Interview with David Hewlett and Robert Picardo of "Morlocks" on Syfy - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Interview with David Hewlett and Robert Picardo of "Moorlocks" on Syfy 9/21/11

Moderator: Gary Morganstein
September 21, 2011 1:00 pm CT

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Syfy Original Movie Morlocks conference call.

During the presentation, all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Afterwards, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. At that time if you have a question, please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone. If any time during the conference you need to reach an operator, please press star 0. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded today, Wednesday, September 21, 2011.

It is now my pleasure to turn the conference over to Gary Morganstein from Syfy. Please go ahead.

Gary Morganstein: Welcome everyone. Thank you for joining the call. Morlocks, the Saturday Original Movie will premier this Saturday, September 24 at 9:00 pm, and Iím delighted to welcome the stars, David Hewlett and Robert Picardo.

Thanks for joining us, guys.

David Hewlett: Pleasure indeed.

Robert Picardo: Yeah, itís my pleasure. Thank you.

Gary Morganstein: (Sharon), would you please put forward the first reporter?

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, to register a question, please press the 1 followed by the 4.

And our first question is from Jamie Ruby with Please proceed.

Jamie Ruby: Hi, guys. Thanks so much for talking to us today.

Robert Picardo: Oh, itís our pleasure

David Hewlett: We love talking.

Jamie Ruby: So - great, so do I. So first, why donít you just kind of explain, you know, you characters and what the movieís about and all that?

David Hewlett: Robert, you want to go first?

Robert Picardo: David plays the point of view character, so why donít you go first while I furiously think.

David Hewlett: So you can quickly jot some notes down. Well, yeah, I guess again I find myself playing the somewhat grumpy scientist; strange how that happens. And basically James Radnor is a scientist who has developed a way of jumping through time basically, but he doesnít realize that heís actually succeeded in his mission. He thinks heís failed and basically killed the last team that tried it out.

So we basically find him at the beginning of the film, heís resorted to writing fiction books about what heís actually done and thatís where we find him and where he gets sucked backed into this time machine program.

Jamie Ruby: Okay, great.

Robert Picardo: And as far as Iím concerned, I guess Iím playing the cantankerous commander once again, but thatís about as far as the similarity with Woolsey on Stargate would go. This guy is old military and heís the commander of this base, but heís been being driven a little mad by the fact that his son, whoís also in the service is dying of cancer and he becomes quite irrational and decides that the clue to saving his sonís life may exist in this DNA from these super powerful creatures in the future.

So, I guess you could say that he creates the time paradox of the piece by trying to steal genetic information from the future to save his son in the present.

Jamie Ruby: All right. Now, this...

David Hewlett: Time paradox, thatís pretty heavy stuff there.

Robert Picardo: Well, I have all that Star Trek stuff going for me too, so I know this stuff inside out.

David Hewlett: Of course. Of course.

Jamie Ruby: I just wanted to ask you...

David Hewlett: I thought it was just (gravy).

Jamie Ruby: ...obviously the idea of the Morlocks comes from the time machine and everything, but it sounds like from what youíre saying, at least from what I remember of the original movie, itís not really a remake. Is that - itís just kind of using..

David Hewlett: No, no, I...

Jamie Ruby: ...some of the same...

David Hewlett: ...would say very, very, very, very loosely are we associated with the original time machine.

Robert Picardo: And I would say it would be easier for H.G. Wells to recognize a television than recognize his own story here.

David Hewlett: Absolutely, very nice, yes. The odds of...

Jamie Ruby: All right.

David Hewlett: ...Bulgaria.

Jamie Ruby: And then lastly, how did you guys become involved in the film?

David Hewlett: Well, as soon as I knew Robert was doing it you know Iím there.

Robert Picardo: I just...

David Hewlett: You know, because Robert...

Robert Picardo: ...wanted to be colder than Iíve ever been before and shooting a movie on an unheated sound stage in Bulgaria in the middle of winter sounded like just the ticket for me.

David Hewlett: Yeah, he eventually had to go outside to get warmer because the studio was actually colder than it was outside because at least outside the (odd bit) of sun would show. Yeah, I think weíre just gluttons for punishment, basically, arenít we Robert? We can do, ďOh thatíll be unpleasant. Sure, sign me up.Ē

Robert Picardo: David, I have to say the only warmth that was generated was when I would laugh at Davidís jokes between takes. My body would sort of convulse with laughter and that generated a tiny bit of heat.

David Hewlett: If I hadnít met my wife before Robert, I would have married Robert because he laughs at my jokes almost as much as Jane does.

Robert Picardo: Can you imagine what our children would look like? But that - no thatís a little weird.

David Hewlett: I hear you.

Robert Picardo: He has a...

David Hewlett: Iím guessing not...

Robert Picardo: ...very beautiful son now (and I think)...

David Hewlett: ...a lot of hair.

Jamie Ruby: Thank you.

David Hewlett: In fact, theyíd look just like Morlocks basically with the...

Robert Picardo: Well, this could be the hidden story behind the story of Morlocks.

David Hewlett: In the sequels of the sequels, yes.

Operator: Our next question is from Kenn Gold with MediaBlvd. Please proceed.

David Hewlett: Hello, Kenn.

Kenn Gold: Thank you, gentlemen. Hi, thank you for your time today. Itís great to talk to you both.

Robert Picardo: Sure.

Kenn Gold: (Well, this follow-up) kind of on the question Jamie just asked and she asked kind of how you got involved, and I just wonder if you could talk maybe a little bit higher level. And what Iím getting at here is youíre both really well established in science fiction obviously, and on the Syfy Channel. And I was wondering when a project like this comes up do they just come to you with a script and say, ďHey, would you like to do this,Ē or is there any kind of an audition that you still have to go through for something like this, or how does that work out?

