When Gary Berman, our hilarious Chicago Creation MC, introduced Connor Trinneer, he joked that it seems like Connor attends all of their conventions for all of their shows. So what did Connor do? He comes out and throws a quarter of the fans for a loop by joking, “I just got cast on Supernatural, and yes, I plan on being at every convention.” Connor later had to explain that. “I think I should see an episode before I (mutters something and grimaces) I should watch my friend Misha. What channel is it on? The CW? That still around? I’ll look it up.” Sorry Supernatural fans!
Regarding Misha Collins from Supernatural, Connor asked the audience, “Is he a regular now? [Fans shout “yes!”] What’s he play? [“An angel!. . . Castiel!”] Nasty Al? [Everyone laughs] That’s a funny name for an angel! (Laughs) ‘They call me Nasty Al. That’s not my real name but I can’t tell you what it is. I’m sweet on the inside’.
“Chicago. Dang. I’ve got a friend here, and the last time he got Giordano’s Pizza. Is that how you say it? [“Whoooo!”] And the time before we had Gino’s Pizza. So this time we had the art [or ark, not sure which he said] of pizza. You know what that is? [Chicagoins in the room go, “Huh? No.”] There’s only one. It’s typically voted one of the best pizzas. I think I fell into a food coma half way through the second piece and I never quite recovered. Today I feel as if my sodium level is way up there (points to the ceiling) and blood pressure is probably at an unsafe level (laughs).
Connor managed to see a little of the city before the convention, including one or two of our fabulous museums, though he did not mention which. “I’ve seen museums across the country and around the world, but what an amazing collection. I was taking pictures with my iPhone, and I look at the thing and I’m like . . . (with a wry smile) Hmmm. Doesn’t quite to it justice. It doesn’t quite do it justice, I have to tell you. I read a book at home, ‘Hey honey, look what I saw!’ (Pretends to show off a picture on his iPhone, holding it up) ‘Really?’ (Pretends to flip through the pages of a book) Chochochochocho, ‘here it is 8 by 10 and a lot prettier!’ But I love Chicago and I wish I had more time to spend here because I actually want to do a sort of test on myself to see how people survive this kind of humidity and walk around and smile, and live life. [Someone in the front tells Connor it’s not that bad out] No I know it’s not that bad because my friend was saying, was it the week prior to this was just like, as they say in Boston, ‘wicked hot’. [Someone shouts something about Florida] Yeah, great. Florida up here. Did you have like a hurricane? Or was it a tornado? Hurricane, tornado (shrugs like ‘whatever!’). Semantics.
Connor told us that the flight into Chicago was not exactly fun, though! “If you’re not a white-knuckle flyer before flying into Chicago, you are when you leave. I’m looking forward to that tomorrow. (Sarcastically) Gosh I hope it stays overcast and a little windy (Laughs with us). Throw my nails out, stick them to the back of the chair (shows us a clawed hand, as if his fingers are dug into something).
Let the questions fly!
I fan who was apparently a student from Connor’s college, IME, asked What was the most important part you took from your studies? “A degree. . . . I think I got to play some of the great parts in theater, in the canon. I’ve gotten to play stuff I normally wouldn’t have gotten to play as a 24 ye ar old guy. I got to play Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew, and I got to play Lord Summerhays in Misalliance, (sarcastically) who happens to be only 75 years old. I got to play Costard the clown in Love’s Labor’s Lost and Touchstone in As You Like it. So stuff that you won’t sort of fall into the normal parameters. It was a great place to be for three years I was there. I had to grow up a lot. Still do.”
Tell us about those contacts you had to wear. “They were cat eyes, and the yellow in the cat eyes, you couldn’t see through. So you kind of see through a little slit. So your peripheral vision – I’d say at least half of your vision that you have straight in front of you, your focal vision and not – I just made that up – but not your periphery is gone, and your periphery is gone. So I sort of had to have help getting through dark areas of the sound stage. You get used to it though. In the beginning I was like completely blind and I’m like, ‘yeah, not bad-@$$, I can’t see you (shrugs). But if I could, arrrgh! (puts up a hand like a wraith going to feed, waves it around like he keeps missing his mark) Where are you?’ (Laughs).”
