Colin Ferguson (Eureka‘s Sheriff Jack Carter) is doing a Q & A with readers of SciFiAndTvTalk. Use the link below to submit your question:
Posts Tagged ‘Eureka’
Check out my NEW interview with Eureka’s Christopher Gauthier (Vincent). See link below:
WAREHOUSE 13 and Eureka, the Syfy Channel’s top scripted series, are joining together for the first time ever for a pair of crossover episodes this summer, it was announced today by Mark Stern, Executive Vice President of Development, Syfy, and Co-Head Original Content, Universal Cable Productions.
In the episodes, which are currently filming, Douglas Fargo (Neil Grayson) of Eureka’s Global Dynamics is sent to Warehouse 13 to help update its aging computer system. This triggers a seemingly sentient computer virus that sends the Warehouse into lockdown and traps the team inside The Warehouse 13 episode is entitled 13.1 and will air on Tuesday, August 3rd @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST.
The Eureka episode entitled Crossing Over, will air on Friday, August 6th @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST. Warehouse 13‘s Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti) pays a visit to Eureka, hoping to see some amazing technological wonders. She gets more than she bargains for, though, when seemingly random objects begin appearing around town. Working with Sheriff Carter (Colin Ferguson) and Fargo, Claudia has to help solve the mystery before the strange anomalies have deadly consequences…particularly for newcomer Dr. Grant (James Callis).
Rene Auberjonois (Boston Legal, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) will guest-star in the Warehouse 13 episode as former Warehouse agent Hugo Miller.
EUREKA, the Syfy Channel’s popular original dramedy series, has cast actor Jamie Kennedy (Ghost Whisperer, Scream trilogy), for a guest appearance on the show’s fourth season. Eureka is currently being filmed on-location in Vancouver, British Columbia. Syfy has ordered 20 episodes of the series, which will premiere July 9th, 2010 @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST. Kennedy joins a line-up of previously announced guest-stars including Jaime Ray Newman, Matt Frewer and Wil Wheaton.
Jamie Kennedy will play Dr. Ramsey in the episode entitled The Story of Oz, directed by series star Colin Ferguson (Sheriff Jack Carter). In the episode, Sheriff Carter leaves Eureka to visit his daughter Zoe (Jordan Hinson) at Harvard while the town celebrates Space Week. A new self-propagating oxygen technology developed Dr. Ramsey in order to potentially colonize on Mars mysteriously begins to build up in the atmosphere above Eureka, threatening to incinerate the entire town. The episode is scheduled to premiere Friday, July 30th, 2010.
Kennedy, who is also a comedian, writer and author, had his first film role as an extra in Dead Poet’s Society starring Robin Williams. He is best known for playing the role of the movie buff, geeky Randy Meeks in the Scream feature film trilogy. Kennedy headlined his own popular series, The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, and has appeared in such films as Romeo + Juliet, Three Kings and Bowfinger.
THE Syfy Channel goes boldly where it has never gone before in Summer 2010 with its first ever Thursday night reality bloc (Mary Knows Best and Paranormal Investigators); new scripted series (Haven) based on a Stephen King novella; popular returning series (Warehouse 13, Eureka, Ghost Hunters Academy and Ghost Hunters International), and fan favorite Saturday Night Original Movies including Lake Placid 3 and Stonehenge Apocalypse.
The traditional holiday movie marathon runs from Friday, May 28th through Monday, May 31st, including “cold as ice” films (Yeti), horror flicks (premiere of Wrong Turn on Saturday, May 29th @ 9:oo p.m.), “creatures in the water” films (Lake Placid 2) and a festival of Stephen King adaptations (The Stand) on Memorial Day, May 31st.
The new Thursday night reality bloc premieres Thursday, July 15th @ 9:oo p.m. EST/PST with Mary Knows Best (working title), a docu-soap reality series following Mary Occhino, a successful radio host, psychic intuitive and mother of three, who gives a whole new meaning to the term “mother is always right.” Her children, Jackie, Chris and Carl, are a mismatched group f siblings consisting of a skeptic, a paranormal investigator and a reluctant psychic. In each episode, viewers will meet a humorous and unforgettable cast of family characters including Mary’s outspoken older brother Charles and two adorable grandchildren. The series is produced by Atlas Media Corp.