David Hewlett: I auditioned every day to keep the job.

Robert Picardo: David and I do enjoy, I guess, being a little flippant sometimes in our answers. But in all truth, I mean as far as my relationship with the project, I think that the Syfy Channel has a list of actors that are well-known to their audience from - and most of them having appeared in other science fiction series.

David was on board first. He plays basically the lead in the piece so when I got the call saying, ďTheyíve offered you this role and one of your Stargate co-stars will be playing the other part.Ē And I found it was David then I knew that it would be a lot of fun to work with him again, and also I thought it was interesting to play a character who was basically being driven insane for an emotional reasons. Itís unusual to play a hard ass military guy whoís lost control of his judgment because of an emotional reason.

So, it sounded like a fun thing to do and I love to go to Europe and Iíve heard about Bulgaria. Iíd never shot there before. So, those were the main reasons. Also, it was right before Christmas so it got me out of Christmas shopping with my wife.

David Hewlett: Sweet. Youíre like the Grinch, like an actor acting Grinch. Yeah, I mean thatís basically the same for me. I got a call - Iíve done a couple of shows out in Bulgaria before and I have this sort of twisted love for shooting out there because it is a truly unique experience. I mean, itís unlike anything you experience in North America for good and bad.

But, it reminded me pretty much of the old days of making films with my friends where itís basically just seat of your pants-type of shooting many of the time. And for some reason, maybe itís like childbirth, you forget it - you forget the pain and so you come back and have another one. At least thatís what (my wife will go with).

So yeah, Iíve done a couple of them before and got the call about this and it just seemed like fun. They always are fun. I mean, they are what they are. They are they donít aspire to artistic genius; theyíre just a bit of fun to watch and a nice little sort of roller coaster ride. Thereís some fun monsters and lots of shooting and blood and stuff. You know, the stuff that I like watching, so...

Kenn Gold: Okay, great. And then, could you maybe just talk about - for both of you, what was your, I donít know, I guess most favorite part or the funnest experience you had on this particular movie filming in Bulgaria, or was there one thing that really stands out?

Robert Picardo: Again, first of all, we worked with some really talented, wonderful British actors let by Christina Cole who plays Davidís ex-wife. And I mean I - sort of ongoing...

David Hewlett: Amazing actress.

Robert Picardo: ...romantic interest. Yeah, sheís terrific, yeah.

David Hewlett: Yeah.

Robert Picardo: And there were a number of British actors, forgive me for not mentioning their names at the...

David Hewlett: Well, thereís Hamish Clark and Ray Fearon, Jim Fyfe, Iain McKee, and a (fellow American) called (Unintelligible) as well as another one, so - I looked them up.

Robert Picardo: Oh, look at him. Isnít it wonderful he does his homework for an interview? I...

David Hewlett: Well, there were...

Robert Picardo: ...appreciate that, David, youíre making us look good. But, there were...

David Hewlett: Well, I would - you know, honestly I wouldnít do it.

Robert Picardo: ...they - all I remember is they were all - they were terrifically...

David Hewlett: I was going to say, I wouldnít do it for most of the people, but these guys were just fantastic. I mean, they were...

Robert Picardo: Yeah.

David Hewlett: ...a fantastic bunch.

Robert Picardo: There you have it, they were all unique and very strong. And so, the experience of working with them and again the work conditions were tough with the weather, so we all had to kind of bond together and keep it light too because it was so cold and there was steam pouring out of our mouths at every moment.

So, my main recollection is that we did laugh a lot between takes. They were - like any creature movie youíre reacting a lot of time to things that are going to be put in later, and I think given our respective experience in Sci-Fi series television, David and I are used to looking at nothing and responding as if...

David Hewlett: And working with nothing.

Robert Picardo: ...thereís something there. So, I remember principally, as I said, the laughter, the jokes, the - and the fact that Bulgarians still smoke very heavily on the set.

David Hewlett: Itís like their patriotic duty, basically, to smoke at all times.

Robert Picardo: Right. Second hand smoke is their main gift to you as a visitor.

David Hewlett: Yeah, so we had to go again because the cinematographer had the cigarette in front of the lens and that kind of stuff.

Yeah, I think two sort of favorite things for me, (unintelligible) - some for horror and just some for humor was, I mean everyone had such a great sense of humor about it. And the British actors are so fantastic because theyíre like a part of the crew. Thereís not that sort of, ďOh, weíre challenged,Ē theyíre like trained crew members basically, so they approach the acting that way.

And as a result theyíre just fantastic fun and good sports about it all, which is not always the case. I donít know how you found this, but not always the case in sort of Hollywood stuff. I donít know, but anyway so that was the (unintelligible). But, a couple things that stood out for me, one which Iím sure Robert will love me bringing up was Robert falling through the time rift.

Remember that - where you have to scream? He has to scream and wave his arms in front of a green screen...

Robert Picardo: Yeah, Iím really not looking...

David Hewlett: ...and I insisted on standing there, you know?

Robert Picardo: Iím not looking forward to seeing...

David Hewlett: I stood there and watched...

Robert Picardo: ...that shot because also, you know...

David Hewlett: It workedÖ


Robert Picardo: ...the effects are done on a budget, so Iím sure that whatever they put around me while Iím screaming I was hoping it would cover me up. So, I have not seen it yet, so that is a...

David Hewlett: You know what, itís so short. Itís so quick. Because I was looking for it, because I was waiting for it, because I was hoping to tease you ruthlessly about it today, but itís actually really brief and it looks really good. Like, itís got the whole...

Robert Picardo: So David, youíve actually seen the movie?

David Hewlett: I cheated. I called and got the screener so I could watch it last night.

