Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Starfury Q&A - James Callis / Mark Sheppard, Part 1

I promised this a few days ago, and it's always a bad idea to promise a time frame, because that's when your internet connection will go down. The problem I had with this file was that I really didn't get Mark Sheppard's accent very well in the beginning, but I think I'm getting the hang of it now. There are still some question "marks" (heh heh), so if there's someone reading this who was there and wants to correct me, feel free to leave a comment. (Be gentle though - I am not a native English speaker.)

So this Q&A was the day before the Katee/James Q&A. The difference is that the latter is really the Katee show. She's obviously more popular and does fewer cons, so she gets the majority of questions. The James/Mark Q&A, on the other hand, is the James show. It's not just the audience, either - it seems to me like Mark is genuinely fascinated by James' work as Baltar and seems to talk more about that than about Romo Lampkin. The interaction between James and Mark is also very different from the James and Katee dynamic. James has a crazy sense of humor but Mark's is even crazier; James seems protective and big brother-like with Katee, while the interaction with Mark is much more "buddy"; the humor is racier and James seems more teasing, albeit not in a mean way. They don't have the same kind of warmth that James and Katee seem to share, but there is a camaraderie there.

They set up and James jokes something that I can't really hear. Mark says that people usually ask questions in these things. James, who's in a very cheerful mood, decides they should interview each other a bit. The questions are very deep and analytical:
James: Well, I suppose if you don't, we can ask each other a few questions. How are you feeling today, Mark? (laughter)

Mark: Not bad, I had a good sleep, you?

James: Yeah, actually similar myself.

Mark: Did you come far for this?

James: No, I didn't. Just down the old circular.

Mark: That's great.

James: It's a lot sunnier today than it was yesterday, which is nice. Although trying to have phone conversations outside is difficult with the planes going over your head (laughter) every second.

Mark: Welcome to Heathrow(?).

James: So has anybody got some questions for us since we're here? Hi, here's a question.

James' tone here is hilarious, he sounds totally amused with himself. Like in the Katee Q&A, James acts as an ice-breaker and gets the situation going. He's got quite good skills at managing these things, it seems. I actually think the fan Q&A's could benefit from having some kind of moderator. I'm not sure if I'd dare just stand up and ask something in a situation like that.

"A completely random question for James. Was that your own singing on Sex Chips and Rock'n'Roll?"

James: Yes, it was actually. It's all our own singing on that, and a bit of our own playing as well. I did a show called Sex, Chips and Rock'n'Roll. And I dunno, they described it as like, one character got all the sex, not me. One got all the rock'n'roll and they went, "You're just chips." (laughter) In the mix. I was the drummer, and the funny anecdote about that is that these.. The people when we were doing it, set all of this stuff, I was on stage here, for example, playing the drums, and they had the guide? track being played at speakers right at the back of the hall behind the camera. And then they kept on coming up to the band and then like, "You're late! You're not in time." And it didn't really take a physicist to kind of say that, "Sound travels slower, you put the speakers at the back of the room." That's why, you know, musicians always have pieces in their ears rather than... somebody shouting out the time in the back.

So yeah, it was my own singing voice. The drumming to a certain extent a bit, and then on the day that the rack was being recorded, they got in this guy who was the most phenomenal drummer, and totally went.. can I just say apeshit on the drums? (laughter) Hit the most off, like.. like... I just remember watching him, cos there was a thing where I'm acting it and I gotta pretend to be him, and I'm like... even if I had an entrance planned, it's not going to be that way. (laughter) So...like that. I think to subvert that dilemma, there were lots of shots of me just hitting the cymbals. (laughter) ? there it is.
I love that someone brought up a show other than Battlestar. Not that there aren't any good questions left to ask about BSG and Baltar, but I've seen so many interviews with James about Baltar and so few about the other shows. It's refreshing to hear about Sex and Chips, and incidentally, I just watched the show myself and loved it. This is a British miniseries set in the 1960's, and James plays a drummer called The Wolf. He's very skinny, has very long hair, and wears very sexy tight shirts. Also, he's absolutely charming in the role, and the character he plays is both funny and warm, so it suits him well. Highly recommended, if you can find it. But I did chuckle at the cymbal-hitting, because he's not exaggerating about the drummer going apeshit in that track. It really does sound like the drummer totally took his own lead there.

