millari: (Aussie_AJ)
[personal profile] millari
More to come! Must sleep!

PreCon Stuff
Slept in a little the first day of the Con and missed the morning BSG panel with Mary because desperately needed to catch up on having had literally zero sleep the day before rushing to get here and take a 6 am flight. It was either that or get sick for the rest of the con. Something had to give, and that turned out to be Mary McDonnell. But I knew I’d see her tomorrow, so I wasn't too broke up about it.

Our hotel turned out to be astoundingly nice for 188/night: A two bedroom suite with ridiculous full kitchen and even a washer/dryer (I kid you not.) Totally over the top, but it was great because I could wash clothes and I could have the Squeers over no problem. Registration sucked so hard - 3 hours in line, WHUT? This was only made bearable by the presence of [personal profile] blue_crow and [ profile] blaaksable, whom I’d met earlier in the day when we arrived since they were staying in the same hotel as us.

Terry Gilliam Stuff
[ profile] grinninfoole and I headed saw the Terry Gilliam panel on Friday, which was supposed to last an hour, but because he was so nice, actually lasted for two hours and fifteen minutes. Gilliam was GF's idea; I never would have thought to go to the panel, but he deserves props for insisting on going, because Terry was so entertaining. He told us all about the making of his new film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and it was especially interesting to hear that this was Heath Ledger's last film, not Batman. Batman had been finished, but Ledger died in the middle of filming Parnassus. They ended up creating this conceit to change the character's face repeatedly and brought in Jude Law, Johnny Depp and I think Colin Farrell to play Heath Ledger's part at various points in the movie. It was interesting how Gilliam talked about how he considered himself a friend of Ledger's, and all the actors who were brought in to finish the role as Ledger's friend as well, how they were all determined that Heath Ledger's last role not end up "in the dustbin somewhere".

And he talked about what a generous guy Ledger was. It all sort of makes me convinced that Ledger's death was an accident. I couldn't imagine him offing himself deliberately after hearing all that, when he knew how many people he'd be leaving screwed behind him.

Gilliam also talked about the absurd constraints of the Hollywood movie industry, which is so risk averse, and doesn't understand how to make films that aren't either $22 million or else $100 million, and nothing in between. Also talked about "The Fisher King" which he said when he first saw the script, had a terrible ending, in that it was supposed to end like an action movie, with car chases and stuff. This was not the writer's fault, but the studio's who had gotten hold of the script and insisted on tinkering with it. So Gilliam went to the writer (forget his name) and asked him if he had original versions of the script. When he saw what the writer had originally intended, he found the movie he'd been attracted to in the first part of the script. So they brought all that stuff back and that's the Fisher King we got in the end.

When it came time for Q&A, the mics were echoing so bad, Gilliam couldn't understand people at all, so in a really endearing move, he went and crouched at the edge of the stage for each question and had each questioner come to speak to him face to face. He even gave out complimentary DVDs to some of them! He was absolutely lovely. He talked about the freedom of Python, about how his new movie feels like the best bits of everything he's ever learned in his career. (The clips *did* look AMAZING.)

He talked about how in "Brazil," he was obsessed with getting bigger and bigger ductwork to put in the movie. People would keep coming in with piping and he'd be like, "No, bigger." He said he's kind of fascinated by the idea of plumbing, actually, how we pump all this stuff into and out of our lives, and it's largely an invisible process. He also talked about how when he made "12 Monkeys", he got the Writers Guild of America to change its allowed vocabulary. Apparently, the WGA before then did not allow the language on credits, "Inspired by..." You could only say, "based on..." which he said was ridiculous because "12 Monkeys" wasn't based on anything, it was inspired by a French film, La Jetee. He finally insisted and got the WGA to incorporate the "insipired by" language into its allowed crediting vocabulary.

