After an 11 hour drive across the Rocky Mountains from Alberta to Vancouver, my car companion and I reached Vancouver and, more importantly, arrived at the very last Creation Entertainment Stargate Convention that was conducted at the Hilton Vancouver Metro Town Hotel.
Since this convention event was billed by Creation to be the very “Last Ride Through the Stargate in Vancouver”, I knew long ago that I simply had to be a part of it!
Before beginning my report, I would like to thank my friend Allison Hamilton for contributing a superb picture we have used in this report about Stargate Vancouver 2012!
As I was dialing the “Gate”, I stopped by the vendors before the convention started where all kinds of great Stargate collectors items were available. I was fortunate to have a an unexpected photo taken with many of the celebrity guests in attendance.
Can you name them all?
Brent Stait (Major Ferretti) in MGM Studios Stargate “Children of the Gods” was on stage early on Friday. He said that his work on “Mystery Alaska” (1999) was very enjoyable for him because it was a movie about Hockey with a comedic twist.
Brent proudly shared that he got to skate naked and slide across the ice on his backside, something he had never done before. Brent stopped playing hockey last year because he “was getting too beat up”.
On Smallville, Brent wore a helmet and chose to play the character like one on an old radio show. He wanted to do it that way since he grew up in a family who loved to listen to radio shows. Brent was also in the recent “Final Destination” movie. He was the character who got a hook through the head!
Sarah Strange (Morgan Le Fay) is a very funny lady on stage. She is also expecting her first baby very soon. She has done voice work in the past, so her work as Morgan Le Fay was not difficult. When asked what role she would like to play, she replied, “Iron Man“, because that is such a cool costume”.
Actually, she would like to play historical characters. She loved her role in “Men In Trees”. The show was filmed in Squamish, B.C which looks like Alaska. She is also a big Amanda Tapping fan, because, she says, Amanda is so great to work with.
Mike Dopud seemed a little nervous. After all this was only his second convention. Mike is extremely busy with lots of projects on the go. He listed at least eight projects he is currently working on. Mike also said that he was at one time, a member of the Saskatchewan Rough Riders Football club in Canada’s professional football league, the C.F.L. Mike now prefers Twitter over Facebook since it takes less time to update. He really enjoyed his role as Varro on Stargate Universe.
Most of his interaction was with the character Alaina Huffman who portrayed Tamara Johansen (T.J.), but he also enjoyed his interaction with Colonel Everett Young (Louis Ferreira). He admitted to being quite surprised with the popularity of his character. That popularity was born out from the huge line up of fans outside the vendors room eagerly waiting for Mike’s autograph!
Andee Frizzell (Wraith Queens) is always funny. She is also very energetic on stage, so someone asked if she just had coffee or is she always that way. She looked at the person and said, “Can you imagine me if I had just had coffee” implying that she would be even more animated under the influence of caffeine!
The most difficult part of her being the Wraith Queen in so many Stargate Atlantis episodes was wearing the teeth. She also said that when she played the Queen opposite Connor Trinneer in “The Last Man” they both had fun tossing her head back and forth.
I was delighted to see that two of my favorite actors, Dan Payne and Alex Zahara were on stage early on Friday. They are always funny together. Dan asked the audience if they had seen “Cabin In The Woods”, because he is in it. He said that he had to dive through a hole and was not certain of what was on the other side. He wore a great deal of makeup in the film, so he might not be easily recognized.
He also mentioned that the lead actress, Kristen Connolly, was asked by the director to really pound a knife into his chest. He joked, “that woman has anger issues”, as she really drove the stunt knife into his chest. He had to check for bruising later, he said.
Then Alex Zahara joined him on the stage. Dan introduced his friend and poked fun at his hometown of Grande Prairie, Alberta, “when people get divorced there, they are still brother and sister”. Then he had a startled look on his face as he realized and asked, “is there anyone here from Grande Prairie? Luckily for him, no one put up their hand. Dan said that he had also been in “Underworld”. His character was a werewolf. He was made up in a body suit and mask. He joked, “Another mask, another therapy session”.
Since they were discussing characters, Alex said that he had played nine Unas in the Stargate SG-1 episode, “Beast of Burden”. He also had the opportunity to play a female Unas who served the SG-1 Team in the episode. His favorite episode was 1969 where he played “Michael” the Hippie driver of the bus. In the episode, the directors allowed him to change a line where he says he is going to Canada because, “I don’t want to kill anyone.”
