Tuesday, January 31, 2012

James Callis on Midsomer Murders, Part 1: Interview

James will be in tomorrow's episode of Midsumer Murders, playing the double role of Toby and Julian DeQuetteville! Exciting! This is the first time we'll see him play identical twins.

There's an interview at midsomermurders.org, read it here!

"Julian is ambitious and arrogant, while Toby is someone who tries really hard, but is possibly walking up the wrong escalator, he's not quite all there. But he's very sweet and a good person."

It sounds very interesting. ("Walking up the wrong escalator", is that a British phrase? Or just James mixing phrases? I mean you don't WALK in an escalator do you..? How does... oh nevermind.) It doesn't sound like an "evil twin" sort of storyline, so I like what I'm hearing. Double the James!

James also mentions there was a war re-enactment, and his daughter was scared of the noises. Awww, Anika! <3 It must be confusing to a two-year-old.

James also tweeted about it here. Lots of people are wondering whether that's really James Callis in the trailer. Yes, yes it is. He already confirmed it, but I doubt many of those people read his Twitter anyway.

Amusingly, my boyfriend Toby thought I was talking about a dream I had, or a crazy movie idea I was making up. "Wait, there really IS a show about these ridiculously named people?!" Toby, be nice, it's great British aristocratic names.

Midsomer Murders is a big hit in Finland also (literally translated as 'Midsomerin murhat'). So I will hopefully catch this on TV soon but before ACTA takes effect, I INTEND TO DOWNLOAD THIS and it will be my last torrent ever. I will make a post with screencaps, possibly my last one ever. I'm not kidding, ACTA might make it criminal. Jesus.  Well, let's enjoy everything while we can. More info on the show soon!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

James Callis on Portlandia

I know this has been online for a week or so, but I wasn't able to view it for some reason. So I've been grumpy and keeping out of the discussion (thanks to Nicole for screenshots and description though!). But now, through not entirely legal means, I have seen the episode and it was beautiful!

For those unfamiliar with the show, Portlandia is a sketch comedy with observational humor. Based on this episode, I really liked it. There are some pretty funny skits on bad tattoos (featuring Eddie Vedder), an artisan knot maker (Jeff Goldblum), and an allergy pride parade. The James part is at the very end, where BSG-obsessed Doug and Claire have gathered together James, Edward James Olmos, Ron D. Moore (who's just some black guy with the same name), and a "local actor", played by the real Ron D. Moore. They do a table read of "one moore episode", and the hilarious part for me is how excited James is to just play along and please the fans. He's basically playing himself, Nicest Guy in the World.

Eddie, on the other hand, is visibly uncomfortable and openly grudging about his role in all of this. He even gets up to leave at some point. The script is a bit ridiculous, including lines like "I need you here, now get out of here!" The "local actor" pronounces "frak" as "frayk". Even James has some issues with the script, although he's nice about it: "Do I just repeat 'you gotta listen'?"

Then - the fake Ron Moore's wife comes home, unhappy to find all of the strange people still there. Dramatic drums, zoom-ins on everyone's face. James breaks the tension: "I've got an idea, something we can all do together to relax. Are you familiar with Dr Who?" And then they watch Dr Who, and Eddie falls asleep, and they all agree to watch one more episode.

Also, James is pretty frakking handsome in this, with long hair and some kind of facial hair stuff. And he wears shorts. (And he drinks Coke I think, and you can kinda see his belly when he's sitting on the sofa, and it's all very sexy.)

Oh goodie, it's already on Youtube!

With many thanks to CZDeus.

Monday, January 9, 2012

James Callis at Galacticon Five: Panel 2 Transcript

Many many thanks to Proiezioni Mentali for uploading these videos! So this is Galacticon Five in Italy, November 2011, and I was inspired by to transcribe at least this second, utterly charming panel. (They're both must-see, actually.) I've left out some of the pauses for translation, because there's an Italian interpreter for those who don't know English, and indeed many questions are asked in Italian, which seems a bit awkward but works fairly well. The commas denote a shorter pause in his speech (as we do in the transcribing business, ahem). I hope it's readable.
Edit: And btw, there is no panel 1 transcript as of yet, but I might make one. This one's labeled panel 2 as it was on the second day.

Video 1
(There's a bit of smoke coming out, but it doesn't look too impressive. James waves it off.)
"Sorry, one of the cylons just blew up backstage."

I'm not sure what the first question is. There's a lot of back-and-forth in Italian and English. Something about being in a different country.

