Wednesday, January 13, 2010

James Callis at FedCon 2009: The Panel, Part 1

Screenshots by me, from the DVD.

First of all, huge thanks to Artemis_Neith for a) suggesting that she get me the FedCon DVD, b) getting me the FedCon DVD as soon as it came out. Also huge thanks to those responsible for putting together this release. I have to advertise it a little before I go any further.

If you want to see this on a DVD, do order it. It's great. It has the panels of James, Richard Hatch, Edward James Olmos, Michael Hogan, and Mark Sheppard. James had to leave early because of Rubins, so he was not able to give more than one panel. But it's a great panel, a full hour, and lots of good questions/answers.

I watched this together with Elina, which was quite amusing. She made some remarks, which I think I'll actually sprinkle around this transcript to add another voice into it. I wasn't able to answer some of her difficult questions - "What does FedCon stand for?" was one. But she made my day noticing that, even though James is quite thin here, there's still a small round belly on him. (I won't go on about that, but it's adorable, it is.) She made my day even more by suggesting that he may have worn the tight teen-style shirt just so I could see the belly. Hee! Granted, it's far more likely that, like Elina also suggested, "he's having some sort of age crisis." But a girl can dream, right?

We all know James has a pretty severe dash problem with his writing. But there's also a verbal addiction he has: levels. I took the liberty of counting how many times he talks about various "levels" throughout this panel and the results are below. It's not pretty, my friends.

On some level: 17 (!!!)

On a basic level: 2
On a very basic level: 1
On another level: 1

As usual, lots of cute gestures and moving around amusingly. I wasn't sure what to make of this:

Itchy or flirty?

OK, let's get to the panel. He comes in, and I give the presenter props for referring to James as "some of the nicest people" and minus for saying Baltar is one of the nastiest characters.

Well, here I am. I was just saying yesterday when I came out on stage.. I didn't even see the balcony. I was just like this (peers with his hand) Christ, there's so many people. Then I looked up and thought oh my god, there's more people. (peers) There's certainly a lot of you here. Well, this is my first time in Bonn. I've been to Germany several times before, but not for a convention. I'm obviously not so jetlagged, I think it's an hour difference from London. And I actually start work on a film [Re-Uniting the Rubins] tomorrow morning at seven o'clock in London, so I'm afraid that after this.. session I've gotta dash. Get to work. Let's get my jacket off, excuse me. [He takes his jacket off, the audience woos] Who knew?
Hee, he said "dash"! :D Our dashing man with the dashes. Actually, I just realized I never use enough dashes in my transcripts. Surely in his head "let's get my jacket off, excuse me" is "let's get - my jacket off - excuse - me". But in the name of legibility, let's just write like ordinary people. We can't all have the James brain.

So, I think it's best if you guys wanna ask me some questions. And I'll try my best to answer them. Or just lie very effectively. Okay? I believe you guys know the score and you came down and you're hit by a spotlight.. hopefully it's only a spotlight.
I don't wanna bash anyone from BSG, but... OK, I'll admit it: I do want to bash Richard Hatch a little bit, because he's also on this DVD and he started his panel with a five-minute monologue. You know, people have come to ask you questions, so let them ask questions. I think James has the right idea here: just open the floor to the fans after establishing a conversational tone.

The first question begins with a wish that he doesn't take up half the panel to answer, because Edward James Olmos took half the panel answering this guy's question. (Oh dear, Eddie. I know he took half another panel answering some fan's question and others yelled at her for it. It can't be the same person because this fan is male. I don't want to bash Eddie, actually, because he seemed really cool and thoughtful in his panel. But still.)

Fair enough, but I think the shorter the question is, the better. And starting by "please don't be too wordy" may not be the best way. It's not directly offensive or anything though, and James doesn't seem bugged.

So the question: Does he have any idea what happened to the cult after the finale?

James: It's a very good question..

Fan: And my second question...