Meeting AJ #1
Around 3:30 pm, I went to the Walk of Fame to get AJ's autograph. I hadn't realized that the stars basically are paid to be on panels, and then pretty much any time they're not on panels, they're expected to be at the Walk of Fame, signing stuff. (They keep them really busy the whole weekend. Basically he gets a lunch and dinner break, from what I could tell, and they keep the actors on duty from about 10 am to 7 pm.) I had misunderstood and thought there were specifically scheduled times for him to do that, but in fact the times quoted in the D*Con catalog were the only times when he WOULDN'T be on the Walk of Fame because he was scheduled for a panel. So when I got there "early" and walked towards the signs I saw with the BSG names, I was thrown off by the glimpse I got of him through the crowd. I'd planned on having a half hour to compose myself into something not resembling a blithering fangirl! I actually walked off to a corner and tried to prepare my photo and myself emotionally, because I didn't want a repeat of when I met Aaron Douglas, and lost practically all capability of speech, much to my surprise.

AJ didn't have long lines like some of the other bigger stars, but he had people coming up to him pretty constantly. I only had to wait for two people in front of me, basically, which was just the right amount for me to figure out what I was going to say. He was very matter-of-fact and friendly. He recognized the photograph I'd brought for him to sign of Felix on the stand at Baltar's trial and called it was a pivotal moment for Felix. He signed it pretty generically, "all my best" I think, but it was neat that he signs it both with his real name and as "Felix Gaeta".

I asked him if he minded if I asked him a question about BSG and then asked him if he'd ever thought in the last scene he shared with Baltar about what Felix had been thinking Baltar was going to say to him, you know, in that moment when Felix cuts him off, and then says, "And no religion, please." It seemed like AJ hadn't worked out something specific in his mind, but he did say that basically, Felix hadn't wanted any "big confession" from Baltar, that Baltar was trying to do that. Felix was okay with where he'd ended up, he said, and he didn't want any religious counseling from Baltar. I then asked if he thought Felix was an atheist, and he thought for a moment, and then said, "Yes, definitely." That was Encounter One. :)

I was a bit nervous, but overall, I was articulate, (certainly waaay more articulate than I had been with Aaron Douglas at NY Comic Con), and he made it all very normal. I definitely walked away not feeling at all embarrassed, even though I wondered in the back of my mind whether or not when he saw the picture I gave him whether he was thinking immediately, "Ah...slasher." I really shouldn't have worried, as I'll mention further down.

Afterwards, [ profile] fuschia happened to text me as I was decompressing outside the Walk of Fame, asking presciently:

[ profile] fuschia: "Seen AJ yet?"
[ profile] millari: OMG, your psychic! Just finished meeting him!
[ profile] fuschia: Squee!! How was it??
[ profile] millari: I did not make an overt fool of myself (phew!). I GOT HIS PERMISSION TO DO VIDEO FOR [[ profile] irradiatedsoup] TOMORROW MORNING!
[ profile] fuschia: OMG YES!! Did he smell nice? *g*
[ profile] millari: I had no camera, so no excuse to get close enough and tell ;) Maybe tomorrow...
[ profile] millari: Oh, and I got to shake his hand and make him laugh! *dies*
[ profile] fuschia: Sweet!

The BSG panels I saw (all but two, I think) were really, really great. I'm sure they're probably already on YouTube, but I'll give you my highlights anyway. My highlights will be pretty heavy on the AJ fare, FYI:

The AJ Stuff:
AJ turns out to be a total self-described "class clown" and took every opportunity on the panels to crack everybody up. It's starting to get jumbled up in my head what he said at which panel, because I didn't take any notes, but he said that he was more than happy with the way his character arc played out. He felt the mutiny was a great story to do, and he loved getting to be in charge of the ship and thought it was totally awesome when he got to be in the CIC and give a few orders. He got a “very nice” call from Ron Moore informing him of the Mutiny arc, and did not find out “in the makeup trailer like some people...”

He also made some hilarious comments and played off the other actors on the panel sometimes. Like when the moderator (I think) asked everyone what was the biggest surprise of the series that they found out about their characters, AJ jumped in and quipped that he could summarize (pointing to Kate Vernon, Michael Trucco, himself and Michael Hogan), saying, "Cylon, Cylon, gay, Cylon ..."

When asked what was the favorite thing their character got to do he said gleefully. “I TOOK OVER THE FRAKKING SHIP!” When asked what his character didn’t do but should have, he agreed with Trucco on getting more sex, but also said “I should have let her (Mary) steal the election.”

