Archive for July, 2009

Eureka’s Colin Ferguson – Jack’s Back!

July 31, 2009
Colin Ferguson as Sheriff Jack Carter in the Eureka episode "Welcome Back Carter." Photo by Marcell Williams and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Colin Ferguson as Sheriff Jack Carter in the Eureka episode "Welcome Back Carter." Photo by Marcell Williams and copyright of The Syfy Channel

For the past three years, Colin Ferguson has been upholding law and order as Sheriff  Jack Carter on The Syfy Channel’s hit series Eureka. When its cast and crew returned to work last fall after a brief hiatus to begin shooting the remaining 10 episodes of the show’s third season, the actor had the chance to put on a totally different hat, that of director. He stepped behind the camera for the first time to direct the year three story Your Face or Mine. In it, an unhappy and lovelorn scientist uses her newest invention to temporarily assume Deputy Jo Lupo’s identity. Unfortunately for Jo, the scientist enjoys herself a little bit too much and decides to switch places permanently. While not the ideal position for the deputy to be in, Ferguson had the time of his life in his directorial debut.

“The good news is I had [consulting producer] Matt Hastings and [producer] Robert Petrovicz to take me through the prep process,” says the actor. “They taught me an important lesson, which is it’s all about the prep. So during prep I slaved over the script – which was a terrific script written by [co-creator/executive producer] Jaime Paglia – and when it came time to shoot, we really didn’t have a problem at all. That’s one of the perks of being a regular on a show and directing it; I’m familiar with every set, every actor and every personality. So I know what works as well as what to do and what not to do, probably more what not to do because I’ve watched significantly more talented directors than myself come through here and seen how they’ve approached things. So this was a great opportunity for me to use a lot of those experiences.

“Of course, working with the cast was great,” he continues. “Everything went so smoothly. Everyone was so kind and rallied behind the cause. After all, we want other members of the cast to direct and have bigger episodes. So it was important on a number of different fronts that this went well, and it did. The story is all about Erica Cerra’s character [Deputy Jo Lupo] and like the film Face/Off in that it’s about identity theft, only on a much more literal scale. I knew the scene where Jo is facing off against herself was going to be a hugely important one, and the ball would be in Erica’s court more than anyone else’s. So we worked on that scene ahead of time and Erica knew that she had to deliver. Well, she knocked it out of the park and did an amazing job. You really buy the fact that there are two of her character in that scene the entire time.”

Sheriff Jack Carter and Deputy Jo Lupo (Erica Cerra) in Ferguson's Eureka directorial debut "Your Face or Mine." Photo by Marcell Williams and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Sheriff Jack Carter and Deputy Jo Lupo (Erica Cerra) in Ferguson's Eureka directorial debut "Your Face or Mine." Photo by Marcell Williams and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Although the actor spent plenty of time prepping for his directorial debut on Eureka, there were times when he had to tweak his way of doing things. “The biggest thing I learned throughout this entire process is that as much prep as you do and as much as you know exactly what you want, that on the day, sometimes the ‘language’ you use isn’t always right,” muses Ferguson. “By that I mean, yes, I know what I want, but I don’t always know the exact words that the other person needs to hear in order to achieve it. Is it, ‘We’re going in this direction first,’ or, ‘I’d like to do a two-shot then go into a single,’ or, ‘I need to start the scene from this point,’ etc. So you go through all the options until you get to the right one and then you’re like, ‘OK, excellent, let’s shoot it.’ I realized I can speak quickly, rattle off a bunch of subjects and eventually get to the right one,” jokes the actor. “Next time, though, I’ve got to make sure I’m able to speak quickly and express to everyone exactly what I want right off the bat.

“We ended the episode, I believe, under budget and on-time, so I think everyone was happy about that. We shot inside on the sets for most of the time, and when that happens you have to keep it even more interesting. So I made sure to plan a special shot every day so that I could put a spark into things. I was extremely pleased with how everything turned out and, again, above all else, I received a wonderful script. Had I been given a not-so-hot script or one that needed a ton of work and massaging, it would have been quite a different experience. I got really lucky and the entire thing was a perfect fit.”

There is an old adage that no good deed goes unpunished, and that was certainly true for Sheriff Carter midway through season three on Eureka. He was fired for letting Eva Thorne (Frances Fisher) go free at the end of the mid-season cliffhanger From Fear to Eternity. However, the town and its residents could not do without his unique style of policing, and Carter was back on the payroll by the end of the mid-year opener Welcome Back Carter. Since then, he has been kept busy personally and professionally, both of which have resulted in one or two new acting challenges for Ferguson.

Dr. Allison Blake (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), Sheriff Carter and Henry Deacon (Joe Morton) try to figure out what is causing the gravity wells in "Welcome Back Carter." Photo by Marcell Williams and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Dr. Allison Blake (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), Sheriff Carter and Henry Deacon (Joe Morton) try to figure out what is causing the gravity wells in "Welcome Back Carter." Photo by Marcell Williams and copyright of The Syfy Channel

“The writers have brought in Allison’s [Salli Richardson-Whitfield] old school friend, Dr. Tess Fontana [Jaime Ray Newman], who Carter ends up in a relationship with, ” he notes. “Also, right now [early December 2008] Salli is eight-and-a-half months pregnant, so in the series her character is carrying Stark’s [Ed Quinn] child and, therefore, will be doing a lot of ‘heavy lifting’ as far as the tech talk during the latter part of the season. In fact, she and Tess are both doing that, which has provided me with an acting exercise when it comes to trying to keep my character fresh. Carter is in a number of scenes with not a lot to do, so for me it’s a matter of , OK, what can I focus on here, because he’s hearing all this information, but doesn’t impart much of it.

“So what I try to do is give myself lighter days. One way to keep it [your character] fresh is to stop yourself from burning out, so every now and then you don’t over-think it. You just literally show up and do the best you can and let the scene go where it wants to go. In doing that, you allow yourself to regenerate a bit, so when a moment comes up that you really feel like digging into, you can actually do that. Another way is to change the dialogue every so often. That’s obviously a tricky thing because you don’t want to become at odds with the producers and writers and make it appear as if you’re disrespecting what they do. However, it helps to talk with them occasionally about changing a line or two if you feel it will better service your character.

“Another thing is to take the work seriously. It’s fun to joke around and get through a scene that way, but too much of that and there’s the danger of phoning it [your performance] in. And that’s just boring for you and the viewers. So you’ve got to dig in and see what you can come up with, and I have to tell you that there have been some really neat scenes we’ve come up with this season,” enthuses Ferguson.

Sheriff Carter and Dr. Tess Fontana (Jaime Ray Newman) end up slightly out of sync in "Insane in the P-Brane." Photo by Marcell Williams and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Sheriff Carter and Dr. Tess Fontana (Jaime Ray Newman) end up slightly out of sync in "Insane in the P-Brane." Photo by Marcell Williams and copyright of The Syfy Channel

In the season three Eureka story Insane in the P-Brane, Carter is on his way to Global Dynamics when he discovers a car partially blocking the road. He has a rather prickly exchange with its owner, Dr. Tess Fontana, before allowing her to drive off. The sheriff later meets up with her again unexpectedly at Global, and has no idea that Tess will be helping him stop yet another experiment gone wrong from destroying Eureka. As Ferguson already mentioned, Tess and Jack become romantically involved as the latter half of this season continues to unfold. What did the actor think about a new love interest being introduced for his character?

