Monday, April 27, 2009

James Callis at the Jules Verne Festival

Last updated on Saturday, 2nd May, at 7:05 PM Finnish time.

Photo by Benelie at 3xcusemyfrench. Click for larger size and see more pictures in the link. He is gorgeous!

Latest updates:

The press conference is online at 3xcusemyfrench! Great quality video with English subtitles for Jamie, thank you so much for that. Transcripts later.

Press photos at Cinema-France.

Photos, videos from the event and a transcript of the main event interview in French here.

And lots of more videos at my Youtube - I haven't made a playlist yet, they're all in my favorites so far, and there may be duplicates. There are also other videos, which are more like paparazzi stuff: James by the car, looking uncomfortable and wanting to leave as people push cameras in his face. I will not link to videos like that. I know it was in a public place and lots of people had cameras, but if it's obvious that someone doesn't want to be filmed, leave him alone. James is a nice guy and he wasn't rude in any of the videos, but you could sense that he wasn't comfortable with this. Not cool.

Thursday's photos:

More photos by Aurelianne!

Another picture at flickr.

And even more photos by Benelie at her gallery.

Transcripts of the Q&A bits that aren't transcribed below (see the bottom of the post - there really wasn't much missing).

Part 2 at the French site:
The question is what resources they used as actors, because the characters are so versatile: "Sometimes we think they are heroes, and sometimes there are so many weaknesses - (at James) especially you." (all the actors laugh)

Mary says it's on the page, in the writing, and since the actors were so incredible, it's not hard to lift yourself (se lever) on their level.

James starts in French: "Et moi, je n'ai pas des resources. Je me leve, je suis Gaius." (And I was able to parse this with a little help from Daniela. We're good!) I think it means: "As for me, I don't have any resources. I lift myself, I am Gaius." The audience applauds and laughs until James gestures them to quiet down. He looks happy with the reaction, though. I knew he knows some French! You can also tell he understands what Jamie says.

"What I would say is that.. to agree with Mary, it was on the page. But also, to extend also on what Jamie said, the family element of when we were working on the set. I've never had so much fun or been so supported by so many people. And the resources that we're drawing on, it's not just the script, it's the directors, it's the producers, it's your other actors, who are constantly wanting you to play your A-game and wanting you to get there. And the set and design and the CGI too, weave us into the fabric of the world. We have been buoyed up on air by a wonderful cast and generous wonderful people. That's all the resources, I think, that we have drawn on."
In the same vein, part 4, they are talking about how the cast became so close to each other:
"I must say I agree with Jamie, and the words of Henry the fifth echo in my mind about, "we band of brothers". The thing is, I think, initally as well, that when we set out to do this thing, I think a lot of people in America and perhaps around the world thought that BSG and the remake of it was a bit of a joke. Which we certainly didn't feel. But we were removed from the rest of the world, we were in Vancouver. And also we weren't doing it for the rest of the world, on some level we were doing it for ourselves, we acted with each other in this hermetically sealed set. And I don't think we necessarily knew that there was going to be a future of the show afterwards. But there was. And we are connected to each other in a very special way, because it's like now, being part of Galactica is a badge of honor, but we were all there from the beginning. And we were all there for each other from the beginning. It's just a tremendous [boom?]...and as they say [?something in French?] like the rest of the world has enjoyed the agonies and the extacies that we put ourselves thru, a special bond. I can only say like Jamie said, it's like soldiers coming home from the war, we'll be close to each other in a way forever."
It's funny to think of Galactica as war (even if the show was very much about war), but it does seem like the cast became unusually close to each other. It's a beautiful idea that they still like each other so much. Sometimes you hear of those shows where the cast really dislike each other and have to pretend to be in love and stuff. All of the friendships and especially couples on the show had great chemistry together, and I think that kind of thing comes only from the actors liking each other as people. It's impossible to fake something like that, and I believe it's part of the reason that fans also get that warm family feel and want to return to the show and its world, even if it's so bleak in many other ways.

Tuesday's updates part 2:

On this page, "Gonzo" has a few notes on the press conference. Mary apparently said that she saw James and Jamie become fathers to five children altogether, and she feels like the kids' grandmother.

James Callis rit et Jamie lui dit : "You told us in the miniserie that we must start making babies!"
"James Callis laughed and Jamie told him..." Hee :D

Out of the Jules Verne characters, James prefers Captain Nemo. There's something about Nemo being the son of an Indian raja, and James made some joke about that it seems, but I don't really get the French there. I also think it says that James can't keep serious for more than two minutes at a time. Hee!

More pictures here.

First Tuesday updates:
A photo with James, Jamie and his wife (whose name is actually Kerry, not Kelly), with a fan, here.

This French site has videos of the entire Q&A (complete with French translations) and their arrival and departure on the red carpet. I'll be transcribing more this evening, there are some more quotes from James. I won't be transcribing Mary and Jamie this time, especially since Jamie speaks French throughout, and mine is a bit rusty. (See at the end of the post for the transcripts so far.)