James: Oh that was only the first part? My god!

Fan: The other question is very short.

James: Oh, OK.
Hee! :D "My god!" could be a bit offensive if said in the wrong tone, but James just sounds amused and like he's gently ribbing the guy. (L)!

The second question is... something about Bridget Jones and all the flight attendants recognizing him from it.
OK, very quickly then. I have no idea what happened to the cult afterwards. There's some email that goes around: people are in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. It would seem that the cult was in Gaius' life for a season and a reason, but not a lifetime. And I dunno where they went, they obviously felt the love between themselves. Maybe NBC Universal will make a spinoff series "Baltar's Lovecult". [laughter]

Fan: I'd love to see you there.

James: Me too, me too.

Fan [something about Paulla]

James: Indeed. And Jeanne. And all my holy ladies. So that was that. There was nothing in the script about their demise, they left, that was gone...

Why do all flight attendants recognize me from Bridget Jones' Diary? I'm sure there'll be some who are, obviously, like "Hey, I have no idea who that guy is, I dunno what they're talking about." My experience is that.. it would seme that ... being a flight attendant, perhaps you have to learn first aid and you must have watched BJD. That's the comparison.. That's certainly my feeling. How was it filming that film? First one was a lot of fun, a lot of people, including me, had a very difficult time keeping a straight face. Because I personally found Renee Zellweger terribly funny. And... yeah, cracked me up. I worked with Sally Phillips and Shirley Henderson. We were like a little threesome and we had a lot of fun.

We've heard him quote Shakespeare and many other well-known classics, but I'm glad to see he's not a big snob, since he can even quote a chain email. And it seems like he hasn't really thought of the cult at all after the finale. I'd love to see Baltar's Lovecult though, of course. I like that there was some closure to Gaius-the-prophet, but I didn't really care about any of the cult members, because they weren't really developed as characters. As always, I wish the cult had been expanded on more. And that the membership had been open for fans. Well, James did invite me to join his cult, so I'm happy. I'd rather belong to his cult than Gaius'.

I wonder what Renee Zellweger thought of James. I've never seen her refer to him, maybe I should use my superior googling skills to find something. He's always spoken highly of her, so she must have made quite an impression.

Also note that he can't even joke about all the flight attendants knowing him without adding that some probably, in fact, do not know him. Our humble guy.

Next question. The other characters have inspired various military people, but does Baltar inspire anyone? What kind of people might he inspire? James looks very amused at the idea. Or, what does he want the viewers to take with them?

It's another good question. The kind of people Baltar is inspiring. Maybe we don't really want to know who they are [laughter] or what he's exactly inspiring them to do. I don't know, uh.. start up their own religions or..? There's certainly several people on this planet who've done that already.

What does he give to an audience? On a basic level, I don't know. But I know what, as it were, I was trying to do. And on some level I was like, this guy is a real.. he's so morally bankrupt, he's made so many mistakes, he's actually in so much spiritual...distress. Sad, and lonely and guilty and ashamed. And... on a basic level when this goes out in America, what is he? He's a [American accent] scum-sucking sleazeball, essentially. The idea I had was.. if this.. scum-sucking sleazeball can occasionally do the right thing, then so can you. Everybody. Nobody ? too bad. That's my answer.
What is a scum-sucking sleazeball? Do I even want to know? I actually happened upon a conversation about the phrase sleazebag and apparently it has to do with feminine hygiene. I never knew that. The conversation was about whether that was a sexist thing to say, and there were people for and against the idea, as always. It was very confusing to a Finn. I've used to using "sleazebag" as just a synonym for "asshole" or something. Maybe asshole is actually safer, since we all have one. No sexism there.

It's funny because in some way, I do identify with Baltar, although I don't think we have a lot in common. Well, we're both short, and we wear glasses, but I'd almost say it ends there. He doesn't inspire me.