“I was nervous out of the gate, because the initial meeting between Tess and Jack was a little ‘forced’ insofar as how they didn’t like one another,” he says. “Then, however, there was a nice little transition that they [the writers] did involving the two characters actually hooking up. And what’s neat about it is it’s not some tedious type of thing where their passion overflows as they lock lips in an embrace. It was more like a gradual emotional melting. Again, it started off with Jack and Tess not really liking each other, but having a begrudging respect, which leads to a friendship, and then to something romantic. It’s subtle, which I like, and not overdone, either. It’s not episode after episode of their relationship. It’s sprinkled into the plot, and hopefully the viewers will enjoy it.”

The actor has also enjoyed seeing his character’s relationship further develop with his daughter Zoe (Jordan Hinson) as well as with Henry Deacon (Joe Morton). “It’s always a pleasure to work with Jordan,” says Ferguson. “Her character of Zoe is a little lighter in these latter episodes, but the two of us have had some wonderful little scenes together, which I’m proud of. As for Henry, he’s going through something that I can’t talk about, but I’ve enjoyed him having this problem, if you know what I mean, because it throws something new into the relationship between him and Jack. Any time you have to redefine a relationship because of circumstance it’s a good thing in terms of storytelling.”

Henry, Sheriff Carter, Allison and Tess try to sort out yet another scientific mishap in "It's Not Easy Being Green." Photo by Marcell Williams and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Henry, Sheriff Carter, Allison and Tess try to sort out yet another scientific mishap in "It's Not Easy Being Green." Photo by Marcell Williams and copyright of The Syfy Channel

At the time of this interview, Ferguson and the rest of the Eureka cast and crew were shooting the season three story Shower the People, which guest-stars a very familiar face. “In this episode, people contract this infection and something really bad happens to them. Unfortunately, it’s December in Vancouver and we’re all soaking wet, which is all part of the story, but we’re having fun,” laughs the actor. “A good buddy of mine, Billy Campbell [Jordan Collier in The 4400] is doing a guest-spot in this episode and we’ve been having a ball working together. I’ve been in Vancouver for six of the last seven months and I definitely feel like it’s time to go home for a bit, so having an old buddy on-set makes a big difference.”

It was announced last weekend at Comic Con in San Diego that Eureka has been picked up for a fourth season, which means that everyone involved will be back in Vancouver at some point to start filming. In the meantime, Ferguson is currently working half a world away and enjoying every minute of it.

“I just finished shooting Lake Placid 3 as a actor and start prepping Fossils as a director on Monday [August 3rd],” he says. “So I”m busy, busy, busy and loving life in Bulgaria.”

Steve Eramo

As noted above, all photos by Marcell Williams and copyright of The Syfy Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any form. Thanks!

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Warehouse 13’s Allison Scagliotti – New Kid On The Block

July 30, 2009
Allison Scagliotti as Claudia Donovan in Warehouse 13. Photo by Justin Stephens and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Allison Scagliotti as Claudia Donovan in Warehouse 13. Photo by Justin Stephens and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Knock, knock – everyone is familiar with this opening to an age-old joke, right? It is no laughing matter, though, when a nameless hacker uses this as a calling card to announce that they have gained access to the US government’s top secret storage facility for a myriad of strange objects, artifacts and relics, all of which possess unusual powers. Its caretaker, Artie Nielsen, is none-too-pleased with this trespasser, and is shocked to discover that the intruder is someone from his past – Claudia Donovan. She has a proposition for him, one he cannot refuse. It is literally a matter of life and death for her, but for Allison Scagliotti, who plays Claudia in Warehouse 13, it was the start of a brand new acting venture, thanks to not one but three people from her past.

“I know a couple of the guys in the [Warehouse 13] writers’ room, Deric Hughes and Benjamin Raab; we had worked together on a web series for NBC called Gemini Division with Rosario Dawson,” says Scagliotti. “We’d stayed in touch, and when the role of Claudia surfaced among the scripts in development, they called me and said, ‘Allison, you’re so right for this part.’ They talked with the show runner, Jack Kelly, who, coincidentally, I worked with five years ago on a pilot. So everything sort of aligned perfectly. I spoke with Jack, who explained to me what the show was all about, and then said, ‘Let me send you a copy of the pilot script so you can make sure you’re even interested in being a part of it.’

“As soon as I read the pilot I was hooked. I was riveted by the chemistry between the Pete [Eddie McClintock] and Myka [Joanne Kelly] characters, not to mention how fascinating Saul Rubinek [Artie] is to watch, and, of course, with the prospect of being part of a show that balances fantasy with comedy. So I went in to audition with Central Casting at NBC, and within a week I went from a full-load school [university] curriculum to working long hours in Toronto. It was awesome.”

Scagliotti makes her Warehouse 13 debut in the aptly titled season one episode Claudia. In it, her character of Claudia Donovan kidnaps Artie from the Warehouse and takes him to an abandoned makeshift lab. Since she was a young girl, she has blamed him for an experiment that killed her brother Joshua (Tyler Hynes). Now, however, Claudia is convinced that he did not die but is, in fact, trapped in an alternate dimension and she wants Artie to re-create the experiment in order to get him back. While Artie’s colleagues, Pete Lattimer and Myka Bering, try to find him, he sees for himself that Claudia is right. The actress laughs when asked what sticks out most in her mind about her first day on the job.

“That’s easy, Saul Rubinek. I was nervous. I don’t get nervous a lot, but I love this project so much that I really wanted to make sure everything I did was just right. You can’t always be perfect, but you are capable of being great, and I remember connecting with Saul immediately. We had chemistry like we had been working together for 30 years. He is an amazing guy and I’ve learned so much from him. The scene I shot on my first day is actually my first scene in the episode, and if you saw it you know that it was long and complicated. Saul and I both worked up a sweat and I roughed him up quite a bit. I was concerned that I was going to hurt him, but Saul was like, ‘No, let’s go. Let’s commit. Let’s do this.’ After that day working with him, I felt right at home. I can’t think of a more creative, fulfilling experience than doing scenes with Saul. It’s a dream come true for me.

Enemies turned allies - Artie (Saul Rubinek) and Claudia. Photo by Justin Stephens and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Enemies turned allies - Artie (Saul Rubinek) and Claudia. Photo by Justin Stephens and copyright of The Syfy Channel

“As far as working on the entire episode, it was definitely a challenge because the show has this neat balance of comedy with the action-adventure of pursuing artifacts and the fantastical elements and powers they possess. So it was always in the forefront of our efforts – Saul, director Steve Surjik, and me – to make sure that there was a balance. If we were delivering witty dialogue, the emotional stakes could not be compromised, and if we were in the middle of a very dramatic moment, we didn’t want things to get too melodramatic and that there was some lightness as well. The [shooting] days were long, but I never got tired because I was having so much fun. I had never worked with that level of special effects before, so that was really interesting to watch. We were filming underground in a church, which was dressed as a lab, and they pumped dust and smoke in there every day to make it look mystical. It was just so exciting.”

Although he is an unwilling participant at first, Artie ultimately helps Claudia save her brother. In the following episode, Elements, Artie uses his influence to get Joshua a government job where he can put his scientific genius to good use. As for Claudia, it is decided that her talents would be better served working as part of the Warehouse team as opposed to against it. While it would be easy for Scagliotti to play the stereotypical brainy young know-it-all, she has made her character much more than that.

“Claudia is smart and sassy and has an attitude, but she’s also efficient and adds an important skill set to the Warehouse,” explains the actress. “She identifies set goals and goes after them with passion, whether it’s bringing her brother back from interdimensional space, or showing Artie what can be done with a sort of steampunk take on things, rather than his old, possibly crotchety, set-in-his-ways methods,” jokes Scagliotti. “You definitely see my character go from angsty, bitter and possibly lost to feeling really at home in the Warehouse as well as having a genuine gratitude and love for her newfound family and a desire to help in every possible way.

