Saturday, October 31, 2009

Random Googlebits, Part Neuf

An awesome photo gallery of James without a shirt on - all of the pictures are from BSG, so we've seen it all, but it's still great to see the stills. Beautiful. *drools* Also - I love how his chest hair rises so high and he has basically no hair elsewhere. It's like one unrufly tuft of hair pretty high up and then a hairless belly. Some of the pictures show a little donut belly as well. (L)! Thanks to M for the link. :)

Oy! I almost missed it! They have screenshots of the naked scene where Lucy Lawless cracked up - nice bum, James! :D If this link doesn't take you straight to it, it's in the thumbnails there. Hilarious AND hot! *drools*

Note: I wrote the rest of this post before this first bit. I didn't just casually move from naked James to other random bits. I'm not sure how well the post works, but the most important stuff should go first... do read the rest of it too though, once you're over the heat. :D

I was re-reading the Crave Online article from summer 2008, and there are some interesting tidbits:

You'd be so surprised, you show somebody a face which we call neutral mask which is showing no emotion whatsoever, half the audience will go, "He's about to go hysterical laughing." And the other half will be like, "He looks terribly sad." There's a certain element, a huge element of audience participation with any medium like this, with any mirror. I'm going a long way around to say the less said the better.
Do you ever not go a long way around it, James? :D It's a fascinating point though. I always like scenes where something is left to interpretation. Like a scene doesn't seem to make a point but it's just there. It's never explained. (Well, it doesn't always work; I'm still not sure what to make of Lee and his pigeon.)

About knowing beforehand what is going to happen:

You make up things on the moment on the day and there are repercussions to the things that you do. Then somebody's written something like, "Hey, next week, guess what? You go off and kill mice." You're like, "What? I haven't even prepared. I didn't even know." So it's really important that you get a through line and that keeps you honest.Although, with these guys, David and Ron, they don't want to tell you all that much. They're wise as well. They don't want you getting the whole thing. Part of the excitement is laying a kind of cable. It's like how much are they going to give you? Enough rope to hang ourselves with essentially.

A couple of snapshots from some Russian photo bank, of filming the miniseries. You can barely see them from the watermark, but I still love them.
James opening Tricia's bra - I love this one because he looks like he's fumbling, out of shyness or insecurity or perhaps being too turned on. Or maybe he's just being extra tender?
A tender kiss. They both look tender and careful here, like they're just getting to know each other. (Which they were.) L!!!

A 2006 con mention. Katee and James appreciated the candy they got from a fan:

They both showed they're appreciation by writing a personalised message on the photos thanking me for the candy, not some 'To X' and/or with some generic message. None of the other 4 that i gave candy to on both days did that. Not that i mind, but it really cheered me when both Sackhoff and Callis did on their own accord.
Awww, how sweet! Our considerate man! (L)

Behind the scenes photos from season 4.5:
James chatting with David Eick and Jamie Bamber - looks like they had fun. (But what's in his hand?)
James riding a stage cart of some kind, looking incredibly boyish (L).
I'm too lazy to link to the individual photos, but you don't have to do too much scrolling in that link. (There's also a picture with Jamie and his wife Kerry. They look lovely together.)

Interesting mention of James:

I have simulated oral sex with Gaius Baltar... way of some explanation, I should perhaps explain that this was me acting alongside James Callis when we were both EngLit undergrads at York University. We were both performing in a fab produciton of Ben Jonson's play Volpone. James was playing Voltore, the lawyer, I was playing the hermaphrodite freak in Volpone's household.

How comes he ends up playing Hollywood sci-fi parts and I'm a priest in south Essex?!?
:D :D :D WTF? We know so little about James' past... it sounds exciting and strange.

I don't know if I've linked to this before, but the Unofficial Website has an article with James, Sally Phillips and Shirley Henderson (castmates from Bridget Jones' Diary) answering some women's magazine's relationship column. Or something. They're really drunk, the pictures are hilarious, and James is hilarious (and a sweetheart). My favorite piece of advice (to a girl whose boyfriend speaks on the phone too much:

James: Or you could just say, “Do you know you’re getting excess radiation and brain-cell depletion because of how much time you spend on the phone? Since we started going out you’re getting a lot less interesting, and you’re probably in need of a frontal lobotomy.”
:D Not a believer in subtlety, it seems.

I somehow really liked this answer as well:

James: Sex is a crazy, intimate thing and people behave in different ways afterwards. Even though a guy can hint that sex is not all he’s after, sometimes it is all he’s after and he runs away or fobs you off afterwards. That’s his problem, not yours.

Maybe it's the way he calls sex a "crazy, intimate thing".

He does make a joke about golden showers, but I think he was just that drunk. :D His actual replies are thoughtful though.

And now for something truly random, which I won't link to because it's obvious spam. This came up with the search "it was James Callis", which returned nothing interesting.

"News about: James Callis"
It was james callis all you can tell. I will show you. Have you got the house the entire. Sounded calliw to the gravely
There I james callis relief sallis

I don't know about you, but it's a big relief to me that he relieves sallis. Mine is driving me crazy.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

An Evening With James Callis - The Panel: Part 3

Pictures by René Kissien from, many many thanks in that direction again. We've rolled up our sleeves and taken off our coat and are working the vest.

So this is about the events on New Caprica in the first three episodes of season three.

[thinks for a moment] Maybe it's the same for every person. Yes. Yes. they were terribly difficult to do. I'm not going to.. I'm not lying about it or joking or whatever, I put myself thru... excuse the phrase, a huge amount of shit. But maybe everybody did. You know, you're playing somebody who's got.. who's a puppet, a quizling. And in their name of not in their name, people are being killed. And you're trying to show that as real. So that is um.. horrendous. Possibly the most difficult thing...

You see, I'm not Gaius Baltar. I'm James Callis. And myself, I'm...I'm not afraid, I'm not afraid of any kind of confrontation or whatever, if I don't like something you're going to find out about it. I'm not gonna be shy or retiring, I'm gonna be the first in the front to tell you what I wanna do, how I wanna do it. What I was playing was an abject coward. Somebody who was always reunning away and.. that's really not me! There's a certain fun in the liberty of being somebody totally different to yourself.

But when it came to signing death warrants, that made me sick. Sick to my stomach, even for the character that I was playing. You can't do this, you can't... And I went thru a huge deal with them because in the orig... I was sent a script of all those things and I was very excited, I was like, "Why am I being sent a script really before everyone else? It's because they like me so much." And I was reading all this stuff, like you're watching on New Caprica, and I was like, "This is brilliant, this stuff, it really is amazing." And then, whatever... They ask me to sign the death warrant and I did! With no.. without so much as a ? in the script.. it was like "Hey, you sign it" and I just did!

That's when the shit really hit the fan and I went potty and I was like, whatever... I was actually in India at the time. I spent a lot of money ringing to LA going, "I'm not coming back, I won't do it! You'll change it round. You'll do some other things. Because otherwise you've destroyed the character, and destroyed the integrity if he had any... I'll tell you something: if you do that, I don't actually wanna play him. I feel sick. And then nobody'd want to...It is irredeemable." Cos we know, in today, about people who do that kind of thing.. I was like, it doesn't wash with me. So to help me out... I said, I'm gonna have nightmares about this, this is some guy I'm playing on television. I'm not supposed to have like personality disorders after the show finishes cos I was so upset with what you've done.

So they did this thing whereby they shot Number Six, first of all, they said, "Listen, she can be resurrected but you can't". I said, OK, that's a plus. That's something else. And one of the things I suggested was that you never really saw him sign the document. And then what would happen was, because of his living in this ulterior world with Number Six, when she's talking to him, it was in that moment while she's talking that the thing is signed. He looks down and it's done already. I said that way, you don't see him physically sign the thing, you've also protected him, because it's happened in some mental whiteout.

