Tag: Sci Fi Channel

‘Stargate Universe’ Adds Final Four To Cast

The SCI FI Channel has announced the final four regular cast members for Stargate Universe and it’s an impressive group of actors. Here’s the rundown along with the characters they will be portraying:

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Lou Diamond Phillips (Che, La Bamba) is Colonel Telford, a proud lifelong military man, who puts his faith in the chain of command. Stubbornly confident, he’s highly regarded by his superiors. He is the chosen leader of the ill-fated expedition.

 

 

 

 

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Ming-Na (ER,Vanished) is Camile Wray, a human resources executive with the international oversight committee that governs the Stargate program. Now the highest ranking member of that division left stranded on the ship, she carries herself with a misguided sense of superiority over the other military and civilian survivors.

 

 

 

 

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Elyse Levesque (Smallville, Men in Trees) stars as Chloe Armstrong, the daughter and aid of a U.S. Senator. Politically savvy, but with a wild side, she is considering following in her father’s footsteps, until she finds herself trapped on the ship. As tensions rise, her character will be tested and her place among the group revealed.

 

 

 

 

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Alaina Huffman (Smallville, Painkiller Jane) portrays MSGT. Tamara Johansen. Unable to afford medical school, the Air Force was the best option for the strong-willed field medic. Faced with the mounting pressure and a lack of in-depth experience, she will be forced to rise to the extraordinary occasion of needing to treat the seriously wounded.

 

 

 

 

These four will be joining the previously announced cast:

Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting, The Full Monty) stars as Dr. Nicholas Rush, one of the most brilliant scientific minds, whose motives are not what they appear to be.

Justin Louis (Hidden Hills, The Fighting Fitzgeralds) portrays Colonel Everett Young, an experienced Stargate team leader. Married, with years of tough decisions under his belt, life has taught him never to take anything for granted. He stays on top of his team so they stay alive.

Brian J. Smith (The War Boys, Hate Crime) is Lt. Matthew Scott, a junior member of the Stargate team. Green and rough around the edges, he is thrust into the role of leader well before he’s ready for the responsibility and must learn to command, earn respect through action, and manage the diverse personalities aboard the ship.

David Blue (Ugly Betty, Moonlight) stars as Eli Wallace, a total slacker, who just happens to be an utter genius with anything he puts his mind to – mathematics, computers, video games. A lack of confidence has left him with an acerbic sense of humor.

Jamil Walker Smith (Waynehead, Sister, Sister) portrays MSGT. Ronald Greer, a Marine with a temper you don’t want to mess with. His past is mysterious but it’s clear something dark formed the hard shell around him.

Catching Up With Amanda Tapping

Now that Sanctuary has been renewed for a second season, we thought it was time to have another chat with Amanda Tapping. This time around we discuss season one, where production is on season two and what it was like shooting the final episode of Stargate Atlantis.

PCZ: First of all, congratulations on completing a great first season.

AT: Thank you so much. It was fun, it’s been a labor of love, but it’s been a lot of fun.

PCZ: I thought it was particularly interesting as the season progressed, much like drama, things started small and built. We discovered towards the end of the season how things fell into place. Was that always the plan or did things change as you went along, particularly from the webisodes to the TV season?

AT: Things definitely changed as we went along. We didn’t put the webisodes out there thinking that it would become a television show. We had a very pure vision of doing a full convergence of new media, interactive social networking site, gaming and the show all in one happy bundle on the Internet. Which is a great idea and very different to monetize and very expensive. So, what happened is the webisodes became a calling card, if you will, around the world for interest in the television series. We kept getting calls saying “Are you guys going to do a series?” and there was a broadcaster in England interested and a broadcaster in the states, so it sort of funneled down that way. I think we always knew it had potential for a TV series, but it ended up coming down to it very quickly. Suddenly we found ourselves going, “Oh my god, we’ve got thirteen episodes!” Damian [Kindler] has an incredible vision. We mapped out the thirteen episodes to introduce the villains and the new characters, but every week was a revelation, every week something would come out like “What if we did this?” We didn’t have as strong an ongoing vision from the top. We will for season two, but season one was a bit more of a scramble to be honest.

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PCZ: Having thirteen episodes as opposed to twenty or twenty-two, as is usual with most shows, does that give you more of a chance to focus on the story and where the characters were going with less “filler” episodes?

