior. Torri said Weir definitely had a mad crush on Sheppard but couldn’t do it to herself or him. Instead she packed lots of batteries. Paul laughed and joked that generator outage was now explained. Joe joked that was what had drained the ZPM.

Update 28 Dec 2011

The “Sanctuary France” team got the opportunity to have an interview with Joe during the convention and they have done a great job, asking him excellent questions, all fresh and interesting, offering him the chance to tell us things we didn’t know about him.

link to the video file of the interview on youtube

Update 7 January 2012

Nice little message on video to Pierre Tessier, Joe’s French official voice double: “Hope you’re doing it right, or I’ll come after you! Thank you.”

link to the video file of Joe’s message on youtube


Update 6 July 2013

The convention DVD has been released and includes video recordings of the full panels, as well as small bits of extra footage from photo ops, cocktail and others. It’s an excellent product, and according to our knowledge this is one of the few scifi conventions where organisers actually offer the fans that couldn’t attend the opportunity to watch the talks in full.

Halfway Convention official site

Here below a few screen caps from the DVD (make sure to click on them for full size).


Oct 162011
posted with permission by @JadeMcKay42

Almost transcripts of Joe Flanigan’s Saturday and Sunday talks at Collectormania, London  (definitely not verbatim, but pretty close to what had been said).


Saturday’s talks:

Q: How was it to work with David Hewlett?

I love David, I see him fairly often. Although it’s hard to believe, David is even funnier in real life. He does this insidious thing when he starts cracking jokes and doesn’t give you any pause between one and another, so that pretty soon you’re having hard time breathing, and he just nails it all the time.

Q: Thoughtcrimes?

I would have loved to go on with that show and have a series out of it, but NBC made Medium instead, which is basically the same idea, only much more serious. Medium is good, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think it’s as entertaining as our show would have been, at least this is what I keep saying to myself.

Q: What would have happened in the next season Atlantis?

I would have ended up on a planet with a bunch of girls, Cpt Kirk’s style. We should have explored the new story openings from Vegas, and get back and forth to these parallel dimensions, or from Earth to space and back.  From time to time, a series needs a new imprint, to make the audience pay attention to a show that they are already used to. The TV experience is different from movies; when you go to the movies, you buy the ticket, it’s dark, you’re captive, so you watch the movie. While when watching TV, you can also do other things, so it has to catch your eye. If your audience becomes too used to ‘the look’, every now and then you need to create a new visual imprint that would make them stop and pay attention to the show. I would have liked these new storylines. And I was going to get a boob job, and I just know it would have brought some new viewers!

Q: Fringe?

It was fun shooting Fringe. They asked me to work for a few days, but then I’m getting dead. I didn’t know much about the show, as I hadn’t watched it before. I ended up shooting for 8-9 days. ‘So you want me to play the dead guy when he’s dead?!?’ Generally you have a double, I mean you’re dead, for god sakes. But I don’t know, I guess I’m half dead or something, and they really needed to focus on me dead. So I spent about 5-6 days on that, just being dead, and I’m not really good at that. In that regard it was challenging. It was great working with all those guys. I knew Josh Jackson, from Dawson Creek, and I didn’t even meet him. I think Fringe is more popular here than in US.

(Showing us the dodgy elbow) Look at that: I just finished Six Bullets a film with Jean Claude Van Damme, where I play a mixed martial arts world champion and I have a big tattoo on the arm and shoulder, a scar on the forehead and a little scar on the cheekbone. And when I got back from work into my hotel people would actually get out of the elevator, everybody was scared of me. I thought hey, that could be fun: are you having troubles getting a table in a crowded restaurant? Watch this!!

We did a lot of stunts and I’m still paying the price. My elbow looks like it has a giant tumor in it.  I got hit, it’s actually somebody else’s fault. I got hit with a machine gun. The movie was shot in Romania and the stunt rules are a lot looser: (in a fake Romanian accent) ‘we use dynamite to make things blow up.’ And then they really do it.

