Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dragon*Con Panels, Part 3: Dradis Contact Is Made

Sunday Panel
"Dradis Contact Is Made"

I'm sorry for my tardiness with this post. I had a big job thing come up, and I was really engrossed in that for a week. This was actually my favorite panel with the best James quotes and cutest photos, and I wanted the post to be well thought out and not just a quick transcript.

As usual, the videos are courtesy of MrBamberrific/transplant42. You can also find the two other panels in the link - Tahmoh/Richard and Edward James Olmos solo - but those don't have James, so I will not be transcribing them. The photos are courtesy of Bamberrific and can also be found at the James Callis Appreciation Thread at the Sci Fi Forums. Thanks again guys!

Dianora's writeup of this panel, with pictures, here.
Nicole_anell, who asks the torture question in part 3, also has a writeup of the panels and the two times she met James here, here and here. Well worth reading. (I hope I linked to the right things - I don't know LJ as well as I know Blogger. Just scroll up and down the page to find the BSG related stuff if it gives you something else.)

Part 1

It's the day after the Colonial Fleet Party, and everyone looks tired and hung over. James still manages to look gorgeous though.


Michael Hogan, who apparently got very drunk indeed, comes in on all fours (as a joke, he's not drunk anymore), to much laughter and applause from the audience. Tahmoh's a no-show today - he was at the Dollhouse panel and apparently very sick from the party. Edward James Olmos didn't show up either, after having two panels - one with the others and one solo - the previous day. Colin Corrigan was there, but he didn't talk much, and to be honest, I don't care about him. I don't care if he is a good friend of Aaron Douglas, he doesn't really belong in the panel. One of my pet peeves with BSG is that there are too many military characters, and I just can't keep track of them all.

"Do the microphones work?" says the moderator.
"No," James says.

Aaron quips, "One of you motherfrakkers put booze in my drink last night. When I find out who, and I will, it's heavy Raider all over your asses." Hee! The audience cracks up.

Richard Hatch says some guy lost his beer to Aaron, and asks if that guy is there. He doesn't get as much of a response, though.

James takes out plastic mugs and starts pouring water in them for everyone, which I thought was sweet and considerate. OK, maybe I should save my squees at this point because there's a lot of goodness coming in this panel.

The first question is about the craft of acting, and how they approach that.

James: "Yeah. This comes up a lot, this kind of question, actually, and my response to this is that you know, the craft is very important and on set, um, craft service [laughter] is actually even more important. To those of you not in the industry, that's like the food they give us so we don't fall over. [laughter]

Um, I kind of... There's lots, there's no one way. It's like there's no one mantra about being an actor. It's really horses for courses - the demands of the scene, or the demands of your character. I was actually telling someone yesterday, one of the things I learned at drama school, which I found really important, was um... being experiment... Experiment, and allow yourself to get it wrong, rather than right. If you're imposing a mantra, "this must be my definitive performance, I can only give this, see", you've imposed something on yourself that .. You've made a vacuum, it's less interesting, so that you allow yourself to get something wrong, you might get something right."

I think this makes sense for life in general, as well. If you have your mind set on "I can only be this", you won't even try to do other things. I also learned a new phrase, "horses for courses". BSG must have had an awesome craft service, this is not the first time I heard it mentioned. I also think it's cute how James pronounces it "crahft". Yeah, I know, it's probably just regular British accent thing.

Hogan and Richard Hatch seem to agree with James on this. Hatch goes on for a while, but I don't think he really adds anything to what James said. He talks for about five minutes, and people applaud him, but I must say I drifted off. I'm sure it was very deep.

part 2

Question from the audience: "We all enjoy the Battlestar universe for different reasons and characters", so what aspect of the BSG universe do the actors enjoy most or what would they like to see in real life?

Aaron: The communal showers. [laughter]
[James seems very amused at this one.]