AT: You know what, it does. Thirteen for us is actually a really great number. Because our show is so post-production heavy and the post pipeline is thirty weeks to complete an episode, thirteen taps out all the departments pretty heavily. It forces you to focus, like you said, more on individual character stories. You’ve only got thirteen so they’d better be damn good. It doesn’t tap out your resources as much and gives you a bit more of a narrow focus, which is really good. Having said that, if the network turned around and said they wanted twenty, then “Woo-hoo” off we’d go!

PCZ: The characters we see as the season progresses, specifically the rest of “The Five”, did you guys always have clear characterizations in mind or was a lot of that defined by the actors you chose? I only ask that because the actors that played them seem to really inhabit the roles.

AT: Totally! What’s interesting is Chris Heyerdahl is one of my favorite actors. He brings so much to the table and is such a perfect Druit. Chris actually recommended Jonathon Young, who plays Tesla. He’s awesome, he’s so wonderful. He has played Tesla in a one-man show for a number of years, so he understands the eccentricities of this character. He could have come in and played that version of Tesla, but he brought a whole new game to it. Because he was so good, so compelling and brought such great chemistry we had to bring him back. Then, Peter Wingfield I had worked with before [on Stargate SG-1] and when we were looking at Watsons I thought Peter was just the perfect choice. All of them have this air of aristocracy about them and this grandeur. They all have a classical training and a classical feel to them, so…I loved watching the three of them in a room together. Magnus needed those sort of men around her in that day and age to do what she was doing. It’s worked out perfectly. I don’t think we envisioned Tesla being the way he was, but Jonathon brought so much more to the table than we could have imagined. The actors elevated the characters even more so than they were on the page. We will see more of them, for sure because the actors brought so much game.

PCZ: I hope so. As a Peter Wingfield fan of many years, I’m upset with you for killing him off.

“The actors elevated the characters even more so than they were on the page. We will see more of them, for sure because the actors brought so much game.”

AT: That doesn’t mean to say that we won’t be going back in time. I said the same thing, “You can’t kill him, you can’t kill him!” And they said. “Amanda, you’re 157 years old, we’re going to go back and look at some things.” and I said, “Sweet! Let’s do it.” You’ll definitely be seeing Peter again. He’s wonderful, just wonderful.

PCZ: Watson seemed to be possibly the most frail of the group, but he also sort of directly and indirectly affected everyone in the group and the decisions they made towards the end of the season. Peter Wingfield just pulled that off tremendously.

AT: What I also loved was the interplay between him and Chris Heyerdahl. They just played with it, the two of them. On set the crew would just be riveted with what those guys were going to do next. It’s on the page, but like I said, they just brought so much more to the table.

PCZ: Last time we spoke we talked a little bit about whether or not the season was leading towards a cliffhanger. Was the ending the one that you always envisioned or was there a contingency plan in case you weren’t picked up for year two?

AT: We didn’t have a contingency plan. I think we sort of kept moving ahead as if we were going to be [picked up]. I think that’s the hope of any show. Had SCI FI, ITV and TMN in Canada said you’re done then, yeah, I’m sure we would have done things a little differently, but it would have been an eleventh hour change. I’m not a huge fan of cliffhangers, having done them so much on Stargate. In this case, it needed it, the story was just too big. In order to do it justice it has to continue in some capacity. It’s just way too big a story to tell in two hours.

PCZ: When last we spoke you were talking about getting ready to break stories for season two, are you full-swing into that?

AT: We are. We’ve got scriptwriters on board and we’re all sitting here in the production office breaking stories. We’ve already figured out what we’d like the thirteen episodes to look like and what direction we want our characters to go. We are full-swing. We need to get money now! The only thing holding us back at the moment is some money, but otherwise we’re just writing for free at the moment.

PCZ: When do you start shooting?

AT: We’re still waiting on word, ideally the beginning of March so that we can deliver for early October. SCI FI wants us to air October 9th. We will run concurrently with Stargate Universe. I think they premiere with a two-hour episode and then the following week we will run together. Anyway, that’s the plan. We’ll hopefully start shooting at the beginning of march at the latest.

“SCI FI wants us to air October 9th. We will run concurrently with Stargate Universe.”

