What’s the best thing about working on Stargate? Whenever I’m asking this question, the first answer that comes to mind is: my co-workers (followed closely by the catering, the end-of-season crew gift, and the chocolate fountain at the SG-1 200th episode party). The truth is, at the end of the day, no matter how much you get paid or how personally satisfying you may find your job, if you don’t like the people you work with, your workplace will be a miserable place. Fortunately for me, I’m on a show with some truly wonderful people, from the girl in post-production with the notebook made out of recycled elephant dung to our illustrous cast – all of them a pleasure to work with. And, when it comes to “truly wonderful”, you’d be hardpressed a better example than actor Brian J. Smith, both on camera and off. Not only is he incredibly talented, but his friendly, down-to-earth attitude never ceases to amaze. And I’m sure you’ll agree once you get to know him as well.
Enjoy Brian’s Q&A, check out his twitter page for his latest updates (http://twitter.com/BrianJacobSmith) and, of course, be sure to tune in for the world premiere of Strgate: Universe this Friday night, 9:00 p.m., on SyFy (Space in Canada) for your first glimpse of Lieutenant Matthew Scott in action.
BJS: Hey ya’ll! Thanks for all the great questions. I tried not to repeat myself so just picked “new” questions as I went down the list. I’m very excited for SGU to premiere – it’ll be great to finally get to share our “baby” with the world. Ok, question time…
Cherluvya writes: “Brian: You were in theatre…did you have hopes of TV or movies while there? Do you find yourself missing it? Loved the poster, did you know you had been chosen for the center, or did it come as a surprise?”
BJS: It’s hard to make a living purely as a stage actor, so financially I was hoping to get involved in TV, mainly doing guest spots or multi-episode characters. I never thought I’d get to be a regular on a TV show. But it’s awesome that I’m doing a TV show that I find so creatively fulfilling and challenging – I honestly think I’m going to walk away from this season a better actor than when I first got involved. Funny story about the posters: we weren’t actually running when they took the pictures, we were striking this crazy looking pose and then sort of falling forward. But I was surprised I was in the center – so are my friends in NY who see me running on their bus-stops!
CatholicDenise writes: “Have you decided on a Cavalier King Charles or is that still an open question?”
BJS: I think I could love a dog no matter what the breed. Just depends on the pooch, I guess. But I must say I’ve fallen in love with Cavaliers – they’re very affectionate and they bond very quickly with whoever is willing to show a little love. Well, that and whoever is willing to feed them!
Sherry Harris writes: “I’ve got a Question for Brian: Where the hell is my poster?”
BJS: Mooommmmm! Jeeze, okay!
Ytimyona writes: “Questions for Brian Jacob Smith: I have heard you are a classically trained stage actor (at Juilliard!). What is your favorite part of being on stage/performing before a live audience?”
BJS: All that freedom. You can be incredibly spontaneous moment to moment – whereas in TV and film you have to constantly watch what you’re doing so that it matches in every angle. But film allows you to be incredibly intimate and real – you don’t have to bump up your voice or your physical life in order to reach people hundreds of feet away. You can relax and be true to the situation, as if it’s really happening for the first time.
“I’ve heard of your exploits with Crossfit (differently fun, but effectively painful). Do you workout because Lt. Scott is a buff person, or for your own reasons, or both?”
BJS: I wanted Matt to have a very specific look – he doesn’t spend hours at the gym, but his military training has made him very fit and his military fitness scores are probably exemplary. So I was looking for a program that was calisthenics based and crossfit fits the bill. In fact, Matt would love all the rope climbing, push-ups, pull-ups and running that we do. I’m actually not that great at crossfit. I’d love to make the leader board before we finish this year, but crossfit’ers are usually part-time athletes or just naturally fit so I’m constantly humbled. Which is a good thing, right?
“Have you had any adventures in Vancouver you can regale us with?”
BJS: Well, I’m working on this CRAZY show where we travel through wormholes . . . Actually I’m a home-body and my Vancouver adventures usually just involve a bike ride around Stanley Park or a good hike in the mountains – OR a really great meal. Vancouver has amazing restaurants, and my favorites are Market, Quattro, Viji’s, and La Quercia.
“How do you get into the mindset of your character? How much research did that require?”
