Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stargate Atlantis - "Missing" Carl Binder Answers Fan Questions

(All photos are courtesty of MGM Stargate.)

From Joseph Mallozzi's blog update for November 11, 2007:

(Please follow the link for the complete blog update. There are new photos of Carl, some spooky looking critter, and Lulu.)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Well, Carl really outdid himself today, answering a slew of fan questions for today's guest Q&A blog. Rather than put up with me yammering on about my laidback Sunday and Lulu's bizarre yoga-esque sleeping positions, let's head straight to the guest mailbag -

But not before checking out today's pics: Rare and valuable never-before-published pictures of Carl Binder, a gentle reminder of what may have been: Monty the Radioactive Gopher, and, of course, Lulu's bizarre yoga-esque sleeping positions.

Today's guest mailbag hosted by Carl Binder -

Teyilia writes: "What (or who) made you guys think of getting Teyla really mad?"

Carl: At the start of season four, I wanted to do two stories: 1) A heist (which became Lifeline), and 2) A Teyla episode. But a different kind of Teyla episode. I wanted to really shake her up, show her in a way we haven't seen her before. Luckily, Joe and Paul had an idea for an arc that would involve taking Teyla down a very dark course, which I loved. I'm a fan of putting our characters into moral dilemmas, forcing them way out of their comfort zone. So I was able to start this journey for her in Missing.

Ditraveler writes: "I, like Ronon, have no clue what Sheppard and Rodney were talking about, so my question is what was that all about? And what made you come up with that particular bit?"

Carl: I love the old Batman TV show. I try to include references to it whenever I can, especially in the Sheppard/McKay banter. This particular discussion came out of an actual lunchtime discussion Joe Mallozzi and I had about the various villains of Batman and who played them.


Promogirl writes: "You mentioned that Jewel did a lot of her own stunts in this episode. How much of the rope bridge sequence was her?"

Carl: Quite a lot. The entire walk. She was cabled for protection, the wire attached to a harness under her coat, coming out through her coat arm and attached to the bridge's handrail. We later painted out the wire in visual effects. The fall was her double, as well as Rachel's double pulling her up.

ThornyRose writes: "Do we see the Athosian question resolved this season, and if so, when?"

Carl: Revisited, yes. Resolved, stay tuned.

Blaine Nielsen writes: "I was wondering what was your favorite part that was written and executed well on the screen?"

Carl: Obviously the rope bridge sequence was done as well (if not better) as anything I could have hoped for. But for me, two other moments stand out. 1) The circular saw-sized shiriken that stabs into the tree in front of Jewel at the start of the first Bola Kai fight. Or, rather, pops out of the tree. It happens so fast it looks like it was thrown. A common gag in film (and magic shows), but it amazes how well it works. 2) The dirt creature. Director Andy Mikita and I had many, many discussions about this thing, and it was the source of great stress for Andy in his quest to make it look good. Our Production Designer, James Robbins, first brought in the infamous "Monty the Radioactive Gopher" drawing, and from there it was refined and gooped up to become the underground squid. In the end, we were all very pleased with how well it turned out.

Stargazer writes: "What were Rachel and Jewel actually eating? It looked thoroughly disgusting, but maybe that was just the power of suggestion."

Carl: No, you're right, it was disgusting. Some kind of edible tofu-like concoction. We toyed with various consistencies until we arrived at the goopy mess you saw on screen. We did make sure beforehand that Rachel and Jewel were both okay with eating it. I'm a big Survivor fan, so of course I had to include a reference to it in the scene.

Lizzyshoe writes: "Can I just say, the cannibal snacking on a lollipop was BLOODY BRILLIANT! My friends and I had a gooood laugh over that. Who's idea was it anyway?"

Carl: I thought bringing lollipops for the Athosian kids would demonstrate Keller's compassion, get us off to a good start with her. When the Bola Kai found her duffel bag, I thought it would be funny if we later saw one of them with a lollipop in his mouth, so I wrote it into the scene. I'm glad you agree.

Sulien writes: "Regarding the team taking incoming arrow fire, how was that shot? Were the arrows put in digitally in post production, or were they on wires?"

Carl: It was a combination of digital arrows (the ones that whipped by dangerously close) and hand thrown arrows (the ones that look hand thrown). I liked the CG arrows better.

Dee in South Africa writes: "Joe, I'm sure, can be really irritating at times. How many times in the last year have you thought about killing him?"

Carl: 7. Sadly, there are laws in Canada prohibiting murder.

Paula writes: "And whose evil idea was it to end the episode before Keller says what's wrong? Was this a Mallozzi move? Or are is Binder going Dark Side on us?"

Carl: That was a Mallozzi/Mullie decision.

Michelle writes: "Did Jewel Staite play Keller in "Missing" as you imagined she would, and if not, how was her take on it different from what you'd imagined?"

Carl: She played it exactly as I hoped she would. A total pro, and a class act all the way.

Pauline writes: "When you wrote Missing and decided to include the rope bridge, which was frightening just to look at, did you think- What can I put in to the story frighten the bejesus out of Teyla and Keller?"

Carl: I just wanted something that would frighten the bejesus out of Keller. I too have a fear of heights, so when we were scouting locations (on a snowy day, which melted before shooting) and I stood at the edge of that canyon, I pretty much reacted the way Keller did when she saw it.


Morjana writes: "Is Keller a civilian doctor (ie., not a military doctor)."

Carl : Civilian.

Gatedialer write: "Whomever had the idea to cast Danny Trejo in an SGA episode is a frakking genius!"

Carl: That would be director Andy Mikita. He suggested Danny, and the rest of us immediately agreed.

Emily writes: "How was Chippewa Falls, WI decided upon as Dr. Keller's hometown? Are characters' hometowns ever picked out of thin air or is there usually some sort of reason/connection to the particular city/region?"

Carl: I wanted her to be from a small town, so I originally chose Blaine, Missouri, the town from the movie Waiting For Guffman. But it didn't clear legally. So then I chose Chippewa Falls, because that's where Annie Hall is from (my favorite movie).

Vecturist writes: "How long do some of the fight scenes typically take to choreograph? How much of the 'fight' description is provided by the writer/director versus the translation of the stunt crew?"

Carl: Our stunt coordinator, Bam Bam, did exceptional work on this one. The first big fight (featuring Teyla swinging that badass axe) is pretty much exactly as scripted, but the second one (during which Teyla is captured) Bam Bam had more free reign to improvise.

Somebody writes: "What is your favorite SGA episode and why?"

Carl: I would have to say McKay and Mrs. Miller. Great script, great directing, great acting. I'm a fan of the smaller, character relationship pieces. I thought everything came together on that one, with a very emotional ending.

Posted by Joseph Mallozzi at 4:37 PM 7 comments

Stargate Atlantis - SciFi Channel Newsletter Nov. 11 '07

From the SciFi Channel e-mail newsletter for week of November 11, 2007:

A new Cylon evil Rises, plus new Stargate & Flash on Friday!


A visitor sees the future of Stargate Atlantis

The search for a "seer" lands the team in a deadly crossfire between a pair of rival Wraith hive ships.

Friday November 16 at 10/9C

Stargate SG-1: The Ark of Truth - More Stills From MGM

Publicity stills from MGM from the made-for-dvd movie, Stargate SG-1: The Ark of Truth. This movie is tentatively scheduled to be released March 2008.

Behind the Scenes with Cam Mitchell (Ben Browder) and Sam Carter (Amanda Tapping)

Dr. Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks)

Ori (Greg Anderson)

Vala Mal Doran (Claudia Black ) and Tomin (Tim Guinee)

For more information on the movie: