In June of 2010 some of the SGU cast were given questions sent in by fans to answer. Sporadically, throughout the fall of 2010, they would show up on The Official Stargate Website. Here, compiled for the first time in one place, are all my answers to the 40 questions I was given last summer…
Content: What should I name my cat?
Larry. Nothing funnier than an animal with a human name. How about Lawrence James McGillicutty? I have a English Professor friend who named her cat Nonny, so she could bellow “Hey Nonny, Nonny!”
Location: Pocatello, ID
Content: If you had a Kino in real life, what would you do with it?
I’d design a small backpack that the Kino could fit in and float myself around town. Ooh, kinda like what Ethan Hawke & River Phoenix did in that movie “Explorers,” without the peeping-tom subplot. Instead I’d convince the locals I was a wizard and rule my village.
Content: If you could find anything while exploring the rest of Destiny, what would it be? (Gadget, room, person…)
A barber shop. An ancient cafe. A hot tub. Remember that big gallery style room we got a peak at in ‘Air’? It was a big domed room with a massive hole through the roof so we couldn’t get inside. I’d try to fix that room up. What a view that would be. Almost as pretty as the Observation Deck.
Content: In the episode “Faith”, the team found an almost perfect planet to live on, but it has no name. What name would you give it and why?
Volker would probably have some boring scientific reference name like “M-5T6.” I lean towards the irreverent. New Alberta, Narnia, NakedChloeia. The cast & crew refer to it simply as ‘Faith.’
Content: If you found an unnamed starship, what name would you give it and why?
I’d maybe pull some name from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy like ‘Heart of Gold’ or…what was the name of the ship that was powered on Bad News, because “Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news.” Classic.
Location: Gold Bar, WA
Content: Do you have any scars from doing certain stunts?
I don’t. I’m lucky. But I’m in such bad shape right now that walking down a corridor could be considered a stunt. But there have been scenes that have had some physical side effects. In “the coffin” during ‘Pain’ I thrashed about so much I ended up with a large bump on my forehead. In ‘Incursion Pt2,’ when Brody and I kept Young from Rush, my wrist got bent between them and I damn near broke it.
Location: Sliven, Bulgaria
Content: What do you think about the new aliens from the episode “Space”? Did you know what they looked like before you started shooting?
When I see that thing hiss while tied to the chair I still get chills. Before filming we were shown a rendering of what they intended to do, but seeing the Blue Aliens come to life was an experience of it’s own. Mark Savela and his team have more thrilling tricks up their sleeve for Season 2.
Content: What was the funniest mistake you made or the funniest scene you played in?
Oh c’mon. Where do I start? Check out the Kino “Wait For It”. As scripted it ended with us giggling at Brody’s misfortune and Scott asking “What did you guys do?” In one take Haig Sutherland improvised and blurted out “We turned him blue!” It was so unexpected and ridiculous that I fell apart…and that’s the cut they used. Look for it, that’s me actually laughing. That happens at least once a day on the SGU set.
Location: Tallinn, Estonia
Content: What do you do on set when you’re not acting?
If we’re not in our cast chairs socializing, and we’re not doing laps of the studio lot in the golf cart, I’m usually standing next to Peter Kelamis ordering him to make me laugh, “Ok, now do that impression of DeLuise…HA! Great, now do that voice, HAHA ok now dance…DANCE MONKEY!” I’m not kidding. I don’t know why he complies or why he still hangs out with me.
Content: Other than Stargate, what’s your favorite sci-fi movie or TV show, and why?
I was a nut for Lost. I never watched any of the Star Trek shows though I loved the original Star Trek movies. Crazy about Empire Strikes Back. I’ve liked the stories that don’t rely on the SciFi but just happen to exist in that world. I want it to be subtle and graceful. That’s why we’re critical of the recent Star Wars movies and why I’m such a fan of Stargate Universe.
Location: England, UK
Content: Do you watch the show after production?
I do. We all do. When we all can coordinate the night off we sometimes watch together. For the back half of Season 1 Production lent me the DVDs and I spent an entire day watching them back-to-back. It’d fair to say we’re all fans of our show. Watching the cast get handed new scripts is proof enough. It’s like Christmas.
Location: Gold Bar, WA
Content: Out of all the cast members, who is the biggest prankster or goofball?
By now you all should know the answer to this. Louis! Though everyone has their moments. Kelamis makes me laugh the hardest, but when Brian says something funny it usually ends with him laughing at his own jokes, which makes me laugh even harder.
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
Content: What kind of pet would your character like to have with them on Destiny? Does your character have a pet on Earth that they’re missing?
I’ve never thought Volker to be a pet person. He spent too much time in School and working to take care of an animal. But if somehow a pet ended up on Destiny…a dog would be great for moral, and it would alert us when something was amiss. We’ve joked on set about throwing dog poo through the gate and it landing on an unsuspecting planet.
