Hello again Stargate and Creation Entertainment fans,
This was my third consecutive year attending Creation Entertainment’s Stargate Convention in Chicago and I have to say it was definitely the best yet. Not only was the guest line up fantastic, the atmosphere and overall feel of the convention was amazing as well.
2010’s guests included: Michael Shanks, Joe Flanigan, David Hewlett, Elyse Levesque, Brian J. Smith, Alaina Huffman, Steve Bacic, Dan Shea, Robert Picardo, Christopher Heyerdahl and Andee Frizzell. Quite the line-up!
Friday’s guests were Steve Bacic, Robert Picardo, Andee Frizzell and Christopher Heyerdahl. Dan Shea appeared each day of the convention.
I was slightly late arriving to the convention due to a delay at the airport, so missed the beginning of Steve Bacic’s Q&A. Needless to say, I did not miss the most entertaining portion, which came almost immediately after I sat down. Dan Shea began to ask questions, which became worse and worse the longer he stayed at the microphone.
Steve briefly talked about working on ‘Andromeda’ and working with Kevin Sorbo. He joked that Kevin would always “pick and choose” which women would guest star on the show and to whose character they would have a relationship with. At the end of Steve’s Q&A, Dan challenged him to a push-up contest, which ended with Steve writing all over Dan’s back.
Dan had his Q&A next, so after he finished his round of push-ups, he proceeded to pace back and forth on stage while telling elaborate stories and jumping from topic to topic. Dan talked about the various stunt work he had just finished up, which included a scene for ‘Fringe’ where he doubled for John Noble and a scene for ‘Psych’ where he worked with and doubled for Cary Elwes.
Robert Picardo was the next guest up on stage. He talked about the differences working on ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Stargate’. He said that not only are they, obviously, different types of shows, but the atmosphere, the writing, even the fans are very different. Robert talked about how ‘Star Trek’ is very dramatic and set to how the script is written, whereas ‘Stargate’ is sillier and there is adlibbing going on like crazy. He described a scene he was shooting for ‘Star Trek Voyager’ where he changed one word in his long-winded dialogue and had to reshoot the whole scene because it was not written that way in the script.
He talked about Woolsey and how it was his idea to have him relaxing in a suit. He said he felt that Woolsey’s uniform was not his comfort zone. At the end of his Q&A Robert auctioned off a signed cast photo from season five of Stargate Atlantis for a charity he endorses.
The next Q&A was a joint one, consisting of Christopher Heyerdahl and Andee Frizzell. Andee was extremely chatty and very funny. Christopher had a grand old time jumping off the stage to help people with the microphones, hold his microphone for people to use, and even run behind the curtain. They both talked about the wraith costumes and how the arms were basically gloves that you put on. Andee said the wraith arm/glove from ‘Rising’ smelled absolutely horrific.
Friday evening brought about Creation Entertainment Cabaret, hosted by Dan Shea. Andee Frizzell and Robert Picardo were the featured performers and did not disappoint. Andee proceeded to regale everyone with several embarrassingly hilarious stories after which Robert Picardo put on a wonderful performance of his character Alphonso. The Cabaret was definitely a laughter filled experience.
Karaoke rounded out the evening and the first day of the convention. Robert Picardo, Dan Shea, Christopher Heyerdahl and Andee Frizzell all attended. Each walked around the room and chatted with people. Robert Picardo sang a few songs, including one with his wife.
Saturday’s first Q&A session consisted of Joe Flanigan and David Hewlett. It was a wonder to see these two on stage together. They feed and play off each other so well, that it was a joy to see in person. A fan presented Joe with a trophy for “Twitter Actor of the Month”, which of course set David off. David was presented with the Runner-up trophy. Another fan presented David with a painted of Atlantis, to which David then started making fun of Joe asking him, “where’s all your presents? Did they roll off the stage?”
When the two weren’t joking around with each other they talked about working on the show. Joe said his favorite episode was definitely ‘Vegas’ and David said his was ‘Grace Under Pressure’. They both agreed that their least favorite episode was ‘Enemy at the Gate’ because it was the last episode and they felt that there were too many things going on at once. They both also agreed that any of the episodes where they were in a puddle jumper for an extended amount of time were definitely not favorites. David continually imitated Rachel Luttrell singing in ‘Critical Mass’, by bursting out in a high pitch voice and singing “circle, circle”. He had Joe, and the rest of us, cracking up.
The next Q&A of the day belonged to Michael Shanks. Michael was asked about working on ‘Sanctuary’ and he said that he was a very comfortable atmosphere, as he knew everyone on set, including all the crew. Michael talked about his favorite episode, which he said was Avenger 2.0, solely because he was only in one scene and only worked for 1 ½ hours that week. A fan asked Michael about various children’s movies that were out and he said he hadn’t seen ‘Toy Story 3’ yet, but he loved ‘How To Train Your Dragon’. Michael was very comfortable up on stage and enjoyed chatting and joking with fans.
Saturday ended with the Dessert Party, attended by Dan Shea and Andee Frizzell who went around to each table. There were Make-Your-Own Sundaes, dancing and the centerpiece contest.
