millari: (Dragoncon)
[personal profile] millari
So here, finally, is the transcript of the get-together that happened on Sunday September 6, 2009 between the Squeers who went to Dragon Con and AJ. I apologize for keeping you all waiting so long, but I was way behind on work, and collecting the memories of several different people turned out to be a bit time consuming. :)

A few caveats:
This was not recorded in any way, but merely represents the collective memory of the nine of us who were there: [ profile] prophetkristy, [ profile] blue_crow, [ profile] rap541, [ profile] puszysty, [ profile] batsojopo, [ profile] nicole_anell[ profile] fuschia, [ profile] blaaksable, [ profile] millari, and [ profile] grinninfoole. So even quotations are possibly not exactly verbatim, but the few quotes I included were things I truly believed were extremely close to verbatim and didn't misrepresent at all the nature of what he said. That being said, I am only human and still could be wrong. :P

Also, this account of meeting AJ is in no real order. It’s more of a stream-of-consciousness rendition of what we all said to each other. It probably doesn't follow the real flow of the conversation everywhere, but is more a listing of things that were said.

AJ called up [ profile] prophetkristy's phone at 8pm sharp, just like he said he would, and we told him we were at the Pacific Rim restaurant in downtown Atlanta. He arrived a few minutes later, looking casual and friendly, pulling up a seat and sitting down next in between [ profile] fuschia and [ profile] grinninfoole, and there was this little moment of “What do we do now that we’re all here?” But we soon fell into fairly easy conversation, all things considered.

At some point early on, he tried to order a beer, but the waitstaff was so busy and running around that none of us could get any of their attention, so AJ ended up going to the bar and getting a beer himself (which of course due to the logistics, he ended paying for himself, darn!) and bringing it back to the table.

[ profile] grinninfoole complimented AJ on his “great sense of comic timing” at the panels, where he’d made a lot of jokes over the weekend. AJ self-deprecatingly responded, “More of a class clown.” He asked us all individually our names, our professions and where we were from. After that, we admittedly turned the conversation onto him a lot, asking him all sorts of questions.

We talked briefly about the Dragon Con experience for him. He said he enjoyed getting to be with the cast members again, and that he thought it was going to be “the last hurrah” for con appearances. He didn’t think we’d ever see that many BSG cast members together at one time again, since the show would be over and everybody would be on to the next thing. “It’s nice to be flavor of the month though, I guess,” he said.

He himself didn’t want to be this aging guy still going to cons because he didn’t have any other work, and that there wouldn’t be any work because being at the cons a lot reinforced his image as “Mr. Gaeta”. [ profile] grinninfoole pointed out that people like George Takei (Mr. Sulu from the original Star Trek) and others from Star Trek had had little choice but to do cons because there wasn’t a lot of work for Asian-Americans or African Americans in t.v. and film in the ‘70s and ‘80s, so the cons had helped those Star Trek people endure the lean years until their fan identification became a plus. AJ responded, “See, people like George Takei had to wait until the original fans grew up and got to be studio heads, and you get somebody who’s like, “I want George Takei on my show!” (referring to how George Takei ended up in a role on the t.v. show, Heroes).

AJ asked how the panels were at the con, specificially about the Nimoy and Shatner panels and whether or not they were good.

We also talked about Smallville briefly. “I have no idea what they’re going to do with my character,” he said, adding that the Smallville cast was a very tight one, that they’ve been working together so closely for nine years, they were like a family. He didn’t have much to say on the Smallville panel he was on, because he’s only been in a few episodes. He said the cast were very nice. [ profile] prophetkristy told him that we’d wanted Dr. Emil’s sports car to be more like a tricked-out James Bond car and he laughed.

He called [ profile] tin_o_biscuits at one point, at [ profile] prophetkristy’s request. They spent a couple of minutes on the phone, with him teasing her about having the swine flu and such and generally telling her to get better and that he’d look into cons in Texas so she could see him.