BJS: I’ve always been interested in the military, so all the military research was (and is) a blast to do. I read a ton of books. A few that have helped me are “One Bullet Away” by Nathaniel Fick, “Joker One” by Donnovan Campbell, and “The Last True Story I’ll Ever Tell” by John Crawford. For some reason I started getting into Vietnam while doing the show, so I read the classic Vietnam books “Dispatches”, “The Cat From Hue”, and Philip Caputo’s “Rumor of War”. I also got a lot out of a documentary called ‘Carrier’ – really helped me understand how military minds work in long deployment situations, especially on tight-quarter ships.
“What is your favorite kind of cookie? How about your favorite kind of candy?”
BJS: Any kind that my grandma makes.
“Have you had any experiences where you overhear people talking about Stargate and they have no clue you’re an actor in it?”
BJS: No, not yet!
“Which do you prefer: Star Wars or Star Trek?”
BJS: Star Trek from start to finish!
“You and the rest of the cast all seem like best friends. Did you know any of the cast members before you got the SGU gig?”
BJS: No – but now I feel like I’ve known them for years, hahaha.
“Does Cassie come to work with you every day? Does she hang out in your trailer or come to the set with you too?”
BJS: Yeah, Cassie hangs out in the trailer (where she makes life quite difficult for the AD’s who come calling me to set) and I take her on walks in between set-ups when I can. She’s getting pretty spoiled this month.
“Having puppysat Cassie, do you now think you will be getting a dog?”
BJS: Definitely thinking about it. I think the beginning of season two would be the best time to get one, though.
“Just out of curiosity: are you single? ;-D”
BJS: I think so.
Lisa writes: “Q’s For Brian: Who has emerged as the biggest prankster on the set thus far?”
BJS: Actually, our hair, makeup and wardrobe folks have pulled some BRILLIANT pranks. And I’m talking about some incredibly intricate stuff here. Bobby got a great one a few weeks back.
“What has been your favourite episode to work on and if you can answer, why?”
BJS: Oooo that’s tough one. They’ve all been a blast, especially Air and all the stuff we did in New Mexico. But Life really meant a lot to me – I love what Matt went through in that episode and the stuff I got to do as an actor. It’s a real heartbreaker. We recently wrapped an episode called Faith and I thought it played very well, and the location we worked at was breathtaking.
I love our directors, and I want to say a bit about them – Andy, Peter, Will, Alex, Felix, Ernest, Rohn, Rob. They all bring something unique to the show, and I think you’ll soon realize how important a good director is, especially considering the shooting style. Our directors have been incredibly collaborative and always find a way to set up their shots based on what happens in rehearsals, which isn’t easy and requires a lot of on the spot creativity. I’ve learned something special from all of them.
Chevron7 writes: “Questions for Brian: OK, let me get the awkward one in first….why are you blocking me (@imwebgurl) on Twitter? Is it an accident or on purpose?”
BJS: Hmmm…not sure. Don’t think I’ve blocked anyone – are you sure you’re blocked?
“What was your first job ever?”
BJS: I worked at Winn-Dixie as a grocery bagger.
“What’s more nerve-wracking, the audition process or the first day on set of a new role?”
BJS: Auditions are terrible, and I’d say the screen-test was by far one of the most fearful moments of my life. The first day on set for this one was great. Yeah, you always have those first day jitters but we had time to bond as a cast before-hand so that helped a bunch. Plus our characters are in a scary situation throughout the pilot, so I got to use whatever nerves I was experiencing in the moment.
“What kind of research did you do for the role? I can highly recommend Jetstream (just for fun), a Discovery Canada doco following a group of rookies through Fighter pilot training in the Hornet. With Kavan Smith narrating.”
BJS: Like I said before, lots of reading and documentaries. Also checked out some episodes of SG-1 that were pertinent to the mythos or technology we deal with on SGU. Will check out Jetstream – sounds like a good one!
“Is your character tested more emotionally or physically during the first season?”
BJS: Both. I think you’ll find that Matt really gets thrown around a lot and has no problem sacrificing himself. He wants desperately for everyone to get back to their families and he’d rather die than fail.
“Who do you go for in the NFL, Cowboys? What do you think their chances are this year? Personally I’m a 49er fan and I’m looking for a better season.”
BJS: I’ll always have a soft-spot for the Cowboys. I grew up during their “golden age”, when they were America’s Team. I’d love to see a come-back.
Otros Ojos writes: “Questions for Brian Smith: I know there are limits as to what you guys can say about SGU at this point, but can you tell us a little about what you and Lt. Scott have in common, and where you’re different?”
