Posts Tagged ‘Stonehenge Apocalypse’

CSI: NY’s Hill Harper & Supernatural’s Misha Collins in Syfy’s Stonehenge Apocalypse

June 11, 2010

Hill Harper (as Leshem) in Stonehenge Apocalypse. Photo by Ed Araquel and copyright of the Syfy Channel

In Stonehenge Apocalypse, premiering Saturday, June 12th @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST on The Syfy Channel, the ancient sandstone pillars of Stonehenge suddenly come to life, shifting along the Earth’s power grid and creating devastating natural disasters around the world. Is Stonehenge really an alien terraforming machine, orginally used to create a fertile, life-sustaining planet? And is its accidental re-activation going to destroy the planet? It is up to brilliant and eccentric radio host Jacob (Misha Collins, Supernatural) to prevent this by stopping a crazed cult leader named Leshem (Hill Harper, CSI: NY), eager for Armageddon. Also starring are Torri Higginson (Stargate Atlantis) as Kaycee, Peter Wingfield (Riverworld) as Dr. John Trousbale and Brent Stait (Andromeda) as Major Peatman. 

Jacob (Misha Collins) and Kaycee (Torri Higginson) work together to try to stop the end of the world as they know it. Photo by Ed Araquel and copyright of the Syfy Channel

Leshem is obviously pleased at what his Foreman (Nimet Kanji) and her team have uncovered for him. Photo by Ed Araquel and copyright of the Syfy Channel

As noted above, photos by Ed Araquel and copyright of the Syfy Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

Riverworld’s Peter Wingfield – Not So Mr. Nice Guy

April 17, 2010

Peter Wingfield as Richard Burton in Riverworld. Photo by James Dittiger and copyright of the Syfy Channel

Peter Wingfield is just itching for a fight today, but, in fact, he is not the only one. It is a warm and sunny Friday in Vancouver, British Columbia, and one of the last days of filming on the Syfy Channel miniseries Riverworld (Sunday, April 18th from 7-11:oo p.m. EST). Inside the warehouse studio, a two-level platform with stairs has been erected in front of a huge green screen. This is where Wingfield, who pays Sir Richard Burton, and the show’s leading man, Tahmoh Penikett (Matt Ellman), have spent the better part of the day shooting a fight that took quite a bit of time to prepare for. 

“Last Sunday was the first time that Tahmoh and I actually looked at this fight,” says Wingfield during a break in filming. “There are several fights in our story and the stunt guys as well as Tahmoh have been really busy all the way through. The stunt choreographer had gone off and created this fight with his guys, and then last Sunday, Tahmoh and I spent two hours at the gym working through what the fight would look like. This week we’ve tried to find time during lunch breaks and such to, not practice it physically, but just sort of talk through the shape of the fight. 

“Now here we are on set-today and because of the constraints of the location, we have to change bits of the fight. So things that we learnt, we’ve now got to wipe those from our minds and stick something else in there instead. We’re also dealing with time constraints, so we’re shortening the fight, which is comprised of 60 or 70 moves, in one of the parts. 

Burton (Wingfield) plots his next move. Photo by James Dittiger and copyright of the Syfy Channel

“This is a big throwdown, knockdown, smackdown conflict, and that makes sense given that it’s the end of our characers’ journey and their final conflict. We have a quick exchange at the start of the story, then we have the journey, and now we get to this point and this fight is absolutely personal. My character surprises Matt, and he could have simply knocked him out and killed him, but doesn’t. Burton chooses to get into a fistfight, the reason being that he wants to cause Matt pain, and he wants to see it, too. Burton wants to relish the physical contact and the suffering. It’s all rather dark and ugly,” says the actor with a smile, “but it’s also a really good, really cool, intense story.” 

In Riverworld, Sir Richard Burton is among the countless human beings who, following their deaths, have been reborn on the riverbank of a mysterious new world. Intent on reaching this great river’s headwaters and destroying this place, Burton hijacks a riverboat being captained by Samuel “Mark Twain” Clemens (Mark Deklin). Clemens and his passengers, including an American war correspondent, Matt Ellman, and a 12th century Samurai warrior named Tomoe (Jeananne Goossen), have been searching for Matt’s missing fiancée Jessie (Laura Vandervoort). Carrying on with their search, they must now also deal with this unwanted adversary and any other dangers that await them along the way. Like a few of his fellow Riverworld actors, Wingfield’s character is, in fact, based on a real-life individual. 