"Obviously if you're from a different country, you have a different sensibility. So you bring, a new energy or a different energy, to the project. Because most people who were on the show were American or Canadian, and.. Yes, I think that for example, not just myself but Jamie Bamber as well, although he was playing American, he's also English. In fact [laughs] Jamie is possibly more English than I am. But yeah there was, there were ideas about things. I can't be, specific but... Like I said before, a sensibility that you bring to something else. I suppose one of the things I, I mean I was playing an antagonist, not a protagonist, if you know what I mean. And one of the things I think that I could bring with it, or bring with myself to the part, and I think this comes from possibly acting on stage and being in plays, is I was not afraid, to be thoroughly unpleasant. This is a big thing because actually, um.. Most of us want to be liked. It's an important thing in our whole lives, nobody wants to come across badly, even in acting. So if I'm playing a character who's bad, because I want the audience to like me, or have sympathy with me, I can cut the corners of some of the nastiness to come across better. So, that wasn't something, like I say that I was, I didn't need to look good. You know, I left that to Tricia to be quite honest, looking good. Didn't matter really what I looked like and.. As we would say, I didn't mind being, weak or a scoundrel or doing the wrong thing. That I think a lot of other people would have found quite difficult. But I think that's coming from as well.. Do you see a program over here, it's an English show called Fawlty Towers? (Some repetition of "fawlty" from the audience) Fawlty. Is anybody familiar with this show?" 

I have to stop here and interject that in Finland, Fawlty Towers was called "Long John's Inn", for absolutely no reason. I know the pun wouldn't translate but Jesus.

"Yeah, it's a very funny television show about an odd couple who run a bed&breakfast hotel, and it's a disaster. But the lead man, who was in Monty Python, his name is John Cleese, is very very funny. But he's funny because he's rude, and he's strange, and he doesn't care. And I think that, I tried to bring some of that to the character. There's certainly a lot of comedy in there, and I would say that that's a direct result of being born in England, being part of that culture and... Yeah. It's about serving a character, rather than necessarily serving yourself. And actually you serve yourself better if you serve the character, but there is a tendency I feel.." [he has to stop here to let the translator talk. You can just tell his mind is going a mile a minute and it's hard for him to stop in mid-talk. I feel for the translator too.]
"So at the end of all of that, there's a.. Trying to say.. We have a strong tradition in the UK, of characters who we find uncomfortable to watch, and our humor can be quite cruel, in a way that in America it isn't. And also if you go to Los Angeles, you're around this kind of place, every third person is gorgeous, they're so good-looking! And they kind of want to keep that up, like I'm the bad guy, but let me smile, because I look.. So that's one of, I'd say that's part of the sensibility. Also just our education, Jamie and I would talk a lot about how we see things differently, from the rest of the cast, and.. For me it was absolutely essential that he was in the show, cos it was like, although we hardly ever acted together, but I must have been on the phone to Jamie Bamber for five years. And [laughing] we spoke to each other every single day about so many things, and then some of the ideas that we would have ended up on the show. I would say more of Jamie's ideas than mine because he's very very brilliant, and he has a kind of brilliant, analytical, structural mind, like sees the whole story and how things can change or, it can be manipulated to serve the story the writers want to tell better."  

Awww, best buddies. (L) And you don't have a brilliant mind, James? But maybe his mind isn't as structural, more like wobbly and surreal and making weird connections. Maybe Jamie's is easier to adapt to writing. I wonder how an episode written by James would have gone. (Tries to imagine a mix between Beginner's Luck and BSG. There would be a Paris montage.)

"I was in university in the north of England in a place called Yorkshire. [in Yorkshire accent] And so I could do that quite well, because I was, I lived there so, (-) voice. Funny thing for me is that, this won't transltae so maybe I can't.. [laughs] My first time in Yorkshire I wnet to lunch in the pub, and I said what is the lunch, and the lady replies to me, she says, "Beef au park". Beef au park?! Is that French? Is that in a pastry? How is that? And she looked at me like I as an idiot, she said "beef au park". I said I don't know what that is, you know what I'll have it, I'll have the beef au park. And the man next to me said, "Beef or pork, you idiot." [the audience laughs a lot, so maybe the joke doesn't have to translate.]
"So this is, and they wanted me to be a different kind of a guy, a different kind of a Gaius. And yeah, they had some ideas abou the accent they wanted me to use, but I felt that that particular accent, although it's not really, not necessarily anything to do with farming or farmers, at least in England particularly, it gave the air of.. [thinks] In England there is a big divide, maybe it's the same in lots of places, north and south. The south is quite rich, the north is not as rich. So that's the big deal."
Translator: "Here is the contrary probably."
"Oh so it's a different.. But you see, in every place there is this thing. People, you know, in London they can be quite snobby, or quite "Oh you're not from here, so you don't matter." And the rest of the country is "Hey! This is England, not just London. You're part of the whole country, not just this little city." So that's where this came from. They wanted me to be a farmer, and in the end, I was."