Q. The weirdest thing you were asked for a photo-op?

Just recently, David and I were asked to do a ‘really kinky thing’ by a Japanese fan who didn’t quite speak English (gibberish imitating Japanese) and it was very weird… She positioned us like… ‘no, no, we’re not doing this, sorry!’… Maybe for the right price? No. That was weird. People sometimes look at you as they wouldn’t realize you’re just a person, but as you were indeed the character and expect you to behave as the character at the push of a button, and this could be challenging sometimes. Luckily for me, my character wasn’t that far away from home.

After answering, he challenged the fan who had asked the question: ‘are you going to ask me to do something really weird tomorrow at the photo-op? You think about it, you still got 24 hours.’

Q. SG Universe?

I tried to watch it, didn’t like it. I know I’m not supposed to say that, but you know me, I’ve got a big mouth. Battlestar and Stargate are different, and the qualities that made Stargate what it is are self deprecation, humour, a little repartee with the characters and I didn’t see that. I saw a lot of screaming. Apparently good drama is all about screaming. It didn’t worked and it wasn’t the actors’ fault. Actors were really talented and were deeply upset with me and David for not supporting the show. But it wasn’t personal, I’m always supporting actors as I know what they go through. I never wanted that show to fail. David told them ‘you have to understand we were essentially replaced by you guys, otherwise we would still be on the air…‘ It speaks for itself the fact that Universe imploded and buried the franchise as well. It was taken out of the air for the first time in 13 years.

Q. What joke or one liner was your favorite?

I don’t know… My reality is off camera and funniest things usually happen off camera. David had probably the best one liners, don’t you think? Maybe we should ask the fans about mines.

Then the fan offered: in Hide&Seek, “I shot him!”

‘I shot him!’? oh, yeah! That was actually my line, I remember saying that. Sometimes these lines are funny, and they really work, but you had to fight for them. One of my favorite line is from this movie I can’t even say the name, it’s called ‘Ferocious Planet(blah!). It was called ‘The Other Side’, it’s a science fiction movie that I did, it was shot in Ireland and there was this US senator who gets killed by the monster. I just said off camera: ‘I guess he won’t be running for reelection.‘ That was funny! When we gave that to the network, they didn’t know what to do with this line. And then they changed the name to ‘Ferocious Planet’, I think that says it all… If you’re going to be in genre shows, you either have to go for self-deprecation, or the show needs to be really really good, meaning high production levels.

posted with permission by @JadeMcKay42

Q. How many hours for the tattoo make-up?

The first time it took a couple of hours and then it was just a maintenance issue. It was a decal thing, not henna, which would have been easier, but apparently henna is illegal in Romania, don’t ask me why. You can easily get uranium there, but not henna.

Q. What character you’ve never played would you take?

There’s so many! Any of the Indiana Jones and obviously Han Solo. Basically I want to be Harrison Ford! I liked that series, Deadwood. When the script came out I was working, otherwise I would had loved to read for it, but I couldn’t. The way the character was written in the pilot would had become a great character. Ian McShane devoured almost the whole show because he was so good, he’s amazing on that show. I would have liked to play that role; there was nobody there to go toe to toe with him and ‘push him back’. Or any of Paul Newman’s roles, I would do any of those.

What makes me angry is when I watch a movie and I see guys being given the chance to really hit it and they don’t. There are a lot of male leading men who don’t take advantage of the materials that are given to them. It’s not always their fault, it could be the directing, the editing, the studio… but it’s unnerving to watch an opportunity given to somebody and him not reaching out. It’s like being on the bench at the World series and watching somebody not playing second base as good as you could play second base.

Q. What about working again with David Hewlett?

I’m thinking about asking him to help me split some firewood, that would be working together and he hasn’t done that yet. We will definitely do something, and we keep talking about it. We have a number of ideas and I told him that after I’m back from Romania we need to seriously sit down and hammer something very specific that we’ve talked about, and stop waiting for people who say they’d be doing Stargate movies and things like that.

Q. Will you be in the last Creation Vancouver convention, next April?

Is it the last one? I don’t know, probably. I think they’ve invited me, they usually do. April is so far away, global warming… Unless I’m working. I honestly prefer doing movies rather than doing conventions. This is what I want to do for fans, to give them my work, as opposed to coming here and making an ass of myself and forcing you guys to laugh at my jokes.