“If Artie is our all-knowing uncle, then Claudia is like the little punk sister to the Pete and Myka characters. Myka would be the overachieving, honor student, older sister, while Pete is the goofball jock. Eddie is the best. There is never a dull moment with him on-set. We’re all constantly trying to find ways to mess with each other, Eddie especially. He’s kind of a prankster. For example, right before a take, he’ll do something to make me laugh and then I’ll have to try extra hard to keep a straight face. Eddie does a Don Knotts impression that would blow you away. It’s kind of an odd impression to do, but he does it with style.”

Having started out in an effects-heavy episode, the actress has grown used to working with green screen along with other visual/special effects and is enjoying that aspect of her involvement in Warehouse 13. “There’s an episode coming up where my character becomes magnetized to the Warehouse ceiling,” she says. “I was literally 20-something feet up in the air and perched on a steel girder, while behind me it was all green screen. I got to do a lot of cool stuff up on a wire, and I used a zip-line at one point as well. In the episode after Claudia, my character is fixing what she broke while hacking into the Warehouse and she causes a little spark in the power grid that shoots off some fireworks. That was interesting because I wasn’t expecting the spark to be as big as it was during the first take. So my reaction was pretty authentic, especially when a spark landed in my hair. Fortunately, I didn’t suffer any scalp burn or hair loss,” jokes the actress.

Claudia is put right to work in the episode "Elements." Photo by Philippe Bosse and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Claudia is put right to work in the episode "Elements." Photo by Philippe Bosse and copyright of The Syfy Channel

When it comes to her favorite Warehouse 13 episode, Scagliotti wastes no time in choosing one. “It’s the one where we chase after Edgar Allen Poe’s pen,” she says. “I geeked out over that episode because I’m a huge Poe fan. In fact, the shirt I’m wearing right now has a Poe quote on it. We had the chance to shoot inside a college of theology within the University of Toronto, which was just beautiful with its high ceilings and vaulted, Gothic-style architecture. There are a lot of stunts in that episode, too, including one where I full-on tackle a guy.

“There’s also a scene in the episode, again right after Claudia, between my character and her brother Joshua wherein she becomes emotional because he’s decided to move on with his life and Claudia has to figure out what to do with hers. It’s sort of a transitional feeling, which was a challenge. It’s always a challenge to become emotional in a scene, but the director [Ken Giotti] was extremely accommodating as far as whatever I needed, and Tyler, who played Joshua, was great in the scene, so I hope it comes across as touching as we all hoped it would.”

Looking ahead to the first season finale of Warehouse 13, the actress hints at what fans can expect. “It starts hot,” notes Scagliotti. “In the opening teaser there’s a fire going on and the threat of a villain. I can’t go into specifics, but the threat is extremely real because this individual has a past connection to the Warehouse. And there’s also suspicion that security has been compromised by someone on the inside.

That’s about all I can tell you. It was very, very exciting to shoot and the director [Stephen Surjik], who also directed Claudia, is a fantastic guy. During the final days of filming, we were shooting underground in this abattoir, so it was freezing and really smelly. I didn’t have to work on those last few days, but I hung out on-set just to spend time with everyone because I could not imagine this amazing ride ending. We were there until four in the morning on that last day, but it was worth it. We’ve become quite the family team,” enthuses the actress.

At the age of five, Scagliotti did an impression of actor/comedian Bill Cosby for her family’s pool man. When her Mom saw that, she knew what she had to do. “My Mom was like, ‘We’ve got to find an outlet for this [talent],'” she recalls. “So I joined my elementary school drama department. I also took ballet for eight years and learned piano as well, so if I hadn’t moved to Los Angeles I would have gone to a performing arts high school and possibly moved to New York.

The Warehouse 13 family - Allison Scagliotti, Saul Rubinek, Joanne Kelly, Genelle Williams (who plays Leena) and Eddie McClintock. Photo copyright of The Syfy Channel

The Warehouse 13 family - Allison Scagliotti, Saul Rubinek, Joanne Kelly, Genelle Williams (who plays Leena) and Eddie McClintock. Photo copyright of The Syfy Channel

“When I was 11, I met an acting coach who was giving a seminar at a Barnes and Noble in the small town of Mandeville, Louisiana where I was living. He encouraged me to try my had at [TV] pilot season, so my Mom and I did our homework and I gave it a shot. I was very lucky to get an agent along with a manager and book a pilot with Chevy Chase, which is pretty much unheard of for an 11-year-old just starting out in the business. But that was the beginning of all this and I never looked back.”

Prior to Warehouse 13, Scagliotti appeared in a handful of made-for-TV movies as well as guest-starred on several other TV shows including One Tree Hill, Drake & Josh, ER, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and most recently in an episode of Mental, House of Mirrors, which was shot on-location in Bogota, Columbia. “I had never been to South America before,” says the actress, “so that in itself was an experience. It’s a place with a lot of layers, and [the city] is at the base of the Andes, which is just beautiful.

“The role itself was a tricky one for me. My character was born a boy, but through a botched circumcision was raised as a girl, her Mom committed suicide, and she developed a condition called dysmorphia. Even though it’s a small statistic, it’s something that does occur and I read up on the original story that this episode is based on. My main concern was making sure I was truthful as well as respectful to those who were either affected by it or know people who experienced it. It’s important to me to never fake emotions going on in a scene, so in some ways I feel like perhaps I committed too much to the emotionality of what was going on. However, I don’t regret it because I wouldn’t have wanted to fall short of my goals for the impact of the episode.

“The hardest thing to shoot was the suicide scene. The fire was all CGI [computer-generated image] except for one flame bar that they held in front of my face for the lighting. We shot that scene for a while because of the various angles and pouring that bottle of rum, which was actually water, and lighting the match. I had worked with the director [David Jackson] a couple of years ago, and the two of us sat down and talked about how it should go. I was exhausted afterwards, but at the end of the day I’m happy with the episode. I hope it resonated with people, and for people who didn’t know that that kind of thing happens, that it educated them and made them aware of this unfortunate condition.”

Claudia tries to put her own "steampunk spin" on trying to solve a problem in the episode "Elements." Photo by Philippe Bosse and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Claudia tries to put her own "steampunk spin" on trying to solve a problem in the episode "Elements." Photo by Philippe Bosse and copyright of The Syfy Channel

This summer, the actress can be seen in National Lampoon’s Endless Bummer and My Name is Jerry. Next month, she starts work on a play being directed by Alden Ehrenreich, who appeared in Frances Ford Coppola’s Tetro. Besides her acting commitments, she is a full-time college student and majoring in English. To some, this might sound like a lot to have on your plate, but Scagliotti would not have it any other way.

“I like to have focuses outside of the business,” she says. “It’s so easy to develop tunnel vision and become obsessive over projects, characters or just the way the whole machine works. And I find if I’m taking a class, it expands me as a person. I become fuller and more aware of the world as well as people and history, all of which I can bring to a performance as opposed to manufacturing it with only a script. So far I’ve been really fortunate to have professors who have worked with me and allowed me to continue to take my classes as I’m acting. If the workload gets too much, then I trim things. I took 10 units during season one of Warehouse 13 and it worked out just fine. I flew home to take my final and it was all good.”