PCZ: It may be a bit early to talk about this, but is everybody locked in for coming back?

AT: Yeah, it is a bit early to talk about that. We’re still working on it. What we’d like to see more of is Ryan Robbins, who plays Henry Foss. I think you’ll see a bit more of him this season. He just turned out to be such a lovely character and such great comic relief.

PCZ: And he’s a werewolf!

AT: Isn’t that awesome? This are the things where you think you know what’s going on and then we turn it on its ear. Tesla’s a vampire, what? I love it, I love that we do that.

PCZ: That’s what was great about Henry, people wonder why he’s sticking around. Does he owe Magnus for something? Then you find out he’s a werewolf. I think that’s one of the things you guys did really well in the first season. Taking things like vampires and Watson and Tesla and taking the things we think we know about them and turning that on its side.

AT: I love that and I love the fact that there is the hint of politicians and artists in history that make you go “What? Hoover was into what?”

PCZ: Is that something we can expect to continue into the second season?

AT: Oh, absolutely! Like I said, we’d also like to go back to Victorian times. We’re breaking a story right now with Watson back in the early days. I like the idea of that because there’s so much to draw from. There’s 157 years of recent history to pull from that we can look at and see what shaped these people and see what they do.

PCZ: So, the other thing that aired recently was the final episode of Stargate Atlantis. What was it like going back and shooting that?

AT: It was really hard, I have to be honest with you. Stargate has been my home for such a long time that jumping out of that nest was such a big, scary leap to make. I’m glad I did it, for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is creatively I feel revitalized. But to go back with that crew, that wonderful crew and that cast – they were all their in the makeup trailer. It was weird and bittersweet because it was their last episode and it sort of didn’t make sense to me why it was ending. So, it was bit weird. I had gone off and done my own thing and now I was coming back and there was this sense of sadness about the place. It was hard. I mean, my car knows how to drive to Bridge Studios. I walked into Joe Mallozzi’s office and had such a lovely talk with him. Brad Wright and Rob Cooper came down before my last shot and gave me a hug. But it opens the door for movies and there’s a certainly a lot of talk about that. I would jump back into the army boots any day.

“I remember we were at Don Davis’ memorial and I was standing in his kitchen with his wife, Ruby, and Joe Mallozzi said ‘We’re naming the ship the General Hammond.’ And we all just lost it. “

PCZ: My favorite part of the final episode was the little tribute to Don Davis and General Hammond. I think it speaks highly of the cast and crew that even in an episode where so much needs to get done, room is made to have a scene like that.

AT: Something had to be said that’s such a show of respect for an incredible man who…here come the tears…but something had to be said. I remember we were at Don Davis’ memorial and I was standing in his kitchen with his wife, Ruby, and Joe Mallozzi said “We’re naming the ship the General Hammond.” And we all just lost it. “Of course you are, thank you.” It’s a subtle, simple tribute, which is exactly – Don was a simple, beautiful man so that’s how they did it, it was lovely. You can’t overplay it, you’ve just got to say it. As an actor you wonder how you could possibly do justice to it. It one line and it’s so huge. So, it was just keeping it simple and lovely.

PCZ: Definitely a perfect moment at the right time. And it also takes Carter off in a new direction too. Hopefully we’ll get to explore that a little in the movies.

AT: I hope so!

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PCZ: So, to finish up with Sanctuary, we get an Invisible Woman at the end of the season who seems to be a love interest for Will. Is that something that might continue as well?

AT: Yeah, we’re looking at how we’re going to pursue that too. There’s so many balls in the air right now, you want to explore all of them, but you want to do them all justice. You don’t want to do a cheap one-off. The beauty of the thirteen episodes is it sort of gives everyone a chance to reveal. Characters have happened so organically and the relationships have happened so organically. We’re still trying to figure it all out. We’re literally sitting here breaking stories now. We come up with great ideas and then there are a whole bunch of other people who get to weigh in. So some ideas go, some stay and some are morphed. The interesting thing about this show has always been we don’t have a big studio backing us. We are our own studio essentially, so we have to go after private funding. That’s probably been by far the most difficult part of the whole process, trying to keep the show alive. We are a critical success and getting great numbers on the network and overseas so it’s “Yay, we got picked up for a second season! Yay, who’s going to pay for it?”