Q. Do you think other actors feel the same about you not playing as good as they would?

(laughs) I hope not, but I’m sure it happens. Actually, it’s not always about doing it better, but doing ‘your way’. You can’t really say that one actor is ‘better’ than the other, although we do say it, but it’s not like comparing baseball players, with statistics and everything. For instance Christopher Walken in that Bond film that was preposterous, but Walken was so good, he was doing what Walken does and nobody does it like him. I want to see a certain amount of authenticity. When I started Stargate, everybody was like ‘you’re no Richard Dean, he’s like God, he’s MacGyver’ and I didn’t even see SG1 so I didn’t even try to be like him. After a couple of episodes nobody was asking me that anymore. I’m fortunate because I was able to do one hundred episodes, so that’s my role, it’s not somebody else’s role. I’m lucky in that regard. I’m sure there’s somebody there saying they could have been better, I know David always thought he could do it better.

(while waiting for the microphone to get to a fan placed in the first row, close to the stage): Go on with the question and I can repeat it. You want to see me naked? I’m sorry.

Q. Have you enjoyed ‘Good day for it’?

Good Day For It is a modern day western I did. They were looking for somebody for the lead role and I wanted to do it. But this guy was supposed to be beaten up and torn apart and rightly I think they got Robert Patrick for the part. The truth is he’s perfect for the role. I had a really good time. At this point in my life I just do things, and I enjoy the process and I hope for a good result. Ten years ago it was the opposite, I was obsessed with the result. But I don’t have control over the result.

Q. Fringe recorded some really good numbers

Really? I like that! It wasn’t just the premiere numbers? I’m the greatest person in the world!! We’ll try to let know the networks executives that I have some value on a show, even dead… I did the same for Warehouse 13, and they were counting on the Stargate fanbase, and after I shot it I got nervous, thinking if I didn’t deliver the numbers I’m just another schmuck. Thankfully, the fans showed up and it was the highest rated event in the network history, and I felt relieved.

Q. What’s next?

I just finished the movie with Jean Claude Van Damme. I’m going to this convention in Marseille and then straight to Brussels to do a TV series that Sony has, based on the Heavy metal comic book / Metal hurlant in French. It’s really cool, kind of like Blade runner but with even more bad guys. I don’t know why I said yes, I’ve never done a non-American TV show, but this is very cool.

posted with permission by @JadeMcKay42

Sunday talks

Just as he did at the previous day’s talks, Joe opened with: ‘I don’t really like to be up here and pontificate… so let’s hear your questions’

Q: Do you keep in contact with the rest of cast?

I try not to! No, it’s not like that, we are really close, all of us, Jason lives very close to me, he just texted me yesterday if I wanted to go surfing. I see him often, and now that David is in Santa Monica I see him also fairly often, I saw Rachel at the Conan premiere, as you know Jason went from Ronan to Conan. I said that at his premiere: ‘look, it’s Ronan with a C‘. And I talk to McGillion also, he will be in Marseille with me, unfortunately… I told him to stay home…

The next fan had a problem with the microphone, so Joe couldn’t hear his question, but took a wild guess “Oh you wanted to know why am I such an amazing actor?” When his microphone got online, we had the surprise to learn his question was actually linked to SG Universe and SGA possible crossover episodes.

I also heard that Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson were hanging out together. No, these were just rumors. The producers knew they weren’t going to do that, but they never came clean with the fans, they didn’t want to disappoint them. An SG1 and SGA movie could possibly happen, with the same actors but perhaps with different producers and writers. I don’t know if Universe would be part of it, although they would need to tie in all the shows, which would be weird, as Universe is too serious compared to the others.

Q. Do you have other stories with the SG1 actors similar to that with Christopher Judge?

Oh, you’re asking about that extremely sordid story with Christopher Judge? He is a very hard man to go toe to toe with. I tried, much to my chagrin.  We were never serious on the show, I don’t know if this came through (!) ‘We’re all gonna die!’ Jason and I would team up pulling pranks around, we were an unstoppable duo of pranksters and Hewlett was our favorite target, he was so easy to bother. I remember, for instance, when Hewlett was having a baby… (pause, as he realizes how weird that sounded) Yes, he actually thought he was having the baby. He was wondering about these Lamaze classes… I have three kids, I never went to any of these classes, or to the driving education classes, for that matter… And so we found this really horrible porno magazine. Don’t ask me how Jason got it! We thought we should plaster his trailer with it, as a ‘how to’. And we did. And he walked in. And he was… genuinely traumatized.