“In-between putting a couple of audition scenes on tape for Riverworld and receiving a call to meet with the director, Stuart Gillard, I was sent the script,” he recalls. “I read it and did some research on Victorian explorer Richard Francis Burton, who was quite an extraordinary guy. He spoke 25 languages and, with dialects, was probably fluent in 40. Burton was also an explorer and visited several countries. He went on a pilgrimage to Mecca disguised as a Muslim from Afghanistan. This was at a time when if they had known that an infidel was in the holiest of holies, they would have cut him up into little pieces and eaten him. 

Vivienne (Meg Roe) has a rather unsettling exchange with Burton (Wingfield). Photo by James Dittiger and copyright of the Syfy Channel

“Burton translated The Kama Sutra as well as One Thousand and One Nights, what we know now as The Arabian Knights. He seemed to be interested in so many different things. Burton was an explorer in the most general of senses, but not just of the physical lands but the emotion and cultural landscapes as well. He was a poet, too. However, the thing that struck me was the sense of danger about this guy. He was a James Bond-type character, not only going undercover, but dangerously undercover. 

Riverworld is based on the books by Philip Jose Farmer, which use the idea that Burton, along with the rest of humanity, has been reborn again on this other planet. When I read the script it had this interesting Sci-Fi flavor and an alien-created world, but the concept allowed you to bring in these various characters from human history, which seemed like a neat idea. So for instance, we have Mark Twain, or Samuel Clemens, and the Spanish explorer Francisco Pizarro [Bruce Ramsey]. I really liked that because it means you can bring in anybody, and you can also kill them off and then decide to bring them back again. How perfect is that for TV?’ 

Burton (Wingfield) decides to take the upper hand. Photo by James Dittiger and copyright of the Syfy Channel

Having done all this research, there was only so much of it that the actor could apply to his portrayal of Burton. “The thing is, there are several different [research] sources that are not identical,” explains Wingfield. “You’ve got the real person, then the character in the novels, and finally Burton in this miniseries. While they’re related to each other, they are not the same. The novels aren’t about the real Richard Burton. They are taking the idea from the historical facts of his life and how he might have lived in this fantasy world. Meanwhile, the miniseries is not a literal translation of the novels, but rather a reinvention of them. So there are some things that you can take with you, and others that are not the same. 

“Ultimately, the story that I have signed up for and that I’m telling is of Richard Burton on the miniseries,” continues the actor. “All the information that is significant is in the script of this four-hour TV movie. So there’s a lot of juggling going on. I’ve taken inspiration from a number of different places, but the facts that I have to work with are just those in the script. And to me what is, I think, the most powerful and demanding of these facts is the darkness of my character. Burton is a scary guy. He’s a really dark and violent man, and yet he is also tremendously witty as well as charming and sexy. I mean, he has love scenes with the two major female characters in the story, and they’re both very different and tell you a great deal about the character. 

“I’ve always felt that love scenes, just like fight scenes or a dance, reveal aspects of a character. Very verbal or very intellectual characters have some sense of control over what they’re saying and what they reveal to you when they’re speaking. However, when you watch them doing something physical, particularly something where they have to some extent lost control, such as a love scene or a fight, they reveal different things about themselves. 

Burton (Wingfield) and Allegra (Romina D'Ugo). Photo by James Dittiger and copyright of the Syfy Channel

“One of the great joys about playing Burton is that there are two dissimilar stories involving the two women with whom he has liaisons, and I was quite interested in just the visual imagery of that. One of them is a very verbal scene, and the other is completely without words. I spoke at length with our director about this, because we wanted to be telling very different sides of Burton’s story. And that’s been both the challenge and the thrill of playing him, those extremes that are within him. He has a high level of culture and education, but then there’s a brutality and connection with an almost animal-like quality and rage inside him. It’s been quite a trip for me [acting-wise]. I’ve tried to make him the most complex character that I’ve ever played because, again, I feel the Richard Burton who genuinely lived was an extremely complicated individual.” 

