Friday, April 30, 2010

Gabriel McDow. And the Man Behind Him.

Zap2It has a new James interview: James Callis: The Man Behind Gabriel McDow! I must say I really like this title, and it makes me all proud again that James got to play this particular character.

He says he was "looking very rough". Well, I wouldn't say rough so much as ludicrous... but it does fit the character. Shocker: the outfit and accent were HIS idea.

"I was a very different kind of character," Callis says. "I was very protected by the glasses and the baseball cap and whatever it was. Initially they said, 'It's just you, wearing a mac, and we love the way you talk.' I'm like, 'That's going to seem so odd.'

Okay, so the outfit is silly, but it really fits the character. He's not supposed to look like he's all there, and James in a mac would look... just like a normal guy in a mac? He can do a lot with his facial features, but nothing wrong with huge jeans, tiny coat and TAPED WALKMAN. I can't get over that walkman. The accent has divided opinions, but I personally am impressed with his work there.

What impresses me the most is that he got the role on a very short notice, deep-thought it over and decided what works and doesn't work for the character. This is why they want him. I'm so proud of him.

"I've seen videos of Kim Peek, the guy who 'Rain Man' was based on. He's the original savant. These people, they're truly brilliant, but they're slightly askance."

As I expected, he sounds intrigued by this kind of character. As am I. There's something fascinating about autism, because you can't know how these people experience the world.

Apparently they all want James at the same time, so that he didn't really have time between this and Eureka:

"Pretty much," Callis says, "'Eureka' was the same thing. 'Do you think I could have some time?' 'Nope, that's it, Monday morning.' There's a lot of crazy push and pull. It's exciting.

"I would have done more ['FlashForward'] episodes if 'Eureka' hadn't come along. They wanted me to be in a season arc and maybe longer."

*groans* OK, I'll get over it. I really like him on FF and wish he could have done more episodes, but there's still hope of a second season, and James thinks Gabriel could return. I'll probably like Eureka a lot once I see him on it.

He's been working hard for a long time, and many actors never reach a level where there's push and pull in all directions. It's great that his talent has been acknowledged at last.

Then on the latest FlashForward episode: he was fabulous! (L) (L)

Episode 18, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. (Spoilers)

Gabriel shows up at Olivia's house. No one knows how he got there. Spooky...
Long story short: he tells her she was supposed to be with Lloyd, not her current husband. Gabriel's been watching her for a while and trying to stop her. He seems well-meaning, but acts all kinds of creepy.

Later, we find out he's an autistic savant who was used in experiments. The patients got flash forwards, and Dyson Frost asked them to write down everything they remember of the future. He (Frost) used this information when he caused the global blackout. Frost is now dead, but what does Gabriel know that can help the investigation?

He was listening to his walkman!! It's unbearably cute and funny!

I love his tummy! (L) OK, I know, he's slouching in a thick coat, but still. *snuggles so hard* The little boy look is also... (L)!!! What an adorable character.

Gabriel reminiscing stuff he's not supposed to know about. Creepy... yet somehow cute.

Olivia (Sonya Walger) realizes Gabriel knows a lot about her life. Understandably, she runs away, but Gabriel still has some things to say...

"The truth of the pudding is in the eating!" Um, Gabriel, maybe you should try and sound less crazy, if you want her to believe you.

How would you feel if you found him in the pictures of your old scrapbooks? It's like that scene in The Grudge where it becomes apparent that Kayako is in every one of Peter's photos. Actually, this is creepier, because Kayako was not looking straight into the camera with craazy eyes. *shudders*

So Gabriel has been involved in Olivia's life for a while. Is he a benevolent guardian angel who needs to set her life straight? Or a bad guy who's trying to destroy Olivia's life? We don't know.

Olivia unwisely goes to investigate Raven River, the mental hospital in Arizona that Gabriel keeps mentioning. Of course, he's there as well, and tells them about the experiments. (It's a bit nightmarish how he keeps showing up - how did he get to Arizona AND her house? He looks like a hobo - but you kind of expect it so he can deliver the necessary exposition.)

