I was introduced to him in La Bamba, enjoyed his work in Young Guns, and positively loved his performance as the scheming Cisco in the under-appreciated The Big Hit- but it’s been his latest role as Stargate: Universe’s Colonel David Telford that has made me a HUGE Lou Diamond Phillips fan, partly because he’s so damn talented, partly because of his ever courteous, always professional on and off set demeanor, but mainly because LDP is simply one helluva a nice guy. It was a pleasure working with him on SGU’s first year and, should Telford survive the gunshot wound he sustained in the season one finale (in either physical, robotic, ghostly, or flashback form), then I’ll say it’s been even more of a pleasure working with him on season two.
At the beginning of the summer hiatus, I sent Lou your many questions and told him to pick and choose among them, respond to those that interested him, and then send me his answers whenever he was done. Well, as it turns out it took a while because Lou was so impressed with the caliber of the questions that he elected to answer all of them. A huge thanks to Lou for taking the time from work, family, and, of course, twitter to swing by and hang with us here on the blog.
And so, it gives me great pleasure to turn this blog over to fellow foodie, talented thespian, and all-around prince of a guy Lou Diamond Phillips. But be warned! Potential spoilers abound!
Major D. Davis writes: “First off thank you Lou for taking fan questions! 1. What was your favorite episode of season 1 and why?”
LDP: I have to say the last 3 eps (Subversion, Incursion 1&2) were probably my faves of the work I did in Season 1. Lots of meat for Telford and the great reveal that he was a brainwashed spy! Fun stuff to play. Plus, the character’s arc in three eps took so many twists and turns and there were so many levels to play in his interaction with Young, TJ, Kiva et al. And, since it was a continuous storyline, it truly felt like we were filming a movie instead of a TV show. (Although, I have to say the quality of the show on a daily basis rivals a lot of features I’ve been on.) That said, I truly enjoyed making Earth as well. Probably one of the trippiest love scenes I’ve ever been a part of!
“2. Whats your favorite season 2 episode and why?”
LDP: Can’t really talk about the eps in Season 2 at this point. (Just knowing I’m around for them is a bit of a spoiler for those wondering about that gunshot wound in Incursion 2!) Let’s just say the new Telford with his squeaky clean, freshly scrubbed brain has been a joy to play. We finally get a little more insight into who he really is and the nature of his relationship with Young. (Don’t go there…even though I do on a consistent basis. I have, after all, been in his body numerous times!)
“3. How would you cope being stranded on the destiny? How do you think you would react to the situation and what would you do to deal with the stress and anxiety?”
LDP: I assume you’re asking LDP how I would cope with life on Destiny and not Telford. Being from a military background myself and having spent a lot of time not only around servicemen but also law enforcement and firefighters, I would like to think that I possess the mental fortitude to adapt to the situation. (Hell, I survived the Costa Rican jungle with Speidi and Janice Dickinson! Destiny might be a walk in the park in comparison!) Often, when I’m dealing with stress, anxiety or just the demands of a hectic life, I tend to work-out more. I find that the physical exertion is not only calming but centering. I also throw myself into writing which occupies my imagination. Perhaps a stint on Destiny would finally result in my Great American Novel!
“4. How was it voicing the part of Mark for the New Testament Audio Bible? Any cool experiences working on that project you might share with us?”
LDP: I had fun reading Mark for the New Testament Audio Bible. In many ways, it’s like doing Shakespeare. The language is heightened and you really have to know what you’re saying to not only make sense of it but to make it interesting. All of the readers involved recorded separately but my wife, Yvonne, did my make-up for the behind the scenes taping and photos and also did Lou Gossett Jr’s, Michael York’s and Stacy Keach’s, all of whom I’ve had the pleasure of being associated with on different projects.
“5. Who is your favorite SGU character?”
LDP: Other than Telford (who I obviously have deep affinity for!) I can’t say that I have an absolute favorite SGU character. I think that’s a real testament not only to the cast but to the writers who have presented us with a number of well-rounded, interesting and complicated people aboard the Destiny. It makes for great storylines and truly makes it a joy to come to work since you’re constantly dealing with strong personalities who operate on many different levels. It also keeps me intrigued and excited for the future of these characters.
“6. What show do you watch on TV besides SGU?”
LDP: Have long been a fan of all the L&Os (I guested on an SVU) absolutely love ‘House.’ Recently fell in love with ‘The Good Wife’ and just discovered ‘The Glades.’ Have plans to get DVDs of Mad Men, Dexter and a few others I missed. Also, Yvonne and I are hard core food show fans – Top Chef, Hell’s Kitchen, Chopped, Iron Chef etc.
“7. How are you a total foodie yet are so buff? Do you run like 10 miles a day to counter all the calories? (See.. I love food, but when there’s good food i always over-eat, so I kinda have given up on being a foodie) :p”
LDP: Believe me, at my age, I have to hit the gym not only to make up for the food I love but just to maintain a shape I’ve had most of my life. (These SGU bastards like seeing me in fight scenes and will sometimes get my shirt off! Pervs!) Still, one of the things I love about cooking is making great tasting food that’s also healthy. When I plan a menu at home, I try to be a little calorie conscious. However, you gotta splurge every once in a while. I made up this saying – Moderation in all things…including moderation.
Abbas Karimjee writes: “1. In Life, we learnt that Telford was regularly seeing Emily, but they were only getting together as friends. By Subversion, do you think that their relationship evolved to a romantic one, especially with Emily believing that Young was still with TJ?”
LDP: Interestingly enough, I don’t think Telford became intimate with Emily (other than that ill-fated ten seconds when he zapped back into his own body to find himself in the saddle!) I truly believe he had an ulterior motive (esp. considering his brain-washing) and was simply trying to ingratiate himself to get information and to achieve an upper hand over Young. Having said that, whatever shred of decency was left at Telford’s core, I believe it kept him from crossing a line but also made him sympathetic to Emily’s plight. I do believe they became friends and he became a confidante. Still, we don’t know much about Telford’s personal romantic history so I don’t know how that factors in…yet.
“2. How many episodes will you be in for the 2nd season?”
LDP: Sorry, can’t answer that one. Just know, as I’ve tweeted before, that Telford is like SGU herpes! He’ll never go away and will flare up when you least expect it to complicate your life and perhaps cause minor irritation!
“3. If Telford survives his injury in Incursion Part 2, what challenges do you think he will face as he copes with life on the ship? Do you think he would try to overmind Young’s leadership, especilly since he was suppose to be in command of the group that went through to Destiny?”
LDP: I think, should Telford survive…wink, wink, that the most obvious problem is that there would be two Colonel’s on board the Destiny. Read an interesting chat on-line discussing who would actually have seniority and I think the solution would have to go back to their graduating order from the academy. What is more complicated and what is still yet to be seen is where Telford’s head is at now that he has been released from the effects of brainwashing. That personal interplay between him and Young will be fun, especially considering that it was implied that they were friends back in the day.