Asked by a fan if he had pets, he quipped that he had none but might get a turtle for lawn maintenance (I’ve been told this is a reference to Snapper lawnmowers.). Another question about practical jokes on the set led to him claiming (I think jokingly) that he had worn a thong one day in a scene with Kandyse (to throw her off, I presume), but she claimed not to remember it. I'm not entirely sure AJ was actually serious. :) He was also very sweet to Kandyse when on one of her answers, she went off on this sort of tangent about how she knew what it was like to be in love with somebody that didn’t love her and loved someone else. It seemed to be getting her choked up, and I noticed that AJ gave her kind of a little quick comforting arm rub.

And remember how I was embarrassed that he might spot me as a slasher with the picture I brought to sign? I really needn't have worried. Throughout the weekend, he was more than willing to talk about Baltar/Gaeta UST and strongly implied that they probably had sex on New Caprica(!), calling Felix "the Smithers to (Baltar's) Burns" and saying that he'd been playing Felix as in love with Baltar from almost the beginning, that the writers only finally caught up with him at the end of the series. At the panel on Sunday, the moderator asked him if he thought had things gone differently on New Caprica, could Felix's mancrush on Baltar gone differently/farther. Chuckling, he said Felix would never have wanted to be one of Baltar's "hot and cold running interns", but also noted that Baltar was a man of such voracious appetites, so interested in every aspect of sensual pleasure, that all sorts of stuff must have happened on Colonial One, wild parties and such. The moderator made him laugh again when he quipped, "So, what happens on New Caprica, stays on New Caprica?" and AJ agreed, saying, "Who knows what happened on that airplane?"

Mary McDonnell then jumped in, totally deadpan disapproving, "On my airplane?"

He also responded more seriously to a question from an audience member about the reveal in the webisodes that Felix was gay. He repeated some things I'd heard before about worrying at first that the reveal would come across as "token" (I think he meant because it was so late in the game and in the webisodes, not the main show), but that in the end, he was pleased with how matter-of-fact the reveal about his gayness and the relationship between him and Hoshi had been. When the moderator asked him, "Felix Gaeta: Traitor or Hero?", he responded emphatically, definitely, hero, although a tragic one, which made all us Squeers in the audience together roar with approval, but other people in the audience too, I was glad to see. He also acknowledged that Gaeta was a terrible judge of character.

People also applauded AJ when I asked my question, basically whether there was anything cut from the series that he wished had stayed in . Of course, I meant scenes, but one of the female cast members (Mary, I think? I was a little nervous up there and don't remember) quipped before AJ could answer, "His leg!" That got a big laugh for a moment. AJ said he was going to give me "a sort of reverse answer to your question" and told the story about how he and James Callis fought for that last scene between them in "Blood on the Scales", that previously there was just going to be the shot of Adama/Roslin's reunion, I think, and then just him getting shot. He was really glad that scene made it in and felt like all the scenes he'd wanted in, "made it in" and he was pretty happy with how his story ended up.

At one of the panels AJ attended, everyone up there was asked what they would do with their character if they had a chance to meet them. People had a bit of hard time coming up with something, since as Hogan said, it was a tough question. But AJ did say that if he got to meet early Felix, he'd tell him to loosen up a bit. Later in the show, he said, he didn't even know. "I'd walk the other way," he said.

Not-AJ People
Kate Vernon's first panel on Friday had her pretty spacey, I'm not sure why. I think she was very tired. She sometimes forgot points she was making, lost track of questions, but it was all very endearing, not at all annoying. And at one point, her daughter called on her cell phone while she was on the panel, and she was like, "I'm sorry. I have to take this. My daughter is getting on a plane right now." She then had an adorable phone call with her, telling her that she was talking to about 2,000 people right now and putting the phone on speaker and up to her microphone. She had her daughter say hello and then told the audience to say hi to her daughter. We all shouted "Hi" at her and then Kate talked to her some more. generally fussing in a motherly way over her daughter by phone and telling her she loved her. She then hung up, saying that we had just made her daughter's day.

She also piped up when Hogan was asked whether or not Adama and Tigh have a bromance going on and he didn't want to touch the question. She totally agreed that they had a bromance, saying that a big part of what made Ellen the way she was was that she craved attention. (She said she's not at all like Ellen in that she doesn't walk into a room and all eyes gravitate to her.) She felt that Ellen could never find a way to get in between Adama and Tigh's connection. Yet in another panel, she also said that she felt like while Tigh and Ellen couldn't seem to live with each other or without each other, they had this 2,000 year old romance that was undeniable, that they were meant to be together. She also said she would have liked Ellen to share a drink with Roslin, but laughed and said she wasn't sure Roslin reciprocated that desire.

