Our reporter Linda Craddock has been very busy these past few weeks rounding up interviews for all our fans of “Stargate: Atlantis,” the next Mummy film, the new television series “The Middleman” and more. She recently sat in on an invitation-only press conference sponsored by the GE CORP AM INITIATIVES GROUP. The conference was attended by Linda and several other reporters as they asked questions of executive producer Joseph Mallozzi and actor Robert Picardo of “Stargate: Atlantis.”
The moderator for this conference was NBC’s Carol Janson and it was arranged by Michele Rosenblatt from the SCI FI Channel. It took place on July 1, 2008 at 12:00 pm CT.
Coordinator: Hello and welcome to the Stargate Atlantis conference call. At the request of NBC, this conference is being recorded for instant replay purposes and a transcript of the call is also being made.
With us on todayâ€™s call from Stargate Atlantis are Robert Picardo and Joseph Mallozzi. Also on the call are Carol Janson of NBC and Michele Rosenblatt of SCI FI.
[Pictured (l) Joseph Mallozzi (r) Robert Picardo]
Our first question does come from April MacIntyre of Monsters and Critics. You may ask your question.
April MacIntyre: Hello Joe.
Joseph Mallozzi: Hey April. Howâ€™s it going?
April MacIntyre: Itâ€™s going great. How are you?
Joseph Mallozzi: Good. I apologize, Iâ€™m going to get back to you on your email. Iâ€™m in Montreal and trying to get the hang of my new Blackberry. In retrospect, I should’ve just gotten that neural chip thatâ€™s coming out in a couple of years. But go ahead.
April MacIntyre: Youâ€™re going to be sorely missed at Georgeâ€™s on the Cove. Thatâ€™s all Iâ€™m going to say. Well letâ€™s just leave it there. I have a question – Iâ€™m anticipating this hotly discussed script, Whispers.
Joseph Mallozzi: Oh yeah.
April MacIntyre: Itâ€™s got a horror tinge and I was wondering if you could elaborate?
Joseph Mallozzi: Okay. You know, Iâ€™ve always been a big fan of horror and one of the things that – you know, one of the great things about Stargate is that we can do, you know, such a variety of different types of stories.
I mean, we do our funny episodes. We do our serious episodes, the off world episodes, the, you know, ship based episode. And, you know, I just realized that weâ€™ve never really done a horror episode.
And weâ€™ve done monster movies but never really kind of a scare fest. So I mean, you know, I – you know, I pitched stuff to the guys and they really liked the idea.
And, you know, I spoke to Will about it and heâ€™s like yeah – Will Waring, who is, you know, our Director who directed the episode and heâ€™s also a big fan of horror movies.
So, you know, we actually did a little mini horror movie for the episode, Whispers. What we did, you know, Joe Flanigan and Paul McGillion — two of our regulars — joined a team of – an all female team on an off world adventure.
I mean, one of the things about just, you know, TV, (office) episodic television in general is, you know, at the end of the day you kind of know that your heroes are going to come out of it in one piece, more or less, unless you happen to be, you know, Carson Beckett (and trend A) or, you know, what have you.
So I thought I was important to add this all female team for kind of two reasons. One, with Amanda leaving, I thought there was kind of a gender imbalance in the show that I kind of wanted to address by bringing in, or at least introducing some potentially recurring female characters.
And two, you know, have the audience invest in characters that, you know, you donâ€™t really know whether theyâ€™re going to survive or not. And, you know, it was just really a fun episode.
I mean, right now – I mean, I went by a couple of days ago and Mark Savelo, our VFX Supervisor, he was just showing me some of the temps on the visual effects and, you know, Iâ€™m – you know, gosh I hope itâ€™s not one of these episodes that angry parents, you know, write the network about.
But, you know, I – you know, hopefully, you know, itâ€™ll be an atypical episode and, you know, Iâ€™m hoping that people will enjoy it – especially fans of the horror genre.
April MacIntyre: Right. Iâ€™ll come back. Thank you.
Joseph Mallozzi: Thanks.
Coordinator: Jamie Ruby of MediaBlvd, you may ask your question.
Jamie Ruby: Hi. Thanks for taking the call. Can you tell us kind of – I know you canâ€™t reveal everything, but kind of in general whatâ€™s coming up story wise and for the teams this new season, and how itâ€™s going to be different from previous seasons?
Joseph Mallozzi: Well it – this is Joe again. You know, in previous seasons – I mean, you know, season one was set up and season two was (telling). And season three, I think, you know, weâ€™re stepping out and exploring more, you know, sort of a variety of stories.
Throughout those first three seasons, though, we were always I guess securing resources with, you know, SG-1 – be it a series or the movies and, you know, as a result I guess it taught you – because of the time constriction, we werenâ€™t able to really sit back and I think plan out the season quite as concisely as we could have which is what we did in season four.
We realized okay, you know, there is – there was an imbalance in, you know, some of the stories being told. I mean, there were a lot of McKay stories but one of the things we set out to do in season four that we did in season five as well was, you know, give each character a story and then, you know, a spotlight and really focus on them, and give them a chance to really step up.
And, you know, we did that again – you know, we did that once again in season five. And where in season four we wanted to deal with some of the, you know, our standing villains.
We kicked off the Wraith/Replicator war. We got rid of the Replicators. We weakened the Wraith and now season five is kind of a step forward in a couple of ways.
One, in a big picture way we are introducing a couple of new races. Weâ€™re suggesting that with the Wraith weakened in the Pegasus Galaxy, there are a number of civilizations that are basically standing up and assuming power.
So I mean, in a big, you know, big picture way thatâ€™s what weâ€™re doing. In another big picture way we get a – we have a new commander on the Atlantis expedition with Carter leaving.
You know, what we said in season four was, you know, with the threats that Atlantis is facing — especially with regard to Wraith — you know, the military essentially flexed their muscles and wanted to exert some influence over the Atlantis expedition.
So Carter was appointed as a compromised candidate. In season five, with — as we said — the Wraith, you know, back on their heels the (IOA) in turn flexed its muscles and they appoint Richard Woolsey as the new interim leader of the Atlantis expedition.
And that will be a big and – you know, a big change and frankly, itâ€™s been a great change. You know, weâ€™ve been big Bob Picardo fans for years and, you know, what started off as a – as, you know, a couple of episodes in Heroes and through a recurring role which eventually when the opportunity presented itself, I mean, there was no hesitation.
We said, you know, if Bob can do it, you know, we would love to have him on the show and Bob was kind enough to, you know, make time for us I guess.
Jamie Ruby: Thank you.
Robert Picardo: This is Bob speaking.
Jamie Ruby: Yes?
Robert Picardo: This is very interesting for me to listen to as well because I find out, you know, all the secret things that the Executive Producer has in store. I was a little worried momentarily when he mentioned – when he made reference to a bit of a gender imbalance.
I thought that by Episode 20 perhaps heâ€™d be given full reign to (pull) the feminine side – at least that heâ€™d be, you know, cross-dressing on the base. But Iâ€™m happy to hear that thatâ€™s not in the planning.
Jamie Ruby: Okay. Thanks. I look forward to seeing you in the new role – or bigger role, I guess, is the word.
Robert Picardo: Well thank you. I appreciate that. Iâ€™m looking forward to seeing how the, you know, the dedicated fans of the show accept the new leader who is not nearly as cute as the previous two.
Joseph Mallozzi: Some fans may argue differently. Sorry.
Jamie Ruby: Okay.
Coordinator: David Martindale of Crown Features, you may ask your question.
David Martindale: Hi, thanks. A question for Robert. You havenâ€™t gotten to talk enough yet. Thanks for doing the call by the way. We talked way – years back on the Bridge Voyager work, so hi again.
How did you get mixed up with these guys on this level? Was it as simple as them asking and you saying yes?
Robert Picardo: Yes, they – I think they have a tradition of using actors from the other franchise, the name of which I dare not speak, as some casting. Many of my colleagues from the different Star Trek shows have been guest stars.
And I think that they either last from one to four episodes. In fact, I think around the fourth time they asked me back, I was flipping to the end of the script to see if I was killed yet.
But I managed to outlast them all and, you know, itâ€™s been a lot of fun working with both casts, and with the Writer/Producers. Theyâ€™ve really built the character from his initial impression of being kind of a hardnosed, you know, a vicious blame layer.
I call the characters that are coming to find out who has screwed up and whose head is going to roll in his initial appearance. And in Heroes: Part 2, they really fleshed him out.
And although he still has kind of insufficient people skills perhaps to be a leader, heâ€™s developing them now that heâ€™s assumed command. I think thereâ€™s something inherently interesting in the Monday morning quarterback, the guy who, you know, sits in the – at one end of the briefing room and tells everyone, you know, what they shouldâ€™ve done and how theyâ€™ve screwed up.
Now that heâ€™s suddenly making the decisions himself, itâ€™s a very interesting dynamic that has its own kind of built in dramatic tension. Heâ€™s not used to – you know, heâ€™s used to evaluating others but not to having that responsibility rest solely on his own shoulders.
And in fact, we have an upcoming episode where his own new command will be evaluated by someone whoâ€™s taken over his old position. So thereâ€™s a lot of, I think, fun layers to explore this year.
David Martindale: Yes. Are you drawn to sci-fi? Is there something about the genre that pulls you in or is this almost also sort of like all of the people that make sci-fi, they watch sci-fi and that puts you on their radar, and they know to reach out to you? Is it – or is it some combination of both?
Robert Picardo: I think itâ€™s a combination of both. Iâ€™ve – working on Star Trek for — there I said it — for seven years, I really came to appreciate what it was about that kind of storytelling that developed such a loyal fan base – that, you know, the regular viewer of science fiction has the interest and the capacity to really imagine the future, to dream of a better one and to kind – and I think even to project themselves into the future in a certain way, that thatâ€™s part of their psyche and personal passion.
Thatâ€™s why they watch this kind of program. And once I appreciated what it was about the storytelling that made it special and that made the fans so loyal, I really began to enjoy it and I think to flourish in it as an actor.
I really used my own imagination a lot and made a number of suggestions during my tenure on Star Trek. And – but also, I – because the fan base is so loyal, they like seeing an actor that they know from one show take on another role in another of their favorite shows.
