Saturday, February 13, 2010

James Callis Interview at!

This is something I've been waiting for, because does awesome interviews. Here's their article on James Callis, interviewed by Marcel Damen last month. I talked to Marcel about a year ago, and he worked hard to get this interview. I also see he snuck in his question about the glowing spine! Hee!

Firstly, some good news: he has a small part in an Edward James Olmos movie tentatively called America, and he's got many other things lined up for this year as well. He just can't talk about them right now. Whew!

There's quite a bit about James' background as an actor, which is not something that comes up in most interviews.

I left school, I went on a gap year and I actually went touring around Europe with an amateur theatrical company. The person who was directing that is now actually my best friend, but the play that we did was a disaster. It was really... A lot of people don't do this stuff anymore. It was like taking a play around Europe in one of those Volkswagen campervans. A lot of people didn't get on, we were young and we didn't have audiences. It was tough as all hell.

Aha, that must be the Beginner's Luck backstory! Maybe it's a remnant of older theatre tradition - theatre groups travelling Europe and such to put on plays, when cinemas and TV weren't around yet. It sounds like a pretty difficult way to engage an audience these days. I'm not sure if I'd try that out. It just sounds like the recipe of a disaster, a bunch of people you don't know traveling around doing something really emotional for no money. Beginner's Luck certainly didn't make it look like fun.

And apparently they took him into university because of that experience? Hee! He doesn't sound that excited about what he did at university, which feels like an odd sort of relief. I didn't do that well at university myself. (Well, I did get high grades, but I dropped out of some courses and my thesis was a disaster.) I'm also interested to hear he was working at a kibbutz for a while.

A bit about his family:
I think my mother had done some acting before and my grandmother was going to be an opera singer, but when my grandmother was younger it wasn't correct -- in my family -- for a young lady to be on stage. That was like a disaster. Things had changed a lot by the time I came around, so they were very supportive. I think they knew it would make me happy.

That's really interesting. It must be where his performing/singing talent comes from. It's also really sad - if his grandmother had lived now, she could have pursued the career she wanted. My grandmother was a great writer, but she couldn't afford an education and never pursued a writing career. Sometimes I think of her and how I can carry on that legacy. I can get my words out, she couldn't.

I tend to glamourize James, I think, but it sounds like he's seen a rougher side of life with the theatre group, and he's seen the ordinary life. Maybe his life is still pretty ordinary everyday life - kids, taking them to school, going to the supermarket, what have you. Considering that he's been through all that, maybe that's what makes him so humble. (Yes, even his ordinariness makes me put him on a pedestal, I am hopeless.)

About the threesome bed scenes:

Tricia is beautiful, Lucy Lawless is beautiful and I'm not! What I mean to say is that when we were there lying in bed, it's just a shot (snaps his fingers) and then it's: "Get up, get out."

Yes you are beautiful! Oh James, always so self-deprecating. It's interesting that he doesn't seem to find those scenes that sexy. As a viewer, like he says, you're always imagining more to it than they're showing. I know I've thought of it several times.

I'm trying to not quote the whole thing, but I found this really interesting:

Every other day you'd finish and there was this thing and I'm like: "Oh my God. I'm covered in blood and grime and shit and tears. I've got a headache, my head hurts from those cigarettes we had to smoke, which had some really strong tobacco -- they were nauseous things." So I was like: "Yeah, I'm on Battlestar Galactica."

It sounds like it was a really tough experience on all levels. The reality of it all really came through, I think, and he played it for real, so I'm not surprised it was hard to do it.
(Also, he mentions smoking, which I'm kind of obsessed with since I kinda took up smoking and am trying to quit. Mm, smoking. I wonder how strong the cigarettes were, doesn't he chain smoke anyway?)

It's always a surprise that they had so much fun on set, after all that. He mentions telling Lucy that her body double had a spot on her butt, which made her give up the body double. Hee!

Most importantly of all - why didn't Baltar notice Six's glowing spine when they had sex?

(laughing) I just don't know about that myself. I imagine on some level in the relationship that she was always on top. That's about all I'll say.
Hee! :D Yeah, on more than one level, probably. You know, I've seen a lot of interviews and this hasn't come up before, surprisingly.

("on some level" count: 6. He also says "at an early age" twice and "a really young age" once.)

Also - he doesn't plan on appearing in Law&Order UK. I'm a bit disappointed, it doesn't seem like a half bad show, and Jamie's on it. But I'm glad he feels like I do: that it's hard to find roles that... oh sod it, I'm quoting again.

Then you read other stuff and it doesn't come anywhere close to the moral complexity, ambiguity, tarnished nature of the human soul. So it's hard finding things that for me have the integrity that this show had. I think that will be a problem for everybody who was involved in Battlestar Galactica essentially.
It's like that for the viewers as well, I think. I hope he can find something that lives up to Gaius Baltar, but I might forever compare his every role to that. It's great he was involved in that, but it's also a disappointment to see him in a role that isn't as demanding or giving to the audience.


Nicole Anell said...

>>"on some level" count: 6.

LOL, yes. He slipped "on all levels" in there at one point too, I don't think I've ever heard that one before. :D

Poor self-deprecating James. It's a very nice interview, and I liked him acknowledging how hard it is to get another show like BSG again. I fear that will be a problem for him and the other actors. :(

Deniselle said...

I think there was something like "on some very big level" too that I missed with ctrl F. :D

Maybe it's a positive problem in terms of, they'll only accept really good roles after this.

And then he did Merlin. Hmmmm. Um, let's hope that was just some Syfy contract thing.