Steve Eramo

As noted above, all photos by Justin Stephens or Philippe Bosse and copyright of The Syfy Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

Sneak Peek At Tonight’s Ghost Hunters International Episode

July 29, 2009

GHOST Hunters International (GHI) continue on their paranormal worldly ventures – this time to the Czech Republic as they visit an 800-year-old Gothic compound. Will the bones of a possible Catholic saint rattle the nerves of the GHI crew? Also. the team cross the rough waters of Ireland and visit a once occupied royal home said to still be haunted by the original lord of the manor. GHI will debunk truth from fiction as they try to communicate directly with him. Skeleton In The Closet premieres Wednesday, July 29th @ 9 p.m. EST on The Syfy Channel

Below is a link that will allow you to download a preview clip of this week’s spine-tingling episode of Ghost Hunters International.

https://rcpt.yousendit.com/714892178/5453dddc2c2cdfdfc3a317558119e40b

Caprica Premieres In 2010 On The Syfy Channel

July 27, 2009

SYFY has announced the air date for its highly-anticipated upcoming series Caprica. On Friday, January 22nd @ 9 p.m., the show will kick off with a two-hour premiere and will air regularly on subsequent Fridays @ 10 p.m.

Humanity’s storyline takes completely new twists with Caprica, which follows two rival families and their patriarchs -Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) and Joseph Adama (Esai Morales) – as they compete and thrive in the vibrant realm of the Twelve Colonies, a society recognizably close to our own. This original, standalone series will feature the passion, intrigue, political backbiting, and family conflict in an omnipotent society that is at the height of its blind power and glory…and, unknowingly, on the brink of its fall.

Caprica's Eric Stoltz (Daniel Graystone) and Alessandra Torresani (Zoe Graystone). Photo by Evans Ward and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Caprica's Eric Stoltz (Daniel Graystone) and Alessandra Torresani (Zoe Graystone). Photo by Evans Ward and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Esai Morales (Joseph Adama) with Caprica writer/executive producer Jane Espenson. Photo by Evans Ward and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Esai Morales (Joseph Adama) with Caprica writer/executive producer Jane Espenson. Photo by Evans Ward and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Caprica also stars Paula Malcomson (Amanda Graystone), Polly Walker (Sister Clarice Willow), Magda Apanowicz (Lacy) and Alessandra Torresani (Zoe Graystone). The series is from Universal Cable Productions and executive produced by Ronald D. Moore, David Eick and Jane Espenson. Jeffrey Reiner (Friday Night Lights) directed the pilot.

As noted above, photos by Evans Ward and copyright of The Syfy Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any form. Thanks!

Torchwood: Children Of Earth Photos

July 26, 2009
NOW that Torchwood: Children Of Earth has aired on both sides of the pond, thought I’d share with all my readers the remaining press photos that I did not use with my previous Torchwood entries. Enjoy!
Jack (John Barrowman) falls for a trap set by Dr. Rupesh Patanjali (Rik Makarem). Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) falls for a trap set by Dr. Rupesh Patanjali (Rik Makarem). Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

 

Government civil servant Bridget Hastings (Susan Brown, center) tries to make sense out of the chaos unfolding around her. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

Government civil servant Bridget Hastings (Susan Brown, center) tries to make sense out of the chaos unfolding around her. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

The new "temp," Lois Habiba (Cush Jumbo) becomes one of Torchwood's most trusted allies against the threat of the 456. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

The new "temp," Lois Habiba (Cush Jumbo) becomes one of Torchwood's most trusted allies against the threat of the 456. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

Test

Johnson (Liz May Brice) is charged with eliminating Torchwood. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

Tste

Gwen (Eve Myles) has a chat with prospective Torchwood candidate Dr. Rupesh Patanjali. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

Test

Ianto (Gareth David-Lloyd) and Rhys (Kai Owen) create a diversion! Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

Ianto, Gwen and Jack settle into their new base of operations - the Hub 2. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

Ianto, Gwen and Jack settle into their new base of operations - the Hub 2. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

 

Jack "borrows" some transport! Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

Jack "borrows" some transport! Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

Ianto and Jack come face-to-face with the 456. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

Ianto and Jack come face-to-face with the 456. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

 

Test

Jack hopes Gwen can carry out what looks like his final order from him to her. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

Test

Gwen tries to stop the government from taking Ianto's niece and nephew along with their friends. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

Gwen watches as the children around her "transmit" a message to the 456. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

Gwen watches as the children around her "transmit" a message to the 456. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

Jack has no choice but to use the children of Earth to fight back against the 456, but at what cost? Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

Jack has no choice but to use the children of Earth to fight back against the 456, but at what cost? Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

As noted above, all photos courtesy of and copyright of the BBC, so please no unauthorized copying r duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

This Week On Being Human – 07 – 25 – 09

July 25, 2009
Once upon a time there was a werewolf, George (Russell Tovey), a ghost (Lenora Crichlow), and a vampire, Mitchell (Aiden Turner), and they all decided to live together...

Once upon a time there was a werewolf, George (Russell Tovey), a ghost (Lenora Crichlow), and a vampire, Mitchell (Aidan Turner), and they all decided to live together... Photo copyright of Touchpaper Television and the BBC

SPOILER ALERT!! – As Being Human begins, the three friends seem to be having a somewhat normal life. Ghost Annie is buoyed by the fact that she’s finally starting to be seen by ordinary people, rather than just by her housemates. Vampire Mitchell has sworn off blood, determined to kick the habit. Even the neurotic and anxious George is in relatively good spirits, putting his monthly transformation into a rampaging werewolf to the back of his mind. But it’s not long before their supernatural conditions catch up with them. The vampire world won’t leave Mitchell alone, and George, who considers the house a sanctuary from his affliction, promptly tears his new abode to shreds on the first full moon. Annie is heartbroken all over again when their landlord, her fiance Owen (Greg Chillin), pays a visit and reminds her of everything that she lost by dying. Episode one of season one airs Saturday, July 25th @ 9 p.m. EST/PST on BBC America.

As noted above, photo is copyright of Touchpaper Television and the BBC, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

This Week On Primeval – 07 – 25 – 09

July 24, 2009

SPOILER ALERT!! – Helen Cutter decides the only way to stop the destruction of life on Earth is to stop humans from ever evolving. So she goes back in time to the Pliocene period, intent on poisoning the very first humans that evolved in the Rift Valley in Africa. The team is determined to go back to the future and stop her before she can hurt anyone else. Moments before they are about to head through the anomaly, however, their hand-held detectors go off. The team splits – half will battle three vicious Megopterans (which first appeared in episode eight) that have come through another anomaly, and the rest will head to the future to take on their human nemesis, Helen. One of the team will also come face-to-face with the earliest humans, Hominids, in an encounter that will change their life forever. The deranged Helen succeeds in killing one Hominid family, but soon receives a very unpleasant surprise. Episode ten of season three airs Saturday, July 25th at the special time of 8 p.m. EST/PST on BBC America.

Test

The Primeval team - Abby (Hannah Spearritt), Connor, (Andrew Lee-Potts), Sarah (Laila Rouass), Danny (Jason Flemyng) and Captain Becker (Ben Mansfield). Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

 

Helen Cutter (Juliet Aubrey) attempts to manipulate the future by destroying past events in Primevals's season/series finale. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

Helen Cutter (Juliet Aubrey) attempts to manipulate the future by destroying past events in Primevals's season/series finale. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

THE CREATURES OF PRIMEVAL Hominids, the ape man depicted in this episode is based on the skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis, which was discovered in Ethiopia in 1974 and famously called Lucy, after the Beatles’ song Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. The episode mentions site 333, which was discovered in the same year and contains the remains of 13 individuals, all of whom seem to have died at the same time and not from predators.