Although I may have said it before, James frequently does inspires me to be a better person. I keep asking myself "What would James Callis do?" (And, since I don't know him all that well, I can always fall back on "He'd eat some junk food" and indulge.)

Some of the other cast members had been to a previous FedCon and asked who on the show they'd like to play. They'd all said Baltar. Who else would James like to play?

Well, I joked in a former podcast that I'd like to play Six... So that I could then play WITH myself, that'd be fantastic. [laughter] The only thing better than being me would be acting... That's a joke. Um.. yeah, I really.. the part was amazing. It really was the most incredible part. Cos he was, on some level, so many different things to so many people, and also to himself. And this allowed me and the writers and the directors.. I think uh.. an extraordinary liberty. He was never just one kind of guy or one kind of Gaius. There's lots of different.. personalities vying for superiority within his own mind. Like on a very basic level he could be funny, and he could be sad, or he could be perverse or he could be honest. He could be totally like.. he goes over his head or doesn't care. And then he can be very compassionate. He could run thru the litmus of emotions and that was a real gift to be able to do.
It's very true about Gaius, and it's a beautiful thing to say and in case you missed it, he did not answer the question at all. I work at a phone survey job and this reminded me of that. You'll ask someone a question and they answer with something only slightly related that gives you nothing to work with. Like "how often do you visit this particular supermarket?" and the answer is, "You know, I just went there today, and then I realized on the way home I forgot to buy soap, so I had to go right back! Isn't that funny." It isn't really, and it has nothing to do with what I asked, but thanks for telling me.

Now I digressed worse than James, but my point is that he's never answered this question seriously. That might mean he can't imagine playing anyone else on the show, because he identifies so much with Baltar. Or that he doesn't think as much of the other characters on the show (at least the male characters whom he could conceivably play). Also, he still always seems amused at the guy-Gaius pun.

Also observe his facial expressions when he describes Gaius' many emotions:




Doesn't care.


It's like he goes through those emotions while answering the question. Beautiful.

The next fan is kind of apologetic about their question, but it's amusing, so here's a partial transcript of that.

Fan: I have a question but I have to be very diplomatic, because if I word it wrong, the crowd here might just lynch me. Um, Tricia Helfer is a beautiful, tall woman.

James: ...Yes.

Fan: And you're not.

James: [amused] No. [laughter] And I see you're all wearing glasses. Congratulations.

[So the question is if they meant to cast such height-wise unmatched actors or just went with what they had.]

James: Do you know, it's a good question.

Fan: [anxiously] Please don't hate me!

James: [shakes his head as if to reassure her: no, I don't hate you]
We were cast together, in fact. They weren't looking for A Baltar or A Six, they were looking for Baltar AND Six. I think that we uh.. and they saw something that I suppose we didn't see at the time. We complement each other, there's a natural chemistry. Also on this level, she's supposed to be a killer robot. So the joke in the relationship was that this very feminine creature had some very masculine attributes. And myself, as supposedly the male in the scenario had some very feminine attributes. There was always twisting on this dime?.

Normally it's the big burly guy who saves the damsel in distress. This was always the other way around. It was the strong cylon saving a waiflike Gaius. And obviously, Tricia's not that tall, we had to stand her on a table so she'd look so much taller than me. [makes a hilarious self-effacing face] Thanks very much.
He doesn't look at all offended by the question. I'm not offended by it, as a fan, although I must say it sounds more offensive with the apologizing, as if his shortness is a terrible flaw that must be approached carefully. Most of the fans find it endearing. It's amusing, because the fan is so anxious about her question and seems to worry that James will be mad or something. James looks very kind listening to her. (L)!