Michael Hogan says it's the flashbacks, and he waxes poetic about one particular flashback in Unfinished Business: "Me with Ellen, just laughing with each other, and I had both eyes, I was young and healthy, and she was beautiful, and I was telling her how much I love her." He talks like it's a real memory from his own life, which was sweet. He doesn't talk in a Tigh voice or anything, but obviously he's talking as Tigh here.

James: I really like the... I really got switched on to it not by the sci fi, but by the kind of dark, political, edgy.. for me, because Baltar and his position, it felt like being in some kind of spy thriller. You're all spies, you can't tell secrets, you don't know who you can trust. I find that really exciting and I think there's a lot of... We use that currency a lot on the show, and I'm glad that my own reality isn't anything like that at all. [laughter]

I thought this was an interesting answer. I haven't really thought of it as a spy show, but Baltar is a character who's very much alone with a secret. Episodes like Six Degrees of Separation might read like a spy thriller, although Baltar definitely lacks the composed manner agents usually deal in. Maybe the original Baltar was more like a spy, because he knew what he was doing, while the new Baltar is more a victim of his own weakness who never meant anyone any harm. Which elevates it above a simple spy thriller, because there's moral conflict.

Richard Hatch wishes they brought back the "social aides" from the original show. Which I guess means hookers. Eh. He says the closest to that is "Trish, the cylon". I might have heard that wrong - does he mean Tricia? James doesn't look very amused. I don't think I like the idea of Tricia being a "social aide". If I'm wrong, please correct me before I start hating Hatch. He goes on to say that on the show, life is precious so you need to live every day to the fullest. Which is actually a good point.

Hogan is asked about the BSG movie, and he starts about that, but then ends up discussing the BSG directors - Michael Rymer shoots a lot of footage, and Hogan likes that and loves his episodes. He also talks about Exodus I & II, which he thought was one of the best episodes ever, and how different Felix Alcala, who directed that, was because they used basically all the footage. I'm not sure what that has to do with the BSG movie directly, but it was a nice detail.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

Aaron: I'd go back to the time of Christ and say, "Really?!" [laughter]

Michael: I'd go back to last night and to the party you guys threw. [laughter, applause]

I was hoping James would answer this question, but he didn't. I have a feeling he would have had something interesting to say.

Asked about their plans after BSG, "and does anyone know what Eddie's plans are as well?"

Hogan: I don't think Eddie himself knows what his plans are. Eddie has two cell phones going and texting with a third one while shooting a scene...

Aaron does his EJO impression - which is indeed impressive, see part 7 - and says Eddie can be talking on the phone while he's directing: "Hang on a second. - James, get over here.-OK, anyway, so I was saying..." [laughter and applause] Back to his own voice: "I am not kidding!"

James: I'm gonna do a television movie about Merlin, in actually Vancouver again, which I'm really excited about. It's one of the most beautiful places to be ever, with the most wonderful people. Funnily enough, I finished BSG, and relocated back to London, and then got a job back in Vancouver. If I'd actually waited two weeks, I could have saved myself some money. [laughter]

Michael: Are you playing Merlin?

James: I am playing Merlin.
[the audience cheers; the panelists applaud]

James looks psyched and sort of humbly proud that he gets to play Merlin. The audience is very excited for him. News about this spread online on the day of the panel, but there was no mention of it being in Vancouver, so everyone assumed he was going to be in BBC's Merlin. I've heard from someone who heard from someone else that James had confirmed it's a Sci Fi movie on Merlin. He doesn't like to talk about projects before they're confirmed, so we can be pretty sure this is going to happen. Awesome!

part 3

Richard Hatch talks about a misunderstanding that happened when he was confused with Richard Hatch on Survivor. "This has caused me deep pain," he says. James cracks up, as does the audience. I've tried, but somehow I can't focus on anything Hatch is saying. Does anyone else have the same problem?

Nicole Anell asks her question about the torture scenes. This is awesome. Firstly, because it's an awesome question, and secondly, because she asks it without sounding fangirlish in the least, and just comes off as really intelligent and makes James fans look good. James is so eager to answer that he barely lets her finish the question.