"Lloyd and Olivia sitting in a tree, K-I-I..." (they cut him off there - our savant can spell, right? Right? :D)

"Kitty likes tuna". Gabriel stops to contemplate on the more pleasant memories of his flashforwards. And ends up looking like a happy James again. It's a bit odd to see him smiling in this benevolent, childlike way, because it resembles his own smile so much.

When he was done, Dr Frost wanted to have them killed. Gabriel doesn't tell us how he escaped though - perhaps the memory is too painful. Note James' expression. Beautiful.

"Dyson Frost" is a name Gabriel does not want to hear. He looks like a scared child. Don't worry, Gabriel! Let me hold you! *snuggles* (I know, he'd just go "Can't touch this!" :D)

Dyson Frost is dead. "The early worm catches the bird! I have waited..." Slightly creepy reaction. But he seems too hapless to actually kill anyone. Honestly, I can't see this guy as a villain. He's not a villain, right? Right?

Gabriel tells Olivia he needs to correct her course, because she's going the wrong way. (Actually, next week's episode is called Course Correction, so maybe we'll see more of this storyline?) "Harvard was a fork in the road", he says. Olivia was supposed to go to Harvard and be with Lloyd, not go to UCLA and be with Mark.

While I find this idea of parallel realities and possible futures very interesting, I also have a problem with it. There are two children involved here: Olivia and Mark's daughter Charlie and Lloyd and his ex-wife's son Dylan. Were they not supposed to exist? Or would Lloyd and Olivia have produced the exact same children, only with each other? Only that's not possible if Charlie has half Mark's genes and Dylan half Lloyd's ex's... Am I already thinking too hard?

Either way, very intrigued about what else Gabriel knows and if Olivia can really correct her course. Can't wait for next week!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kitty Likes Tuna.

Aka "James Callis in FlashForward, part something", but I'm tired of having such long titles.

Tonight: more James Callis on FlashForward! Are you excited? I'm excited. Here's a preview clip with James. There are more clips here, and James also appears briefly in the fourth one. (I'm not commenting on that one because he's so briefly in it, and I don't really understand the significance - I think he was predicting Olivia's future in some way and she's only beginning to realize that he knows stuff.)

In the first clip, Gabriel is leading Olivia and, um, an FBI guy into a warehouse, saying they did the experiments here. He talks awkwardly, like he's scared of the memory.

"I never knew where I'd end up. Sometimes it was a short.. trip... I was eating a tuna sandwich... Cat jumped on the table... Kitty likes tuna. (smiles) Sometimes it was a long...trip... He watches from there. (points)"

I love the way he talks, because it's so childlike. You're telling a story and get sidetracked on a cute detail - kitty likes tuna - and smile a bit, then remember where you are and resume telling the story. He sounds like he's scared of the doctor who was watching.

Other brief notes:
-It BREAKS MY HEART to see Gabriel scared and sad. The closeups of his face are especially endearing. (L)!!!

-His accent has been praised and bashed. I think it's partially that Gabriel talks very awkwardly. His speech patterns are not the typical American speech; he stutters a bit, pauses, and emphasizes things differently than others. "I never knew where I'd end up" sounds totally American, while "This is where they did it" sounds kind of Irish. But it might be because he's just recalling it and there's pain in his voice there. In other words, it could be intentional, not James lapsing into a British accent. Either way, this is a really demanding role, so for his accent to sound better while doing it is quite an achievement. Respect!

-Love the luscious hair billowing out of the cap.

-The cap is in fact not the same blue as the coat - it is green. So they don't go together. They're just the same faded shade so they look like they do. Bwah!

-The chubby is beginning to show here, maybe because there were closeups this time. Whew! I was worried he'd only look chubby to me, and only in the promos and not on the show. I feel less nuts now.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

James Callis on FlashForward, part 5: Muy Caliente.

(callis.. caliente.. callisent.. no... I know, my titles suck, but you gotta have a title.)

Look how pretty!!!! These are from The Negotiation, so a few weeks away. Different coat, longer hair, no cap = gorgeous. Also, he's listening to the walkman, which is somehow hilarious. I wonder what he has on the tape? MC Hammer?

