Interview with Joe Flanigan of "Ferocious Planet" on Syfy - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Joe Flanigan

Interview with Joe Flanigan of "Ferocious Planet" on Syfy 4/6/11.

Syfy Conference Call
Saturday Original Movie Ė Ferocious Planet
Joe Flanigan
April 06, 2011
12:00 pm CT

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Syfy Saturday Movie Ferocious Planet conference call.
I would now like to turn the conference over to Gary Morgenstein. Please go ahead.

Gary Morgenstein: Welcome everyone. Weíre delighted to have Joe Flanigan, the star of the Syfy Saturday Original Movie Ferocious Planet, which premiers this Saturday, April 9, at 9:00 pm Easter/Pacific time, 8:00 pm Central. And without further adieu, Joe go ahead.

Joe Flanigan: Hi guys. Donít know who Iím talking to, but why donít we start nailing some questions?

Operator: Thank you ladies and gentlemen. If you wish to register for a question, please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone.

Our first question comes from the line of Troy Rogers with Please go ahead.

Troy Rogers: Hi, Joe.

Joe Flanigan: Hey, Troy. How are you doing?

Troy Rogers: Not too bad. Thanks for taking the time.

Joe Flanigan: No problem.

Troy Rogers: No, what are these aliens like compared to the types you've gone up against on Stargate Atlantis?

Joe Flanigan: They are - they seem to be almost impossible to kill. I seemed to be very good at killing the other ones. When we shot this, we shot it Ireland, and we worked strictly on green screen, and we werenít given much in the way of what it was going to look like. And thatís kind of interesting because on the show, we always knew what the Wraith were going to look like. And so, you had an idea of what you were looking at and what you were working with.

And in this case, I have to say theyíre much bigger than I anticipated them to be.

Troy Rogers: (You're so calm).

Joe Flanigan: Well, my common easy demeanor may be a bit deceiving because I didnít think they would be that big until I saw the cut.

Troy Rogers: Well yes. I was going to say from the trailer, Ferocious Planet looks a bit like the series Primeval, but were there any human-like aliens that you had to deal with?

Joe Flanigan: Not in the movie.

Troy Rogers: Okay. Well what was it like...

Joe Flanigan: Just off camera. A lot of those.

Troy Rogers: All right. Fair enough. Well what was it like working off of John Rhys-Davies?

Joe Flanigan: Oh, heís a wonderful guy. And, heís just filled with tons of fantastic stories. Heís done so much. We took him out to dinner one night in Dublin and he kind of regaled us with like all sorts of interesting stories. You know, heís just done theater everywhere, movies everywhere. And he was wonderful to work with. Consummate professional.

Troy Rogers: Excellent. One quick thing about Stargate Extinction. Are we ever going to get to see that?

Joe Flanigan: Apparently not. I believe that those things have been postponed indefinitely. I mean as you know, the franchise has been summarily closed.

Troy Rogers: True. Yes.

Joe Flanigan: That doesnít mean thatís the end of the franchise by any stretch of the imagination, especially if I have my druthers, Iíll find a way to bring it back. I think the fans deserve to see some closure or at least some type of continuation. I think that - and especially in regards to my show, it was just unceremoniously closed and we need to do something about it.

Troy Rogers: That was good. Thanks Joe.

Joe Flanigan: Hey, thanks Troy.

Operator: And our next question comes from the line of Alexa March with Alexa March with Please go ahead.

Alexa March: Hi, Joe. Thank you for speaking with us today.

Joe Flanigan: Well, thanks for calling in.

Alexa March: Of course. What can you tell our site viewers about the movie? Like what should they expect?

Joe Flanigan: Well, the movie is kind of part homage to the genre and also part actually the genre, so itís one of those - you could call it in some ways a guilty pleasure in some ways. There are elements that are similar to Stargate in terms of the character and in terms of being kind of off world.

But beyond that, itís more of a kind of - I would say - I want to say itís dinosaur-centric, but I guess it is. It looks like that.