Nicole: Hey.

James: Hi. [inaudible, but you can see him mouth it, which looks cute.]

Nicole: My question's for James. I was wondering... The season previous to this one, basically every other episode, Baltar was getting tortured or trying to kill himself, and there was a lot of [?] darkness [unintelligible] I was just wondering, was that kind of difficult to go through as an actor, compared to the lighter stuff earlier?

James: Truthfully it was really difficult to go through, um... This is with all of us in the show, it's something that we bring up. We...we...[can't bear to ? this thing] all over... Well, we're trying to hold the mirror up to nature, so there's this thing while you're doing it, and you're just on a television show pretending, but you know that there are people who are being tortured. And uh... That's really troubling and really sad, you wanna get yourself in a state where it looks like you really are, because in some way, if you don't, it's almost like slandering people's memories who really are going through this kind of thing.

The lighter moment... I was going to bring this up in the panel yesterday, the lighter moment about that was actually that it was directed by Eddie, who had even more insane ideas than we actually filmed. So I mean, the first thing he said was like:[EJO voice] "How are you with sharks?" [laughter, applause] I was like, what are you talking about Eddie? And he was,[EJO voice] "In the psychotic episode, I've been speaking to the Vancouver Aquarium, we're gonna put you in the shark tank. How are you with the sharks?" [laughter, woos] I'm like, Eddie, don't be ridiculous. You know, when you go to Vancouver Aquarium, you can't spit in the water, you get pulled out, it's like, you know, "don't infect the animals". I'm like, how are they gonna let you in the shark tank with me?

Visualizing the head brace and the clips in his eyes. So cute.

And then he's got this thing about, when my head was in that brace and this thing, they brought in this special doctor to absolutely... What's the word, this thing where they keep your eyelids open with special metal clips. And the producer Harvey is watching them on a tape[?]. This is, like, the week before we're gonna shoot and they're putting it in... I can't remember... it was like, "This one really hurts", and "Yeah, that got broken in my car."[He mimicks twiddling with a small clip; laughter.] I'm like, "Just to be really honest, I'm not being paid enough to have metal clips." [laughter] Eddie's like, [EJO voice] "We really need that", I'm like, "No you really don't, and you don't need the sharks either." [laughter] So that kind of kept me going, it kept the humor going in my mind, about also, as well...

But I also think it's really important, you know, there are lots of people who want to see this guy get his just desserts. He's done so many dreadful things, and then he... We're asking the audience again: Do you really want to see another human being suffering, just because he's caused some suffering? Is this justice or is it punitive? And at the end of this very thing, one of the reasons I got rid of my hair and shaved it all off was cos, as I've said to lots of people, I looked in the mirror every morning and was like, "I feel like Gaius Baltar." [laughter] And when I shaved it, it was like, "No, I'm just an actor, I'm James Callis." [applause.]

How does he make something funny out of the torture question? I don't know, but he does, and it's awesome. During the EJO impression, he does this frown that's as spot on as the voice. The audience is in stitches - he even has to pause for a moment to let the laughter die down. It's especially cute to see Aaron cracking up at everything he says, especially the EJO impression (see above). I love that the others in the cast seem to have a similar sense of humor, and they're obviously listening to James very attentively every time he speaks. As for the torture scenes, they were very painful to watch, and I haven't been able to revisit them, Taking a Break in particular with the mental torture. Somehow that was much worse than the physical torture, because Baltar's mind is so important for him, and even Head Six abandons him there. Heavy stuff. I think the torture scenes were the only time that I wished James weren't such a good actor, because it really felt real.

Is it just me or did James and Aaron look exceptionally close in the panels..?

James: "I'm just an actor, I'm James Callis."
Aaron: "James, I love you and I want to have a hundred of your babies."

Aaron is asked about The Bridge, a cop show he's starring in. He sounds very excited about the show and its politics, and compares it to The Sopranos, which sounds good.