I then saw the cut of the thing, where they had cut the thing where they shot Tricia, so.. and they showed me signing the letter. And I went crazy. I mean, I really did go crazy. And I rang up the producers and said, "You wrote all this stuff, you put it all in, that's why I agreed to do it, now you've taken it all out! So now it just looks like they say sign it, that's what I do!" And even while we were filming it, the guy who... Matthew Bennett, Doral, they, everybody went there with me. I said, "listen, the only way I'll ever physically this thing, it's gotta look like one of those Al-Qaeda torture videos, where essentially shortly after you put the gun to my head, you're going to cut my head off. It has to feel like that nad look like that, otherwise I'm gonna spit in your face. So make it... make it like, whatever." And by that time Dean Stockwell was like.. [does an amazing Dean Stockwell voice and face, walks around ] "Sign the fucking thing... How much longer is this gonna take... Sign it, sign it, it's acting, just sign it!" [laughter] And we spent uh.. a long time.

And then the producers came to me and went, "We can't. We've changed it round, it's already gone to the press, and it's like this and it's just too bad. That's a lot of money that we spent processing the negatives and the sound and everything. That means now we've gotta [unlock?] the picture, go back, put this stuff in, change the sound out and everything." I said, "You gotta do it, you've really got to do it. Cos otherwise you don't have a character. He's pretty irredeemable anyway, but otherwise it's all lost." And I must say to their incredible credit, after the picture was locked, after it had been shown to the journalists, they went back and they did put in that thing where Number Six was being shot, and they did haze it over with the signing of the document, and for that, I will be, like, eternally grateful. As I told them. Cos the thought of it made me ill. And I'm glad that they helped me out [?]

Here, we get an interesting glimpse of James the person, as well as James the actor. He has strong opinions and feelings about things, and he's not going to hide them. I don't consider him confrontational necessarily, because he's so kind to and about the people he works with. But I remember David Eick mentioning that James is such a personality - he'll come in hugging you one week because he loves the script, or he might come in breathing fire because he hates what they're doing. The temperamental side of him doesn't really come out in these interviews, even if he's obviously someone with strong emotions (and you'd have to be, as an actor). Honestly I can't imagine him angry, but I can imagine him being stubborn and saying "I won't do this."

I can't believe that they would have just had him sing the paper. What the frak? The reason that's so powerful is because a) they shoot Caprica Six, b) Head Six appears, c) you don't see him sign the thing. That's what makes the scene so great. I was pretty appalled to hear how close they were to cutting all of that. There are many fans who, in a conversation about Gaius' conscience or lack thereof, still quote that he signed the death list. Even if he opposed to it, he did sign it in the end, and that already makes him irredeemable to some fans. I can't even imagine what they'd be saying if he had just signed it without any resistance.

When James talks about Six being shot, he makes a gun with his hand and points it in the air. And he does it again when he mentions the shooting for a second time. I love how much he talks with his hands.

I also find Dean Stockwell's reaction interesting. I wonder if this is a difference between "old school" actors - just do what's on the page - and younger actors, or Americans and Brits, or if James is just one of the few who really dare speak up and have an opinion about their character.

The fact that they gave James so much leeway... I wonder if it's because he's such a stellar actor and brought the show so much acclaim. Or maybe because they really wanted to make a show where the characters were thought out and believable. They obviously had strong feelings about how to write Baltar, and I'm surprised and, like James, grateful that they listened to him.

Two questions: 1. how did he like the character development in season 4, with the cult? (The fan herself doesn't seem very convinced by it.)
2. The last day of shooting, tell us something about filming the finale.

Um.. I think they're both good questions. I think it's fair to say that the producers or writers, whatever, didn't necessarily know what they were gonna do with me. Because actually, what they wanted was for the end of season three, they wanted to have a verdict at the trial that would basically send me back to prison. Not that I would be exonerated and not that I would be found guilty, but that it would be a hung jury and an extension and I would go back to prison. But I'd spent the whole of season 3 in prison, I just said, "I can't do that again." You know, this just.. on some level it's boring as well. It's just like, alright here we go, back to the cell, here he is. So.. I dunno where the idea came from about breaking out of there, but the whole idea was about...[??] On some real level about making it more interesting for me as an actor to play, rather than just you know, the charater.

I was like, what if there are people, you know there are always these nutcases, who, whatever, write to somebody in prison, they want to save this person's soul... What if there's a crowd of these people who have silently been gathering momentum, and they're going to... You know, they think this guy is the bee's knees, or they're going to appropriate him for their own needs? How weird would that be? I don't really know who had the idea, but there was something funny and edgy and strange about this man, who is a social pariah, ending up in his own cult. [laughs] And what's funny about that as well is that, you know, most of these guys who start their own cults, they start them. They've got their helpers, disciples, they've got their own weird speech, thought in their mind about what it is they're for or what it is they're against. This was a totally different deal. This is like the man is plucked from one thing and um... and then he has this group of people.

And I said to them on several times, "Listen, one week it's all about God and God exists, and the next week he doesn't believe in God, it's all rubbish... it's all rubbish!" And [?], he was like, "Have you never listened to these people on the radio? That's exactly how it is! Just listen to these people on the radio! One week it's all about this, the next week it's all about something else! These people never make up their minds, it's all crazy horseshit! Enjoy!" I suppose on some level, it was possibly the weakest material, because Gaius is really making it up as he goes along. And um... yeah, it was... I don't know where they were going to take it or what they were going to do. I don't.. They tried several things. Um... Revolution between the two forces, and I thnk Gaius' group was supposed to get a lot stronger within the fleet, and there may have been some social revolution

What they said [?] He's a dangerous, unknown quantity. And so that people like Adama and Roslin leave him alone, he's got to have his own backing somewhere in the bounds of the fleet, whereby they leave him alone. We don't want him coming down here all the time, it screws up the storyline. So essentially their idea was that because I was appropriated by the cult and trying to make it on my own, it was a big power base for Gaius baltar that meant he had to be taken seriously by people in authority. I'm not usre how seriously they took that, but that's where it came from.

Exonerated. Found not guilty. Professor James teaches me new words again. I should make a list sometime of all the words I've learned while writing this blog (that's several just from this interview).

I find the idea of Gaius in prison for season four... yeah, slightly boring and I think there might not have been very many scenes with him, because what more could they do with that? On the other hand, there may have been more HeadSix, and maybe there could have been a thing where his and Caprica's storylines would have mixed more. Like Baltar/HeadSix and Caprica/HeadBaltar and why not more complex things as well? I think that would have been interesting, but on the other hand, it would have completely removed Baltar from the main storylines, and that would have led to him being pretty much ignored. And while I would have loved extra Head scenes, I don't think they would have done that. So I don't know.

The thing about the cult is, I liked it at first. It was a good concept. The last episodes of season 3, and the couple of first episodes of season 4, it was pretty awesome. But then it just kind of... dwindled into nothing. Gaius was barely on screen, for one thing, and I'm still mad at Faith for having him on only as a voice booming in the background of one scene. I felt like in the earlier seasons, Gaius' storyline was tighter and more interesting to follow. The finale was great, but it went back to Ye Olde Gaius, rather than expanding on Cult Leader Gaius. I've wondered if the cult storyline really served any purpose, other than to bring some comic relief back to Gaius after torture-suicide-prison. Here he is again, having sex and saying crazy stuff and lying, this is the old Gaius we know and love but with a twist, he's maybe found something. -Or has he? It's an interesting setup, but like many other things in season four, it didn't really lead anywhere.

And the thing about the last few days...We shot... I can't remember the name of the place, it's the third.. oh, Kamploops it's called. Kamploops is where we shot for Africa in Vancouver. Kamploops is, I think, the third largest town in British Columbia, which is quite alarming. [laughter] When you drive through Kamploops, there are these cars outside people's farms or homes that stopped working in either 1950-something or 1960, and they're just sinking into the ground outside these farms. I say that because it wasn't just one. We were driving, it was like all these cars, just disintegrating into the earth, I really mean it, like the tires, you can't see them. Kinda slowly falling into the earth, they've just been left there. These old Studebakers or you know.. very rural, very beautiful.

Kamploops. Well, the Wikipedia entry makes it sound bigger than James' description, but I think it's mainly a large area of joined villages, rather like the village in the Finnish countryside where I grew up in. There's apparently still a large native population, and the name is a Shuswap word for "meeting of the waters". Very interesting. One of those places I'd probably never have heard of if it weren't for James. And I can't imagine a car sinking into the ground, but I'll take his word for it. The picture is of him showing the sinking.