Alexa March: Okay. And whatís it like - I mean you did Stargate Atlantis for five years. Whatís it like shooting a movie compared to shooting a TV show?

Joe Flanigan: Well, itís really not that much different except that itís a lot easier than shooting a TV show. The movies - it really is. I mean, I wish I was just a movie star. My God, those guys have a great life. They shoot one or two pages a day, and then they go back to their trailer and...

When - with Atlantis for example, we would shoot 10 to 12 pages a day, and you're really on your feet all day. You know, 12 to 15 hours a day and its work. Itís definitely a grind, and with no seeming end to it. And with movies, itís more laid back. You tend to have a little bit more time and a little bit more money.

In this case, I donít think that was the case. We actually had a very, very small budget. But because we were shooting in Ireland, you can make that money go a little bit further. Also in Ireland, they have this really interesting thing where they only work ten hours a day. You actually canít go past that. And that gave us enough time to go to the pubs, and we liked that.

Alexa March: Of course. And what can your fans expect to see you in next?

Joe Flanigan: Well, I just found out I was - I did a pilot - a two hour back door pilot that aired on Fox, and we found out - they were supposed to extend our contracts and theyíre not extending those contracts, which leads me to believe it probably will not become a series. And I just assumed that that was going to be the next series, and we just found out Friday that it probably will not be.

So, I donít have any definitive answer on that right now. And I actually kind of liked that. Thereís a kind of like wonderful freedom about that. Iím excited about being able to play my options out right now.

Alexa March: Okay. Well thank you so much for your time.

Joe Flanigan: Thanks a lot. Appreciate it.

Alexa March: No problem.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Jamie Ruby with Sci-FiVision. Please proceed with your question.

Jamie Ruby: Hi. Thanks for talking to us today.

Joe Flanigan: Hi, Jamie.

Jamie Ruby: Hi. So could you talk about how you got started in acting?

Joe Flanigan: By accident. I actually ran out of money - I was in New York City and I was working at Interview Magazine and I managed to get myself fired -- donít ask me how -- and I was pretty much out of money. And I had a neighbor who happened to be an actor, and he was always enjoying himself not working nearly as hard as me, and apparently making much more money than I was.

And I said, ďWhat is it that you do?Ē He said, ďIím an actor.Ē I said, ďWell, what does that mean?Ē I didnít quite understand what that meant. Now granted he was a commercial actor, but anyway he put it in my head that maybe this is something I should try out, since I was ďin between jobsĒ, and I did.

I went to the Neighborhood Playhouse and I just thought to myself, ďWell, if Iím going to try this, I might as well try it now,Ē and I just happened to get very lucky.

Jamie Ruby: Cool. So I know that you were on Warehouse 13 not that long ago. Is there any other Syfy series that you'd like to guest star on?

Joe Flanigan: Oh, sure. I actually donít think in terms of guest starring. Iím not really in pursuit of guest starring. Sometimes, if itís interesting I would consider it, but itís primarily as a reoccurring or a regular. But as far as guest starring on different Syfy shows, itís not necessarily a goal of mine.

However, there are a number of shows that are out there now that look awfully interesting to me, like - I consider True Blood a sci-fi show. You know, I...

Jamie Ruby: Yes. Me too.

Joe Flanigan: ...consider anything with visual effects to that way is essentially science fiction.

And so, there is a lot of really interesting ones. Syfyís got a couple new interesting shows. I have a friend doing this one called Alphas, then thereís Being Human. I think they have a lot of really interesting ones. And, Iíve been talking to Mark Stern recently about some new shows that heís got in the works.

So Iím in contact with Syfy about trying to nail down the next series, so...

Jamie Ruby: Awesome. Great. Well good luck with that.

Joe Flanigan: Yes.

Jamie Ruby: Can you tell us something that like fans would be surprised to know about you?

Joe Flanigan: I raise my own honey bees.

Jamie Ruby: Okay.

Joe Flanigan: I have my own organic vegetable garden. Iím actually a little bit of a farmer.