PCZ: Hopefully you get to stay out of all of that.

AT: No, sadly, I’m involved in all of that. There’s times when I go, “I just want to be an actor again! It was so much easier.” It was so much less complicated. I have a whole new respect for this side of things. I used to look at Sam Carter and her ten pages of techno-babble and think “My job is so hard.” Part of me looks back and says “You idiot, you don’t know how good you had it!”

PCZ: Congratulations again on the second season pick-up. Definitely looking forward to seeing how things get resolved and where things go from there.

AT: Yeah and hopefully we’ll be talking again part way through.

PCZ: Yes, I would love to do that, so we will be talking to you again down the road. And thank you for your time today.

AT: Great! Thank you so much.

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‘Stargate Universe’ Adds Four

SCI FI announced today the addition of four cast members to the upcoming original series Stargate Universe. Here are the four actors, along with brief descriptions of their characters:

justinlouisJustin Louis has acted in a variety of film and television roles over the last two decades and has starred in nine different TV series previous to Universe. Amongst his credits are Saw V, the 2008 mini-series adaptation of The Andromeda Strain, Hidden Hills and The Fighting Fitzgeralds. Louis will portray Colonel Everett Young, described as “an experienced Stargate team leader. Married, with years of tough decisions under his belt, life has taught him never to take anything for granted. He stays on top of his team so they stay alive.”

 

davidblueDavid Blue started acting in the second grade in a school play. He then went on to get extensive theater work before breaking into television in movies. Blue has had to breakout roles in both Ugly Betty and Moonlight, the former garnering him an Emmy nomination. Blue will be portraying one of the civilians on the show, Eli Wallace. Wallace is described as “a total slacker, who just happens to be an utter genius with anything he puts his mind to – mathematics, computers, video games. A lack of confidence has left him with an acerbic sense of humor.”

 

briansmithBrian J. Smith is pretty new to the acting scene, however he is a graduate of The Julliard School and has studied at the acclaimed Quad C Theatre program at Collin County Community College in Plano, Texas. He starred in Hate Crime and will be seen soon in The War Boys. Smith will play Lt. Matthew Scott, a junior member of the Stargate team. “Green and rough around the edges, he is thrust into the role of leader well before he’s ready for the responsibility and must learn to command, earn respect through action, and manage the diverse personalities aboard the ship.”

 

jamilwalkersmithJamil Walker Smith has an extensive resume having been acting since he was twelve. Known for roles in Waynehead and Sister, Sister, Smith has also guest-starred on Bones, Supernatural, NYPD Blue and The X-Files. Smith’s character, Sr. Sgt. Ronald Greer, is “a Marine with a temper you don’t want to mess with. His past is mysterious but it’s clear something dark formed the hard shell around him.”

 

 

So far, so good on the characters and the casting. Looks to be a different enough group from the previous two Stargate series and keeping with the “younger and edgier” premise attached to the show without being Beverly Hills 90210 level obnoxious. Also, take note that Stargate Universe will now be premiering in the Fall, along with the second season of Sanctuary, rather than this summer as was previously announced.

Robert Carlyle Leads ‘Stargate Universe’

Well, now we can definitely say who will not be taking over Doctor Who when David Tennant leaves next year. SCI FI has just announced that the brilliant Scottish actor Robert Carlyle has been cast in the lead role of Dr. David Rush in the latest addition to their popular franchise, Stargate Universe. This is actually a surprise as I never figured Carlyle as someone interested in a regular stint on an ongoing series. I didn’t seriously consider him a contender for Doctor Who for that very reason, although this explains where that rumor may have come from since his character will be a doctor. I will say that I have greatly enjoyed several of Carlyle’s films and he’s the caliber of actor that instantly raises the quality of any project he’s involved with. The trick now will be to round out the cast with people that can rise to the level set by Carlyle’s talents and to write scripts that are worthy of him. I am confident the Stargate folks can accomplish both.

ROBERT CARLYLE TO STAR IN SCI FI’S NEW ORIGINAL SERIES STARGATE UNIVERSE

New York, NY – December 15, 2008 – Award-winning Scottish actor Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting, The Full Monty) has been cast in the leading role of Dr. David Rush on SCI FI’s highly anticipated new original series, Stargate Universe, the latest adventure in the Stargate franchise produced by MGM television. Production will begin in Vancouver in February ’09 with an eye toward a summer 2009 premiere. Additional casting is currently underway.