So it does work both was. I canâ€™t honestly say that I set out at the beginning of my career to spend, you know, ten years in a jumpsuit.
David Martindale: Yeah.
Robert Picardo: But thatâ€™s – you know, it does keep you – it keeps you in the gym regularly as well.
David Martindale: And last thing, one of the challenges that you had in Star Trek was making a holograph – a hologram real to people but it occurred to me this morning when I was thinking about this – isnâ€™t that the challenge that you always face more or less with any character you do, just like right now?
Robert Picardo: Of course. You – every – when an actor gets a role, especially in series television where the – where he really is the part. Heâ€™s the – the audience never thinks of another actor playing that role. If they accept you in the role, then you are – they canâ€™t separate the actor from the character.
But we always have to devote a lot of attention and imagination to what the characterâ€™s back-story is, where he comes from, what his education is, previous work experiences and his personal life, and all of that stuff thatâ€™s off camera that will help inform the part thatâ€™s on camera.
With Woolsey, his back-story was sort of slowly revealed through various guest appearances. Itâ€™s not like when I set out at Star Trek, I made all the decisions and just – and set on my journey with what I understood the writers wanted from that character.
And of course, it was different from any other character I played because when youâ€™re playing a new technology thatâ€™s basically booted in the first – booted up in the first episode, you have no back-story.
So that was the challenge of that role because there was not – there was really nothing to depend on. It was starting, you know, with a clean slate and building it – building the character piece by piece.
So the – I have to tell you though after seven years as a hologram, Iâ€™m happy to be back playing human beings. Itâ€™s – I was afraid of getting out of practice. So Iâ€™m glad to be flesh and blood again, and to have the ability to, you know, to change and even to age.
Nobody wants to play – Iâ€™ve talked to Brent Spiner about this. You donâ€™t want to play a character indefinitely whoâ€™s not supposed to age.
David Martindale: Yeah. Okay, well thank you very much. Youâ€™re always – you were always real, though, because people have had their toothbrush in your head in the bathroom. So, you know, thatâ€™s three dimensional right there. Anyway, thank you so much.
Robert Picardo: Thank you.
Coordinator: Linda Craddock of SliceofSciFi.com, you may ask your question.
Linda Craddock: This question is for Joe. How are you, Joe? Itâ€™s nice to talk to you again.
Joseph Mallozzi: Hey Linda. How are you doing?
Linda Craddock: Good, thank you.
Joseph Mallozzi: How are you doing?
Linda Craddock: Great. With the first half of season five already on film, what would you say will be the turning point for viewers and ratings while continuing the second half and potentially a sixth season?
Joseph Mallozzi: The turning point? You know, Iâ€™m kind of hoping – itâ€™s not so much a turning point but a build from last yearâ€™s strong finish. You know, I donâ€™t recall off the top of my head what the numbers were but, you know, I know that, you know, Last Man — our season finale — finished very strongly.
And hopefully thatâ€™s something we can continue with the premiere: Search and Rescue. You know, and Iâ€™m sure some of you may have seen it along with the few thousand who happened to be cruising You Tube over the weekend or a couple of – last weekend.
And the reaction is – you know, was overwhelming, positive from what I saw. I think itâ€™s awfully indicative of whatâ€™s to come this season, you know, a variety of, you know, action, character development, just, you know, hopefully what the fans have grown to love and really desire from the show.
In terms of standout episodes, you know, off the top of my head I mean, there are, I think – you know, Iâ€™m very happy with the first half. But of course, you know, one of the, you know, big episodes — sort of like last year — Be All My sins was a big midseason two-parter – the second part of the midseason two-parter.
In a similar way, the midseason two-parter is going to be very big this year. Itâ€™s First Contact and The Lost Tribe. And of course, Daniel Jackson will be dropping in for an appearance and thatâ€™s going to be huge for a lot of the SG-1 fans who, you know, Iâ€™m sure have missed him and, you know, have been asking, you know, what the hell is taking so long for Daniel to come on over to, you know, the Pegasus Galaxy.
Well they get the chance in the midseason two-parter. And, you know, like last yearâ€™s Be All My Sins Remembered, itâ€™s got – you know, itâ€™s full of surprises and action, and, you know, spectacular visual effects and some really nice character moments, particularly with regard to McKay and Daniel Jackson who are two characters that really havenâ€™t had a chance to sort of play off each other.
And they play off each other really, really well. I mean, you know, one of the things I said was these two guys — Hewlett and Shanks — are the fastest talking actors in sci-fi, you know, bar none.
And as a result I mean, Martin Gero wrote both scripts and they were almost like 60-page scripts which is – there are usually, you know, a 60-page script is usually long.
And I think First Contact was exactly to (top) and Iâ€™m not sure what Lost Tribe was – maybe a minute over. So, you know, a lot of rapid fire talk between the two. And you know, hopefully, you know, itâ€™ll be an episode that the fans will love just as much as last yearâ€™s midseason two-parter.
Linda Craddock: Great. Thank you. A question for Bob, if you donâ€™t mind.
Robert Picardo: Sure.
Linda Craddock: You talk about character development and weâ€™re going back to Woolsey – what adjustments will we see as Woolsey takes over as the new leader of the Atlantis expedition versus previous appearances where he was a little indecisive or trying to take control, et cetera? What adjustments will we see?
Robert Picardo: Well, the – Woolsey appears briefly at the end of the season opener, Search and Rescue, which is a very exciting, action-oriented episode. He comes in and rather abruptly relieves Carter of command with his – you know, with the – with his characteristic gruffness and lack, I think, of interpersonal skills.
So thatâ€™s your first experience of him. In the very next episode, which is called The Seed, he faces the first major crisis at his new command. Itâ€™s a very dramatic outing for the character. Itâ€™s – thereâ€™s not really much humor in that first one.
And he learns the lesson that he canâ€™t simply follow the rulebook and do this job. I mean, he – by his own estimation, heâ€™s broken protocol about five times in his first crisis.
And that puts him — at the end of the show — in a personal crisis because heâ€™s always sort of defined himself as someone who knows the rulebook, evaluates others ability to live by it and now in his first series of, you know, crisis command decisions heâ€™s broken his own, you know, his own commitment to protocol and – in order to save a beloved member of the crew.
So he learns and in so doing – and so having that conflict, I think he earns the respect or the beginning respect from Colonel Sheppard because he demonstrates a capacity that he hasnâ€™t shown thus far.
The very next episode of Broken Ties, although thereâ€™s plenty of adventure in the A story, thereâ€™s also kind of a B story of Woolsey getting used to the technology of the base.
And heâ€™s – you know, heâ€™s the kind of guy who will end a briefing room meeting and tell everybody what to do. And then because they are – heâ€™s a little late following everyone out the door, itâ€™s because heâ€™s collecting his notes.
Then he doesnâ€™t know how to get out – he doesnâ€™t know how to open the door. I mean, heâ€™s running the base but he doesnâ€™t know how to use the technology yet and literally canâ€™t get out the door.
And there are two or three quite humorous moments, I think, throughout that episode. So that – and what was gratifying for me as the performer is that I shows right off the bat that the character has the gravity in the dramatic situations but they can also use, you know, his settling in and his own character (foils) to get some, you know, some comic moments as well.
Linda Craddock: Okay.
Joseph Mallozzi: This is Joe actually. One thing I want to add with regard to those three comic beats – well the last one I donâ€™t want to give too much away, but itâ€™s a last scene were we find Woolsey in his quarters.
It was actually pitched out by Bob at the beginning of the season and he said you know what I think would be great for the character? I would love to do this and, you know, we thought about it. I pitched it out in the room. I said, you know, Bob pitched this and everybody loved it, and we worked it into Broken Ties.
So, you know, when you watch that moment just keep in mind that that was Bobâ€™s idea.
Linda Craddock: Oh cool. Well Bob, I have a friend of mine who is a reporter at a Knoxville newspaper and he just wanted me to compliment you – reach you back into your stellar career in sci-fi, on the Amazon Women on the moon. (Steve) absolutely loves you in that role.
Robert Picardo: Well thatâ€™s very kind. Thatâ€™s the kind of credit that normally leaps off someoneâ€™s resume. And I mean, leaps off and disappears.
Linda Craddock: Thank you both.
Joseph Mallozzi: Thank you.
Robert Picardo: Thanks.
Coordinator: Emma Loggins of FanBolt, you may ask your question.
Emma Loggins: Hi. I have a question for each of you. Iâ€™ll start with Robert. Are you worried at all about the shoes that you have to fill with Amanda being such a loved part of Stargate?
Robert Picardo: Of course. In the same way that when I got my role on Voyager as the artificial intelligence character in that cast, I was concerned that I would be measured against Brent Spinerâ€™s character because heâ€™d been the android on the Next Generation and now I was the hologram on Voyager.
But nonetheless, there were – we were going to mime some of the same issues and storylines. And I thought he had done that so successfully and was so popular that I would inevitably be measured against him.
Fortunately in that case, I was defined by the writers and as much as I could by my own work as differently as I could be from him, and it turned out to be a non-issue, I think.
And I am – I not only am a fan of Amanda as a character on the show — I think her work is wonderful — Iâ€™m a huge fan of her personally. She is one of the loveliest people you will ever meet and work with.
So thereâ€™s a lot – both as an actor and as a character, thereâ€™s a lot – itâ€™s a loaded situation to walk into. Fortunately, the rest of the cast has been very welcoming to me and also Amanda left, of course, for a spectacularly successful reason and that is to star in and produce her own new series for the SCI FI Channel.
So it was a very – although itâ€™s daunting to replace such a popular character, I like to think that Iâ€™m not replacing her, that Iâ€™m simply – you know, that sheâ€™s moved on.
Thereâ€™s always the hope that sheâ€™ll come back and make guest appearances on the show and that the, you know, that the audience will not only enjoy watching me in the role and develop it – to see a character whoâ€™s not really cut out to be a leader try to build himself into one.
Emma Loggins: Right. And Joe, I was wondering if you could talk about your favorite memory of Don Davis?
Joseph Mallozzi: You know, I – you know, itâ€™s – you know, Iâ€™m sure you guys all heard the very – the heartbreaking news that Don passed away on Sunday and I just heard about it yesterday morning.