Jamie Ruby: I did not know that. Thank you.

Joe Flanigan: In fact, Iím sitting here in Colorado actually right now and I - my fingers are all wrapped up. I almost chopped my finger off in one of these classic Farmer Joe moments dealing with large equipment and nonsense.

Jamie Ruby: Okay. Well thank you...

Joe Flanigan: A man of the Earth. Yes. Okay. Thanks Jamie. Appreciate it.

Jamie Ruby: Sure. Sure, thanks.

Operator: As a reminder ladies and gentlemen, to register for a question please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone.

Our next question comes from the line of Pattye Grippo with The Pazsaz Entertainment Network. Please go ahead.

Pattye Grippo: Hi Joe. Thanks for talking with us today.

Joe Flanigan: Hey. How you doing?

Pattye Grippo: Pretty good.

Joe Flanigan: Good.

Pattye Grippo: Let me ask you how did you initially get involved with this project?

Joe Flanigan: This - you mean Ferocious Planet?

Pattye Grippo: Yes.

Joe Flanigan: Well, Syfy does obviously a series of these movies, and they asked me - theyíve asked me on a number of occasions if I wanted to do them. Most the times Iíve said no because of - well, mostly location. Sometimes they shoot in Bulgaria and some places like that, and I just donít have any interest in going to Bulgaria in the middle of winter. Iím spoiled.

So this one actually came up that was shooting in Dublin, and I thought, ďWell now, that may be a game changer.Ē I could actually go to Dublin for awhile. That would fun. And I was proved right. Dublin was amazing.

Pattye Grippo: And what did you find to be the most challenging part of making the film?

Joe Flanigan: This film?

Pattye Grippo: Yes.

Joe Flanigan: Well, a lot of the visual effects were not entirely fleshed out and shown to us. So when you're acting, you're acting against what you think will be the special effects in post-production. And you can only guess. So when you go and gauge your reaction to something, you have something in your head, I had some drawings they gave me.

But when I saw the movie, the monsters were way bigger than I thought they were. Oh, my God. This is - itís very, very tricky and fraught with a lot of obstacles when you're doing science fiction acting. And Iím a bit of a stickler on set about making sure I know exactly what the levels of urgency are so that I donít get a lot of egg on my face after they do a lot of the post-production.

And you say to yourself, ďMy God! Why is he not reacting to the 300 foot tall monster?Ē Because I thought it was 3 feet tall. So you can imagine it gets tricky.

Pattye Grippo: Yes.

Joe Flanigan: Honestly, I think science fiction acting is an art form, and I think itís so much harder than people have any idea, and I donít think it gets the respect that it deserves. And if you talk to people like Robert Patrick and these guys, theyíll tell you how truly difficult it could be.

Pattye Grippo: Cool. Well, thank you very much.

Joe Flanigan: You're welcome.

Operator: Our next question is a follow-up question from the line of Jamie Ruby with Sci-FiVision. Please go ahead.

Jamie Ruby: Hi again.

Joe Flanigan: Hi.

Jamie Ruby: So would you...

Joe Flanigan: Did you forget something?

Jamie Ruby: ...ever be interested - no. I just have a question. I can go for awhile.

Would you ever be interested in - I know you wrote one episode, but writing again or directing for you know a movie, TV show, whatever?

Joe Flanigan: Oh, yes. Absolutely. In fact, this previous show that I did, it was a two hour, back door pilot which is - the term in television is - it airs as a movie, and then could conceivably get spun off into a series.

In that deal, I had a directing deal.

Jamie Ruby: Okay.

Joe Flanigan: And so had the series gone, I wouldíve been able to direct, and I was definitely looking forward to that. And presumably, I would write too. Any series that Iím on I would love to be writing and directing. And I just think itís a natural progression of where you spend that much time on set and that much time in front of a camera, I think it makes sense to kind of expand your horizons a little.