As noted above, all photos copyright of Impossible Pictures, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

Doctor Who: Planet Of The Dead on BBC America

July 24, 2009
David Tennant (The Doctor) and Michelle Ryan (Lady Christina de Souza) in Doctor Who: Planet Of The Dead. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

David Tennant (The Doctor) and Michelle Ryan (Lady Christina de Souza) in Doctor Who: Planet Of The Dead. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

SPOILER ALERT!! – Following last month’s premiere of Doctor Who: The Next Doctor on BBC America comes our hero’s next adventure, Doctor Who: Planet Of The Dead. In it, the Doctor (David Tennant) is trapped on a desert alien world with a red double-decker bus, but no TARDIS. He soon discovers the mysterious planet holds terrifying secrets hidden in the sand and is forced to team up with an enigmatic, aristocratic thief, Lady Christina de Souza (Eastenders, Bionic Woman, Merlin) to get back to Earth. But time is running out as the deadly Swarm gets closer. Will the Doctor defeat the Swarm and return to Earth safely with his gorgeous companion or will they face a life doomed on this strange planet?

David Tennant as the Doctor in Doctor Who: Planet Of The Dead. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

David Tennant as the Doctor in Doctor Who: Planet Of The Dead. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

Mini Q & A with David Tennant on Planet Of The Dead

Has filming the specials been different from filming the regular series?

“I think we get slightly more time to film the specials. I don’t know if that’s even true – we get four weeks to film an hour-long special whereas we get about two-and-a-half weeks to film a normal 45-minute episode. So we’ve got a little bit more time to play with, but then they tend to be a bit more ambitious. Certainly this one was, and you know the fact that we wanted to film in an actual desert and there aren’t a lot of those in South Wales. So we had to find somewhere in the world that we could achieve that and had an infrastructure that we could use to film in and that would have us, you know?

Tell us about the desert vistas.

“We went to the desert and got some incredible shots. I mean, I think you’ll notice it onscreen that we went a long way and that the director as well as the camera particularly made it count. I think it’ll look like an alien planet in a way that nothing we’ve ever done before has ever quite managed, just because it is an extraordinary sight, with the sun beating down on miles of sand and blue skies. It really is like being in another world, so it was quite useful for us!”

What is this episode about?

“Well, it’s about a bus that ends up on an alien planet and an international jewel thief who meets the Doctor and is quite intrigued by him. And it’s about two alien races, once of which is just doing what comes naturally, while the other is trying to get home. All of those elements kind of combine into a story that is a bit bonkers, extremely fast moving and sort of on a scope that is bigger than we’ve managed before. It’s very exciting having done a show for four years and still be able to find new stories to tell and new ways of telling them. It’s great, and it’s what makes it such a terrific show to work on.”

Things get a little hot under the collar for the Doctor (David Tennant) and Lady Christina (Michelle Ryan) in Doctor Who: Planet Of The Dead. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

Things get a little hot under the collar for the Doctor (David Tennant) and Lady Christina (Michelle Ryan) in Doctor Who: Planet Of The Dead. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

Mini Q & A With Michelle Ryan on Planet Of The Dead

Tell us about your character of Lady Christina de Souza.

“Christina is a mysterious, adventure-seeking aristocrat and is very much a loner who’s off in her own little world. She’s very daring, exciting, smart, sassy and a cool character.”

When did you first hear about the part, and why did it appeal to you?

“I first heard about the part just before Christmas and it appealed to me. I was reading lots of different scripts at the time and then I read this one and I was so engaged with the character as well as her journey. It was just a really interesting, dynamic script and few of those come along for young actresses, so I was kind of like, ‘Yeah, I’d like to be a part of this.'”

What’s it like working with David Tennant?

“It’s amazing. He is genuinely one of the most professional, lovely brilliant actors I’ve ever worked with. David has such a good vibe and he gives great energy to everyone. He’s really cool. It’s quite family-like and fun [on the set] and it’s been such a laugh to work on. The rest of the cast, including the supporting cast, have been been brilliant.”

How did you find working with the Tritovores?

“That was a bit of a shock, but they’re very good. It was cool doing all the special effects stuff where you’ve got these big creatures coming at you. I loved doing the harness and wire work; I was hung upside-down, dropped and bounced up and down, all of which was fun!”

What was it like on-set working with Lee Evans (Dr. Malcolm Taylor)?

Filming with Lee Evans is great. He’s actually really quiet, but then all of a sudden he’ll start being really funny. He’s just naturally funny and lovely.”

Is there a romantic spark between your character and The Doctor?

“There is a little bit of a romantic spark between the Doctor and Christina. I think she feels like she’s met her equal, and the Doctor feels like he’s met his match with Christina. She doesn’t come across many men that intrigue and inspire her the way the Doctor does. He manages to show her that she can actually use her skills to help other people, and that it’s more fun when you’re part of a team rather than being a loner. She goes on a journey with him and I think she’d like it to be more, but the Doctor is quite closed off to that because he’s been hurt in the past. He’s off doing his thing and she’s like, ‘Well, OK,’ and off on her next adventure!”

Sparks fly between the Doctor (David Tennant) and Lady Christina (Michelle Ryan) in Doctor Who: Planet Of The Dead. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

Sparks fly between the Doctor (David Tennant) and Lady Christina (Michelle Ryan) in Doctor Who: Planet Of The Dead. Photo courtesy of and copyright of the BBC

Doctor Who: Planet Of The Dead premieres Sunday, July 26th @ 8 p.m. EST/PST on BBC America.

Stay tuned to BBC America for more adventures with our favorite Time Lord. Doctor Who: The Waters Of Mars is the third special and along with two additional as yet untitled specials will premiere later in 2009 and early 201o.

As noted above, all photos are courtesy of and copyright of the BBC, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any form. Thanks!

James Van Der Beek And David James Elliott Talk About The NBC Miniseries Event The Storm

July 23, 2009

MAYBE it’s Global Warming, natural climate change or, perhaps, Mother Nature just having an off-day (or more), but there is no denying that weather across the planet has turned more violent as well as unpredictable over the past few years. In the upcoming NBC miniseries event The Storm (airing Sunday July 26th and August 2nd @ 9 p.m. – 11 p.m EST) art imitates real life and it’s man versus nature as a single human being manipulates the elements and causes death and destruction to rain down on Earth (no pun intended).

Scientist Kirk Hafner (James Van Der Beek) attempts to stop billionaire Robert Terrell (Treat Williams) from destroying the Earth with his “weather creation” technology. Terrell’s determination to manipulate the weather causes catastrophic weather conditions – a combination of hurricanes, sandstorms and drastic temperature changes that cause panic and hysteria across the globe. With government cohort, U.S. Army General Braxton (David James Elliott), the billionaire envisions the technology as a key military weapon to ensure super power status. Hafner enlists the help of news reporter Danni Nelson (Teri Polo) to help him expose Terrell’s quest. Complications arise when seemingly trustworthy authority figures aren’t who they initially appeared to be. This exhilarating action thriller follows Hafner on his journey to save the human population from extinction. The miniseries also stars David James Elliott, John Larroquette, Luke Perry and Marisol Nichols. Earlier this week, James Van Der Beek and David James Elliott very kindly took some time out of their day to speak with myself as well as other journalists about their work on The Storm as well as various other topics. An edited version of  our conversation follows.

James Van Der Beek as scientist Kirk Hafner in The Storm. Photo by Peter Hopper Stone and copyright of NBC

James Van Der Beek as scientist Kirk Hafner in The Storm. Photo by Peter Hopper Stone and copyright of NBC

Can you tell us a bit about your characters in The Storm and any specific acting challanges you found with these roles?