Dan Payne told us that in the Stargate episode, “Prometheus Unbound”, he was in the Super Soldier costume just before Vala Mal Doran (Claudia Black) was introduced. As he and Doctor Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) filmed the shot of the Super Soldier bringing its face ever closer to Michael’s, he told Dan, “If you kiss me, I’ll punch you!” Dan’s reply, “You’re tied up; you can’t!”
Julia Benson (2nd Lt. Vanessa James) and Suanne Braun (Hathor) were up next. Both women are very attractive. I am certain the men in the audience were enjoying the panel. Suanne commented that her Stargate Episode, “Hathor”, she enjoyed that she was able to use the character’s sexuality and magic potion to control all the men, “What woman wouldn’t want that?” However, the costume she wore made her feel quite chilly.
Fortunately, the water in the bathtub device they provided for her was kept warm to help her feel more comfortable. She stated that the shrimp like plastic Goa’uld larvae kept melting, and they smelled bad. For days after the episode, she said she smelled like the melted plastic. “People in elevators would back away from me.”
Julia Benson has just finished a new movie called, “Death Do Us Part”, a film WHR recently pre-reviewed. Julia asked that everyone follow DDUPMovie on Twitter and watch the trailer for the film, “the more people who watch it, the better our chances to sell it when we look for a distributor”.
When asked if Julia ever felt sexualized by the writers of Stargate Universe, she replied, “no, I didn’t feel taken advantage of in any way. The episode where Eli Wallace (David Blue) and others stalked her with a Keeno, was just men being juvenile”, Julia felt that her character was a strong one since she threatened to do Eli harm if he did not behave.
Kavan Smith (Major Lorne), Robert Picardo (Mr. Woolsey), Chuck Campbell (Chucknician) and Steve Bacic (Camulus) were soon on stage together. They were all very funny together, especially, Robert Picardo who has an incredible wit. Kavan commented that his new character on Eureka, (Deputy Andy) has been lots of fun to play, especially when he played multiple copies of himself in the first episode of season 5, “Lost”. Kavan commented that he worked more hours than everyone else in that episode, but he was surprised, he joked, “that I didn’t get paid more than everyone else”.
Regarding their Stargate characters, someone asked what the four gentlemen thought their characters might be doing now. Kavan joked that his character, Lorne, is retired and now works in a carnival juggling chainsaws. Chuck Campbell just keeps hanging out at Cheyenne Mountain hoping they will give him some work. Robert Picardo figures that Richard Woolsey is now an official spokesman for Preparation H.
Steve Bacic did not really answer the question, but asked Chuck if that was him in the tent outside Bridge Studios?
Apparently, none of the actors are working on entertainment projects at the moment. They were all asked by fans what they are currently working on and no one had an answer. I hope we see these fine actors soon on our television screens or in the movies!
Robert Picardo said that he did enjoy working on the episode of Supernatural, “Clap Your Hands If You Believe”. His daughter is a big fan of the show. He played a Leprechaun. He joked, “I also noticed they never invited me back”. On Star Trek Voyager, he loved working with Jeri Ryan and called Voyager, “that Gilligan’s Island of outer space”.
It was a delight to finally see Chris Judge on stage. He had not been able to attend the previous year as advertised due to a family emergency, so his presence at the convention was eagerly anticipated. Chris was asked, “what do you think Teal’c knows that he is not talking about?’ He replied, “Teal’c is so black and white that he would find most relationships silly, especially human relationships; and that Jackson and Mitchell were more than just friends”.
On set, Chris Judge said that he and Michael Shanks would have competitions to see who could flub their lines the most. He also is an admirer and friend of David Hewlett from his appearance on the Stargate Atlantis episode, “Midway” and his appearance in Hewlett’s film, “A Dog’s Breakfast”. He said that he’d do anything for David Hewlett. After a pause, the audience started laughing. Chris Judge feigned shock and stated, “what is wrong with you people?”
Chris added that in his opinion that Peter Williams enjoyed playing Apophis more than anyone else ever enjoyed playing a character, “he used to walk through the production offices yelling, “I am your God!”
When Chris was first deciding how to play Teal’c, he said he attempted to play him like he thought Yul Brynner played “The King And I”. Chris was convinced that he sounded exactly the same until he saw himself perform on screen. Chris will be appearing in “The Dark Knight Rises” coming to the big screen in 2012!
Lou Diamond Phillips (Colonel David Telford) entered the stage to resounding applause and started answering questions right away. He does not speak Spanish. He is Philipino. Coming up, he is doing a small Indie film with Edward James Olmos. He admires the actor very much, saying that he is not just a fine actor but a fine human being.
