(Please follow the link for the complete blog update. View the photo of Tyler McClendon, sans Wraith makeup, in its original format at the site.)
October 9, 2008: Actor Tyler McClendon Answers Your Questions
Several weeks ago, I was leaving Stage 3 after saying my goodbye's to the crew when somebody called my name. I stopped and turned to meet the guy who fast approached. He looked vaguely familiar but I couldn't place the face. "Tyler,"he said, no doubt reading my confusion. "Tyler McClendon." Of course. Tyler, our new resident wraith. The reason I hadn't recognized him was because, outside of the audition in which I'd cast him, I'd never seen him out of prosthetics and make-up. In a most unwraith-like display of professional courtesy, he thanked me for casting him and told me he'd had a wonderful time on the show. I, in turn, thanked him for all of his hard work and asked him whether he might be interested in doing a fan Q&A. Well, it turned out he was familiar with the blog and assured me he'd be more than happy to interact with the fans.
Convention organizers take note ...
DasNdanger writes: `First, I just want to say how much I have enjoyed your Wraithy performances, Tyler – you had big boots to fill, and you have done so quite nicely. I really enjoyed your roles so far in Broken Ties and The Queen, and look forward to any future appearances. Too many favorite moments to mention, but I will say that I love how you've played the whole `irritated Wraith' thing, and in such a way that isn't over-the-top. It made Kenny quite entertaining, especially with his `I do not know, I'm not on the ship' line, and then when – without a word – he obeyed Sheppard's order to head to the nearest gate, giving him that `Happy now?' look afterwards. Very well-played!
Which leads me to my first question:
1. How difficult is it to convey expression/emotion with your face concealed under all of that make-up?
2. Was it ever explained to you – or do you have your own ideas – as to what the Wraith finger armor is supposed to be for? Is it a tool? A weapon? Just ornamentation? (I am determined to find this out!)
3. In your mind, why did the Wraith in Broken Ties want worshippers? Is it just a power thing, an ego boost, or something else? And what was his motivation behind turning Ronon in particular? In some ways, it almost seemed like he was trying to make Tyre jealous.
4. Some Wraith actors have said that they do not see the Wraith as inherently evil, though they are portrayed as the villains. What is your perception of them?
5. Was that really you who visited us on Gateworld as `tubbs'? If so, thank you again. I hope we didn't scare you too much.
That's all for now…I'll leave something for others to ask. Thank you, Tyler, for your time, and for being a part of Atlantis, and especially for creating exciting new Wraith characters for us to watch and enjoy and discuss. We love these guys, and really appreciate all you've done in bringing them to life.'
TM: "Thank you for the kind words Das. 1. Well, it's kind of a double-edged sword. Though your expressions are limited by the make-up, it also does a lot of the work for you. Things like a glance or a flick of the eyes are more exaggerated when your face is so `enhanced.' Being my first episode as a Wraith, I spent a lot of time during BT experimenting in the make-up.
2. Ah, the finger armor. I've never officially been briefed on its function; however, I recall quizzing the prosthetics team (this will be the first of several times I will mention how amazing the prosthetics team is on this show . . . they're amazing) during my virgin voyage into wraithhood on Broken Ties. Aside from some speculation, I didn't get too far. Then I started looking for clever opportunities to use the finger armor during the filming of BT. No Luck. Next thing I knew, my hand was severed and the opportunity to find a use for it became irrelevant. I'm sure the writers would have an explanation if I were to ask, but I'm more interested in discovering a cool function for it. I'm sure I'll find one when the opportunity presents itself.
3. Good question. In my opinion, `Rhys' considered the Satedans a genetically superior race. So if he was to recruit worshippers, they were probably high on his list. Tyre's addiction to the enzyme made him reliant on `Rhys' and vulnerable to manipulation. Rhys used Tyre to track down Ronon, the one person he saw as the key to defeating Atlantis - making Ronon a far more valuable asset than Tyre. So turning Ronon was really just a strategic decision.
4. Since SGA is told through the eyes of humans, any threat to the human species is inherently evil - to the implied audience. To embody a Wraith, I need to view the world/universe through their eyes and sympathize with them. And because their hierarchies are rather strict, I need to be absolute in my choices. That means completely committing to every decision my character makes, with zero doubt. Are they evil? Evil according to whom?
5. It was . . . and yes, `Tubbs' is a childhood nickname I was blessed with (insert chubby kid story here)."
`Til next time.
... StellaByStargate writes: "What is Carl up to these days anyway?"
Answer: Oh, he's working on the SG-1 movie script, presently hammering out an outline with Brad.
... Michelle writes: " Wait, and what the hell? I thought you were in talks to work on Universe… and why did the front office team leave, given there's about to be a new show?"
Answer: When all is said and done, I believe that Paul and I will end up consulting on SGU, writing a few scripts, and writing and producing the SGA movie. That said, we'll have significantly more free time next year which opens up the opportunity to pursue other projects. As for the office gang - well, their work on Atlantis is done. They'll go off, hopefully enjoy a well-deserved break. Hopefully some if not all will be back in January when production on SGU gears up.