Stargate Universe 1.0 is about to be at a DVD store near you, and there’s still time to enter to win a free copy. Cast member, Brian J. Smith answered a few of our questions about the show, his first Comic-Con and what movie he thinks should win the Oscar for Best Picture.
1. So for those out there in the world who have never gotten into the franchise, what exactly is a Stargate?
The Stargate allows you to travel vast distances across space. It creates a ”worm hole”, and you can literally hop from planet to planet, or even to distant galaxies. There are a few more complexities, but that’s basically the gist of it.
2. Before the new show, you guys did a panel at Comic-Con. Was it your first time? It’s quite an experience, huh?
Yes, Comic-Con was my first convention-going experience, and I still can’t believe how many people attend each year! We did a panel one day in a room full of thousands and thousands of people, which was awesome but a bit intimidating as well. The oddest part about it was that we hadn’t aired the show yet, so people kept looking at us like ”Am I supposed to know who you are?”
3. Were you a sci-fi aficionado before this?
Maybe not an aficionado, but I loved Star Trek when I was growing up. As we’ve worked on the show I’ve actually gotten deeper into sci-fi and am amazed at how vast the possibilities are within the genre. You can tell all kinds of stories in all kinds of styles, and sci-fi audiences are probably the most passionate and devoted audiences in the industry.
4. Tell us a bit about your castmates? Is there a prankster among you or do you keep it all about business?
It’s such a great group of actors. I’m sure every actor is required to say that about their castmates, but you can be sure that I’m being more genuine than usual here. They’re funny, talented, and deeply committed to what we’re trying to do with the show. And yes, there are quite a few pranksters on set. Louis is one of the funniest men I’ve ever met, and has pulled some amazing pranks both on the cast and the crew. But he’s a great company man. One night we were working very late after a very long and trying day, and he ordered pizzas for the entire cast, crew and production staff. I really look up to him, actually, and I’d say he’s become my on-set mentor.
5. When you sign on for something like this, you become a part of the whole Stargate Universe (and there are some very devoted fans). What’s the most interesting interaction you’ve had with a fan of the show?
Well, I’m actually in the UK right now attending a Stargate fan convention, and it’s awesome to see the fans walking around the lobby of the hotel dressed up in their Stargate outfits and rubbing elbows with businessmen and people who are here for weddings. Sometimes they’ll even walk up to some of the guys in thier SGC uniforms and thank them for their service! I also met a guy at Comic-Con who had a stargate tatooed on his back – it went from his neck all the way down to the small of his back. That’s a real fan!
6. Now we see large billboards of you around Los Angeles, mid-sprint, but you don’t film they show here, do you? Canada?
Yes, we film the show in Vancouver, and I think it’s much better than filming in Los Angeles, actually. There’s a lot less distraction. Vancouver is such an amazing city to work in, one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever lived in, and if I could I would live there full-time. You’ve got the mountains and the ocean and the air is incredibly clean and clear.
7. We first met you a couple years back when you starred with Gillian Jacobs (NBC’s ‘Community’) in our production of “The Fabulous Life of a Size Zero.” Do you miss live theatre? Maybe hiatus gives you the chance to go back for a bit more?
Wasn’t Gillian great? She carried that show on her shoulders each night. I’ve always been a big fan of hers, even when we were students together at Juilliard, so I was not at all suprised to hear that she’s been doing so well. But yes, I do miss live theatre and I hope to get back to it soon. I’m starting to feel the ”stage muscles” getting rusty. I was hoping to find a theatre project to work on during hiatus, but the timing just didn’t work out. I ended up working in London for over a month on a remake of Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder On The Orient Express’ with the likes of David Suchet, Eilleen Atkins, Sam West, etc – all these great actors from all over Europe. That project felt like a theatre piece, so I got my fix!
8. How have you been spending your time off? (If you even have any)…
I’ve been doing lots of reading and spending lots of time at the gym. It’s rare to be able to have this much time off and not get worried about finances, so I wanted to take full advantage of it and use this time to do things I’ve always wanted to do. I realized how little of New York I had actually seen, even though I’ve lived there for over seven years, so I’ve been wandering about the city and trying to experience it for the first time. And I’m also just trying to rest up, because the 9 months of filming we do in Vancouver really take it out of you, physically and emotionally. This is a good time to re-fill the well.
9. With the Oscars around the corner, what are you rooting for? Has your new life in sci-fi made you an “Avatar” fan or are you feeling a bit more “Precious”?
“Precious” really knocked my socks off, and I’m expecting to see them win a lot of acting awards. It would be really disappointing if that didn’t happen. “Avatar” was such a phenomenon – it made giong to the movies feel like a Big Deal again. However the best film I saw last year was “The Hurt Locker,” which I’m hoping to see win best picture.
10. Lastly, any thoughts on the iPad? (We know your show has cooler toys, but for us real people….) Univ
Not sure about it yet, to be honest. It sure looks cool, but I don’t even have an iPhone, so I’m not sure what I’d do with a iPad. I’m a little disturbed by all these machines being invented to read newspapers and books on. I love reading a book or a paper the old-fashioned way, and I’d hate to see that get replaced by something mechanical. Oh well, the times they are a-changing!