BJS: I think we’re both emotional people, for better or worse. Sometimes we both do things out of passion without thinking through the consequences first. We both have a need to prove ourselves and to undo past mistakes. We’re also both pretty earnest and maybe a little bit lost.. I also relate to his unlocked potential – we both have a lot on the ball and yet we’re struggling to unlock that energy. It ain’t easy being a rookie! But he’s definitely been through a lot more than I have, and I don’t know anyone who can relate to being trapped on a run-away space ship several billion light years away from home.
“What are you currently reading?”
BJS: Shelby Foote’s narrative on the American Civil War, Women in Love by DH Lawrence, a great biography on Tchaikovsky and an awesome episode of SGU called Incursion.
“Was this role the first time you’ve gotten a military “buzz cut”? If so, what did you think when you looked in the mirror?”
BJS: No, actually, and I wish I could have my hair that short all the time! I had to get it buzzed for my role in a film called The War Boys. Oddly enough I found myself getting more jobs when my hair was buzzed. Matt’s hair is starting to grow out and I’m missing getting to jump out of bed and not worry about it.
Anais33 a ecrit: “Etes vous un grand fan de SF? Si oui qu’elle film ou serie aimez vous?”
BJS: (I don’t speak French, but I’m gonna TRY to answer these…….)
Well, I’m not sure I was a “grand” fan of Sci-Fi, but I certainly have enjoyed Star Trek, especially when I was younger. I’m now a big fan of Battlestar Galactica after having finished the full series on DVD. Grace Park? Oy vey.
“Aimez vous le sport? Lequels appréciez vous?”
BJS: I played soccer as a kid, and was also in gymnastics for a while. I appreciate football and watch it whenever I have the time.
“Que pensez vous de Joseph Mallozzi?”
BJS: I think Joseph Mallozzi is the bomb! Although I’ve never seen him wear pince-nez, sorry.
Delynn writes: “Questions for Brian Jacob Smith: What inspired you to pick acting as a career?”
BJS: I needed something to keep me occupied in High School. But then I realized I could work out a lot of crap in my life through the characters I played. So it was like, “I get PAID for therapy? Awesome, yo, sign me up!”
“Do you have any advice you’d give to a young aspiring actor?”
BJS: Find out about the actors that intrigue you – if you can, study with their teachers or people that are like-minded. I really admired the work I saw coming from some young actors out of Juilliard (Michael Urie of ‘Ugly Betty’ being one of them), and I knew I wanted to be that good. Also forget about a “career”. Don’t go to audition classes or any of that crap unless you really feel bad about your auditions. Do your work to satisfy your own good opinion and a career will happen organically.
cats writes: “Q’s for Brian: Are you happily anticipating a Lt. Matthew Scott action figure? Would you faithfully play with “you”? Welcome to the Stargate family! I understand Rachel Luttrell’s son and David Hewlett’s son each enjoy playing with their respective parents’ dollies.”
BJS: I think it’d make a great chew-toy for Cassie! Honestly, I think SGU action figures would be a little odd. None of the characters are action heroes, you know? They’re recognizable people in a tragic situation, stranded and missing their families. I can’t imagine some kid at Wal-Mart being like “Hey mom, can I get the Lt. Scott doll? When I pull the string he cries!
“Will you dine with Joe M again and partake of more gourmet entrees?”
BJS: You betcha! Except next time Joe needs to let ME pick up the bill.
Artdogspot writes: “Really looking forward to seeing you -very soon- in SGU. What was your experience like moving to and living in NYC? Which neighborhood(s) did you hang out in? And, how was the whole Julliard experience?”
BJS: Uh, culture shock!!! Although Julliard was such an insulated community that we didn’t get overwhelmed by the city at first.
Juilliard. I’m still processing that whole experience. I don’t think anyone goes to Juilliard in order to feel good, you know? It’s a tough environment and they still hold to that old-European Conservatory style teaching so it’s not based on the kind of considerate teaching methods we grow up with in the states. It’s like boot-camp for artists. They break you down, strip you of your bad habits and then try to rebuild you starting in year three. Sometimes that rebuilding process never gets completed and I’ve seen wonderfully talented young actors get destroyed. Which should never be allowed to happen, in my opinion. Still, I owe everything to that place even though I still get shivers when I walk by the building. It gave me a life-long need to keep improving, keep pushing myself and to never settle for crap work. I learned what I’m capable of there – in both a positive and a negative way.