DAVID JAMES ELLIOTT – I play the Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I’m awfully young for the role, but we decided that my character was a brilliant military mind who rose up through the ranks at lightening speed. And as the miniseries kind of supports, he may have gotten there just a little too soon. As far as challenges, every role is challenging and you have to bring nuances as well as levels to your character and keep it truthful and interesting. General Braxton is a military man and I’ve certainly played one of those before, but there were definite differences. Ultimately, he has to struggle with his morality.

JAMES VAN DER BEEK – I play a scientist who is working for Treat Williams’ character. Kirk Hafner is someone with a huge imagination, very creative, very brilliant, and all of a sudden he has all the tools at his disposal to push the limits of science as far as his mind will allow. My character is then kind of betrayed by the guy he’s working for, and from there on he has no idea who he can trust. He has no idea who’s after him, but is now charged with putting a stop to this thing that he’s helped create. And I’d say the biggest challenge for me was keeping warm at 4 a.m. underneath rain towers. That pretty much trumped any other acting challenge.

What were the visual/special effects like in the miniseries? Was there more green screen versus practical or vice versa?

DJE – I didn’t really face any of the effects challenges, so James will have to answer that one.

JVDB – Let me tell you, the rain was real. There was no green screen rain in this thing. In fact, we didn’t have to do much green screen work at all. A lot of it was practical and right there in front of us – everything from the lightning flashes to the wind and even explosions. If they were in-frame with me, then they were there and happening on the day. So it was a pretty real environment, and therefore I didn’t have to use too much imagination for a great deal of it.

What attracted you both to the story?

DJE – The script looked like it would be a lot of fun and it was certainly an interesting topic. Also, the director is a very old and dear friend of mine; he directed maybe 50 episodes of JAG [which Elliott starred in], so any opportunity to work with Bradford May I knew would not only be fun, but it [the work] would remain interesting and the film would look fantastic. That’s why I wanted to be a part of this.

JVDB – I was fascinated by the idea of a scientist who is kind of in love with the exploration and follows his knowledge as far as he can. Then, however, he creates something that somebody else can use for all kinds of other nefarious purposes. My character created this technology with the best of intentions, and then somebody else took it and using it for their own power. So it puts my character in a difficult situation. He’s trying to the right thing, but the right thing isn’t entirely clear. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely – that was one of the themes in this story and that definitely attracted me to it and made it interesting. And it sounded like a great deal of fun, too.

David James Elliott as General Braxton in The Storm. Photo by Peter Hopper Stone and copyright of NBC

David James Elliott as General Braxton in The Storm. Photo by Peter Hopper Stone and copyright of NBC

You guys both grew up in very different weather situations. If someone had said to you, “OK, you could harmlessly change the weather,” would you have wanted to? David, when you were growing up in Canada would you have changed the weather if you had some way to do it?

DJE – Oh, I’d have changed it in a minute. I hated the cold, so when the opportunity arose to come here [California] I jumped in my car and left immediately, and I haven’t looked back. I’m not a fan of inclement weather. I like snow if I’m skiing, but I don’t enjoy slogging around in it. I dislike rain as well, so that’s why Southern California is a great place for me because I like the heat. I also don’t like hurricanes or earthquakes, but who does?

JVDB – There are three things I do not miss about living in Connecticut – January, February and March. I would certainly do away with that kind of post-winter, pre-spring, cold, dry wasteland.

James, what was it like working with Luke Perry, and did you have a chance to talk with him about being in the same situation as him, albeit a decade apart, and working on a really popular teen show. (Perry worked on Beverly Hills 90210, while Van Der Beek was on Dawson’s Creek).

JVDB – Luke was, I think, a little bit further beyond it, so it wasn’t as present for him, but it’s always interesting to talk with someone who has been through something as unique as that. It’s something you could only really know from the inside, and there’s kind of a mutual understanding that comes from that. Luke is a great guy. He’s got a wonderful perspective on it and I really did enjoy talking with him in-between set-ups.

James, you’re the hero in this story but your character spends a lot of time in front of a keyboard. Is there a new kind of “geek hero” emerging here?

JVDB – Possibly. You know, more and more these days you start relying on people who are good in front of the keyboard. So I mean, that was kind of the idea behind this guy, too. I’ve played characters who were athletic and strong, the kind of typical action hero, but what I liked about Kirk is that he’s not your typical action hero. He’s not particularly suited to being on the run, being shot at or chased, but through his own internal fortitude he somehow scrambles his way though it. That to me is more of an exciting journey as opposed to, for example, watching Rambo.

Former Dawson's Creek star Van Der Beek and Beverly Hills 90210's Luke Perry (as Stilman) team up for the first time in The Storm. Photo by Peter Hopper Stone and copyright of NBC

Former Dawson's Creek star Van Der Beek and Beverly Hills 90210's Luke Perry (as Stilman) team up for the first time in The Storm. Photo by Peter Hopper Stone and copyright of NBC

James, would it be fair to say that you’ve taken a break from lead roles since Dawson’s Creek, and is The Storm sort of a reemergence for you?

JVDB – Yes. I mean, I was pretty burnt out after six years on a TV series, and I don’t know that I was really ready to jump back in. I will say that one thing that’s happened in the past year-and-a-half is that I’ve really started to rediscover my passion for acting and being part of a story in a leading role capacity. So I’m really having a good time right now.

What was your most memorable moment from filming The Storm?

JVDB – We were shooting in Van Nuys around four in the morning and it was very, very cold. We were underneath these rain towers, the entire crew, the camera crew, everyone was standing in the ‘rain’ at this point. I was hiding behind a dumpster and there was a big Rottweiler that was supposed to come up against the fence and snarl and scare the heck out of my character. I was attacked by a dog when I was very little, so I have a natural fear of dogs anyway. So this huge Rottweiler, which probably weighed about twice my weight, was being held back by a chain and ready to come up and pounce against this chain-link fence. By four in the morning, though, when they let the dog go he just kind of ran up to the fence and was not angry at all. He more or less sat there panting. In order to save the shot I knew I had to rile him up, so I turned around and actually started barking at the dog and snarling and baring my own teeth. Only then did he start barking – so in the dailies I probably look pretty ridiculous on my hands and knees in the pouring rain and barking at a Rottweiler.

DJE – I was just excited to work with Treat Williams, so my first day was probably my most memorable, working with someone who I’d been a big fan of for many years. Other than that it was business as usual.

What did you like most about working with The Storm’s director, Bradford May?

JVDB – His passion and energy. As David can tell you because he worked with him more than I have, Brad comes in every day with a huge zest for life and loves being on film sets. He started [in the business] when he was 14 and has pretty much done every job there is to do on a film set. Brad’s parents were in the industry. He’s one of those guys who really knows everybody’s job on-set, and was incredibly gracious about allowing them to do it, and then, always in a respectful way, kind of educating them on how they could do it a little bit better. Bradford is one of those pros who you get an opportunity to work with in this business and one of those lifers who reminds you that this is really fun stuff that we got to do. It’s a job, it’s a business, but when you’re on-set we’re all telling a story and making a movie, so that’s what I loved about him.

DJE – Because Brad knows everybody’s job, you move quickly and don’t waste time. As James said, he’s incredibly passionate and is a gas to be around. So not only is the work done efficiently and extremely well, but the process is a lot of fun, too. I remember the first time I met Brad. He walked onto a set that I had been working on for six or seven years and nothing fazed him. Talk about a character. The first take, he was like, “Cut! Print!” We all looked at him and thought, “Oh, my God, who is this guy? He’s not going to last.” And within two or three days we fell in love with him. Brad is just that type of person, you know? He’s a great filmmaker and probably the most underrated filmmaker in Hollywood.

