Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dragon*Con Panels, part 2: So Say We All

The Saturday Panel
"So Say We All"

Again, the photos are by Michelle/Bamberrific and more panel pictures can be found at the Bamber Bunnies website and the James Callis Appreciation Thread.

The videos are by Mr Bamberrific/transplant42, and they can also be found at the Bamber Bunnies website here. Thanks guys!

Dianora's writeup with photos can be found here.

So on to my thoughts. Firstly - what the frak is he wearing?

James Suspenders says: "The difference between your grandpa and me is that I make this look good!" I'm amused at the implied vanity of wearing really old-fashioned "scruffy professor" garb - he even had elbow patches in the coat for frak's sake! Also note the opened buttons. He likes to show off that chest hair. And yeah, the outfit is damn sexy on him, but obviously he's aware of it, so I can't help but tease.

He's like the sexy professor of... sex studies... Yeah, let's just get to the transcript.

Part 1
Aaron's late, but they go on and start without him. (He later appeared in full-on Chief costume). A girl shouts from the audience, "Have you checked the bars?" EJO responds, "Of course we've checked the bars". Hee.

The moderator asks about favorite moments, "and we'll start with James".

James: Thanks. Uh... That's uh.. Can somebody else start while I think? Does somebody else want to think of a favourite moment while I'm thinking of a favourite moment?

Tahmoh: I was just thinking how happy I was that they started with you. [laughter]

Tahmoh and others share their favorite moments first. It really seems like James has trouble coming up with something - the moderator probably thought that he'd have an answer ready, like he sometimes does. But he also likes to think first and then talk (unless he's drunk, see Roundtable podcast).

The funny thing about the favorite moments is that they all seem to have to do with sex. Edward James Olmos jokes, "I had a great time with Gaeta". Everyone bursts out laughing. "Don't want to spoil it all," he says and everyone laughs again. "Battlestar nights," James says in a dramatic voice, and people crack up some more. I've seen this before with the cast - it's not just the viewers who think Gaeta might be gay. Awesome moment, and great to have something funny to kick off the panel. And then it's James' turn.

James: Finally my turn... Well, one of the favourite moments I actually had, uh, didn't actually end up... [the microphone makes a noise; James looks at it suspiciously] There is a cylon in the machine. [laughter] It didn't actually end up on the show finally, uh, it was a point in the show where I was interrogated by Lucy Lawless and Tricia Helfer, and Baltar is trying to get in with the cylons on the basestar and in that fashion...

[The microphone keeps making noises. Michael Hogan walks up behind James and points to a microphone cover on the table.]

James: Excuse me. [starts putting the cover on the microphone; laughter] Just because I play a genius scientist on the show...

Kevin Grazier [Science Advisor]: I make you look really smart. [laughter]

James: So I was being interrogated by Lucy and Tricia, and the deal was that Baltar, trying to curry favour with the cylons, decides that he's gonna walk around naked as well.[woos] Only Tricia and Lucy didn't know I was gonna be naked. And I really was. [laughter, woos] I got a phonecall from Ron Moore going, "It just can't be on television, James, it just can't be on television." [laughter] That was one of my favourite moments. [laughter and woos]

Edward James Olmos: My favorite moment was getting a phonecall from Tricia and Lucy saying, "Don't worry, it was no big thing." [laughter] Only kidding. Gosh.

The microphone thing is a cute interlude. I love when little things like this come along to show how naturally funny James is. Also, you can just hear the ripple going through the room as every straight woman and gay man imagines James Callis naked. It's amusing how excited everyone sounds. Watch the Gag Reel for season 3 - you can see almost everything, although probably not the one thing you want to see. Also: EJO needs to stop talking about penises. He claimed in the Revelations panel that Aaron "wins", but maybe we should ask Lucy Lawless about that.

Part 2

The file starts out with Aaron being very funny. He's asked about finding out Tyrol's a cylon, and how he dealt with it: "I got drunk". He tells this story about how he saw some scripts at Michael Rymer's house - "bullshit bullshit my line [Man on the Moon reference?], Tyrol Tyrol... Tyrol's a cylon. Say WHAT?!" He had to keep quiet about it for four months, because he wasn't supposed to know. He said he'd try to ask Moore, "[nonchalant voice] So... anything coming up for the chief..?" And Moore would say no. "Liars!" He shakes his fist. The voices he does here are really funny.

While Aaron speaks, James is listening attentively and laughing. They were actually very chummy during the panel - there was a constant private chat going on between them. That was cute.

Michael Hogan asks Aaron if they were all on the list that early on, and Aaron says one was switched, but won't say which one. Could it be that when Eick was joking about picking between Gaeta and Anders, he wasn't kidding? Hogan's microphone is quiet, and people are shouting that there's something wrong with it. "Yes, we know his mike doesn't work," says Eddie. "That's deliberate," says Michael. Heee.