“If you go back to do stage work in the future, will it be Broadway or off-Broadway?”
BJS: Either one is fine – the venue doesn’t matter. I’ve seen genius performances in garage spaces. I’d do regional theatre work if I felt I needed to play the role.
“How does it feel to be in Vancouver now and working with the Stargate team?”
BJS: It’s been the best year of my life.
Lahockey11 writes: “ Question for Brian: As you researched your role for SGU, what aspect of the character did you think would be the hardest to portray? And after filming a few episodes did it end up being as hard as you thought?”
BJS: Well, I had never done this much work in front of a camera before and I was worried about adjusting to the demands of film-acting. But I was surprised to find that I like it as much if not better than stage acting.
Caitylanna writes: “I do have a few questions for Brian – What was your initial reaction to the crowd at Comic Con?
BJS: “Awkward – they have no idea who we are!”
“What is your favorite thing to do while not acting?”
BJS: Play XBox and read.
“If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?”
BJS: The mountains of North Carolina.
Caitlyanna writes: “I thought of one more question for Brian – I’m attempting to gain enough courage for stage acting, what is some good advice you would give to an aspiring actor?”
BJS: Well if you’re starting out, find a place to study. And choose that place carefully because there are a lot of hacks and egomaniacs out there who will do you more harm than good. Make a list of actors whose work you admire and then find out how THEY went about it.
Coronach writes: “I asked this question of David Blue, but I’m curious to see what your answer will be. So, question to Brian: What is the funniest/weirdest/most memorable thing to happen on the set of SGU so far?
Thanks, and looking forward to SGU!”
BJS: I think Jamil Walker Smith is the funniest/weirdest/most memorable thing to happen on the set of ANY Stargate show, hahaha. But seriously, getting to ride in the Huey Chopper while we were in NM was awesome. We also hung out for a bit at the Officer’s Club at Holoman AFB and had a few beers with some German fighter pilots.
Aboleyn24 writes: “First off welcome and thanks for wanting to do a Q & A with us. I enjoy following your tweets. I am really looking forward to SGU. I am a TV addict, do you watch much television and if so which shows are your favorites either currently airing or shows no longer on?”
BJS: Friday Night Lights, The Shield, Battlestar Galactica, True Blood, Generation Kill, Intervention, and Dog the Bounty Hunter.
Shirt ‘n Tie writes: “Hi (again) Brian. Thank you so much for taking the time to do the Q and A. With SGU being your first Sci Fi gig…what has been the most unexpected aspect to the process (as against rom-com / drama / feature etc)? Keep up the tweets! Best from Ireland.”
BJS: Well people always ask about working in front of a green screen, but really the most unexpected and the hardest sci-fi part of the job is looking at something three feet in front of you that isn’t there now but will be added digitally later. You feel like you’re just crossing your eyes for no reason and you know the crew is like “what the hell is he doing??” Thank god for Mark Savela!
AscendedTauri writes: “I am a student at the Manhattan School of Music, which in many ways is a copy to Juilliard w/out the drama and dance programs… I was wondering if and how often you would attend any of the music performances at Juilliard? How much interacting did you do w/ that part of the student population?”
BJS: Great question, so glad you asked! I actually fell in love with classical music at Juilliard because many of my friends were pianists, composers, violinists, etc. And I spent hours in practice rooms listening to them rehearse their pieces. I realized that the things they grapple with are really no different from the things I deal with as an actor! How do you communicate the writer’s intention? How do you phrase this melody (or line) so that it rings true? How do you find the style of the piece? Do I need to “feel” the music in order to play it well? I mean, it was a HUGE revelation – musicians talk about music the same way actors talk about acting: intention, truth, emotion, technique, phrasing, style. Sorry for the long winded answer, but it’s something that really gets me rolling!
Jennie writes: “Hi Brian, First off welcome to the Stargate world. My question is an easy one. What is your favorite part about working in the world of Stargate? Good luck with this season.”
BJS: The Stargate family. The crew, the actors, the producers are all in this together and there’s no ego about it. We all realize how blessed we are to get to do this. Plus I think Brad and Rob are good at building this family and maintaining it.
Juralas writes: “Have you been hurt during a stunt yet?”
BJS: No, but there are some very intense episodes coming up and you never know. That being said, Bam Bam is the best stunt coordinator in the industry and I trust him completely.
“As an American working in Canada, what do you think of the whole health care debate?”