For some reason at this convention we had a lot of friends being sent up with questions from friends who were not present. One of these absentees sent her friend to find out if Connor was a true Washingtonian, so she said, “We wanted to know, which do you prefer, scones or elephant ears?” Connor gave as all in incredulous look and said, “What the heck does that have to do with being a Washingtonian? . . . Elephant ears, from growing up, I only ever had at the Sunday market at Burnside in Portland, so I’m going to say elephant ears. (Gives us a ‘what the heck!?’ sort of look) I was born and raised in the great state of Washington from Walla Walla to Bridgeland, (taking on a lofty way of speaking) to the great Petropolis Calso. On the BLU for five long years (laughs) and then away. Can you tell me about the scone/elephant ear thing?” When the fans says she doesn’t know, Connor says, “You can’t ask that question and not – how would you know how to know then? You know what? I like elephant scones. How about that? I’m a true North-Westerner.”
She had a second question. “Do you know the state fair song?” “Who are you? Are you some sort of agent from the state of Washington, trying to validate people? No! The state fair song? My lord. (Thinks for a few seconds) No I don’t. Do you?” The answer being ‘no’, Connor said, “Call her. Go call her and come back up. . . . Asking silly questions like that without having the answers!”
What was it like to go from being on Stargate Atlantis to being on Criminal Minds? “Well, I got to tie Teyla up, and then I got to tie Holly . . . what’s her last name? The redhead. Oh, not Criminal Minds, that’s NCIS. Sorry! My investigative shows are all bidding into each other (laughs). Criminal Minds. Right. Extraordinary. The experience was truly [we are all laughing our heads of as Connor waits it out before continuing] memorable in a way . . . (Shakes his head, having no excuses! But really since no one in the audience was able to help him remember . . . ). I got to shoot some military weapons. Was that fun? Yeah. In Criminal Minds. (Looks at us) Didn’t I? (Laughs) How was it different? I got to shoot guns. Oh, and I didn’t have a lot of makeup on. I don’t think I had any makeup on. And I could see. Let’s see . . . what other difference . . . oh yeah, I didn’t have half a cow on [referring to his Atlantis costumes which were made largely of treated leathers]. Other than that they’re pretty similar parts. [Fans start laughing again] But equally fun. I enjoyed it. They’re great folks over there.” Poor Connor! Can anyone say ‘type casted’!
What was your first paid role? “I had this small part in The Tempest. Now does anybody know The Tempest? [I, the consummate English Lit. Major, say yes along with a smattering of other fans.] Ok. So there’s the lords who get shipwrecked, with Trinculo and the clowns and that whole thing, and then the other side is Prospero and Ferdinand and Miranda and all that. So in the shipwreck there are these two parts, Francisco and . . . (grimaces) we’ll call him Adrian. [Connor lost me here because there is no Francisco! There’s Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Gonzalo, and Stephano, none of whom are nice guys!] We’ll call him Adrian because that was Francisco. And it was Shakespeare in the Park in Kansas City, it was their premier of their Shakespeare festival. And everybody was body-mic’ed [using lave mics, I assume] except for the two guys who had two lines. I was one of them. Now you know, it’s a small theater community in Kansas City, so I got to know all these guys by the time I was doing this play with them. So we’re all standing there, they’re body mic’ed, I’m not. And the direction was – because the part was epic – the idea was that anytime that I had to say my two lines, I’d walk up to one of the guys and say it into his microphone, attached right here (Shows us near the third button down from the top of his shirt). You know where this is going. The second they got they’re microphones, and it’s my turn to walk up – this is like every show – I’d walk up and they’d be like (demonstrates them walking backwards away from him so he couldn’t get to their mics!) They’d turn their back to me. And I’m trying to get to the mic and say my two lines. You know, the epitome of professionalism in my first job. It was a great deal of fun, but yeah, I was chasing my lines as it were.”