The problem is in our business right now, the business is going through a really serious compression, and itís so serious that itís actually kind of sad. People are really losing their homes and theyíre losing their - you know, they way theyíve made their living for the last 20 years. So, the verbosity involved with protecting jobs these days is something else.

So you know when you want to direct on a TV show, there are a number of directors who really donít want actors to become directors or writers. The - you know, the pie has gotten too small, and so itís tricky and - itís tricky in that regard.

Jamie Ruby: Did you ever think of writing your own show? You can do what you want with it?

Joe Flanigan: I have. And in fact - you're not that far off the mark. Iím busy definitely doing things. I just donít like to talk about them until I feel like theyíre kind of in their final stage and theyíre going to move forward.

The one thing that annoys me the most in this business is that a lot of people talk about things that are going to happen that arenít happening, or may not happen, and I just donít want to be another one of those schmucks.

Jamie Ruby: Okay. I get that. So - I lost what I was going to ask you now.

Oh, how did you get involved with Atlantis?

Joe Flanigan: Well, I mean the President of MGM at the time was a guy named Hank Cohen, and he ran into my Manager at the Golden Globes, and my Manager was representing Renee Zellweger, and she had just won something and he came up to congratulate him.

And then, he starting talking to him that he had this great new series, but he couldnít find his lead guy. And he said, ďWell, I have a client whoís perfect for that. Why donít you meet him tomorrow?Ē And we met and it just literally happened in like a painlessly little time. It was really like within 24 hours, you know there was deal struck and that was it. It was interesting.

If all deals could only work that well.

Jamie Ruby: Yes. All right. Now back to Ferocious Planet. What was your favorite part about working on it?

Joe Flanigan: Being in Ireland is just so much fun. I feel right at home in Ireland. And I had this wonderful Irish crew and this wonderful Irish cast, and they were incredibly professional and efficient. And itís just a lot of fun. If I could shoot more there, I would. And Iím really glad I chose that because I would certainly try to encourage people to shoot in Ireland more often.

And then it was fun to just get back into some camouflage and run around and shoot things. Call me crazy. I know it sounds a little weird, but I felt right at home.

Jamie Ruby: Good. Well, it looks like itíll be good, so I canít wait to see it.

Joe Flanigan: Well, I appreciate.

Jamie Ruby: Thanks a lot.

Joe Flanigan: Thanks for calling in. Okay.

Jamie Ruby: Sure. Thank you. Bye.

Operator: As a reminder ladies and gentlemen, to register for a question, please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone.

Our next question comes from the line of Chris Boyd with the Hollywood Junket. Please go ahead.

Chris Boyd: Hi there, Joe.

Joe Flanigan: Hi, Chris. How are you?

Chris Boyd: Great. Good to talk to you. Really enjoyed your work on Stargate Atlantis...

Joe Flanigan: Oh, thank you.

Chris Boyd: ...and itís great to see you in a new Syfy feature.

I really like the whole traveling to parallel universes. Itís a popular theme for both Syfy and theoretical physicists. And I was wondering, did they provide you with any technical advisors that prepare you for such an adventure?

Joe Flanigan: It would probably make my head explode, so they did not. I actually was thinking to myself, one of my favorite episodes in Stargate Atlantis was the Vegas episode. And we just kind of tapped into that at the very end, like unfortunately too late. So, it is kind of ironic this movie is about parallel universes also. So...

Chris Boyd: Yes. Well itís a great fantasy and I think people really enjoy seeing it. And, that Vegas episode was awesome too.

So tell me, do you prefer fighting aliens or dinosaurs?

Joe Flanigan: I got to say I think aliens are a little sexier, you know. I could at least talk to some of the Wraith. Thereís no common ground between me and dinosaurs. Couldnít really start any negotiation there.

Chris Boyd: Right on. Right on. All right, well hey - thanks.

Joe Flanigan: I was saying earlier to somebody else too, we werenít entirely clear what these things were going to look like until after we shot it, so I was just hoping that our levels of appropriate fear were there.