Part 4

A question to everyone "but especially for James": do the actors influence their characters or do you have to do it the way it is on the page?

James: I'll kick the ball off then. There is a lot of freedom to experiment and change with, uh, with the show, and that's not just my character, it's everybody's character. Everybody has had a hand in creating their characters as far as I'm concerned. And I think the reason... I've never been involved in a project where so much floor is given to the actors and, "You know the character, how does it feel for you"? But I feel that the reason we're in that forum or in that milieu, is because the people who write and the people who direct have so much innate confidence and a lot of generosity, they're not micromanaging us at all, that would be ludicrous.

So for me, it's... It's just, it's special that the writers allow us to find certain things. That makes me think of them as terribly confident, and very very smart, and like I say, really generous, uh, so that you... Because we're trying to make the best of the best, everybody wants to do the best thing. It's not about, "Oh, I don't want to do that cos that's your idea." I mean, that would just be insane. But I've certainly been in a lot of projects where they did that thing, it's like, "No, I didn't write it, no. And you must say "and". [laughter] So, you know, that's kind of pathetic and that's what I think [chuckles]. So we all, I think, have a lot of... freedom to experiment and like I said, I think that comes from the confidence of the team behind us.

I didn't get that "and" bit until I was listening to the Roundtable podcast last night, and he expanded on the idea there. I'm going to act as the James Callis-English dictionary here for those who aren't as familiar with this metaphor.
James: "And you must say 'and'."
English: "In the UK productions, they expect you to say things exactly like they are in the script, so they complain if you leave out an 'and'."
Seriously, James, elaborate. The way he said it here, I took it to mean that if they tell you, "I didn't write that", you must reply with, "And?"

I've been amazed at how much of a role James apparently had in creating his character. If it weren't for him, Baltar would have signed that death warrant without putting up a fight. If it weren't for him, Baltar wouldn't have said, "What have I done?" in the mini. I mean, seriously. James obviously made the character more relatable and human, and I love the creators for letting him do that.

I should totally write that thing. I'd title it "What The Frak Is He On About - A Concise James Callis-English Dictionary For Noobs".

Michael says James basically answered the question for all of them, and he's lucky to be Tigh, because the writers love the character. "Sometimes they love it too much, because I am a hardass.. and they kind of think that I am a redneck right wing, just because I say the truth, so sometimes I have to pull them back." He talks a little about the others in read thrus - "James will take it and ad lib, what's he doing now?" - and then continues about Tigh.

He mentions a line that is pretty disturbing: "We've been chasing these slit-eyed black bastards for years now." Wow, that's two racial epiteths in one, and since there's an Asian and a black cylon, it gets a bit too literal. It's meant to refer to the centurions, but I'm not sure if that's everyone's first connotation. Hogan calls this "overwriting". While he thinks it's in character for Tigh to say it, he feels that it maybe shouldn't be said on TV. Gotta agree there. Hatch, who at first can't find any working mikes, asks him if they left that line in, and Hogan says yes, and it's in an episode that's in the coming season.

James listening (?) to Hatch and looking adorable.

Hatch gets a question from the moderator about his character, and playing a terrorist oir something. Hatch thinks Tom Zarek is "a pretty gutsy, courageous guy" for standing up to the president after 25 years in prison. He compares that to Nelson Mandela, who "came out a better human being. How many of us would come out that way? I think most of us would come out damaged." So - Zarek is like Mandela? I think that's a bit of a stretch. He goes on to say that Zarek came out having lost his family, his faith in the government, and so forth, so there's a lot of anger. Hatch makes the same point that James makes later: in this show, "good people do bad things. Sometimes who's judging you is violating the constitution..." I think the point is good, but again, I find myself drifting off even if I agree with what he's basically saying. James and Aaron are talking to each other, but leaning away from the microphones so you can hear nothing. I wonder if they're talking about Hatch or something else.

