Friday, May 15, 2009

James Callis on Numb3rs, Part 3 / James on the Finale, Part 2

Long title again, but whatever - there's a new interview that covers both topics:
"Frakkin' Gaius Baltar talks to IGN".

Hey, [Saul Tigh voice] it's Gaius Frakkin' Baltar! Frakkin' civilians never get things right! [/Tigh voice]

Seriously though, IGN has done some great interviews in the past (see sidebar, "James Callis interviews"), and this one's no exception. I feel like I could quote the entire interview, but I hope I won't.

About Mason Duryea:
We bat these words around today like "psychotic" and "sociopath" - and maybe you could use them for this kind of person when you don't really know what he is. He's totally self-educated. He's read a lot of books in prison and he's definitely quite smart on some level.

I'm glad he mentions that the words are overused, because it bugged me that so many people used them for Gaius. I don't think he was really either, and I think these words have become a catch-all for any mentally deranged or narcissistic person. However, they might actually describe this particular character. I'm also glad that he mentions that Gaius is a "different kettle of fish" - is this a British phrase? Very cute.

Question: Has James ever played a character who was not smart? Could he even do that? I feel like there's so much wisdom in his eyes that he might not be very convincing as a dumb character. But maybe I'm wrong. It'd be interesting to see him try that.

You know, the thing that really got to me was this line where he says (In Duryea's voice) "Is a coyote insane because it eats your poodle?" I was like, Christ, that's a very frightening man.

I hope I'll be able to watch this episode, because I'm stil not quite over "You are my binary messenger". And I actually had a nightmare where I was watching Beginner's Luck, and there was this whole horror sequence added. They were in the cabin in Edinburgh, and Jason found a radio that said things like "You're going to die" in a really creepy voice, and it strikes me now that it must have been the Duryea voice.

James apparently used music to prepare for the role:

Actually at the time I was listening to David Gilmore's album On an Island. There was an instrumental track on there that just screamed to me…like the silence and the desolation of the plains.

Very interesting. I've heard of this method before with actors, but I didn't know James uses it too.

The Numb3rs episode airs tonight US time and tomorrow Europe/Australia time. I'll blog more about it later.

Then a bit more on Gaius Baltar's end. I'm glad they asked about this, because now that the finale has aired, he can freely talk about it. Obviously stop reading now if you haven't seen the finale and don't want to be spoiled.

Basically, James thought Baltar would die. He had mentioned that in many older interviews, so I'm not that surprised to hear this, but. It would have been so anticlimactic for us who love Baltar, I think, to see him just killed for everything he's done. I don't think he deserves to die. I think, like Caprica, that he redeemed himself in the end and became someone you can be proud of. But maybe it's true that that happened mainly within the finale itself.

So when I actually got to live through it, and had, as it were this realization, this sadness. This relief. The line "I know about farming" isn't exactly the most poetic line in the whole world, but it really did something.

That's what I felt too, watching it. Actually, my "worst case scenario" for the finale was that Gaius would enter the fight, die within five minutes, and never be spoken of again. I was SO relieved that he was in the final scenes.

I'm sorry IGN, but I will quote this whole quote, OK? Still talking about the farming line:

It really touched me. I've tried to explain at some conventions that it's like…this man feels so guilty and part of that guilt is shame. When you are so ashamed of who you've been and the things you've done. There's just no way you can make it up. It was crying for a lot of things. It opened something up. I think that's an amazing thing that Ron (Moore) has done. It allowed Baltar to make his peace and it really threw a curveball on the whole scene. This shouldn't be the man that you feel something for. But you do. It was brilliant.

Sniff. What can I add? It's a beautiful scene, it's a very defining moment for Gaius, and it's an acting triumph for James. It's touching to hear him talk about the scene like this. I'm still torn on some of the issues in the finale, but every time I think of the end of Gaius Baltar, I'm filled with this sense of catharsis and gratitude. That was so well done.


kixxa said...

What is it with James and islands? He seems to be fascinated with them. :D

WolfenM said...

I half-watched it. The math talk really lost me. As for James, that accent, and that slack-jawed yokel aura reminded me of many of my backwater neighbors (people out where I live shoot each other's pets when they're fueding, steal anything that isn't nailed down, like to vanadlise mailboxes, and once even set a house on fire because the family that was moving in was African American -- yes, I hate it here). Totally gave me the heebie-jeebies. *Shudder* Also, Mason totally stole Baltar's harem! XD At any rate, while the change in James was astonishing, proof of his indredible acting chops, I don't think I'll be able to watch that one again. :(

Deniselle said...

kixxa, they probably remind him of Beginner's Luck! :)

Wolfie, Numb3rs is really very much about math, which is probably why I think it's smart. I don't really get any of it, lol.

My girlfriend hates the South for the same reasons you said, so maybe it's not just prejudice on her part.

I hope I'll be able to watch it. James sounds so psyched about this role, like it was a real challenge. It'd be a shame if I'm too traumatized to watch past the first five minutes. :D

Elina said...

Perhaps he wasn't smarter than average as that gay friend of Bridget Jones? More like goofy, though you can never really tell how smart goofy people are...

When does that episode air in Finland? I'm so careful reading your posts to avoid baltarstar spoilers that I miss this kind of information. :P

Deniselle said...

Elina, you may be right - Tom wasn't overly smart. I should rewatch and see if James' wisdom comes out at all :D

I have no idea when it's airing in Finland - maybe a year or two? It tends to take forever. I'm getting the file in about a week, and I can send it to you.


Deniselle said...

Elina, btw did you mean to write "baltarstar spoilers" :D Or was that a Freudian slip?

Elina said...

I had to read that a couple of times. I thought you said "Elina you may be BRIGHT - but Tom wasn't overly smart. " I was like, what does my brightness have to do with his smartness? :D

I wish it were a Freudian slip, but baltarstar means specifically Gaius-related spoilers. Though any other kinds tend to be annoying as well...

You're so cagey. They'll never catch us downloading illegally now!

Deniselle said...

Heh, you are bright :D I don't remember Tom well enough.

I hope I haven't spoiled for you on twitter! The Baltar ending is more of a growth than a spoiler-thing though, I think it's v organic and grows within the ep, so I don't know if you can be spoiled. (Just don't read "Gaius Baltar - he's the motherfrakking shit!" bc it does spoil all the major dialogue bits etc.)

Hey, better safe than sorry. I might be caught, and then I'll have to share a cell with Mason Duryea!