Sunday I attended my first ever Armageddon convention. My main and only reason for attending this year was to meet David Hewlett (and to see the screening of his new movie Debug). I have waited ten years to meet him. I am such a fan of his work.
I think I've seen about 1/2 of his work including when they dressed him up as a lesbian and he got his arse kicked by Jerry O'Connell (My Secret Identity), that weird show where he gets fried by a vampire night thing (Forever Knight), long haired country music star who has the most awkward sex scene in the history of movies I've ever seen! (Ice Men) etc. Actually, to be fair, I should actually list them all. I have seen: State of Syn, Rage of the Yeti, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, SGU: Stargate Universe, Hellcats, Splice, The Closer, Stargate Atlantis, Sanctuary, A Dog's Breakfast, Stargate SG1, Darklight, Ice Men, Boa vs Python, Without a Trace, Mutant X, Nothing, Cypher, ER, Treed Murray, Century Hotel, The Triangle, Traders, Nightworld: Survivor, Cube, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, Shining Time Station, Clutch, Forever Knight, Scanners II, Desire and Hell at Sunset Motel, The Campbells, Where the Heart Is, My Secret Identity and Pin.
So granted to say, I am a fan :)
I've said before how I have never not done everything I've wanted to do at a convention, well this is the first one that didn't go my way. Looking back, I should have arrived earlier but it is what it is so any who, here is my write up of Sunday's Armageddon featuring David Hewlett, David Nykl and the screening of Debug (hashtag #DebugMovie on twitter)
Please note: I am going off memory so some details may be incorrect. Sorry.
I was hoping to have some time to walk around a little more but buses were replacing the trains, then there were problems on the city loop so I ended up getting to Flinders Street, going backwards and having to go back to Flinders to change to another train before changing for the Showgrounds train. So granted to say, that by the time I got there, I didn't have as much time as I would have liked to. I quickly bought a ticket and photo token and headed to David Hewlett's panel at 1pm.
My schedule this year was pretty cruisy actually.
noon-1pm: arrive, buy tickets and photo token
1pm-2pm: David Hewlett's panel
2pm-3pm: David Nykl's panel
3pm-3.30pm: David Hewlett's photo ops
4pm-close: Screening of Debug
David's panel was absolutely hilarious! I had prepared myself for him to be a jerk just in case the worst was true, but I honesty could not have even imagined how kind, sweet, funny, down to Earth and charismatic he is. And very much a family man also.
So interesting tidbits from his panel:
- He arrived with a back pack strapped to his back. He remarked that he should put his backpack down because he looks like he must be backpacking through Australia. He also didn't want to use the microphone but it was too hard to hear him otherwise.
- He then asked us if we remembered the 'I'm with Genius' tshirt that he wore in an episode of Stargate Atlantis (SGA) and said that he wanted to get a video of us saying it. So he got out his phone looking so confused before remarking if anyone understood technology before finding the video button. And he got a video of us saying it. We weren't enthusiast enough, David remarked and the crowd just got so loud and cheered which I think impressed David a lot.
- Kavan Smith (who played Lorne in SGA) was mentioned. And David told us this hilarious story about how Kavan's wife had just given birth months before David's wife was about to give birth. Kavan went into detail about how much blood there was and told David all these horror stories so David was horrified and wanted to not be in the delivery room. Jane, his wife, had some complications and the monitors kept beating fast and then stopping and David was freaking out. And then her obstetrician ran into the room and ran straight out again leaving David even more panicked. Then she ran back and said, "Sorry. I didn't expect to see Rodney McKay today". - which got a huge laugh from the crowd - David said he was then too scared to cut the cord when given the opportunity just so if something went wrong, he could not get the blame.
- Someone asked what it was like working with his little sister Kate on A Dog's Breakfast.He said it is weird because even though she is all grown up you still think of her as your annoying little sister. He said she had some questions about the story and David was outraged because he still thought of her as his little sister who didn't get an opinion. But he said deep down he is really proud of her - but don't tell her that.
- He also said there is a scene in A Dog's Breakfast where his sister has to hold a dead fish in her hand after it being on screen alive. But they were told that they would need two fish - an alive one and a dead one - but the people involved thought they would save some money and just buy a live fish and then freeze it. So when it came time to that scene the fish that was meant to be dead started moving. David said if they could have afforded trailers that is where Kate would have stormed off too. He mentioned that "she's an ovo-lacto-pesco? ... Yes, she only eats pesto" he joked.
- He was asked about the movie Cube and if how it seemed so cramped and compact in the Cube. And David said that was because it was. He said that to make the colours was used with big movie lights so it was really hot so you couldn't sit down in the cube. He said that he would come home with the cube marks burnt into his butt like burnt toast. But he said that he is surprised how it was such a small film that didn't do well in Canada and America at first but has taken off. He also said that he thinks it is time someone made a remake of it - and he could play the old man this time, he said.
I liked the two David's together. It was a fun panel.