And last night I just stayed up and I wrote up a special blog entry for him, in his memory. You know, I donâ€™t know if thereâ€™s a specific memory. I just – in this business – I mean, Iâ€™m sure all you guys know better than anyone that, you know, people come across great in sort of a public persona but when you actually sit down to meet them face-to-face, a lot of the time theyâ€™re not quite as, I guess, likeable and their on-screen personas.
With Don, you know, he was, you know – I think, you know, even – he had a bigger heart, was even nicer than the Hammond character that he played. You know, he was one of the first, you know, actors to warmly welcome me to the set way back in season four.
You know, we became friends. You know, I – over the course of my nine years of working on the show, Iâ€™d say that, you know, Iâ€™ve enjoyed working with a lot of, you know, prime people but I – but in all honesty, there are only three that I would be bold enough to call my friends at this point.
One was Chris Judge. The second is the guy whoâ€™s on the conference call with me today, Bob Picardo, and the third was Don. You know, he just – he was a very easygoing guy and, you know, I just – I guess one of the best memories I have of him is that the occasional (calm) that I attended.
And, you know, Iâ€™d see kind of the fans approach him with a certain amount of trepidation. You know, some fans were somewhat reticent to, I guess, come across as, you know, I guess fans and really impose on him.
But I mean, he was always incredibly welcoming and always very charmed, and charming to the fans. And, you know, when – you know, as I said in my blog, whenever fans would approach him, they would approach him as sort of, you know, being – in a sense that he was – you know, they were approaching General Hammond.
But once they got know him, they got to know really Don Davis who would be, you know, a very warm-hearted, incredibly self-deprecating man who, you know, sadly, you know, will be incredibly missed by, you know, not just obviously the fans but any and all – anybody who ever worked with him.
Emma Loggins: All right. Thank you both.
Joseph Mallozzi: Thanks.
Coordinator: Joshua Maloni of Niagara Frontier Publication, you may ask your question.
Joshua Maloni: Hey guys. Thanks for your time today.
Robert Picardo: Hey.
Joshua Maloni: Robert, with SG-1, obviously it was very successful. It was on the air for ten years. Now with Atlantis, I mean, you guys are going to mark your 100th episode this season.
To what do you attribute the success of the Stargate universe?
Robert Picardo: Well, I think – itâ€™s hard for me to separate my feelings from – Iâ€™m a guy who came from seven years on the competing franchise so when I look at what Stargate does well in comparison to where Iâ€™ve been before, I think Star Trek does some things very well.
Theyâ€™re – itâ€™s very philosophical and cerebral. But itâ€™s a – its formula is very different from, I think, the success formula that Atlantis does. Atlantis has – I think, does action adventure extremely well but most importantly, to me, it has this sort of breezy humor, this ability to wink at the genre that Star Trek cannot have.
Star Trek just has to be – has to take itself very seriously. Thatâ€™s the mold. And Stargate Atlantis and certainly Stargate SG-1, you know, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that Richard Dean Anderson was the first Stargate star on television and his characteristic humor.
It has the ability to really let the audience in on the good humor, the joke of the fact that we know weâ€™re going to save the world every week and that, you know, we can wink at that a little bit and have that kind of fun with it.
So I – to me, the offhanded humor of the show is what Iâ€™m enjoying the most and what I find most exciting having come from sort of a more rigid formula background.
Not to take anything away from my former employer and what it does – what it did well and continues to do well, but I think that that combination of action adventure and humor that, you know, thatâ€™s very much in the – sort of the Indiana Jones style is what I find the most fun.
Joshua Maloni: Right. And Joseph…
Joseph Mallozzi: Yeah.
Joshua Maloni: You know, with Stargate, obviously thereâ€™s so much back-story, thereâ€™s so much really good mythology. Iâ€™m wondering about attracting new fans. What is it about the series that would make it attractive to someone whoâ€™s never seen it, who wants to start picking it up in season five?
Joseph Mallozzi: Well one of the, you know, nice things about the show is that the, you know, despite the fact that it does have a significant amount of mythology, you know, itâ€™s not really serialized.
I mean, thereâ€™s an overall, you know, season to season arc but once – itâ€™s a very easy show to get into just because we do so many standalone episodes like, for instance, you know, the – you know, Whispers that we were referring to or, you know, last year, Harmony.
I mean, youâ€™ll always have a little connection to the past, you know, past episodes. But itâ€™s not really a show – you know, a serialized show where basically you really have to have watched the previous seasons or even the previous couple of episodes to know whatâ€™s going on.
You know, like I said, one of the great things about the show is the variety of the types of stories we tell. You know, serialized versus standalone is one, you know, example of that.
Joshua Maloni: All right. Thanks guys. Good luck with this season.
Joseph Mallozzi: Thanks.
Coordinator: Troy Rogers of The Deadbolt.com, you may ask your question.
Troy Rogers: Hi guys.
Robert Picardo: Hi.
Troy Rogers: I just have a couple quick questions for Bob. I was wondering how do you reinvent yourself as an actor after such notable roles?
Robert Picardo: Well thatâ€™s – I think that thatâ€™s what attracts – attracted me to become an actor is exactly that challenge, that every time out youâ€™re creating, you know, youâ€™re creating someone different.
So itâ€™s not so much how. Itâ€™s – Iâ€™m chomping at the bit to do that all the time. And whatâ€™s wonderful is when you get the opportunity to do it. So I donâ€™t look at that as – that is the fun part. So thatâ€™s never a chore.
And what I – Iâ€™m also hoping – this is sort of a reference to the previous question as well. Iâ€™m hoping – Iâ€™m certainly hoping to bring whatever Star Trek fans are out there that havenâ€™t sampled Stargate, you know.
And I donâ€™t think there are that many of them because thereâ€™s a lot of crossover in the fan bases. But Iâ€™m hoping that if they were fans of mine from Voyager that they will – and they donâ€™t know Stargate, that theyâ€™ll come and sample the show, you know, because of – because itâ€™s a great time to get into the series because theyâ€™re going to follow my characterâ€™s – my character is starting out this year – really starting out as the commander.
So itâ€™s – thatâ€™s a great window into the series if you havenâ€™t watched it before because youâ€™re going to experience it, you know, from the beginning of my tenure and my journey will kind of be linked to yours as a new fan.
So Iâ€™m hoping that those 77 Star Trek fans out there that havenâ€™t watched yet are all going to join – you know, are all going to be sitting in front of the TV on July 11.
Troy Rogers: Right on. Now in terms of Woolsey, how can leadership evolve out of someone whoâ€™s not a leader?
Robert Picardo: Well again, thatâ€™s the fun part. When I – when Joe first called me last November and said how would you like to assume the command, my initial response — which I donâ€™t think I said out loud — was youâ€™re kidding because I donâ€™t – I didnâ€™t think of the guy as the leader.
Heâ€™s the theorist. Heâ€™s the briefing – you know, heâ€™s a briefing room guy and not a real event guy. Heâ€™s not the guy whoâ€™s used to being in the fray. In fact, we had a certain amount of comic mileage on Atlantis by having him put in dangerous circumstances, and heâ€™s not a very heroic guy.
So I think that my initial surprise at the offer turned out – sort of then transformed itself into the most fun part of the challenge. Again, itâ€™s – you know, weâ€™re in a world now were everybody changes careers several times during their lifetime and supposedly our childrenâ€™s generation will change them as many as a dozen times throughout their lifetime.
So to see a guy in, you know, in middle life or, you know, or even a little behind middle life going – this is – you know, I now have to put aside everything Iâ€™ve done thus far and done successfully thus far, and try to reinvent myself.
Itâ€™s an interesting challenge and a fun one, both as an actor and a character. So Iâ€™m really having a ball. And itâ€™s exactly because heâ€™s an unexpected choice for this job, and thatâ€™s what I think is going to – you know, that the viewers hopefully will respond to as I have.
Troy Rogers: Excellent. Just one more quick thing and then Iâ€™ll let you go. Did you like Woolsey from the (start)?
Robert Picardo: Did I like Woolsey?
Troy Rogers: Yeah, did you like him or did he have to grow on you?
Robert Picardo: No, when I first met him – when I first made my convention appearance – his personal appearances that of course, all the science fiction actors make, after two or three appearances as Woolsey and the – this character – I would be asked questions about working on Stargate and theyâ€™d say I really like your character.
And I would say youâ€™re kidding because he was – I thought of him as, you know, as kind of a jerk early on. But again, the – his very second appearance which I think was called Inauguration, you saw that even though he rubbed people the wrong way and was seen as the – you know, someone who came in only to find out whoâ€™d screwed up and as I said, assign blame – that at least he was driven by a personal passion that was quite positive and ethical.
He really believed in the importance of civilian oversight of a secret military operation so that it wasnâ€™t – so that a rogue element did not come in and take it over, and would no longer serve the interest of, you know, of the public.
Troy Rogers: Right.
Robert Picardo: So that – the fact that he really – the audience responded, I think, right away to the fact that Woolsey meant well even though he – you know, even though he annoyed people.
And in subsequent appearances, the writers fleshed him out, gave him some foibles and made him, you know, I think gave him his own kind of weird charm so that I think that – and that journey hopefully will – is continuing right now in season five.
So I think that it was a bold thing for the producers to do, to pick a guy like this who did not – you know, doesnâ€™t seem to be necessarily the first choice for a leader, but to have him try to make himself into one, I think, is the really interesting and creative choice.
Troy Rogers: Excellent. Well thanks a lot, Bob.
Robert Picardo: Sure.
Coordinator: Mike Szymanski of SCIFI.com, you may ask your question.
Mike Szymanski: Hi guys.
Robert Picardo: Hey.
Mike Szymanski: Is the character, Woolsey – is he going to be – itâ€™s great to see that Bobâ€™s natural humor is going to – is coming out in his – in the portrayal, but is Woolsey going to be loosening up as this character arc and be less by the book as the season goes on?
Robert Picardo: Well I – Joe, do you want to take a crack at that first?
Joseph Mallozzi: Well I mean, you kind of answered that question with regard to Episode 2 where – I mean, he comes in and heâ€™s essentially appointed because he is a by the book guy and someone who the IOA feels they can trust to follow protocol.
And in his very first, you know, crisis situation in Episode 2 called The Seed, he throws the, you know, playbook out the window and quickly realizes that in the Pegasus Galaxy, you know, you canâ€™t just follow protocol in order to save lives and really make the right decision.