Following @ 10:00 p.m. EST/PST is Paranormal Investigators, which debunks fact from fiction by uncovering the truth behind supernatural and unexplained occurrences which have been caught on tape. In each episode, the six-person team, led by former FBI Special Agent Ben Hansen, searches for the most intriguing and unusual images, videos and unnatural phenomenon found online and around the world. Selecting the most intriguing images, the team heads into the field attempting to re-create the video, carrying out key experiments and searching for clues and evidence. The team uses all the latest tools CGI (computer-generated imaging) and investigative techniques at its disposal to try to answer the question, “Is it real?” Produced by Base Productions.
The new drama series Haven premieres Friday, July 9th @ 10:00 p.m. EST/PST. Based on the novella The Colorado Kid from renowned author Stephen King, it follows FBI Agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose), who arrives in the small town of Haven, Maine to solve the murder of a local ex-con. Before long, her natural curiosity lands her in the epicenter of activity in this curious enclave, which turns out to be a longtime refuge for people with a remarkable range of supernatural abilities. Among the townspeople are local cop Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant), who eventually becomes Audrey’s partner, and the mysterious and charming Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour).
Cable’s top paranormal franchise, Ghost Hunters Academy returns with brand-new episodes on Wednesday, June 2nd @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST. Expert instructors Steve Gonsalves and Dave Tango will once again train a group of recruits to become the newest team member, but this time, one hopeful will be voted off each week by one of the ultimate judges of paranormal investigating: Ghost Hunters‘ Jason Hawes! Jason, Steve and Tango will put the new recruits through the paces with challenging investigations at six of the most daunting and memorable past Ghost Hunters locations: Waverly Hills Sanatorium (Waverly Hills, KY), Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (Weston, WV), Mark Twain House (Hartford, CT), Fort Delaware (Delaware City, DE), Mansfield Reformatory – a.k.a. “Shawshank Prison” (Mansfield, OH) and the infamous Stanley Hotel (Estes Park, CO).
Season two of Warehouse 13 debuts on Tuesday, July 6th @ 9:oo p.m. EST/PST. The series follows two Secret Service agents who find themselves abruptly transferred to a massive, top-secret storage facility in windswept South Dakota which houses every strange artifact, mysterious relic, fantastical object and supernatural souvenir ever collected by the U.S. government. The Warehouse’s caretaker Artie (Saul Rubinek) charges Pete (Eddie McClintock) and Myka (Joanne Kelly) with chasing down reports of supernatural and paranormal activity in search of new objects to cache at the Warehouse, as well as helping him to control the Warehouse itself. Warehouse 13 also features Allison Scagliotti, along with series guest-star CCH Pounder.
Eureka kicks off its fourth season on Friday, July 9th @ 9:oo p.m. EST/PST with the introduction of new series regular James Callis (Battlestar Galactica) as Dr. Grant, a former resident of the town whose unexpected return is cause for serious alarm and, considering his romantic interest in Allison Blake (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), significant friction with Sheriff Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson). New and returning fans won’t want to miss the big changes in store for everyone in the small town of Eureka after a cataclysmic shift turns their lives upside-down. Eureka also stars Joe Morton (Henry Deacon), Erica Cerra (Jo Lupo), Neil Grayston (Douglas Fargo) and Niall Matter (Zane Donovan).
On July 14th, new episodes of Ghost Hunters International premiere @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST. Like their U.S. counterparts, TAPS (The Atlantis Paranormal Society), GHI is a squad made up of everyday ordinary citizens who investigate and attempt to debunk claims of otherworldly activity. In the premiere episode, the team travels to the famous town of Nottingham, England and search for the Sheriff of Nottingham’s Ghost at the Galleries of Justice. Other countries on their global adventures will include Wales, Norway, Poland, Ukraine, Estonia and many more. The team includes Robb Demarest, Barry FitzGerald, Brandy Green, Ashley Goodwin, Paul Bradford, new cast member Scott Tepperman as well as Ghost Hunters Academy winners Susan Slaughter and Karl Pfeiffer.
Saturday Night Original Movies
Lake Placid 3 premieres in June 2010. In this sequel to Lake Placid 2 (most watched Syfy Saturday Original Movie ever), a game warden, his wife and their young son move into their aunt’s cabin on Lake Placid, where the lonely boy starts feeding baby crocodiles he considers to be pets. Three years later, the crocs start looking at him and his family as food. Stars Colin Ferguson (Eureka).
Stonehenge Apocalypse premieres in June 2010. When the giant stones of Stonehenge begin to move and cataclysms occur all over the Earth, only a fringe radio talk show host who’s an expect in UFOology figures out that the ancient monument is really alien technology. Stars Hill Harper (CSI NY).