His expressions are soo... *hood on, points with a crazy look* *excited little boy look* *huddles sadly like he needs Mommy to comfort him* (L)!!! (Tell me, how can this guy be a villain? Was that someone's misinterpretation or is this all an act and he'll turn out to be some evil mastermind? I can't decide if that would be a huge disappointment, since I already like Gabriel and feel for him, or epicly awesome since he'd get to do two characters in one. But we'll see.)

And: he is chubby! I knew it! He is SO CUTE right now, I could just eat him. Hope he kept it on for Eureka. (L)!!!

I'm not sure if I can handle all the cute at this point. And such a great role so far! It's all too good to be true.

Major thanks to M for finding the photos.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"Emissary From Another World". Read It.

A while back, Robyn E. Kenealy contacted me about a Baltar/Six novel she had written called Emissary From Another World. I read the whole thing and it's brilliant, just brilliant. It's a fantasy of what Gaius and Six's life may have been like after the finale - but it's written in a painfully realistic way, with lots of emotion and deep thought. It really goes beyond fan fiction. Gaius Baltar is not an easy character to write about, but I think Robyn has him to a T - pompous, guilty, lecherous, ridiculous, childish, caring, cowardly, brave, he's everything he was on the show.

I told her to send it to a frakking publisher (although I'm not sure how it would work if Gaius Baltar is a registered trademark of Universal or whatever). She prefers to publish it pro bono in blog form, with some selected illustrations. So here it is.

Do read it if you like Baltar, or Caprica Six, or good fiction. It's going to be published one entry at a time, so it's a bit like a diary blog for Gaius. If you can imagine him writing one in the New Earth while living a rustic farmer's life. (OK, it doesn't make sense, but even Betty Draper from the 1960's has a Twitter account, so let's allow modern-day artists some levity with medium.)

Robyn discusses her obsession with Baltar in the "About this project" section (note the hilarious ad for Baltar's self-improvement classes!)

I’m still not entirely sure whether this identification with Baltar is the epicentre of my obsession. I know it has something to do with it, but I can’t help feeling more. In short, something is happening here, and I don’t know what it is. All I know is I wanted to write about it. And I didn’t want to write against it, I wanted to write inside it. I wanted to see how I was putting this obsession together. This seemed like the right way.

Actually, some of this comes close to what I'm doing with this blog. (especially if you substitute Baltar for "James Callis".) I can't write as James, and I have to be careful because he's a real person out there somewhere. But I'm writing from inside my own obsession and fantasy about him, hoping it will be relatable to others too. Now I brought it back to me and my own fandom, but Robyn's writing will do that - she always makes me deep-think myself and my own mind.

Or maybe it's because fandom really has a common thread of living inside a character or (the fantasy of) a celebrity? Gaius is especially good for this, because while he's difficult to write about, he's very relatable as a character. Few (if any) of us would like to be him, but many viewers grew to like him and see a reflection of ourselves.

Friday, April 23, 2010

James Callis on FlashForward, part 4: It Was Frakking Awesome.

OMG, this is awesome! Many loving thanks to Nicole.

Quick bulletin points:
-He is adorable. I just want to cuddle and snuggle him. Look at Gaby-Waby trying to save the day - he is so gonna fail!
-The verdict is still out on autistic savant/Asperger's, but either way he's doing a great job portraying it. And funny. "Can't touch this! Can't touch this!" How does he do this?
-The outfit is hilarious, but him wearing it and being all fateful and frakked up is even more so.
-That is a decent American accent! He doesn't sound fake at all. Awesome!
-This really is unlike what he's done before. I'm so excited!

He is going to be in four episodes, so three more to go. He'll be more prominent next week. Can't wait!

Edit: So um... I'm not sure if I should be timid and try to not gush too much, or be just like before? I feel a bit timid still, but then, that may just be my own bullshit. James didn't ask me to stop gushing. Everybody else is gushing... So frak this. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE Fangush!!!! (L) (L) (L) JAMES!!! (L) :D :D :D OK, I feel better.