You know, you really have to react as, you know, as a situation dictates. You just kind of, you know, play it by ear and itâ€™s a little – itâ€™s like a little mini crisis for Woolsey at the episodeâ€™s end where he realizes heâ€™s – you know, he – rather than following protocol, he, you know, he went against protocol.
And even though the situation worked out, you know, thatâ€™s not the point because I mean, that – you know, he was not sent to the Pegasus Galaxy to just kind of play the cowboy.
And then over the course of the ensuing episodes, he – you know, he – you know, the lesson becomes even more obvious, you know, when Roman goes missing. And then itâ€™ll eventually culminate in an episode call Remnants – Episode 16 — weâ€™re not yet up to 15 now — where, you know, over the course of most of the season, I mean, he did come in as an interim leader.
And, you know, over the course of the scenes they begin to just kind of accept his as a new commander of the base. But then come Episode 15, heâ€™s suddenly up for review and the IOA is not exactly pleased with his performance because he was sent in to, just in a sense, be a pit bull but, you know, he wasnâ€™t following procedure and his job is at stake.
And I mean, I kind of liken it to that first – the second episode that Bob referred to, Inauguration, where he played Kinseyâ€™s pit bull and Kinsey, you know, sicked him on SG-1.
And he was more than happy to do his job so long as he thought he was doing the right thing. And then near the end of the episode, he realized, you know, my gosh, I mean, Iâ€™m not doing the right thing.
And rather than just, you know, play along with Kinsey, he actually goes to see the President and comes clean with him. And that was our first step towards, I guess, rehabilitating the character and making him a character that ultimately the audience could sympathize with and grow to like. And I mean, you know, you can argue back and forth whether heâ€™s leadership material, but I mean, I think, over the course of season five youâ€™ll come to, you know, realize that he is leadership material even though maybe he doesnâ€™t realize it himself.
Mike Szymanski: Okay. And Bob, have you seen any of the animation of Quantum Quest yet?
Robert Picardo: I had seen not the full animation. Iâ€™ve seen drawings and stuff, and I have recorded my part, and Iâ€™m proud to be in something thatâ€™s not only a great, I think, educational tool for kids but itâ€™s a – it stands alone as an entertainment as well and with an A-list of voice talents like Samuel Jackson and gosh, I canâ€™t even remember.
Mike Szymanski: John Travolta, yeah.
Robert Picardo: John Travolta, you know, itâ€™s got a really good list and I play one of the principles. I play the, you know, the sort of crusty, old resistance leader, I guess youâ€™d describe him. So I think itâ€™s a really good project.
Itâ€™ll teach kids something about quantum physics while theyâ€™re watching a really cool I-MAX animated film.
Mike Szymanski: And can you talk about Sensored coming out, too?
Robert Picardo: Sensored is a pretty creepy horror movie which I play the principle role in. My character seems to be, you know, your neighbor down the block who dresses like Mister Rogers in little sweater vest and keeps to himself.
But, you know, he seems to be – upon further examination, he is torturing one or more people in the basement and may be a CIA special, you know, special coercive techniques expert or he might just think that he is.
So itâ€™s a very interesting, layered and slightly crazy guy Iâ€™m playing and youâ€™ll be seeing it hopefully – Iâ€™d hoped the movie would be completed in time for this Halloween, but the post production schedule is taking a little longer. So youâ€™ll hopefully see it early next year.
Mike Szymanski: Okay, thanks.
Coordinator: Steve Eramo of TVZone Magazine, you may ask your question.
Steve Eramo: Hi Bob. Hi Joe. Good to hear your voices.
Robert Picardo: How you doing?
Joseph Mallozzi: Same here, Steve.
Steve Eramo: First question is for Bob – Bob, I wanted to find out if maybe you could talk a little bit about how Woolsey’s relationships with the other Atlantis characters has sort of developed further this year and is there one character youâ€™re especially enjoying seeing Woolsey interact with in season five so far?
Robert Picardo: Thatâ€™s a great question, Steve, because to me ultimately thatâ€™s what – you know, thatâ€™s what really makes the character interesting to the loyal viewer is how the new guys fits in and reacts uniquely with each of the other principle characters.
Off the top of my head, when Woolsey arrives, in a way heâ€™s kind of – not intentionally, but in a way heâ€™s coldest to Rachelâ€™s – to Teylaâ€™s character — Rachel Luttrellâ€™s character — because her husband – the father of her child is basically being kept in a refugee camp and heâ€™s quite insensitive to that, I think, personally and choosing, you know, security over looking, you know, really with an open heart at her specific situation.
And whatâ€™s interesting is that her character is the first one to reach out to him and really be kind to him even though he is, perhaps, least sensitive to her which says something about her character.
But also, I think, that that disarms him all the more, that she makes the first real gesture toward him. In the episode that we have already talked about — The Seed — at the end of that, I think he takes a major step in the relationship with Joe Flanniganâ€™s Colonel Sheppard by admitting to him tat he doesnâ€™t know if heâ€™s the right guy to run the base because heâ€™s already broken his own rules so many times.
But Joe basically says thatâ€™s, you know, thatâ€™s the only way to do it here and kind of gives him a, you know, a pat on the shoulder and says, you know, youâ€™re learning and youâ€™re – perhaps youâ€™re going to do better than we all thought – is the intimation of that moment.
I havenâ€™t really had – thereâ€™s been no particular kind of breakthrough moment, I think, with David Hewlittâ€™s character, Dr. McKay. I am a huge fan of Davidâ€™s and he cracks me up all the time on the set.
In fact, itâ€™s very rare that I work with an actor where Iâ€™m afraid Iâ€™m going to, you know, Iâ€™m going to break out laughing during a take. But he is as close as I get to making me lose it.
He is an extraordinarily funny guy, not only in the show but with these wonderful characterizations that he sort of breaks into in between takes. I havenâ€™t had a – I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve had like a – sort of a – necessarily a single pivotal moment with his character that leaps to mind.
But I think that there is a – I donâ€™t remember the number of it. Joe will have – Iâ€™m sorry, Joe Mallozzi will have to help me out with it. But there is a – oh, I think I did get it. I think itâ€™s Ghost in the Machine where Woolsey has to basically play his first poker hand.
When the chips are down and the danger is very high, he calls the bluff of the enemy and heâ€™s clearly – weâ€™ve never seen Woolsey be that kind of controlled and confident before.
And I think that that moment, I think, kind of catches Dr. McKayâ€™s attention as boy, this guy has something that we didnâ€™t expect him to have. And who else? Jason – whatâ€™s fun about relating to Jason as a character is because Ronon is set up as the man of few words and, you know, pure action.
Heâ€™s a natural contrast to Woolsey who is set up as a guy who canâ€™t stop talking and is not very experienced in the real situations. So Iâ€™m looking forward to, you know, to – in fact, in one of the – I think the first show after the break, I have some very amusing scenes with Ronon where Iâ€™m trying to get him to file reports the way heâ€™s supposed to and he hates to do that.
He hates to – obviously hates to write. He doesnâ€™t even want to dictate the reports, you know. So I think that there are unique relationships developing between Woolsey and all the other principle characters that I think have a lot of room there for future growth.
Steve Eramo: Oh thatâ€™s great to hear, excellent. And Joe, I just want to ask you a quick question.
Joseph Mallozzi: Sure.
Steve Eramo: Writing-wise, what do you think has been toughest — because Iâ€™ve been keeping track of your blog as well — what maybe has been the toughest episode so far for you to write this season, would you say?
Joseph Mallozzi: Right now, the one Iâ€™m working on now, Remnants…
Steve Eramo: Yeah.
Joseph Mallozzi: …which really is three different stories. I mean, thereâ€™s a story involving Sheppard no the mainland. Thereâ€™s a story involving Woolsey and a potential love interest, you know, in the midst of this probationary review that heâ€™s undergoing that clearly is not – looks like itâ€™s not going to go very well.
And then thereâ€™s a third story involving McKay and Zelenka that kind of explores a bit of their friendship or, you know, some would say non-existent friendship. But I mean, thereâ€™s still that mutual respect between the two.
When the – and it involves them discovering a device at the bottom of the ocean, just maybe a couple of hundred miles, you know, way from the city. And, you know, this – itâ€™s a script that jumps kind of back and forth between the three stories.
And, you know, as things progress, they inevitably come together and you realize that the three seemingly unrelated stories are in fact connected in a very big way.
And, you know, itâ€™s – there are a couple of instances that- particularly with regard to Sheppard – I mean, I canâ€™t – you know, I donâ€™t want to give too much away.
Steve Eramo: Sure.
Joseph Mallozzi: Because, you know, Iâ€™m not – I donâ€™t even know whatâ€™s going to make it to screen. But itâ€™s very dark with regard to the Sheppard story and there are a couple of instances that a couple of the writers, my fellow writers, balked at but a couple of other writers loved as well.
And I thought were very important to keep in the script that, you know, Iâ€™ll be interested to see what the network says when they read the script. You know, itâ€™s – you know, of all the scripts – I mean, every script is a challenge but I think this one in particular has been particularly challenging.
And, you know, weâ€™ll see what the network has to say and what the rewrite will look like.
Steve Eramo: Bob, Joe – as always, a pleasure. Thank you so much.
Joseph Mallozzi: Thanks, Steve.
Robert Picardo: Thank you.
Steve Eramo: Take care.
Coordinator: Michael Hinman of SyFyPortal.com, you may ask your question.
Michael Hinman: Good afternoon everybody. Thanks for taking the time to talk to all of us.
Joseph Mallozzi: Sure.
Robert Picardo: No problem.
Michael Hinman: I just – I had a couple of quick questions. I know that earlier, I think yesterday, that, you know, the Screen Actors Guild said that they donâ€™t seem to pursuing a strike, but if there was a strike, you know, would Stargate be as immune to it as they were with the Writers Strike or is this something that might actually affect it if this were to happen?
Joseph Mallozzi: Oh no, it will definitely affect the show. I mean, I think, you know – the majority of our, you know, our regulars are SAG. I believe we could do the show with Zelenka and Lorn which Iâ€™m sure, you know, a lot of the fans would like but after two or three episodes, I think they will get a hankering to see our regulars.