Robert Picardo: Oh, good for you. See, I told you, heís totally prepared for this. Now, at least Iím working on stage at night, so I have a reason for not (seeing)Ö


David Hewlett: Yeah, youíre busy. You have like a life and a career and stuff. Iíve given up on all that, so I just go back and watch all the old films Iíve done.

Robert Picardo: You can tell he makes me laugh, guys.

David Hewlett: Youíre in Cabaret now. Robert was nice enough to send me an email, even though he knows that singing, dancing, and stage plays are not generally something that I do. But yeah, youíre like busy all the time now? So, the other...

Robert Picardo: I am working at night in Cabaret and Rachel Luttrell, fellow Stargate alumnus, came to see it and gave me a great review, so you could call her and sheíll talk you into it.

David Hewlett: Sheís such a suck up. I canít believe that woman. The other thing that leaps to mind about having fun, or not really having fun, but was amusing, was thereís a fantastic blood cannon that they love to use on these things, and so Christina and I got to stand in front of this blood cannon and basically got shot in the face with about 40 buckets worth of chuck meat, you know?

So strangely, I found that so much fun that I used it again when I was back directing the next one, so I could then basically fire it at other actors instead and get my aggressions out that way, but yeah those are two things. It was poor Robert standing there in front a green screen waving his arms going, ďAhhh,Ē and then this flying meat coming at me at like 400 miles an hour.

Robert Picardo: Well, those are interesting. All of these are potential career killers. David has seen the movie, I havenít, but you can be sure that itís probably better to talk about that particular moment from the point of view of innocence.

Kenn Gold: Great. Iíll let somebody else jump in here.

David Hewlett: Sorry, what was that?

Kenn Gold: No, I just said Iíll let somebody else jump in with a question.

Robert Picardo: Sure.

Operator: Our next question is from Jamie Steinberg with Starry Constellation Magazine. Please proceed.

Jamie Steinberg: Hi, itís a pleasure to speak with both of you.

Robert Picardo: Thank you, Jamie. You sound familiar...

David Hewlett: Our pleasure to speak back.

Robert Picardo: ...I think weíve spoken before. Youíre...

Jamie Steinberg: Iím sure we have. My first question is where do you get that great latte art, David?

David Hewlett: There was a little place in - sorry, Robert - because I have, as I say, no life or career, I take photographs of the things that people do on the top of the lattes that I ordered when I was living in Point Roberts. And there was this woman in (Towastin) who would do these amazing little sort of creatures and stuff, I guess like gorillas and monkeys and stuff.

I took photos basically to show my son, but then ended up just sort of tweeting them because I was so amused at how much time - well, it got to the point basically the coffee was so cold by the time I got it because of the amount of time she took doing these little art things, but yeah sheís amazing, you know?

Jamie Steinberg: Well, what can you guys tell us was the most challenging aspect of filming this film?

David Hewlett: Staying alive.

Robert Picardo: Well, aside from the cold...

Jamie Steinberg: Smoke from the Bulgarians.

Robert Picardo: ...and the constant use of imagination to guess what youíre reacting to, I remember that being transported to and from the set in these very old vehicles off very kind of rough terrain and rough roads was a little scary. I remember going home at night that we were sometimes praying in the backseat of the vehicle.

Do you recall the same, David?

David Hewlett: Oh my God. I resorted to having very large, they call them happy teas. Itís basically just brandy with a tiny drop of hot water in it and I would put back a giant one of those in the hopes of being comatose enough on the drive home that I wasnít going to like throw up or basically have a heart attack and die. So, itís a whole different...


David Hewlett: of driving.

Robert Picardo: Yeah, the biggest challenge was really getting to the set and getting home, rather than what happened there.

David Hewlett: Yeah, and just fighting not be in the front seat, because you know that youíre first one dead. YeahÖ


Robert Picardo: Youíre the first one to get propelled through the windshield 250 feetÖ


David Hewlett: Öyeah. Yeah, I think, Robert, you hit it on the head there. Itís the combination of environment because it was incredibly cold, and also just trying to work with things that arenít there. I mean, there was a lot of Morlocks running around and trying to keep track of who were Morlocks and who were just Bulgarians, and who are we supposed to be looking at at the right time.

And also, frankly keeping a straight face. I mean Robert and I have a lot of fun on set and I think itís always nice to have sort of a sparkle in your eye having just cracked some silly joke, and then having to force it - your things together for the scene adds a wonderful sense of sort of tension (and like the thing). But at the same time youíre fighting the instinct to sort of giggle, or in my case make some kind of rude comment about Robertís acting.

Robert Picardo: I would say that thereís one other challenge to working in Bulgaria that David and I as happily married men, I donít have to say this, but I noticed some of our British compatriots who were single did, and that is that all Bulgarian women look like super models. So, it does affect...

David Hewlett: Yeah, whatís with that?

Robert Picardo: Itís unbelievable. I had a friend who worked there, another actor friend who when he was being driven from the airport the cab driver said, ďIn Bulgaria, all the women look like super models.Ē And then, he said he kind of laughed at that like, ďYeah, right, buddy,Ē and got dropped off and went into the hotel lobby and realized that it was true. They are just some of the most attractive women in the world.

So as I said, this did not affect David and my concentration, but I noticed it was an issue on some of the other actors focus.

David Hewlett: That is very true; very true, yes.

Jamie Steinberg: What do you think it is about this movie thatíll make people tune in to watch?

David Hewlett: Robert Picardo.

Robert Picardo: David Hewlett. Iím hoping that because it is very loosely based on the H.G. Wells - some concepts taken from a great classic novel, but nonetheless, the Morlocks are some very fearsome creatures that were created in this classic novel many, many years ago.

So, I think that our main hook is that people are interested in seeing a story about these future creatures that have been reduced either by a toxic society or some sort of weird natural selection in the future that have been reduced to these very powerful soulless, vicious, creatures.