Moderator: James. Of all the bad things Gaius Baltar has done, what does he regret the most?

[Female voice from the audience: Baltar has no regrets!]

James: How long have you got? [laughter] Uh... What does he regret the most? I suppose it.. I was saying to Ron that there was this device that we used that I thought was so cool, of him going back to the house, always, in his mind he goes back to the house that he shared. And I thought that's... on some level it's like a psychotic episode, you keep on going back to that moment in time. It's not just the house, it's the moment when you found out just how idiotic and narcissistic you've been.

There was a point, actually, I remember in the miniseries, where.. when Gaius is watching the television, and everybody's blowing up and everything, it was just ... well, there were no lines, so I remember it was something about "Gaius is watching the television, it all goes blank." And I remember thinking at the time, saying this thing going, "What have I done? What have I done?" and then I got a phonecall from David Eick saying, "Thank you very much for saying that. Because it actually put some groundwork in for you to feel guilty and obliterated in your soul about the repercussions of the thing that you've done." So on the level of.. of giving military secrets away to your girlfriend because she's actually cleverer than you and she's writing the logarithms. I would say that that is the thing that he regrets the most." [laughter]

There are three cute logical mistakes he made here.
1. Gaius didn't "share" the house with anyone - the whole point is that he lived a very narcissistic life, and James has said before how he barely met anyone there, other than to have sex. If you can hear something other than "shared", let me know, but I think he's thinking that Gaius shared the house with Six. Which he didn't, but he does in his mind. So it's kinda right too.

2. I'm sure David Eick didn't express it in those terms. It's cute how complex he makes it - "obliterated in your soul"? James just has this professor's mind full of big words and difficult thought processes. I don't think David Eick does, though.

3. It wasn't logarithms but algorithms, although most viewers wouldn't know the difference anyway. It's cute that he replaced the word - he's obviously thinking of the right thing, but saying another similar word.

But yeah, I really liked the question and his response. The lake house scenes were my favorites, and I have missed them after season 2. They added a visual beauty to a show that was otherwise so dark and, to some extent, claustrophobic as everything happened within close confines inside the spaceship. It was a beautiful contrast. I also liked how Six was always there, like he couldn't escape her anywhere, even - or especially - in his own mind. And I love how James brings up that Six was smarter than Gaius, which is alluded to in the show, but which I've rarely heard discussed. Of course, Gaius would never admit it, but if she rewrote half of his algorithms - again, is he so lazy or just not so much of a genius?

The one thing I'd like to know is what James thinks of the whole "giving the nuke to terrorists" scene. Is that not something that Gaius did on purpose? Doesn't that make it worse than the whole unwittingly giving cylons access thing? Isn't that the point where the guilt really almost breaks him? On the other hand, maybe he did it "for love" - you never know with Gaius, he has a twisted idea of right and wrong. This is something I'd like to ask James if I ever met him.

Part 3 has no substantial James quotes. But feast your eyes on this:

Eddie is asked about Adama's wedding ring, apparently by one of the Adama/Roslin shippers. I'm going to ignore this as I must admit I'm not very interested in their relationship. It's a nice fan thing that won't come up in regular interviews, but it's not an aspect I personally care about.

Tahmoh is asked about coming back after the miniseries, and being very surprised. Apparently James told him how impressed people were with his work, and that they were going to keep him, but he didn't really buy it until he heard it from Eddie. Hee. Someone gives Tahmoh a box with a million dollars of fake money. Huh? Is all I have to say. I just... what? Moving on.

Eddie talks about how awesome the con people are, and how much he and Michael Hogan are enjoying their time there. James nods and intones, "Yeah." He applauds Eddie with the audience. I'm not sure if he's showing reverence to Eddie or the fans. Actually, it's probably both.

Part 4

At some point, Kevin Grazier is asked something, but I must say I'm not too interested in him and pretty much blocked it out. I'm just assuming this is from that moment.

Michael Hogan is asked about Ellen, and he talks about how Tigh and Ellen are forced to live in the same quarters on Galactica, while on a planet they could have had their own places. He speaks highly of Kate Vernon, who plays Ellen, and says there was no problem acting with her. That was nice. I think Eddie makes another joke about penises, how Tigh is a "biiig man and women love him". To be honest, I got a pretty crass impression of him. Not everyone loves penis jokes, and it's a bit disturbing that he basically commented on the penises of everyone present.

Question from the audience. A fan talks about how the show is versatile in that you can enjoy it for the sci fi and/or the political stuff. She asks what the cast thinks is the most interesting dilemma in terms of civil liberties. It's a long question, and there's a brief silence as the cast try to wrap their heads around it. The audience laughs a little at this, but then ends up applauding too. It's a really deep question, and James obviously loves that and jumps in to answer it.