Hatch gets back on topic and says, "This is a very rare show that recognizes opportunities, does not lock themsleves into a box. When they see something interesting, they're willing to capitalize on it." James runs his hand along his chin. Aaron stretches. They both look like they drifted off in there somewhere. Hatch says that someone has six of the final episodes with them in this convention, and Hogan says it's Eddie, and then everyone laughs. To be honest, I didn't really get this bit. He had the episodes with him? Uh - maybe someone who went to the con could tell me what this was about.

part 5

A man from the audience asks how it feels to be a part of Battlestar, because it started out with such low expectations and grew so quickly into something that has a huge impact on other shows.

Aaron says that these conventions are the only time he feels how big the BSG phenomenon really is. He hates on the Sci Fi channel, who "couldn't market water to a guy in the desert", and says he feels that the network has completely ignored them, no matter the accolades. "I'm sorry, ten episodes is not a season! Twenty episodes is a season," he says to much applause. He thinks it's a disgrace that people have to wait so long to see the rest. This is where the infamous "no new episodes until April" rumor started. You can hear a collective gasp and some "no"s as Aaron says "you might not see it until April now" - I'm not even sure if he's being serious, or just exaggerating, or giving disinformation on purpose. Either way, Sci Fi was quick to nip those rumors in the bud, thank gods. Aaron tells an anecdote about how he was walking down the street with a friend of his who's also an actor, and two people came to them: "They walk past me and go, 'French's mustard, right?'" Ouch. "Nobody watches BSG," he says. "Thank you for watching BSG."

Hatch says that it sucks how Battlestar's success is measured with the Nielsen ratings, because TIVO'ing it doesn't count. If you like a show - he mentions Dexter, which gets applause - you want to see it again. The only thing they care about is if you saw the commercials, which does indeed suck. "People don't want to watch 20 minutes of commercials anymore," he says. Word, but when did they ever want that?

James: "They do a thing in London, and maybe they do it here as well. Somebody pays money and sponsors the show, and one of the things is they sponsor the show so that there are no adverts, so you get like, say like... I don't know who the sponsors are, but like say it's a car, it's whatever... Ford or Chevrolet, it's like "Chevrolet sponsors Battlestar, and is happy to tell you there are no adverts." So you pay money and... There's a few shows like that in London, and it's really crazy that adverts pay for the thing, and possibly pay for us to be on television, but in a show like Battlestar where you want to be glued into the box, because that's where the drama is, as soon as you know, it's like "Hey, brush your teeth with this!" [laughter], you've lost a lot of attention and the story that we want to tell. So I think it screws everybody up. It might just be a necessary evil, I don't know."

It's cute how James calls them "adverts" rather than "commercials". I sometimes wonder if he notices that he's using a different word than the others, or if he just uses the word that's more familiar to him without paying attention to it. But on topic - I was lucky enough to see the whole show on DVDs, which means no commercials. In Finland, you at least get a sign when it goes to commercial, so there's a transition between "OMG, Starbuck's viper just exploded" and "Does your stomach feel cranky after a stressful day?" We also have four channels with no commercials at all. Of course, these channels are paid out of a fee called the "TV permit", which most countries don't have. Nothing's perfect.

A woman tells Richard that he inspired her brother to become a viper pilot. Richard is very moved and asks her to come up after the panel, so he can get the contact information. That was a sweet moment. James applauds with the crowd and seems appreciative of this.

Awesome question for James, part deux: "Who do you find more challenging to play: the atheist Gaius or the God-loving Gaius?"

James: I definitely find the god-loving Gaius to be far more challenging. That's just because of where I, uh, I come from... I was given a book about two years ago by Aaron Douglas, called The End of Faith by a man called Sam Harris. And it's this... It's quite brilliant, it, it disseminates all of the cultural, political...I would say, problems that are going on in the States and while 9/11 happened. Anyway, one of the things I found so fantastic and interesting about it, he says that we call the people who, you know, blew up the twin towers, we call them fanatics. And what does it mean to be a fanatic? He's like, the only thing that these people are fanatical about is their faith. And in a world... I'm like basically paraphrasing some of his tracts, but he's like, if you asked, if you resurrected a man from the 13th centruy, he's like: what would he know about child care? Zip. What does he know about geography? Not very much. What does he know about technology? Zero. What does he know about God? Just as much as you. Because the concept of God hasn't changed in over 500, 600, maybe over a thousand years. And this adherence to this ideal is actually clipping the wings of our common sense.