“4. Were you a viewer of any of the previous Stargate series before you were appointed the role of Telford? Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions.”
LDP: I was not a regular viewer of the previous incarnations but I certainly have respect for the success they achieved and am grateful that their legacy has been passed on to us. Having said that, I would like to think that SGU can stand on its own and perhaps even expand and build upon what has come before. Since I was virtually an SG virgin (although I loved the feature film written and produced by my buddy Dean Devlin) I came into this show with no preconceptions and could honestly and without baggage put my own stamp on this character and this world. I know many of the other cast members feel the same way.
Maggiemayday writes: “Mr. Phillips, did you enjoy Stadium of Fire? How do you like our mountains here in Utah?”
LDP: Loved being a part of Stadium of Fire! Absolutely a beautiful part of the world and we were blessed with an amazing day! I was truly impressed with the musical acts, especially Carrie Underwood. Didn’t know she had such great pipes and she really brought the energy! Truly a patriotic day and how ’bout those fireworks, huh?
Randomness writes: “1. Why are you such an awesome actor?”
LDP: Fiber…Actually, I hope it’s because I really care. Acting was my dream from a young age and I pursued it in high school and college (I have a BFA in Theatre from the University of Texas at Arlington) I truly love this Art form and this craft and feel it should be approached with respect and diligence. Still grateful to be doing what I’m doing.
“2. How would you describe your experience on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me out of Here, like high and low points?”
LDP: I’m a Celebrity was nothing short of surreal. I often questioned myself for making the choice to do it but, I have to say, at the end of the day it was quite the adventure. I had hoped for more of a Survivor-type challenge in survival and wished that the physical aspect had been a little tougher. But I will say that the isolation and separation from the world and family was truly difficult. It made me acutely aware of how much I love and value my family and friends.
“3. How did you feel when you were voted winner of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me out of Here?”
LDP: Winning I’m a Celebrity was a bit of a vindication for saying yes to it in the first place. It not only made me feel good about how I played the game but it was a very special surprise to see that the voting public responded to what they saw on screen. It was a chance for me to show the audience who I really am without the filter of a character and I’m proud and grateful for the support that people gave me. Then again, I’m still working because my fans have been loyal. A big thank you for that!
“4. What are some of your favourite foods? And wouldn’t you agree that Ice Cream is one of the worlds greatest feel good treats?”
LDP: As you can probably tell from some of my tweets and/or interviews and appearances on Iron Chef, I love all kinds of foods. I feel fortunate to have been blessed by this business to travel and experience so many different cultures and cuisines and, strangely, my palate really didn’t become developed until later in life. I’m still on a food adventure in this life and loving every minute of it. And, yes, Ice Cream is one of the greatest gifts to your tongue ever!
“5. How do you think Telford was feeling at the end of Season 1 when he was in control of his own actions again and was around the very people that brain washed him?”
LDP: I think Telford’s head was in a blender there for a little bit. First, un-brainwashed by asphyxiation, then zapped back into his own body when he went through the gate. Not a lot of time to acclimate! It certainly seems that his true character has finally come through when he doesn’t have a pre-programmed agenda. Obviously, there is residual guilt but, as soon as he got his bearings, he stepped up and showed that he has the strength of character to try and make things right. It also seems clear now where his loyalties lie.
“6. Personally I think you do an amazing job with Telford, would you mind sharing some high and low points of working on SGU?”
LDP: The high point of playing Telford and SGU in general are the people I get the chance to work with. Obviously, that includes the entire cast from top to bottom but I’ve also made great friends on the crew and have worked on numerous other projects with many of them. I feel that writers, producers and directors are doing a great job of creating a vibrant, exciting and unpredictable show and the material is a joy to perform. It’s like Christmas when we get a new script. Truly, the only downside is the fact that I would’ve liked to get in the game a bit more during the first season but things seem to be pointing toward a greater involvement as time goes on.
“7. If you were to give some important life advice to anyone, what would you say?”
LDP: I mean, follow your dream is certainly hackneyed and somewhat cliche but it is truly good advice. Too many people settle. Not only that, but far too many people aren’t reflective enough to realize their dream at a younger age. To do that would be the second part of that proposition which would be to try and figure out who you really are. Embrace that even if it is not part of the norm and own it and never apologize for it. Be yourself.
“8. Any favourite authors or books?”
LDP: Most recently fell in love with two of Ken Follet’s books “Pillars of the Earth” (now a miniseries) and its sequel “World Without End.” All time faves include most of Stephen King, Richard Addams “Watership Down,” Jonathon Franzen’s “The Corrections,” Khalil Gibran’s “The Prophet,” Richard Bach’s “Illusions”…Well, many more. Point being, love to read.
“9. How would you describe the relationship between Young and Telford now that he’s free of the LAs brainwashing, we saw he made a speech about how Earth didn’t consider the results of overthrowing the Goa’uld that really resonated with a lot of fans, do you believe he meant what he said in that regard?”
LDP: I sort of answered the Young/Telford dynamic a little before but I will say that I think it’s still evolving. We certainly see more of it in upcoming eps and the nature is totally different than what it was. We start to see the friends they once were instead of the rivalry. I mean, come on, Telford has a lot to make up for! As far as that speech goes, it’s one of the reasons I love the writing on SGU. That speech is totally valid regardless of Telford’s brainwashing and perhaps that’s the reason he could finally open his mind and see something from another culture’s point of view, regardless of his military indoctrination. Even though that speech is coming from “The Bad Guy” I’m glad it resonated with many of the fans because there are obvious parallels in our world, our country and with recent global confrontations. That’s one of the great services science fiction can actually provide because, when well done, it can make you think about your own world and your own experience and perhaps see it without the veil of politics or nationalism.
“10. Any favourite songs/bands/groups you would like to share with us all?”
LDP: Liking a lot of the new stuff (my tween girls, Grace, Isabella & Lili keep me up on the Top Forty) but my all time stand-bys are from my youth – Springsteen, U2, Sting, Tom Waites, Jackson Browne – a lot of singer songwriters really. They are my influences whenever I dabble in lyrics.
skye writes: “Mr. Diamond – My Question is What was the most fun Character u have ever played on tv and/or in the Movies? thank u for your time”
LDP: Well, not to be too mercenary but the list has to be led by Telford because he’s still evolving. He’s like a novel that has many chapters still to go and I find that exciting and intriguing because his journey is mine. Other than the most immediate, I feel very privileged to have played some characters that have over time become almost iconic. Ritchie Valens. Chavez from Young Guns. Angel from Stand and Deliver. The King from my broadway production of The King and I. I might as well throw in King Arthur from Camelot. Cisco in The Big Hit was most certainly one of the craziest and most fun. Monfriez in Courage Under Fire. Edgerton on Numb3rs…Holy shit, I’ve had some great roles!
E writes: “Did you know from the start that Telford’s been brainwashed? How did you portray the character in the beginning – as someone who’s an ass because of brainwash, or a tough military guy who’s disliked by others? What do you think – is Telford better commander than Young? Why?”