A rather long-winded guy asks Mark about Romo's accent and why he seems to sound Irish. Ironically enough, I had real trouble understanding Mark's accent in this bit, but hopefully it makes some sense anyway.
Mark: I think it was the fact that... David Eick gets very confused at times about where I'm from, because ? like an Irish, but I have various back(?) I used to live in Dublin. I left Dublin to go to America…from Dublin…through the Eighties or so. And uh... so actually I had a thick Dublin accent when I left then. I think David wasn't sure what my accent actually was and... so he was very polite when he...was stating the idea of the character, I think he said he was Irish brogue or something like that. And I thought there was a directive, (laughter) so I followed it. And there was a situation where it couldn't be too thick or it would be too difficult for the American audience to grasp it. So like a little bit, added in to add a little interest to the character. I think it was fun to do, it made it more… I tried to make it a bit more poetic (?). I thought it made him a little more poetic in a way, that’s what I was reaching for.

I'm not an expert on the dialects and wouldn't have recognized it as Irish, just "a thicker British accent than James's". One thing I always found funny is how differently people pronounce Baltar - the American/Canadian actors say Ball-tar, while the British accent seems to make the a sound more like in "cat". James' pronunciation of Baltar isn't as close to "cat" as Mark's though. When you hear Romo say "Gäius Bältär", it's really amusing. Um, at least to me. No offense to any Irish people.

The same guy asks James - equally wordily, I might add - if the humor with Baltar and Head Six was James' own genius or someone else's.

James: No, I .. you know.. it's not... I brought that to the party, I think, and I brought it to the party for lots and lots of reasons. Ron wasn't actually there during the making of the pilot, David certainly was there. And I think I got the audition um... on the strength of a.. [a plane goes overhead and James stops talking; laughter] when you're...(chuckles) Actually, when you're filming, I mean...

Mark: Everybody waits.

James: Everybody waits like that. It's like one of those things...

Mark: Holding for an ?

James: Holding for an ?, can't use the sound, that's a weird thing I found myself doing. (laughter)

Mark: I've been doing that a lot.

James: So it was something I brought to the party, and... yeah, they liked it. Initially I think they were a bit nervous about it, but like... from after the miniseries I think they really ? ?. And I went that way because um... I suppose I couldn't take myself seriously next to this... next to the beautiful Tricia Helfer (laughter), and play it like I was some guy who really knew what was going on...I just thought that would be even more ridiculous. So I was kind of... striving for something slightly different.

And I do remember when we were filming the thing in the CIC, essentially the big comedy came... It's called horrid laughter, there was this thing where Gaeta's saying to me about, "Oh you must feel really dreadful about something" and.. Six has her hand on my... testicles. (laughter) And uh... you know, essentially it was just this thing about... I decided very early on Baltar would be a bad liar, he'd be a very very, you'd see thru him totally...so there was all this "Terribly sorry, isn't that awful." And that just looks so... inappropriate when you're talking about the genocide of the planet. "Oh, I'm very sorry your dog ran out this morning...Dreadful..." I mean, you know... [??] I thought it'd have more ? like that.

I loved that scene. "Oh yeah, I do feel... responsible... in a way..." All the while, HeadSix taunts him about not having a conscience, which obviously he does have, and if you read HeadSix in that scene as a manifestation of his conscience, it's even more meta and amusing. I think it was one of the moments that made me love Gaius Baltar, because it's somehow a very defining moment. It's like he's not quite like other people - he's much more narcissistic and in his own world - but he wants to pretend to be like them, so they'd appreciate him and love him. I got the feeling that's always been his game, and then to add to that, there's the truth about who caused the genocide, so it just adds to that.