Somebody make a fanvid of "Can't Touch This" with Gabriel. Please.

I hesitate to say way too much before we see more of Gabriel McDow, but I'm totally having multiple FanForwards over this. (Sorry for the pun, couldn't resist.) I was sure I'd be a little disappointed after the hype and expectations, but it's quite the contrary. I'm beginning to feel more and more excited and can't wait for next Thursday. There's something different about this role.

For one thing, I'm really surprised he's autistic/Asperger's/remains to be seen. We knew he was quirky and socially awkward, but I didn't realize it was in this way. This is truly something new for James, and I'm just proud of how we'll he's portraying it. After seeing the photos, I was very amused indeed, but also a bit worried they might just do a really broad nerd stereotype. But this makes the outfit totally appropriate, even serious - yet he's still also hilarious and adorable in all the right ways. It's just so good.

A very good sign: I'm already fascinated with this guy. I want to know more about his condition and how he sees the world, in a way that isn't only related to the plot. I hope they make something of it and give us some view into Gabriel's head. I'd also be very curious as to what kind of background work/mental preparation James did to get into this character. As Gaius' narcissism and Guy Curran's (Going Wrong; I'll write about it someday) obsession were fascinating, this is fascinating in a psychological way. It may be one of those characters who stay with you.

Jessika Borsiczky, a producer of FlashForward, is on Twitter and she just came out as a total James fangirl. Eeee! She promises that James will be doing four episodes all in all, and that episode 20 is his biggest one. Also that "he steals" the next episode - as if he didn't already!

His American accent has improved since I last heard him use it. It's always been OK, but sounded like he's putting it on - it hasn't sounded very authentic. This time, it sounded authentic to me. It might have to do with the rhythm of his speech here and the way he talks dramatically, but I wouldn't guess by this that he's British. I'm so proud of his development as an actor. *gushes even further*

More fan reactions at Nicole's LJ here and here.

Last night, I had to go to bed not knowing what his role was like. Had a nightmare where he was in a church, looked more like Sylar with a very calm/evil expression, said dark stuff about God and painted a childlike altarpiece that was yet somehow very frightening. Then he turned into an old, fat, bald guy. (Serves me right for joking he'd be bald for the role!) All through the dream, I was wondering, "Why did people say he'd be adorable/funny? This is frakking depressing!"

All I'm saying is, it's not easy being a fan who lives in Finland. Without illegal downloads, I'd have to wait two weeks to see this. Thank gods for copyright law infringements!

(Um, I'll have to see more of him to determine if he's actually chubbier or not. Maybe the coat is just tight enough to make it look so. I'm sure no one really cares though, but it's important for ME as the foremost expert on the topic. Either way: ADORABLE.)

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Therapist Loves James Callis

I feel so good right now.

I went to therapy today and talked about the Facebook thing. I brought my autograph to show what kind of contact I had with James previously. The therapist looked it over and said that it seems like James is a sympathetic, humorous person who really appreciates fans. He also said that given the constraints of this kind of relationship, James probably meant more, not less, than he wrote in the autograph. I said I realize it might be fake, but he said, "No, I don't think so. The length and the word choices... it's genuine." (L)!!!!! (He also had trouble reading James' handwriting - I had to help him with "privilege". Hee!)

Then he said, "So you have all this on the positive side. And on the negative side? That guy who attacked you and what else now?" Well, nothing... apart from the FB blockage, but he seemed to consider that pretty unimportant. He said that anyone reading the attack post would realize this guy has some issues, and that it was a completely unwarranted attack, even if it must feel bad to read that stuff, especially if you worry already what James thinks of you.

He also told me to consider how busy James must be. How much time would he have to think about fans and react to us? He said James probably does read the blog and it probably means a lot to him that there are fans who are so enthusiastic. But no matter how big the fandom is in MY life, and how much time I have put into it, James will inevitably have less time to really think about fandom - as in all fans, not just me. So when I worried I may have upset James and scared him from any further fan contact, the therapist said that's really unlikely, also given the time constraints. There'd have to be two Jameses: one to react emotionally to my posts and another to act and do everything else.

