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Posts Tagged ‘Tracker’

So, what’ve you all been up to?  Besides reading this blog of course.  Watching anything good?  Reading anything great?  Do tell.

I’m watching some t.v.  I know, I know, I really should watch more but I’m a busy guy!  I’ve got scripts to write, books to read, and dogs to walk.  I have, of course, been watching Top Chef Seattle.  Also the final seasons of both The Office (which took a bizarrely downbeat turn in its last episode) and 30 Rock (funniest comedy on television).  I’ve recorded The Following (having heard good things about the pilot script).  Other than that, I’m checking out Louie, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s 7th season (Fat Mac!) and looking forward to Breaking Bad’s final episodes.  Is there something I’m missing?

Excitement on the book front as I’ve discovered two series I’m quite enjoying.  It’s rare enough to find one but two!  I’m about to start on the fourth book of George McDonald Fraser’s Flashman series, and my third Preston/Child Pendergast novel (I know, I know.  What took me so long?).  Am also loving Hickman’s run on both Avengers titles.  Thoughts?

Spoke to my former cohorts Carl Binder, Robert Cooper, and Martin Gero today (my writing partner Paul doesn’t count because we happen to be on the same conference call).  Lots of exciting things brewing with them.  Stay tuned!

Continuing our trip down SGA memory lane with…

1TRACKER (509)

Pitching for an established series can be a daunting task at the best of times, but imagine trying to pitch to a mythologically complex production that already has some 300 stories under its belt?  This was the uphill battle that faced every freelancer interested in writing for Stargate.  It seemed that whenever someone pitched to us, it would invariably be an idea that we had done, had considered doing and discounted, or were in process of doing.  Under those circumstances, it’s hard to imagine a scenario whereby any outsider could land a story. But while the odds were always stacked against them, a few prevailed – due in large part to Executive Producers Robert Cooper and Brad Wright ability to seize on even the most insubstantial of notions and spin them into a workable episode.

I don’t think I can remember a time that someone came in and landed a contract based on an idea they pitched.  More often than not, they would pitch an idea which would give Brad or Robert another idea that would be spun into something workable – BUT because that initial idea gave them the actual idea they used, the freelancer would be given credit for inspiring the whole process.  In the case of Tracker, it was one step even further removed in that that the episode was based on an idea that wasn’t even borne out of the original idea pitched.  What happened was that during the pitch, Robert Cooper seized on the word “tracker” to spin out a completely different story about a fellow runner. Only problem was no one had said the word “tracker”.  Rob had misheard “track her” and taken it from there.

Still, at the end of the day, if that freelancer hadn’t come in to pitch, it’s safe to say that Tracker (or, at the very least, the episode as we know it) would have never been made.  So kudos to all – especially Executive Producer Carl Binder who ended up writing one of the most entertaining scripts of the show’s final season.

Speaking of Carl: Little known fact about this episode: Exec. Producer Carl Binder was originally cast in the role of the virile and ruggedly handsome Kiryk but had to bow out after sustaining a groin injury while racing for the lunch truck.  As a result, we had to go with our second choice, the equally great Mike Dopud.  Here are some shots of Carl from that initial costume fitting…

Yikes!  Imagine running into this guy in a dark alley.

Yikes! Imagine running into this guy in a dark alley.

Beefcake!  Beeefcaaaake!!!

Beefcake! Beeefcaaaake!!!

Uh, okay, but where are we going to find a stone oven?

Uh, okay, but where are we going to find a stone oven?

Hey, lookit what was lying around the shop!

Hey, lookit what was lying around the shop!

(photo @MGM Television)

Jenni-Ryk out and about (photo @MGM Television)

Stabby stabby

Stabby stabby

Director Will Waring gives the troops their marching orders. (photo @MGM Television)

Director Will Waring gives the troops their marching orders. (photo @MGM Television)

Build your kids a backyard playground.  Here's how!

Build your kids a backyard playground. Here’s how!