To James - Baltar is such a ladies man, and "having gone thru pretty much the whole cast" (laughter) - is there anyone else he would have liked to sleep with? (laughter, applause)

James: It's funny you'd say that. We had a .. we made a book at the end that all in the cast wrote in, all of the crew.. like a Battlestar yearbook. It's one of a... it's a real priced posession. And in that we all wrote little notes and one of the things I wrote was you know, "Over time now, hopefully David Eick and Ron Moore and Michael Rymer will see what a very bad idea it was that I didn't have sex with you know, multiple copies of Six and like you know, more and more and... Where was the bed scene with Mary McDonnell..." (?) (laughter, woos) I wrote this stuff..So you know, yeah, Baltar's sexual habit is gracious and inexorable. As far as he's concerned, far too many people who escaped his...

Mark: Well, how you explain? out in space when you wanna go and get her? (laughter)
Inexorable. "a process which cannot be prevented from continuing or progressing; a formal word." Wow. That's hilarious, actually, but it's even funnier that James doesn't use, like, "unstoppable".

Let's quote him directly, since we have the scans of the book now (random dash alert applies):

"Hopefully more critically - but sadly a little too late - I hope I've managed to change your minds and make you see that NOT having Gaius sleep with Boomer, Athena, Pilot 8, Natalie, all the six's in the Resurrection Hub, Laura Roslin, Cally, Racetrack, Seelix, Starbuck more than once, Head six (in every episode), Caprica six in every other, - was a HUGE MISTAKE on your part - which hopefully you will readdress in all the upcoming work - you will be lavishing my way..."

I heartily second at least the Head Six in every episode bit - I've really missed that part of the show lately. And don't stop there, James - what about Dualla, Elosha, Maya, Ishay the nurse, Emily the dying woman (although she did seem to be a Baltar fan so who knows), Sarah, Rya, the hooker Lee was with in The Black Market, any random journalists apart from Playa... The list goes on and on.

James is asked about impersonating other cast members.

James: We all take off each other and what's funny is that nearly always people take each other off, not to your face. You only find out about it when somebody looks at you and bursts out laughing, like, "That's so funny, that's how Aaron Douglas does you." (laughter) (?) So I um... I think the easiest one really is Eddie. Only because you know.. (EJO voice) Very few people...will have that kind of voice... (laughter)

(I think Mark does EJO here as well, there's a lot of low-voiced grumbling. Something about "sea bass". Hee!)

James: (EJO voice) .. what the real Edward James Olmos would sound like(?). (back to his normal voice) And so there's a.. yeah, I suppose Eddie is the most...

Mark: Can you do Jamie?

James: No, I couldn't possibly, I sound too similar to Jamie. (laughter) No. But yeah - Eddie, essentially.

Actually, he tried a Mary McDonnell in the one David Eick video blog, but I think that just made him sound gay. His Eddie is pretty good though, and I love how he can just suddenly launch into EJO mode in interviews. It's always a big hit.

A guy starts asking James about the soft porn thing in his character. The audience laughs. James, who's in a very good and apparently mischievious mood, decides to misunderstand on purpose.

James: Who's he talking to? Is it you, Mark? You got yourself doing that soft porn. (?) The hardporny rocket? stuff is ok, but...

Mark: (?) Parasol..

James: Exactly.

The guy, sounding pretty amused now, continues the question, apparently wanting to know what James would still like to do as Baltar.
James: It's too late, its' all finished.

He says he knows it's too late (still sounding amused but pursuing the question confidently), but was there anything left undone that James would have liked to do?

James: I think if there's something else I'd like to add...

Mark: Singing.

James: Yeah, exactly, juggling and dancing at the same time. Trying to save from the airlock. (laughter) That's a very good idea Mark, you should be a writer. (laughter) No, to be honest, I think that I've had a barefoot? exposure and been allowed to.. The interesting thing about Baltar, the reason he's been allowed to be so many people, is he's not on some level high bound to the idea of his own personality and there are.. For example, the heroes in our mix, like for example Adama or... Apollo, they've got quite a rigid set of parameters in which they play in between, and Baltar never had any of those, really. So I got to playing lots of colors in that room. I've been really truly satisfied, it's been amazing.