So I mean, in response to your question – yes, I mean, a SAG strike will affect production.
Michael Hinman: Because I mean, how far are you guys into – how far are you into fifth season? Is it just the first ten or are you guys actually working on the back ten now?
Joseph Mallozzi: Now, weâ€™re actually working on the back five. We prep Episode 15 when we come back, hopefully on schedule weâ€™ll shoot 15 and then weâ€™ll, you know, weâ€™ll finish up those last four along with our big 100th episode which will fall 20 this year.
Michael Hinman: And so like – I mean, but – so there was no like any special preparations or anything to maybe accelerate a shooting schedule before a strike?
Joseph Mallozzi: No. I mean, our shooting schedule — Iâ€™m sure Bob can attest to this fact — is fairly accelerated as it is. I mean, we shoot fairly quickly and weâ€™re always pulling up days. And, you know, I believe actually we were kind of scheduled to finish 13, but we managed to pull up an episode and get 14 in the can before the start of hiatus.
So, you know, we did the best we can. Hopefully, like I said, weâ€™ll come back and, you know, on schedule and shoot, and finish up the rest of the season, you know, on time.
Michael Hinman: And, you know, and with Amanda Tapping departing the show, when actually did you guys know that that was happening? I mean, how far were you in planning or maybe even breaking stories for the fifth season?
Did you know that or was there always kind of a plan to maybe move away from having the Samantha Carter character in the fifth season?
Joseph Mallozzi: No, no. There wasnâ€™t really a plan to move away. But I mean, I believe at the time we were – itâ€™s not exactly – you know, we were at the point where weâ€™re breaking stories I believe, but we were certainly spinning them when Amanda gave us the call.
And, you know, there was talk of maybe her bouncing back and forth between the two productions and thought it was just, you know, at the end of the day, totally unfeasible.
And we said look, you know, we love your character but you have to make the call and she made the call. I know it was a hard decision for Amanda and, you know, and, you know, we were sorry to see her go.
But I mean, as I said, it – you know, her departure also presented us with a great opportunity to bring Bob over and, you know, itâ€™s one thing Iâ€™ve said over and over again, you know, once, you know, Amanda made her decision clear and we knew that we werenâ€™t going to have her back for season five, there really was no short list of candidates to consider.
It was, you know, Bob Picardo. I – you know, I talked about it with Paul and, you know, he basically came to the same conclusion so I just picked up the phone and gave Bob a call in LA.
And I asked, you know, hey, what would you think about coming over and, you know, being a regular? And, you know, I was solely prepared for him to say are you kidding? You know, Iâ€™ve got a family here and, you know, in California, you know, spend a year with you guys.
But, you know, Iâ€™m happy to say that he was more than amenable.
Robert Picardo: You know what it is? Itâ€™s that my children are old enough and my wife and I have been married long enough that theyâ€™re happy to see me out of the house.
Michael Hinman: Thatâ€™s great. And Bob, just one quick question for you and Iâ€™m sorry itâ€™s not exactly Stargate related. Even I canâ€™t wait to see you in the fifth season. But it was announced a couple of days ago that Star Trek: The Experience in Las Vegas was shutting down and I was just wondering if you had any thoughts about that since that has been around for so long?
Robert Picardo: I – weâ€™ve been kind of expecting it because I think the hotel changed hands and I think theyâ€™ve been eyeing that large amount of retail space lustfully for some time.
So Iâ€™m not surprised. It will be – it breaks my heart a little bit to no longer be my own theme park ride. You know, once youâ€™ve had a – youâ€™ve had action figures for years. Thereâ€™s very few ways to go up.
And being a theme park attraction is one of the only ones. So I guess I just have to hope that Atlantis has a theme park ride in the future and that I will be at least some small part of it.
Michael Hinman: Excellent. Thank you both so much.
Robert Picardo: Sure.
Joseph Mallozzi: Thanks, Michael.
Coordinator: Jason (Griffin) of TVaholic.com, you may ask your question.
Carol Janson: How many more questions do we have in the queue?
Coordinator: After Jason, there are seven more.
Carol Janson: Bob and Joe, do you have time to answer them all?
Robert Picardo: Sure, Iâ€™m willing to – I can stick it out for another 15-20 minutes. No problem.
Joseph Mallozzi: Sure.
Carol Janson: Okay, great. Thank you. Those will be our last seven.
Coordinator: Jason, your line is open.
Jason: Great. A question for Joe – you were kind of talking about it just a little bit here in that last question but how do you try and maintain stability in the overall story you want to tell and the direction you want to take the show with the – so much change in the cast over the last couple of seasons?
Joseph Mallozzi: Well I mean, we go season by season really. You know, itâ€™s not like a, I guess, a bigger game plan in terms of several seasons down the line. We – at the end of every season, you know, we leave with usually our season cliffhanger and we kind of have more or less an idea of where we want to pick things up with the first episode.
Weâ€™re really not that much beyond that. And then, you know, hopefully we get the, you know, the call from the network that tells us weâ€™re coming back for another season.
And after taking maybe a couple weeks off, we come back together and, you know, we spin out ideas and we say okay, this is what weâ€™d like to do for the season.
Sometimes itâ€™s, you know, a very clear idea of what we want to do, you know, in terms of sort of a broad picture. In the case of season five, for instance, we wanted to open things up in the Pegasus Galaxy and thatâ€™s the game plan we went into for the season and, you know, as well, you know, introduce Richard Woolsey as the new commander, and deal with Teylaâ€™s role as a mother and adventure. Thatâ€™s another thing we wanted to deal with along with some various other smaller stories.
Season four was a little different in that we came in and we knew we wanted to give the spotlight to each character and have them have their, you know, own separate storyline.
So we started on kind of a micro-scale and worked our way to the macro where we came in and we pitched up story ideas and those story ideas kind of dictated what the general theme of season four would be.
You know, the Wraith/Replicator war being a big one and sort of the weakening of the Wraith over the course of the season. And of course, one of the storylines that was dictated to us was the Teyla pregnancy that – you know, Rachel came in at the beginning of the season and we had planned to sort of go a little dark side with her character, and, you know, make her a little more colorful.
And, you know, when she announced her pregnancy we thought okay, well I mean, we could either continue with the storyline and shoot around the pregnancy — which frankly, you know, always – never really works in television — or we could just embrace it and make her character pregnant which is what we did.
And I think, you know, the storyline worked out very well. It dovetailed nicely with missing Ethosian storyline and ultimately Michaelâ€™s designs on Teyla and the baby.
So, you know, we go from season to season. You know, I – hopefully, you know, the cast that we have now is a cast that weâ€™re going to keep for many seasons to come. But, you know, who knows?
Jason: Okay. And I put out a question to – a request to readers and the one question that came back they wanted to know was what is the future possibility of ever seeing Tori Higginson back as Dr. Weir again?
Joseph Mallozzi: To be honest, I think itâ€™s highly unlikely. I mean, you know, I kind of outlined sort of the situation where, you know, last season, you know, she came in and did a couple of guest spots for us and she was terrific, and she seemed very excited about the prospect of coming back.
And, you know, we pitched out the idea of the possibility of, you know, her coming back in and continuing the Replicator storyline which she was, you know, fairly – seemed very excited about.
And so, you know, Carl went off and, you know, he wrote the script and ultimately we contacted her about doing it. And, you know, initially she was a little reluctant and, you know, perhaps maybe thinking about her fans she was wondering if maybe there was a way to sort of create some sort of closure for her character.
And although I mean, we kind of wanted to keep the character alive, if basically she wanted closure then we would be willing to give her closure. And we told her, and then she was still reluctant so we ended up sending her a script to review, and ultimately she passed.
I mean, itâ€™s too bad. I mean, we wouldâ€™ve loved to have her come back and, you know, and see her no the show but I – you know, I think at this point kind of sheâ€™s moved beyond, you know, this show and is, you know, looking elsewhere. So, you know, we wish her the best of luck.
And like I said, she did a terrific job for us when she was here doing her three guest spots last season. And, you know, itâ€™s unfortunately we wonâ€™t see her again in season five. But, you know, again, you know, it was her choice and we respect her decision.
Jason: And one question for Robert – you mentioned earlier a, you know, breaking up on set with working with David Hewlett. Is there any anecdotes or funny stories that you could share from your time on the set so far?
Robert Picardo: Well, I – the problem is that he does this sort of slacker character, sort of a nerd, technology geek character that makes me laugh. But I canâ€™t quite do it myself. I suppose after Iâ€™ve been around him a little longer, Iâ€™ll have my own version of it.
But itâ€™s just – he just riffs as this character and it just makes me laugh. So Iâ€™m sorry I canâ€™t gratify you with my impression yet, but I need more time.
Jason: Thank you.
Joseph Mallozzi: Thanks.
Coordinator: Tory Mell of IGN.com, you may ask your question.
Tory Mell: Hey guys. Howâ€™s it going today?
Robert Picardo: Good, you?
Tory Mell: Fantastic. My questions – I have one for Joe.
Joseph Mallozzi: Yes?
Tory Mell: As one of the brain children behind the awesome 200th episode of SG-1…
Joseph Mallozzi: Yes?
Tory Mell: Can you tell us what you have in store for the epic 100th episode of Atlantis?
Joseph Mallozzi: Well I mean, Iâ€™ll be totally honest. You know, we all wrote our, you know, different segments in 200 but the overall idea for 200 came from Robert C. Cooper. And when he pitched it out in the room, I thought he was joking.
And then I thought it was crazy. But as it turned out, it was an episode that really worked out well and the fans loved it. I mean, in the case of SG-1, though, the 200th episode fell, I believe Episode 6 of the season.
And so, you know, we could do it a little more comedic, much along the same lines as we did for Episode 100 of SG-1 which I think fell Episode, I think 5 or 6 of season – I believe season four.
In the case of Atlantis, though, the 100th episode falls in the 20 slot and, you know, as much as, you know, the temptation is there to make it kind of an off-the-wall kind of, you know, weird, fun episode, you know, we really feel that because it is the, you know, season finale and hopefully not a series finale — but you never know — we want to go big and we want to go a little more serious.
So, you know, donâ€™t expect another 200 romp but expect a – I guess something big along the lines of – again, you know, I refer back to our season premiere, for back to last yearâ€™s season finale and I refer back to Be All My Sins Remembered last year as, you know, the second part of last yearâ€™s midseason two-parter.