There was a... I suppose it was... It didn't really feel like the end so much cos we actually felt we were shooting the end when we arrived.. I can't remember which episode it was, burt it's the end of one season, where we arrive on the first Earth - and it's desolate. On that beach. So that's actually when we thought we were finishing, cos there was a writer's strike in LA and we were told, really, that we weren't gonna come back. Nobody knew really what was going on. I've never seen so many cast members in one place, all 20 of us on the beach and they were like, "You ten sit there, and you ten sit there." They didn't really know what they were going to do with us. Didn't know how it was gonna... That felt more like the end than the final day. And uh...

I do know this actually. On the final, I had a big speech. It's all coming out now. I had a big speech at the end to Cavil about how Hera is not a thing, she was... How she was, you know, the savior of both of our races. I'd been preparing for this for some while, I mean it's the denouement of the whole show. Unfortunately Michael Rymer had sent Dean Stockwell home. So I arrived ready to do my big scene, and it's like... ready to do my big scene, "Where's the man I'm speaking to?" Oh, damn! Sent him home. I said, it's 2 o'clock in the morning! Yeah, but I'm here! So I actually had to deliver that to Michael Hogan, who, as you know, was actually supposed to be on the balcony with his eyepatch as one of the final five! He kept running down the stairs to stand in front of me as Dean, say his lines and then go back up the stairs. The magic of cinema.. so that was one of the amusing things that happened the last few days.

Hee! :D I love these little behind the scenes stories. We get so few of them, don't we?

It strikes me as odd, again, how the episodes blend in for him so that he can't even remember what episode the first Earth stuff was in. I'm sure all fans remember bitterly how long we had to wait for season 4.5. It would have been an incredibly dark ending for the show, and I would have grieved the lack of a Six/Baltar ending. I've wondered a few times, though, if some fans wouldn't have been happier with that ending rather than the one we got. Some people complained about it being too happy, or too open-ended, or too tying-all-knots-together. I'm happy we still got those ten episodes, even if I didn't enjoy all of them, and I felt 4.5 was, all in all, the weakest season or half-season. I did enjoy the finale.

Will Head Baltar appear in the series Caprica?
"I'm not sure. I'm not sure."

Fan: But it could be possible?

James: "Oh, yes, it really could be possible. Uh... I um... I think Caprica's a great show. Have you seen it yet? Yeah. Um... There've been discussions to be honest, there have been discussion, but I wasn't interested in uh... appearing for a minute or something like that in the new show. Cos I actually felt that it cheapened the character. Like if you really want to go somewhere with this story, or this thing, it has to be more than once, but I'm not sure that that's something they want to do. So... we'll see. Never say never. I thnk mabye Gaius comes back in like Tricia's dress [laughter] Oh he can't, they've already sold it at auction. Drat!"
Hee! *tries to imagine James in Tricia's dress* :D :D It'd be a lot of chest hair in the cleavage, that's for sure.

I haven't seen Caprica yet. Needless to say, if James is on it, I will see at least those episodes. I'm glad he's protecting the character and that they're letting him do so - they could always hire someone else to play HeadBaltar, I guess. The character is important for James, and I'm glad he's still invested in its integrity. I also kinda wish they'd write him into the show, because I want to see more James on TV. But there will be other projects.

The only non-BSG question is about Bridget Jones' Diary. Could he tell us a bit about that?

Sure. Everyone thought I was gay. [laughter] That's about the thick of it. I arrived one day when my wife came to see me, and it was like, "Your...wife.. is that like really your wife..?" The first film was a lot of fun. I got cast... I think on Thursday or Friday, and they started fiming on Tuesday. I must have been the very last person to that party. Shows how important I was, essential.

I auditioned singing Tainted Love, [laughter] I'm pretty sure it was Tainted Love. I didn't even have any lines, I just had to walk into a room and like do this [shakes his hips a bit], Tainted Love. Apparently my singing wasn't great but the way I shook my bum was. [laughter] That's the message that came back, it was like "yeah, you shook your arse nice". And now you're going off and you're meeting... cos I then ended up meeting Sally Phillips and Shirley Henderson, the two friends, who had been cast years ago. Years! Everybody [?] except me. And we had a lot of fun. Mostly it was just myself and Sally Phillips and Shirley Henderson in a trailer waiting to get to set. It's one of those big films as well.. It's not like TV, where you gotta finish the things for the week and make your day and everything, it's like... There's obviously still a schedule, but I thnk like any person who's been playing a supporting role or sth in film, you spend hours, sometimes days, waiting to get to the set."What's going on on set?" one day they let you get there. In the meantime you know, don't get there.

Like I said everybody thought I was gay, especially Hugh Grant, it was very funny.[laughter] He kept on avoiding me, literally. I would wave, and he'd be like,[walks away] Bye... [laughter]

What they said to me in the beginning was, "I dunno what you're doing, it doesn't feel right.. you're likeable enough, I just.. We wanna make him really silly, James." I went yes. "And really camp." And I went yeah. They went, "So just don't do anything." What would you mean, what are you talking about? [laughter] "I mean just be you!" I was like, "Hey, wait a minute! I'm not really silly and I don't think I'm particularly camp." They went, "Fantastic! What you're doing right now! What you're doing right now, that's great."

Um... and I was actually slightly uncomfortable about it myself, I didnt' know... I've got a friend in London who was like, [very gay voice] "Well I know who you based that on." [laughter] Wait, I didn't base it on you! Where did you get... I just came up with the voice, it wasn't... I can't say it was the finest point of acting ever, it was just a lot of fun. I remember forcing myself to look at this guy's bum. He came past me, I was supposed to like check him out. It was like, what am I supposed to do? So I was like, rather than looking at his face, I looked at this bottom. And the same friend went, "And it's so obvious, the way you check that guy's bum. Nobody does that, nobody. It's far too obvious. You're not subtle."[laughter] So that was that..

Otherwise the second fim... I dunno, I didn't enjoy the second film as much but I'm not sure anybody did particularly. [laughter] At the time I was in India and my second... my first kid was being born, and they wanted me to come to London. I was like, "Look, I told you, my kid's being born..." Basically it was a lot of journeys from India to London and then back to India. It was a bit... There wasn't really much sense of continuity for me. I dunno,they say they're making a third one... apparently, allegedly. Maybe Tom turns straight in the third one [mischievious smile]

Heee! :D I love the Tainted Love story and the friend's voice he does. It's surprising and delightful that there are facets to the Bridget Jones role that he hasn't mentioned before. I must admit the bum-check-out seemed very authentic to me. He managed to look pretty lusty there. And I still think Hugh Grant is a royal ass - or arse, if you prefer that word - for acting that way. What did he think James was going to do? The interesting thing about BJD is that James talks quite fondly of it, like he had fun filming it and he liked the co-stars. You can tell he doesn't think so much of the films and the acting he had to do, but it was a positive experience.

I have to quote him a bit from the old messages he left at the Unofficial Website:

During the shooting:

I've been BJDing for quite some time but in effect am not so seminal to main story line, there is of course another storyline that is whipped up every day, impromptu like, by myself and the other delightful lesser mortals whom malign fate has called upon to be B's "friends", as we sit in the spooky caravans and dream of one day getting onto the set, and perhaps (and I know this is crazy) that someone might make a mistake and we might actually end up in the film after all, but at the moment the caravan storyline isn't being shot.

After the first film:

Have seen the trailer to BJD and read a few preview articles on da web, most say that the "friends" are given short shrift in the film (couldn't agree more) but one web site quoted something I do as " the best bit in the film" I didn't even pay them any money.... Is there a sequel? Apparently Renee's been approached and so has Kate Winslet... sadly I have not been approached as yet, but maybe they'd like me to take over from where Hugh left off (As if)

I wish he had gotten Hugh's role. Would have made it a lot less one-note. I've probably mentioned before that I really think there would have been so much more material, especially about Tom, in the books. I don't know why they chose to focus on other, less funny stuff when they had James.