LDP: You know, oddly enough, I didn’t know Telford was brainwashed when I started the role! I mean, when I look back now it all makes perfect sense but I’m not even sure the brainwashing was a part of the writer’s plan when we started the season ( although I must say, those guys have a great way of layering in storylines over multiple eps and they don’t always tell you what’s in store!). I also think that, as they get to know this cast better, it sparks character traits and personality touches when developing the character’s story-lines. As far as playing Telford as an ass in the beginning, that’s really a matter of opinion. Whenever I take on a character, I try to adopt his world view and not judge his actions. You can’t play the character honestly if you’re holding him at arm’s length and apologizing for who he is. I’ve known hard-asses like Telford. My dad did two tours of Viet Nam and many of his friends are hard-core military types. I also played Col. Jessup in the stage play “A Few Good Men” and his big speech resonates with a lot of truths when you’re dealing with how to keep a country safe or why the military does what it does. So, I chose to play Telford as a man with a mission, even a noble one – to save these people any way he could – and without apology or regard for people’s feelings. In truth, I think a true leader has to have compassion and understand when compromise or even retreat are a smarter option, so, in that respect, I think both Young and Telford have great leadership qualities and could learn a thing or two from each other.
Steph writes: “Questions:
-Ian Edgerton was one of my favorite Numb3rs characters and I was sad to see the show end, even though it ended well. What are the differences between playing an FBI Agent and a military officers?
-How do you think Telford’s presence will affect the dynamics and power balance on board the Destiny?
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions!”
LDP: I’ll refer to the two characters I’ve played, Edgerton and Telford, to illustrate the point about FBI versus Military because I think to generalize would be a disservice. The one thing that was fun and freeing about Edgerton is that he seemed to be such a free agent. He most definitely was a Black Ops guy and probably had very few people to answer to, a real Lone Wolf. He just had to get the job done in any way he saw fit. That allowed me to play him with a great deal of self-confidence, independence and even a bit of a devil-may-care twinkle in his eye. He had very little to prove because he knew he was one of the best. Telford, on the other hand, as a military man of rank has to answer to a chain of command and be respectful of other people’s authority. This is (or was) his frustration because, like Edgerton, Telford feels he’s one of the best and certainly better suited to have led this mission. He does not have the carte blanche Edgerton does and so must attempt to realize his goals with one hand tied behind his back. We’ll see how this plays out and how Telford responds to his “place” in the microcosm of Destiny’s society.
Simon writes: “Questions for Lou Diamond Philips:
1) What’s been your faviorute episode of SGU so far?
2) Is there a specific scene that you’ve enjoyed doing on thw show?
3) Who’s been the most fun to work with on the show?
4) Is your character in Season 2? Doubt you’ll be able to answer this, but hey.”
LDP: Kinda covered question 1-4 in previous answers but I will say I’m really looking forward to an ep where I was able to do a lot of work with Mark Savela and his VFX team. I think those guys do amazing things on the show and the fun (and the fear) for the actors is putting your complete trust in something that you can’t see and hoping that it will turn out looking awesome. So, obviously, without being too much of a tease, Telford gets to interact with some pretty cool CGI in the future. I’m looking forward to seeing it as much as anyone! Beyond that, I don’t have a fave actor to work with on the show. They are all amazing talents and wonderful people. The bulk of my dramatic work has been with Louis and Robert and I’m always grateful for the dynamics the writers give us and how those two make it pop. Alaina and I have had a few moments that I dig but I noticed that I haven’t had as much interaction with Blue or Elyse lately. Hope that changes. Jamil, Brian and I get to play a bit since we’re all soldiers and I’ve really appreciated getting more contact with Gilmore, Kelamis and Spence because the collision of science and military is always fun (not to mention, those guys are goof-balls!). It seems Ming and I are becoming confidantes in upcoming eps and I appreciate that because we’ve known each other for quite a while and we have a very easy chemistry together. (By the way, that inadvertently answered question 4 so wink, wink, nudge, nudge, eh, mate?)
“5) You’ve worked with Kiefer Sutherland, you guys still buds? Keep in touch etc?”
LDP: I absolutely adore Kiefer. Not only a great actor but one of the coolest people you’ll ever meet with an absolute heart of gold. Having said that, I saw him two months ago and he mooned me through a lobby window at the Chateau Marmont. Given our history together, I had no choice but to moon him back. Drinks ensued. This is the nature of our relationship. I’d crawl through broken glass to work with him again.
Rob writes: “What was it like to work with Kiefer Sutherland again on season 1 of 24 after doing the Young Guns movies? Would you like the opportunity to work with him again?”
LDP: Little bit of an overlap from the last question but I’ll elaborate by pointing out that Kiefer and I have worked on five projects together – Young Guns 1 & 2, Renegades, Picking Up the Pieces (With Woody Allen & Sharon Stone. I hear it’s terrible. I’ve never seen it.) and of course those two eps of 24 in Season 1. I got a call from my agent who informed me they were offering me the role but the script wasn’t written yet. I was told it would be me, Kiefer and Dennis Hopper in a bunker. Sounded like a party to me so I told them I needed to make one call. I called Kiefer on set (he was unaware of the offer) and he told me to say yes immediately. Obviously, I did. He mentioned a project to me in passing the last time I saw him so I have hopes that we’ll be back in the saddle again. He is still one of my favorite people in the biz. Also, just as an added note, don’t remember the season or the ep but Kiefer/Jack Bauer saved my daughter Grace from nerve gas in a mall not too long ago. It was her first professional gig.
Bryan M. White writes: “Hello Mr. Phillips - Quick question, way back when, in 1990, when you contributed your vocals to the intro on Bon Jovi’s “Justice in the Barrel” off the Blaze of Glory record, did you record that in the studio with the band, or was that recorded separately? Several films have featured your vocals, do you sing or play any instruments during breaks on set for SGU?”
LDP: ”Justice in the Barrel” had been completely recorded when Jon Bon Jovi asked me to come in and add the Native chant. He had heard me doing that piece as a part of a scene where Chavez mourns Balthazar Getty’s character so he wanted it on the soundtrack. By the way, that is not an actual Navajo chant but one made up to approximate a chant since using the real thing would be disrespectful to the Navajo religion. Another cool fact, I was part of a small group including Kiefer, Emilio, John Fusco the writer/producer and a few other producers who got to hear Jon sing “Blaze of Glory” for the first time ever. He played it on an acoustic in Emilio’s trailer at about two in the morning of a night shoot. He had just finished writing it. As far as my own musicianship, I don’t even call myself a musician. I learned all the guitar notes for La Bamba but I don’t really play. Yes, I sing, yes, I write lyrics but I know too many people who do it really well to put myself in their category. I just like dipping my finger in that pie every once in a while! That said, people break out in song on the SGU set constantly, myself included!
MatthewRD writes: “Questions for Lou Diamond Phillips, Hi!
1) What do you like most about being Telford?