So, not so funny but, you know, something that the fans will, Iâ€™m sure, really enjoy.
Tory Mell: Right. And are you guys – do you plan on shooting an alternative ending then for the season finale just in case, god forbid, it gets canceled?
Joseph Mallozzi: No, no, no, no. Weâ€™re feeling positive.
Tory Mell: Good. Thatâ€™s what I like to hear. Since I have a giant Stargate tattoo on my back, I figure, you know, keep the show alive forever.
Joseph Mallozzi: Tattoo.
Tory Mell: And also, since most of the earthly (flecks) are gone from our Galaxy, why hasnâ€™t Dr. Jackson made a permanent transition to Atlantis since we worked so hard on finding the city?
Joseph Mallozzi: Well thatâ€™s a very good question and hopefully thatâ€™s something that will be addressed in the midseason two-parter. But I mean, Jackson is a busy guy and I mean, he – you know, in our minds over the course of the many years that SG-1 has been going off world together, a ton of alien technology a lot of it is Atlantian origin or ancient origin.
You know, and as much as Danielâ€™s first choice would be to go to Atlantis, at the end of the day, you know, itâ€™s going to be a notice in rising – itâ€™s not really his call. And so long as the powers that be, you know, dictate where he can go and, you know, for research purposes where heâ€™s needed more like – is a more apt response, you know, heâ€™s kind of stuck in the Milky Way.
But I mean, you know, if we get a sixth season pick up, who knows what the future holds?
Tory Mell: Iâ€™m looking forward to seeing him. And just a quick last question for both of you – one for Robert, does Woolsey see a lot of action in the field this season?
Robert Picardo: I see quite a bit of action, yes and I wonâ€™t say that most of itâ€™s in the field. I would say that itâ€™s in the times when the action comes to Atlantis.
Tory Mell: Oh beautiful. And also – oh, go ahead.
Robert Picardo: No I mean…
Tory Mell: No.
Robert Picardo: In fact, Iâ€™ve got – as soon as weâ€™re back, I wonâ€™t say what it is but I think I have quite a bit of action one of our first days back.
Tory Mell: Youâ€™re thrown into the thick of it?
Robert Picardo: Yeah.
Tory Mell: And then the last one, do you plan on bringing — for Joseph — do you plan on bringing Jill Wagnerâ€™s character back?
Joseph Mallozzi: You know, we wanted to bring Jill Wagnerâ€™s character back for the midseason two-parter, but she was unavailable because she was working on, I think it was Wipeout on ABC.
Tory Mell: Yeah, Iâ€™m actually one of the contestants on that show.
Joseph Mallozzi: Cool, are you? Well good luck.
Tory Mell: Thank you. Yeah I know, I talked to Jill and I told her that she was awesome on the show and I was like, are they going to bring you back? And she was like well weâ€™ll see. So now Iâ€™m trying to find out.
Joseph Mallozzi: Well I mean, you know, we havenâ€™t killed her off and frankly, I mean, even if we had killed her off that, you know, from our track record, you know, it doesnâ€™t necessarily mean that sheâ€™s gone for good.
So I mean, no, sheâ€™s still out there. And, you know, again, hopefully if there is a season six thereâ€™s the potential to bring her back. So sure, yeah, why not?
Tory Mell: Right on. Awesome. Thank you guys so much and good luck with season five.
Joseph Mallozzi: Thanks.
Robert Picardo: Thank you.
Coordinator: Alex Davies of Flash News, you may ask your question.
Alex Davies: Hi. Earlier in the call you guys mentioned – you mentioned that there was going to be a, sorry, a horror episode. And generally, sci-fi and horror just produces really awful results sometimes.
How are you guys going to – are you guys – were you worried about that or how are you guys going to break that curse?
Joseph Mallozzi: No. To be honest with you, I have always been a horror fan first before Iâ€™m, you know, a sci-fi fan. And actually, my (writing), Paul, was always more the sci-fi guy and then, you know, we came onto Stargate and weâ€™ve been working on Stargate what feels like forever but itâ€™s only been nine short years.
So I mean, you know, as a fan of horror personally I always find that whatâ€™s scarier is what you donâ€™t see as opposed to what you do see. And so thatâ€™s kind of what we were, you know, playing with – kind of the hidden.
We use a lot of fog elements in this particular episode so thereâ€™s a lot of, you know, figures in the fog and thereâ€™s a lot of – I like to call them sort of pure, kind of like I guess, jump sequences where, you know, it sort of, it, you know, classic horror movie style.
You know, something jumps out at you and I think there are like a good dozen of those instances in this particular episode and, you know, Will Waring, our director, does a terrific job.
And, you know, from what Iâ€™ve seen of the directorâ€™s cut, itâ€™s going to be a lot of fun. And I think horror fans actually will enjoy it as well.
Alex Davies: Yes. Is there going to be some aliens versus predators and things like that?
Joseph Mallozzi: No, no. It wonâ€™t be – like I said, weâ€™ve done monster kind of movie in the past. Vengeance actually comes to mind and itâ€™s not a monster movie in that respect. I, you know, I think itâ€™s closer to the horror genre than the sci-fi genre.
Alex Davies: Oh awesome. And Robert, how do you feel about doing something of that style?
Robert Picardo: Doing a horror episode?
Alex Davies: Yeah.
Robert Picardo: Well my character is not featured in the one that weâ€™ve just – that was just mentioned, that particular one, Whispers. But I am – I love doing that. I did – one of my favorite Voyager episodes was called The Darkling where my – it was a Jekyll and Hyde, you know, episode for my character and I got to play the sort of pure evil version of my regular program.
So that was – thatâ€™s always a lot of fun for an actor to do. And especially since I – as I worked weeks on the Sensored horror film earlier in the year, I think my dark side is very close to the surface. So Iâ€™m longing to bring it out in the Pegasus Galaxy.
Joseph Mallozzi: You and horror have a very rich tradition, Bob.
Robert Picardo: Yes I do. I was going back to Joe Danteâ€™s The Howling. You know, Iâ€™m one of very few actors who has pulled a bullet out of his brain on camera.
Alex Davies: Oh, well there you go. Now do you wish you had been able to do the episode?
Robert Picardo: I beg your pardon? Do I wish Iâ€™d been able to be in it?
Alex Davies: Yeah.
Robert Picardo: Well sure because – but I – because it, you know, it was off – it was away from the base and, you know, traditionally Woolsey, you know, is minding the store at home, it – that particular one wouldnâ€™t have made sense had I been along.
But I certainly – you know, I – as an actor, it wouldâ€™ve been fun to be, you know, working with the fog machine for seven days, choking and gasping along with everyone else, you know, scraping the black crud off the top of your slice of tomato while youâ€™re eating a bagel.
Alex Davies: Right. Okay. Awesome. Thank you so much.
Robert Picardo: Thank you.
Joseph Mallozzi: Thanks Alex.
Coordinator: Jamie Ruby of MediaBlvd, you may ask your question.
Jamie Ruby: Hi. This is for both of you. What has been your favorite, either episode or scene to work on so far in either SG-1 or Atlantis?
Joseph Mallozzi: Bob, go ahead, if you want to. Yeah.
Robert Picardo: I think my favorite moment for the character prior to this season, prior to joining the cast as a regular, was an episode – it was a crossover episode between SG-1 and SG-1 (sic) where they went to the Pegasus – itâ€™s called The Scourge. Now wasnâ€™t that – that was a crossover?
Joseph Mallozzi: No, the crossover was Return 1 and 2 with (Rick).
Robert Picardo: Oh, forgive me then. The Scourge was the one with all the giant – with the – it was the…
Joseph Mallozzi: The bug…
Robert Picardo: …it was the Starship Trooper episode?
Joseph Mallozzi: Yes.
Robert Picardo: With the bug attacks.
Joseph Mallozzi: Yeah.
Robert Picardo: And it does feature Richard Woolsey running away from an attack of the bugs and seeing me run at a pace that Iâ€™m not aware that I could run (seemed right). To see me on camera running faster than I can actually run was a funny moment for me and it gratified me to see that.
Now, to make an emission as a new leader, my favorite moment is when heâ€™s running away from danger, itâ€™s probably a risky thing to start out with. Having said that, I think that my favorite moment that we have filmed thus far is in Joeâ€™s episode, Broken Ties – one of the comic moments that Iâ€™d rather not give away.
Joseph Mallozzi: So did you say episode or moment? I mean…
Jamie Ruby: Episode.
Joseph Mallozzi: I guess, you know, I – for SG-1 it was definitely, I think, Ripple Effect, the episode with the countless SG-1 alternate universe team that basically visited the base.
It was just a lot of fun, you know, sort of trying to keep track and, you know, having fun with the different, you know, variations of personas. For this season or on Atlantis so far, Iâ€™d say over the past couple of seasons, Iâ€™d say itâ€™s Broken Ties again, the episode that Bob mentioned.
Jamie Ruby: Itâ€™s called what?
Joseph Mallozzi: Broken Ties. And, you know, just because it has a lot of nice character moments for Ronon, for Teyla, but also for Woolsey. And, you know, like I said, this is the first episode where Bob really demonstrates his comic ability and he reveals himself quite nicely.
Jamie Ruby: Okay. Thanks. And quickly, is there any guest stars that we should be watching out for this season?
Joseph Mallozzi: In terms of big guest stars, I mean, itâ€™s – the big guest stars are going to be Daniel Jackson in the midseason two-parter, Michael Shanks of course. And then during the latter half of the season, I mean, weâ€™ve been talking about potential guest stars for 19 and 20 but we donâ€™t have anything solid yet.
I mean, we still have to sort of sit down and actually break the episodes. So Iâ€™d say stay tuned.
Jamie Ruby: Okay, thank you very much.
Robert Picardo: Thanks.
Joseph Mallozzi: Thank you.
Coordinator: Meredith Woerner of i09.com, you may ask your question.
Meredith Woerner: Hi. Yes, thank you. Real fast, I know. For Joe, I have a question – you mentioned earlier new races. Would you care to elaborate at all? If I heard you correctly, you mentioned new alien races might be coming to Atlantis?