Jack Hunter And The Lost Treasure of Ugarit premieres in July 2010. Jack Hunter, an adventurous fortune hunter, goes to Syria to find an ancient treasure buried thousands of years ago, which might be cured. Stars Joanne Kelly (Warehouse 13).
Goblin premieres in July 2010. A family vacations in a mountain town haunted by a goblin that steals babies. When their newborn disappears, it’s up to his older half-sister to rescue him.
Mandrake premieres in August 2010. A group of adventurers searching for a Spanish conquistador artifact find that the jungle around them is a single living being – and it’s not happy they’re there.
ACTOR, author and blogger Wil Wheaton of the popular television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and the classic feature film Stand By Me, has signed up for a guest-starring appearance on the fourth season of Eureka, one of the Syfy Channel’s most popular original series. The new season is slated to return to Syfy on Friday, July 9th @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST.
In episode 403 of Eureka titled All The Rage, Sci-Fi fan favorite Wheaton plays the brilliant Dr. Isaac Parrish, head of the Non-Lethal Weapons lab at Global Dynamics. Parrish’s dry wit and superior attitude make him a thorn in Douglas Fargo’s (Neil Grayston) side, with potentially disastrous consequences. This episode is scheduled to air on Friday, July 23rd.
PRODUCTION begins this week in Vancouver on season four of Eureka, one of the Syfy Channel’s most popular original series, it was announced by Mark Stern, Executive Vice President of Development at Syfy, and Co-Head, Original Content, Universal Cable Productions. The dramedy’s new season welcomes an all-new regular cast member, James Callis (Battlestar Galactica) as Dr. Grant. Syfy has ordered 20 episodes of Eureka, which will once again be shot entirely on-location in and around Vancouver, Canada, and is slated to premiere on Friday, July 9th of this year.
Throughout the four-season run of Syfy’s award-winning Battlestar Galactica, James Callis starred as Dr. Gaius Baltar, garnering both critical acclaim and fan adoration for his portrayal of the self-serving, opportunistic, conniving genius. On Eureka, Callis will play scientist Dr. Grant, a former resident of the town whose unexpected return is cause for serious alarm and – considering his romantic interest in Allison Blake (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) – significant friction with Sheriff Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson). New and returning fans won’t want to miss the big changes in store for everyone in the small town of Eureka after a cataclysmic shift turns their lives upside-down.
Once again this season, series stars Colin Ferguson and Joe Morton (Henry Deacon) will direct episodes, and making her directorial debut as well is female lead Salli Richardson-Whitfield. Also, special guest-stars returning this season include Jaime Ray Newman (Dr. Tess Fontana) and Matt Frewer (Taggart).
NBC Universal and La-La Land Records revisit the acclaimed TV series Battlestar Galactica with the release of the soundtrack for the two extended TV events, Battlestar Galactica: The Plan and Battlestar Galactica: Razor on February 23rd, 2010. Both The Plan and Razor feature music by series composer Bear McCreary. La-La Land Records is releasing The Plan/Razor soundtracks through a license agreement with NBC Universal Television, DVD, Music and Consumer Products Group.
Battlestar Galactica: The Plan/Razor composer McCreary’s Galactica score has been described as “sharp and sensitive” (The Wall Street Journal), “a key element in establishing the show’s dark, complex tone” (The Hollywood Reporter) and “rich, raw, oddly stirring…kick-ass and powerful as hell,” (E! Online). It “fits the action so perfectly, it’s almost devastating: a Sci-Fi score like no other” (NPR). McCreary has performed sold-out shows with the Battlestar Galactica orchestra during Comic-Con in San Diego, and in Los Angeles at the Grand Performances series and at The Roxy.
McCreary currently scores the new FOX series Human Target, NBC’s Trauma and two series for The Syfy Channel – Eureka and the Battlestar Galactica prequel, Caprica, both of which are produced by Universal Cable Productions. McCreary’s credits include the Capcom video game Dark Void and the feature films Wrong Turn 2 and the Rest Stop films. McCreary was among a handful of select protegés of late film music legend Elmer Bernstein and is a classically trained composer with degrees in Composition and Recording Arts from the prestigious USC Thornton School of Music.
“After finishing my four season journey scoring Battlestar Galactica and releasing four remarkable albums with La-La Land Records, I am thrilled to be able to return to this musical universe,” said McCreary. “These two scores make any fan’s album collection complete.”