A woman who came dressed as a wraith – painted blue, both face and hands, wearing a long white wig – asked, Got any entertaining makeup stories? “I’ll share mine if you share yours. Since a Monday began at like 7:00, or the crew call was at 6:30, you start shooting at 7:00, I got to get there at 4:30 for the two and a half hours of makeup. My makeup evolved, or devolved, because it got less as it went on, but still it didn’t really matter. The amount of time it takes for stuff to dry and then to re-apply stuff and paint and all that c%@&. So thank god the makeup and prosthetics crew were really interesting people because, you know, blah. It’s kind of hard to be really charming and have great stories to tell at 4:30 in the morning. Not a lot happens for people at 4:30 in the morning . . . good. But the interesting thing about that is you get there at 4:30 am and you’ve learned your lines but the role really isn’t there. I’d say almost every single day was like that. You’d get there and as the makeup started to be applied, you’d start to settle into – because you had a lot of time to think – settle into the role and what you’re going to be doing that day and the ark of the story you’re doing that episode. So by the time they got all of it on, by the time they got like the veins put in (indicating his forehead) and that, you really start to – over two and a half hours – become the guy. And then I’d leave, go put my costume on, they’d pop in the eyes, and when I had the teeth, you know. I mean forget about it. But I’d look into the mirror and it was really easy to be that guy. ‘Easy’ is maybe the wrong way to put that, but I was in that place, whereas had I just sort of come in and been asked to be the essence of evil in the universe, I might have had to spend some more time in my hotel room working that up.” Upon request, the fan dressed as a wraith explained that her makeup took about 15 minutes to apply (Connor said, “I’m jealous!”), but she would likely be blue for several days, and she was still blue on Sunday!
One gentleman came up to comment on how drastic the difference was between Trip -Connor’s character on Star Trek: Enterprise – and Michael, or even between Michael as a human with no memory and Michael as a quasi-Wraith. “It’s funny that you mention that. The Wraith character is – first off – my wife’s favorite thing that I’ve ever done. Says something about my wife, doesn’t it? (Laughs) But people were surprised that that was coming out of me. Where do you have to go to dig up something that evil? (Shrugs) Your imagination. You can imagine anything. You see a picture, you see a photograph . . . (scratches his chin, thinking) well at least I could do that. I could see a photograph and I might be horrified by something, or I might see a scenario and be disgusted by it. I use my imagination. I guess it’s part of why I do what I do. But also, bear in mind, you enter the world of play, so if you’re going to be the super bad character, an evil character, and you put it with the notion of play it’s really not that hard. I’m not saying that it’s not difficult to get there in terms of energy, but in terms of your imagination if you’re just playing, it’s what we all do as kids. You’re sort of touching back in on the essence of what that is. The most effective actors enter a world of play, and then it’s make believe to make you believe them.”
“But I’ve got a funny story. You know the band The Flaming Lips? They’re sort of friends of ours. Their manager is a big StarTrek fan and a pretty good friend of mine. Wayne Coyne, one of the lead singer’s partner Michelle walked up to me – they’d just played the Green Theater in Hollywood – and she’s like, ‘(frowning) ok, so I just saw you play a monster? And, um, you totally freaked me out. I had no idea you could do something like that. I though you were this nice (bouncing in his chair slightly) hey guy, sort of character, and you turned into the devil!’ And I was like, ‘Yeah! Did it work? Did it scare you?’ She’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m a little freaked out by you now.’ And I was like, (raises his eyebrows and gives a thumbs up, then does the Wraith clawed hand thing again) Arrrrrr!'”