“We couldn’t be more excited to set Robert Carlyle for Stargate Universe. He brings a depth, intelligence, and complexity to his roles, which will fit perfectly with the fresh, new reinvention of this franchise, “said Mark Stern, Executive Vice President, Original Programming for SCI FI & Co-Head Original Content, Universal Cable Productions.

Edgier and younger in tone than the two previous series, SGU follows a band of soldiers, scientists and civilians, who must fend for themselves as they are forced through a Stargate when their hidden base comes under attack. The desperate survivors emerge aboard an ancient ship missing in the far reaches of space. As they fight to survive, Dr. Rush (Carlyle) works to unlock the mysteries of the ship and return the group home, but evidence of his ulterior motives soon arises.

Brad Wright and Robert Cooper, co-creators of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis and who both currently serve as executive producers on Atlantis, will serve as executive producers and writers on the new series.

Carlyle is best recognized for his roles as Francis Begbie in Danny Boyle’s hit independent film Trainspotting and the stripper Gaz in The Full Monty, which earned him both a BAFTA and SAG Award for his outstanding performance. His career began in the UK where he gained attention in the British television series Cracker featuring Robbie Coltrane. He has starred in such films including 28 Weeks Later, The World Is Not Enough, Angela’s Ashes and The Beach, where he re-teamed with Boyle. His television credits include the Emmyâ-winning miniseries Hitler: The Rise of Evil, and Human Trafficking, which garnered him an Emmyâ Award nomination. He recently starred in 24: Redemption opposite Keifer Sutherland.

Stargate Universe will debut as a two-hour movie event on SCI FI and will be distributed by MGM Worldwide Television Distribution.

Review: SCI FI Original Movie ‘Lost City Raiders’

When the latest SCI FI channel original movie, Lost City Raiders was assigned to me, it was billed as being “Waterworld meets The Da Vinci Code.” I will admit, a shiver went through me when I heard that. I couldn’t think of less auspicious epithet. Yet, being a fan of many of SCI FI’s offerings I reserved judgment and I’m glad that I did.

Rather than comparing this film to a couple of movies I did not like, I felt the movie was more akin to a Clive Cussler novel. In fact, without actually being based on a Dirk Pitt adventure, it was far closer to a Cussler story than either of Hollywood’s previous attempts at adapting his stories to the silver screen. As such, I thought that Lost City Raiders was a good way to spend a couple of hours.

The story itself is set in a future Earth where a series of calamities have caused the world’s oceans to rise and catastrophically diminish the planet’s habitable landmasses. James Brolin, Ian Somerhalder (Lost) and James Thomas King (The Tudors) are a family of salvage experts on a secret mission for the Vatican to discover an ancient artifact that will stem the rising tides and save the world. Along the way they face mutated sharks, manipulative developers who profit from the lack of land and even an ex girlfriend. Following a trail of ancient clues, they end up facing a cosmological riddle that I found quite inventive.

Overall, I think the most surprising aspect of this movie is its scope. When one steps back from what’s on screen, the project itself is ambitious. With sweeping oceanic vistas, extended underwater sequences, elaborate sets and some pretty decent CGI, it is obvious that this production spent its budget well. The actors seem at home in their surroundings and turned in good performances all around.

Looking to the negative, I think there could have been a little more challenge for our intrepid heroes. All things considered, it was just a little too easy for them to surmount the odds. There was never a time I that I feared they wouldn’t succeed at their goals, which created a story that was just a little too pat. On top of that, I felt the pacing seemed hurried at a times, as if the characters knew they had to get through certain hoops in the time allotted. Lastly, there was one incident involving two boats – you’ll know what I am talking about when you see it – that stretched the limits of my willing suspension of disbelief. There are certain physical laws, like those that go into the construction of a boat, which can’t be altered for the convenience of resolving a plot point.

The negatives definitely do not outweigh the positives in this case though. Therefore, Lost City Raiders is excellent TV fair and a worth addition to the SCI FI Saturday night lineup this week.

Lost City Raiders premieres: Saturday, November 22 at 9PM on the SCI FI Channel

Click here to watch a trailer of the movie!