This is a really good point about Baltar. He can be what he wants to be, because he's "not on anybody's side" - he's the political buskin, like James himself said in the James/Katee Q&A. Baltar's inability to stand up for anything, which James has previously mentioned as his greatest moral failing, really makes him a versatile character. He can be anything or anyone. That's what makes him so much fun to watch and, obviously, also a lot of fun to play.

Asked about the cult, and if Baltar really believes in the cylon God. I think this came up in the Dragon*Con panels also. It seems to confuse the viewers a lot.

James: I don't think he believes in the cylon God, I think he's one of these... The joke about the cult and everything was that it was going to be... after the ? and the trial?, it's dreadful being in a prison cell, it's actually worse being idolized and worshipped by a bunch of nutcases (laughter) and you're the only strangely sane one in the mix. We have this joke for that... even in Monty Python and The Life of Brian, they've got this thing where, I think somebody.. is it Brian? He drops his sandal... "We will follow the sandal!"And then they're like, "I will follow the sandal!" And then he drops his water tank which is a gourd, and they're like, "No, we will follow the gourd!" You get the idea of people.. people coming to see magic? almost over nothing.

Um.. no, I didn't totally believe it... Not believing in the cylon God, I don't know about Baltar believing in God in that way. But Baltar did believe that there was... If you were a cylon, it wasn't your fault if you were a cylon. You couldn't do anything about that, you were made, you were fabriated, you were a robot. So a lot of the hatred that the colonists have for the cylons and their very being, I felt that Baltar was kind of a step above that in his level of consciousness. Maybe because he was sleeping with so many of them. (laughter)
Ah! He mentioned Life of Brian! We have seen the same film! How can this be? Worlds collide. Sorry, I went into spontaneous fangirl mode. I'm still not sure how to really deal with the cult plot. I don't think it's totally in character for Baltar, and I don't think it necessarily fits in with his story. Despite what I just said above about him doing and being anything. I sorta got the feeling that, after the trial, they had to think of something for Baltar and that was the only thing they came up with - because hey, he loves himself and beautiful women! The problem is that it's not really established whether he's purposefully being a false prophet or whether he believes in what he's preaching. It's a bit confusing. But maybe they will tie it in some nice neat package that all makes a lot of sense.

It's interesting that James also mentioned Baltar's sympathy for the cylons in another recent interview (the Sky1 interview, also made at Starfury) - and then, too, he ended with a joke. It seems almost like he feels touched after talking about it, so he has to deflect into joke mode. Maybe this is a part of his own approach on people. There's a general sympathy he seems to feel for other human beings, which - sniffle... Now I feel like ending with a joke. Tigh's eye, Gaeta's leg and Baltar's schlong walked into a bar... Hm, I'd best not continue that, it started out very badly.

But yeah, this is a side of Baltar that is very rarely mentioned and bears repeating: he's actually less prejudiced and less hateful of others - especially cylons - than most of the colonials, especially people like Laura Roslin and Bill Adama, who are usually toted as the heroes. He doesn't hate anyone, while many of the more morally straight-backed characters do.

Mark is asked how it is to work with Joss Whedon. He simply says, "You've got interesting theoretical concepts.. ask Joss." Laughter. Heh, but I'd be kinda embarrassed if I asked a question and he did a joke like that. It sounds a bit like "your question sucks, next please."

OK, another question instead: what if Romo Lampkin were the final cylon?

Mark: Well, would it make a difference? I mean I've always wondered. The first time I ever read Romo in the script, (?) the first question came up: (?) the final cylon? And then the second question that came out was: Does it actually make a differnce? And I'm really not sure if it makes a difference whether you find out that Romo's the fifth cylon or not.