I kinda admire that James was willing to play such an unmasculine role. I won't pretend to understand the male ego and how it all works, but it seems like playing a role where you have to be weak in front of women is a problem to some guys. James is probably pretty comfortable with his feminine side if he can play such a part. I also love that he calls Gaius "waiflike". I had to check if I had the right idea of waif - I was thinking "child" or possibly "fairy". It seems to be an orphaned or abandoned child. Awww, pirpana! (<-old Finnish word for small child)

It's invisible to the camera, but I know this because the con reports had it: someone from the other side of the room has a question, and they have to rush the microphone there. James: "Run. Forrest." Hee! I hated Forrest Gump, which I always feel the need to mention. But it's a really cute reference. A pretty old reference, really - he has this fast wit that works in situations like that.

He gave Lucy "the full monty" - hee! - and does he do this often or..?

Oh dear. At home, more times than you'd care to know.

On set, we were actually we were joking, because we'd been talking about watching King Kong and how incredible the actors' performances are, given that obviously they weren't acting with a real King Kong. And Lucy was joking about essentially it's most o fthe time when you're doing a green screen or graphics, there is like a microphone stand with a tennis ball on the top of it with a cross of it for your eyeline. I thought that they'd do that, that's what we're gonna do.

But when I came out naked in that scene, Lucy almost fell over. I said you can either look at me, or you can look at a microphone with a tennis ball on the end. Which would be better? One of the curious moments that Lucy was speechless. The joke about that is that.. yeah, it's a very liberating thing getting naked in front of a lot of people who aren't. And all I remember is the sound guy who was so terrified that he might see me and then ruin the rest of his life [laughter], he actually walked head first to a wall cos he was holding the boom, kind of [stands up and shows] whack! Into a wall. That was kind of amusing."

I remember people being really confused about this microphone/tennis ball reference. It makes sense in context - James is probably quoting Lucy with "I thought that's what we're gonna do". Lucy came into the room expecting a microphone with a tennis ball on it, and instead she saw a completely naked and well-endowed James Callis, and that was enough to throw even Lucy Lawless off balance. Hee!

Yes, I did get smutty thoughts from "at home...", but let's not go there. I wonder if Elina and I discussed that - I can't remember anymore. We talk smutty so much that it all blends in together.

Pretending to be the boom guy. I know the second picture has motion-blur but I had to add it because it's so full of James-like boyish energy. "Whee!!"

Did he ever want to play Baltar differently than what was scripted? James looks like he has to think hard about this question. [Um, Baltar signing the death warrant?? I can't believe he doesn't even mention it here.]

Umm.. no, not particularly. But I always um.. I think that the whole show, Battlestar, really did something to the genre of science fiction. And one of the.. if it's fair to say, we tried to make everyone as three-dimensional as possible. So occasionally I would feel that I was.. some of the scenarios or some of the things I was placed in.. were tending to lose me a dimension. And I wasn't prepared ... I wasn't prepared to live it out that way.

We all... Essentially I don't believe any one of us was acting when we were on the show. We were all living through those characters. Anything that didn't quite come up to your expectation had to change slightly so it could be accommodated. I never did anything differently from the way it was scripted necessarily... but I suppose.. like if there was one scene where it's just like he's supposed to be a bit mean and he doesn't care, I'd know myself that there'd be something, even if it was a look in the eye, where I'd have to show that he doesn't know. Bring in some other human equation. If that answers your question.
But why doesn't he bring up the times he fought against the writers? The gun to his head while signing the death warrant? I'm sure there were other examples but I can't think of them offhand. Maybe he couldn't think of any either, because he seems a little apologetic about this answer.

How much did they improvise while shooting BSG?

You can only improvise so much. It's not like you'd improvise scenes. Everything you're improvising around is based on the lines of the scene in the script. And everybody on our show imporoivsed. And that's not just the actors. That's the writers, directors, producers.. there was a real synergy whereby ppl trusted each other enough to go with it, to go with something in the moment. And there was really never a time where it was like "No you can't do that! We must not veer off this path!" Because we did not necessarily know what that path was until we created it.