So more interesting tidbits from his panel:
- Someone told David H how much they liked his performance in SGA epsiode The Shrine. She asked if he did any research. Which this question may be crossed with David H in Duet having a female in his body - and also him playing a genius. Because I remembered David N remarking that they were too busy learning their lines and they had a genius mathematician to help them. But anywho, David H said the best thing about it being sci-fi is that you can just make it up because there are no rules. He also said that he also just brings a part of himself to each character - he said he believes there is a little bit of McKay in all of us (insert joke here =P) David H couldn't remember the actresses name from Duet so he asked the crowd and when he got the answer he said, "It's like having Google in the room"
- David H was asked about his role on Rise of the Planet of the Apes.His agent told him that it was 'only for a small part and he probably wouldn't want it' but David H was like 'are you kidding? it's planet of the apes'. But in the audition it was listed as animal not ape. It had to be all hush hush. He said this was around the time his son was little so his son thought that David H worked with apes.
- David N said that his favourite baddie is the wraith.
- When asked if they'd like to be involved in SGU or any new Stargate series, David H was all for it!
- When asked what they would have been if not an actor, David N said an architect and David H said he would like to do computer coding. David H said to David N, didn't you always want to be an exotic dancer? And then David N danced for us in the most non sexy way. David H was amused.
- Someone also asked a question about TV magic, and then David N did some magic for us on stage.
- When asked if they have ever lied on their resume to get a job, they both said yes. David N, I think, mentioned scuba driving. David H mentioned juggling.
- When asked what super power they would like to have, David N said a couple of things - I remember he said to fly. David H said David N is so not nerdy and said that he would like the power to go into people's dreams.
- They were both asked if they'd like a Tim Tam. David N had one. David H said that he has eaten too much already. Then someone bought up a Tim Tam Slam and explained it to them. David H said it sounded revolting. And then a whole nother story of 'I'm more of a crisp cookie, instead of a limp biscuit" kind of guy. I also remember David H saying that you don't want to see his limp biscuits haha. This went on for a while - it was hilarious. I hope someone recorded it!
- This was also around the time that someone asked the David's a question but David N didn't hear and asked them to repeat it. And David H was all snarky saying he was listening and kept talking over David N. So David N remarked, 'I'm often asked what it's like working with David Hewlett - this is it'. All in good humour, of course.
- Someone mentioned how the writers of SGA liked to put David H in uncomfortable scenes. David said when he first met Jason Momoa, David H was hanging upside. He said he swears when he forgets his lines - but this day Rainbow was screwing up his lines. So David H got really angry and said 'I'll say my lines. I'll say Rainbow's lines. Let's just do this scene". And Jason Momoa was hiding in a bush near by and remarked how he didn't want to deal with that "fat man" meaning David H. David N found the "fat man" comment hilarious. And David H said 'well my son does call it the fat daddy show.' Although David H said he never needs an excuse to complain.
- David H explained that his son came to him and told him that he had a dream about a tornado the night before. In the dream, the son was separated because of this tornado from David H. David was all like 'you poor thing' trying to comfort him. And then lava appeared. And David H said that his son loved the idea of the lava tornado and wasn't scared at all.
- When asked if they had taken anything from the SGA set home. David N said that he would often ride home on his bike with the ear piece on. He also said he took the name thing on the back of his car. Someone on the crew told him that they may need it for the movie but David N said he didn't think so. David H said that he always took his watch. He took it on vacation and it filed with water. David N remarked 'well it was set in Atlantis'. Touche. But they both said that they were expensive watches that looked cool but never kept time.
- Someone bought up David's role in Kung Fu: The Legend Continues and how similar his character was to the one on SGA. David went back to saying that all characters have a part of him in them. But he also said how because his character was usually alone in a scene, they would get to the end of the day and they would cut his scenes. He said that he could make a movie on just all his cut scenes. He said his character was always trying to get a lady each episode and coming up with crazy ways to get one. I remember him saying that one episode he thought that because his job was working with dead people he thought goth chicks might go for him.
- Both of them were asked what it was like working with Christopher Judge. David N said he remembered 'No farting signs' being put up. David H said that his wife knew him before they ever worked together and she was the one who suggested Chris for the role in A Dog's Breakfast which David H found hilarious because he thought that Chris didn't look like someone who found it hard to get a date. He did say that he screen tested for it though.
- When asked about bloopers on the SGA set, David N said that David H cost the production $20,000 when he and Joe Flanigan swapped flag patches during an expensive crane shot. David H said it didn't cost that much though and said that he blamed wardrobe saying that it was not his job to know what he is wearing. He said that Joe would always rip David's Canadian flag and throw it to the floor - so this was his way of payback. David N said that he sometimes forgot to speak with a Czech accent instead of his usual Canadian accent.
- David H said he liked the SG1 set best because he liked all the old school gadgets and stuff.