Edward James Olmos (Admiral William “Husker” Adama) directed Battlestar Galactica: The Plan, which was released on DVD and Blu-Ray in 2009, and aired on Syfy in January 2010. The Cylons began as humanity’s robot servants. They rebelled and evolved and now they look like us. Their plan is simple: destroy the race that enslaved them. But when their devastating attack leaves human survivors, the Cylons have to improvise. Battlestar Galactica: The Plan tells the story of two powerful Cylon leaders,working separately, and their determination to finish the task.
Battlestar Galactica: Razor also tells the story of what happens on the eve of a devastating Cylon attack, this time from the perspective of Officer Kendra Shaw – who reports for duty on the Battlestar Pegasus. When mankind’s future is forever changed on that fateful day, Kenda is reshaped into a “razor,” a tool of war, under the ruthless guidance of her commander, Admiral Helena Cain. Battlestar Galactica: Razor tells the untold story of Pegasus and provides chilling clues to the fate of humanity as the final chapters of the Battlestar Galactica story unfold. Battlestar Galactica: Razor originally aired on Syfy in November 2007, and was released a week later on DVD and Blu-Ray.
“When I compiled the Season 4 soundtrack, it became clear that there was not enough room on even a two-disc set to accommodate cues from Razor and The Plan,” said McCreary. “Combining them on one album made perfect sense, because both narratives flashback to the same time period within the larger BSG story and offer different perspectives on the same events. The scores to Razor and The Plan are two sides of the same musical coin.”
Also available from La-La Land Records are McCreary’s soundtracks for Battlestar Galactica seasons 1, 2, 3 and 4, Caprica, Eureka, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Wrong Turn 2 and the Rest Stop films.
As noted above, photo by Justin Stephens and copyright of the Syfy Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!
When Stargate Atlantis‘ TV run was brought to an end after five years, series writer/producer Alan McCullough, who had previously served as a writer/story editor on Stargate SG-1, relocated from the Pegasus Galaxy to take on a new creative challenge. He joined Sanctuary as a writer as well as co-executive producer and penned four scripts for the show’s second season. In his first one, Hero, Chris Gauthier, best known as Walter in Eureka, plays an ordinary man who is transformed into an unlikely costumed crusader against crime in the show’s fictional New City.
“Hero was a really fun script to write,” says McCullough. “It’s a fast-paced and humorous episode, which I never really had the opportunity to do on Stargate. There was always humor embedded in the dialogue in Stargate, but it was rare that I got to write a comedic script. There were people who were sort of the go-to guys for that; Martin Gero and Brad Wright, in particular, and Rob Cooper also wrote a couple of great comedy scripts and Carl Binder wrote one, too. So when I came on Sanctuary there was a chance for me to do the same.
“In Hero, our people are on a mission to track down an Abnormal when all of a sudden they’re thwarted by a guy in a neoprene suit. He drops out of the sky, grabs the person we’re chasing and flies off, so we’re left wondering where the hell this guy came from and how he can fly. He’s apparently human and appears to be wearing a homemade outfit, but nevertheless seems to possess miraculous powers. Chris Gauthier played the part to a tee. He was hilarious in it and brought so much to the role.
“The actual shooting of this episode was difficult because there were a lot of stunts. We actually brought in a flying rig which, I believe, is one of the most advanced ones you can get. I’m not well-versed in the technology of it, but you sit in front of a giant computer screen and program in all the moves you want to do and draw all the vectors on the screen. The operator then turns the rig on and it flies you around in the exact way that it was programmed to. So they did a full day of shooting just with that rig and came away with some fantastic stuff, including a scene where, at one point, our superhero has to fight a monster.
“Again, it was a fun episode and Chris has a blast and we had a blast working with him. It was a nice break, too, in the season. We had just come off shooting the two-part End of Nights, which is an energetic and tension-filled story where we’re fighting for the survival of the Sanctuary, and if you saw the episodes you know that something big happens to one of our characters at the end of part two. Then in the following story, Eulogy, we’re dealing with the death of a character. It’s a very poignant episode, so it was good to then come in with episode four, which was lighter in tone and a total breath of fresh air. Personally, I think Hero is one of the best scripts I’ve ever written and one that I’m really proud of.”
There was a very specific idea in mind for McCullough’s next Sanctuary script, Veritas, but, as is often the case in the world of TV, it eventually evolved into something quite different. “We started out with marching orders to come up with a background story for Bigfoot [Christopher Heyerdahl],” explains the writer. “We pitched story after story to the Syfy Channel but there was always one thing they didn’t like, so we would go back and try to retool the script. However, by pulling out that one thing, the whole story collapsed.