So it's not like uh.. I don't know if you have programmes here like Give Us a Clue, where actors are just given a line and they have to improvise a whole play, it was never like this. It was more like ad libbing than improvising. Which is like adding some things or taking some things away that you think could suit the personality you portray. Ok?
Ah, I didn't realize there was a difference between "ad libbing" and "improvising". I thought they were synonymous. Professor James teaching me new stuff again.

In terms of plot cohesiveness and the finale, I do think it's a shame that they didn't know where they were going. But it can also be a good thing, because the actors were able to shape it a bit. Maye it's more exciting to work on a story that's about to unfold before your eyes than something set in stone before production begins, i.e. Babylon 5 and the like. I don't know. I'm certainly glad they got to ad lib and change things based on what they felt was right for the character.

I loved this next question, but I might want to explain the context for those who haven't watched as much BSG. In the season 3 episode Taking a Break From All Your Worries, James has a scene with Alessandro Juliani (Felix Gaeta). Baltar whispers something in Gaeta's ear, which makes Gaeta stab him with a pen. Later, in the web series Face of the Enemy, they show the scene again and this time we hear what Baltar whispered. The question is: did they redub the scene, or was it always planned that way?

The whispering in the ear really as Alessandro's ... it came from Alessandro. This is actually almost to answer the last gentleman's question. This was something that was improvised, it wasn't in the script.

But Alessandro said, "If I'm gonna stab this guy thru the neck with a pen. It's like, I've been so.. I've gone there at the right time, I'm talking the shit with him about the plans and how they might save his life and then suddenly I just.. it's not enough. I want something, I want him to drive me crazy, I want him to say something, DO something to me, that would make me get a pen and stab him thru the neck." So I was like, isn't that great? So that's where that came from. And at the time, we had no idea what it was, or the provocative nature of what it was that I was saying. But whatever it was, it was supposed to.. like a red rag to a bull, that would make him go crazy. So yeah, that was kind of an afterthought that I think was very cleverly worked in to the episodes.
I think so too. And I think it was a good idea to have an intriguing moment like that between the two men, who had surely experienced things together on New Caprica. (That sounds a bit dirty, but I don't necessarily mean sexual things.) Gaeta had seen who Baltar truly is, but Baltar had also seen who Gaeta truly is, even if it might be easy to forget that. Gaeta was disillusioned by Baltar, but maybe it also works the other way around. At any rate, there are always secrets you can tap into when you know someone that well. It's kind of a moment where Baltar shows his intellect, he knows how to play people in some way, even if he can be so socially bumbling too.

It speaks volumes about Alessandro that he wanted that in. He seems to have thought of his character as much as James thought of Baltar, and wanted to really have Gaeta react to something rather than just stab him for no reason.

Did he ever think he'd be the fifth cylon?

I.. no, I knew it wasn't me. Couldn't be me. Umm... that... cos I was too human on some level, I think that would have been.. not a good turning point. But I had no idea who it was, at all. But when I found out I was like.. you are kidding! You are kidding me. What? Where does that come from? How does that work? OK, fine, as long as it's not me, I don't care. It's funny because all those other final cylons Michael Hogan as Colonel Tigh, and Aaron as the Chief.. especially these two are so.. these are the people who led the resistance back on New Caprica, you should have seen their faces when it was like: Hey guys, you're on the wrong team! [points] [laughter] Yeah, not Gaius, you! Oh dear.. so that was good.

Hee! I can imagine him ribbing Aaron about this. Tigh and the Chief were good choices for cylons, because they were so central and so anti-cylon at some point. But my regret is that they didn't explore the "old Earth" cylon community storyline much further than that one episode.

Well, does he think it's a good choice, who the fifth cylon is?

Uh... Do you know, it is a good choice. And not a lot we can do to change it right now. [laughter]
Tell us a bit about the film you're going to shoot (Re-Uniting the Rubins, although the name is never mentioned here).