In the first video, which is their departure, James comes out and signs some autographs. The handlers are rushing him to go, so he finally agrees to, but then shouts to the people, "Pardon! You're not gonna cry?" looking genuinely worried and sorry. Awww, our soft-hearted boy!

Some photos here, along with a blog post in French. I think it says they were very sympathetic, Jamie's French was great, and they offered some nice insights to the show.

Some photos on this forum page, again in French. They were very friendly, greeted everyone and signed quite a lot of autographs.

A huge picture and some more discussion in French here. Some stuff on James:

James Callis a ésquivé deux trois fois le micro. J'avais l'impression d'avoir le Gaius Baltar du début de la série. Sinon trés sympa et un peu fatigué.

Tout les trois ont recu un prix et ont posé pour tout le monde. Ensuite chacun a fait un ptit discour. James Callis a été interrompu par la traductrice qui ne suivait pas. Il avait l'air énervé d'avoir été coupé par la traductrice lol. Mais pas facile pour elle je pense donc quand meme chapeau a elle meme si j'ai pas saisi le message de James a la fin (qui avait l'air interressant).
My high school French fails me, but I think it says that James seemed annoyed to have to pause for the interpreter. You can tell in some of the below videos that it really didn't go seamlessly with that. James had to re-read the last line of his quote in the acceptance speech. I think he seemed unused to being interpreted and wasn't really sure how much to say at once, or was a bit nervous about the speech anyway and it threw him off. I don't think he was annoyed to be intrepreted per se.

Original post from Monday:

This past weekend, James Callis received the Jules Verne award for his work on Battlestar Galactica. Some time ago, James told us about this in a post at the Unofficial website forum, and he sounded genuinely delighted and excited. Mary McDonnell and Jamie Bamber were also awarded at the same event.

And James looked so damn gorgeous. His hair! It's fluffy again! And he's scruffy! Eeee! *jumps at James and licks him* Sorry. I just spent the weekend with my cousin and her very friendly and enthusiastic dog, so I've learned bad manners there. But I know there's been a collective heat wave on the fandom at twitter at least, so it's not just me.

So, before we go deeper into what he said, some photos to prove my point above!

James arriving at the festival on Friday, the 24th:
Pictures at Zimbio: here, here, here , here and here.
Photo at Flickr.

Photos from the press conference with James, Mary and Jamie.

There will be longer videos of the press conference, but there are two short ones here.
Thanks to Daniela and M for finding some links while I was out! :)

OK, then for the deeper stuff: there are already some videos up on Youtube. They are from the actual event on Sunday. You can check my channel for briefer clips, but I'll transcribe the James bits in the longer ones. His comments are very touching, and I (almost) forgot about his gorgeous hair while listening to them. I'm so proud of him for getting this award, and for his work in BSG, and most of all for his humanity. *sniffle*

This video shows them enter the stage, and some of the Q&A session.

"Myself, I'd just arrived... [There's a problem with the microphone or sth?] Somebody out there doesn't like me. (laughter) I'd just arrived in Los Angeles, and I received a script, and my manager said, 'You would be perfect to play Gaius Baltar.' And I was like, I don't know if he knows me very well, cos that guy is like a real douchebag. (laughter) So I kind... of resisted it, and then went to lots and lots of auditions. I was cast and... that's my story."

That's the short version at least - he's told the story many times, in many ways, so I pretty much know it by heart by now. Maybe he's a bit tired of telling it, as he cut it so short. Also in this video: Jamie Bamber speaks really good French. I'm impressed, and James and Mary look like they are too. I thought James knew a little French - he seems to sprinkle it here and there in his posts online - but apparently it's either not good enough or he's not confident enough to actually speak it in this setting. My French is a bit rusty, but I can tell Jamie's talking about the relationship between father and son.

"From the sublime to the ridiculous... Probably the most harrowing moment for me was taking somebody's knickers, I just can't remember whose they were. (laughter) No, that's a joke. The whole thing for Gaius has been... he's been through the mill, he's been through like, I don't know, an emotional, psychological obstacle course or missile course. I couldn't particularly draw out one moment in time that was more harrowing than the last. But I would also echo Jamie in saying that... The ending of the man, he finally became something that he had so wanted to be.

And also as acotrs, it was... I was discussing this just yesterday, we were finishing the show, and it was goodbye, and when I was standing in that field saying, you know, goodbye... It really hit me thru the head like a brick, and... The acting was, I don't know if that was acting, cos I just burst into tears, cos I was so upset to leave... leave this incredible thing that had enhanced and changed my life in so many ways."

If he's referring to the moment in the field when Gaius says, "You know, I know about farming" and Six just comforts him - best. Crying scene. Ever. Hands down. I'm not too surprised to hear it was genuine, because that was so beautifully done, subtle, and really felt real. It was one of the most touching and defining Baltar moments. And I also love that he became the man he wanted to be - a brave, respected, forgiven and loved man; a man who wasn't alone anymore.