- They spoke a little about social media. David N said that he didn't think the world is becoming more dangerous, it is just that we are seeing more of it now because of social media. He also mentioned something about viewing something on a camera on a car in Russia. Not sure and can't remember what he was talking about - I think it was a star or something like that but not 100%
- David H was really sad when the time was over. But he was very excited about the screening of Debug later in the day :)
After David's panel, we rushed off for David Nykl's panel. I felt so sorry for him because the SG1 group panel was on at the same time so most people - having just seen David N in David H's panel - went to that one instead. So David N's attendance was very low than it deserved to be.
So interesting tidbits from his panel:
- He said that his favourite Shakespeare play is King Leer. He also likes Macbeth. He said he prefers the more serious dramas over the goofy comedies.
- He said that he has just filmed a role on Supernatural. He said he is in two episodes as Lester, the wife - the episode he spoke of hadn't aired yet on Australian TV until the day after. He said he didn't want to spoil it for us. But he said that they were filming a scene at night like 1am, say. And he looked over and saw a bunch of people hanging around in a cemetery. He remarked how he thought it was odd that there were extras in the scene, but then realised that they were fans who had shown up just to get a glimpse of Jensen.
- He spoke a little about Canadian TV and how they've really built up a reputation for good work. And the good thing is that it is cheaper to film n Canada than America so a lot is filmed there. He also said that it is a two hour flight from LA so it's easy to get people to fly back and forth. He said that there is a rule that you have to have so many Canadian actors in a show/movie contractually so you do see the same actors appear in things over and over. He said that he and Paul McGillion usually vie for the same roles. He said he and Paul are the only ones who have really stayed in Canada (or maybe he said Vancouver) out of the whole SGA cast.
- He was asked how the long flight was. He remarked 'so this is what it has come to ... talking about the flight ... well I had the beef'. He said he likes coming to Australia. It is his seventh time here and he has travelled all over (he has seen more than I have ever). He also said how he has been all over Europe because he's lived in Europe. He also mentioned Japan, India and a whole bunch of places.
- He said he ran into Chuck Campbell the other day.
- When asked what TV show he would like to appear in, he said he would like to be a corpse in Game of Thrones. He said he didn't know and asked the crowd. A lot of answers were thrown his way. When House of Cards was mentioned, he said it would be cool to work with Kevin Spacey.
- He said he worked in Once Upon A Time and Arrow. But I can't remember what he said about them - sorry ....
- He was asked about his role in Tomorrowland. He said that when he auditioned he wasn't allowed to know who he was working with. It was all very hush hush. He went and asked for a script and had to sign a nondisclosure agreement. Went into the next room and asked for the script and was asked to sign another one. Then the secretary goes into a safe behind her desk and pulls out one piece of red photo stamped copy of the script. He said that security is so tight these days because they are afraid of spoilers that he wasn't even allowed to find out who he was working with in the scene. He also said that a script was locked away in a room for wardrobe and other crew that even they weren't allowed to take it into the room they were working in - they had to leave it in the room and go into it whenever they wanted to read it. He said it makes it really hard for him to do is role as an actor when he isn't allowed to know who he is talking to in a scene.
- Something was mentioned that you could now tell in HD that a stunt man is doing stunts and not the real actor. David said it was how they do it though as there is a lot of clever tricks. He brought up a stunt his stunt double did in SGA and he just had to get up and pretend he did the stunt himself. He mentioned Tom Cruise doing a lot of his own stunts - and also how Harrison Ford broke his leg filming the new Star Wars which halted production and costs a lot of money to have to wait til he heals.
- David N said that they say the best way to make an actor complain is to give them a job.The audience half laughed and he said that actors laugh harder at that joke. He said the hardest thing about being an actor is stability. Because you are always working towards your next job and trying to be higher. He said if you're a lawyer or something like that, you can build a reputation and have that stability - but as an actor, you can build a reputation and still have to look for work.
- When asked what his reaction would have been if Zelenka (his character) was made to kiss McKay (David Hewlett's character) what would it be? And he said 'is that really something the world needs to see? Do you need to see it?' or something along those lines and said no more.
- I also remember he mentioning something about accents because he said something about SGA being international because he also mentioned Paul McGillion's Scottish accent. David did an Australian accent for us and it wasn't half bad.
- He said he does get behind the camera. He has done plays, Shakespeare - he may have said he has directed before.
David's panel finished a little early so we had a little time to spare. We headed to the photo/autograph section. I had some time before my photo so I lined up with my friend who was getting an autograph from AJ Buckley. I could see that David H was still signing so I knew his photo session hadn't started yet.
After signing with AJ, I headed to David's queue. I wanted to be last in line and I was :) Woo! We had a very very brief chat. Very brief. But then I had to go around the corner and get my photo and David Nykl walked past. I said, 'David Nykl's in the house' and raised my hands to the sky. And he responded something positivity. Strangely, it was the highlight of my day lol.
Afterwards we headed to the screening on Debug. But that is for another post as I feel like it deserves its own blog post. I have a tonne of information I want to share about it! So stay tuned for that this week!