Then Jason took the photos down and stuck them in my laptop, and the next day at 6 am, we were going through security at the Vancouver airport, Jason, Chris Judge and myself. So here’s Jason, with dreadlocks, and tinfoiled food looking like hash, and they let him go through. And then there’s Chris, this big menacing guy, and then I came through. Apparently I fit a profile… and there’s this lady who’s messing with me. So she makes me open the laptop and she sees these… and I was like… (mimicking: these are not mine, I don’t know anything about THIS, I’m innocent) …guys…Chris…Jason… (in high pitch voice, searching desperate over his shoulder for some help). She looked at me and she was disgusted and told me… just go!… I felt dirty. They let me through, but I felt really dirty.

Look, I don’t want to take everybody’s time with just pranks (audience protesting). No? I’ll answer a few more questions and maybe more pranks later.

Q. What did you keep from the show?

(whispering) A little bit of my dignity. I remember we got this award I was actually proud of, the People’s Choice Award, it’s this glass sculpture type of thing and they gave it to the cast of Atlantis. For some reason the producer thought it was his and he kept it. But I don’t think he won it, it was us who won it, so, on the last day of shooting, I went up to his office. And by this moment he was a bit nervous about me. I knew I was going to be fired the next day, so I thought I had nothing to loose … So I went up there and said: ‘See that award on the shelf? I want it’. I grabbed it. I still have it.

On a TV show, everybody thinks they are the people responsible for its success, and everybody is partially right. In their case, after 12 years on the show, they thought their ministering as producers was the sole reason for the success and they were dismissive of the actors’ contribution. I kind of disagree with that, the actors are an important part of the show. I felt like Stargate relied on pretty strong characters, like Richard Dean Anderson’s. He’s unique, right? He’s not easily replaceable, and if you did, you’d have a different show. So I’d say the actors are important so I took the damn trophy! (audience cheers)

Q. How did you get along with SG1 actors?

They were great. At first, Rick and Michael were in our pilot, so they came to our show before we went to theirs. While Rick and I were in the helicopter together, flying over the glacier, I thought it was so cool, I was flying with MacGyver, so I handed him a paper clip and a rubber band ‘in case we’re going down, you should have these’. I thought I was too funny, but he looked at me ‘think you’re the first guy who said that?’ I felt so small… Then when we start shooting, as our show had more resources than theirs, we used to go next door, where they were shooting, and I would be like ‘what are you doing, hey it’s so hot in here, oh it’s because you don’t have A/C, see you guys later!’ and just walk out… I used to do that all the time, I think they hated me. I’m still seeing Michael and Amanda, I run into Rick every now and then, he lives in Malibu, he’s very involved in parenting.

Q. What’s your favorite period in history?

So that’s a serious question! Do you really want to talk about history? I did a thesis on modern European and American intellectual history between WWI and WWII. I just love history, I always did. If you learn history you get more perspective, so you’re less mystified by what is happening now. For me, it gives more sense. My oldest son likes also history and our conversations are priceless.

Q: Have you ever been in an archaeology dig?

No, I haven’t. But I buried like a six pack somewhere at my place and I couldn’t find it…

No I haven’t been in an archaeology dig and I would probably like it for about 5 minutes… with the toothbrush… I would loose patience. It’s not active enough for me. I’m hyper active, I drive people nuts on vacation. I’m told: can’t you just sit down there? Yes, I can sit there, or there, or there…

Q: What’s coming up next for you?