So I feel really relieved right now. Remember, this is a professional who knows about people, not a fan who has to see him in an idealized light. He didn't even know about James previously. If he thinks the autograph is appreciative, and doesn't think the FB blockage means anything... Well, he can't see into James' head of course, but still. This felt really good.

I said I want the fandom to be FUN again, and something that doesn't give me stress or self-doubts. He said it's become a relationship in my life - and he said this in a positive way, not like I have an unhealthy obsession, so whew - and that when it becomes a big thing, there will also be negative things. But he promised to help me bring it back on a level that is fun and carefree. He also thought it was a good sign that I can still gush about the FF photos and the donuts (I don't care what anyone says, he looks chubby in those photos. Remember: I'm the expert!)

My therapist also said that this relationship I have with James - whatever it means to him - is not something that can be jeopardized at this point. That made me feel really safe and happy in my fandom.

So maybe this is, all in all, a good thing. I can try and stop worrying about the fandom and bring it back to fun and carefree; I can feel accepted as a fan, because whether or not James wants me on his Facebook, we'll always have the autograph.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

James Callis in FlashForward: The First Pictures!

They really made him an ├╝ber nerd. Taped glasses! A WALKMAN! A horrid-looking, too tight jacket! A dusty old cap! And I must say he still looks cute, albeit in an awkward, clumsy kind of way. I won't comment more today, but enjoy!

Pictures here. They're from episode 1.18, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Those Crazy Kids.

How cute is this?! James Callis and Tricia Helfer on a break during BSG shooting. James is eating what appears to be chips (or crisps?), offers some to Tricia, she pretends to stop short of taking one and they laugh. And then she takes one. They are so cute, it should be illegal.

Would you watch The James And Tricia Preparing For a Scene Show? I totally would.
(This is my capture of a moment on the Behind the Scenes for season 3, from a TV rip made by someone. Sorry about the quality.)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

James Callis Joins Eureka: part 2

And we have the first picture! Granted, it's taken from afar (by lucky fans who could go see the show film!), so I'll have to refrain from any precise analyses for now, but he's looking good! Probably to the dismay of many fans, he seems to have short hair for the show. I'll admit I'm a bit disappointed - I do love the mane so - but the hair is styled nicely, and he's looking smart and handsome. I'm curious as to what he's holding - that thing could be anything. A model airplane? A baby's milk bottle? A remote control controlling the weather? On that show, it could be anything.

More in-depth, an interview with Eureka's co-executive producer Amy Berg at io9. She assures us that they don't just hire sci fi geeks for the geekery, they want actors with range:

Eureka has a very specific tone — it's science fiction, sure, but it also has a lot of heart. And it's funny. To find an actor who can tell a joke in one scene and get their heart broken in the next is not an easy task, regardless of genre.

That pretty much describes James! I'm gleeful to hear Berg - so soon after the FF producer - praise James' talent. Apparently he's also a Eureka fan:

He jumped at the chance join Eureka and was especially excited when we told him what we had in mind for his character. Casting him was serendipitous, really. In Vancouver, the soundstages for Battlestar Galactica were next door to Eureka, so James was already friends with some of our regulars. And then when his name appeared on a casting list for Dr. Grant, our eyes lit up. He is a genuine talent.

Hmmm. I feel a bit bad that I was so lacklustre about the news - and it seems like all James fans were pretty meh. If I had heard about Eureka before FlashForward, I might have been much more excited. But it just doesn't seem like my kind of show. I hope that when it airs, I will be proven wrong and get sucked into it.

(inner battle:
should I give the show another chance and season three? It had higher ratings. James is a smart guy and he usually has good taste...
but he did Merlin...
NO! What kind of a pathetic fangirl would I be if I started to love a show just because James loves it? Put yourself together, woman!)

Yeah, I'm still not a fan of the show, but it's still 20 episodes of a show with James in it. And he gets to be funny! Should be fun!