“So we’d start fresh, and ultimately we came up with a story that the network loved but that had nothing to do with Bigfoot’s back story whatsoever,” chuckles McCullough. “It does, however, involve Bigfoot in a very major and pivotal way. At the very beginning of the episode, Will [Robin Dunne] arrives back from a trip and he’s frantic; he’s been told that Bigfoot has been killed. Will goes to the morgue where he finds Bigfoot lying there with two bullet holes in his chest, and we further learn that Magnus [Amanda Tapping] is the prime suspect.
“From there, it becomes a bit of a murder mystery that takes place within the context of the Sanctuary. They have specific charter rules for how they deal with situations such as this, including summoning what’s called The Triad, which is a group of telepaths that arrive on the scene and start questioning people. Within the Sanctuary network we have individuals with these incredible abilities, so why not use them to solve crimes. Will, of course, sets out to prove that Magnus had nothing to do with this, but the deeper he digs, the more evidence seems to mount that she actually did shoot Bigfoot.
“It’s a real mindbender of an episode where, quite honestly, all is not revealed until the very end. We designed it so that at every single turn you think, ‘Oh, they’re going to tell us who really did it,’ but you get no satisfaction until the story is nearly over. This was another fun episode for me to write and, coming off Hero, much more of a subdued, emotional type of potboiler. We had a great guest-cast, too, including Erica Cerra [Deputy Jo Lupo in Eureka], who did a fantastic job playing one of the telepaths. And Amanda Tapping did an incredible job directing the episode.”
The writer’s third Sanctuary script, Penance, reunites Helen Magnus with an old friend, Jimmy, played by Tapping’s former SG-1 costar Michael Shanks (Dr. Daniel Jackson). Although it would have been tempting to pair them up on the screen, Shanks actually shared the majority of his scenes with the show’s newest castmember, Agam Darshi, who plays Kate Freelander. Writing-wise, this one was a bit of a whirlwind for McCullough.
“We received notes on the outline last Friday night from Syfy,” he recalls, “so I started writing the script on Saturday and Sunday and, hopefully, I’ll finish it up today [Monday, June 1st, 2009]. It’s certainly the fastest that I’ve ever had to turn around a script. This one starts out with a really action-packed teaser where our characters are in Old City to meet an Abnormal who’s a ‘mule.’ By that I mean he has a pocket in his body that can transport hazardous or very sensitive material, and in this case he’s carrying a container for us in his belly.
“So we get there, but, of course, the bad guys are on our tail and all hell breaks loose. Our people get separated and Kate and Jimmy end up trapped in a derelict hotel room. Kate has been shot and the two of them spend a considerable amount of time together getting to know one another. In the process, Kate opens up to Jimmy and we discover a great deal about her past, including how her father was killed. With Kate being a new character this season, we felt this was a good opportunity for audiences to learn more about her. Meanwhile, Magnus and everyone else are out there looking for Kate and Jimmy, and it’s a bit of a chess match to see who’s going to arrive first and save the day.
“The neat thing about this episode is that we’re going to be doing some location shooting. We do almost all our filming downstairs in the studio, much of which is using a green screen, and we also shoot outside on the studio lot or in the nearby streets. We usually don’t have trucks to go out on-location with, but for episode eight [Next Tuesday], we’re packing up all our equipment to go film at a pool. Thanks to some scheduling magic, we have the truck for the rest of the week, so we’re taking advantage of that and going to shoot for two, possibly three days on the old Watchmen set. At least that’s the plan. We went out to look at the set, which is on Marine Way, and we’re going to use that as Old City. It’s perfect because the story has a lot of skulking around as well as gunplay and a bit of a car chase, so I’m really excited about that.”
Despite being a freshman with Sanctuary, it has not taken McCullough long to find the voices of the new characters he is writing for. “Obviously I’d worked with Amanda before, and although this is Helen Magnus and not Sam Carter, I still hear Amanda’s voice in my head, so it’s just a matter of finding the right words,” says the writer. “Ryan Robbins, who plays Henry, has a very distinctive voice, so I seem to be able to hear his voice quite easily, too.
“The character I struggled with the most was Will. I’ve since found his voice a lot more, but with my first script, Hero, I really struggled. Ultimately, I don’t think anyone picked up on that. The episode moves so quickly and there’s so much going on that I don’t think you would have the time to sit there and think, ‘Hmm, that didn’t quite sound like something Will would say.’ I noticed it, though, and when I’d write a line I’d think, ‘That doesn’t sound right,’ so I’d delete it and write another one. So it took me a while to get Will’s dialogue to sound right, but episode seven is wall-to-wall Will and I think I found his voice a little better for that one.