2) What was the hardest part of being Telford?
3) You probably won’t say anyway for spoilers and all, but does he survive the shooting?”
LDP: I’ve kinda covered the things I like about Telford but I’ll reiterate the fact that he is still evolving and I keep discovering new things about him. It’s also cool to see who he really is without the brainwashing and layer that with a history that is slowly revealing itself. I also love the fact that a wry sense of humor is creeping into his persona but I think that’s just a result of me rubbing off on the writers! The hardest part of a character like Telford is a trap that I see a lot of actors fall into when they are playing characters in procedurals – ie your cops, doctors lawyers etc. who have what I call esoteric dialogue. The words can sometimes become mundane and meaningless and the actors just spit them out without developing a character behind all that information. Yes, the technical jargon is very necessary when creating these worlds but if the actor hasn’t created someone interesting and three dimensional then they become bland and interchangeable with anyone else in a uniform or suit. Truthfully, that’s one of the reasons I never minded that people didn’t like Telford at first! At least his presence elicited a response and he served a purpose in the story rather than just being a talking head.
cat4444 writes: “1. During Season 1, Telford was kind of a jerk – okay, no kind of about it, he was very much a jerk. Was his behaviour due to the brainwashing or is he really that big of a jerk?”
LDP: Kind of touched on it before but I will add that, in my opinion, the brainwashing gave a very sharp focus to an agenda that Telford had already and that was to reclaim his rightful spot as mission leader and bring those people home. It just goes to show, though, that when someone becomes that narrow minded and has that much of a singularity of purpose, they can become insensitive, abrasive and hard to deal with. However, once again, when dealing with the military and questions of commitment and mission, you want someone who is decisive and willing to commit to a course of action so I can’t fault Telford entirely.
“2. In Earth, how do you think Telford, while he was under the influence of the brainwashing, reconciled the fact that he was likely to blow up Destiny with the desire of the Lucian Alliance to obtain Destiny? Was it more important to ensure the SGC didn’t have control of Destiny?”
LDP: Interesting question because I truly believe that Telford never believed for a second that he was going to be responsible for blowing up Destiny. It was not something that entered his mind until Rush “put on a show” and made Telford and the visiting scientists believe they were in jeopardy. Remember, at that point I’m fairly certain Rush had no interest in going home and was willing to make that decision for the other people on board the ship. For all we know, even at this point, that rescue mission might have worked if Rush hadn’t sabotaged it.
“3. It’s obvious Telford and Rush don’t get along, particularly given that Telford tried to have Rush removed from the Icarus project. How likely is that to change now that they’re both stuck on Destiny? Was Telford’s attempt to have Rush removed more of an attempt to get him into a position where the Alliance could “obtain” his services?”
LDP: One of the things I love about the Rush/Telford dynamic is that there is a history with these two that continues to unfold and certain predispositions that seem to prevent even the kind of moderate truce that Rush and Young occasionally agree upon. I don’t think, even given the brainwashing element, that Telford’s animosity for Rush is born of strategy. I think Telford is mistrustful of Rush because he knows that he can never control him, that he is unpredictable, mercurial and with total disregard for authority. So, not only does Telford know that Rush is like dealing with a highly volatile explosive, useful but not without risks in handling it, he also knows about Rush’s disdain for the military and that rubs Telford entirely the wrong way because, in many ways, Telford is more of a by-the-book soldier than Young. Additionally, I think there is a grudging respect for Rush’s intellect but an irritation that he isn’t willing to be more forthcoming with it in service of what Telford deems to be the greater good, brainwashing or not.
“4. Telford or Young? Who’s going to be in control now? Young, who has been since the arrival on Destiny? Or Telford, who was supposed to have the command from the start? I suspect there would be some serious trust issues regarding Telford, given the whole brainwashing thing, so I’m going to say Young. Your take on it?”
LDP: Touched on this a bit and would steer you toward a chat I read not too long ago that efficiently charted the discussion from a military standpoint. Shouldn’t be too hard to find. Of course the human element leads me to believe that Young and Telford have greater issues of friendship and the needs of their soldiers and civilians to deal with so, I’m thinking, their dynamic won’t be a cut-and-dried matter of seniority.
“5. I understand you’re quite the cook. Do you plan to challenge Joe to a cook off since Rob Cooper has left and the Ice Cream Throwdown is likely no more? How did you get into cooking?”
LDP: I don’t know about a challenge (because I understand Joe is quite the foodie) but I will 100% cook for him one night and hope that he will return the favor! Or, at the very least, make some wonderful reservations! I’ve had the pleasure of cooking for John G. Lenic, our producer and also a foodie, so now I need to start working my way through the writer’s room. (Maybe it’ll finally result in a love interest for Telford! He hates to eat alone!) Many of my earlier jobs in Corpus Christi, TX were in the kitchen like cook’s asst. on the Navy base, breakfast cook on Padre Island and flipping burgers at Whataburger. I started cooking heavily in college when I had four roommates and my love of it continued as I got older and had kids. It is highly satisfying to me to have friends and family gathered around a table eating a meal I made for them. That’s life and that’s love.
“6. Actor, foodie, twitterer, and occasional Iron Chef judge Is there anything you don’t do? Handstands maybe?”
LDP: You’re absolutely right. I can’t do a handstand! Other than that, I will not reveal my weaknesses…poker player, doncha know!
“7. Do you participate in the pranks that apparently take place on set? If so, what’s the best one you’ve pulled? Been pulled on you? Or do you simply give the patented LDP Glare and send any potential pranksters – yes, I am referring primarily to Louis Ferreira – running for cover? Thanks for taking the time to do the Q&A. Very much looking forward to next season.”
LDP: I have to say, the SGU set is one of the most joyful sets I’ve ever been on. Everyone has a sense of humor and everyone is funny! We laugh a lot which is ironic for such an intense and sometimes dark show. Most of the levity comes from jokes or the outrageous bits from Kelamis or Gilmore or Spence but, tuthfully, the big surprise is Louis Ferreira who is downright hilarious. As far as pranks go, there haven’t been any of the order that I’ve pulled in the past (Young Guns was the prankiest, most ingenious, evil mastermind shows I’ve ever been on) but that’s probably a function of the fact that we’re on such a busy TV schedule. Not a lot of time to hatch elaborate plots. And, truthfully, I’ve never been on set long enough to get bored. Blue is always coming up with fun games and Ming, Alaina, Elyse and our lovely Jeffrey bring love and light wherever they go in addition to some wicked moves and a surprisingly raunchy sense of humor! As for the patented LDP glare…it’s all an act but it comes in handy when I have to discipline my four girls!
Tammy Dixon writes: “Mr. Phillips, so nice of you to put up with the Q & A. I’ve been a fan of yours since Young Guns! How did you get started in acting? I hope to see more of your character on SGU!
LDP: Thanks so much for writing in and for your support of the show. I always wanted to be an actor and that journey is fairly well documented in a number of other interviews. For a very nice over-view, our publicist, Carol Marks-George, recently updated my bio and it can be found on the official SGU web site. Check it out.