It's a comedy, a kind of romantic comedy although nobody falls in love. It's about a family that..uh, had a tragedy happen to them back in the day and then.. because of this thing, in years apart, can't really look each other in the eye or the face. And due to circumstances, they all come back together again. It's gonna be exciting and fun and also, you know, not in space. Actually set in London, so that's kind of cool.
That sounds really interesting. And I'm confused that some fans reported that he could not tell them more than that it's a family comedy. I mean, he says quite a bit about the basic theme of the movie here. He just doesn't go into specifics like what happened to the family. He sounds excited about it, and I'm really hopeful and optimistic about this project, I really am.

Would he have liked to be the final cylon?

Not really, to be honest, no. That would have been very confusing for me.. already I was pretty confused if you've seen the show.
I didn't need anything else to make me more confused. That's... [??]
All of the actors said the same thing: nobody wanted to be the final cylon. It would have ruined Adama and Roslin and Baltar and so forth. I'm not really sure. I think it would have added depth to a character in a way, if they had spent the rest of the season trying to find their cylon selves. With Baltar, however, it might have been dull, given that he's spent most of the show interacting with cylons and wondering if he is one. He's already gone thru a part of that crisis. So maybe that wouldn't have been a way to find something new about Baltar.

Silence for a moment. James jokes: "Talk amonst yourselves, I don't mind. Oh hello."

The next fan has a very strong accent and at first I don't understand her (and James looks like he's focusing really hard too, listening to her). But I think the question is basically: does Gaius love Caprica-Six?

It's a really good question and I think uh.. there's a simple answer. I'm sorry to blow it for those who haven't seen it. Yes, this man is in love. And he's been in love with the same person for years and years. One person on his mind, one .. everybody reminds him of this one person. He's so vain nad he's so narcissistic, he can't see it. He's in denial. It takes so much to get his head bumped into this reality of: yeah, there's one person, one person who is his angel, his guardian. I think yes, I don't necessarily understand it myself, but I think that is the case. Does that answer your question?
Awwww! (L) I love that they got back to Gaius and Caprica in the end. I don't usually get that excited about couples on TV, but I just had to ship Gaius/CapricaSix, because honestly, they're so fucked up and so funny, so wrong on so many levels, yet somehow so... right? It's hard to say what I love about them. Probably it falls in the category of "not cliché". I thought there was something a bit expected about Kara/Lee and Adama/Roslin, and Gaius/Six was just a different kind of couple. (As was Helo/Athena, actually.)

I think both Gaius and Six were kind of deluded for a while, wrapped up in their own concerns and even other relationships (Six with Tigh and Gaius with.. well, everyone). But it's kind of beautiful and poetic they found back to each other. I just wish it had happened a little sooner in season 4.

A follow-up question to the evil theme earlier: he said Gaius is morally bankrupt, is there a difference between that and evil?

Of course, there's a huge difference. No, I think... I find it very .. I think that evil on some level.. I don't really understand what that is necessarily, but I think one of the things about it is: it comes with malice, it comes with premeditation. That's not Gaius Baltar at all. He is somebody who winds up in something thru circumstance. lots to do with his own ego, but that doesn't make somebody evil. Evil is when you have a mind to it.

There's a great line in the Shakespeare play, I think it's Much Ado About Nothing. And there is this character called Don John, the Bastard Brother. Very subtle, these plays in Shakespeare's time. And there's this gathering, of all these people being happy and laughing, whatever. He turns, his line is: [sinister voice] "I would the cook were of my mind." In the sense of you know, when they go to dinner, if I was the cook, I'd poison them all. That's evil, that's mean. But I don't think being morally bankrupt is necessarily as evil.

Yay for random Shakespeare references! Professor James! :D I have read some Shakespeare, because I had to, and I didn't really get much of it and still don't. I couldn't quote it offhand besides something really famous like "To be or not to be". Hmm. "I know I'm Thane of Glamis, but what of Cawdor?" or was it Clamis? Another one that jumps out of my mind: "He's killed me, mother!" because duh, if you were dead, how are you able to say that? Those are both from Macbeth, I think. James' ability to just quote Shakespeare like that is rather admirable and creepy at the same time. But maybe he's actually played some of those roles.