General Braxton has very specific plans when it comes to exploiting the "weather creation" technology in The Storm. Photo by Peter Hopper Stone and copyright of NBC

General Braxton has very specific plans when it comes to exploiting the "weather creation" technology in The Storm. Photo by Peter Hopper Stone and copyright of NBC

David, doing a project ike this, does it make you think about getting back into series TV?

DJE – You know, I’m thinking about it. We’re developing some shows at the moment with various partnerships, so we’ll see what happens. What I miss about series TV is working on the craft every day, you know? Series TV has changed a lot since I left. It’s a different game now and the rules have changed. Reality TV has changed everything. Certainly there is less opportunity for scripted TV, and less money to be made because advertising has changed. TiVo has changed that. The networks may have to change how they do business, and that seems to be happening. So there is less money and less opportunity, but it’s less stifling an environment to be creative in, which is great. Standards and practices don’t have a grip on cable TV like they’ve had on network TV, not that that’s good or bad, but it’s just different. I’m just happy to work, believe me. I’ve been doing a lot of films lately and I just dig working.

James, you mentioned before that by the time you got to the end of your run in Dawson’s Creek, you were pretty burned out. Is there any advice that you might be able to give to, say, young actors who are in a hot TV show now, that might help them avoid that (burnout), or is that just the nature of the beast?

 JVDB  – Wow, that’s kind of a complicated question. I think the only way to avoid burnout is to gain a level of appreciation for the work, and I don’t know that you can really get that without stepping away from it for a little while. The hours are so intense and the opportunities come so fast and furious that it’s almost impossible to be able to appreciate it all to the level that you should. I mean, I was doing movies during the hiatuses as well as press, photo shoots and all that kind of stuff, and Dawson’s Creek was a six-year run. Is there anything I could have done to avoid it [burnout]? I don’t know. Now that I’m older and can kind of have a little bit of a different perspective on it, I’d like to think now that I can probably handle it and not be burned out for so long.

Also, it started for me when I was 20. And I wasn’t in a place of really being able to handle everything that was thrown at me. I came out OK, but what I would say for anybody going through it, is just focus on the work and keep good people around you. And don’t believe the hype either way, good or bad. Just really keep it all about the work and make sure that the people you’re surrounding yourself with are high-quality individuals, and you should be OK. It’s tricky, though. Any time opportunities come up, especially when money comes into the picture, it acts as kind of an indiscriminate magnet. It attracts all kinds of people; some of them with good intentions, some of them not. So it really is tricky. Not impossible, but tricky.

I was just saying to someone the other day that the one thing that I kind of came out of my experience with is a real compassion for anybody else who goes through the same thing. It’s very easy to stand on the outside and judge and look at people making bad decisions and say, what the hell were you thinking? Having gone through it and been in the eye of that storm, I think I would try to judge a lot less than your average person looking at somebody going through that type of “train wreck.”

As noted above, all photos by Peter Hopper Stone and copyright of NBC, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any form. Thanks!

 

Eureka’s Jaime Paglia – Small Town Kinda Guy

July 22, 2009
Colin Ferguson (Sheriff Jack Carter), Joe Morton (Henry Deacon) and Salli Whitfield-Richardson (Dr. Allison Blake) in the season three Eureka episode "Welcome Back Carter." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

Colin Ferguson (Sheriff Jack Carter), Joe Morton (Henry Deacon) and Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Dr. Allison Blake) in the season three Eureka episode "Welcome Back Carter." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

BELIEVE it or not, it was three years ago that Eureka co-creator and executive producer Jaime Paglia first invited audiences into the small Pacific Northwest town where, thanks to the local government-run think tank Global Dynamics, just about anything scientifically and technologically-speaking can happen. The brains behind Eureka may be working towards the betterment of humanity, but their results often end up endangering the town and its locals.

Midway through the show’s third season, Sheriff Jack Carter prevented a doomsday weapon from destroying Eureka. However, when he let Eva Thorne, one of the scientists involved in a pre-Eureka research project on atomic bombs, go free, he was fired. That was last summer. Earlier this month, Eureka returned to the Syfy Channel with 10 brand new episodes to finish out its third season, which was part of the plan all along according to Paglia.

“The reason that this order [for season three] got split the way it did was because once the writers’ strike [of 2007] resolved itself, it was a matter of, ‘OK, hurry up and catch up,'” explains the executive producer. “In order to stay on track for having episodes to air last summer in Eureka‘s regular time-slot, we were only able to physically shoot and complete eight episodes.

“So as opposed to doing the full 18-episode run all at once, we wrote and shot eight, then took a brief hiatus while the writers furiously caught up on scripts so that we’d have more material to shoot, and gave the cast and crew a little breather. Then we went back and shot the last 10 episodes. We’d hoped that they were going to air earlier this year, around February, but economics being what they are, the network elected to hold them until this summer.

“We planned to do a mini-arc with the Eva Thorne [Frances Fisher] character and that was something we wanted to resolve. We had discovered the challenges of sometimes doing a longer mythology arc that you then might not be able to explore in every episode the way we would want to. And I think we decided it was easier to focus on the active element of the first eight episodes of this [third] season and resolve things a bit quicker. That, in turn, allowed us to create a whole new mini-arc for the remaining 10 episodes, and it felt like a really nice, manageable way to approach the story breaking process.”

An unemployed Sheriff Carter happily lends a hand to help his friends out in "Welcome Back Carter." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

An unemployed Sheriff Carter happily lends a hand to help his friends out in "Welcome Back Carter." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

In the mid-season cliffhanger From Fear to Eternity, the lives of many of our favorite Eureka characters were turned upside-down. Besides Jack Carter’s (Colin Ferguson) dismissal by General Mansfield (Barclay Hope), the sheriff’s teenage daughter Zoe (Jordan Hinson) almost died as a result of her exposure to an aging compound that killed Eva Thorne’s colleagues. Dr. Allison Blake (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) also discovered that she was pregnant with her deceased husband Dr. Nathan Stark’s (Ed Quinn) child. All these developments, coupled with various behind-the-scenes goings-on, steered the show’s writers in a certain direction when it came to writing the rest of the season.

“There were some curve balls thrown at us midway through this season,” notes Paglia. “Some were production related, and others were just the types of things that happen with peoples’ personal lives that, in turn, can affect how you break stories. All those elements definitely had an impact on what we ended up doing with these back 10 episodes.

“We wanted to introduce a new love interest for Jack Carter and change the dynamic that we’ve traditionally had with him and Nathan Stark as these two Alpha males battling over the Alpha female. Also, with Stark’s passing, we wanted to bring in a new character, which we did in Dr. Tess Fontana, played by Jamie Ray Newman. Tess and Allison have a history. They’re old friends, but that also gets a little tense when Tess and Carter start to develop a romantic connection, which was, I think, really fun to play out.

“Something else we wanted to do was step up the relationship between Deputy Jo Lupo [Erica Cerra] and Zane Donovan [Niall Matter] and challenge it as far as if it’s a short-term thing or something more,” continues the executive producer. “Then there was Zoe and her boyfriend Lucas [Vanya Asher]. She’s coming to an age now where they’re talking about college and whether or not they’re planning to go to the same school and things of that nature. So I think it gave us a chance to really deepen the relationships and those connections and go to places that we haven’t before. That’s a challenge writing-wise and probably a lot more satisfying for our cast of actors to play as well.”