In another video, James describes Gaius:
"I was just going to say, Gaius Baltar has an album coming out soon, (laughter) it's a remake, it's called Oh Lords of Kobol, Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood. (laughter, applause) You know, he's the wrong gaius at the wrong time in the wrong place. (laughter) And how would you describe this man? He.. (Mary whispers something in his ear) he starts... Thanks, Mary. (laughs)

He starts out with... Because he's so selfish, with very little idea of anybody else that, you know, doesn't hold up the mirror to his own reflection, cos he's so desperately narcissistic. And through his banality and his mistakes, he actually goes on an extreme learning curve and tries to find some of that humanity that, I don't know, the arrogance in his head could have obliterated beforehand. So he's in denial, he's scared, he's ashamed. He hasn't had the greatest time aboard the Galactica. And... I suppose he is constantly in search of some small kernel of redemption or salvation. If he could only turn back time, but he can't. Thank you." (applause)

I suppose he's said all of these things before, but I always feel like, when he describes Gaius, something new comes out, like a new angle to it or at least a new way of saying things. He captivates me, I want to listen and learn from his way of thinking and seeing the character. There's also the challenge of transcribing someone who uses pretty complex English. I really enjoy piecing together what he's saying. His accent and word choices constantly challenge me, and I think it's good for me especially now that I don't have a translating job to work on.

This video shows them receiving the statues, and some answers to questions.
"As far as I'm aware, I think that we're the only species on the planet that alters the environment to suit us. Every other species adapts themselves to the environment. So this is a problem that we have, a problem of our own ingenuity, and I think I said this yesterday, the problem with our progress... Basically, you know, on a really basic level, as far as I'm concerned, the only thing I can ever depend on is another human being, really. That's it. All we have is each other. And we have these discussions, as we did on the show for so long, that you know, governments all around the world are spending billions and billions of dollars making weapons, to protect ourselves from each other. This is raving mad. What could that money be used for? How can we [??] our lives [?] We've only got each other. Let's cut through the differences and let's find the similarities. And that's our future, hopefully."
Sniff! Sorry about the question marks - he sounds like he's very moved here, and perhaps some words become garbled because of that.

I'm always very moved myself to hear James talk about humanity: how we need each other and need to understand each other. It seems to be a very important theme for him; I remember he's brought it up many times before. He has a diplomatic outlook on life, and that's something I admire very much. I think fanaticism and trying to force everyone to think and live like you are things that breed war and oppression. On the other hand, trying to understand others and see our similarities as human beings will breed peace and tolerance. This is also, at least in my view, a very central theme on BSG.

James' acceptance speech:
"I thought I'd write something down. I'm actually gonna quote somebody else, cos I can't be trusted to be too serious for too long. So this ties in with our show and the extraordinary Jules Verne Film Festival, and what it sets out to do: on some level, to change the consciousness of the world. So I'm going to quote to you something from Robert Kennedy.

Each time a man stands up for an idea or acts to improve the lot of others
or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.
And crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring,
Those ripples build up a current
Which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."

He's self-deprecating, as always, but I think he can be very serious and very deep, and usually is. He has a beautiful mind, and he thinks about things on a very deep level, and you can tell that in basically all interviews. Maybe BSG has been one of the things that has broadened his thinking and opened new horizons.

Sniff. I'm just so proud of him.


WolfenM said...

Thank you for that! Really, for all your tireless effort in gathering all this stuff together for us!

That quote he gave is so amazingly spot-on with stuff I've been saying latley, that if we tell stories of hope, that hope will grow, but everyone is so obsessed with tragedy, our tragedy grows. We convince ourselves that the world can't be happy, but I think we shape the world with our will, and if we could just let ourselves believe in joy, the world would be more joyous.

Okay, that was a bit heavy for a comment, maybe, but there it is all the same. :) I'm proud of James (and Moore) for making Baltar a beacon of hope! Redemption is one of my fave types of stories, and I think it's the sort that we need most of all these days, so we can believe that there is hope for humanity as a whole to become better ....

Elina said...

^ Agree on the hope part. There are enough cynics in this world. Curse on all their houses.

That's an amazing photo of him. *Melts*

Deniselle said...

Wolfie: Aww, no problem! :) I'm amazed at how much stuff there is, and so glad for the effort of the 3xcusemyfrench people.

That's exactly how I see Baltar too. I know lots of viewers want to hate him, but I don't think that was ever intended. He is a beacon of hope, and he has the same weaknesses we all have. Maybe he's given into his weaknesses a bit more, but it's all very human and understandable.

Elina: yes. Yes it is. And there are so many good photos from that event, I'm melting too. And so soon after the donut orgasm! I'm sure I'll return to a non-heat mode at some point... eventually. :P

Sandrachen said...

Hey, thats a nice summary of all the noise about James @ Fedcon out there. Thank you for the good work. And i am quite surprised that someone actually found my blog ;-).

Deniselle said...

No problem! :) I've had fun hunting through the updates.

I actually just googled the blogs mostly - blogspot is usually found, since it's owned by Google! :D