Although this is Burton’s first encounter with Matt Ellman and vice versa, Wingfield’s character seems determined to get rid of him. Why? “I didn’t realize when I began this project how simple the heart of this story is,” he muses. “It’s a love triangle. When it all comes down to the final showdown, it’s a woman who has very different sides of herself fueled or expressed by Burton and Matt. However, both men recognize something in each other. Yes, they have a conflict because of this woman, but they also see the world almost the same and yet slightly differently. 

“It’s that slight difference that has taken Burton and Matt in opposite emotional and spiritual directions. From the outset, Burton has been described as a bad guy, but having read the script I thought, ‘In what world is he the bad guy?’ There is a part of Burton who wants to see the world the way Matt sees it, and there’s also clearly a part of Matt that wants to see the world the way Burton does. 

Determined to be the victor in his "final conflict," Burton (Wingfield) prepares to strike. Photo by James Dittiger and copyright of the Syfy Channel

“So once they’re in absolute conflict with each other, there is a sense of recognition insofar as the equality of both these warriors. Here are these two adversaries who are worthy of the fight, and that has very much developed throughout the filming of Riverworld. I didn’t see that initially. However, as we’ve gotten towards the end of shooting I could see that that was where it was going. I looked back at the story we told during the filming and realized it was there all the time.” 

Wingfield recently guest-starred on the TV series Human Target and Caprica, and can be seen in the upcoming Syfy Channel Saturday Night Movie Stonehenge Apocalypse. Prior to shooting Riverworld, he played a multi-episode arc on 24 as well as reprised his role of Dan Clifford back in his native UK in the TV medical drama Holby City. The actor also appeared as Dr. John Watson in the first season finale of the hit Syfy Channel series Sanctuary

“That was a great character,” says Wingfield. “In Sanctuary, John Watson was supposedly a real person who had inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write Sherlock Holmes on the stipulation that he would also write the detective a sidekick and call him John Watson. 

Burton channels his not-so-nice side when threatening Hal (Matt McCaull). Photo by James Dittiger and copyright of the Syfy Channel

“So he was a brilliant man from Victorian times and Watson and Dr. Helen Magnus [Amanda Tapping] had a history together in that they were part of a group called “The Five.” In this episode,  the four surviving members reconvene and we learn that through his brilliance and ingenuity, Watson has kept himself alive by creating a machine that could fight off aging. 

“It was such a fun part to do. I’d known Amanda Tapping from Stargate SG-1 years ago, but I hadn’t worked with Chris Heyerdahl [John Druitt] before and it turned out to be a real pleasure. There are some actors who you just connect with and it works, and Chris and I had a relationship where we immediately trusted one another and could play with the scenes – not just get through the lines, but mess with them and change the intention. So they would always remain alive, interesting and fun. 

“There was this one really powerful scene that we were shooting. It must have been two in the morning and the end of what had been a very long day. And I remember it with great affection because once we finished, the crew, who had probably done a 17- or 18-hour day, were all totally focused and concentrating on this scene. Over the next few days, one after the other said how great it was to have been a part of shooting it. That doesn’t happen very often.” 

Allegra (Romina D'Ugo) and Burton (Wingfield) appear surprised by someone's unexpected arrival. Photo by James Dittiger and copyright of the Syfy Channel

While working on Riverworld, Wingfield had the chance to spend some time with his young son. Of all the roles he has had, the actor considers this one to be his most important. “Fatherhood is the only thing of significance I’ve ever done in my life,” he says. “It’s the real thing, and all the rest is just mucking about. 

“I love being a father and it’s tough in this business to be a solid fixture in your child’s life. I have a fabulous wife, though, and whenever he’s able to, my son comes to visit me if I’m away filming. He’s had his Spring break while I’ve been doing Riverworld, so he was up here in Vancouver for a week, which he absolutely adored. We still have family here – his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins – and he spent a couple of days here on-set hanging out with me along with the rest of the cast and crew on a paddlewheel steamboat. His favorite department is props because he gets to see all the guns and swords. He especially enjoys hanging out when we do the special effects, like blowing stuff up and setting fire to things. It’s tough to impress nine-year-old boys, but if you can blow stuff up they’re usually interested,” notes the actor with a smile. 

Steve Eramo 

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

The Syfy Channel Sizzles During Summer 2010

April 15, 2010

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.