James: But how is it working with Joss? (laughter)

Mark: Alright, so. Okay, so I get a phonecall, I'm doing Leverage, (?) and I get a phonecall: "Joss has something, it wasn't originally for you, but he wants you to work anyway. Do you want to do this thing?" And I'm like, "Sure, it's always fun to go work with Joss." So I said, "Sure", and I get the script secretly sent to me with my name printed on every page. (?) I get the script and the character's name is Tanaka. (laughter) I'm like, "Hmm, I wonder if this is written for a person of a slightly different ethnicity?" (laughter) So when I arrived at Fox, the very next day, Joss met me backstage. I said, "Hi, this is very interesting." I said, "Can I keep the name?" He goes, "I knew you were gonna say that." (laughter) So I'm called Tanaka. That's... all I will say. (laughter)

I like the Joss story, but what to make of the final cylon thing? It might be that the final cylon, indeed, doesn't really mean anything - if there was a thirteen tribe that was made of humanoid cylons, then there's no knowing what the ramifications of that are. I think Romo, while a fan favorite, isn't an established enough character to be the final cylon - we've really only seen him in four episodes. Ellen, while not one of my favorites, was at least more established than that.

Someone asks about the use of props, stating that James and Mark are two actors who use props more than others on the show. I'm not sure if I agree - I hadn't thought of that before.
James: Well, I think it's rather unfair to call Tricia a prop. (thunderous laughter, applause. He continues but it's drowned out:)...very beautiful... (not fair to?) the people involved.

No, I um... I'm trying to think... For my sins, I smoke cigarettes, and I wanted to bring in... Having a cigarette, whatever, maybe it doesn't but psychologically, it calms me down. And that's one of the things I want to be is calm and comfortable in myself, even if I'm playing like a fruit loop on television. And... So I found initially I wanted a cigarette in the scenes and then there was this whole thing about, (mock-strict voice) "You can't smoke! You know, it's Battlestar Galactica.." I'm like, I'm not exactly a role model. (laughter) I think it's OK if the baddie lights a cigarette now and then, I have killed all these people... (lots of laughter)

I think that there is... There is danger certainly with - what we call it is business, actually. It's like there's too much business going on. And I, in that sense, have certainly found myself caught out in scenes sometimes - it's like I have an idea of wanting to take the sunglasses off, then have a drink of this, then have a cigarette.. busy doing so many things, like - oh, and I forgot to act. (laughter) Sometimes you think it's terribly useful like uh... they're telling of character. I'm just interested in that sense of.. I know that Mark has sunglasses... Yeah, and the cane and the cat...

Mark: Dead cat. (?)

James: Lucky old cat... (laughter) Lot of props that I haven't used a lot.
In the beginning of the quote, it could be "for my scenes", but it really sounds like "sins", so I'm guessing he's being gently self-mocking (he sounds amused at himself, but when doesn't he?) My girlfriend and I were talking about this, and neither of us can imagine Gaius without the cigarettes. It's an important part of his persona, and once again, I'm surprised that it was brought in by James and not a part of how he was originally written. I've been watching James' older stuff lately, and he smokes in almost every role. With each character, he smokes differently; it's like he applies the character's personality to it. How they take a cigarette, how they light it, how they breathe out the smoke, is different each time. It's fascinating.

I think it would have been idiotic to forbid Baltar from smoking. James sounds very mocking about the "you can't smoke" attitude, so I'm guessing he feels the same way. I mean, if that's an issue, why do they let Doc Cottle smoke in like every single scene, why is Tigh shown smoking all the time, etc.? I remember Ron D. Moore saying that if people want to smoke, let them, we're all adults. I think it's a good attitude - health nannyism doesn't change anything, and it would be dishonest to portray a world where no one ever smokes.

The "Tricia being a prop" joke is a huge hit, of course, and it takes a while for the laughter to die down. James has this quick wit; he sometimes hits upon something quite brilliant, and I think this is one of those moments. One thing that bugs me, though - if you are in an audience (or listening to a recording taped among the audience), it's impossible to hear what they say on stage if the audience is still laughing. You should really wait until it properly dies down, because probably only Mark heard what he was saying there.