Itís a little like whatís happening in our political discourse at the moment, but the - (under the dullness) remains that analogy.

David Hewlett: Boy, you really elevated it. Thatís amazing. I was just going to say, it really is just a fun ride. I mean, thereís just so much going on. I mean, Mad Matt Cob who directed it is a fantastic fellow who does a lot of contextual art and stuff for big, huge films and fantastic artist, and heís directed a couple of these things and he directed ours.

Like if itís not a Morlock itís like some weird looking chicken thing, itís just kind of non-stop fun. So, I think thereís definitely some Sci-Fi stuff that you can enjoy in there, but I think itís just sort of settle back with a nice big thing of popcorn. I like putting a little bit of the hot sauce on it, and then just enjoy the ride.

And truly Picardo, Robert, you are a wonderful, mad military type.

Robert Picardo: Well, I didnít have the opportunity to see it. I only am remembering back to Davidís very funny and charming performance. So, unfortunately because I was playing this particular character did not have a lot of laughs, or intentional laughs otherwise, but Davidís character has a lot of wry, throw away comments, which provide a lot of the fun in the movie.

As I said, I think probably the only funny moment I have is the unintentionally hilarious moment in front of the green screen where Iím being sucked into the time rift, but I havenít seen it yet.

Jamie Steinberg: Thank you.

David Hewlett: Yeah, look - you guys can look for it now, now that weíve mentioned it and brought it up...


Jamie Steinberg: Thatís right.

Robert Picardo: Yeah, I think anybody who knows our work from other science fiction will definitely want to see us going in and out of time rifts because itís an opportunity that may not come again.

David Hewlett: Yeah, true.

Jamie Steinberg: Well, thank you guys so much for your time.

Robert Picardo: Thank you.

David Hewlett: Oh, God, pleasure it is Jamie.

Operator: Our next question is from Chris Boyd with Hollywood Junket. Please proceed.

Chris Boyd: Hello, Robert. Hello, David.

Robert Picardo: Hey, Chris.

David Hewlett: Hello.

Chris Boyd: So, I have to say that as a fan it is a real treat to see you guys, two legends of the Sci-Fi world working together again to bring new life to a classic story.

Robert Picardo: Well, I couldnít have said it any better than that. Can we call that my quote?

Chris Boyd: Sure. So, Iíd like to know about the time machine itself, because it was such a centerpiece in the original story. How does the time traveling supposedly occur in this new version?

David Hewlett: Itís using the latch. Weíre using a mechanism called the latch, which basically opens the rift. And as a result, when the last goes missing itís essential that we go and basically retrieve it otherwise itís going to in this case itís open - itís not functioning properly so itís opening erratically now and again and causing all sorts of chaos.

But the latch is the key and the latch is what my character basically invented, though it didnít work, and then as we discovered in this film that it obviously did work and in fact it is being used for evil purposes by people like Robert Picardo, (Wichita).

Robert Picardo: So from Davidís perspective it is vindicating him for having suffered a certain amount of ridicule for creating this thing that may or that apparently didnít succeed. So he gets to vindicate his work, but also redeem the thing itself because itís being used for an apparently evil purpose.

Again, and my character is using it, yes, in a very self-centered way, but at least thereís the emotional justification I guess that heís gone off the deep end because of his sonís imminent death from this very aggressive cancer.

Chris Boyd: (Unintelligible)...

David Hewlett: Itís a nice little emotional attachment and a nice little sort of emotional twist on the actual science of it as well. The science is being used to cure cancer in this guysí mind.

Chris Boyd: (Unintelligible)...

Robert Picardo: But, Iím out of my mind. I emphasize that I am crazy.

David Hewlett: And youíre - and his character too.

Chris Boyd: Typecasting, huh?

Robert Picardo: David knows thatís...

Chris Boyd: So...

Robert Picardo: David knows in real life that if we had to point to one of us as being crazier than the other, then most of our acquaintances would definitely not be pointing in this particular direction.

David Hewlett: No comment.

Chris Boyd: Oh, thatís great, guys. I noticed that in the preview the first one I saw it didnít have a Morlock monster in it, it had something that looked more like a dinosaur, are there other creatures that you encounter through the rift?

David Hewlett: Yes. Yes. There are these - I refer to them as the evil chickens, but they are these sort of giant sort of flightless birds that are scavengers basically. Those are one of the evil things that we have to avoid. And basically the idea we see Morlocks and we see these bird-like creature things, which I donít think are ever sort of actually named in the show.

I think, ďDammit, thereís an opportunity there I could have come up with a good name.Ē But, the idea of being that the world has sort of disintegrated into such chaos that thereís all sorts of these strains, like mutant-like strains of animals and stuff. These are only two of the many different sorts of horrors that are out there, so you know?

And you know what's scary is being attacked by a giant, flightless chicken.

Robert Picardo: And my character doesnít experience the giant flightless chickens first-hand because being the Commander he just has to send other people off into danger, which is one of the wonderful prerogatives of being an actor later on in your career when they make you the boss. You just tell other people, ďItís time for you get hosed down by the blood cannon today, David, while I sit in the command room and look through the window and call out orders.Ē

So, itís fun to assume the mantle of command and send other people off to get humiliated.

David Hewlett: All the time steaming from his head.

Chris Boyd: And you donít need a stunt double.

David Hewlett: Stunt double; he had a stunt double, right. (Unintelligible) yeah, just throw him off a cliff heís fine.

Chris Boyd: So, when you guys accepted this role, you know, being able to redo a classic, what did you want to bring to each of your individual characters?

David Hewlett: My bit thing is always humor. I never liked science fiction that took itself too seriously because I think thereís a danger there of getting a bit melodramatic and I think you can lose people there.