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mike-dopud-as-kiryk4

Today, I’d like to turn this blog over to a familiar face – stuntman and actor Mike Dopud who has made three memorable appearances in the Stargate franchise (Full Alert’s Colonel Chernovshev, Bounty’s Odaii Ventrell, and Tracker’s Kiryk). So far. He’s incredibly talented, a helluva nice guy and, should my SF pilot ever get off the ground, I’ve already got a part for him. Over to Mike…

Thank you Joseph and everyone at SG1 and SGA for bringing me onto your show over the years. Thanks Joe for getting me on your blog. What great questions. Thanks to all the SG fans out there that take the time to watch the shows and for all those nice compliments. Unbelievable. As an actor, there is no greater feeling than to have people respect and enjoy watching your performance. So thanks to everyone out there and I hope to do this again some time.

Christle writes: “I got a question for Mike Dopud! -waves hand in the air frantically- What’s your favorite book, and if said book were to be adapted into a movie, which part would you most like to play?”

I am waving back frantically. Favorite book. Hmmmm, lately it seems like the only books I read are either dinosaur books and/or dinosaur encyclopedias – lol (My 4 year old son Dane is obsessed with dinos). If I were to choose a book it would probably be by the author Ed McBain. He has written many books about the 87th Precinct, which is a fictitious Police precinct in Chicago. Two of his novels that stand out to me are “Big Bad City” and “Fat Ollie’s Book”, both of which are great. They are well-written, gritty, police mysteries. I would love to play the character Det. Steve Carella. They have made some TV movies based on these novels in the past but I think they could make for an awesome feature or a great series.

Mellow Yellow writes: “I don’t have any questions for Mike but please let him know I think he is HOT! and he did an excellent job playing Kiryk and I actually was choked when he sacrificed himself to save everyone else. AND I would have loved it if they made him a regular or recurring character on SGA..that is how great he was..I don’t usually miss a character that I see once on a show but he left me wanting more…”

Thanks Mellow Yellow, I don’t hear the words “HOT” too often so I am flattered. I’m so glad you enjoyed Kiryk. I did as well. I was hoping that he would come back but shortly after we finished shooting “Tracker”, they announced Atlantis wasn’t coming back for season 6. Thanks again, it’s nice to hear.

Wolfenm writes: “To Mike Dopud ~ First, I juist wanted to say that Kiryk was utterly captivating from the first moment your character appeared! He’s the #1 character that I wish we could have seen again in the series! Thank you for bringing him to life for us, for making him a character to care about!”

Thank you very much.

“Now for questions ….

1) I understand that you have quite a range of talent in the acting world, doing stage, television/movie acting, stunt acting, and voice-overs — what aspect did you get your acting start in – “

I started acting and doing stunts about 15 years ago. I would have to say that I started working more as a stuntman early on in my career. I can’t explain why really, but I guess it was due to my sports and fighting background that made me more employable, for lack of a better term. I was very fortunate. I thoroughly enjoy acting for both film and television. As I get older I realize how lucky I am to be a working actor.

I enjoy the freedom and pacing you get with doing a feature film sometimes. In most cases you can really try and figure out the scenes, try them different ways, etc. I also like the challenge of television to get it “right” in a couple of takes. Unfortunately you don’t always have time to be as creative as one would like but it can still be done. I don’t really have a preference at this stage of my career. I LOVE to work. As my wife says: when I am working regularly, I am a happy person.

The first professional play I did was 6 years ago. It was an original play called “Of Diners and Buses” Let me tell you what a thrill that was. I was excited, nervous, scared out of my wits and completely thrilled to work on stage. Working in front of a live audience was such an incredible experience. Now I try to do a play every couple of years if I get the chance to.“and how did you get into those other areas?” All of my work has come from acting and stunt work either directly or indirectly. I met an actor on set years ago that ran a voice-over studio in Toronto, Canada and he brought me in a couple of days later to re-voice some characters on a series he was producing and that was my introduction to voice work.

“Do you have a preference?”

If I had to choose only one aspect of the film industry it would be acting in film and television. Is that only one??