And it sounds like they haven't actually approached him about a third film. I'm kinda sorta hoping he won't do Tom again, and kinda sorta hoping he will. I feel ambivalent.

Actually, just a few days ago, I had to explain to someone at work who James is. I said he played Gaius Baltar in BSG - the coworker starts shaking her head - "Well, did you see Bridget Jones? He played the gay friend."
"The... gay friend..?"
"You know, one of Bridget's friends, the gay guy, ex-pop singer..?" Coworker shakes her head again.
"OK.. Do you remember the scene where Hugh Grant and Colin Firth are having that big fight in the restaurant?"
"Yes, yes I do."
"Well, Tom is the guy who comes in and shouts, It's a fight! A real fight!"
"Oh! Now I remember him! He was really funny."
James is like one of those guys people have seen but can't quite place. It's kind of funny. I hope he gets some notable main roles after BSG.

The last question. James goes, "Aww, is that the last question? See, don't it always seem to go, you don't know what you've got til it's gone?" He sounds sort of genuinely bummed, and so much love for that.

The same fan who asked about the season four development earlier asks a follow-up question about Gaius being religious. She found it a bit hard to buy, and felt the writers didn't really know what to do. It's a loaded question, but it produces one of my favorite James answers yet about the topic.

This is one of these things that any writer can have a problem with. What do you do when some person in the story develops a presence or an understanding beyond the [welkin?] of your own perspective? I dunno, coming back from the dead... You're an actor, which means you're only a human being which means you only have your own experience. So that, so... Trying to find a deep spiritual meaning has actually evaded so many people who are in a better place to talk about it. It's kind of like the spiritual equivalent of somebody really going through the eye of the needle. There's a significant change in spirit. Somebody will say different things.. Because they're touched, they're anointed, they are enlightened... The spark has taken off in them...

The thing is, with our own experience, which is rather more hum drum, mundane - how do we write that? How do we write the person who's gone thru the eye of the needle and make sense? And that's actually one of the problems we have with... it's not just a problem with Gaius Baltar, it's a problem trying to do... anything that touches on God, or the mind of God or the will of God. These are things really... I would imagine most people, we've got a spiritual yearning of you've got something that throbs inside of you, you don't quite understand although you have a.. magical understanding, I suppose that's the best way I could put it. How do you puit that into words without sounding like an idiot?

To quote somebody else: Sam Harris, in his book The End of Faith, was like.. why is it that there's a guy who wears a dog collar in church and he says, "Last night the angels spoke to me and they told me this.." and you in the congregation are all gonna believe it, why not? He's the pastor. But if somebody says a similar thing about, "What I did to speak to angels was wire myself to a kettle", then you stick them in a mental asylum. On that level, it's ... The dichotomy actually isn't so terribly different. But true um.. true understanding of something other than yourself about the greater spirit or the unconscious is uh... terribly hard to quantify, to put into words. I think the closest that they came to it was the speech I had after I was beaten up. It was, I think.. They don't necessarily make sense on a literal level and they're rather beautiful and elliptical. Because one would imagine, there must be something mystical about the mind of god. Otherwise I dunno, it would be like getting a Subway or McDonald's, for everybody, access for everybody. That's not the way it is. You have to be deeply in touch, perhaps deeply in touch with yourself. They say the third eye is the eye that looks inwards, not ouwards.

And so he has this speech where he says when you find out the truth about them and others and yourself.. I can't remember the whole thing but it's like.. the truth is, you're perfect. You're all perfect. Essentially that doesn't mean very much, but in the room at the time, and the feeling - it meant something huge. And the connection.. I think that's the closest they touch in the whole thing to Gaius getting somewhere or some understanding.. and when you get to that place and that platfrom.. you're gonna go up. That's even more difficult, I'd imagine, because it's out of the experience, not only of the performer, but also of the writers. Does that make sense?
It's interesting, because he seems to speak highly of spirituality, and when he discusses having a spiritual yearning, he puts his hand to his chest, so it seems like maybe he's had these thoughts himself. When he was talking about this before, in the Dragon*Con panels last year, it seemed more anti-spiritual, but when you think of that Sam Harris quote, it could mean that
a) people have genuine spiritual experiences, but only ones within the bounds of organized religion are accepted;
b) all spiritual experiences are signs of madness and should be ridiculed.

I think maybe I read it more as b) last year, but it looks more like a) here. He sounds respectful and genuine about spirituality, and that also came out earlier when he mentioned that Michael Rymer is a "spiritual, enlightened" director, which sounded like high praise.

I'm surprised I see his comments as less anti-religion now. It could reflect my own change of heart over the last year. If I may digress just a bit, I was raised in the Lutheran church and believed for a long time that faith=Christianity and religion=spirituality. Personal spirituality has always been more important for me, but I didn't really consider until last December that I could believe in God, but not believe in Jesus. It's weird how long I equated religion with spirituality.

I would imagine that James thinks about these things and other profound stuff a lot. It would be interesting to have a chat with him sometime about life, death and God. Maybe I'll have a chance to do that before I die.

So that's the end of the panel. Applause. The people in the audience look happy. As would I. You lucky bastards!!! -eh, sorry. James walks out, probably to smoke a cigarette or two (I must admit I'm impressed he can go without for 90 minutes).

At the end of the video, some visitors are asked how they found the event. This is in German and I'll just paraphrase quickly. They say James was very nice and funny, he answered the questions thoroughly and was easy to understand even if you don't speak perfect English.

You can see a bit of the photo session, and James looks very comfortable and happy posing there. All in all, looks like an awesome event. Sigh. Well, maybe next time there's something like this, I'll actually be able to afford it. The autograph was so beautiful though, I almost feel like I got to meet him.

After the fans, the organizer is interviewed. He says the event was a success, and they got good feedback both about and from James, although there could have been a few more guests (I believe it was a bit under 100). You can tell it was a well-organized con, and James looks relaxed in all of the pictures. If I haven't said this before: THANK YOU FKM EVENTS - it was an awesome con and, at least for me, the high point of the year fandom-wise. Standing ovation.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

James Callis at the Maxim Cover Party

Hot hot hot! Tricia Helfer and Grace Park did a steaming hot photo session with Maxim, video here.

James appeared, also steaming hot, at the party celebrating the cover. I'm already getting used to the short hair - he looks gorgeous and the chest hair is in attendance.

With glasses.

Without glasses.
(You know, I still can't decide which I prefer.)

Fondling his copy of the magazine. Hee! :D

More photos here and here. The one with James holding the magazine, with a big poster of Tricia and Grace behind him, is almost too much hot in one picture!'s James gallery here.

Weird. Was Grace at this party at all? I can't find any pictures of her.

I'm a bit conflicted about photo shoots like this, considering feminism and body image issues. On the other hand, they're grown ups who chose to do this, and I just want to drool. Maybe I'm objectifying James too, but then... *drool* *can't think*

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

An Evening with James Callis - the Panel: Part 2

Part 1 here, video here at and audio here at VDV Magazine.

OK, I promised more chest hair. I can't find the exact spot on the video, but at some point he apparently got hot and the shirt kinda opened a bit and you can see more chest hair, so before we go to the serious and intellectual discussions of BSG, let's just have some eye candy.

Thanks for the photos to the lovely René Kissien of Caprica-City, as always.

Mmmm. Oh, James. Sweaty AND hot, that's...

OK, minds out of the gutter, girls. Let's get to business. First a note: [ev] means Eddie voice. I.e., Edward James Olmos voice. He does that so much that I actually need tags. :D Which is all kinds of awesome.

Asked if he's doing any theatre work right now:

No. Um, no. The last theatre work I did was a play in London called "Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight". [laughter] Again it was rather risqué. Basically, I ... Beginning of the play, I'm having sex with my girlfriend and we're really going for it, and whereupon... when she climaxes, she ... envokes... it's rather difficult to say.. but she basically says a racial slur while we're having sex. And I'm like, "What did you.. what did you just call me?" It's a brilliant play but it's a bit like Friends, and we're having such a bad time in our relationship that she decides to ring up her friend to counsel us through the problems we're having. So we were on this side of the stage, she rings up her friend, the lights come up on this side of the stage and suddenly we're in the light of her friend, who's having an affair with a gangsta. So it's a four-way conversation.