I think thereís a fine line. I think I talked to, I think it was Tom who said this, Tom Vitale whoís in charge of all the stuff, he was saying that basically this line between - well, you have to commit to it. So, youíre committing to the peril of the situation, but at the same time itís at such a heightened level that it doesnít take people out of the movie, but at the same time it makes it suddenly a little bit more over the top than what would normally happen in life.

I was always brought up on Dr. Who and stuff like that and I loved that sense of humor that came with it because I always felt that the funny stuff always made the scarier stuff scary, you know what I mean? It also helped take the sort of the curse off some of the techno babble and that kind of stuff.

So, I would say my approach to almost every science fiction role is to try to make it fun.

Robert Picardo: I had great fun playing such a macho character. If youíre looking at my other major science fiction roles, the doctor on Star Trek, and certainly Woolsey on Stargate, I often play characters that might be good theorists and good thinkers, but you wouldnít call either of them very macho characters.

But, for some reason whenever I do a Syfy Channel movie, this applies to the one I did before this as well where I played this ruthless businessman, they always cast me in these very macho roles and for a guy who is ruled at home by his wife and two daughters itís a wonderful excursion into fantasy for me.

Chris Boyd: Iím sure itís (unintelligible). Well, thatís just awesome. Well, hey, you guys seem like a lot fun. I could talk to you all day, but the PR would just cut me off, but thanks very much. And David, you were awesome in the Planet of the Apes, and I told (Ruth) (unintelligible)...

David Hewlett: Oh, thank you very much.

Chris Boyd: ...months ago. So, thank you for that and we look forward to seeing more from you guys soon. Thank you.

Robert Picardo: Thank you.

David Hewlett: Appreciate it. Thank you very much.

Operator: Our next question is from David Holguin with The Outhouse. Please proceed.

David Holguin: Hi, thanks for talking to us.

David Hewlett: A pleasure indeed.

Robert Picardo: Itís a pleasure. Iíve never - I donít know what The Outhouse is, but I love the title.

David Hewlett: Yeah, I was going to say.

David Holguin: (Unintelligible), and the forum on The Outhouse is called The Asylum, so it just gets better.

David Hewlett: Nice.

David Holguin: Bringing up the Planet of the Apes ties into my first question. Both - like Robert mentioned acting on stage and both of you are accomplished actors, do you - there are some actors that lament the increase in green screen and CGI, do you both enjoy that?

Do you think itís a necessary evil or is something that you look forward to or look for or try to just take it because itís another paycheck, or what are your views on the increasing role of the green screen and CGI characters, especially like off, you know the Planet of the Apes and now the - you know, things like the Morlocks?

David Hewlett: Well, the funny thing with Planet of the Apes is that theyíd gotten to the point with (chronology) where you are able to interact so much more than you used to be. Like when I started it really was just tennis balls on the end of sticks and that kind of stuff.

They just couldnít do this when I started. So thereís actually more to interact with than there used to be, but again, I always loved it. I think itís - I donít know how you find this, Robert, but to me acting for film and television, is so disjointed anyways.

You often find yourself doing lines to the person, but not to the personís left eye or just off someoneís shoulder or something, because your eye lines have to be different than what youíre actually capable of doing on set. And so, thereís a huge amount of just acting to the unnatural situations and such.

So, the fact thatís itís CG, the fact that theyíre monsters really makes it. In a way, I think itís actually easier because you get to just sort of go all out for that kind of stuff. I love it. I love the technical side of it. Iím a nerd, so I just sort of get a kick out of that whole side of stuff.

I think if you want to do stuff where you get to play a character all the way through thatís why people love theater, right? I mean, and thatís certainly something - Robert, youíre doing that now on...

Robert Picardo: I donít know that I love it as much as David does, but Iíve certainly made my peace with it and I do agree with him very much that itís getting more and more sophisticated so that what used to be basically just the cut away shot of whatever we were looking at that was CGI, now itís very much more interactive. But, it still puts a great premium on imagination and for the actor and trying to get an idea from the visual effects people on set and from the director exactly what their idea is so that you can give them choices that hopefully one or several of which will succeed in the finished version.

So, it requires a certain amount of imagination and patience, but I enjoy - itís essential to science fiction obviously, so itís part of the game so I respect that and understand it. It is wonderful once in a while to get back to just a dramatic scene between two people and the other person is right there. And it just seems closer to what most peopleís first experiences acting on stage, whether itís in high school or whatever, people that get bitten by the performing bug.

So, it is fun to be doing what Iím doing now, which is just getting up on a stage and talking and interacting, and in this particular case singing with other people. Itís without any major technology intervening.

David Hewlett: And being loved by The L.A. Times too.

Robert Picardo: And being loved by The L.A. Times and getting to kiss a woman on stage again, how wonderful.

David Hewlett: Iím not going to go down that road. Did you - now...

Robert Picardo: Well, you know, I mean...

David Hewlett: ...Robert, did you start in theater? Was that how you got started?

Robert Picardo: Yeah, in my early 20s I did a couple of leading roles on Broadway, the second of which was playing the son of the wonderful legend, Jack Lemmon...

David Hewlett: Oh, of course.

Robert Picardo: ...this was in the late 70s, so I came to California to recreate that role with Jack out here and planned to spend, you know, 12 weeks in California, and now itís been about 32 years. So, itís a seductive place and thereís certainly a lot of work. Thereís still plenty of theater out here too, so you canwork in all media out here in Los Angeles.

And also, I married a woman who doesnít like the cold, so I donít think Iíll be going back to New York any time soon.

David Hewlett: And sheís a fantastic woman too, so you donít want to - yeah, you donít want to mess with that.

Robert Picardo: No, I want to keep her happy. For example, I donít know that she would be happy shooting in Bulgaria unless it were the springtime.

David Hewlett: Well, Jane actually came out to visit me at one point for one weekend, and then never came back, so yeah it didnít quite work for her. But...