“It helps, too, that Damian Kindler [series creator/executive producer] is always around, and we go through the scripts with a fine-tooth comb. We’ll look at each line and if there’s one that bothers any of us, we’ll find another way to say what it is we’re trying to say.”
The writer’s fourth and final contribution to Sanctuary‘s second season is part one of the show’s two-part season ender, Kali. The germ of the idea for this episode came from a prior one, while the setting was the result of a previously discussed story that never came to be. Catching up again recently with McCullough, he was happy to talk about Kali‘s development.
“Earlier in the season we were breaking a story called Justice,” recalls the writer. “It was set in a small town, which is tough to do on our show as we don’t have suitable sets and didn’t want to go out on-location. So Martin Wood [executive producer/director] proposed setting Justice in a Mumbai slum, as that would be relatively easy to re-create. We loved that idea so much that we decided to save it for the [season] finale. Unfortunately, Justice never got produced, which is too bad because it was a great story.
“The idea for Kali came partly from Veritas, where we introduce an Abnormal called Big Bertha, who is capable of creating earthquakes. I’m pretty sure it was me who suggested that we use Big Bertha in the season finale as well. I proposed that Magnus had lied to the heads of the Sanctuary network about destroying the creature and secretly kept her alive in an enclosure at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. And then later on in the writers’ room, we came up with the idea for the Makri, the small spider that telepathically links to Big Bertha.
“We went back and forth for weeks with this story,” continues the writer. “It’s probably the toughest one I’ve ever had to break. We knew we were on to something and felt like it could be big, but we just could not find the story for the life of us. Eventually, and after numerous rewrites, we shaped the story into Kali, parts one and two. Later in the process I was reviewing part two, which Damian wrote, and went to him with a logic problem. Basically, something Will was doing made no sense. And I distinctly remember what followed next; Damian sat back in his chair, thought about it for a long time, and then said, ‘I think I know what to do – Will has to dance a Bollywood number.’
“I nearly fell off my chair. He was exactly right, of course, but I thought we’d be marched right out of the TV business for good if we tried to do a full-scale Bollywood number in a Sci-Fi show. Luckily, Mark Stern [Syfy's Executive Vice President for Original Content ] bought into the idea and off we went.
“Also late in the game, Damian, Martin, Amanda and Robin were invited to Tokyo by Syfy Asia and decided to take advantage of the exotic locale to shoot a scene for the show. We brainstormed and felt it belonged in my episode, and it turned out to be a great way to start things off. Shooting the Mumbai sequences took place on our [studio] backlot, which is where we built a massive labyrinthine Mumbai slum, and it looked photo real. To top it off, it was over 40 degrees Celsius, or 104 Farenheit, pretty much the whole week we were filming. Everyone was dying from the heat, but it helped with the authenticity. I’m not sure how we’re going to replicate that in part three, which will likely be shot this coming February or March.”
Having thoroughly enjoyed his first year with Sanctuary, McCullough is eagerly awaiting the start of work on season three. “I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge of us doing 20 episodes and really pushing the boundary with our season [story] arcs,” he says. “And also somehow getting ourselves out of the conundrum we created at the end of Kali, Part 2.”
As noted above, photo is by Jeff Weddell and copyright of Sanctuary 2 Productions, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!
From Sci-Fi time traveller to a digitally enhanced artificial intelligence and even Sherlock Holmes, actor Matt Frewer has over the years brought these and many other characters to life in theaters as well as feature films and on TV. There is one role, though, he once longed to play but never had the chance to do so. And it was a role that would have taken him in a totally different direction as far as his professional life.
“I always wanted to be a pro hockey player,’ says Frewer. “However, at one point I realized I wasn’t going to be good enough, and if I was good enough, I would probably end up with no teeth, playing on a semi-pro team and talking with a French accent for no apparent reason,” he jokes. “When I finished high school I was all set to do an honors degree course in biology, but I backed out of that at the last minute when my drama teacher said to me, ‘You’d get a lot more girls with acting.’ Well, I was sold,” laughs the actor. “I’m happy to say I have no regrets. I love doing what I’m doing and would do it for free. Don’t tell anyone that, but I would, really.”