I just wrapped a film 5 days ago, with Jean Claude Van Damme, featuring some hard core action. I get to play a really cool character, the ex-mixed martial art world champion and I have this really cool tattoo that goes over my arm to my neck. It was a lot of fun. It was just wrapped up, I don’t know when it’s going to come out. I did an appearance also on Fringe, so short I don’t remember even doing it, it was like a couple of days in Vancouver. Then I’m going to Brussels to shoot this very interesting project that Sony has, the French call it Metal Hurlant, it’s very Blade Runner-ish, which is cool. And then there’s Thanksgiving, and then Christmas… Beyond that I don’t know what’s going on, but something always comes up. I’ve been very busy, fortunately, ‘cos I need to feed my kids, if they were eating just one meal a day I could save so much money…

Q. What existing TV show you’d like to do?

I’m guilty for not watching TV. If I could be on a show that I’m aware of it would be something like Boardwalk Empire; I watch Mad Men, I feel it’s cool, it’s almost that it’s too cool to be good for it. It’s good, but I think it’s more smug than good, and that’s okay.

What I really want to do is movies, because it’s more fun, and I’d like to do the Uncharted movie, I like the Drake character, I’m trying to figure it out how to do this, so just make that happen for me, will you?

Q. If Atlantis had rightfully had its fully deserved 20-30 seasons, what kind of resolution you would have seen for the characters and the city?

I probably had a cane to smack McKay around. The show did something funny by taking a lot of story lines from SG1 and just tweaking bits of them. I think the writers ran out of ideas, which is ridiculous, as there are countless ideas. Running out of ideas on a SF show is almost preposterous, unless you lock yourself into a certain mythology. That’s why the episode Vegas was great and I though it would had been our best opportunity to open up new chapter stories. For instance Fringe does that, you have there two universes and two types of characters. I thought that was a great idea, and then we’ve got cancelled, damn! Who knows, maybe we’ll come back to that…

Q. Did you stalk / cyberstalk anyone?

Editor’s note: couldn’t get this question right and it was weird also for Joe, he couldn’t understand it exactly, so not sure if this coverage is accurate

I’m so lazy I could never do that, even if was obsessed with someone. So the answer would be no. Have you? No, don’t tell me!

Q. Do you have any tattoos?

No, I don’t, it wouldn’t help me in any way. A tattoo is a bit of a hindrance for an actor. But it was a lot of fun having such a menacing one, plus the scars here. When I came back from work, people wouldn’t make eye contact, they were very nervous when I was around. One night, some Italian dignitary was staying in the hotel, and I came in with my bags, bloody knuckles, scars, tattoo and while walking into the elevator there were these three guys in suits that stopped me (Italian accent): ‘Excuse me, sir, where are you going?’ ‘To my room.’ So we had to go to the registration, they weren’t sure that I was a ‘guest’.

‘It was fun having a menacing tattoo, plus the scars here’ (posted with permission by @JadeMcKay42)


Q. What was your favorite story line in Atlantis?

Vegas was one of my favorites. It was also very expensive to shoot. Also Outcast… any episode that would be outside, with guns, was fun to me. A harder part was to shoot inside, with the green screen, and the technobabble, when I have to listen to McKay, or at least I must pretend I’m listening… It takes long hours to shoot a show, 12-14 hours a day, every single day, and then I had to fly back to LA on Fridays night or Saturdays morning, to be with my wife and kids, and fly back on Sunday, and that’s pretty exhausting. So I’d say the hardest part of the show was maintaining energy levels. So frankly, if we are talking 30 seasons, I’m not sure I would have make it. Rick did a clever thing towards the last seasons of SG1, he reduced to only 3 days per week, 3 weeks per month, for about 8 months, adding to no more than 72 days per year. Now, that’s fine! When shooting recently the movie, we had the luxury of shooting just 2-3 pages at most a day, while on a TV show you shoot 12 pages a day. But I’m still alive. Thanks everyone!

Jul 022011
sheppardmasculinity screenshot square cut

Martin Firrell’s Hero Remixed project is slowly piling up new material. Mr. Firrell likes to do his work well and judging by “teasers” it will well be worth the effort. Answering to fans’ impatience, the master offered a time estimate for project completion: March 2012

Latest update: 24 June 2012. Scroll down for recent info.

Dunnia1 Susanne Pelzer

@martinfirrell …the pieces we’ve seen you did with him,such an awesome and gorgeous work you did,so can you tell us when we’ll see it all?