Chris Boyd: Well Iím sure it came out great. Thanks a lot.

Joe Flanigan: Okay. I appreciate it. Thank you.

Chris Boyd: Bye-bye.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Liz Henderson with Nice Girls TV. Please go ahead.

Liz Henderson: Hi, Joe. Thanks for taking our call.

Joe Flanigan: Hi.

Liz Henderson: I just wanted to know about the genre in general. Is this - would you consider this your favorite one to work in? Or, is this kind of living a dream for you, or am I way off base?

Joe Flanigan: Well I got to say it was funny. I approached science fiction with a lot of trepidation. I wasnít really that enthusiastic about the genre when I started. And then as time went on, it - Iíve been converted you know 180 degrees, and I absolutely would say itís now my favorite genre.

And it gives you so much freedom. And I mean at heart, Iím an action/adventure kind of guru. I like that. And that you can do that and mix in science and fantasy and all sorts of things is pretty cool.

And so, I really do miss doing my show, and I really hope to do another one. I think TV needs some more action/adventure, science fiction stuff.

Liz Henderson: I agree. You mentioned True Blood before, and Iím a huge True Blood fan too. Of course, Iím going to have to ask the question. If you could be on the show, would you be - would you rather be human or other creature?

Joe Flanigan: No. I wouldnít want be human.

Liz Henderson: It wouldnít be fun.

Joe Flanigan: Itís a lot of fun being the bad guy with big teeth.

Liz Henderson: So vampire then.

Joe Flanigan: Playing bad guys is an awful lot of fun. You do it on a limited basis, but itís an awful lot of fun.

Liz Henderson: All right. Well thank you very much.

Joe Flanigan: Well, thank you. Thanks for calling in.

Liz Henderson: All right.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Cynthia Boris, TV Of the Absurd. Please go ahead.

Cynthia Boris: Hi.

Joe Flanigan: Hi. How are you? TV Of the Absurd, huh?

Cynthia Boris: Yes.

Joe Flanigan: I love that.

Cynthia Boris: My theater background is the TV. Thank you.

Joe Flanigan: I like that.

Cynthia Boris: And I love the movie. I watched it last night. It was really fun all the way through.

Joe Flanigan: Oh, you did?

Cynthia Boris: I did. It was actually (unintelligible)...


Joe Flanigan: So (unintelligible) like? Is it like an (Ian Esco) play then?

Cynthia Boris: In spots, it definitely was. Itís all that parallel universe stuff going on.

Joe Flanigan: Okay. Good.

Cynthia Boris: I will say first of all you do honor my most favorite movie quote, ďWeíre going to need a bigger boat.Ē

Joe Flanigan: Yes.

Cynthia Boris: I feel out of my chair laughing with that line. I love that quote. But I wondered since a big part of the movie is about people who want to stay and explore, and the rest who say, ďLetís get the heck out of here.Ē If you were in a similar circumstance, are you a run kind of guy or are you a letís stay and check this out. Itís pretty cool.

Joe Flanigan: I think it depends on what you got - left behind. I mean, you got a wife and kids left behind; you might want to run and go back. I think if you donít, then I think it could be a nice permanent vacation.

In our case, itís unclear - in the movie, it was kind of funny because all I really have to go back to is a boat. And really - you know in retrospect, thatís really not a hell of a lot of to go back to. Maybe I shouldíve stayed. It mightíve been the lack of cold beer or something that you know, like really wanted to make run.

Cynthia Boris: Are you very adventurous otherwise?

Joe Flanigan: Unfortunately I am, and I sit here talking to you with a fully separated AC joint - third degree AC separation, a semi-chopped off finger, and itís all from just nonsensical stuff like mountain biking. And, Iím actually sitting at the base of Aspen Mountain as we speak trying to figure out if Iím going to go cross country skiing, snowboarding, or just down-hilling.

Cynthia Boris: Oh, rough life.

Joe Flanigan: I know. I do. I live for it. And thatís why I think I like action/adventures, because I just need to (physicalize) things, and itís tough for me to be inside and doing kind of domestic-like acting.