The second half of Eureka‘s third season opens with Welcome Back Carter. In it, Carter and Zoe contemplate leaving Eureka as the ex-sheriff looks for a new job. Meanwhile, everyone in town is surprised when Carter is replaced with Fargo’s (Neil Grayston) latest invention, a robotic sheriff named Andy (Ty Olsson). Unfortunately, the congenial and civic-minded robot is targeted by powerful gravity wells, which repeatedly crush him. Carter investigates and ultimately teams up with Andy to help save the day. Realizing that Jack is better suited to uphold law and order in Eureka. Andy helps Henry (Joe Morton) get him reinstated.

Sheriff Carter and Douglas Fargo (Neil Grayston). Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

Sheriff Carter and Douglas Fargo (Neil Grayston). Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

“I’d like to have Sheriff Andy make a return to the show,” says Paglia. “He nearly did in this season’s finale, but I would say looking forward optimistically to season four, I think it would be great to have him back on some kind of recurring basis.

Welcome Back Carter is probably the most challenging episode we did in these back 10. There’s a sort of constant push and pull that goes on when you’re making a show like ours because you’re obviously tied to a certain budget. You do everything you can with that budget, and with that in mind, the [visual effects] guys who put the show together kill themselves to give us more than we’re even paying for. I mean, they really extend themselves and I think they’re more critical than any of us when it comes to saying, ‘You know what, if we did just one more thing it would be better.’

“One example of that is the final action sequence in this episode where Jack and Andy are in the barn. Probably two-thirds of those [VFX] shots were not originally budgeted, but creatively everyone agreed that they really needed to be there. So the networks and the studio came through with the extra money and the guys did everything in their power to get it done.”

Following Welcome Back Carter is the episode Your Face or Mine, in which Erica Cerra plays two very different versions of her Deputy Lupo character. Paglia is quite complimentary of her work as well as Colin Ferguson’s, who made his Eureka directorial debut with this episode.

“This was an opportunity where we really wanted to allow some of our other cast members to be the focus of the story, and Erica really stepped up to the task,” says the executive producer. “And Colin might be a little biased, but I think it’s probably one of our favorite episodes of these back 10.

“Colin did a terrific job of directing and he’ll be doing it again. This was actually the first episode that we shot of these back 10, and we specifically did that so that Colin would be able to prep his episode as a director without having to worry about acting in the previous one. This presented some interesting challenges for the writers, but we welcomed that as it gave us a chance to write a script that wasn’t Carter-driven in every scene. That said, he’s absolutely a presence through the episode. Colin got to be a fun comedic runner without having to be ferried from one set to another, which would have really impacted his work as a director.

Deputy Jo Lupo (Erica Cerra) and Allison try to figure out who's who in "Your Face or Mine." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

Deputy Jo Lupo (Erica Cerra) and Allison try to figure out who's who in "Your Face or Mine." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

“So it all really worked, and I think it proves that we have an amazing supporting cast who we can put in the center of a story and still have it feel like our show.”

Paglia previously spoke of the introduction of  Tess Fontana as a new romantic interest for Carter in these upcoming Eureka episodes. How will this impact the sheriff’s and Allison’s relationship in the future? “We want them to truly ‘earn’ what they have relationship-wise,” he muses. “Most of us have had those unrequited relationships in our lives – those missed opportunities where the timing just wasn’t right or things went in a different direction. And you always wonder what if you had managed to work things out.

“As you know, we forced Carter and Allison apart in season two. She was taking over Global Dynamics and Stark was getting much closer to her and trying to help [her son] Kevin [Meshach Peters]. That was a very deliberate choice on our part to put Carter in a place of not trusting Allison for the first time because she was making some choices that were guided much more by her own personal interests and love for her child. And with the proposal from Stark at the end of the season, it really put a cap on the fact that she was going to go down that road.

“Of course, all that changed when Nathan died in what was a very noble way. Then there’s this pregnancy that’s left over and how is that going to affect Carter’s and Allison’s relationship. You’ll see as the rest of this season unfolds that their friendship has developed. It’s interesting when another woman comes into the mix and one who Allison had a previous relationship with. She sees that Tess could potentially make Carter happy and has to make the unselfish, or selfish, choice about whether or not to be supportive of that. Salli, Colin and Jamie Ray really play that dynamic nicely.

“There has been a recurring theme that we’ve tried to weave into the episodes over the past few seasons, which is do they [Carter and Allison] or don’t they have ‘a thing.’ You just have to have a little faith. It may take a long time to get there, and it’s not going to be the same road that was traveled down in the alternate time-line at the end of season one. We’ve seen different characters end up getting married and different characters being the parents of the kids. When Allison was pregnant at the end of year one it was with Carter, and last season it was actually with Stark. Those changes are part of the show. But as for Allison and Carter ending up together, well, there’s still the potential. After all, you never know what the future holds, but if you believe strongly enough and maintain those connections, anything is possible.

Dr. Allison Blake in "Your Face or Mine." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

Dr. Allison Blake in "Your Face or Mine." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

Sadly, Eureka fans hoping to see the return of Dr. Stark this year will be disappointed as that is not in the cards. However, there are some other familiar faces that will be making a comeback. “I don’t want to and can’t spoil it, but I can tell you that there are two characters that have been a major part of our series and will be making a reappearance,” teases Paglia. “Along with that, Lexi Carter, who is played by Ever Carradine, will be back for a few episodes and she’s great. We also have Billy Campbell [The 4400] coming in for an episode. But, yes, we do have two favorites who will be returning.”

And what about the show’s “big bad?” At the very end of Welcome Back Carter, an alien object is detected to be heading straight for Eureka. Can Paglia shed any light on how it may manifest itself? “We wanted to have another big bad,” says the executive producer, “but we wanted it to be something different as well as have it sort of tie into the historical aspect of our characters and the town on a personal level.

“So instead of it necessarily being a person, it’s a thing, and we don’t know what it is. The question is, is it from out there? Is it man-made? It’s coming towards Eureka and we have to deal with it, and that has, again, allowed us to introduce some new characters and bring back some old ones who we haven’t seen in a while.”

When it comes to a “wish list” Eureka episode, Paglia definitely as one. “There’s the concept that we’ve had for a really long time that focuses on Carter’s smart house, S.A.R.A.H. [Self-Actuated Residential Automated Habitat] and her desire to not just be literally a housewife to Carter, but to get out there, find a job and experience the world,” he says. “There was an episode in season two called Duck, Duck, Goose where S.A.R.A.H. was downloaded in a smart car for a while and was able to get out and feel the wind in her hair so to speak. However, she hasn’t managed to become personified yet, and I have an idea who I would like to play that character if we ever get a chance to do it. And I’ll just say that the actress happens to be on Battlestar Galactica.”

Having occupied a Tuesday night time-slot on the Syfy Channel since its premiere, Eureka has been moved to Friday nights for the remained of its third season. With the shift, the series has continued to go from strength to strength, much to Paglia’s delight.

Carter and Dr. Tess Fontana (Jamie Ray Newman) try to save the day in the season three episode "Insane in the P-Brane." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

Carter and Dr. Tess Fontana (Jamie Ray Newman) try to save the day in the season three episode "Insane in the P-Brane." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

“I’m happy that Syfy has sort of staked out a hold on Syfy Friday’s for the channel,” says the executive producer. “Naturally, when you’ve got a time-slot that seems to be working for you, there’s always that little trepidation about throwing any curve balls into the mix. However, we premiered to record numbers and have managed to hold onto our number one status on the channel.

“We’ve actually built our audience even more and we want to see those numbers continue to grow. I’m hoping that we can maintain that on Friday nights. The network has always been very supportive of the series and I don’t think they would have moved us if they didn’t believe we could not hold our own. Hopefully, that will prove to be the case.”

Steve Eramo

As noted above, all photos by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any form. Thanks!