Robert Picardo: Well, that could be you though.

David Hewlett: That could be me. Thank God she finally gets rid of me for a while. Thatís funny. I think I did a little bit of school plays and stuff, but basically I got started doing little films with friends, so film was kind of the first thing that got me really sort of excited about acting. So maybe that has something to do with why I like the technical side of it so much.

David Holguin: You mentioned singing on Broadway and you sang once or twice on Voyager, this is for Robert, you sang once or twice on Voyager. I looked online to check if there was - if it was available or anything existed, have you ever considered releasing a musical CD where you sing? Like I know a couple of the Star Trek guys who have done that.

Robert Picardo: Well, embarrassingly I have made two or three, what we call, Vanity CDs. I raised money for the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, so I do have CDs, but theyíre mostly song parodies ridiculing Star Trek...

David Holguin: Okay.

Robert Picardo: ...and science fiction and things like that. But, if you go to my Web site you probably could get them, Iím just not necessarily saying you should.

David Holguin: Okay. One last one question for Robert...

David Hewlett: You know, Rachel just got a CD out too.

Robert Picardo: Yes, Rachel just made a CD, I mean, a real studio CD...

David Hewlett: Itís gorgeous.

Robert Picardo: ...and in fact she just gave me a copy so I havenít played it yet. Iíve had it for 48 hours, so Iím going to play it on my way to work. But, sheís a terrific...

David Hewlett: Itís really nice, yeah.

Robert Picardo: ...singer.

David Hewlett: Itís really nice, and my God the artwork on the front is amazing too.

Robert Picardo: This is Rachel Luttrell weíre speaking of, Teyla from Atlantis.

David Hewlett: Yeah.

David Holguin: Oh.

David Hewlett: Well, actually I think (Mara) from Morlocks is also a singer as well and sheís got some albums out as well. Youíll have to look her up and see what sheís got going (Mara Massler).

Robert Picardo: Oh God, what a lovely - I mean first of all physically beautiful, but lovely personality. Sheís ...

David Hewlett: Yeah.

Robert Picardo: ... sheís really wonderful .

David Hewlett: And having so much fun playing tough too. Sheís really enjoying running around with guns and stuff. She got all excited about it. I told her that was a phase.

Robert Picardo: Thatís (the topic) listen, we complain about how cold we were, but letís give special recognition to the woman that are running around in tank tops carrying a gun freezing...

David Holguin: Oh, no.

Robert Picardo: know, freezing to death...

David Hewlett: Thatís...

Robert Picardo: ...(while we)...

David Hewlett: Yeah, that and childbirth are the reasons why Iím quite happy to remain a man.

Robert Picardo: Although, you look good with a tank top and gun, David. Iíve seen it.

David Hewlett: Certainly perky.

David Holguin: So, one last question for Robert...

Robert Picardo: Did we scare you away? Are you going to ask another?


Robert Picardo: I think we scared you.

David Hewlett: Or that they just hung up on us, basically itís just you and me now, Robert.

David Holguin: Oh, no. Well, one quick last question for Robert, had you found out or were you upset that Zachary Quinto voiced the EMH in the massively multi-player Star Trek Online?

Robert Picardo: I have to tell you, I was gratified that there was a little outcrying in the fan base as to why they didnít use me...

David Holguin: Yeah, but...

Robert Picardo: ...but I did not lose any sleep about it. And I think Zachary Quinto is spectacular in the new movie. I think heís a great Spock and one of my favorite performances from that film, so I look forward to seeing him in the next one. Iím very happy that the Star Trek franchise has been rebooted by J.J. Abrams. Heís done a great job.

David Hewlett: Thatís a great - yeah, that film is fantastic.

Robert Picardo: Yeah, and thereís ancillary benefit to all of us because it just revitalizes the brand name in people. Young fans go back and they start watching because they see the movie and they love the movie, they become interested in the whole legend of Star Trek and start watching the older shows.

So, Iím happy that itís all happened, and no I do not bear any ill will towards Zachary Quinto.

David Holguin: Thank you very much.

Operator: Our next question is from Troy Rogers with Please proceed.

Troy Rogers: Hi, David. Hi, Robert.

Robert Picardo: Hi.

David Hewlett: Hey, Troy.

Troy Rogers: David, I was wondering, can you explain to me what those big bird looking creatures are on the film?

David Hewlett: Everyone is confused by those. I think Iím probably as confused as everyone else by the big bird-like creatures. I think basically the idea is that the world in the future, which thereís a nice little twist about that too in the film, but that these creatures from the future are kind of a combination of some human genetics and animal genetics and mutation.

And the giant chickens, as I call them, itís like the birds have reverted back to sort of almost like a dinosaur-like form. Theyíre almost like raptors, the feathered raptors, which if my 4-year old son was here he could tell me what they were actually called. But, thereís basically sort of a little wink and nod about going back to almost like dinosaurs.

Itís a very sort of Land of the Lost-type thing. We only see Morlocks and bird-like creatures, but there are potentially many more of these kind of things out there, so...

Troy Rogers: Okay.

David Hewlett: ...thatís it. Iím afraid all I know is to look scared and then run that way.

Troy Rogers: Okay, fair enough. I also wanted to know from both of you the - from the trailers Iíve watched it looks like a very physical shoot. What were the stunts like for you guys?

David Hewlett: Like cowering...

Robert Picardo: Well...

David Hewlett: Basically cowering for me. What did you do?

Robert Picardo: Other than having to get sucked into the much maligned shot of being in front of the green screen, being sucked into the rift...

David Hewlett: But that was very Jane Fonda workout.

Robert Picardo: Yes. It was, and thatís why Iím frightened to see it. I donít remember having - I mean, a lot of the other actors had stunts, but I donít recall having any serious stunts. I remember I had to...