BJS: I’m hoping this is the last time we need to HAVE a health care debate.
Fsmn36 writes: “Questions for Brian: Were you a sci-fi geek/afficionado/watcher before your SGU role? If so, give a short list of what you like! If not, do you enjoy the sci-fi setting now?”
BJS: Well, frankly I like where sci-fi is GOING. There’s an attempt to mix in a more realistic and grounded sensibility to sci-fi programming and I find it exciting. Sci-Fi explores the big questions – why not ask them in a way that engages and provokes and isn’t afraid of taking itself seriously? That being said, I always considered Star Trek to be a guilty pleasure – I never took the show seriously. It was sort of like reading a comic book. I guess as I get older (well, not THAT old but still . . . ) I’m much more into shows that challenge me to look deeper, and might allow me to relate to the characters I’m watching, foibles and all. If I just want to be entertained I’ll play XBox.
“You’ve obviously just started your career (based on IMDB): what is life like right now that’s different from college, from how you grew up, etc. Are you taking to it well (the fame, the fans, you know), or is it a bit of an adjustment?”
BJS: Well, the fact that I’m working is a blessing. Besides that my life hasn’t changed, and honestly I don’t think it’ll be that different in November or beyond. I’m not interested in THAT kind of a career. Plus we haven’t even aired yet and frankly we have no idea how people will respond to the show or to the characters. We’re too busy working for our own good opinion at this point.
“In that line, how do you like having a more prominent role on TV? Do you enjoy the TV schedule/style as opposed to the stage/movie format?”
BJS: It has it’s challenges – sometimes you’ve got a number of days off and you can get lazy or loose your “fire”, and you find yourself warming up during the first few scenes when you’re back, which is never good. Sometimes you’re shooting sooo many scenes in a day, one day after another, that you can get burnt out, especially if they’re intense. You have to find a way to pace yourself while staying disciplined when you have a day off. Sometimes you NEED to just do nothing and go on a hike or play XBox or whatever, to get relaxed. When you’re doing a play, your whole day revolves around that 8:00 curtain – so you gear everything towards that. Working stage actors have to live like monks.
“You graduated from Julliard, which is awesome. Way back when I considered dance as a career, that was a school I was interested in. Share some insights on the type of learning, your favorite prof, or some kind of funny story for those of us who didn’t end up majoring in the arts.
And I just have to pass this on (because actors always need more ego-boosting, right?), I think you’re absolutely adorable, Brian! I’m excited to follow your role on SGU.”
BJS: Haha, thanks! One of my favorites at Juilliard was a movement teacher named Moni Yakim. He came up with a movement regimen that combined yoga and Israeli Army boot-camp techniques! God, we were sore after that first week of classes with him. One of the movement sequences was called The Spanish Inquisition! We would have to hold certain impossible poses for like thirty seconds AND HE WOULD COUNT OUT THE TIME IN HEBREW!! He wanted us to put emotion into our workouts. He said, “you must never make a movement without an emotion behind it.” And if you were faking it or half-assing it, he’d sniff it out and pounce.
PG15 writes: “What do you think of Stargate fan conventions (i.e. Creation Con in Vancouver), and do you see yourself participating in them?”
BJS: I think they’re awesome and, if invited, would love to participate. I love talking to fans.
Simon_SGU_Supporter writes: Also, who, from work do you interact with the most?”
BJS: I’ve spent quite a lot of time with David and Elyse. Also John Lenic, who introduced me to crossfit. We spend most of our time telling crossfit war stories.
E writes: “Have you ever heard of thunkers…. or worse… whumpers?! *evil grin*”
BJS: Someone on twitter explained thunking to me, but not whumping. Is that like the inverse of thunking? I have a feeling I don’t want to get whumped.
Major D. Davis writes: “First off I just want to say thank you Brian for doing this Q&A. What is the hardest part of playing you character(especially considering he is in the military)?”
BJS: Trying to make him come alive in three or four takes.
“What episode would you say is going to be a fan favorite(besides air)?”
BJS: I’m predicting Time and Space to be the big fan favorites. Water, Light and Human will be high up there too. Action packed, fast-paced, surprising, full of some crazy twists. I also predict a few kino scenes will be played over and over again.
“Whats your favorite episode of SG-1 and Atlantis(or some your favorites)?”
BJS: I loved the 200th episode of SG1!