Shawn Cassidy writes: “Lou - First off, thanks for taking the time to engage the fans. I’ve been a big fan of yours since way back when (Young Guns series are my favorite westerns of all time!) In a huge part due to your character Chavez.
1). Being a seasoned “Big Time”veteran, what was it like coming into a long time Sci-Fi TV franchise? Did you have any preconceptions of what Stargate was all about? (i.e. Wow, it’s cool to be part of the whole Sc-Fi convention scene, to …. What the hell is a Stargate?) Were you even aware of the long rich history?”
LDP: You know when I started in the 80s, you were either a TV actor or a Film actor and seldom did people cross that line. That is no longer the case. Very, very few actors get by on just features any more and many choose to do TV for the steady gig and, quite honestly, the fact that TV paychecks have gotten much bigger. My buddies Kiefer and Charlie sure can’t complain. Not to mention the fact that the writing, directing and overall production values on a hit show have gotten very competitive with anything you’re seeing on the big screen. So, having said all that, (and with a big nod to Richard Dean Anderson and all those who made SG a long running franchise) I was very open to coming on to a successful show. Any preconceptions I might have had were immediately tempered by the fact that Robert Carlyle was attached when they came to me. I sensed right away that, given the type of actor they were seeking, that this was going to be a different direction for the SG saga. That was intriguing to me and made me feel like I could be a part of the show’s evolution as opposed to just being another cog in the wheel. And, just as an after-thought, I’m a big sci-fi fan so it’s been a blast to become a fixture in this universe, not only on set but in cyberspace and at conventions. It certainly makes you feel like there’s a legion of people out there taking the journey with you.
“2). I always read how you are one of the “Classy” ones, one of the true gentlemen in Hollywood. What’s it like playing someone who is so opposite your nature in Col. Telford who has been at times a real SOB?”
LDP: The really cool thing about acting in general is playing something that you are not. Many times in my career I’ve been blessed to represent different communities and cultures like the Navajo or the Inuit and my research becomes a great opportunity to learn. With that in mind, if you keep your eyes and mind open, you will never stop learning from this craft and new revelations will pop up as you continue to grow as a person & artist. That applies to who you are as a person as well. While I certainly try to NOT be an asshole in life, I firmly believe that everyone has the potential within themselves just like they have the potential to be saintly or heroic. One of the jobs of an actor is to be honest with yourself and be self-analytical. You have to know what makes you tick, what you’re putting out and how to access it honestly. Besides, channeling your inner jerk can be fun and you can leave it on the set without forcing your friends and family to deal with it. It’s a cheap form of therapy actually!
“3). It seems that there may be redemption for Col. Telford (I’m assuming he survived since you’re at the studios while deep into season II production). Are you happy with this direction, or do you enjoy paying the bad guy?
Thanks again for your valuable time. I can’t wait to see what transpires onscreen this fall! And for the many years to come!”
LDP: Obviously, I can’t talk too much about the direction Telford may or may not take (I mean, jeez, last time we saw him he was bleeding and unconscious!) but I will say that our writers are incredible and they never take the easy, predictable or boring path. Given a character like Telford, who still hasn’t revealed much of his past, I’m confident that no matter what side of the good guy/bad guy fence he falls on, he will be interesting and complex and that his dynamic with the rest of Destiny will be entertaining.
Daniel fleming writes: “Hi Lou, I’m Daniel Fleming from the UK, and I’m 16, I would like to become an actor when I’m older, I would really appreciate if you were to answer these few questions please: 1, How long do you get to learn a full script?”
LDP: I always say this to young actors when they say they want to become an actor. You already are, you’re just waiting to get paid for it!
The time an actor gets to learn a script is always tied to the schedule and the type of project you’re working on. In theatre, you often have at least a month or so to learn and rehearse. This is totally necessary because you have to perform the entire script from top to bottom without (hopefully) any mistakes. In feature films, even though there are not always rehearsals, you usually get the script a few weeks or months ahead of time and it’s up to the individual to judge how much of it they want to get down before filming. I tend to learn everything but other actors like to wait until the last minute to keep it spontaneous. To each his own. Also, on features, you usually have the luxury of filming only 3 or 4 pages a day so you can spend all day (@ 12 hours) on the same scene and make it perfect. Not so in TV. Our writers are great on SGU and we usually receive our scripts in a timely fashion that allows us to ask questions and absorb what it is we will have to perform. Even so, we’re usually working on the previous script when a new script comes in so it is a constant process of learning and working. I’ve heard of other shows where the scripts don’t get delivered until the night before they are supposed to shoot so everyone, directors and crew included, have to scramble to be prepared. All that said, we average 6 or 7 pages a day and you might have a lot of lines or you might have very little. I usually read a script a few times and then work on the specific scenes the night before, leaving room to tweak it when I see what the director and other actors bring to the party.
“2, Is that really cool accent really or is it put on?”
LDP: Being an American I wasn’t entirely aware of an accent, that’s just the way I talk, but I can certainly see how it might seem a bit exotic if you’re watching in the UK! I have to say, Hugh Laurie and Linus Roach have impeccable American accents and do a great job on their respective shows. I will say, though, that I love doing accents which probably comes from my theatre training. I’ve done a few different regional touches in films (like Texan or Brooklyn) and I truly loved doing an English accent when I did the National Tour of Camelot playing King Arthur and a Thai accent when I played King in The King and I on Broadway.
“3, Is it hard acting infront of a green screen?”
LDP: Acting in front of the green screen is probably one of the most difficult and frightening propositions there is. Obviously, there’s nothing really there and you have to imagine what it is you’re looking at, be it a spaceship an exploding star or a bunch of aliens. It requires a lot of focus, consistency and a huge amount of trust because you have to commit to it fully to help create the illusion. It can make you feel pretty stupid but you have to let go and put your self-consciousness aside. It’s an old saying but, if you believe it, the audience will believe it. All that said, our VFX team on SGU, led by wizard Mark Savela, are brilliant and always make us look good. I’m blown away by what they accomplish on a weekly basis and it gives the cast a lot of confidence when we have to deal with otherworldly stuff. In addition, they usually provide us with renderings that help us imagine what we are seeing and can adjust the timbre of our performances. I really think they are the finest team working on television effects today! (As evidenced by their recent Emmy nomination!)
Michael writes: “1) I’ll start off with a compliment. I managed to convince many, many women I know to watch SGU simply because I told them Lou Diamond Phillip was on it.
2) Did you know from day one of SGU that Telford was being brainwashed and if so, how did you adjust in the later half of the season?
3) Do you have plans to continue playing in the World Series of Poker?
4) When does your autobiography come out, last I heard, early 2010, any updates?”
LDP: 1. God luv ya, Michael. Every guy needs a good wing man!