We mentioned that he was going to be in the SyFy production of Riverworld and he downplayed it, saying it was “all Tamoh”, that Tamoh was the star of it and that he himself didn’t have a very big part. He said he played “an annoying American lawyer.” But he did it because it was one of SyFy's “backdoor pilots” and if it did well, it could turn into a show. He also said that his partner Meg Roe was in it, in a small part, although they didn’t get to film it together, since they were never on the set on the same day.

He did an awesome EJO impression, explaining how on about the second day of filming, EJO had gathered the CIC actors and said to them, “You ready for this? It’s gonna be five years. At least.” EJO had explained to them that the sets were so intricate and clearly had cost a lot of money, so EJO was convinced that they were going to be sticking around. AJ said that at the time, he wasn’t so sure he agreed.

He wants to do some theatre in the near future, including Bard on the Beach in 2010. Meg is directing Henry V and wants him for the lead role. He said that with Smallville, it might not be possible to get all the time off he’d need to do the play. Same thing with a play he wants to do in Montreal, a French play in translation for the first time into English, one that he said was very good, but none of us can remember the name of. He quipped that he needs to make a clone of himself, and [ profile] prophetkristy offered jokingly that as a biologist, she could get right on that for him; she’d just need a DNA sample. [ profile] millari asked if he felt it was possible to have a career in theatre in Vancouver, and he said, a career yes, but it was much harder to make a living.

He also mentioned that Meg is directing The Miracle Worker, at the Vancouver Playhouse, where they first met. [ profile] grinninfoole mentioned that he and [ profile] millari had actually attended a play there and we’d seen Meg in a play there in 2007 when they went on a vacation to Vancouver and praised the Vancouver Playhouse staff. AJ was surprised and asked which play and [ profile] millari told him it was “The Wars”. He of course remembered it, and remarked that it was from a really good book that he recommended reading.

[ profile] millari asked him if Battlestar bought him a house and he said yes, actually in April. The housing market in Vancouver is completely outrageously priced, so they jumped on a slight dip in prices and got their house, which he wants to emblazon somewhere with an image of the BSG logo, to mark it - “Casa Galactica”.

[ profile] prophetkristy asked him if he could do any show or musical, what would it be. He said Papageno in The Magic Flute because it’s a great baritone part that suits him and also because it’s a beautiful piece of music. “Plus, it’s Mozart,” he said, like that was a no-brainer. He then also said he’d do any Sondheim and that he’d love to do a production of Singing in the Rain. This prompted [ profile] millari to ask if he was a trained dancer, and he told us yes, in tap. [ profile] nicole_anell suggested that he could have incorporated tap dancing into BSG, and he said that he didn’t get the singing at first, but after talking to Bear McCreary, he liked it. At first, though he wasn’t sure what to make of the script where he was singing, he thought it was maybe just Michael Angeli wanking, but he really liked it in the end.

Someone, maybe Rap, brought up the action figure of Gaeta that’s coming out and AJ was surprised to find out that his figure was packaged with Tigh. He initially took our joking about the action figure coming with a detachable leg as us being serious, and seemed to think that was kind of cool, until we corrected his misunderstanding. He said he and Hogan then would probably go get their set together.

Someone mentioned the guy at one of the panels who was talking a bit like he was about to blow us all up but turned out to want to give the cast cookies. AJ said the panel was definitely creeped out by the way the guy had worded his question, but he himself wasn’t so much so because he’d recognized the guy from when he came up to him earlier in the day at the Walk of Fame. He said the man had been accompanied by his wife, who seemed to be holding his stuff for him. The guy had given AJ portable flash drives with stuff on them.