“Once SGU is over(hopefully 5-7 years down the road), do you think you will go back to theater, or continue in television and movies? Thanks again Brian and Joe for doing this Q&A!!!!!”
BJS: I’ll be doing all three. At least that’s the plan.
Gilder writes: “Q for Brian J Smith: same as for David B–favorite means for memorizing lines?”
BJS: I use a tape-recorder – I record the whole scene and listen to it over and over again while speaking whatever random thoughts come to mind. It’s kinda strange, but it works really well.
Cherluvya writes: “Brian Questions: Matthew is military. Does he wear the same thing everyday? I know, not for the *cough cough* scene.”
BJS: Hahaha. You’ll see variations – the people aboard Destiny slowly start to build a routine for themselves, and this routine includes new habits. Scott knows a lot of eyes are on him as the de facto second in command, so he does wear his uniform all the time – but sometimes he’ll opt for just the t-shirt when he’s off duty.
“An article mentioned how “young” the SGU actors are (after seeing the first three episodes). Thought it was intentional to speak to the “wrong people” angle. How do you feel about the key roles of a young cast? They compared you to 90210.”
BJS: Yes, that inexperience is vital to creating a lot of the predicaments in SGU. Sorry guys, but it’s not a marketing ploy to get teenagers to watch the show. It’s an attempt to create dramatic tension in a way that’s not possible when a certifiable genius can solve a problem with the push of a button and a joke. I find the 90210 comment flattering – I actually auditioned for that show and didn’t even get a call-back.😦 Hey, maybe they can call the casting directors at 90210 and get me a guest spot!
Joflyaway writes: “questions for Brian Smith: 1. What attracted you to the SGU show and the role in particular?”
BJS: The writing in the pilot and a phone conversation I had with Rob Cooper where he outlined the new approach to shooting the show. He basically said, “We’ll be expecting a lot from you guys (the actors). You’ll have to come in incredibly prepared because we’ll be shooting rehearsals, you’ll be coming up with your own blocking, and you won’t know where the cameras are.” What actor can say no to THAT?
“Are you aware of the passionate and loyal Stargate fan base and are you ready to be a part of its world?”
BJS: Bring it on, Gaters!
“What do you enjoy most about Vancouver?”
BJS: The weather and the food. The people are also very chill.
duneknight writes: “question for Brian J. Smith: do you see yourself as a ladies man?”
BJS: No, I’m a goofball, actually.
“yeah sue me lol, i dont know what else to ask him now. oh and that pic should be very helpful to the folks at gateworld who are trying to find out how many made it to destiny.”
BJS: It’s a very small number – around 80, I believe. I like it that way – we’ve tried to keep continuity with the background actors and it’s helped create a sense of small town intimacy aboard Destiny.
“wait another question for Brian J. Smith: what do you think about the negative fan reaction?”
BJS: I don’t think about it. I’ve got a job to do.
DP writes: “Are you from Ky.? If so, how Kentucky are you?”
BJS: No I’m actually from TX, although my mom lives in Kentucky. It’s beautiful there. I have some fond memories of the mountains in that area from when I was a kid.
Cherluvya writes: “Brian: After a long day working, do you turn on music, TV or computer…or maybe all three? Oh, games..almost forgot that. What is your favorite of each? That’s a big one huh?”
BJS: All of the above! Right now my favorite game is Battlefield: Bad Company.
Cherluvya writes: “Brian Question: I guess all actors have usually had a tough road to get to where they are. Have any stories you would like to share?”
BJS: Oh, I’ve got tons of them! I almost joined the military – – – twice! Not as a last resort, but because I wanted to do something meaningful with my life, and auditioning and bartending just wasn’t cutting it. But each time I was about to join I ended up getting a job, so I guess I’m getting the message loud and clear.
Madwelshboy writes: “Questions for Brian J. Smith: What was your first reaction to the character of Matthew Scott and how has it changed as the season’s gone on?”
BJS: His backstory moved me, first off. And I was impressed to see a young man in his twenties portrayed this way. The writers didn’t shy away from creating a guy with a good heart, and most of the crap I had been reading for in other TV shows portrayed guys my age as egotistical, mindless, sex-craved players. For whatever reason it’s very “in” to be cynical about human beings, and I don’t think Brad and Rob have a cynical outlook on human nature. Can I get an amen?
“The MGM site recently updated the character bio’s, with some pretty interesting stuff about Matthew Scott. How much of that back-story was in place when you were first cast?”