David Hewlett: I think there was a part...

Robert Picardo: I had a scene when Davidís character was put in jail and I had to come and talk to him through the prison bars, I donít know why that popped into mind, but that was a scene I particularly enjoyed but did not involve any stunts as I recall. David, how did you escape the jail cell? I donít recall off hand.

David Hewlett: Itís one of the things I donít (unintelligible), which I got a kind of a laugh out of it, how polite I am as a prisoner. Thereís one point where Iím very angry and the doors havenít closed yet, but I still I respect that there could be bars there and I donít actually leave the cell. So, itís a very Canadian-like prisoner for the...

Robert Picardo: Is that being polite or just bad acting, David? Have you given it...

David Hewlett: I think itís - it was a choice, Robert. You know...

Robert Picardo: I like being incarcerated here in my sub-zero prison cell.

David Hewlett: Yeah. Well, I felt it was a duality of the character wanting to leave, but being afraid of facing the outside world. That and I got queued wrong.

Robert Picardo: That and the door didnít work.

David Hewlett: Yeah, that and the door failed too. That, and there was this Bulgarian stuck in the door works. Yeah, the only stunt I did, as I said, was cowering. Basically I do a lot of cowering, which I do enjoy very much, and which I do feel Iím quite good at. Itís always a stunt acting opposite Robert Picardo, because you never know what heís going to do. You...

Robert Picardo: Right.

David Hewlett: ...never know what heís going to throw at you. Basically your every muscle in your body is tense the entire time Robert is speaking for fear of what kind of challenging just - you know?

Robert Picardo: Yeah, David knows that I like to work from the outside out. In fact they - theyíre not going to put me on television anymore, theyíre just going to view me from Google Earth.

David Hewlett: In his first satellite performance.

Troy Rogers: Nice. I just have one more quick thing, you guys mentioned how cold it was in Bulgaria, I just wanted to know what was it like production-wise over there?

David Hewlett: Itís crazy.

Robert Picardo: Well, first of all the people were great. Theyíre very warm, wonderful people and very anxious...

David Hewlett: And...

Robert Picardo: ...for - they...

David Hewlett: ...very funny.

Robert Picardo: ...want obviously production over there, and theyíre skilled in their various departments. However, you get the feeling, how should I put this, that theyíre just - it seems like certain things about it are very old fashioned from our perspective. For example, the fact that they can all smoke cigarettes on the set makes it seem instantly like it is 25 years ago from an American perspective.

What would you say, David that other differences are?

David Hewlett: Yeah, itís weird. Itís definitely a mentality. The difference, I mean they, I think quite justifiably, go like, ďWell, itís a movie, what does it matter?Ē You know, what I mean? Thereís a sense where you get so used to in this industry, this kind of like desperate need to sort of excel and to be 24 hours and itís everything to the people in the industry.

And there, itís like another job and they do it well, and theyíre - the set design and the crew guys are - I mean theyíre amazing. They do this incredible stuff in the number of movies they put out. But thereís just hilarious difficulties with translation, the back and forth. Bulgarians have like a nod in Bulgarian that means no, sometimes.

And so, thereís often confusion in relation to that kind of stuff. And itís just a whole different mentality and I find it very funny, very endearing at times, very frustrating at others. They make a lot of these movies and they make then incredibly quickly, so itís very (unintelligible), I mean you know itís as it would be anywhere.

But, as to that the sub-zero temperatures and the language barrier, and it becomes quite an adventure, you know? I actually wrote an idea for a pilot Ė about a production company out in Bulgaria because I was just enamored with the way these things went because they donít watch this stuff.

Like they donít understand that like, ďWell, why does giant chicken come and scare men? You know, why,Ē they donít because itís not the kind of stuff theyíre really watching, right? Theyíre very European. They make these fantastic little films. I saw a fantastic one when I was out there that one of the (VOPs) had done, which was called, oh what was it called, Scrambled or something? It was basically a little sort of slice of life about a women who can only afford to get three eggs for her family and she ends up taking them throughout this little short film.

And thatís the kinds of films they make. We must look like idiots to them because weíre like running and jumping around in front of green screens and shooting guns and screaming and being chased by these ridiculous creatures. I think for them they must find it all very, very amusing, you know?

And as a result, sometimes you find yourself stepping back and going like, ďHey, youíre right this is ridiculous,Ē you know? We come to these guysí country and then act like terrified monkeys.

Robert Picardo: The key to more eggs for the family may be the giant hairless green screen chicken.

David Hewlett: Exactly...

Robert Picardo: So...

David Hewlett: ...thatís how I should have explained it to them.

Troy Rogers: Excellent. Thanks, guys.

Robert Picardo: Thank you.

David Hewlett: My pleasure.

Operator: Our next question is a follow-up question from the line of Jamie Ruby with Please proceed.

Jamie Ruby: Hello again.

Robert Picardo: Hello, Jamie.

David Hewlett: Hello again.

Jamie Ruby: So, is there something you guys learned since filming this show, like about yourself or in general?

David Hewlett: That is a very, very...

Jamie Ruby: BesidesÖ


David Hewlett: ...leading question.

Robert Picardo: Oh, boy. Well...

David Hewlett: We love complaining. I kind of already knew that, but weíre incredibly good at complaining.

Robert Picardo: I donít know that Iíve learned something from doing this experience, or in the intervening time since we did it? But as a result of doing this movie Iíve learned...

Jamie Ruby: Either.

Robert Picardo: ...where Davidís Los Angeles address is since then, because Iíve been over to his house. No, weíve become - I think from my perspective, because I joined the Atlantis series late and those bonds between David and the other cast members had been through four years, I felt that we really became friends on this experience because we were thrown together in these adverse circumstances. Although I had liked him very much on Atlantis I felt like I got to know him doing the movie.