Joseph Mallozzi: Yes. In fact, actually theyâ€™ll be coming in a big way in the midseason two-parter. Again, I donâ€™t want to give too much away, but what happens is Daniel Jackson comes to Atlantis because he is, you know, basically heâ€™s following a lead and he – David needs McKayâ€™s assistance.
And basically the two of them put their heads together and they make a discovery. And by making this discovery, they alert an alien race that also happens to be looking or has been, you know, in the midst of seeking out this device that they end up discovering.
And this alien race ends up coming to Atlantis and itâ€™s not a, I guess, a friendly house call you would say.
Meredith Woerner: Okay.
Joseph Mallozzi: And again, I donâ€™t want to give too much away about the race but, you know, theyâ€™re kind of an interesting player that we introduce in the midseason two-parter. We introduce kind of another new look alien this season in Episode 4, an episode called Daedalus Variations.
And there – actually, I love the look of this race and we only used them in Episode 4, but they are a race that I would love to bring back. And in fact, weâ€™re – you know, weâ€™re already discussing the possibility of bringing them back as well.
So I mean, two new looks and then other than that, itâ€™s really more sort of a dynamic shift with regard to the status quo in the Pegasus Galaxy. In an episode call Inquisition, the various civilizations that have been depressed by the race for so many years has finally come together to create almost a, I guess, a United Nation of the Pegasus Galaxy.
And, you know, one of their first orders of business is calling Atlantis to task for, you know, the trouble theyâ€™ve caused in the Pegasus Galaxy. (Chief) is amongst the issues being decided. The (wrote) the Wraiths way back in season one.
So I mean, thatâ€™ll be kind of a fun story. By the way, love your site.
Meredith Woerner: Oh thanks so much. We’re all big fans. My second question is, you know, Sheppardâ€™s done a lot of character development already that Iâ€™m seeing. I want to know more about his character.
Are we going to delve more into the demons of his past? I know there was a big surprise and is any of that going to be coming back this year?
Joseph Mallozzi: Yeah, in fact, actually – I mean, like I said, in season four we wanted to do an episode where we spotlighted – you know, we shined the spotlight on each character.
We did pretty much the same thing in season five and the episode Iâ€™m writing now, Remnants, is like I mentioned, kind of a dark episode with three different elements.
And the Sheppard element kind of delves into his character and kind of asks the question – hereâ€™s a guy who, you know, he – basically he comes to the Pegasus Galaxy to protect people, you know – comes all the way over to another galaxy and, you know, risks his life sort of protecting people.
And, you know, there are instances where, you know, heâ€™s not successful. I mean, he, you know, he lost, you know, Ford and he lost Weir. And you could argue whether, you know, itâ€™s really his fault or not.
But at the end of the day, what drives a guy like that and, you know, he – and, you know, frankly is it a healthy thing that drives the guy? And thatâ€™s, you know, one of the questions that is positive in Remnants that is kind of thrown in Sheppardâ€™s face that we kind of explore.
Meredith Woerner: Oh, then I finally have one more question for Rob.
Robert Picardo: Yes?
Meredith Woerner: I was hoping – I personally wanted to ask you what was it like to put on the commander outfit? How did you feel in it?
Robert Picardo: Well, I did – I caught myself looking in the mirror at myself in my new togs. You know, Woolsey has always been in a business suit and some pretty good looking business suits.
And I think that heâ€™s a guy who has probably spent the last 35 years of his career in a business suit. So itâ€™s a big change for him to suddenly be in the command uniform.
But I think I look all right in it. Itâ€™s – you know, itâ€™s a little – itâ€™s kind of like a jogging suit. I do feel like I should break out into a run down the hallway. But I do like it. And it also has some slight leisure suit tendencies, too. I feel al little bit like an escapee from a, you know, from a late Seventies, early Eighties movie.
Joseph Mallozzi: Youâ€™re styling…
Robert Picardo: But I look okay in it and, you know, Iâ€™m – itâ€™s very good to have a trim butt in science fiction. Iâ€™ll leave it at that.
Meredith Woerner: And finally, just Woolsey – who was the first punch against (the pull)? Are you going to throw any fisticuffs with any of the other character at Atlantis?
Robert Picardo: Oh thatâ€™s a great question. I havenâ€™t punched anyone in the face yet, but Iâ€™d like to now that youâ€™ve mentioned it. And mention it – the right guy to mention it to is on the line. So I havenâ€™t punched anyone yet but I will…
Joseph Mallozzi: Iâ€™ve taken note – Woolsey punches someone.
Meredith Woerner: You got to make it happen. Punch an alien. Thatâ€™d be fun.
Robert Picardo: No wait, thatâ€™s not true. I did hit somebody. I smacked somebody with the back of my – I think I hit somebody with the back of my hand or something. I do remember hitting someone either by mistake or – maybe that was on the – you know, that was at the craft service table so maybe itâ€™s not…
Joseph Mallozzi: Yeah, that what I was going to say. It was behind the camera.
Robert Picardo: Actually someone got between me and my donut, I think, now that I think about it.
Meredith Woerner: War behind the scenes of Stargate. Well thank you guys so much. Weâ€™re all such huge fans and thanks so much for your time.
Robert Picardo: Thank you.
Joseph Mallozzi: Thanks.
Robert Picardo: I have a quick question myself. Joe, am I allowed to mention – I have a friend who has recently been cast in an upcoming episode. Am I allowed to mention that?
Meredith Woerner: Please do.
Robert Picardo: Heâ€™s a man. Do – are we allowed? Is that a surprise, Joe? Are we allowed to…
Joseph Mallozzi: Has he been cast? Which episode?
Robert Picardo: I believe itâ€™s the one where they are visiting scientists or there are other visiting scientists. Do you know who Iâ€™m speaking of? An fan…
Joseph Mallozzi: Oh, has he been cast? I donâ€™t know. Actually…
Joseph Mallozzi: If the deal has been closed, then sure.
Robert Picardo: Oh, I believe – as far as I know, itâ€™s been – heâ€™s been cast. But I believe that Bill Nye, the Science Guy will be making an appearance.
Meredith Woerner: Great.
Robert Picardo: And heâ€™s one of my closest friends, so I think that – but according to him, heâ€™s…
Joseph Mallozzi: Yeah, well I spoke to (Carl Weber) our LA guy and then basically yeah, he did seem – he seemed interested. So yeah, itâ€™s great.
Robert Picardo: Yeah, as far as I know he wants to do it so thatâ€™ll be – even though Iâ€™m not too certain weâ€™re in the scene together.
Meredith Woerner: And he plays a scientist?
Robert Picardo: Weâ€™re very good friends, so thatâ€™ll be fun.
Joseph Mallozzi: That will be (cool place to visit)…
Meredith Woerner: And he plays a scientist? Iâ€™m sorry.
Robert Picardo: You first, Joe.
Joseph Mallozzi: Oh no, yeah.
Meredith Woerner: Did you say that he plays…
Joseph Mallozzi: Yeah, heâ€™ll be playing a scientist and hopefully thereâ€™ll be a couple of other cameos as well in that particular episode that weâ€™re working on.
Meredith Woerner: Okay.
Robert Picardo: And what was – did you have a follow-up question?
Meredith Woerner: No, it was asking if he was a scientist. But thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.
Robert Picardo: Sure.
Joseph Mallozzi: Thanks.
Coordinator: Richard Keller of TVsquad.com, you may ask your question.
Richard Keller: Good afternoon guys. How are you today?
Robert Picardo: Good.
Joseph Mallozzi: Very well.
Richard Keller: Good. Robert, I was looking at your sheet and I realized youâ€™ve been on a number of regular series for about – for over 20 years now. And I was wondering if thereâ€™s any element of your other characters that you played on Voyager or Wonder Years, or China Beach, or even Home Improvement that are in Commander Woolsey?
Robert Picardo: Well letâ€™s put it this way. I think one of my characteristics or my stock in trade as an actor is to play a character that you would – when you initially meet him, you donâ€™t think youâ€™re going to like him and then you grow to like him in spite of that first impression.
Whether itâ€™s China Beach where Iâ€™m pinching all the women on the butt in the first episode until Chloe Webb knees me in the crotch, and then I learn my first lesson about, you know, inter gender relationships – or the character I played on the Wonder Years who was so – on the surface, so annoyingly stupid and close-minded.
But there was something appealing about him as well and I think itâ€™s normally because of the sort of hints of neurosis that are just beneath the surface that endears the character to you anyway.
So I think that respect there is a commonality, perhaps that Woolsey does not have, as I said earlier, the best people skills but that he really – you can see that he really wants to do a good job and he really wants to change himself or to grow in any way he can to fulfill his new role as commander.
But he does not have – the interpersonal skills donâ€™t come easily to him. Heâ€™s more comfortable intimidating someone than necessarily, you know, working side by side in a – kind of a cooperative way because heâ€™s had to come into so many situations where he is the outsider who comes in to examine everyone elseâ€™s performance.
So he could not buddy up to people. That wouldâ€™ve weakened his position. So that he comes with a certain amount of – a certain kind of baggage from his former, you know, former role that now he has to set that aside and try to really develop friendships and working relationships with people that he normally wouldâ€™ve – he would want to have kept them at armâ€™s length in his previous, you know, identity as the evaluator.
So there are – I mean, I think – but to answer your original question, yes, thereâ€™s a commonality in that heâ€™s not a cuddly guy up front. But if you give him the time and you get to know him, I think that heâ€™s the kind – that he does grow on you and you see his struggle, and that you sympathize and enjoy him.
Richard Keller: Okay. And actually, I had only one more question. It was about Comic-Con and this is for either of you. Do you know from – who from Stargate Atlantis is going to be appearing during that convention?
Joseph Mallozzi: I think Michele would probably be able to field that one. Michele?
Michele Rosenblatt: Iâ€™m sorry, can you repeat the question? I only heard part of it.
Richard Keller: Oh we were just – who from Stargate Atlantis will be appearing at Comic-Con?
Michele Rosenblatt: We have the lovely Robert Picardo. We have Joe Flanigan, Jewel Staite, Brad Wright and Martin Guerra will be the moderator.
Richard Keller: Thatâ€™s great. Thank you very much.
Michele Rosenblatt: You’re welcome.
Coordinator: Linda Craddock of SliceofSciFi.com, you may ask your question.