Lou was asked what the inspiration was for pulling his pants down in front of Patrick Gilmore and Peter Kelamis. He said, “to get their reaction, and, hopefully, comedy will ensue, not that comedy ensues every time I pull down my pants”. He loves playing bad guys and enjoyed playing Colonel Telford as an evil man. Lou Diamond Phillips was very friendly and intelligent in his answers; a delight to listen to.
David Hewlett (Doctor Rodney McKay), Joe Flanigan (Lt. Colonel John Sheppard) and Paul McGillion (Doctor Carson Beckett) were very popular on stage together. Creation Entertainment did not disappoint by arranging to have the three actors appear on stage for at least an hour and a half! David Hewlett’s favorite scene from Stargate Atlantis was in “Sunday”, when Paul McGillion’s character died.
Paul liked the scene when Joe Flanigan’s character told his character to “buck up”, adding that another scene where Sheppard helped Beckett blow his nose, because he was crying, was later cut from the episode for time.
Someone asked, “What three books are on your book shelf?” Joe answered quickly, “Different ones?” Joe likes biographies. David loves Dune and uses a Kindle now for the books he wants to read. Joe admitted that he enjoyed “Catcher In The Rye” when he was younger, but his tastes have changed.
When asked about the loss of Torri Higginson from the series, Joe offered, “Torri played a leader who no one listened to. It was not an easy position. She also was a very serious actor with an extensive theater background performing on the stage. Her role was to always be in her office making the big decisions.”
Paul added, regarding Rachel Luttrell, “we tormented Rachel”. He told the story that after her baby was born and she was breast feeding, she did not want to scare her baby with the make-up she had to play a Wraith Queen in “The Queen” so she wore a veil across her face. A few days later, Joe said he told her that her baby seemed to be acting different or unusual. This, of course, caused Rachel some concern until they started laughing. Personally, as a mother, I thought that was pretty mean, but I guess that boys will be boys.
Jewel Staite is a charming woman. She was given her own panel. She said that she and Paul McGillion are great friends and see each other all the time. She is in an upcoming project with David Hewlett. Also, kissing Hewlett in the Stargate Atlantis episode, “Brain Storm” was, “kind of like kissing my brother.”
For her appearance on Warehouse 13, Jewel said that she found out later that both she and Sean Maher had been conned by the producers. They told her that Sean Maher had agreed to appear, and told Sean that she had agreed to appear. So, they accepted the roles. She found it a bit funny in hindsight.
Kate Hewlett said that she is nine years younger than her brother David. She decided in high school that she was interested in acting so went to theater school and never looked back. Describing her brother, she says, “David would take anything apart when he was a child, and he eats a lot. If he doesn’t, he turns into McKay”.
Talking about working with David Hewlett on “A Dog’s Breakfast”, she said that kissing Paul McGillion was lovely, but a bit weird because David was directing her. She had to hold a fish over David’s mouth in the movie. She is an animal lover and the fish was supposed to be frozen, but the one they got for her was still alive. She was really bothered by that until the fish barfed into David’s mouth. At that point, David joined Kate on stage. Someone asked Kate a question and David answered. So Kate objected, “who’s Q & A is this anyway?”
How to get into making movies? Kate said that acting is changing. Now you have to write, direct, produce and act. David said that if you want to get into screenwriting you should try writing a book first, “I call it paper movies. The Hunger Games and Shades of Grey are movies that started out as books.”
Other fine actors who attended the last Vancouver Stargate convention to sign autographs courtesy of Creation Entertainment (not on stage in a panel) were, Jay Brazeau, Bill Butt, Frank Cassini, Peter Flemming and Aleks Paunovic. For Aleks, Bill and Jay, this was their first experience at a convention.
Overall, attendees seemed to enjoy themselves. The Creation Entertainment staff worked extra hard to ensure the convention ran smoothly. One of the most fun fan events was the “Centerpiece” contest. This years winner, Paul Harvath produced an entry that was more than fantastic. Mr. Harvath invested some 2,000 hours of his time recreating a perfect Stargate Universe “Destiny” model of the Ancients ship as illustrated below. Great job Paul!
Knowing that this convention was the last one in Vancouver for Creation Entertainment, it was a little bittersweet for the fans. Many fans lingered a little longer over goodbyes, and looked for possible ways to meet up again in the future. Conventions are not just about seeing your favorite actors and talking about your favorite shows. These events are also about meeting friends you have made while attending other conventions and chatting on the Internet.
Science fiction fans can proudly boast their friendships that span the globe. Stargate and its fandom have brought together people who would never have otherwise met. Lets hope it continues for years to come.