(Aha! He's describing how the stage was divided into three parts :D)

And these two people then can't sort out our problems, so she rings up her shrink, and the stage then splits up into three parts, and the shrink is having an affair with a man, and it ends up this six-way conversation between myself and my girlfriend, her friend and her gangsta boyfriend, and the shrink and his boyfriend, and... There's a lot of um.. I say something that gets misheard or misconstrued, a lot of... I don't know what they call that, but I say something intended for somebody, and it gets heard by somebody else, and there ends up being a big row, but in the end, everything works out nicely.
A bit like Friends, maybe more like Three's Company though. Seriously, this sounds like a great play. Talking about it, James looks amused and like he's got fond memories of it. There's an article here that mentions the (pretty bad) racial slur - James sounds like he wants to say it but can't, either because it offends him, or he's shy to mention an anti-Jew sentiment in Germany, or he's just too polite. I do wish I could see him in theatre, although there's a very tiny chance of that ever happening. I understand some of the Unofficial Website people have been to see his plays, to which I can only say: lucky bloody Londoners.

That's the last play I did. It's rather difficult getting into, back into theatre cos it's such a huge commitment. Yeah, I haven't even read any... any scripts for going back.. Oh no, one thing was presented to me that I didn't want to do, straight after Battlestar. It was like, will you be a almost 50-year-old short order chef? And I said no. No. What would I do that for? How would I get.. they said, "It's a perfect opportunity for you to be..." I said, "Yeah, to be fifty years old, and then never get a job as a thirty-year-old while I am in my thirties." So... didn't seem like a great idea at the time. Not as yet. If the right thing came along I'd do it, that's kind of where.. that's my background in that way. You don't start out doing television and films, you start out doing plays and theatre and that stuff.

He sounds a bit like he misses the theatre days, but maybe I'm just reading into his tone. Also, late thirties, James, late thirties. Closer to forty. I can tease since I'll be (gulp) thirty next month. But he definitely doesn't look anywhere near fifty. On the other hand, he did go and play an ancient grumbly Merlin right after BSG, so if he only gets roles as old, bearded, grumbly men with Welsh accents, he only has himself to blame.

A fan begins by asking if he's comfortable standing up. "Are you gonna stand up..."
All the time? I might as well, you know, cos I've been sitting down on a flight, and sitting down in a car. And I suppose... this is the thing whereby one is peripatetic when one moves between the great seas, so... forever? I suppose ocassionally, I was thinking about sitting down on the chair here, but then half the people in the back would have to stand up. So it's absolutely fine. If it doesn't make you uncomfortable, I'm not uncomfortable.

Peripatetic. A person who walks around. I had to ask kixxa about the word. You know, it's nice and considerate of him to explain "risqué", but it's kind of telling that he doesn't even seem to notice all the other big words. I love how animated he is in this panel (and most panels I've seen). He's constantly moving, talking with his hands, walking around. He has all that energy. Is it the caffeine? Or just his natural thing? (I had written "hair" instead of "chair". And it took me three reads to catch that. Freudian slip?) Edit: and it's peripatetic with an i in the middle, thanks to kixxa for the correction. I'm apparently in the slow class this week. :D

The actual question is what parts of himself he brought to the character. (James' face: Hmm, I like this question.)

Everybody on the show brought large elements of themselves to the character. it's kind of... I don't kjnow... It's not a historical drama. You're not playing anybody who really lived, so you don't have to be real or true to anybody's image or idea in that way. Everything's up for grabs. And I think about.. you know, when you asked me that question, I think about everybody in the cast. What would Adama be like if Eddie hadn't done it? Or what would Roslin be like if Mary hadn't done it? Everybody brings HUGE amounts of themselves to the party. Um... I suppose I just came with, um... [laughter; a guy comes up and moves the chair James was just talking about closer to the table.]

I'm just trying to think of the words... I wasn't so concerned, you see, I'm not from America, I'm from England. I was doing, as far as I was concerned initially, a science fiction.. show. I was like, OK. By then everybody was going crazy: [crazy voice] "I'm doing science fiction!" [jumps around madly] Alright, calm down, it's just a TV show. So what I wanted to be was and the way I was, as well, is slightly... I dunno what the word is.. It's not necessarily unconcerned, but nonchalant. Nonchalant in a way that .. the rest of the ppl who were incolved with Galactica, it's about Galactica, in that fashion, I would say American fashion: Go, army! And there was, I suppose, myself with my own sense of humour that finds that slightly ridiculous. So that would come into the um... in the fray.

OMG, thank you for saying that. Because I found the army aspect very American also, watching the show. Sometimes it would annoy me, even the fan-favorite phrase "So say we all". It's this spirit... it's a bit hard to pinpoint, and of course it may be necessary at war, but there's something American about the spirit of fighting an enemy together and being so proud of your own nationality.

Also: I love how he spins his sleeve at the elbow while thinking of a response. It's like his hand is thinking with him. (L)!

If I had to do ... If I had any control at all about anything, one of the things I wanted to do was not come across as malicious, cos I was playing a monstrous character already. It would have been very... kind of? easy to not give out so much, be a bit colder and a bit... and that was something I desperately didn't want to do. So that it was surprising. It was surprising that Gaius should actually admire someone like Laura Roslin. I'm thinking of other conventional dramas, I'm trying to be out for her and get her! That's not really the way...

Another thing I loved about BSG. It's not about good guys vs. bad guys, and Gaius was never the typical bad guy who just wants to hurt others and destroy all the plans of the good guys. Gaius never wanted to hurt anyone, he just got caught up in it. The good side of his narcissism was that he was totally self-sufficient in some way; he was happy with the life he had, as long as he had women and money and fame.

I came across this idea that basically, if he was as brilliant as he was supposed to be as a scientist, then one of the things that he absolutely wouldn't do is play politics, you know. Politics for me on some level is a game of "how am I gonna screw you? But I've also got to look over my shoulder right now, keep all my bases covered." I was like, if you're extraordinarily brilliant, then you won't give a.. give a flying hell about that kind of stuff. I don't have to look over my shoulder, you know, I don't have to... Gaius of course is looking over his shoulder, but that was about his self-preservation, not about politics. So I tried to make him... very much like a square peg in a round hole. Everybody else on the ship would know what buttons to press and what to do, and they knew wehere they were going, I'm going to the bridge... [walks around a bit in determined steps] and Gaius would have no idea.

We actually filmed lots of stuff with Gaius getting lost. [laughter] With several directors and several episodes, and I just got back from the producers like, "It's not funny. So what, we've got.. whatever it was, we've got only so much like 42 minutes, we need to show the drama. It's not dramatic having you getting lost every week." It was one of my fine ideas, you know, just constantly getting... [looks around confused] getting lost and.. yes, I suppose as well, becasue I didn't take the genre very seriously before I came involved with it, I wanted to have a lugh. Let's do the thing that is possibly the most inappropriate thing to do, because that will get a reaction. So I remember there was one scene where Gaeta says something about, you know, billions of people have died, which is you know... what would you do? And it could be his fault. I remember making this face... [makes the face he made in the miniseries; shrugs shoulders and rolls eyes. It still looks hilarious. Laughter] I was like, who'd make a face like that? if you really were.. it was like.. don't do the thing that you would do.
I kinda would have liked to see the bits where he gets lost. It sounds pretty funny. And it would have been a nice parallel to those later scenes where he walks around the cylon baseship getting lost.

I just had to make a few screenshots of him doing that face, and it probably looks crappy next to René's beautiful pictures but here goes:

This is actually as well, now you're making me think... Not just something I brought to the party, but [my family knew somebody] in London who I really respect. He's a brilliant writer, and he's a really briliant doctor. And he happens to be the worst liar I've ever met. So he's really brilliant but he's utterly transparent, and I really wanted to make Gaius a bad liar, so it's like "I'm sure this guy's lying to me", but there's nothing that they can do or say. You think, "If that guy were straight, would he really give me an answer like that?" And that's something I wantd to bring to the party, that he was a really bad liar. And I think he was, I look back at certain things and I'm like, "Oh *I* don't believe me, so how do they believe me?" Part of the fun...