This might sound silly, but it's the same in Finland. Even if Helsinki only has 500 000 inhabitants, it's one tenth of the whole Finnish population, and they think they're hot shit. (And you can deduce from that if I live in Helsinki or not.)

Video 2 
This question is actually in English, thank gods.
Guy: "Hi."
James: "Hi."
Guy: "What's your favorite English tv show, other than Monty Python and Dr Who?"
James: "Did you say Dr Who? Who told you that was my favorite show?"
Guy: "Except of them, something else."  

Hah! So I guess in Portlandia, he's just pretending to adore Dr Who. He didn't say Monty Python was his favorite either, he said Fawlty Towers. But he's not all "eww, Monty Python", so I feel validated as a Monty fan. (I have never watched Dr Who so no strong feelings there.)

"What's my favorite British show? That's really difficult."
Someone shouts something from the audience like... Black something? But it's not Black Books or Black Adder, and I have no other ideas.
"No, I must say." [laughs]

"I mean it's awful, I don't watch TV all that much. (--) I would have to say one of my favorite shows is Fawlty Towers. It's not on anymore, but you can watch the same episode, again and again and again, and it's always hysterical. Doesn't matter if you just watched it and you watch it again. It's one of the funniest, it's just so fun. So I would have to say that that is my favorite."
(Some question from the audience about Monty Python.)
"They are, well not really. I mean John Cleese was in Monty Python, but he and Connie Booth, who played the maid Polly, wrote Fawlty Towers. And actually what's interesting is they only wrote 13 episodes. This is, funnily enough, something Jamie and I always told the producers, cos the idea is that once a show is good, it's just gonna run forever, and you're gonna be in the show forever. And Jamie and I would say 'Listen, the British model is different. Because actually if you don't do so many, then you have a gem.' And you don't, you know, what's the word, bore the audience with the ninth series. Eddie used to joke that if we went for so long, that we'd have to have an episode where he lost his pen. And then found it, happy end." 
That's true. If you compare the American The Office and the original, I do think seasons 2-3 are still very good, but that's kind of where the show peaked, and thereafter it's been in a steady decline. This is just my opinion, but now they even changed the leading man, and that's bound to make it a different show. It might have been different if they'd done a spin-off. I think 13 episodes is quite little, but if you said, I dunno 50 to 100? I don't think a show can do many more than that and still be as good as. But it depends on the story.

I've seen only some episodes of Fawlty Towers in my adult life. I think it's hilarious at times, not so much in others. For me, it can be a bit too much fuss and all over the place, and I wonder if this is a British thing, like their comedy is really bleak à la The Office, or really all over the place like Fawlty Towers or say Little Britain. My cousin recently moved to the UK, and she said after a year or so, she began to get the British comedy a bit. I do wonder though, if James didn't love FT in part because his parents also owned a bed and breakfast. It must have been some kind of identification there. Maybe the show hit upon some truths about hotel guests and how it can sometimes be?

The next question is about the wrap party for BSG. Apparently Kandyse McClure was at the same con some other year, but she had been unble to go to the wrap party. They cutely call it "it's a wrap party".
James: "The wrap party?"
Translator: "The one at the end, the 'it's a wrap'."
James: "Nothing special, genuinely. I mean it was nice, we were in some big building, everybody drank a lot [laughter], we were all dressed quite smart, but I have to report it was a wrap party like any other, it passed without incident. You know, as well, the show, it seems to gather more weight, every year that it hasn't been on television. But like when we finished, we were all really excited to finish, and it was a really happy occasion, and we all moved on. Now, it's like three or four years later, and I think if we had known, the impact we were having, maybe it would have been more emotional, but actually we had said our goodbyes, and we had gone thru all the emotions in the story, in the camera, on the TV. You've done it already, you've done the crying, you've said you goodbyes, so the party was just a really nice, I'm sorry Kandyse wasn't there, I mean I must have, I don't remember. [laughter] Can't remember if I was there! [laughs]"
I think this is a part of the show that is hard to understand for viewers, because for us, it just goes on and on. The DVD's, the reruns, the discussions, the ships and the fan fiction. There's no real ending, and there are endless rewrites and re-re-imaginings. I can see how it might be different if you worked on it and there's a clear point where you stop working. I mean, James will never again be doing the pilot, or season one. He can remember it but not re-live it in the same way we can. Or can he?
"I don't know about everybody else, I really wanted to finish. I had had enough, of crying and being tortured [laughter], I really had. I didn't like looking in the mirror, because I didn't see myself, I just saw Gaius Baltar. Oh, I think that's my wife." 