Sunday was a wonderful day full of nothing but Stargate Universe, starting bright and early with the Charity Breakfast. Elyse Levesque, Brian Jacob Smith, Alaina Huffman and Dan Shea all attended before their panels later in the day. Elyse, Brian and Alaina all had separate panels before a joint panel to round out the day and the convention.
Elyse Levesque started out the individual panels and talked about playing different kinds of scenes: emotional, dramatic, comedic, etc. and said that she found emotional scenes come much easier to her than comedic scenes. She later said that she absolutely loves to do stunt work and learned to scuba dive with Bam Bam (James Bamford) for the episode ‘Space’. She also said she loved being submerged in the tank, but found the scenes when she had to react to something outside the tank a little challenging.
Several people asked about Eli (David Blue) and Chloe’s relationship and where she would like it to go in the future. Elyse thought that if they were to get together it would be weird between them and that their friendship is very important to both of them. Along the same vein Elyse said that David Blue is her partner in crime on set. Inevitably, Elyse was asked about her views on SG-1 and Atlantis. Elyse said they had big shoes to fill, which is not an easy thing to do as actors, and that they have been receiving support from the other casts. Elyse also said she was extremely honored to continue the Stargate franchise and that SGU is a “different take on an already awesome show”.
Brian J. Smith was up next and started off his panel talking about how he had studied at Julliard. He described Julliard as an “angsty, dramatic boot camp”, but an absolutely incredible experience. After Dan Shea took his shirt off and did push-ups on Friday, someone asked Brian to do the same thing. Brian didn’t believe he was actually being asked to do either and kept saying, “Is this really happening right now?” and looking around, until someone produced a picture of Dan doing push-ups without a shirt on. After which he said he would think about it. Brian was asked what career he would choose if he were not an actor and he said he would be a history teacher, as he loves history and would love to be a Civil War or Military History scholar. He also said he would love to try his hand at directing either TV or film.
When talking about favorite episodes he said his favorite was ‘Time’ until they shot ‘Malice’, which he said “surpassed it”. Along the same topic Brian said his favorite science fiction movies are Blade Runner and Gattaca. Brian talked about Lt. Scott and said that he is “growing up” in Season 2. He also said he would love to see him have a conversation with Lt. James. Brian also talked about the space suits and said that they “should get hazard pay”. He said they take about an hour to build and put on and smell like “stinky guy”. Brian said one of the things he loves about acting is being able to communicate the way he sees the world to the audience. Brian ended his panel by doing push-ups. He refused to take his shirt off, but did do them one handed.
Alaina Huffman had her panel last and started out talking about how she would love for Louis Ferreira to come to a convention. She said she’d love for all of us to get to meet him, as well as, Ming Na. Alaina said her first career was as a model at the age of 12 and that she started traveling at the age of 14. She was “discovered” in a shopping mall and lived in Japan, Germany and Dallas, where she started her acting career.
Alaina also talked about her favorite episodes. Her favorite from Season 1 is ‘Time’; she said it was a good Young episode. Her favorite from Season 2 is ‘The Greater Good’. In talking more about Colonel Young and TJ she said she wishes they would “just get it together”. She talked about how Louis cannot say the word “Infirmary” correctly and how he always makes her laugh. Alaina talked a little about the filming process on set and said that a lot of shots are done with hand held cameras. Though with the hand held cameras she said “you never know when the camera is on you until it’s in your face”. She also said she enjoys interviewing, especially for the DVDs.
The final panel of the day and the convention was a joint panel with Elyse, Brian and Alaina. They started off talking about some of their cast mates, how Louis Ferreira loves playing practical jokes and Ming Na has a loud laugh. Each were asked about their favorite fan experience: Alaina said hers was just being noticed on the street; Elyse said hers was when the singer of her favorite band came up to her and said “Yo, I love SGU!”; and Brian said his was on Twitter, when a mother with a son in the military told him that Scott reminds her of her son.
A fan asked each of them what it was like working with Robert Carlyle. Alaina talked about how “Rob Carlyle is a colleague you can have tea or scotch with”. Brian said Robert is very protective of the show and the cast; and Elyse said she feels like she’s in the presence of greatness. Another question posed to the group dealt with which of the cast was most/least like his/her character. The unanimous answer for most like his character was David Blue and how if it is ever mentioned in front of him, he denies it vehemently. The person least like their character was also unanimous and was a tie between Jamil Walker Smith and Louis Ferreira.
The panel rounded out with a question regarding each of their upcoming projects. Alaina talked briefly about her comic, Agent Mom, which launched at NY Comic Con in October. Brian talked about Murder On the Orient Express and Elyse talked about a possible horror movie and working on writing a rap album for her group, Coupla Hot Chicks… Maybe Three.
Alaina, Brian and Elyse’s autograph session officially ended the convention. The weekend went entirely too fast and was truly and amazing experience.
Finishing up this report has turned out to be quite bittersweet with the knowledge that SGU has now been canceled. The discussions that occurred at the convention and the views each actor shared about working on the show and working with each other were great to experience in person. I’m grateful to have been able to meet these wonderful people and see them together. I hope to see them at many more conventions and wish the entire SGU cast and crew well in all their future endeavors.
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