One of the others things he said that's very funny is that, you know, a man can stand up in a pulpit and say, "God spoke to me last night in a dream", and the congregation is like, "Oh did He? Great, that's very interesting." But a similar man could say, you know, "I wired myself to a toaster and I spoke to God." And we're gonna stick him in a mental asylum. So I find the concept of God-loving on that level really, really difficult because of my own beliefs. [applause from the crowd and the other panelists]

Awesome question, awesome answer. I'm not really sure what James is saying here, though - that fanaticism is bad, or that religion itself is bad? It's a bit hard to tell just from that quote. He discussed religion in a negative way in the AV Club Interview, but somehow that didn't give me a totally anti-religion impression. Let's dig out that quote and see what's in it.

On a personal note, myself, I find religion—I can understand it, I can understand why we have it, as a kind of force on the planet. And I also at the same time think it's ludicrous. My Latin education teaches me that religion comes from religio, which means, "to bind." To bind with rope. And that's all it means. So whenever I hear somebody go, "I feel so religious right now!" I'm like, "Well, you're tying yourself up in knots, are you?" There's no spiritual connotation to that word whatsoever. And while it binds you to a rope, because it's about belonging, it alienates you to others. That can't be part of God's plan, if there is a God.

I think he sounded more like an atheist in the panel, but more like an agnostic in the interview. Coming to think of it, I think it's more in character for James to be an agnostic than a full-on atheist. He seems to take a diplomatic stance on many things, and despite the negative tone about religion in both the panel and the interview, I think it's a diplomatic way of putting it. I imagine Aaron is more of an atheist, giving James the book and also judging by his comment on Christ earlier in the panel. I also wonder if the original example in the book had "plug himself into a toaster", or if James is drawing from the available BSG metaphors.

It's interesting to note the differences in audience response. While he was talking about commercials, there were some "yeah"s and "uh huh"s in the audience. When he talked about religion, on the other hand, there was just silence, and then applause. The other panelists, likewise, were listening attentively and applauded him in the end. It speaks of the respect they have for James. Aaron applauds the most, of course. Those two must have pretty in-depth conversations.

Part 6

Question from the audience concerning how three-dimensional the characters are, and how you end up loving characters you hate and hating characters you love at times.

Aaron: When could you hate the Chief? When could you possibly hate the Chief?
Laughter and applause. That's actually a good question.

"As an actor, how much fun is it to jump over the line between likeable and reviled?"
That's a great question! It's also one of the things I love about BSG. At first, some of the characters seemed a bit too heroic, but I think as the seasons go on, it would be very difficult to pinpoint the perfect heroes vs. the evil villains. BSG really has people who are human (as well as some who are cylons, of course) - they're not always perfect, they make mistakes and do things that you might despise, and they're imperfect and just real. I love that about the show. I think it's quite rare on TV, The Sopranos is another similar show with very unlikeable characters on that level.

Aaron makes a growling noise into his microphone. James says something that I can't hear - I'll edit this if I hear it when I listen to it more.

James: Actually, I've... Well, one of the things I thought was interesting about the show and one of the things I wanted to bring into it was genuinely not to be likeable. Cos I see that all the time on television, people just like, [smiling and cocking his head back and forth as if he's posing] "Hey, like me, I've got a pretty smile! Hey, isn't that cool? " Like no, that's like... excuse me, BS! And I think that's... yeah, BSG. [laughter, applause] One of the things I've always said about the show and the thing I thought about it was that it's the end of the world, and if you can possibly do your neighbor a disservice you will, cos we're that petty.