Asked about the character, Berg doesn't want to spoil. Blah! Nobody ever wants to spoil. I wouldn't mind being spoiled a little, because we have to wait until July to see it.

Let's just say that Grant is unlike any character Callis has played, and unlike any character we've had on the show. He's an outsider trying to find his way. James is having a blast with the part. And he gets to mix it up with Colin Ferguson's Carter, which is fun for both of them.

The character sounds like it might be a challenge for James and intriguing for the viewers. However, someone rightly points out in the comments that Baltar, too, was an outsider trying to find his way. But Berg has probably seen BSG and knows what she's talking about, so I'll be cautiously optimistic about his role.

Awww, I just realized something. If Salli Richardson-Whitfield's character has a baby, maybe James gets to act with a baby? Seeing him hold a baby would be so... *coos* Daddy man!!!! Ah, I knew I'd find some gush-worthy aspects of the show, no matter what.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

James Callis on FlashForward, part 3: James Is a Villain?

(In case I tagged it badly: "Comic Timing Essential" was update part 2.)

It's been confirmed that the episode James first appears on is episode 17, The Garden of Forking Paths, which will air in two weeks' time. The press release is on many sites, here at SpikeTV.

Of even more interest is this link with SpoilerTV quoting TV Guide: a fellow BSG fan is asking about his role in more detail.

MICKEY: How the frak are ya, Romy? Here's what Sonya Walger says about him: "He's this curious person who seems to know an enormous amount about Olivia's future. It turns out that this guy has had multiple flash-forwards, so he becomes incredibly important and significant to her and, in time, to the entire investigation." The bad news: He's not a good guy. In fact, he's going to make D. Gibbons look like a walk in the park full of unconscious people.

Hmm. So he's the villain again? I'm a bit disappointed. I was kind of hoping he'd be more like Lloyd Simcoe - someone with an important part, who's essential to the story without being the enemy, and yet manages to be a bit complex and imperfect.

But let's be honest: some of the show's "good" guys - including Mark Benford, Demetri Noh and Aaron - aren't particularly interesting characters. What's happening to them is interesting, but they haven't managed to get my sympathy throuhgout most of those events. There's something wrong with this show and "good guy" roles, and in that framework, I want to see James as a complex, strange, highly intelligent bad guy. Simon has been the most interesting character for me so far, and he's not really a good guy at all.

What I do worry about is that James is now going to be the bad guy every time, because Gaius was the bad guy. This is annoying because
a) he wasn't, at all;
b) on some shows, the bad guy roles are really black and black evil; and
c) James is such a kind guy in reality - it would be nice to see him exhibit that on shows as well.

But the actors always say that playing the villain or antagonist is the most interesting role. That's the role they want. I remember Jamie Bamber saying that Apollo was a limiting role, because he had to be good, and he sometimes envied James the more varied Baltar. The bad guy gets more leeway.

It's also a question of how James plays the part. He's really only played the eevil villain once, on One Night with the King, where he really was just bad bad bad. (And I doubt that, as a Jew, he'd like to play a Jew-hating bigot with much compassion.) Generally, though, James seems to bring some kind of understanding or nuance or compassion into the part he plays.

The reason actors want to play the villain is probably not that they want to be eevil and swirl their moustaches and cackle in a corner. They want to portray the darker side of human nature, which exists in all of us, but which we usually have to control. It may be liberating to let that part of you go and just get to do bad stuff for once. But if it's not done with complexity and psychological insight, it's just boring and cartoonish.

So let's hope for a complex character most of all, be it a hero or a villain. (Or a weird mixture of both, like Gaius Baltar.)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Relax, James Callis Is Not Bald. far as I know.

Heh heh! OK, in my defense, it was already April Fool's in Finland when I posted that, and also I apparently got many people - most notably kixxa who just about had a heart attack. Relax, baby! :D I'm flattered that you guys think so much of my James-imitating skills - the "article" contained three quotes, so I pat myself in the back for making anyone think that was actually him. Do I know our man or what?

Just in case: if James should actually be bald in FF, I repeat my heartfelt NOOOOOOOOOO!

Other than that, happy April Fool's day everyone! :)