I suppose as well to have as much fun as was humanly possible and as I could. You know, when Americans play the president, there's a big deal there, like they're taking on the mantle of something terribly important and very serious. It goes thru their history and the constitution, it's not to be taken lightly. When I played the president, I just drank a lot, slept with prostitutes and took drugs. [laughter] And it was like, "How could you do that, you're the president?" Yeah, you know... ok..[shrugs] So I suppose I took everything with a pinch of salt, which was quite helpful. Does that answer the qestion? I bet it's answered not just that question but loads of other questions as well.

Finland has a president, but s/he (right now it's a she) doesn't really have a lot of power. So maybe the idea of American presidents - which is like a personal cult more than just reverence - seems a little different from a Finnish perspective as well. The real power lies with the government and that's the whole "corrupt politicians" thing. It's interesting that while the Americans may think of politicians like James does - i.e. that it's a bit of an ugly, dishonest game - a lot of them think very highly of the president and his integrity. But come on, if Gaius Baltar were a president, wouldn't he do just that? Would his moral fiber suddenly add up 100 % and make him straight-backed and non-narcissistic? It's amusing really that they'd say that.

The lying aspect is really amusing and one of the things I enjoy the most in the earlier seasons. Why would anyone believe him? I guess he can, to some extent, fool the military types with his science babble and obviously invented words thrown in there, but still. His expressions give him away.

The next question is, what was Gaius' goal or aim? Did he have a long-term plan? (James' face: hmmm, I don't really know how to answer this question)

I really don't know. It's a good question, but I think in that way.. He never had a long term plan, he couldn't. His whole thing was like, how am I surviving from one second to the next? There was never anything that he could really put into action, some plan, a long way down the line. He was just flying by the seat of his pants every minute of every day, and I... I don't know wha the wanted.. I suppose... like anybody living in some kind of dreadful nightmare, what you want is on some level is to go to sleep, and then when you wake up, it will all be... like you will be back in Caprica and the bombs haven't started and you're not part of it. You want the impossible, and therefore you clog your mind and your life with everything you an do to.. it's about, on some level , it's about living in the now, living right now. Then you're less afraid about other stuff and your demons that are chasing you constantly.

I like this answer. I think he doesn't have any real answer to the question, but he still manages to make it pretty deep.

A question about Taking a Break From All Your Worries, and how that episode was shot. This is awesome.

("Must be clean-shaven, you'll look a lot nicer!")

Yeah, it was an amazing episode to do. It was amazing also because Eddie was directing it. What happened then? I think we filmed it after the summer hiatus, so we'd had four weeks away and... I'd come back with a thick beard that I wanted cos I was like... We weren't the first to the idea of you know... lifting things iconically from the headlines, and I was like you know, several people are like, what about Saddam Hussein when he got caught in his... I dunno what they call it, in his fox hole, or rat hole. So I was like, yeah, let's be looking a bit like this. And several people were like this, "No no no, mustn't mustn't! Must be clean shaven, must be! You look a lot nicer!" it's not about looking a lot nicer the guy's a war criminmal and.. so we really went there.

And I think we really, as well, we went to this place, this really dark place, in a big scene that they had written, where I'm confronted by Laura Roslin and she basically, in the script, BREAKS me! BREAKS ME! And I was like, excuse my French, fuck off! No, she's not going to break me. I've been thru hell and high water, I've tried to hang myself. I've tried to do so many... This woman screaming at me means nothing, so you try and break me. And then suddenly everybody's, "No! That's what it says in the script! We have to do what it says in the script!" I'm like, "No, I don't have to do whatever I don't want to do. I don't!" Mary was getting very irate, going over to Eddie going, [in American accent; the first part is a bit mumbled] "? ? it says in the script he falls down in the corridor and breaks down, he cries." I'm like, "Well, you do something then that's really gonna make me do that." And then Eddie was saying to me, [ev] "It's written this way, give us something, you've gotta break..." [/ev] So I said, Eddie, you're a man, aren't you? And I'm a man too. So if somebody comes up to you and they're giving you all this crap, what are you gonna do? Listen, I'll do it if you do it first. You break down like a little girl right now and like slide against the corridor. Let me see you go that way. let's see it.

("She just BREAKS me!")

He went, "OK. Give her hell!" [laughter] Which I'm not sure he told Mary. And we went for each other in this room, cos essentially what she wanted was... That's all that thing about throwing those photographs at me, have you seen this one, have you... What she was in, that... as it were, like a train on a track, she's following the lines of the script: the more I carry on this line, this guy will break down against the corridor and simper like a little girl. And what she got me was going utterly crazy back at her, to the extent of.. it was...possibly the closest thing to like a real row. And watching back that scene is an entry?. I can't hear what she's saying I can hear what I'm saying. And that's very interesting; it doesn't really matter. It's about the raw emotions kicking up. I'm not giving her the satisfaction, which is what she wants.. Just because it's written that way doesn't mean that it's gonna play out that way. I imagine in a lot of other shows, in a lot of other circumstances, that's possibly when I'd have got my marching orders. "You don't wanna say what we've written for you? Guess what? Meet hte airlock, James!" [laughter] "That's it, bye!" But we all had a lot of lee.. everybody wanted the best from one another. And... yes, I felt very much like, I suppose, that was one of my big episodes, big chances to really show...

I didn't want to cry like a girl in front of her, because she didn't actually get it out of me. I was like, you know something, this guy cries for himself because of what he's been involved with. It actually cheapens him in a big way, you're not going to get the sympathy for this man if he cries like a girl in the corridor. No. He actually has to shout and scream back at her and try to punch her face off. Then you might actually have some respect for him. Um.. And so ... That was actually the spring board for the whole of the episode.

He sounds very passionate when he talks about this. I love when he talks about his vision, his idea of how Baltar would react. He really thinks of these things deeply, and I'm always grateful and happy hearing about his influence. I'm trying to imagine the scene with him crying, and I think I would have felt the compassion anyway. It would still have been powerful. However, given his growth, the baseship, the suicide attempt... I think he's right: Baltar's already been broken, he needs to get stronger now and hold his own. Awesome.

The beard: honestly, I hate it. It ages him and makes him look not like himself. BUT I must grudgingly admit it fits that phase in Baltar's development. I'm glad it was only a couple of episodes, is all I can say.

Yes, Eddie wantd me to be in the shark tank at the Vancouver Aquarium. He was convinced, convinced, that he'd make one phone call and we'd be in. He was like, [ev] "Are you good with sharks? You don't have to worry bc I will be in th shark tank with you." [/ev] [he pretends to look at someone all weirded out. Guh so cute.] What are you talking about, Eddie? I'd actually just been to the Vancouver Aquarium, because like I said, we've got children and we take them there. You can't sneeze over the shark tank. If you do, you're like lifted out of there... "You're contaminating the sharks!" You can't put your hands over the barrier of the shark tank.

There was one lady who dropped, I think, a pair of glasses in like the dolphin pool. She was arrested. It was a mistake, but she was arrested! And the dolphins were siphoned out into another pool while their whole thing is totally turned over with.. whatever it is, chlorine or whatever.. and then they're allowed back in, because even like one pair of glasses [shows his own for emphasis] could contaminate the water. I told Eddie that. I said, that's one pair of glasses, Eddie. And now it's you and me and the film crew in the shark tank.[laughter] Are you nuts? It's never gonna happen! Actually I should have put a bet on it, because I would have won. It didn't happen.