Last night, Frewer made his debut as The White Knight in Alice, the Syfy Channel’s take on the classic children’s story Alice in Wonderland. The image conjured up in most peoples’ minds when they think of his character is one of a noble warrior dressed in shining armor, carrying a lance and riding into battle on a mighty stallion. In this case there is the armor as well as a sword and even a horse, but the medieval melange that is Frewer’s character is far more than just a familiar stereotype
“The While Knight is kind of a cross between Baron Von Munchhausen, The Cowardly Lion and Don Quixote,” explains the actor, taking a break during filming last summer in Vancouver. “The idea for Alice sounded intriguing to me, and then I was completely sold on it when I read the script. The story, which is absolutely delightful, was written by Nick Willing, who’s also our director, and he has come up with some amazing characters.
“I have to say that this role has sort of fit me like a glove, so it hasn’t been much of a stretch to play. We’ve got this wonderful Salvador Dali-type beard and mustache that I wear, and that’s been a bit of a challenge, especially when it’s hot out because the glue starts to come loose. So there’s that business of people futzing with you right up until the moment that the cameras start rolling. You being to feel like a Christmas tree being continually dressed,” jokes Frewer, “but other than that the character has been a joy to play.
“The White Knight has a huge heart, but he’s a bit mad, you know? He’s nuts and he’s noble, but he also has a big secret, so what he shows to the world is not necessarily who he is. And happily with Nick’s version of the White Knight, my character is able to reveal who he really is during a scene with Alice [Caterina Scorsone], and that was tremendous fun to play on many, many levels.”
In Alice, the White Knight crosses paths with Alice Hamilton when she comes to Wonderland to search for her lover, Jack Chase (Philip Winchester), who has been brought there against his will. He joins the Hatter (Andrew-Lee Potts) in helping Alice find Jack, and in the process, the three of them also risk their lives to help oust Wonderland’s ruler, The Queen of Hearts (Kathy Bates) and break her stranglehold on the kingdom.
“The two characters that the White Knight relates to almost solely in the story are Alice and Hatter,” says Frewer. “He comes cross Jack in a couple of scenes, but most of my onscreen time is spent with Caterina and Andrew. There is kind of a begrudging friendship and respect for one another that evolves between my character and Hatter. And with Alice, I think the White Knight is more or less a temporary Wonderland father while she’s there.
“He is somewhat mesmerized by her because in his eyes, she’s Alice of legend. She’s the Alice who he has heard of and who was written about, and he will do anything for her. The White Knight really is her protector, and as inept as he is, he does his best. Again, this is such an incredible role, and, I think, probably the best role I’ve had since Sherlock Holmes. There are very few iconic characters that come along and that you get a chance to play, and the White Knight is definitely one of them.”
What were some of the challenges the actor found working in his White Knight attire? “The first day of work on any new job is usually pretty chaotic, and in this case it was particularly so for me because they had only just begun to put my costume together,” he recalls. “It included a huge breastplate, chain mail and all the various other accouterments that a knight would wear. The breastplate was cumbersome to say the least. We ended up calling it the Volkswagen,” chuckles Frewer. “I then began to realize how hot it was going to be lugging this thing around, especially on-location, because it’s basically like being cooked in your own soup can.
“So getting all that together is my not-so-fond memory of my first day on the job, but it was still fun, and continues to be. The thing is, a lot of the stuff I thought I’d be able to [physically] do as the White Knight has been somewhat restricted by my outfit, so I’ve ended up, I guess, channeling any restrictions into the fact that my character is an older guy. He is supposed to be in his 60′s and slightly crazy, and that ‘madness’ has come from spending too much time on his own. So we actually found other aspects of his personality to highlight as a result of wearing the armor, and that’s been great.”
“Again, this has been fun. Typically on these sorts of productions, the work stops and everyone has a laugh, and probably my favorite memory of working on this as a whole is that the laughing has never stopped. We’re always having a good time and hopefully that translates to the audience.”
Frewer credits the show’s cast and crew, in particular, Nick Willing, with making Alice such a positive experience for him. “Nick is a real visionary,” says the actor. “He’s a little bit like the White Knight in that he’s slightly ‘mad,’ but in a wonderful way, as well as a very warm, gentle, kind and witty guy. That is all an added bonus on top of the fact that he is also a huge talent. You don’t often find that combination.
“Andrew and Caterina are a blast as well to work with. Caterina is a real find for Alice. She’s so much like her character and is an open book. Caterina is, I think, one of those actresses who has such an immediacy onscreen. Whatever scene she’s in, she’s right there and reacts to it immediately. And like I said, her face is an open book, and she’s an extremely tender, sensitive soul and isn’t afraid to show that. Caterina also has this kind of tough curiosity about her. Such a combination is perfect for Alice, and I think she has knocked the whole thing out of the park.