BJS: Most of it, although it has continued to evolve over the season.
“Out of the episodes you’ve read and/or shot so far, which do you think shows Matthew Scott at his best and at his worst?”
BJS: Water shows him at his best. Pain shows him at his worst.
“Who do you get to work with the most and least on set? Who would you like to work with more?”
BJS: Lately it’s been the quartet of “youngin’s” – Eli, Chloe, Greer and Scott. In the beginning I did lots with Young. I would love to have a HUGE blowout scene with Rush.
“Your Mom has said that she’s speechless after seeing the huge SGU poster on the side of a building. How dose it make you feel knowing that your face is literally everywhere?”
BJS: I mean, it’s definitely neat – but it doesn’t help me figure out the scene we’re shooting tomorrow!
“What effect has the fan reaction (if any) via Twitter had on you? What was your reaction to having your first very own fansite?”
BJS: It’s bizarre. I look at where I was this time last year and really can’t believe it.
“What’s it like working with Robert Carlyle, Ming-Na and Lou Diamond Phillips, who have had successfully long careers? Have you learnt anything from them?”
BJS: They’re the best. They’ve been very kind and patient with me. They’re great role models. These are talented, successful people who work their butts off and treat people right. Do you know how rare that is?
“What one word would you use to describe each of your cast mates?”
BJS: Bobby – chameleon. Louis – brilliant. David – hilarious. Elyse – vulnerable. Alaina – goddess. Jamil – free. Ming Na – moving. Lou – classy.
“You’ve played a few gay characters, both on stage in “Three Changes” and in film in “Hate Crime” and “The War Boys”. Some actors have spoken about the difficulties in playing gay characters, in particularly when it comes to intimate scenes with male co-stars. How did you approach these parts and did you experience difficulty with them? Did you have any fear of maybe becoming type cast?”
BJS: Hey you forgot one – I also played a closeted gay character in Good Boys And True, at Second Stage in NY! I fell in love with those characters and their predicaments. It’s very rich territory, playing a young man who can’t be himself. And very sad. Again, I don’t like how a lot of writers portray young men my age, but those characters actually experienced life in a deep way as opposed to going out and making things miserable for other people. Well, maybe with the exception of ‘Three Changes’, but that was too much fun to pass up. I hope I continue to get type-cast if the roles are this interesting.
Iamza writes: “Questions for Brian: You mentioned on Twitter how much you were enjoying BSG. What aspect of the show was it that most appealed to you? There has been some comparisons drawn between SGU and BSG, based in part on some of the early trailers — if it’s possible to do without giving too much away, may I ask what you think most distinguishes SGU from BSG?”
BJS: Great, great question. BSG was a very baroque show. It was nasty and dark and humorless and I loved every minute of it. SGU is about the “better angels of our nature”, even though the characters go through some dark stuff. They never give up. They’re survivors. I don’t know how many times a character in SGU says “okay this sucks, but we’re gonna get through this – and we’re gonna get through it together.” That’s the difference – SGU is about the inexplicable ability of human beings to sacrifice themselves for a stranger and to find hope in impossible circumstances, and BSG was about whether or not the human species deserves to survive. I don’t think you’ll ever doubt the answer to that question after watching SGU.
“SGU has drawn a fair amount of flack over the past year. What do you think is the biggest misconception about the show that you’d like to set straight?”
BJS: Scott is NOT a Cylon, folks. Besides that, all the misconceptions are true.
“What’s the best thing you’ve found so far about being Scott?Do you find it hard to shake the character when you’re done shooting for the day? If you had to pick one thing about Scott that you most admire, what would it be?”
BJS: He’s a great character to play because he doesn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth at the end of the day. I like the kid a lot and I’d like to hang out with him if he were a real person. I admire his courage but am moved by his ability to care for other people more than himself.
“favourite last book that was read purely for pleasure (rather than research)? Many thanks for your time. I look forward to watching you in action on SGU in October!”
BJS: A Light in August by William Faulkner.
PBMom writes: “Question for Brian: Not so much a question as a comment of thank you for being accessible to fans especially via Twitter. I believe the Twittering by the cast and people behind the scenes has helped fuel the excitement for the show.”
BJS: Am glad to hear it. Thanks!
Crazymom1 writes: “Brian, my son Brian wants to know if your mother has ever embarrassed you in public on purpose. I can’t imagine what made him ask that.”
BJS: No, but god knows she’s got plenty of material!!