On topic: I think he should have explained what he meant by "morally bankrupt". (Or maybe, because he is James, he thinks quoting Shakespeare will explain everything.) I think from his earlier quote that he meant Gaius has already done so many bad things that he's sort of worn out by guilt and can't take any more. But the fan probably took it to mean that he doesn't have any morals, he's all out of it. This is the problem with a panel like this, when you touch upon deep concepts and don't really have a chance to keep up with who says and means what. In that sense, a moderated panel might be better because the fans are probably too nervous to ask him to elaborate.

The next question is about the finale and the fan is worried about spoiling. James goes: "Everybody who hasn't seen it, go like..." and puts his fingers in his ears, with this mischievious grin. (L)!

Anyhow, Lee tells Gaius he's done nothing but selfish things.

Fan: "I tend to agree..."

James: "Right. I'm out of here."

Then Gaius has a change of heart by stepping onto the side of the heroes and fighting with Galactica. "What's your approach on that change of heart?"

As James starts to answer, his microphone goes out completely. There's some laughter. He tries to just start talking. "You wanna use a microphone?" the fan says. I think James says, "You can't hear me?", because she says into her microphone: "I can but the rest can't." I envy this fan because she talks really calmly and naturally to James. I wish I could, if I ever meet him.

James walks closer to the edge of the stage and shouts: HI! so that everyone hears. And then starts to fiddle with his microphone bottom. Hee! He looks so serious and puzzled, as if he can fix it by just pressing some button. Actually, I think I can read his lips: "If I press this button.. hello?" But it doesn't help. Someone brings him another, and then that microphone doesn't work either and the sound guy at the top of the room is gestured. It's a cute little interlude. Wasn't there something like this in the Dragon*Con panels in 2008? Why does it always happen to James?

"Hmm. What do do..."

Trying to fix the microphone...

Looks up at the sound guy.

[loud voice] Hallo? [sound comes back] Hello hello hello... ah, here we are. [laughter, applause] Right. [lowers voice, amused at himself] OK, now I don't have to scream.

I don't think Gaius Baltar needs Lee Adama to tell him the kind of man he is. And when we were filming that scene, the director Michael Rymer was like, 'You go back to the point where... he'd have a knife up against his throat in a stall, he'd more concerned that the goon was gonna smash in Paulla's brains. And given the choice of pleading for his life, he pleaded for a child's...'

This part was a bit confusing at first. He's referring to He That Believeth in Me, i.e. season 4 episode 1, where Paulla and himself are attacked by two guys who hate Gaius for, well, everything he's done as a president. I'm not sure if I read the scene in the same way - was he morried for Paulla than for himself?

For me, the number one example of selflessness is Gina and his compassion for her. But then that might be a problematic one, since he did have trouble telling her from Caprica/HeadSix, and he did expect to get sex from her soon after. And then he gave her the nuclear warhead. Either way, that was the first time I saw him worry about someone else's ass than his own (in a non-sexual way). But I guess we're thinking of more recent season four things.
Yeah, he has done some things that are not.. what's the word? Totally selfish. I think it's a real.. it's about your perspective. It's about how close you are to that thing. And when Lee says all of those things to Baltar, there is a.. Yeah, the broad brush strokes are absolutely true. There's little bits in between that I think Lee has missed. That Lee has never seen, so why would he ever.. and the wonderful line that Baltar says is actually, "Yeah, I wouldn't trust me either." The interesting thing about that is that the whole scene was filmed with number 6 in the scene. She was right over Lee Adama saying, "Yeah, he's gonna die so I wouldn't worry about what he's gonna say." So if it looks like I'm going like this [looks around], it's because we did shoot it in a slightly different way.