(Why are people laughing at the torture part? Well who cares.) This is the cutest thing on Earth right here, because he digs his phone from his pocket and PICKS UP. His voice is totally tender.

"Yes, it's quite funny. -Hi darling. [laughter] I'm fine, I'm on stage giving a chat. [laughter] Lots of love, bye. [applause]"

(L) (L) (L) SO CUTE I AM DYING. Not of jealousy, mind you, just cutesyness. So sweet.

"So yeah, I look back at the pictures and everything, even the picture you have here.. What's the word?"

The translator suggests he translate now, and James can think of the word. I wonder if it's weird to see old pictures of yourself, playing someone else, all over the place. Most of us can shed our old selves but can actors? But then are those their selves or just the character? If you really start thinking about it, how much of our image of him is James and how much is Gaius? Oh brain freeze.

"So I looked in the mirror, and I saw this man who looked at least ten years older than I am, and that was through all of this stuff we've been going through. So I really, I think one of the very first things I did afterwards was just shave all my hair off, just tried to get aw-, went on holiday, we all.. It was an emotionally driven thing, it was a lot of fun and we did laugh, and it was challenging and I worked with incredible people, it slightly took its toll on all of us, because the show we were doing was actually very, I think very important. This is the big thing about the show, you're not supposed to cry or feel sympathy for fictional characters in a fictional world, in a spaceship that's not really a spaceship, but you did, and we did, so..."

I just have to interject here: what's the point of your story if you don't feel sympathy? I always feel sympathy. Well, maybe not if it's downright silly. But yeah, I get his point, it was genuinely touching because they really felt it. Imma let him finish.

"If perhaps they had told slightly different stories in the fourth season, there may have been a way to, continue the story for like another year maybe, but I think it would have been a push. I think everybody wanted to say goodbye, we'd done the show, so I think that's... that's the truth."

I think as a viewer, it did take its toll and you always crave for more, but you also want closure. I think it's good that it came when it did. The marketing already went way too "the mysteries will be revealed" by the end, and when they weren't all revealed, the fans were a bit let down. I think the show had run its course somehow.

What's interesting to me is the thing about his face changing with Gaius Baltar. Lots of people have noted, in con reports etc., that he is younger-looking in person. I think he's also younger-looking in some other roles he did since Gaius. But how does he take on another man's experience as a part of his own face? That must mean he really lived through it, but in that case, how can he shed it? It must take more than a haircut.
"No. I, was at a.. Mary, Jamie and myself received an award in France, the Jules Verne Award for sicence fiction. I don't know, it's something about promoting, peace in the world through science fiction, I couldn't really work it out but..."

Hee! Well either way, it's an honor. I realize I still haven't transcribed the French panel. He pronounces Jules Verne in the French way.

"The Jules Verne Awards. It was very special, it was an amazing event, but they asked the same question, and they asked Jamie, and then they asked Mary, and then they asked me. And Jamie and Mary gave quite lengthy answers. Like Jamie would go down to the gym every day and then he was doing this accent and so many things, and I think he went down to flight school, so it looks really realistic. And Mary delving into politics and all that, and then they got to me and I said, "I wake up, I'm Gaius Baltar." [laughter] Like I get up, I go to work in the morning..." 

What's especially cute about this is that James does all these hand movements - going to the gym (a weight-lifting movement), flight school (steering something), delving into politics (hand dips down). So endearing.