2. Covered that one. See above.
3. Did not get a chance to play in the WSOP 2010 this year. Had a gig! Cannot wait until next year and have high hopes that I’ll be there for the Main Event. Would also like to play some of the smaller buy-ins. Coming up soon, I may be playing in a large invitational for PokerStars in the fall and perhaps the BC Championship while I’m here in Vancouver.
4. Now, see, here’s the thing. The term ‘autobiography’ would imply that I’m writing it, right? I am writing NO such book. This rumor started on the internet somehow and many, many people believe it to be true. The funny thing is it keeps getting repeated and therefore validated in some circles. I have no immediate plans to write an autobiography and, if that were to ever happen, I would probably wait until I’m much older so I could get all the stories into one volume. Believe me, I sincerely hope the most interesting years aren’t behind me!
Michael A. Burstein writes: “Given all the work you’ve done recently on Numb3rs and Stargate Universe, my wife and I were surprised to see that you took the time to appear on “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!” How did that come about? How did you find the time to do it?”
LDP: First of all, thanks so much for following Numb3rs & SGU. Both great shows and I’m very proud of my association with them. What’s interesting is that my time commitment to either of them might seem a little misleading. I only ever popped up on Numb3rs once or twice a season, believe it or not. Each episode, like on SGU, only takes eight days to film and very often not every actor works the entire schedule. Similarly, I actually appear in only eight episodes of the twenty in Season 1 of SGU. Add to that the fact that SGU was on hiatus during June and July and I found myself with a lot of time on my hands last summer. Now, I never intended, nor do I intend now, to become a reality star. However, I was pitching a few reality show ideas with my wife, Yvonne, where we would serve as creators and producers when the opportunity for ‘I’m a Celebrity…’ came up. I had jokingly told an exec that I wouldn’t mind doing something like Celeb Survivor and…well, watch what you ask for. NBC jumped all over it. I actually said no a few times but the reasons for doing it started to make sense. Ultimately, I was able to raise quite a bit of money for my friend, southwest artist Amado Maurillo Pena, and his charity Art Has Heart/Legacy Art in Albuquerque, New Mexico and I had an open door to bring my reality ideas to NBC (none of which panned out.) And, I have to be honest, I was really intrigued by the challenge and adventure of it all. I figured it was a one-shot deal to test myself like that and see if I could not only pull it off physically and mentally but maintain a sense of integrity and perhaps show the viewing public a side of myself that they may not know. Happy to say it all worked out just fine but, NO, I won’t be doing anything like that again.
Boltbait writes: “1) You’ve worked on many TV shows and movies. Which do you prefer? Why? How are they different?”
LDP: Yup, just looking at my resume on IMDB makes me tired. So, I guess it’s safe to say that I love both film and television…and theatre. Hell, I just like being employed! Seriously, to this day I’m grateful that I get paid to do something I love. Having said that, the major difference between film and TV is usually time and money. You have incredibly talented actors, writers and directors in both it’s just that an hour of television takes eight days to shoot and that same hour in movies could take months. Even so, made-for-TV movies have recently become much cheaper and faster to shoot. I’m amazed how quickly some feature length projects are put together, some in as little as thirteen days. I would also hazard to say that a few I’ve worked on lately don’t even have the budget of one episode of SGU. (Yet another reason I’m consistently impressed with every episode of SGU.) Ultimately, I will add that you have to be on top of your game if you’re working in the TV biz. Audiences expect more on a weekly basis so, for a show to be a hit, you have to deliver quality in the writing, directing, production and, of course, the acting for a show to stick around. That said, the bar has been raised not only for TV but for films as well. It’s harder to be viewed a success and so fewer risks are being taken and fewer projects actually get off the ground. Like I said before, it’s just nice to be employed in this environment.
“2) Of all the actors you’ve worked with in the past, who would you most like to work with again? Anyone you haven’t worked with yet, that you’d really like to?”
LDP: I have had the immense pleasure and honor of working with some great actors who are also great people. I am truly enjoying the ensemble of SGU but some of the heavy-hitters I’m proud to have shared screen time with include – Edward James Olmos, Denzel Washington, Meg Ryan, Matt Damon, Harrison Ford, Benicio Del Toro, Andy Garcia, Ernest Borgnine, Woody Allen, Mark Wahlberg, Christina Applegate and obviously all my boys from Young Guns. I’d show up to do anything with any of them again in a heartbeat. There are many, many more who are not as well known and even more like Fred Gwynne, Toshiro Mifune and Jack Warden who are no longer with us but who I loved dearly. Of the people I still have yet to work with, the list is long because I am truly a fan of film and actors myself. Meryl Streep, DeNiro, Pacino and that group from the 70s inspired me to hone and respect my craft as an actor. Some of my peers who I’ve known forever but never worked with also come to mind – Clooney, Pitt, Sean Penn, Robert Downey Jr. and the like. And, strangely enough I’ve appeared in films with Kevin Spacey, Robert Duvall and Sam Neill but didn’t have any scenes with them! It all reminds me, even though I’ve already received a few lifetime achievement awards, that I truly think the best lies ahead and I’m not done by half!
“3) My favorite of your performances would probably be Angel Guzman of Stand and Deliver (1988). What can you tell me about that movie–any favorite memories?”
LDP: Stand and Deliver was and is one of my favorite films of mine, for the performance, for the memories and for the difference it made in a lot of people’s lives. It actually came about because I did a guest spot on ‘Miami Vice’ before ’La Bamba’ came out. (By the way, Viggo Mortensen and Annette Bening were also in that episode!) Eddie Olmos had worked with Luis and Danny Valdez on their play and film “Zoot Suit” so he was aware of ‘La Bamba.’ He was actually supposed to have a cameo in the film as Esai’s father. At any rate, we had one scene together and afterward he asked what I was doing in the next month. At the time, since ‘La Bamba’ had not yet come out, I was having a hard time getting a job in LA so I informed him that I was completely available for lunch or whatever. He gave me a phone number to Ramon Menendez the writer/director of ‘Stand and Deliver.’ We had one meeting and suddenly I found myself in the movie. The funny thing is, you often don’t know how good something is going to be while you’re in the middle of making it. S&D was a tiny little film made for under a million bucks and would go on to win seven Independent Spirit Awards (both Eddie and I won) and get Golden Globe noms for me and Eddie and, obviously, an Oscar Nom for Eddie. It will always be one of the highlights of my career.
“4) You’ve been an actor, a writer, a producer, a director… which do you prefer?”
LDP: When I think of all the hats I’ve worn on film sets – actor, writer, director – I’m often reminded of my theatre training at The University of Texas at Arlington. The beauty of actually studying this craft and art form is that you come to respect all aspects of it and as a theatre student, I did it all, from painting flats and sewing costumes to writing and directing my own productions. I’ve always ben grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to extend that into the film and television world. I certainly think the writing and directing enhance my understanding of my acting and definitely help me embrace the process of making films. I can understand the problems that production face and be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Conversely, I often encourage writers and directors to take acting classes not so much that they can become actors but so that they will have a better understanding of our process and what we have to go through to deliver a good performance. At the very least, it helps them to speak our language. Ultimately, I look at my place in the film industry as a communicator or story teller. All of the different positions are in service to the story and one should complement the other. All that said, if I could only do one I’d have to go with my first love – acting.