Kate's answer to the what would you do if you could meet your character question was interesting. She said she'd like to find out if Ellen was a friend to women, because she doesn't know, but suspects that she isn't. She also said that she would like to take Ellen out to a yoga class and generally take her away from all the things that make her so dysfunctional, to see how Ellen would do in a different environment.

Her and Hogan were really adorable, very huggy, very teasing at times about the crazy ride that their two characters have been on throughout the show. She gave him a hard time about having killed her and then come back to find out that he had impregnated “a Six of all people!”. Hogan defended Tigh’s actions with Caprica Six at some point by saying that it took him a while to understand why he was visiting this Six in the brig, but eventually he realized that she was the only one he had access to who he felt could explain to him what he was. I must admit I don’t remember as much about what Hogan said, but I imagine it’ll be out on YouTube soon anyway.

Mary got some pretty damn intelligent questions at the panels I saw her at, including one about how the show might have used books as a symbol for A/R’s relationship. She seemed really entranced by the question, thanked the asker and then definitely agreed that books were a good symbol for their relationship. She then made a lovely double entendre about how Adama had read to her *really slowly* and she’d LIKED it. :D She also got a really interesting, slightly creepy question about what Mary thought might have happened to Laura in the Cylon detention cells of New Caprica. She said she thought that Gaius Baltar had protected her from much of anything happening to her because he had this weird love-hate, competitive/protective thing with Roslin. She thought he liked using his power to protect her, so she thought that Roslin didn’t get any of the treatment that say (pointing to Hogan down the panel) that *this guy* did. But she was very lonely and isolated, she said, had a lot of time to think, I believe she said too. She also had a lot of fun with the Adama/Tigh bromance questions that came up at the panels, affirming Kate’s opinion that they were totally a bromance. She was so funny. She totally won my heart and put it in a box with pretty bows on it this Con.

Trucco and Carro were fun when they did get to talk, but didn’t get nearly as many opportunities. Trucco talked about how Kara and Sam had this amazing “connective tissue” between them that really kept them together despite all their ups and downs, and for him his last line, “See you on the other side” really summed up their relationship as far as he was concerned. Also, his favorite line he ever got to say was, “Lighten up. It’s only the end of the world.” When Kandyse joked that she’d been secretly hoping the Quadrangle of Doom would lead to her character and Anders having tit-for-tat sex. :D When AJ (I think) quipped, “It’s not too late...” Trucco and McClure did a big mock sloppy makeout kiss.

Carro told a hllarious and heartbreaking story about how one day she was in LAX and called her roommate and her roommate was super excited because she’d opened Carro’s script for “The Passage” and was like, You’re ALL OVER THIS SCRIPT! And Carro was in the middle of LAX on her cell phone all excited, until she starts hearing all this crazy stuff in the script - about her past, that she was a drug dealer, that she had a secret past, etc. Suddenly she got a bad feeling about it and asked, “Could you please just check the last page of the script to see if I’m alive or not?” And her roommate doesn’t watch BSG and knows nothing, so obliviously says to her in excitement, “Oh my god! They put you on the Memorial Wall...” And so basically she found out Kat was dying while hyperventilating in LAX. Her favorite line was “My cup runneth dry” to Starbuck in “Scar”. She brought up that arc a few times over the weekend, gloating for effect about how she got to beat Starbuck at being Top Gun. She also said her character should have put Enzo out the airlock.

Oh, and on a creepy note, Aaron Douglas crashed a panel on Saturday and basically proceded to tell this really misogynist tale of how he convinced the writers to let Chief kill Tory with his bare hands, that the fans would love it. Half the audience cheered at the idea. I was not amused. As was not (apparently) Mary McDonnell, so rumor has it on the interwebs.

Besides all that panel stuff, there were awesome up close and personal encounters at the Con that were totally memorable. More on that next post, as I must go to sleep. Also trying to finish up writeup of our dinner with AJ. Sorry it’s taking a long time, but I pinky swear to be done today!
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