Linda Craddock: Yes, hi again.
Robert Picardo: Hello.
Linda Craddock: Bob mentioned challenges being presented to Woolsey in Atlantis. So Joe, my question for you would be tell us some of the challenges you faced with eminent threat on Atlantis with (now an infant)?
Joseph Mallozzi: Well, you know, really the – Iâ€™m trying to think about how best to field this question because the real threat – like – thereâ€™s an instance where the infant is threatened but it only comes later on in the season – the back half of the season.
Up until then, itâ€™s really more of a struggle. Weâ€™re kind of exploring the struggle that I guess Teyla has to go through as sort of a mother and an off world adventurer.
And very early on, I mean, Bob mentioned the fact that Teyla is one of the first, you know, members of the team to actually open up to him and really approach him, and thereâ€™s a really nice scene in Broken Ties.
You know, the B story or one of the B stories, or I guess B or the C story, involves her as sort of a new mother having to come to a decision regarding her future with the team.
And, you know, the person she actually goes to talk to, to, you know, I guess, you know, discuss the situation with is Woolsey. And Woolsey ends up being surprisingly, you know, sympathetic and, you know, kind of opens up a bit to her as well and in kind of a surprising little scene that I thought, you know, worked very nicely.
And we also get to see a little bit of Woolseyâ€™s baby handling skills in that episode as well. I mean, with regard to a specific threat to the baby, not until the back half.
Linda Craddock: Not necessarily to the baby, but just as an overall threat to Atlantis under attack or something – that type of challenge.
Joseph Mallozzi: Yeah, I mean, you know, itâ€™s always there and thatâ€™s something that basically Teyla has to sort of address very early on. I mean, not only, you know, is it a threat to her child on Atlantis, but the fact that every time she heads off world thereâ€™s a chance she may not come back.
And really, you know, as a responsible parent, you know, does she have a right to be going off world when, you know, sheâ€™s got, you know, a child depending on her.
Linda Craddock: Okay, thank you.
Joseph Mallozzi: No problem.
Coordinator: Our last question does come from Jamie Ruby of MediaBlvd. You may ask your question.
Jamie Ruby: For both of you – whatâ€™s both your most favorite part of working on the show and your least favorite part?
Robert Picardo: Iâ€™m sorry, I didnâ€™t get that.
Joseph Mallozzi: Most favorite part and least favorite part of working on the show.
Robert Picardo: Oh, all right. Let me see, I – you know, I donâ€™t mean to sound like a Pollyanna. I havenâ€™t encountered my least favorite part yet. I would say, you know, as I said, Iâ€™m now in – back in a jumpsuit so I find myself secretly comparing the Star Trek outfit to the Stargate outfit.
Star Trek, for years, I had no pockets which was very difficult to deal with. There was more than one take where I had to eat a phone number right before because there was no place to put it.
I almost sent a pencil into one of my castmateâ€™s eyeballs by hiding it up my sleeve and then gesturing during the scene, and it flew out and hit them in the head. So there were all sort of things that I hated about wearing that suit.
Apparently, zippers donâ€™t exist in the 23rd Century or 22nd Century. Theyâ€™re all hidden. They all have hidden heads. So if we had a zipper head appear, we had to re-shoot the scene.
Now, Iâ€™m working in the present and Iâ€™m allowed to – weâ€™re allowed to have zippers. Iâ€™m even allowed to have pockets. So thatâ€™s one of my favorite things about my new job.
Joseph Mallozzi: Zippers and pockets, thatâ€™s great.
Robert Picardo: I can hide my script pages right on my body which is great and as I said, I havenâ€™t really – I havenâ€™t found the thing that I hate the most yet but give me time.
Jamie Ruby: Okay.
Joseph Mallozzi: Yeah for me, I mean, Iâ€™ve often said – you know, it may sound like a clichÃ©, but I mean, itâ€™s always the people. You know, these individuals I work with, you know, I spend more time with than my wife.
You know, I mean, I go – you know, Iâ€™m in early. Iâ€™m, you know, I leave late and, you know, by the time I get home I spend maybe three, four hours with my wife before Iâ€™m, you know, off to bed and, you know, back with my extended family on Stargate.
And, you know, over the course of the, you know, the years – I mean, you go year to year and itâ€™s been nine years. And you develop friendships. And, you know, I think more than anything that, you know, is the best thing about working on this show.
Itâ€™s a well oiled machine. You know, people get along and I mean, I think thatâ€™s, you know, really important. As for the thing I least like about the – you know, itâ€™s hard to say.
I wouldâ€™ve said last season when I was off in Widgeon Park where Iâ€™d be – you know, Iâ€™d have to wake up at 4:30 to get down to Widgeon Park to – you know, as sort of an on set presence for the episode, Harmony.
That was kind of unpleasant initially. But then after awhile, I kind of, you know, grew to enjoy it. And I really – you know, this is something, you know, Iâ€™m talking about with, you know, with a guy on the conference call who Iâ€™m sure gets up at 4:30, what is it every day? What time do you wake up, Bob?
Robert Picardo: You mean every day when Iâ€™m shooting?
Joseph Mallozzi: Yeah, when youâ€™re shooting.
Robert Picardo: Oh, itâ€™s not that bad. Itâ€™s much worse when you have to wear a rubber head in science fiction. But no I mean, on a Monday you might have to get up at 4:30 or 5:00.
Joseph Mallozzi: Right.
Robert Picardo: But thatâ€™s as bad as it gets. It tends to get later as the week goes on. I forgot to say – I donâ€™t mean to interrupt, but I wanted to mention one other significant difference in my new job versus my old science fiction job.
Itâ€™s not a secret, I think that the Star Trek producers were kind of ivory tower producers who rarely came down to the set to see the actors. In fact, if the producers came to the set, the actorsâ€™ response was normally uh-oh, you know, what did we do wrong.
But the Stargate producers visit the set all the time and thereâ€™s a very relaxed, you know, kind of easygoing atmosphere. Theyâ€™ll pop down and say hello to us. Theyâ€™re not located on the other side of the lot the way the Star Trek ones were at the other end of the Paramount lot, as far away from the sets as they could possibly get.
Theyâ€™re just upstairs in the, you know, in the – in our main stage, the production office is. So I really like that – that it – what Joe described is, you know, the extended family thing is much more apparent to me here because they really do, you know, mom and dad really do come down to visit the kids on the set. And thatâ€™s, you know, thatâ€™s – that makes it a very relaxed atmosphere.
Jamie Ruby: Cool. Can you tell me who your favorite people to work with are since youâ€™re mentioning that?
Robert Picardo: You know, I get along very well with all the cast members and theyâ€™re all – theyâ€™re very unique personalities, so they all really – you know, getting to know each of them has had its own joys already.
But as I said, David really cracks me up. David makes me laugh a great deal, so itâ€™s always a pleasure to work with him. And Jason has his own very unique, bizarre sense of humor so he makes me laugh a great deal as well.
But Joe and Jewel, and the other – the recurring players that – David Nykl is also a treat to work with. So itâ€™s really – you know, itâ€™s been fun to get to know everyone and I, you know, I really enjoy playing scenes with all the other characters.
Jamie Ruby: Thanks. What about you, Joe? Who are your favorite people?
Joseph Mallozzi: You know, I have to say – I mean, I really canâ€™t take favorites. And to be honest with you, I mean, the first couple years I was on Stargate, I really didnâ€™t go down on set just because, you know, as sort of the new guys we were – you know, we wanted to look busy and we were actually very busy because Paul and I would average about, you know, seven scripts out of the 22 we would write every season.
So I mean, we were in our office either spinning, writing or re-writing. And it wasnâ€™t until, I mean, you know, in later years that I actually went down to the set.
And, you know, here was a guy who had been working on the show for so many years, you know, finally getting to come down and meet the crew. And, you know, just – you know, the writer/producers, everyone in the office is great, the actors, you know, a pleasure to work with.
But I mean, and particularly the crew who are, you know, always the unsung heroes. There are a lot of, you know, great personalities on the crew and these are guys who have been with the show, guys and gals who have been with the show for, you know, sometimes thereâ€™s, you know, almost like 12 years.
And, you know, it – theyâ€™re also a real pleasure to work with. Itâ€™s – you know, I donâ€™t think I could actually specifically choose, you know, any particular individual that I enjoy working with.
Jamie Ruby: Okay. Well thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us.
Robert Picardo: Thank you.
Joseph Mallozzi: Thanks.
Carol Janson: Well I must thank you – both of you for your time, for your interesting answers, and for all the people on the call who certainly had interesting questions.
Iâ€™ve done several hundred calls and I want to tell you this is the longest call that weâ€™ve ever done.
Michele Rosenblatt: I think I agree with that definitely…
Joseph Mallozzi: Well I thought you were going to say this is the best call.
Carol Janson: And…
Robert Picardo: No, this was the longest call. Thank you.
Carol Janson: The longest call but…
Michele Rosenblatt: Weâ€™ve made history, guys.
Carol Janson: Right. But this just shows the dedication and the interest of the sci-fi fans and they really are into these shows. And everybody came, as I said before the call started because they wanted to be here.
And thank you very, very much, Bob and Joe for your generosity with your time and your thoughtful answers. And good luck with the coming season.
Robert Picardo: Thank you.
Joseph Mallozzi: Thank you.
Robert Picardo: Thank you very much. Michele, I want you – this is Bob Picardo. I want you to know that for old timeâ€™s sake, I jotted your phone number down and swallowed it.
Michele Rosenblatt: Boy, that makes my day.
Robert Picardo: And Iâ€™d like…
Carol Janson: All right.
Robert Picardo: Bye.
Carol Janson: Thanks everybody for being here today.
Michele Rosenblatt: Thanks guys.
Carol Janson: And tomorrow at 10:00 am, a call with Jim Cramer who is going to talk about, what else, making money.
Robert Picardo: I love Jim Cramer.
Carol Janson: Yes. And NASCAR and how everybody can make money, and get rich. Donâ€™t we all want to do that?
Robert Picardo: Iâ€™ll have to come back for that one.
Carol Janson: Yes. Okay.
Michele Rosenblatt: Bye guys.
Joseph Mallozzi: All right.
Robert Picardo: Thanks. Joe?
Joseph Mallozzi: Yeah?