The guy who asked the question wants to know a bit more, clarifying his point a bit: "you interact with the environment more than any other actors."

Mark: (?) I mean, sitting still and speaking the line would be incredibly insulting.

James: I remember when we were doing the scenes together in preparing for the trial, and uh... There really was a lot of us doing things like writing things down and.. you know, to make it look more plausible, like we were having a real...

Mark: We did the scene least four times, there was so much stuff that had.. The pen, the writing..
James: Drinking.. I always felt, when you watch sci fi as well.. Eddie talked, we've all talked about this. Other shows, they never got to eat or drink... Or go to the bathroom, it's like you know.. they're just on the set. "I'm gonna press that button here and...(?)" So I felt, really, that having a relationship to...seeing people eating on Galactica is always fun. Especially when, now, you think that the only thing they eat is algae weed. (?) That's all we've got to eat, which is gross.

Mark: Are you happy with that answer?

Fan: Yeah, it was good.

It's a common problem on many shows, I think. I'd say soap operas are the worst culprit in this respect, but probably it's true of any genre where the focus isn't on realism. On something like The Sopranos, you will see people going to the bathroom (which isn't always a good thing), and you will see them eating and drinking. That's the realistic approach. I think it's nice to see people eat, drink, smoke and use the bathroom on Galactica, but it's not like they run around in the corridor shooting and then have to take a bathroom break, which would really take away from the drama. I think it's a fairly good balance.

But I have to say, when speaking of Baltar, that it bugs me how we very rarely see him eating. He seems to enjoy smoking, drinking, sex, and even occasional pill-popping - surely a hedonistic person like this would love eating as well. I'm trying to remember eating scenes, but the only one that comes to mind is the one where Baltar went to Tory in Six of One. Also, he had an apple in his hand. Where did that come from? Was it an apple made completely out of algae? Um, I digress.

They're asked about future roles and what they've been working on, and Mark is asked to say more about Dollhouse.

Mark: Uh.. yeah, I play a guy called Tanaka... (laughter) My character on Dollhouse is intercepting a lot with Tahmoh's character, which is really interesting. That's all I'll tell you. I've got a lot of stuff going on right now, a whole bunch of stuff I've been doing back-to-back, which is really (?). I just got to work with my Dad a couple of weeks ago. I was doing a TV series called Leverage on TNT, starts this week... I have this a wonderful role on the show, it's fun... Got a call like, "Do you want to come and do Dollhouse?"

Then I get a call, "We're offering your Dad an episode on NCIS, we'd like to do these flashbacks." So my Dad and myself just went and played a Polish torturer who feels no pain. (laughter) He has a genetic disorder, he feels no pain. So I was on set with my Dad for a couple of days, we worked out... We decided he's gonna take his eye out in the role, so he's actually taking his eye out of its socket. (?) scar (?) socket and stuff... So I'm playing the young torturer and he's playing the old torturer. We got to work together. I was doing Burn Notice, I missed Tricia by about two days. (?) (to James) Have you been busy?

Aww, how sweet, father and son playing torturers together. I still remember Mark from his role on Medium, where he plays the ghost of a serial killer that goes into doctors' heads and makes them murder young women. It's not as corny as it sounds and Mark is pretty damn good in that role. It's not all that different from Romo, apart from the moral aspect - he gets to play his wry wit there. It's interesting that he gets these darker roles a lot. He really seems quite laid back and sympathetic in this Q&A, so it's not like he's so menacing. Also, he sounds genuinely interested in what James has been up to, which is nice.