"Yeah, I think the thing is, one of the reasons I possibly got into the show, is because initially I didn't take any of it seriously. I saw a lot of people taking it very seriously but.. They only made me audition about the very beginning scene, where I'm.. found in bed with another girl by Number Six,which I thought was very funny. And I said to them, 'Yeah but this is not, the man who will be in your show, because at the moment in this scene, he has no idea of the consequences, he doesn't know he's been sleeping wtih a robot.. [blows into the microphone] And.. [laughs]"
[Translation. Hmm. I guess the blowing is like "whoa, so many things".]
"Yeah so, I know one person, in London who will remain nameless, but they are a lovely person, but htey are a very bad liar. They are the worst liar that I met. And I thought that that would be a funny thing to bring to the character, like 'It wasn't me!' [derpy Baltar look] It's like yeah, it was, it's written all over his face. And I suppose that's the only thing that I really brought to the party, was a sense of humor about it. I didn't see the man as very clever like he plots for the chess pieces, that he's like some grand master who has a plan. He's an absolute pawn, he has no idea, he is the pawn and he doesn't know who's, putting him where on the board, and everything he does is about damage limitation, essentially."
(Again, he does the pawns with his hands.) He's said all this before, but I never tire of hearing it. I love that he sees Baltar the same way I do. It must mean I'm a genius too.

James rocks in his chair, listening to the next rather wordy question: essentially, there were so many different phases for Gaius' life, what was his favorite? This is a great answer, and I've left out the translation pauses.

"I loved all of them, they're all part of the guy. There's some great highlights. I loved, Baltar loved saving Roslin's life. And although it wasn't in the script, every time that Laura had a fight with Gaius afterwards, I put it in the script. I was like, I would say to Mary, 'Mary can I say I saved your life?' She was like 'If you must' [shakes head; laughter] And I did all the time, because I thought that was a very interesting moment in the life of this man, because actually, he wasn't really concerned with saving her life. He was interested in being clever enough to do it. The whole idea of that was that every time anybody saw her and she was still living, she was the living testament to the genius and ingenuity of Gaius Baltar."

He pauses for translation, and the translator doesn't say anything, so James says: "In French?" And there's laughter. Heee! And I have nothing to add to this and it's just too true and my fan-heart is playing a beautiful melody at these words. James just knows Baltar so well.

"Yeah, so that was one thing I enjoyed. The other thing I really did enjoy was, even though a lot of people didn't like it, I loved my cult. The women. There were a few men, I didn't sleep with them, (just saying). [laughter] I loved the cult and the women. Actually it was because it reminded me, it was slightly Monty Python, it was like you know, he's not the Messiah, he's just a very naughty boy. [laughter]" 

I think he means Life of Brian here. Hee!

"And I loved the whole idea that, across the fleet, there was this mystique, and what had the man really become, did he really have the answers? And then you see him with these women and it's just pathetic! It's just, and it's very petty. I'm always like "No shut up Jeanne! No no, don't do it.." It's like what, is this guy really the son of God? It's like "No I will have peanut butter, yes. Yes I will. Thank you very much." [laughter] It's all just so, and it was like the blind leading the blind, so I enjoyed that very much." 

This is lovely, and he looks SO funny saying this. But my mind immediately went "WTF PEANUT BUTTER!!??" and began to write a very poor weight gain fan fiction where James eats too much peanut butter and argues about it with his wife. I'll spare you the details.

Video 4.

"Yeah I said this yesterday, signing the death warrant, that was difficult. [someone laughs in the audience, wtf?] Genuinely it was difficult. That was a horrible, horrible, nasty thing to do even if you're on.. You're laughing. Would you like to see yourself on camera signing a death warrant? I don't think so. That was horrible."

James is nice about it, but he looks a bit disapproving that someone would laugh at this. I hope they were laughing at something else, because he's absolutely dead serious here.

I'm a bit confused by the next bit, some guy says a lot to James in Italian, he says "Thank you" and the translation is something like "He wants to offer you wine".. I'm not sure I'm hearing right. Let's go to the next question.

Asked what part of his job he likes most. Being a director and writer is mentioned, but he seems to only think of being an actor.