Location: New Hartford, NY
Content: If Earth could make a one-time planned 38-minute gate connection with Destiny, what would your character request the SGC to send?
Books! Destiny only has a handful of books and Volker has read them all by now. Music! I think Eli’s iPhone is the only music on board. Soap and fresh clothes…’nuff said.
Location: Grafton, Australia
Content: Would you like a running gag in the show? If so, what would it be?
Sure, as long as it’s not a cheesy catch phrase. As actors we love deciphering our characters relationships and revisiting past nuances and jokes. It develops an intertextuality that makes the world more real.
Location: England, UK
Content: If you could be trapped with anyone on the Destiny in real life, who would it be?
I read this two ways…If I were to be trapped somewhere with anyone from the Destiny crew I’d put up with the patronizing and be stranded with Rush. Though I wouldn’t put it past him to use me as a food source. If I were to be trapped ON Destiny with anyone, probably my Brother. He gets me out of most of my jams.
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel
Content: If you were director for one day and could make one episode of SGU, what would it be about?
It would be about the characters missing Earth, losing hope. That’s real. Spencer’s suicide was so true and the reality of the journey is, all we have is each other. No fresh air, very little entertainment, no loved ones. “Live together or die alone” to quote Dr. Jack Shepherd. I love those kind of stories.
Location: Ontario, Canada
Content: If they found a way of traveling between Earth and Destiny which characters would you choose to stay and work on Destiny, and who would go to Earth and not return to Destiny?
Most of the dudes are going back home. I’d leave people with necessary jobs, medics, security, Brody’s Bar. The females are all welcome and encouraged to stay. Round it out by booting anyone who doesn’t laugh at my jokes and I think we have a pretty tight crew for a fun voyage.
Content: When you’re shooting a gate scene, do you imagine it’s real? And if so, do you get nervous before walking through it?
When I did BSG I explored the studio during a break. I came across one of the old Vipers and ran my hand along the nose. That was exciting. But mores so, to this day, anytime I walk through the Stargate, even in rehearsal I get excited. It’s not just a rite of passage, it’s something unexplainable. I’m not much of a SciFi guy, but this gets me every time. Maybe because I’m one of a select few that have done so, and on many occasions.
Content: If you had to choose to play a different character on the show, who would you want to play and why?
The casting has been so dead on that no one could ever presume to fill the shoes of other characters. However, Scott has had some pretty crazy stuff happen to him and Brian has performed a lot of incredible stunts. That might be kinda fun. But Brian does it better than anyone. I’m pretty happy with Volker.
Location: Northern Sweden
Content: What character on the show would you like to go out on a date with in real life?
Stick with me on this one…I’d go with Jamil. He is one of the most charismatic people I know and if we hit the town together our table would be populated by females in no time. I would walk away with so many girl’s phone numbers that my kids would be paying off my phone bill long after I’m gone. He is such a charming and disarming individual. If I had Jamil’s power to meet people and make friends I’m afraid I would use it for pure evil.
Content: Where did your character’s name come from? Was there any significance to the name, or a story behind it?
You know, Brad Wright told me at one point and I have since forgotten. I think it was just a cool sounding name…Volker! I love it. When my agent called and told me I had landed the part she said “You got the part of Volker!” I said, “Vulgar?” “Ya!” “They want me to play him vulgar?” “No, his name is VOLKER.”
Location: Oklahoma City
Content: What one song do you think best suits/describes your character?
On the serious side try “Open” by Peter Gabriel off his album ‘Passion.’ It suits the Destiny journey and is personal to me. On a casual note try “Blue” by The Jayhawks. Although Volker could hang with his shipmates and drink to this song, there’s something sad about it. And then there’s Mozart’s “Concerto for Flute and Harp in C” In Volker’s quieter moments I usually have this playing in my head.
Content: If you could use the Stargate to bring any person real or fictional onto the Destiny, who would it be and why?
Well, they’d have to be of a scientific bend, wouldn’t they. Someone who would also be good company. Someone who has uncanny luck in dangerous situations. Someone healthy so they don’t up and die on me mid journey. Someone with Military experience would help. So, um…huh, ah hell, I don’t know. Just send Elle Macpherson through the gate, please.
Location: Slovakia, Europe
Content: If the Stargate actually existed, would you have the courage to step through?
If there was no guarantee of return I don’t think I would. I kinda like what I have here on Earth. But man, “what a rush” that would be. If it was safe, absolutely. I’d ride it like a water slide.
Location: Billings, MT
Content: How long would it take you to go crazy on Destiny in real life?
Without fresh air…a month maybe. I’d get cabin fever and would spend most of my time on the observation deck or on away missions. I use that with Volker often. Without the relationships he has he’d be so miserable. It’s a dark existence in a dark place always on the verge of disaster. Thank God Space is not the worst place for an Astrophysicist to be lost in.