And uh, I love the idea of people... this actually came to me when I was in drama school, I was with this guy who was pretty raw, and he walked up to this guy in a pub and said, [angrily] "Where is my five fucking quid? Where is it?!" And I was like, God, I would never do something like that. If I wanted the money that I'd given to somebody, I'd take them aside slightly and, you know, not say it in front of the whole pub. And then I realized that that's, what he did was like really real, because he doesn't care, it's not about on camera, it's not about, [grinning and posing] "Hey! Where's my five pounds?" [laughter] He really wanted it, it's important[?], you get your fingers dirty, and it's gritty. So on that level, I think it's um...

I think we're all trying to do that kind of thing, it's kind of a bit more fun to be... Somebody came up to me yesterday and they said, "Everybody was so unlikeable, why was I watching you?" Cos actually that's kind of one of the reasons why I became glued to this series, because everybody seems so human. And then you can't... when you despise them, then you'll find things in them that you do admire, find things that you [think more of it?] [applause]

The way he says "fucking" is kind of snipped, like he doesn't properly say the vowel in between. So careful about swearing, maybe because he has small children. When you hang around children, it just becomes a habit. Or around a mother who doesn't like swearing. For a long time, even after I moved out, I swore with initials. "oh ef!" But yeah, it's one of my favorite parts of the show too. What I don't get about the anecdote is - what is his point? That ultimately it's OK to be rude to someone because that's real? It's not how he operates and I doubt it's what he's really saying, but it does come off like that.

Aaron says that to "look Eddie Olmos in the eye and tell him to Frak off, or get me off your frakking ship... It feels good sometimes."

A question about Bear McCreary. The fan mentions the video with James Callis. Now that we're on topic: if anyone knows where to find the full thing, I don't care in what quality, please comment or email me (swanjonasAThotmailDOTcom). I'm desperate to see it. The above is the only file I've been able to find, and James is so funny in it. For those who haven't seen the link yet, do check it; it's from the mockumentary James made for the Bear McCreary concerts. Everyone pretended to not know who Bear is (for the less hardcore fans: he's the composer for the show), and hilarity ensued. Also James made his own, terrible theme song for Gaius Baltar.

The question is about people's relationship with Bear McCreary. "Who?" James says. Hee. For a moment there, he's acting again, looking genuinely confused. Then he gets off the role and laughs. "I don't have anything to do with the music," says Aaron jokingly, but then goes on to say that the music on BSG has touched him more than on any other show, especially the bagpipes at the end of Flight of the Phoenix, "I can't help but to cry." So what does he think of Bear? "He's a genius." Applause. "But he lives in a little room and just creates." Gotta agree about the music, even if I can't think of the bagpipes offhand.

I love Aaron. Not as much as James though. I love Aaron like a brother, or something.

Part 7

Question: Who is your favorite actor to work with, "and I think I know James' answer". The audience laughs, but James actually looks a bit confused and whispers something to Michael Hogan. Hogan says something inaudible to the audience, and James leans back in his chair laughing. It's very cute. I'm not sure if this is referring to Tricia or to his "I want to be Tricia so I can be with me" comment in the roundtable podcast.

Aaron says Mary, and he loved the last scene of Dirty Hands, "I'll take it away with me forever." He also says that Michael Hogan is the least like his character, "and to watch him outside going ehehehe, having a cigarette, laughing at you..." The laughter imitation is pretty delicious. Hogan suddenly goes into angry Tigh mode, "Gaius Frakking Baltar!!!", gets up and walks towards the exit, but then returns calmly. Everyone's laughing. Aaron says it's "bizarre" how Hogan turns into the character, "thats' a real treat for me." Applause. And after seeing these panels - word. I would have never thought he's so unlike Tigh.