And the ending of his man? He has nothing else, he knew the cult was a sham from the moment that he stepped into it. He just needed the right kind of pressure to leave it, and on some level, um... on some level, ever since he tried to kill himself, this is not a man who's necessarily afraid of death. Just afraid of doing the wrong thing.

They cut so much of HeadSix from season 4.5, and I still don't get why. It changes the tone of the entire scene when you see the deleteds and there's an extended bit with HeadSix.

Elina: "It's true, the other characters haven't seen him do those things. You forget that as a viewer."
It is like that and it's odd. Us viewers are sort of omniscient and we know Baltar has done these things, but did anyone even see him pray for the sick boy? Lee certainly wouldn't see anything other than "oo, Gaius Baltar the egomaniac is leading his own cult! How surprising." I could see why he thinks Baltar is completely selfish and I'm glad James pointed this out, because that scene did bother me for that very reason.

American TV seems to always have villains who are either German or British (James nods seriously: oh yes). Is Gaius bad or just misled?

There's lots of ways of playing any character. Except that very few characters have the you know, the blood of the whole world on their shoulders. So if on any level Gaius Baltar did know what he was doing, he would be a monster. Monstrous. That wasn't sombeody I was interested in playing. But I remember being in school and being in trouble, I said I'd be in one place and really I was in another place.. then you're gonna be found out by the head teacher. I remember a few years at school, just constantly like [looks around anxiously] where did I say I was going to be? Who am I going to tell.. that kind of panic.

LOL! :D I wonder what kind of little scoundrel he was at school age. You might expect that he was a straight A student and utter nerd, but apparently not so. Maybe his personality is so vibrant that school felt boring and he had to think of stuff to get in trouble with. Actually, my thesis supervisor said that he hated school and was always getting into trouble. The headmaster developed a way of knowing in beforehand when he was going to make a wisecrack. "Robertson, my office! Now!" And he became a literature professor.
(Do they call it "head teacher" and not "headmaster" in the UK?)

And.. fear, living in fear, is very much on some level living in the future. If you live in the moment, in the now, you can't really be afraid. But if you're constantly thinking abou tthe thing that might happen to you, you're gonna be very afraid. And I think I chose to work off those dynamics which in turn makes him slightly more sympathetic. Not necessarily that he is.
Fear is living in the future? Hmm. That's a really profound thought. I think he is sympathetic, mostly. To me anyway.

Another question: did he have any trouble at home because of his womanizing role?
No, my wife thinks... you know, she keeps on saying, "Cos it's on television James, that's why they're supposed to find you attractive. It's on television, you see? TV, it's not real, James." [laughter, applause]

I always try to decipher his looks when he talks about this stuff - is he genuinely so humble about his talent and his looks or is he just feigning it? He always looks genuine, and some of the fan compliments seem to make him almost uncomfortable. But then he is an actor.

Elina: "I wonder if his wife has to take him down a notch. Like he's been reading your blog too much so he's big-headed: oh I'm so gorgeous, everybody wants me."
Me: "Bwah!"

I wish! Well, I don't wish he were big-headed, actually. Maybe it's best if he doesn't read oh what am I saying, I totally wish he reads every post. Multiple times. And prints them and puts them in a little binder and draws hearts around his favorite bits and... Eh, I mean... next question.

It's apparently someone who's already asked one before, as James notes, "Hi. You moved. Flash!" and makes a "flash" noise. The question is if they shot the entire Opera House sequence at once, since we kept seeing more flashes of it later on. James' answer: "Yes. Very simple." That is all, and I guess the person isn't interested in the details of the shooting because they don't ask anything more. It would have been nice to hear a bit more about the sequence, which was both beautiful and intriguing. Gotta keep this in the file "Future questions for James", if I ever get a chance to interview him (fat chance) or send more questions through con-goers (fairly likely).

More in part 2!

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