"I like them all, there's you know.. Yeah, to work as an actor is a privilege, so whatever it is, it has its own demands. I.. There isn't really one thing that you love, I love more than the other. I'm actually more interested in the story and the character that I will play, whether it be on stage, on TV or in film."
The next question is about Gaius again, "he started with nothing and now he has everything." I thought it was the other way around, but maybe the idea is that he had more in the end than in the middle of the show?
"I think that's quite fair, I think that's possibly true. He's.. [thinks hard] He should have been shot dead. That's his, that's really where I saw him, that's what I saw happen to him, I saw everybody leaving the ship and that he would be like a child, quite excited to leave, and then there would be somebody come up behind him, a shadow, and it'd be like 'Did you really think that we would let you live? Did you really think that we could forget (- you)?" My story in my own mind is that his blood is stained (- dead -), he doesn't get to go to the promised land. Luckily I wasn't writing it, Ron was writing it [laughs], and is far more generous, in his mind in the whole eight years than I would have been towards the character. Gaius Baltar is liberated in the end because he is forgiven. That's the most important thing, and yeah, it was a really beautiful, like sad moment. It's like the guy has come full circle. You know the thing is as well, he could.."
Translator: "One moment, please."

Hah, I was just about to hit the pause button too so I could type up the rest. It's interesting that perhaps some fans were more lenient towards Gaius than James was, even if he's always defended Gaius as a pawn. Maybe there's a certain sense of justice James has, like he's so disgusted by people who really destroy lives that he can't let that slide, and it seems unjust that Gaius should be happy in the end. Mind you, I can't really draw a psychological profile of him since I don't know him, but that's the impression I get.

And now: Gaius and Caprica 4evah!!! (L) (L) (L)

"I think the very end as well he.. The whole thing in the beginning is that he doesn't know his own girlfriend's name. I mean, he's been having an affair with this woman for two years, he doesn't know what she's called. And she says right at the beginning, 'Do you love me?' And he says, 'Wha?!' And she says 'I was joking', and he says 'Oh thank god.' [laughter] It's like he can't deal with that.  
But this woman haunts him for the whole show, and it's only at the end, that I think he realizes that he has been in love with her but.. but in denial, and possibly she with him. And it's through their union together that he can be saved. So yeah, it's come totally full circle, from like 'hey you're just my girlfriend and I don't, whatever, no commitment'.. He needs her, so very much, at the end." 

FANGIRL SWOOOON!!!! Nicole and Maddi and I were talking about this on Twitter and we were all like "OMG MY HEART", because it's our OTP and... We ship Gaius and Caprica so much. For those who also ship them, I just have to plug it again - my friend Robyn has a lovely blog called Emissary from Another World, and it's all about Gaius and Caprica living together after the finale, and it's super psychological and deep and painful and loving and READ IT if you haven't already.

The next question is if he has projects and if he can talk about them.

"No, sorry. I do, I can't talk about them."

Awww. Can he at least say if he might go back to theater?

"I would love to, at some point yeah. (Definitely.)"

The next question has something to do with 9/11, but I'm really not quite sure what it is. I suppose it's simply "do you think BSG was influenced by 9/11?".

James: "I mean yes, essentially yes. That's my simplest answer, yes."

But the [original?] show was written before 9/11.

James: "Of course it was."

"And then it was updated."

James: "Everything gets updated."

So... OK then? I'm not sure if I heard everything correctly, but it sort of appears like he doesn't want to get into 9/11 and the aftermath. Or maybe the question isn't about that anyway. Confusing.

Next: can he tell any funny stories about filming?

James: "Funny stories?"
Translator: "Joke."
James: "Well there was a lot of funny things. One time, Eddie didn't turn up. So they were filming, but he wasn't there.  And I [laughing] said his lines, and it was a very wide shot, the camera was right at the back, and it was the Pegasus episode where he was meeting Admiral Cain for the first time. And Michelle Forbes, playing Admiral Cain, came forward to shake his hand but he wasn't there. The camera, what we say when it's from very very far away, it's a big wide shot. And so the camera was actually filming over one of the spaceships, it couldn't see all the people. So I did all the lines, because I felt like the scene has to go on, you know so [Eddie voice] I became Eddie. (--) thing like this. [laughter] And you know, she then said the lines and I was being, cos I knew his lines, there were only a few of them. I just thought it's important, it's a big wide shot, and then people just started laughing. I think heightened by the fact that it was such a serious moment and everybody's standing up and it's very serious so you're not supposed to smile, and that's when it's difficult cos everyone is like [giggles]. Anyway, we did the take, and then the director at the time, he got quite angry, and he's like 'Hey, we just had the most incredible take right now, we just got something brilliant, and you all fucked it up cos you're laughing! Now what the fuck is so funny?!' [laughter] So then they were like, (--) 'It's James! James was pretending to be Eddie!' But because the camera was so wide, the director had no idea, [laughter] (--) Eddie wasn't there! So yeah, he was like, 'No he was there, I just heard him.' I said 'No no no, that was just me pretending to be him, which is why everyone's laughing.'