James: Well, no, I haven't been as busy as that. I just did one short movie now, called Merlin and the Book of Beasts. And it's kind of a strange story, I haven't seen it yet so I don't know what it's going to look like. All I know is that I had uh... personal hair extensions down to my bum. The hair extensions didn't exactly match my hair. (laughter)

Mark: Did it match the hair on your bum? (laughter)

James: I don't know ?, otherwise I woud have been in a lot of trouble. So rather than dye the hair extensions that are too expensive and too important, they had to dye my hair (laughter) so it matched the hair extensions. And it was a kind of... what's the word.. coppery kind of metallic color, and I had a beard, large beard that we dyed kind of amber blond. And I looked like a kind of missing link between the human being and the orangutan. (laughter)

And I was halled? up in the Sutton Hotel in Canada, where by looking like that, I looked like a kind of homeless Jesus. (laughter) And then when I would ask for things in the store, I was like, "Hello. Can I get some batteries?" The shop assistant was like, "It's homeless Jesus with a personality disorder. (laughter) This guy thinks like he's English or something." (laughter) I got followed around, not let into taxis in the sense of looking.. so undesirable.

And then just recently like the very last few days I was going up in the lift, and this couple... like, standing there in the lift... (I think he's imitating how they looked; laughter) I mean, the looks I would get like... "You know, totally unnecessary to look like that... Do you own a comb or brush...?" I could hardly tell people, it's not really mine. You needn't worry. (laughter)

And so anyway, they're holding back and then we're going up and up and up in the lift, and I can see this man is like, you know, "I'm in the lift with a... weirdo. Who shouldn't be living in a hotel." He went, "You got a room here, buddy?" (laughter) I'm going like, "Yes, I have." And he, "You uh, you staying long?" I went, "Oh, about six weeks." (laughter) The look on this man's face was that I was the orangutan who's also a multimillionare. What was I doing living in the Sutton Hotel, looking like that, for around six weeks? It wasn't normal.

Mark: You topped it off by going, "And I'm Merlin." (laughter)

James: And I'm Merlin, right. So uh... you know, it was like very strange being outside the character. And I think that genuinely, in the sense of, yeah, having a staff which is like your version of a magic wand and having CGI lights like flash thru so it looks like a thunderbolt going thru..I think it's more the domain of teenagers and that kind of market than really Battlestar Galactica. It was certainly a lot of fun to do, I just don't know what it's gonna look like.

Heee! :D But... why couldn't they afford to dye the hair extensions..? I still hope the movie is going to be decent (frankly even James sounds dubious), but I must admit I've taken to calling it Merlin and the Depressingly Small Budget. But of course, it's a hilarious story, and it's just delicious that someone like James, who's so sophisticated and well-read and - as mentioned by basically everyone who's met him - a true gentleman, would be mistaken for a hobo. If you haven't seen how James looked for Merlin, see here. Well, maybe it's not so surprising that they thought he was a homeless Jesus.

"If you had been a judge during Baltar's trial, would you have chosen guilty or not guilty?"

James: Well, that's a great question. (thinks for a moment) Baltar is certainly really guilty. He's guilty of so many things, but he may not have been guilty of the thing he was charged on in the trial. This is the whole deal that I... One of the reasons I have the platform that I do is because John Colicos was so amazing, he's edged into everybody's minds so there's a real thing about... Hey, this is the new guy and this is the other guy. His guy was really guilty. I mean he wanted to sell out his own race and species, and essentially the cylons gave him a bathrobe with his name on it(?) and that was enough. (laughter) Seemingly. Our one is slightly more complex.

I always used to say to the producers and the directors when we were goind the show, and they were like, "Ah you know, you're such a weasel and a snake and a bad guy..." I went, "Listen, for the cylons to want to kill all of the human beings, a deep moral rot has set in before Gaius Baltar was a twinkle in his mother's eye." We're talking about a mindset that... So literally, Gaius Baltar is the imbecile who was vain enough to get himself caught up in the clicking of a button. But he's like a domino and it strechtes way way back... Is he guilty about, like, the cylons killing all of those people? I'm not sure. He's certainly reprehensible. If I was a judge and I'm looking at the thing.. and in that courtroom and in the sense of Galactica.. No, I'm pretty sure it would have been...