“2) Wikipedia says that you’re also an athlete — what sport(s) do you participate in?”

I WAS an athlete; I sure don’t feel as athletic as I did 10 years ago – hahaha. I played football at Southern Illinois University and had brief stints professionally with the Saskatchewan Rough Riders in The Canadian Football League and with Birmingham Fire of the World League of American Football.

Hockey was the other sport. I played for the Hull Olympics in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and after my football career was done I played in the East Coast Hockey League with the Columbus Chill. “3) Which actors and directors would you most like to work with, given a chance?”I would love to work with …that is tough…. Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins, Cate Blanchet, Cate Winslet. Denzel Washington, Daniel Craig. That’s a pretty good list if you ask me.

As far as directors go, I would have to say a dream of mine would be to work with Clint Eastwood. Ron Howard would be another one.

“4) What’s been your most and least favorite roles so far?”

I loved playing Don Lawson on the MTV Series “Kaya”, the complex and morally challenged Det. Glen Stuckey on the ION network show “Durham County”, and of course I had such a blast playing Kiryk on Atlantis.

“5) What would be your dream role? (It can be something vague, like a mustache-twirling villain, or a specific role that’s already been done, like Han Solo.)”

One of my all time favorite movies is “Mad Max”. That would be very fun. Again, playing Kiryk was great. Doing that on a regular basis or in a feature format would be everything I could ask for. I just watched the movie “The Wrestler” and I would definitely love to play that kind of role.

“6) Of all the costumes you’ve had to wear, which have you liked the best in your career? The least? And what one has been hardest to perform in?”

I had fun wearing my costume as General Backler in “IN THE NAME OF THE KING”. I wore armor and a long wig and this crazy beard. Kiryk’s costume was very cool as well (that post apocalyptic look) and my wardrobe as Don on “KAYA” was fun as well because I got to dress in the hippest high end suits and got to drive nice cars.

“7) Of things you haven’t appeared in, what are some of your favorite plays? Movies? TV shows?”

I really like the play THE SEA HORSE by Edward J. Moore. BETRAYAL by Harold Pinter. TV shows…I am hooked on GREY’S ANATOMY believe it or not. I like 24, THE WIRE was very good too. Movies: Just saw THE WRESTLER (great) BLADE RUNNER, CITY OF GOD and many, many more.

“If you pitted the three Stargate characters you’ve played against each other in a fight, who would win?”

Off the top I would have to say Kiryk, but Odaii Ventrell was very slick and smart and didn’t really have a conscience so I think it would be close fight – but I have to believe Kiryk would win out in the end. Col. Chernovshev wouldn’t really stand a chance. Against those two that is.

Ponytail writes: “Some questions for Mr. Mike Dopud: How did you like working with Jewel, David, and Jason in Tracker?”

I loved working with them, they treated me as if I was a regular on the show. Jewel and I hit it off immediately which made starting on a new show much easier. She’s very nice. I remember on the first day, Jewel and I had already done some scenes together and then David and Jason showed up and I couldn’t believe how funny they were. There were a couple of takes that I thought I would not be able to contain my laughter. They made me feel right at home.

“Have you ever worked with any Atlantis cast member in the past?”

I was about to say no but actually I have worked with Paul McGillion before on a movie called SEE GRACE FLY – which Paul was excellent in might I add.

“Did you do all your own stunts in Tracker?”

Yes, I have experience as a stunt performer which makes it easier for producers and directors to let me do my own action.

“What was your favorite scene in Tracker and why?”

My favorite scene in TRACKER is probably the scene in the cave when I bring Dr. Keller to see Celise (the little girl that I am trying to save). I just think that it is a critical scene in the show because the audience gets to see the real reason why Kiryk kidnapped Dr.Keller. I believe this is a moment in which the audience starts to empathize with him and you get to see that this hardnosed, intense tough guy is actually a noble and caring person. Hopefully that’s what came across. The fight scenes with Jason were fun too. I trained and rehearsed for quite a while to make the them work so I was anxious to shoot them as well. I think they came together quite well.