What we then did was, he went like, "OK, what about snakes?" OK, snakes, [go and get a snake]. Surprisingly, or as if not surprisingly, we couldn't get any snakes. Nobody who was a snake wrangler actually wanted to use their snakes in this. So I don't know if you've seen this, but it was not a real snake in the tank. I don't.. It was so dark that you may not even have seen that that was what was going on, but it was really, I think, you know, am dram, amateur dramatic. It was like a few coat hangers stuck together with cellotape and like a woolly sock stcuk over them. And like this man in the tank very near me going, "oooo..." [laughter] Eddie went, "You're terrified, you're terrified! Scream!!" I'm like oh.. god...[amused voice] boohoo help me help me! So and.. I suppose that was.. That was a difficult day flming in the tank. That was finished when we didn't do the sharks and had this fake snake.. fake snake [smiles].
Edit: "siphoned" edited in thanks to kixxa, see comments below. :D An interesting word choice - I thought it meant fabric?

I love how much he enjoys word play. He has to stop and repeat "fake snake". Maybe he loves words, like me. These are the little things that make me love him more.

It's hilarious about the snake, and I don't think I actually saw it in the darkness. It's weird that the darkest, most depressing episode would be so comical to shoot. Maybe he also likes to talk about the comical aspects to keep the darkness and the memory of it all somewhat out of his mind.

I guess I could see how a pair of glasses would contaminate the tank, because glasses must have germs from behind your ears, as well as from your temples (sweat and all that). But arresting someone for that? What's the charge? Attempted murder of dolphins?

And the episode finished off with me being stabbed thru the neck by Alessandro. Where those really simple things... An interesting thing, they planned it, they said, "the plan is.." you know I had to write something for Alessandro, something about.. some algorithms.
Wasn't it his - or the cylons' - calculations of how they'd get to Earth? It didn't seem to matter very much in the end, did it?

I really love how he goes over the whole episode. It seems to have been a particularly meaningful one for him (and for good reason).

And they said, "Listen, the whole scene has to be on the floor. You have to be on the floor doing this." And uh.. This is an interesting thing about my acting or performing. If you get on the floor like this [gets on the floor] and having a conversation isn't civil. There's nothing civil about it. I look like some kind of cave man with drawings. What's really fascinating is if you're in a prison and it's like, I dunno, several prisoners spring to mind that are on the news all the time, at some high security thing.. that people still have the air of civility like they're in the outside world. You have a table and chairs. But it's all wrong. It's like at any moment, gods can come in and take the chair away, and you're back in your cell. I was like, if I'm going to give something to this guy, then there has to be some form of creature... I have to believe in my mind that there's some air of civility about it. If you want me to draw a map on the wall and you're not gonna see the connection.

A simple thing like that took something like an hour and a half or two housr discussion. [ev] "It has to be on the floor" [/ev] "I can't do it ont he floor. [ev] "No, it has to be on the floor" [/ev] "I can't do it on the floor." Little things like that and then you see the scene back, it's like.. I'm really glad we stuck up the table and chair.. the simplest thing like table and chairs can change practically everything.

So... It was a great episode to be directed by him cos he can really go to those places and he really.. We followed him to god only knows where, Eddie. Cos he really is quite amazing and a very powerful man. When he has an idea, when he wants us to do something, also he has this beautiful, artistic view, his mis-en-scene, the way he creates things. And he's very friendly and he's been schooled on some level by this guy called Bob Young, who's one of the first documentary makers. And this is a phrase I had never heard before Battlestar, but they were constantly talking about the psychological truth. The psychological truth of the matter. I know you've written this, but what's the psychological truth? Where's this one coming from, where's that one coming from? And that word was nearly always bounced around in any.. nearly heated arguments. And it would always be the decider, wherever the psychological truth landed is actually what we would film or what we'd gravitate towards.

That's very interesting. I think it's a way of making a show that is truly character-based, and this is one of the strengths of BSG. You can tell they really thought about these things before shooting them, and the actors were on board with giving the characters realistic and relatable emotions.

I suppose like anybody in that show, what you're trying to do... Cos you're trying to make it look as real as possible and not like acting. Being tortured like that was .. that was horrible for everybody. There are some of the scenes you love to do, you could do them again and again and again and again. Some witty line you have to say, something funny.. some clever thing you're doing with a prop and whatever... These are things that you just like, you know you're gonna do them again and again so they get the shot on me, the shot on Mary and Eddie and the ? and everything.. and it's like pulling teeth. It's a real... you're obviously not being tortured but you're going thru something that's like.. you're waiting for a bell to go on and them to say "stop" and that's the same for like.. everybody involved.
It's torture to watch it, too. I love those episodes in one way. They show James' range so well, and they're so ... realistic on some level. Yet I can barely watch them again, because I can't stand to see him in pain. It really becomes tangible and becomes my pain, and that's when I have to just turn it off. Torture can very easily be comical if the actors and directors don't know what they're doing. If the emotion is too overdone, the music is too loud and booming, the moral dilemmas are presented too obviously, it's just a disaster. I think this is something that only the most intelligent shows should attempt, in that way. BSG did it well and that's one of the great things about the show, even if I hate watching those episodes.

It's funny that he says "you're waiting for a bell to go on", because while he's saying this, there are church bells in the background. Maybe the same ones he heard on his way there?

[The next question is quite long. During it, James sits down, takes a sip of water and takes off his coat. Mm chest hair... He rolls up his sleeves as the fan explains that he was unsure at first about the new BSG bc he loves the old one, but he's grown to love it. James looks happy about the reaction.]

The questions are if James has seen the old show and if he tried to be like John Colicos while playing Baltar; and how he felt about playing the scenes on New Caprica in the beginning of season one.

(Adorable boyish smile, after the first sentence below..)

I'll answer the first bit first, if I remember it. [laughter] Of course I've seen John Colicos, he's like an icon, legendary. Who's going tgo forget John Colicos, if you've seen the original? What a mean.. like.. what a bad guy! And I always joke that there was practically no incentive for his character to want to sell out the human race. I used to joke that he'd ben offered a bathrobe by the cylons, some monogrammed bathrobe that said "Baltar", [laughter] He's like [silly voice] "OK, I sell out [?] but I do get this bathrobe, it's pretty nice."

So from the very onset I didn't want to be on Battlestar Galactica, I was surprised that I was given the scirpt. My first time in Los Angeles, I was like, "I don't want to do this! Why would I want to do this.. and it's for the part of Baltar? Why would I want to do that? That's revolting, this revolting man!" So I just wanted to be as different as I possibly could from... him. I was lucky cos the writers had written Number Six, and therefore they'd given Baltar some motivation in our show for why he'd sold the defense codes or.. what he'd done. Which is not there in the original.
I must say I don't think much of the original, based on what I've heard. Especially Baltar, I mean why would you just have a bad guy be plain bad and just sell out everyone for no reason? It's his world being destroyed too, isn't it? But I haven't seen it, so as usual, I'll try to be civil about the original. It did inspire the new show, and James sounds genuinely impressed with John Colicos' acting. And as always, I must mention how similar a name James Callis is to John Colicos. I also think it's amusing that Jon Cryer auditioned for Baltar. Is there some rule about initials JC?

And I also started off on the first day with an American accent. I decided it would be a bit more like everyone else in the show...
[in an American accent] Why should I be the only guy on the show who had an English accent? I started like this on the chair and I was doing that interview and I was like, "Thank you Kellen...Well you know, the thing..." The director Michael Rymer ran out, "What the hell are you doing?" I said, "Well, I've you know, it's months since the autidions, I've decided that I'm gonna be like everyone else." "Yeah well, decide again, you're not! We can't have that, can't have that at all!" I'm like, "It's gonna stick out like a sore thumb if I'm the only English guy." He went, "No no no, that's why we cast YOU. We want you to do what you were doing, that's why you got the part. And you won't have the part if you put on an American voice. I don't want your character to do any posturing, I don't want it to look like you're acting. I want it to be the most natural thing for you."

Because he knew even then, "The audience are going to see Galactica thru your eyes. You're like the touchstone. And if you're not on.. if you're too... much like something or like a stereotype, then suddenly you've become not real or natural and can't... we've lost all sympathy for you totally. I think it was a good decision.

Hee! His American accent isn't bad, but it always sounds like he's putting it on, and that would have destroyed Baltar a little, I think. Besides, his British accent is very sexy. ;) I do think they explained it well in the later seasons: he's from Aerilon and his accent is an imitation of a Caprican accent, not a real Caprican accent. It makes perfect sense to me now.