James: That's a good question. I think this show is, um... one of the strengths of the show ... that firstly the show is greater than the sum of all of its parts, it's a very unusual phenomenon. But secondly, by having cylons that look like humans, we're constantly asking ourselves to address what it means to be a human being. And on that level, um.. you know, when you're worried about the threat from within, it's not necessarily about curtailing your civil liberties, it's about uh... It's almost looking in the mirror [chuckles] and trying to fathom exactly what it is that makes you tick and how different you might be to a synthetic robot that looks pretty much identical to you. Or in my case and Tricia's, somebody who looks a lot better looking than me. [laughter]

A cute "I just made a joke and I hope it wasn't too lame" face. Don't worry, James, it was pretty funny. I think the thing about humanoid cylons is one of the most interesting aspects of the show, and I like that James apparently agrees with me. Haven't got much to add to that.

Eddie talks about how the show discussed abortion and suicide bombers. They took away the right to kill a child, because they need every person to live. That apparently made the cast contemplate on their views on abortion. He also mentions religion on the show, and how Adama is an atheist. Eddie's actually pretty deep when he's not talking about other people's cocks.

Part 5
A fan asks about conventions and whether they were excited to do them. Eddie says he and Michael Hogan haven't done them before, and says Aaron - "who you all know by first name, and he knows all of you by first name" - was really the first one to jump in. Much woos and applause for Aaron. James looks at him with this adorable smile, like he has a boy crush on him. As Eddie starts talking again, Aaron says something inaudible to the others, and James laughs silently, looking somehow childlike and cute. Just one of the cute moments between them in this panel.

James: I actually really did genuinely learn a lot from Aaron. I was really of Eddie's minds... I was like, oh, you know, I'm an actor and when they shout "Cut" on the set, my job's finished. And Aaron said to me, "Buddy, you're so wrong about..." We heard about convent... I didn't even know what the word convention was before Battlestar Galactica! [laughter] And several people went, "Are you gonna do one of those crazy conventions?" And I was like, what are they talking about? [laughter] I don't know! And uh, I went to one, but I can't remember when it was, and I didn't feel all that comfortable, and I was like, "I don't think I'm gonna do this again." And it was Aaron who kinda took me aside and was like,"It's really important, James, the show hasn't finished when they shout "Cut". This is about all of the fans, this is about all of the people, it's about showing some inner generosity to of all the people who are putting us in this position." So I actually have to thank Aaron for putting me on the straight and narrow.

[Applause, woos. James smiles appreciatively at Aaron, who smiles at him a bit, then looks down.]

It's cute how embarrassed Aaron looks. It's almost like he's choking back tears. My heart belongs to James, but I fully acknowledge that Aaron rocks - he's done a lot for the fans from the start, and he still goes that extra mile that the others sometimes don't. He doesn't do it because he has to, he just genuinely cares about the fans. Good for you, Aaron. And I gotta gush a little about James too, because he's so willing to give credit to Aaron and admit his own mistakes. From the con reports, you can gather that he's learned to feel at ease at cons and make his fans feel at ease too. I also like how he stops in mid-sentence three times ("Eddie's minds...", "convent...", "you're so wrong about...") I think it's a sign that he's excited about the topic, but I should look into this more. I'm really pretty new to his interviews.

Part 6

A girl from the audience asks what they can tell us about the characters without spoiling.

Aaron: What?! Seriously? What do we know about our characters that we can tell you without giving you spoilers that you don't know?

James: Gaius loved his grandma. [laughter, applause]

Heee. I know he's probably making this up on the spot, but I did start wondering if there's some indication of this on the show. Gaius-grandma... allitteration... Yeah, I don't know. It's probably an ad lib, but it's hard to tell.

Part 7
No James. EJO leads the crowd into a passionate "So say we all!", and James seems to have fun chanting it with them. Question for the more longtime fans: are there any scenes on the show where Gaius chants "So say we all"? I can't think of a moment offhand. Michael Hogan says that EJO improvised "So say we all" in the mini and just mouthed it to the others, so they repeated it. That's pretty awesome.

And a few more cute photos:

Sneaky Gaius!

Guilty Gaius!


Wesoly said...

Hi, Deniselle,

Have you watched these Tricia Helfer videos on YouTube? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGROpTABVkM&feature=related

She says a lot of wonderful things about James. Jeez, he really does have a good heart. :-)


(I'm "M" from the JC Official Website)

Wesoly said...

Me again,

Here's another from the 2007 comic con. I like how Lucy Lawless calls him a "good soul."


Deniselle said...

Hi there! Thanks for the links - I'm just watching the Tricia one, she really seems to like him. :)

I should do a post with "other cast and crew members' comments on James" and include these links. It would make a nice tribute to him.

Deniselle said...

It's really touching how everyone who's met him says how kind he is. There must be something extraordinary about that side of him.

I have to make that post. Thank you so much for these links!