It's a cute story (though not as cute as certain other, pastry-related stories.) And I love how, when he does the Eddie voice, he also does the stern Eddie face. Or maybe the Adama face, because Eddie doesn't seem at all as stern.

Video 5.

The next question is if he was dressed like an Admiral, and his answer is simply:  "No." There's much laughter.

Were the cast of BSG like a family, or were there fights?

"Honestly never. They're the most amazing bunch of people, it's not that we were a family, we still are a family. We speak to each other all the time, through Skype, through telephone, through Facebook, through Twitter, we spend time with each other.. These are some of my best friends. And not just friends, more than friends, it is like family. The most incredible experience, and all because of the personalities. It was such a supportive environment to work in, people were not competing with each other. It's like hey, the better I am the better you are, and the better you can be. What can we do to help you, to help you do the thing you wanna do? How can we support, what do you need? Everybody was very conscientious in this way. If every job were like this, it would be the most incredible thing in the world, but not every job is like this." 
It's kind of amazing, it's all of the cast who say this, and you can really tell they mean it. We can only hope that means they'll work together again. When the cast is that close, it really comes thru on the screen too, you can sense the chemistry. It just works.

Someone from the audience asks in English about Gaius being the bad guy, he made a lot of mess, etc.

"Yeah, the one thing Gaius was not, even if he was the antagonist, and you know, effectively he was the bad guy.. Most villains are, malicious. And Gaius Baltar was not. He wasn't malicious. And he had, so like everybody, good and bad but you know, everybody else hated the cylons, I was just saying this, but Gaius could not hate the cylons, because how could he hate a robot for being a robot? I think that made it more interesting." 

I do wonder if this point is something that arises from James' own personality. Would Baltar, played by someone else, still have been open-minded in that way? Either way, I was already fan-gushing with Nicole about this on Twitter: James mentions that Gaius is not malicious! You'd be surprised how many people did not get this while watching BSG. Surprised and really annoyed.

Next, the question I probably would have asked: what can he tell us about 17th Precinct?

"I'm not sure, genuinely if I can talk about that, cos I signed a thing as well, a contractual (-) or whatever. It was an amazing thing to do, obviously. Actually, I really was acting with Jamie this time around, which was just brilliant. I think the ideas were quite brilliant as well, in the story. I think that.. I suppose it's interesting, what I think doesn't really matter. But it was quite a science fiction show, but it was not on a science fiction channel, it was for network. And I think that they, you know they watched it and they were like 'what the, what is going on?' So if it had been perahps for another channel or for Syfy, I think there may have been more life in the, thing. Having watched, you know people in the show and whatever.. Yeah, it was, there were some amazing performances on that show, and some beautiful photography and.. It was.. The problem with the show was that Battlestar had something like four hours to set up the story in the beginning, in the pilot, and 17th Precinct had 40 minutes. Not enough time to tell a bit of the story and all of the backstory it needed, so if it was longer, if they'd whatever, I mean I think it was quite expensive anyway, but if it was like a two-hour pilot, then maybe it would have had more of a life."

He looks sad talking about it. So he shares our grief for the show that never was. I have yet to write about it. I think there are many great things and many problems, but I have a feeling some things were cut that would have made it more... alive. That's why I feel a bit unsure about critiquing it. I mean, it's easy to say something doesn't work when you haven't seen the process. But maybe when you're too close to the process, it's hard to be critical too. So it might in fact be something between brilliant and problematic. Or maybe it's both and. Either way, I really wanted to see more of it. I am sad.

Is Edward James Olmos (or Eduard Olmos, as it sounds like) really so serious? Hee, such a question. :D James fanboys:
"Eddie is the most amazing, amazing.. genuinely he is the most amazing individual. He is serious when he needs to be. He has a heart bigger than this room, bigger than this city. He is (fated and lauded), he has so many awards, not so many for the acting which is incredible, but for humanitarian work across the world.
This is a real man, so he knows when to be serious and when to have a laugh. He actually started out life as a musician in a rock band, and slowly gravitated towards, acting. But he's.. Yeah, I can't say enough amazing things about that guy, he really is amazing." 

I can say something about Eddie. When I first read interviews or listened to podcasts or whatever, there was talk of "Eddie", and I had no idea who that was at first. To me, he was like this big important serious Commander Adama, and he was a bit scary, and people go around calling him Eddie? But well, then I saw the third season gag reel and things where he was just really... shall we say not as dignified, so I've changed my view. I think it actually says a lot about him that all the younger people on the show have so much respect and admiration for him. That says more than anything else.