So, my big take away was that I thought we really established a friendship beyond just friendly colleagues on the last season of Atlantis. So, without getting too mushy...

David Hewlett: Yeah, it was nice to sort of...

Robert Picardo: ...that was my - I would say that was my best take away from the Morlocks experience.

David Hewlett: Thatís wonderful. Thatís very sweet of you. I sort of agree. I mean, we always sort of chatted in brief when we were shooting on Atlantis, but to actually have the time to sit down and eat that amazing pizza in Bulgaria and stuff and just get to talk and work together. I mean, whatís so funny is weíre very different and very similar in many ways, and I very much respect your work and really do enjoy working with you, so we should do it more.

Robert Picardo: Back at you because I agree that, and I mean I work with a lot of actors that make me laugh and without trying to sound like Iím patting myself on the back, Iíve made a lot of other actors laugh on the set, but no one makes me laugh as much as David does working with him. So I can say that unequivocally with all the funny people Iíve worked with.

Jamie Ruby: Okay.

David Hewlett: Oh, thank you. Thatís so sweet.

Jamie Ruby: Do either of you have any interesting or crazy or just fun fan stories?

Robert Picardo: Fan stories?

David Hewlett: Fan stories? Fan (unintelligible)...

Jamie Ruby: Meeting fans or...

Robert Picardo: My favorite fan story of all time was early on in my Star Trek experience. I went to, I think, it was somewhere in the South. I donít know if it was Tennessee or Alabama, but a fan came to the convention who carved tombstones for a living, so he gave me a tombstone with my face carved in it as a gift in - you know, in...

Jamie Ruby: Okay.

Robert Picardo: ...I mean in marble about, I donít know how much it weighed, probably about 40 pounds or something like that, but...

Jamie Ruby: Oh, wow.

Robert Picardo: faced carved in marble. So, getting the tombstone home in my carryon bag is my favorite memory because when they open your bag because itís so heavy and they go, ďWhy are you carrying a tombstone onto the flight?Ē you want to say, ďWell, I donít,Ē you know, you donít want to say you have a bad feeling about the flight or that youíre a Boy Scout and always like to be prepared for anything, but it was a fun story getting it home.

And the tombstone to this day sits in my garden. My wife is waiting for me to die, and no doubt sheíll save a little money.

David Hewlett: Itís already covered. Nice...

Jamie Ruby: (And David)?

David Hewlett: ...God, if I ever got a tombstone. Iíve been very lucky. I think one of the things that I find funny is that many of the Stargate fans feel that because I am McKay that they are allowed to be McKay back to me. So, some people are pretty rough on me sometimes when I see them at conventions or whatever.

I mean, my favorite one is we did sort of a press sort of junket with bloggers. It was probably Season 1 or Season 2 and one of the interviewers from Germany said, ďI see you in SG-1 and I hate you. I hate you. You make me sick. I donít like so much, but now you make me laugh.Ē And that was the first question I got and I was like, ďOh, great.Ē

Jamie Ruby: Oh, thatís great. All right. And then last...


Gary Morganstein: We have only time for one more question. Iím sorry.

Jamie Ruby: Oh, okay.

David Hewlett: Okay.

Jamie Ruby: Okay. Nevermind.

Gary Morganstein: No, go ahead, Jamie.

Jamie Ruby: Oh, okay. I thought you meant you wanted to take somebody else. Sorry.

Gary Morganstein: Thatís all right. Go ahead, just you be the last.

Jamie Ruby: I was just going to say, okay whatís something your fans would be surprised to know about you?

Robert Picardo: Oh.

David Hewlett: Iím very, very dull.

Robert Picardo: Thatís not true. Iím a terrific cook. Maybe theyíd be surprised to know that because I donít think Iíve ever cooked on screen in science fiction. But itís high time I did a Syfy cooking movie, so if anybodyís out there whoís got a story to pitch that involves someone who can cook and in an exciting - in front a green screen, Iím your guy.

David Hewlett: (Thatís his), while waving his hands. I can attest to that. Robert had us over for a pizza party, actually a couple of times now, but the latest one was the - I still dream of the food there, like it was unbelievable. These little pizzas and stuff that he made and was it meatballs? What did you do? You did (unintelligible)...

Robert Picardo: Oh, all sorts of - yeah, all the usual Italian fair, but since I got my wood fired pizza oven I care less and less whether Iím working as an actor. Iím just as happy to be cooking in front of it.

David Hewlett: Perfect. And Iím more than happy to eat it too. So - boy, the things that people do. (Talk about me), I think Iím pretty transparent, but I recently got into gardening (unintelligible), which basically makes me instantly old. But, thatís something Iím very, very surprised to find myself enjoying running around clipping roses and getting excited about grapefruits growing on trees and things.

So, like I said, Iím very dull.

Robert Picardo: Well, between cooking and flower cutting I know weíre sounding a little, whatís the word, weíre very in touch with our feminine side, letís put it that way.


David Hewlett: Well, weíll be able - we could use the (unintelligible).

Gary Morganstein: The tape and, you know, transcripts are around. Iím - I appreciate you saying that.

Robert Picardo: Our wives, you know, pump iron and do brickwork.

Gary Morganstein: There you go. We know. All right, listen guys, thank you so much.

Woman: (Unintelligible).

Gary Morganstein: Weíre out of time. Thank you again...

Robert Picardo: Sure.

Gary Morganstein: ...Saturday, September 24, 9:00 pm, Morlocks, starring Robert Picardo and David Hewlett.

Thanks again, everyone.

Operator: Ladies and...

David Hewlett: Thank you very much, (sure).

Robert Picardo: Thank you.

Gary Morganstein: Take care, guys. Bye-bye.

Operator: ...gentlemen...

Robert Picardo: Thank you. Bye-bye.


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