“5) On the set of SGU, who do you “hang out” with?”
LDP: The SGU ensemble is very tight and, fortunately, we’re all very fond of each other. I’ve thrown large dinners a few times and have also had the chance to grab beers one on one with some of the guys. Was out not long ago with Louis Ferreira and surprised a fan who must have assumed that, since our characters are confrontational we’d have the same dynamic in real life. Had to assure him that, no, we’re just acting!
“6) Other than spending time with your family, what do you enjoy doing during your down time?”
LDP: I’ve done quite a bit of writing in the past year and, when I can get motivated again, I’ve got another project in mind that I would like to start. Hopefully, we’ll see one of my screenplays get some traction in the coming year. When I really want to turn off and not think about anything else, I like to sit down at the poker table for hours at a time. Not always relaxing but certainly fun.
“7) Imagine you’re really on the Destiny, how would you keep from going crazy?
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!”
LDP: I’d probably do what a lot of the characters are already doing. Working out, trying to figure out how to get home. Although it seems that every week there’s some new jeopardy so nobody ever runs the risk of getting bored. I think Rush has finished carving his chess set by now so I’d certainly sign up for that. And, like I said before, I might have to fashion some hand drawn playing cards.
Wraithfodder writes: “Hi Lou,
1 – You have been fantastic tweeting with the fans but am curious, what’s been the weirdest thing you’ve ever had anyone tweet to you?”
LDP: And speaking of Twitter…I actually love that I can communicate with fans and just share random thoughts. I often am amused by the wit and wisdom out there. (Yeah, I know, there’s a lot of mundane stuff, too, but hey, you just zip past that stuff.) I don’t go into chat rooms or anything like that and I understand that there are sites that can get personal and mean spirited but my experience on Twitter has been very positive. The weirdest tweet happened when I first started on the network. Some guy went on a surprisingly long rant basically telling me the many ways I could fornicate with myself. I’m sure it amused him and his friends and, even though I found some entertainment value in it myself, I chose to just block his ass!
“2 – I envy your cooking skills, but wonder, if there any kitchen/cooking disaster stories you’d like to share with us fans? We promise not to tell anyone.”
LDP: Fortunately, there haven’t been too many absolute disasters in the kitchen. (Although, there was the time when a home-made apple pie started a fire in the oven. I thought it was hilarious but it freaked out my daughters. Must say, though, it was a good lesson in not panicking. Oh, and the pie turned out just fine.) The biggest faux-pas would probably be my timing when I invite friends over for dinner. As my good friends @EdwardsRellas (yes, they’re on Twitter) would tell you, my meals are never on time so they tend to have a light snack before they come over. That would totally be my downfall if I ever appeared on Celebrity Chopped!
“3 – Do your children have any favorite movies that you’ve done?”
LDP: Indy is still too young to even care about Daddy’s work but the older girls are pretty familiar with a lot of the flicks and TV. (Gotta say, though, there’s a lot of shows that I’ve done that they’re not allowed to see until later. They’re going to need therapy just from having watched me die umpteen times.) Of the ones that they do know, La Bamba is obviously a favorite and they tend to like watching me fight creatures like in Bats or Red Water. I’d have to say that Love Takes Wing probably takes the prize simply because I directed it and ALL my girls are in it. Indy was still a baby but Yvonne held her in a couple of scenes and she was great. Grace, Isabella and Lili all had speaking roles and I was proud and frightened at how good and talented they were. They obviously have the gene and the bug!
“4 – How much input did you have into Telford?
Thanks very much!”
LDP: I think the input any of the cast has into their characters is purely circumstantial and indirect. The staff of writers are so creative and have an overview of each season so it’s actually quite fun to wait and see what surprises they have in store for us. Obviously, our personal approach to our roles color the dialogue and add personality to the characters but that’s mostly a function of having cast the show very well. But, certainly, as the writers get to know us personally and see our individual quirks and idiosyncracies they begin to get our voices in their heads and it helps to infuse the roles with real specific touches.
Thijs writes: “A few questions for Lou Diamond Phillips:
-.Will you be back for season 2 of SGU?.
-.Will you become a main cast member?.
-.How many episodes will you be in in season 2?.
-.Can you tell me a little about things i can expect in season 2 of SGU?”
LDP: Wow, sorry to say that I can’t answer a single one of your questions directly! All I can tell you is that you can probably glean a lot of the information you seek by reading between the lines in some of my other answers! Sorry to be obtuse but I’m afraid the producer’s would communication stone Telford’s consciousness into a chimp if I talked too much!
jojo writes: “Questions for LDP:
1. I really enjoyed your work and your commentaries on Numbers. What did you enjoy most about your time on that series? You did a lot of location work. What location did you enjoy most? Any fun things you got to do on that show? (like riding in a helicopter?)”
LDP: Numb3rs was one of those shows that I said yes to before I’d even read a script. The cast alone was incentive enough for me. I’ve gotten to the point in my career where I look for a life experience almost as much as a good role and working with actors that I respect only enriches my work. In addition, the character of Ian Edgerton was created by Ken Sanzel, an old buddy and the writer/director of a film I had done called Lone Hero. I really thought Edgerton was only going to make the one appearance since his field of expertise seemed narrow but Ken, Nick & Cheryl found ways to keep bringing him back. I used to joke that they only called me when somebody needed killing. That said, one of the more fun aspects of the role was learning SWAT/sniper techniques and picking up a few tracker tricks.
“2. Do you think Col Telford was just friends with Col Young’s wife or did it go beyond that? Was his “friendship” with her to spite Col Young or just to be a friend to her?”
LDP: I think I mentioned it before but I’ll repeat it just in case. When I queried the writers, they were of the opinion that Telford had not crossed that line. I think the decent side of his character respected her situation and actually became fond of her. I also think his restraint made him feel superior to Young in a moral sense. Given his brainwashing and his agenda for wanting the command back, I think he was also willing to use that relationship to get under Young’s skin and get an even greater insight into his weaknesses.
“3. Was Col Telford planning on being in charge of the group to go through the gate and the attack and Rush spoiled that plan? Do you think Col Telford had any advance warning that LA was planning on attacking Icarus Base?”
LDP: It’s always interesting to go back and dissect the motivations and what-ifs with the benefit of hindsight. Knowing about Telford’s brainwashing and the amount of contact he had with Kiva and the LA, it’s hard not to believe that he wouldn’t have been aware of the attack on Icarus. It’s also implied that Telford may have supplied information to make the attack successful. Obviously, it wasn’t entirely effective since I think the LA’s goal was to go through the gate themselves. That said, in both cases, I don’t think Telford would have led the Alliance through since that would have blown his cover. If he were to remain an asset to them, I think he would’ve kept his status as a spy secret.