"Just as a little post-note to that: he was the preson who told us to take the show very seriously. He called all of the cast into his, trailer, his caravan. And this is right at the beginning when we were just doing hte pilot. So nobody knows if we're coming back. And he said 'we're gonna be here for five years'. [laughter] 'If you don't take it seriously, nobody will take you seriously. This is a very important story that we are telling and I need you to be on board, I need you to be there for me, for all of us.' He is a true leader. So say we all." [laughter, applause] 

Wow. I can't believe Eddie knew the number of years. Maybe he saw something about BSG then that the others, because of their shorter experience, couldn't see. I respect him more because of that.

At this point, James starts to roll up his pant legs, which is adorable. Maybe his pants are a little too long, because he is a man of short and adorable stature.

The last question is about his relationship with the final five, and his fatherhood of Hera.
"Um, as a father, yeah... I was never her father, really, that was, I mean it's Helo. And it was more a kind of spiritual thing. I had no relationship with the final five, they could have been doing a jazz song in the background [laughter], maybe they were. I didn't have any cnnection with them, I really only had connection with Number Six, and she was my entry into the cylon world." 

Wait, what about Number Three?! And Tory Foster? She was one of the final five and they had some kind of connection.

"I think that.. He goes, very luckily right at the end because of the storyline, he gets to be integral in saving the life of the baby. But this is more because this is part of his redemption, that he actually stands in front of the gun that someone's waving at him, and we've seen what a coward, and what a weakling he has been, and finally he's standing up for something other than himself. So it's the making of him." 

Oh beautiful, beautiful. I'd read a book written by James about Battlestar. He has a way of thinking through the character and talking about it that's quite poetic. (Of course, the book would require a lot of editing due to dash overuse.)

So that's it. I really enjoyed this, I haven't transcribed in a while. I do it for a living now, so I won't be doing these a lot, but it's been a bit quiet in the office in the past week, so this felt kind of like fun-work.

Also, in this panel, James is wearing a very sexy black leather coat, which may be the same one he's worn in previous years. It's a bit tighter than the plaid shirt so that's good, but it's still hard to tell.. Oh dear. Hotly, he touches his thighs and butt a few times, most notably when getting up. Quite nice. This is the shallow part, I'm done with the deep part now and my brain is all gooey. I think I'll go think about peanut butter.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New James Callis Interview!*

* mostly visual unless you know Italian. Disclaimer: I have nothing against Italian, I just really hate dubbing.

So yeah, it's a James Callis interview at Rai.tv! And it's DUBBED IN ITALIAN so you can't really hear what he's saying.

I'm gonna be lazy and not crop this, so you can see what tabs I have open. Fascinating isn't it?

Things you can learn from this interview:
-he has a red phone. (I'm not sure why this surprises me. I guess I just hadn't thought of his phone colors.)
-he keeps his phone in his left chest pocket.
-he wears a tie with a flannel shirt, which is confusing. (This would have been my first question in the interview: what's up with that tie? Is this a British thing?)
-he looks quite... sexy. Very sexy.
-lots of cute faces and hand gestures.

Seriously speaking, I do get some of what he says. He says about the finale: "We didn't tie all the knots but we tied all we could" and "I think it was a brilliant ending". (After all this time, I'm inclined to agree. It wasn't perfect in every way and it didn't tie it all up but... it was pretty damn good.) I think he also says "I have no idea how I would have written the finale", which fair enough, it was a tall order for Ron.

Also, Battlestar Galactica was a political show and "it was absolutely meant to be that way".
Amusingly, he says "every. single. level" at least once.
Eureka was a lot of fun because he got to play a guy in the past who looked at a phone and said: "Wow, that's brilliant, it's so SMALL!"

I probably won't listen umpteen times to try to make sense of it, but it's cute nonetheless.

I do hope, though, that some day they won't intercut an interview with a million clips from the shows, including some that don't even have James in them. We don't need a recap of the entire BSG to get what he's saying. (And the clips are also very disturbingly dubbed. I hate dubbing.) (Oh, aren't I the grinch today. I think I'm in a bad mood because I have to take my cat to the vet, and he already detected the hated box and plans to make a run for it. Let's take another look at cutesy ch..exy James. (Chexy! That's good.)