Cynthia Boris: Well, it was great fun, and I know everybodyís going to enjoy it when they see it. Thanks for chatting with us.

Joe Flanigan: Oh, good. Okay, thank you.

Operator: As a reminder to register for a question, please press the 1, 4.

Our next question is a follow-up question from the line of Jamie Ruby with Sci-FiVision. Please go ahead.

Jamie Ruby: Hello again.

Joe Flanigan: Hello again.

Jamie Ruby: So, did you do any stunts in the movie?

Joe Flanigan: Yes. Well, I mean there wasnít really any incredible stunts. But yes, I did everything.

Jamie Ruby: Okay.

Joe Flanigan: As you'll see, thereís nothing really stellar going on. I didnít get shot out of a cannon, but yes I did all the stunts.

Jamie Ruby: Okay. Well then how about...


Joe Flanigan: (Unintelligible) Iím happy to take those accolades.

Jamie Ruby: Well then, how about did you do any big stunts on Atlantis on your own, or another show?

Joe Flanigan: Yes. Well I actually did quite a few. Thereís some pretty serious climbing. We were on pulleys a lot. I mean, I got yanked off of two-story you know decks and all sorts of stuff. That is the part I miss quite a bit.

Jamie Ruby: You missed getting beat up, huh?

Joe Flanigan: I do. I really - itís so much fun. Itís interesting because our stunt guy on Atlantis always had in his mind that I was some karate expert of some sort and would have these enormously like elaborate you know choreographed fights going on. And, I would say, ďYou know, Iím not that guy. Iím that - Iím Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones. I just pick my gun up and shoot the guy.Ē I mean the path of least resistance. And it would frustrate him.

However, we were able to make it up with my character getting kind of beat to crap and getting thrown around. And I think it worked well for that character. And in this case, itís not unsimilar. The movie that - the Ferocious Planet, the guy gets kind of whacked around a good bit.

Jamie Ruby: Okay. Now this question is from a fan. They want to know if - they said that you're trying - theyíve been trying to get you to come to Sci-Fi on the Rock Convention in Newfoundland, and are you interested in going that? Or I donít - I guess theyíve...

Joe Flanigan: Sci-Fi - yes. Sure.

Jamie Ruby: Said something about it...

Joe Flanigan: All they have to do is contact my - I have an agent who handles these conventions. The things Steven Lowe at Abrams Artists, and heís the guy who kind of just takes care of all that. And if an offer comes in, he just lets me know and then we deal with it.

Jamie Ruby: Cool. All right. Well, thanks. Let me ask one more question, and then Iíll go. Do you have any advice for people who want to act?

Joe Flanigan: Donít. Howís that? Thereís not enough jobs. Donít come into our world.

No. What I would say is if you enjoy it then pursue it. Acting is really difficult because it requires a tremendous amount of people to make it work, and a tremendous amount of money. You're looking at - for example with Stargate, we had 300 or 400 people working on the show. And you're dropping $60 to $70 million a year.

And itís not like painting where an artist can go into a studio and nothingís going to stop him from painting. Nothing going to stop a musician from making music. Well, a lot of things can stop actors from acting.

Jamie Ruby: Definitely.

Joe Flanigan: There are so many elements of dependency. So thereís a level of frustration that can come with the territory. I would warn people of that, and know that it sometimes may just end up being a hobby. So, that would be my advice.

Jamie Ruby: All right. Great. Well thank you so much for your time.

Joe Flanigan: Okay. You bet. Thank you.

Jamie Ruby: Sure.

Operator: And Iím showing no further questions at this time.

Joe Flanigan: Okay.

Gary Morgenstein: Thank you all very much. Joe, thanks again for taking the time.

Joe Flanigan: Okay. Thank you. And well, Iíll be talking to you tomorrow, right?

Gary Morgenstein: Yes. Youíre going to do a radio tour.

Joe Flanigan: Perfect.

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