“4. What future roles do you have in mind? What are some of your favorite roles you have done over the years? Are there any actors you really desire to work with in the future?
Thanks for answering my questions! I really enjoy your work on SGU.”
LDP: The only future roles I could actually plan would be the ones I would eventually hope to do on stage. The film roles always come out of the blue. As far as theatre is concerned, I’ve never done the Scottish play, I hope to play Don Quixote one day and I would love to get a play of mine that I wrote finally produced. There are a number of others I’m sure but that’s half the fun of having roles come your way. They’re often unexpected and always welcome. Kinda covered the fave roles and actors in a previous question.
PBMom writes: “Questions for LDP (a lot of good ones already asked so my attempt at asking different ones):
1. Any word about a release date on your movie, “Transparency? To JM’s posters, it is a must-see movie.”
LDP: (First off, great to hear from you! Thanks for all the kind mentions of ‘Transparency.’ Hope your son is doing well.)
1. Speaking of ‘Transparency,’ the latest is that it will screen at the Oldenburg festival in Germany in September. Presently, I don’t know if I can attend. Hoping so but will have to wait to see if the SGU shooting schedule will accomodate. Deborah Kara Unger will be there and is serving as the festival’s jury chairperson. Ultimately, I truly hope fans of mine will see the film because I’m very proud of it. These little films, without built-in distribution and advertising dollars, often have a difficult time getting out there in a mainstream way. Every once in a while, they break through and the festivals can be instrumental in making that happen.
Eventually, I know it will be available on DVD but I hope that it might have an art-house release or appear on one of the cable outlets so that it might reach a larger audience. Keep your ears open. I’ll certainly be promoting it.
“2. I know you were talking about creating a cooking show. Is it being shopped to networks yet, or is it still in a developmental phase?”
LDP: The cooking show idea was the brainchild of my wife, Yvonne, and a friend of hers who is also in our business. They ran it by me and I was able to develop it a bit more. It’s actually out there in the world in the hands of a few different producers and, hopefully, we’ll see it gain some traction in the coming year. It’s a great idea that we would produce in a very hands-on way. Wish I could tell you more about it but it is actively being pitched to networks presently so it’s best to stay mum about the details. I love the project simply because it would be a fun way to join together a few things that I love – food, cooking shows and, of course, my wife, partner and creative muse, Yvonne!
“3. Are you shocked that Heidi and Spencer are separated? LOL.”
LDP: Nothing that Heidi and Spencer do shocks or surprises me any more. What I find amazing is that, perhaps, no aspect of their lives may actually be real. We all have to wonder if anything they do is designed to be a publicity stunt. Tough way to live and, in my opinion, a really misguided way to stay in the public eye. Depends on what you want to be famous for, I guess.
“4. I was really touched how deeply Sanjaya became attached to you and looked up to you on I’m A Celebrity. Have you kept in touch?”
LDP: Sanjaya and I have definitely stayed in touch. He and his sister, Shamale (sp?) stayed with Yvonne and I recently. It was certainly like having a teenage son and daughter in the house for a few days! The two of them were in LA to make an appearance on Hell’s Kitchen so be looking for them this season. The two of them were also very sweet to go and have lunch with my older girls, Grace, Isabella and Lili. I will certainly be staying in touch with my illegitimate son and keeping an eye on his career and well-being.
“5. I have to ask, since I’ve asked everyone — what song would Telford sing on an SGleeU episode and to whom?”
LDP: Well, we’re constantly singing on the SGU set but I’ve never really thought about musical selections based on character motivations. Looking at Telford’s history (not necessarily what he might have coming up in the future) I’d probably have to go with songs like – Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself,” or The Who’s “No one knows what it’s like to be the bad man…” or maybe The Cars “Best Friend’s Girl.” Always open to suggestion so feel free to compile the Telford Play List!
“Thank you for being so kind and sending words of encouragement. It was so fantastic to meet you at the Dallas International Film Festival. To all JM’s blog posters, LDP has been on the board of directors for an autism charity called ACT Today http://www.act-today.org/ since 2005 and has been an amazing supporter of the autism community. It’s a great website and you should all check it out. You rock! I’m looking forward to a lot more Telford in the episodes to come.”
Nick Danger writes: “Question for LDP: Since you’re a foodie, I’m going to ask you the Bourdain Question: It’s your last day alive, what will you have for your final meal?”
LDP: Since I do consider myself a foodie and have a great affinity for many different kinds of foods, that’s always a tough question since one wouldn’t want to limit their choices. As they say, variety is the spice of life! But if it’s the final meal, I’d probably have to go with a very basic choice, certainly one of my all time faves – A bone-in ribeye, medium rare, Alaskan King crab legs, sauteed mushrooms and grilled vegetables with maybe a little wild rice and a Shiner Bock or Newcastle to wash it down. Now, that’s eating.
Shirt ‘n Tie writes: “For Lou: Given the diversity of roles and productions with which you have been involved, which do you feel has been the most demanding (both mentally and physically)? Has that role also been the most fulfilling? And… given the choice of any role, past, present or future…what would be your dream gig? Many thanks for all the tweets!!!
Paul aka Shirt’n’Tie!”
LDP: (Hey, great chatting with you on twitter! Regards to the Emerald Isle.)
Certainly the theatre roles are some of the most demanding because of the amount of preparation, the size of the roles and the pressure to do it live in front of a few thousand people a night. I certainly felt the scrutiny in my Broadway debut in The King and I! Fear is a huge motivator. Not only was there the text to learn, there was the singing and dancing (which people did not necessarily expect of me) and the large shadow of Yul Brynner that was much more prevailant than I had first imagined. A number of patrons and critics had seen his final tour and I had some very big shoes to fill. Fortunately, I was able to make the role my own and felt validated by the Broadway community when the production won four Tonys (including Best Revival) and I was nominated for Best Actor. I would also have to include playing King Arthur in the National Tour of Camelot for all the same reasons but with the added hardship of moving to a different city every single week for seven months. As far as film roles go, none has been more difficult and pressure laden than Ritchie in La Bamba and certainly none has been as gratifying since it was certainly my Cinderella story. I felt a huge responsibility to get it right since Ritchie had been so well loved and his entire family was on set almost every day. Plus, I didn’t play guitar (still don’t) and, at the time, I wasn’t much of a singer. I lived in fear every single day that I would be fired, especially after Exec Producer Taylor Hackford said, “Get it right, kid, or we’ll send you back to Texas!” I haven’t felt that way in a long time but recently I managed to get a bit nervous when I played a small role in ‘Che’ opposite Benicio Del Toro. Not only is Benicio very imposing (especially in character) but the entire film is in Spanish. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t speak Spanish! I had to learn the whole role by rote and was constantly aware that it would have been very easy to simply replace me with a Spanish speaking actor. Fortunately for me, Benicio and Stephen Soderbergh wanted me in the film.
As far as a dream gig goes, I’ll refer to an old Journeyman Actor’s philosophy when asked what their favorite role is…My next one!