9 Jun 2011

Martin Firrell @martinfirrell Martin Firrell

@Dunnia1 The plan is Mar 2012 to release the whole project… Thanks for kind words!

9 Jun 2011

Meanwhile, Martin Firrell generously shares with us, from time to time, bits and pieces of the work in progress. The latest snipped featuring Joe Flanigan was offered to the public in early June and it’s a longer version of the previously displayed “SheppardMasculinity” video, offering us a glimpse of what’s behind Joe’s constant crave for motion.

Martin Firrell's SheppardMasculinity (longer version) video screenshot

Martin Firrell's SheppardMasculinity (longer version) video screenshot


Transcript of the longer version of “SheppardMasculinity” video:

Men are going through a very hard time.

A lot of talk about women, let’s talk about men, they are going through a really hard time.

They don’t have the outlets that [they] were built for, for hundreds of thousands of years.

We are warriors, for the most part. We create battles, we need confrontation.

That physicality, the connection you have with the natural world, the connection you have with physical activity has been reduced to sports.

I know that I, in particular, I live a physical life, I’m outside as often as possible, I’m in the water, I’m gardening, I’m riding bikes, I’m surfing. I have to have physical action and I’ve to have contact with nature once a day, then I’m ok, and then I can handle things.

You can find our more about this project in our earlier post on the subject and on AlaVita’s Entertainment blog.


Update 7 January 2012

After having announced the short postponement of the release date from March to April 2012 with this tweet, Mr Firrell decided it’s “too much good stuff not to include it all”, so the Metascifi project is now due this summer.

@martinfirrell Martin Firrell
Metascifi launch put back to Summer 2012 – too much good stuff not to include it all

The “SheppardMasculinity” video on is also back to its shorter version.

Update 11 January 2012

The project’s got a new name: Metascifi, and an estimated release date: end of summer 2012. Most importantly, it will be downloadable, so no need to travel to the UK to enjoy it. Meantime, Mr Firrell is teasing the twitterworld with quotes and other little bits:

9 Jan: 3 months more editing at least on my project Metascifi. What wonders will be revealed! Oh and Nose meet grindstone.
9 Jan: ‘take these mythologies and apply them to your own life’ as Joe Flanigan has so eloquently put it!
11 Jan: ‘you gotta come equipped; if your well’s empty, you’re not going to get much out of anything.’ Joe Flanigan, Metascifi.
11 Jan: @indielynne Metascifi will be downloadable so you can see it wherever you are in the world… no need to travel to the UK for this one :)
11 Jan: Digital, technotastic, downloadable sci fi goodness – that’ll be Metascifi! provided I work work work etc
Update 13 January 2012
13 Jan: Taking my eyes to bed so they are fresh and glinty for tomorrow’s Metascifi edit. Have calc’ed I need 56 editing days to finish. Night all!


Update 8 April 2012

The project is constantly evolving, judging from its new appearance: the video available now on Martin Firrell’s website has changed, and it’s one of those initially uploaded, while the background is also different. With every new tease, Mr Firrell is positively building up tension in anticipation of this summer’s display!

A screen capture with the new look and the transcript of the video are to be found here below:

Character showed up as a soloist, doing his own thing, and then he became a team guy. So he got involved. He’s the type of guy who feels more than he’s comfortable showing, for sure. Like a lot of people. Especially guys. But not like me; I’m comfortable with my feelings, yeah.

Update 22 May 2012

New project? Joe attended FedCon for the second time this year (after his first participation in Bonn in May 2010), and after the event he apparently met again Mr. Firrell, as per his today’s tweet:

Delicious night out with @JoeFlanigan and friends, hatching new Joe-centric project and saving the world in the 43rd minute :)

Update 24 June 2012

According to Mr Firrell’s latest tweets, the project will be available for public in London in September.

@martinfirrel, 23 June 10:28 PM: I’m going to present my scifi project Metascifi @rewirelondon Unconference at Google Campus on 28 Sept. Come along!

@martinfirrell, 23 June 11:50 PM@ladygeeke Metascifi lands on Sep 28 at Unconference, Google Campus & then 30 Sep at BAFTA (which is instead of 1 Sep). Have fix 4U 4 BAFTA