In Mid November 2011 a tribe of science fiction fans traveled from around the globe to the Los Angeles Airport Marriott, where according to Creation Entertainment this would be the last of its kind Stargate and Farscape event.
I was among several happy Aussies to make the long journey to the Los Angeles convention from Australia.
Referred to as “TriCon” by Creation Entertainment, the convention featured celebrities from Stargate, Farscape, Eureka and Warehouse 13 for the fans. We remain hopeful that we will see more conventions for each of these great programs as produced and funded by Syfy .
The primary subject of this article are my pleasant memories of the fabulous actress Ms. Torri Higginson.
My report will focus on Torri Higginson. Having met Torri in Melbourne at a previous convention, it was a pleasure to see her again. Torri’s acting background is in Theatre on stage. She freely admits she was a bit of an acting snob in the early days. Working in television opened her eyes and SciFi fans continually amaze her with their talent, dedication and support.
After appearing in Stargate Atlantis Torri discovered that lots of SciFi fans came to watch her perform in a Shakespeare production. She was amazed they made the jump. Torri speculated that it would be great to futurise one of Shakespeare’s plays and do a SciFi Shakespeare. She challenged someone to write it….sounds like a great idea…any screenwriters out there?
Torri’s time on Stargate playing Dr Elizabeth Weir resonated with the TriCon audience as most of the questions were about her 3 years on the Vancouver filmed show. When asked if there were any scenes producers asked her to do that she struggled with she responded with the scene torturing the wraith and experimenting on him with the Hoffan drug (Poisoning the Well).
Torri felt this went against Weir’s nature and struggled with where that put her emotionally. However after playing the scene she felt it was an interesting area to explore.
Torri is forthright and when questioned about Weir’s costume she remarked that the outfits were not flattering to the female figure and she was shocked by the hair. Torri felt the writers were trying to make Weir more masculine and the male writers were not wanting to find Weir’s strength as a woman. She felt they physically made her dour. She highlighted some female attributes of Weir such as nurturing and listening and she always tried to bring her heart into the role. Torri really liked the black outfits and was hopeful of bad Weir in black leather.
Fans frequently ask about the lighter moments during filming and the pranks the actors played on each other. Torri responded that during the first few years of Stargate Atlantis there were no pranks.
They were cautious and aware that they could be replaced. In Season 4 after Rainbow’s, Paul’s and Torri’s characters had been killed off she said the rest of the cast thought “F*ck it, no-one’s safe” and there were more pranks. In comparison the Stargate SG1 set had a real sense of irreverence.
The funniest moment for Torri was the episode Irresistible with Richard Kind where they got to play the characters in ways they never usually do.
Torri was not the only actress to play Elizabeth Weir. She said she was nervous about watching the performance of Jessica Steen (Lost City, Stargate SG1) as she did not want to second guess her choices.
Stargate Atlantis had it’s share of green screen (VFX) scenes. In the beginning of SGA Torri found the green screen was challenging. She was frustrated, it was different process, then she remembered being a kid and the imagination and trust that went with it. Torri remembered that she had a bedroom strung with sheets to be the deserts. From there on she was okay.
Torri said she was uncomfortable with conventions at first and thought the fan world was strange but she soon discovered how smart and talented fans are. Someone at a convention once gave her a painting of her dog.
If Torri could take anything from the Stargate set home with her it would be….yes you guessed it; the Stargate….although her neighbour would hate it. She definitely would not be wanting the red shirt.
When questioned what her ideal location and story for a Stargate episode would be, Torri imagined a planet that looked like Fiji on a planet of Johnny Depp clones. The guys would get stuck in puddle jumper and Weir and Teyla would rescue them. Sounds like fun!
When asked about her role on NCIS Torri shared that she thought it was her fault she didn’t get asked back. Apparently they were setting up a romance with Ducky. She also wondered why the 40 year difference wasn’t mentioned. Torri observed that Mark Harmon (Gibbs) exec producer and other producers set a healthy tone on set. Mark likes to get to know recurring characters. Mark told her the story of an actress who asked “who do I tell to get me a bottle of water”…he said “I guess that’s me” and she never came back.
The session finished up in a reflective mode when a fan asked if she believed in the gods as Ancient astronauts. Torri responded she doesn’t believe anybody should believe anything absolutely. That it’s crazy and arrogant to assume we’re the only sentient being. She likes the mystery.
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