Location: Leicester, UK
Content: While settling into your role, did you ever struggled with the scientific terminology?
‘Incursion Part 2’. My speech on the Accretion disk had me so tongue tied. I had over rehearsed it before filming. It took over 10 takes to get it, but even then I wasn’t happy with it. I remember Bobby & Louis coming over and hugging me. That’s how angry I was getting. Andy Mikita was so patient and gracious. We laugh about it now, though if it happens again I’ll be just as angry.
Location: Warrington, England
Content: What scene from season one are you most proud of?
My Kino in ‘Darkness.’ It felt like the writers were willing taking a chance on us and I didn’t want to let them down. Brad Wright wrote it so well and I wanted to do it justice. That scene signifies the beginning of who Volker has become. I’m proud of that.
Location: Edmonton Alberta
Content: What would you do on Destiny if you got stuck in a day that repeated itself?
I would tell off every authority figure, hit on our female crew and take full advantage of Brody’s Bar…because there’d be no hangovers. No consequences. Volker, however, would probably just tell off Young & Rush, then spend the rest of the time studying, mastering the Destiny’s systems or learning a talent, then wooing Andie MacDowell.
Location: Cascais, Portugal
Content: What are the chances of a food fight happening in a near future, given that the food is scarce and everyone is really sick of that white stuff?
Not bloody likely. Keep in mind we don’t have a change of clothes either. And who knows what kind of cleaning supplies we have. I’d think a fist fight is more probable.
Location: Pittsboro, IN
Content: In real life, if you could take home anything from Destiny, what would it be?
Pictures. Though Eli’s iPhone is the only camera I know about. Maybe one of the kino balls. I’d love a copy of Eli’s documentary. I’d probably take my clothes home and frame them like a jersey. Stains and all.
Content: If you were stuck in the same situation as your character, what would you miss the most about Earth?
The Air. A breeze over your bed while you slept. Wind in your face while you walked. Thunderstorms, smell of rain on pavement. For the most part we may find similar weather on other planets, but the nice thing about Earth weather is you can enjoy it without the fear that some alien creature is going to disembowel you at any moment.
Location: Cleveland, OH
Content: If you could have any job other than acting, which job would you choose and why?
I struggle with that thought every day. Acting is such an unpredictable career that it could end at any given moment. I have a University Degree but it’s not an employable degree. To stay relevant in this industry you need to bring more to the table aside from just acting. Maybe I’d teach, but probably a be shepherd or hobo…I like to travel and be outdoors.
Location: Ayrshire, Scotland
Content: With food choice limited on the ship, what would be the first thing your character would want to eat if returned to Earth?
Volker…He’d probably drop hundreds of dollars on a fancy meal with many bottles of wine, then would sleep it off for days. Me? BBQ’d peppercorn steak, hotdogs, beer and then would spend weeks sleeping it all off.
Location: Uppsala, Sweden
Content: What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Chocolate Peanut Butter, from Baskin Robbins. Hands down. Ugh, now you got me thinking about it…
Content: What is your favorite video game?
I had Intellevision growing up. Then I went almost 2 decades without video games. Then I bought a XBox360 & Wii. I love ‘Bioshock’ for 360. Great atmospheric game. And for the Wii…Frisbee Golf on ‘Resort.’ Kelamis brings beer and we spend hours playing Frisbee Golf…I have yet to beat him. I admit it.
Location: Manchester, UK
Content: What’s the most interesting stunt you have had to do on set?
There’s been some cool on location explosions, but the “coffin” bit in ‘Pain’ was thrilling. It wasn’t hard to get motivated for the terror and at times I had to take breathers between takes to calm down. But nothing more iconic than the first gate transfer from Icarus to Destiny. What mayhem and what a cool beginning to the epic.
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Content: Seeing as how you’ll be wearing the same thing for the foreseeable future, how many copies of your costume are actually used on the show?
I’d say 5, maybe more. They have many sets that they gradually break down to show the passage of time and wear. It’s so comfortably worn-in now. Its like your jeans just before you wash them, ya know? Though the waist is getting kinda tight 😉
Location: Gold Bar, WA
Content: What was it like having Robert Carlyle direct the episode “Pathogen”?
What a great way to start Season 2. After we had the ‘Pathogen’ read through Robert closed the script, looked up at the cast and asked “Ok, what’s this episode about?” Discussing the themes and plans for the episode and the season was such a creative and exciting way to begin. He was very giving and offered some really thoughtful suggestions. I hope he directs more. I’m a big fan.
Content: Is the Ancient interface chair real in regards to it being a solid item for the cast to sit on, and does it come with a massage setting as I would like to purchase a replica for my lounge.
Yes, it is real. It killed my friend Mark Burgess and nearly killed Robert Carlyle. God help you if you built one in your living room. Though it is quite comfy. Massages your temples.