“As for Andrew, he’s terrific, too. He’s from the north country in England, a place called Bradford, and he has sort of a tough guy swagger, but he’s very sweet as well. I think the girls are going to love him as Hatter. Andrew has this fantastic onscreen chemistry with Caterina, and hopefully audiences will go with that and be rooting for their characters to end up together.
“There are very few projects where, when you start talking about them, you feel genuinely supportive of them, and this is one of those times. I think Alice is going to do great and I have really high hopes for it.”
Born in Washington, D.C., Frewer trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and graduated from its three-year acting course in 1980. One of his very first roles was in the 1983 film Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. “There was a piece before the main film called The Crimson Permanent Assurance and it was sort of a pirate spoof where a group of young office workers were defending their building against a group of older ones,” says the actor.
“The older office workers would pull up alongside what looked like a Spanish galleon, swing through the windows and take on all the young office workers. One of the older pirate guys corners my character by a window, I yell, ‘S**t!’ and jump out the window. That was my first professional experience in front of the camera. All I can say is thank God for all that classical training,” he jokes.
A few years later, the actor became a familiar face, of sorts, around the world with his portrayal of a fictional British artificial intelligence in the TV series Max Headroom. “That was kind of a short sharp shock,” notes Frewer. “Originally, Max was meant to be this computer-generated man/video disc jockey and we perpetuated that ‘ruse.’ Then we realized the only way we’d be able to achieve the look and effect of such a character was to put someone in rubber make-up, and that guy ended up being me.
“Max Headroom started out in England [in a music video program] and then evolved into a talk show. Coca-Cola then picked it up and I did a bunch of TV commercials for [director] Ridley Scott. That then convinced ABC TV [in the States] to feature Max in an adventure series. At the same time, I was doing a Cinemax [cable] talk show along with various other ancillary things as Max. Long way around, what I meant by a short sharp shock is that from beginning to end, the whole Max thing really didn’t last much longer than three years. But Max made the cover of Newsweek, and it was great for me because it meant I was able to arrive in Los Angeles as an actor without having to pound the pavement. I was playing a double-lead in a very high-profile show for ABC, and even though it only lasted for 12 episodes, it was a wonderful introduction to Los Angeles for me.”
Besides his work on Max Headroom, Frewer has guest-starred on such shows as Robin of Sherwood, Miami Vice, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Outer Limits and Intelligence. He also had a regular role as Matt Praeger in Psi Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal, and currently plays the recurring character of Jim Taggart in the Syfy Channel series Eureka.
“Again, some lovely people to work with on Eureka and a fun show to do,” says the actor. “My character only dips in and out every few episodes. He’s sort of a weirdo who lives in the woods, and I think whenever he comes to town, by sheer virtue of the fact that he is the weirdo who lives in the woods, the story sort of has to be about him. Jim is an Australian dog-catcher – I mean, you can’t beat that for weirdness – but he calls himself a biological containment engineer. He’s a nature boy, too, and tends to run naked through the woods a lot,” he says with a laugh,”so needless to say I have a ball when I do work on the show.”
On the big screen, the actor’s credits include The Fourth Protocol, Far From Home, Going The Distance, Dawn of the Dead and Watchmen, playing former super-villain Edgar William Jacob/Moloch the Mystic. “The first scene I shot on that was in a cemetary and I just remember being overwhelmed by the number of crew,” notes Frewer. “You suddenly realize that you’re part of a big-budget movie and being directed by Zack Synder. He’s a lot like Nick Willing in that he has endless positive energy and keeps his crew driven and wanting to perform for him. Zack is one of those rare leaders who has the power but also the wisdom not to wield it. He’s a really amazing guy and I had a ball working with him.”
The goal of most actors is to be able to practice their craft in as wide a range of projects as possible, and for Frewer, the wider the better. “I think the measure of success for an actor is that you can be on your deathbed – which hopefully comes later rather than sooner – and look back over your career and say that you did plenty of diverse and interesting things, as opposed to how much [money] you took to your grave,” he muses. “After all, what are you going to do? Get a more expensive lining for your coffin.
“I was trained as an actor to do lots of different things, and that’s what makes this [acting] such a joy for me. You can only hope to be lucky enough to go from doing a heavy drama to something light and comedic and then something totally different from the two. It also helps to be facile and quicksilver-ish enough to be able to slip easily from one role to the next and not pigeonhole yourself because so many people are willing to do it for you.”
The concluding two hours of Alice airs tonight, Monday, December 7th starting at 9:00 p.m. EST on The Syfy Channel.
As noted above, all Alice photos by James Dittiger and all photos copyright of The Syfy Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!