“Your character and Jason’s character are/were both runners. Personality wise, how do you think Kiryk was different from Ronon?”

I think they are very similar in some ways, both having gone through terrible things such as being on the run from the WRAITH, watching people and family they care for destroyed. I think a difference might be that Kiryk hasn’t found a home yet and is probably at the end of his line so to speak whereas Ronon has been with ATLANTIS for some time and is not on the run from the Wraith anymore.

“Do you think your character Kiryk survived after diving through the gate with the Wraith in tow?”

I would love to think Kiryk survived. Because the tracking system was fried, I believe it gave him a renewed hope and a chance to make it through. The fact that the Wraith can no longer track him is a huge bonus for Kiryk.

“Of your 3 appearances in SG1 and SGA, which was your favorite and why?”

Playing Ventrell in Bounty on SG1 was really fun but I would have to say Kiryk was my favorite because although he was a tough guy, he was more vulnerable as a person. More complex.

“Any upcoming projects you’d like to mention?”

As a matter of fact I have been very fortunate this past year. I am a series regular on a show called DURHAM COUNTY which will air this summer on the ION network. I play Det. Glenn Stuckey. As well, I am back on SMALLVILLE this week Jan.29th and they brought my character back on BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (Specialist Gage) which airs this week and next week Friday at 10pm on SCI FI channel. I just finished shooting a small part on the feature WOLVERINE this week. I play an American Officer. Oh, and I will be Guest Starring on SUPERNATURAL in the month of Feb.

Tamijib writes: “To Mike Dopud: I just wanted to say that I enjoyed your work on SG1 and SGA. I would have to say that I enjoyed you as Kiryk the most. I love characters like him that pretend they are tough but really have a soft side. You really brought that in his character. Thanks. Questions: Out of all the characters on Stargate franchise which one did you like the most/least to play?”

As I said before Kiryk was just the best character for me to portray. I liked all of them. Col. Chernovshev was fun to play as well. He’s so different than the others.

“If asked would you come back to the Stargate franchise on SGA as Kiryk or even SGU as another character? Thanks for the Q&A.”

Of course, I would be absolutely thrilled if they asked me to come back as Kiryk or even as a new character on SGU. I have always been treated well by the Stargate Clan.

Charlie MacKenna writes: “Question for Mr. Mike: So, on a scale of 1-10 (10 being completely awesome) how awesome is it being a stunt man?”

Hahaha good question. I would give it a 10. I love it but I have to be honest. As you get older the falls and the physical abuse your body talks aren’t as fun as they used to be.

Thornyrose writes: “Questions for Mr. Dopud. First, what inspired you to make the shift from stuntman to acting?”

I think it was just something that evolved over time. I always loved doing both stunt work and acting but I guess over the years the challenges that acting brings is something that really drives me. I relish the challenge of bringing a character to life to enhance the story. Hopefully I have been able to do that.

“What is your favorite form of acting, theater, TV, movies? Which genres are you most eager to do, or enjoy most? Sci-fi, comedy, romance?”

In my career I have worked on a number of Sci -Fi projects (SG1, Atlantis, BSG, Rollerball, Riddick,etc..) I love the fantasy worlds. It allows you a lot of freedom when trying to create a character. As well, I love working on dramas. I am most eager to work on a romantic comedy, believe it or not. I don’t get many opportunities to work on them but it would definitely be a change of pace and something I look forward to doing one day.

Airelle writes: “Mr. Dopud, great work on Tracker, enjoyed that episode. Did you get many injuries from the work on SGA?”

Thanks so much. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Fortunately I didn’t get hurt at all on Tracker. Everything in the fight scene was choreographed and rehearsed by Jason, myself and the stunt guys with James Bamford’s supervision.

PoorOldEdgarDerby writes: “Questions for Mr. Dopud:

1. Did you ever tell somebody that you were a stuntman and they asked if it’d be all right to sock you?”

Yes and please don’t ever do that to a stunt man. At least they ask first and some of the time I would say “Sure, but can I hit you back??”. That always gets a laugh.