Hogan brings up Dean Stockwell, who plays Cavil. He does a pretty awesome imitation. Apparently, when they met for the first 3rd season episode, Stockwell said: "Hey, man, whoa, man, shit, last year I was here, I was doing a gig. But I've watched the episodes since then, wow, we're on to something here man! Whoa, this is good!" It really sounds like Dean Stockwell. Laughter from the audience. James, who's resting his head on his hands (hangover?) nods in this cute way. Hogan continues that they did the interrogation scene, "and he was good, you know, it was good to work with him on the second season, but he was on board for that third season. He was amazing to work with." Hogan says he's Canadian and doesn't often work "with these American actors with names", complete with finger quotes. He says the actors come in excited, with respect for the show, especially in the last few years. Applause.

Why do I feel like this was the best panel, not just for James, but for everyone? When Hogan speaks, everyone goes quiet and attentive, and he has the same effect on me as well. Maybe it's because he hasn't been on these panels so much, or maybe he's just a really engaging speaker. James applauds him with the audience. The respect between the actors is great to watch.

Last question: Everyone has their imitation of Edward James Olmos - the audience bursts out laughing - but who's the best? Loved this question.

Hogan says that when they do read thrus, and EJO isn't there, "Guess who reads Eddie." He points at Aaron, who pumps his fist in the air a bit.

Aaron: "It's great when I have a scene with myself." When Chief and Adama have a scene, "I have like two full pages where it's just me talking, it's great." [laughter] "I feel like Callis." James loves this, and he applauds and laughs.

Aaron: "I feel like Callis."
James: "Aaron, I love you and I want to have a hundred of your babies."

That's about all for this panel. They get ready to leave, and Aaron says something con-specific that isn't of much interest to me. James puts on his sunglasses. Hee. He loves those sunglasses. They really should get a nickname. But I haven't even nicknamed his chest hair yet, so that'll have to wait.

The crowd starts to spontaneously chant, "So say we all!" So as a final favor, Michael Hogan indulges them and shouts back "So say we all" three times. Awesome panel.


nicole-anell said...

Thank you for the fabulous transcribing and commentary, once again!

>>If I'm wrong, please correct me before I start hating Hatch.

No, that's exactly what he meant. *eyeroll*

>>How does he make something funny out of the torture question?

I know, right? *loves so hard* He had just the right mix of taking the question seriously and saying some poignant things, but also being really hilarious about the behind-the-scenes aspects. Also I totally agree with you (obviously, my reason for asking that) that even though I joke about those scenes sometimes in fandom, I find "Taking a Break" VERY hard to watch for the exact reason you said.

James and Aaron are IN LOVE.

Heeeee, "James Callis-English dictionary." Yes.

Thanks so much for bringing over that AV Club quote again. I read that interview a while ago, but it's interesting to look at the religion part again in light of what he said at the panel.

Oh, and finally: Tigh did say that "slit-eyed black bastards" line in season 4.0. I have no idea which episode, but I distinctly remember cringing when I heard it. LISTEN TO HOGAN, writers.

Deniselle said...

Aww, glad you liked it! :)

I suddenly feel less bad about not being able to listen to Hatch. It doesn't look like James or Aaron could focus on him either, though - but maybe it's because they were focusing so heavily on each other. :D

I should blog more about the interviews I've enjoyed - I have some links in the sidebar, but it'd be fun to compile some good quotes and stuff. The AV Club one is really good and in-depth. I was actually surprised by how that quote helped to sort out his message in the panel. Maybe he was being a bit cautious by talking about someone else's views on God, rather than flat out stating he doesn't believe or sth. The AV club int sounds more like he doesn't hold extreme views, though.

It's also interesting how I needed to hear the roundtable podcast to get the "you must say and" thing. :D

I wonder if, with the torture questions, he needs to sort of bring in the humor element, because it must be hard to think back to those episodes.

I can't remember that slit-eyed black bastards scene at all. Which ep was that? It really shocks me that they put something like that on the show, even if it might be in character for Tigh to say it. Do you reckon, if they had given James something like this, that he would have flat out refused to say it?