So that's the one-hour spot. He continues with the second question, which is very important stuff, but I'll divide the posts here. I'm actually almost done with the third post as well, so expect it soon.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

James Callis at the Spike TV Scream Awards

I was really confused there for a moment, as I just posted the awards will be held on the 27th of this month. Turns out they will be AIRED then and actually took place yesterday. BSG was up for some awards, and apparently also received something. There was a mini-cast reunion with James, Tricia, Katee, Eddie, Jamie, Grace, Tahmoh, Michael Trucco, Kate Vernon and Nicki Clyne. David Eick was also present. It sounds and looks pretty awesome.

Pictures here and here. James looks very happy to see the castmates again, and he's adorably tiny and dapper in his suit (L) - but he's cut his hair really short, so I'll only give it a mini-squee. I must admit I'm a bit sad. He still looks gorgeous, but I miss the luscious mane. Of course, this is intriguing in terms of possible roles - maybe he's preparing to play Tom again on Bridget Jones? Or maybe he had a role stateside that demanded short hair? Or maybe he's just sick of the shampooing and finding stray hairs everywhere?

Edits: More pictures here - again, James looks tiny next to Tahmoh. So endearing! (L) He's very handsome. I love the tie - is it grey or pinkish? I guess that's just the light. And there's that particular smile - I can't put my finger on it, it's just very James. Something about his lips. Beautiful pictures. And even with a short going up that high, his chest hair tries to come out and steal the show! Gotta love that. :D

A recap and a lovely picture of James here. Apparently EJO had the crowd chant "So say we all!" No surprises there. James' hair looks about the same as it did in MegaCon. Hmm. I'm trying to figure out if that makes him look like another type of dachshund, but maybe I'll leave that analogy for now. :D

There's a thumbnail here with James next to Tahmoh. He looks so tiny :D (L)!!

And here next to Katee. (Ears! (L))

“BSG,” honored for its high quality contribution to the sci-fi soap genre received a special “Final Farewell.” Actors James Callis, Katee Sackhoff, Tricia Helfer, Edward James Olmos, Tamoh Penikett, Kate Vernon, and Grace Park were on hand to thank fans for obsessing over the critically acclaimed show. The celebration did not last long.

"Sci-fi soap"? BSG is "soap"? I'm not sure if I agree with that assessment. The whole tone of the article is a bit odd - "thank fans for obsessing over" the show? - but whatever. I'm trying to read James' expression. He looks like he's trying to smile but not all that happy. Maybe the award show was a bit lame and he was just trying to play along?

Somehow I feel happy and proud seeing James in a fancy suit like that. Our stylish man. (L)!

I'll add to this post when/if I find more stuff.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Random Googlebits, Part Huit

I wasn't planning to do this many of these, so maybe I should ask - should I use English numbers instead of French, in case some people don't know French? :P

I tried, but I couldn't find any new exciting quotes from James. It's going to be very photo heavy this time. So get your drool bibs ready and prepare for some cute!

A tiny news bit: James will be at the Scream Awards on the 27th of this month, where they're having a cast reunion. The Awards will apparently be held in New York. Hopefully some more lickable pictures for us then!


Conflicting reports about James sightings. From Facebook:

13 tuntia sitten - I live near Hollywood, but I don't know anyone who works on the show. My friend was behind James Callis (Baltar) at Ralph's food store the other day... :-)
So he's in LA?

From Twitter:

gingersnaprobin: ok. we just passed gaius baltar in a cab on 18th st. today is a special day.
3 days ago
This person is in Boston. So - he's in Boston? He can't be in both places at once, can he? It's not that I'm planning on stalking him or anything *whistles innocently* Maybe that really wasn't James in Boston... or that wasn't James in LA... or he's duplicating and everywhere at once and an angel, in which case send a clone my way, God!

But the obvious question is: what foods/drinks did he buy?! People, remember to mention essential details!

Another Tricia Helfer/Katee Sackhoff interview video. Nothing much James-wise, but Katee does mention that James liked to goof off by wearing Tricia's wig around the set. Hee! :D Judging by the last days pictures, he also liked to go around wearing Mary's wig. Not enough hair on your own head, James? ;)

Photos (mostly from cons)

New York Comic Con 2007, with Tricia: gorgeous smile - slightly blurry but so cute - kind of chubby actually. Slurp!! There are many pictures in that last link, which is from the Livejournal James Callis community. Which seems to be kind of dead. Um, anyone have plans of re-livening it up? I could join but since nothing seems to happen around there...

James and Tricia at the 2006 BSG Burbank con - some great photos in the set here. They both have such hilarious expressions, most notably in this one and this one. :D!

I love the fan pictures from MegaCon, this one included. James looks so relaxed in them. Sitting down with the fans works well for a photo like this - maybe even better than the usual standing-up photo ops. It's more relaxed that way.

A hot picture from the San Diego Comic Con.

A fun one from last year's Dragon*Con. We've got beer, balloons and Edward James Olmos - party on, James!

Comic Con party last year: OK, I know I said I don't like the hair like this, but how can you not enjoy the look on his face here? AND here? What's amusing and endearing is how much his ears stick out when he has short hair. You don't even notice them when his hair is long. Heh heh.

And from Dragon*Con signings: James looking rather bewildered by something, but what? There's some fruit juice on the table, which is a novel element and must be studied in more detail. The suspenders remind me so much of my grandpa that I still can't decide if I like them.

Still more from Dragon*Con: blue shirt and a girl by his side. And his hair is looking pretty bouncy, if controlled for the moment.

A young James models a shirt: see the photos here. It looks... weird, to be honest. I guess it's the short hair, or the youth, or whatever, but I just don't consider this my James. My James begins in 2003, when he first played Gaius Baltar. Yet he looks gorgeous, so I'm torn.

James and Ron D. Moore discussing something in Daybreak. James looks a bit like he's saying, "I hear you, Ron, but I'm not gonna play it that way." I always wish I could hear what's being said in pictures like this.

Sweaty armpits '06. Awww!

Aaron and Tahmoh have a staredown or some other such pissing contest, and James is laughing it up, here. And here.

BSG Stuff

From a Nicki Clyne/Leah Cairns panel:

The shooting starts and Olmos is away on the phone. But the director does not notice, since only Michelle is being filmed. When the time for Olmos comes to deliver his lines, James Callis does the most perfect Adama-impersonation one could imagine. After a while cast and crew burst into laughter and an angry director demands to know what the frak is wrong with those people. Suddenly he realizes that one of his main actors isn't even on set.

"Who's your favourite actor on 'Battlestar Galactica'?" Nicki and Leah counted down from three to one and answered simultaneously: "James Callis".

While I'm a bit disappointed they didn't mention him when asked who's the cutest guy on the show - I think a mention like this is something to be proud of. I might have mentioned the James as Adama story before. How could they confuse the two? James is so much smaller! :D

For the LJ-users: some beautiful Gaius icons here at nicole_anell's LJ.

In case I haven't linked to this already, check out this epic finale picspam with hilarious commentary.

Gaius Baltar? Abandoning selfishness? Sacrificing his life for the sake of humanity? Wearing a MILITARY UNIFORM? It can only mean one thing: Puberty.

Heee! :D

A thread about James, "Because his hair should be in a L'Oriel advert". Well, I have two things to say to that:
1. Definitely something I've discussed with other fans;
2. It's spelled L'Oreal.
I'm not sure what this forum is and who these people are, but it would seem that they haven't seen season four yet. So perhaps a European forum? Not all that much conversation so far, but some lovely pix on this page.

Conversation about Baltar supposedly dropping the F bomb when he yells at his Dad. He said frak, I think. It's an accent thing. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's what I hear.

Observations from searching for James stuff:
-Jesus, "James Callis would" really brings up a lot of Dr Who speculations!

-A lot of James bios still say he has a son, Josh. What about his son Sacha and daughter Anika? I can see why a five-month-old wouldn't have made it, but Sacha is what, four years old now? Those bios sure don't update too often.

-"I love James Callis": 140 hits. (Only two of those are me, I think.)
"I hate James Callis": No hits.

That says something, right?