“2. I’ve perused a couple sites listing your acting credits. Do you mostly enjoy film work or does the stage at all strike your fancy?”

I thoroughly love working on television and film but I really enjoy being on the stage. In my perfect world, I would work on a series, then do a feature film and or a play every year. The only ‘problem’ with working on stage is the time commitment which keeps you away from film and TV work.

Ava writes: “For Mike Dopud: First I would love to say, that I admire you for having the courage to break the barrier between worlds of stuntmen and actors. It’s impressive how convincing you can be in your roles and how different every role is!”

Thanks so much for saying that. I love the challenge a bringing to life these different characters.

“I loved Kiryk and loved to hate Torko.”

I agree. Torko had absolutely no redeeming qualities. It was fun playing a bad guy that was such a jerk.

“Okay… 1. Any possibility we could see you in the new SGU?”

I really don’t know if that is possible but if they (the producers) want me back, I would do it in a heartbeat. The Stargate franchise has always treated me well.

“2. How difficult was the transition from stuntman to actor? Did you encounter some.mm.. resistance?”

I would say that the transition was a hard one. Especially early on. I had resistance from many people. Some casting directors didn’t want to give me a chance but, eventually, I was able to win them over I guess. It did take some time though. Stunt coordinators would also be apprehensive when it came to hiring me because they wanted to know if I was committed to doing stunts or not. I just never understood why people had a hard time with me doing both, but I think as the years have gone on, I have made some inroads and hopefully it will keep on going.

“3. If you could not do THIS job, what would you do?”

Honestly I have never thought of what I would do if I weren’t acting…. Maybe I would be involved in coaching sports or something like that.

“4. Which role you consider to be your biggest ‘breakthrough’ so far?”

My biggest breakthrough so far would have to be landing a lead role on a series called KAYA, which aired on MTV last year and is currently airing in Canada and in Europe I believe. The main reason was that they didn’t want me to audition for it. I happened to audition for it in LA at the last minute, they brought me back for a network test the next day and I got it.Tracker was also very important because as much as I enjoyed playing Kiryk, the feedback has been fantastic.

“5. Do you have any official fanmail address?”

You can send it to my agent: Peter Strain and Associates

5455 Wilshire blvd. Suite #1812

Los Angeles, CA

90036

“6. What qualities do you value the most in people?”

Simply put, honesty and loyalty.

“Well, thank you for your time and wishing you the very best “

I appreciate that Ava.

Shiningwit writes: “I don’t have any questions for Mike Dopud apart from how do you pronounce your surname?”

That’s funny; I have never been asked that question…kidding. I pronounce it DO as in Dough, pud (as in pudding) if that makes any sense. No worries though. My own family and I say it differently. It’s a Serbian name that dropped and added letters when my parents defected from the former Yugoslavia in the early sixties.

KellyK writes: “Hi, Mike. Thanks for taking our questions.

1) What was the most challenging aspect of shooting Tracker?”

I would say it was a great episode to work on for me. I could totally relate to Carl Binder’s writing. Will Waring and I had a great meeting before we started shooting and I told him why and what I thought Kiryk was. He gave me some notes and some freedom in creating the character. The challenge for me was to somehow make Kiryk a character that you can understand or at some level empathize with despite his quiet demeanor and harsh appearance.

“2) How did working on Atlantis compare to working on SG-1?”

I would have to say it was very similar in the fact that both sets were extremely friendly and accommodating.

“3) Since the fate of your character was left open at the end of the episode, what do YOU think happened to Kiryk?”

As I mentioned earlier, since Dr. Keller fried his tracking device, I believe that gave Kiryk a newfound will to survive and that little edge to keep going. I believe his skills as a warrior would beat out the WRAITH, thus I think he survived and is ready to make a comeback in the ATLANTIS movie…..Joe, Brad, Robert…..what do you say???? Ok, ok it was worth a shot. LOL.

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