[ profile] millari asked him if he liked saying “So Say We All” at the panel earlier, and he said sure. He also loved during the mutiny getting to say “Galactica Actual” and being in control of the ship.
Richard Hatch’s mutiny arc got mentioned, and [ profile] millari said that Hatch had seemed upset about having to play the mutiny as a villain. AJ disputed that Hatch was upset, but he did say that Hatch is a sensitive guy and that he maybe takes on the burden of his characters doing bad things.As for his own mutiny arc, AJ said again that he was satisfied with how the mutiny arc played out and mentioned how at the end of “Blood on the Scales” was not going to have the Baltar and Gaeta scene before the execution. We told him we really enjoyed that scene. [ profile] millari told him that we’d gotten to see part of that scene with no context early on during the hiatus. He was surprised, and had clearly never known about the You Will Know the Truth promotions on the SyFy website. [ profile] millari told him that when we all saw the “restaurants shaped like food” clip without any context, while we were all excited to see it, and excited that Gaeta seemed to be in charge of the ship, we were also a little afraid that he’d lost his mind. AJ seemed amused to hear that. He asked us if we’d known when we saw that scene on the show, did we know right away that Gaeta was going to die or not.

He always pushed to be in more scenes – everyone did, he said. It was never a question of needing to take scenes out for him, but put more in, asking the writers to tweak things a bit, so he talked to them a lot.

[ profile] rap541 mentioned at one point that Felix Gaeta’s arc actually fit the prophecy of the Dying Leader. AJ was surprised and confused at first, saying he thought that was supposed to be Roslin, but then she pointed out that the Dying Leader was never supposed to see Earth, and he found it funny that Gaeta did fulfill the prophecy.

He said he liked the vibe of the smaller British con he’d been to (the Wolf G3 con in London) – smaller rooms, more intimate setting, only 200 people. It was pretty amazing, he said. Totally different vibe than this. [ profile] prophetkristy mentioned that we’d seen reports and photos of him and Tamoh and Rehka doing the “Whose Line is it Anyway” skits at that con in London he was talking about. AJ looked a little sheepish, saying that it was their first con and they just thought they were in this intimate setting, and hadn’t really thought of the fact that of course there’d be people there videotaping it. He kind of shook his head and seemed generally embarrassed that said antics made it onto the Internet.

He seemed a bit intrigued by the con experience and those who go to them. Towards the end, he asked us about going to cons, what we got out of it. He wondered if we found it freeing to go to something like this, “to let your freak flag fly”. He also advised us to next time take a day to see Atlanta because he'd only seen the 10-block radius of the con himself.

At one point, someone at the table (can’t remember who) called him awesome for some reason (can’t remember), and he said, in a jokey way, “I AM awesome.” He made some joke about having his own con, a Gaeta con, and then said, pointing to us, “I guess this would be my con.”

He said he never got the birthday greeting the comm sent him, seemed actually a bit chagrined that we had done this thing to mark his birthday and he hadn’t acknowledged it. He said thanks for doing that and he was surprised he’d missed it. He asked if he could still find it if he went looking on [ profile] gaeta_squee. Kristy promised to email him again with the link.

Eventually, after almost an hour of sitting with us, he said he had to go do a bunch of interviews with all these different media outlets – everything from newspapers to podcasts. Someone asked him if he was obligated to do these interviews for the con, or did he get paid and he said no. He was basically doing them to be gracious.

[ profile] millari thanked him for doing this get-together with us and he turned a bit serious and said essentially, no, thank you guys for supporting us. He did seem genuinely grateful. At various points in the evening, though, he was also playfully teasing us. At one point, he made a joke something like, “So thanks guys, I’ll have to put this in my blog … if I *had* a blog.” Towards the end, he also asked us what we were going to do at the con after we parted ways with him. When [ profile] grinninfoole told him he was going to play D&D, AJ grinned with that comic timing of his and went, “Nerd!”

Before he left, AJ agreed to let the waiter take a group portrait of us at dinner, which you’ve all seen already, and the night ended with him going around the table and shaking every one of our hands. What a classy gentleman, especially given how hard he’d clearly worked the whole weekend.
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