Mark: That's my job.

James: Yeah well, I had the amazing, amazing defense in that... not just from Mark, but also from Apollo, from Lee. But I... yeah, I think that it was... You know, the judgement was subverted and I think Baltar... You as the au.. .Everybody wanted to see what the guilty verdict would be.

Mark: One thing that I thought was interesting, by the way. I remember going back and watching.. Eddie had given me Taking a Break From All Your Worries. And the line in Taking a Break From All Your Worries when he asks you - your response is what allowed me to have my defense. Which is when he was asking you about treason, which requires intent, the point being that it requires intent. And intent is something that was never...definitively... laid out as far as I was concerned by Baltar... which is what gave you... sure, maybe you're guilty of everything...

Which is what I was saying in Crossroads with Lee, when he's doing his...(?) "So, you know he's guilty, right?" (chuckles) And I'm like.. "Well, he's guilty of something. But is he guilty of what he's being charged with?" And that's always been the great question. I had no problems as a person defending ... I mean, if I was very angry about the fact that I had to defend your rights, in that manner, which I thought made the whole thing so ? ... Sure, you were guilty of a whole slew of shit, which is none of my business and nothing to do with me, I have no right to judge you for these things. but for the charge that you were being brought up with, you had every right for solicitation, because you, as far as I was concerned, you weren't guilty for what you had been charged with.

Interesting stuff, and a very central theme of Baltar's character. Personally, I don't think he's guilty of the genocide. The visual metaphor that I'd use is, like, they're frakking and Six just slams Gaius against the wall, and on that wall there's a button that makes a nuclear bomb go off. That's how I saw it and that's why I feel so sorry for Gaius. I'm a big softy though, and if someone feels guilty for what they've done, I usually forgive them on the spot because aww, they're feeling bad. But for Gaius, it really does seem more like he never intended anyone any harm. He's selfish; he's lazy; he cheats with his work, letting Six do it; he broke the law and many people's trust by giving her the codes; he cheats on women and lies to people all the time. But he's not a genocidal maniac who wants people dead.

Is he guilty of the New Caprica disaster though? He's responsible for them settling there; he's responsible for the cylons spotting them from space, so maybe he is. On the other hand, when the cylons actually came, what could he do but surrender? Resistance could have made things worse. Refusing to sign the death list, he would have been shot and the list would have been signed by someone else. So his big mistake was running for president and giving Gina the nuke, but I don't know what I would have done differently during the cylon occupation. (Maybe not taken quite as many pills.)

To be continued...

4 comments:

kixxa said...

Reading your transcript this morning made me late for work, but I had a good laugh -- especially with James'Jesus with a personality disorder Merlin' in the snooty hotel lift. *g*

Thanks again for taking the time do transcribe these. They are a lot of work for you, but a lot of fun to read.

Deniselle said...

LOL, yes! Sounds like making the movie was quite an experience - mostly outside of the set.

Glad you're enjoying the transcripts! They are a lot of work, but I do enjoy making them, so it's not a complete act of altruism or anything.

Have a James day at work! :)

El said...

It' so annoying, I know someone must have the videos for these, but I can't find them anywhere, or I'm just a bad googler. I'm a fan of Katee as much as of James, but the few Katee fansites out there are so slow in updating! Gahh.

It is also annoying that I can't really read anything new or recent relating to Galactica because I haven't seen any episodes of Season 4. I managed to ruin for myself so many surprises with the earlier seasons that I pretty much have to endure a Galactica dry spell for at least a year between seasons.

Deniselle said...

El, it was forbidden to film/record there, and even the audio tapes I have are recorded in someone's pocket. There are the two youtube clips I already linked to, but I can't find anything else either.

It's possible there simply isn't anything - if filming is forbidden, people wouldn't want to have visible cameras out. Sometimes, they might have their cameras taken away or be thrown out, so it's a big risk. And you can't very well film inside your own pocket.

At least we have many lovely pictures though :)