What was one of your favorite theater roles? “I had the great fortune of playing Septimus [Hodge] in a play called Arcadia by Tom Stoppard at Huntington Theater in Boston when I was still living in New York – Go Boston! (Singing) Love that dirty water (claps the mic in his hand) [words I can’t recognize because I don’t know the song] wha wha – I wanted to live in Boston for a long time. The other one was probably the last one I did, which was 10 long years ago. It’s been far too long since I’ve been on stage. It was Edward II. I played Edward II. And those are among a long line of plays I have enjoyed.”
How did you get into doing audiobooks? “I admire people who do the voices, the documentaries, and Chris Cooper and Liev Schreiber have been doing a lot of those lately and I’ve sort of pined for the opportunity to do those sort of things because it’s really storytelling at it’s base. You can’t see what you’re doing, you’re just narrating this story. I told my voice-over agent, ‘Can I get an opportunity to do an audiobook?’ and he’s like, ‘Well here’s what we do.’ They give this – I forget what it is – but they call it a scratch, and different agencies use different ones. It’s about the most boring page out of a book – I don’t even know what it is – and they just handed it to me like, ‘Read it. Make it interesting.’ So I was like, ‘(shrugs) Alright. (pretends to read the page) Blahblahblah.’ They put it on their tape and then the people at Phoenix Books heard it and were like, ‘Ok, we’ve heard that piece a million times and you’re the only person who has made it interesting.’ I was like, ‘Really?!’ I’d forgotten about it, like completely. ‘What was it?’ They’d forgotten too. So they gave me this – the first one is called Catastrophe: (in a dramatic voice) The Bernard Madoff Story. And that book was written – I mean the ink wasn’t even dry on the newspaper when this thing came out. So it’s me doing not only the story but they packed in every legal document they could find and I was like, ‘Oh god, isn’t that interesting, right?’
“Apparently I didn’t. Other people have said that I did though. So they were pretty impressed by it, and then they handed me – Lance Armstrong has a new biography out – and I did the audiobook for that, and I think it’s called, fittingly, Lance. So I’ve done two. The thing about audiobooks is they take about a week. It’s about 6, 7 hours a day, and by the end of the day you’re mush-mouth, you’re not making any sense at all. You don’t get paid anything. You get like $2,000 for a week of real hard work. I know that sounds weird, but then you don’t get a shot at doing very many of them. You’d think that an actor – wow, I put my foot in my mouth here! $2,000 is a lot of money! I understand that! (laughs) But gauging how actors get paid it’s not, it’s nothing, and they understand that. People don’t do it for the money. You’d go broke doing audiobooks. But they are kind of a labor of love. But they did actually land me off of them one of the biggest and best voice-over agencies in town, last week. They were like, ‘We want to work with you!’ I was like, ‘(voice jumping high) Really?! Why?’ ‘Because anybody who can do that type of stuff and has a voice like yours’ – because I’ve got what they said was ‘an everyman voice’, which people like right now. I’m not like ‘(trying to talk like an announcer) Stealers versus the Falcons!’ I can’t even do- (starts fake coughing and we laugh) I can’t even do that. But we’re going to see how it goes.”
Ah, the dreaded question: How did you feel about Star Trek” Enterprise finale? The wording was a little bit more abrupt. The audience members that knew what the questioner was getting at spent a few seconds going through various degrees of ‘Oooooooh!’s. Connor looked at us and said, ‘Attack him! He’s right here in the corner, he can’t get away! No doors back here (pointing behind the stage, which actually does fold open to allow access to a large storage area) we get teleported in, so there’s no doors back there. . . . My feeling on that is since it was kinda half about me, I don’t feel so bad about it. That’s honestly how I felt. I read the last episode and I was like, [I assume he’s talking to his wife . . . ] ‘Baby, look at this [pretending to be looking at the script]. I die, which is fine since we’re cancelled [we laugh]. This is like all about me! I’m in it like the whole time!’ She’s like, ‘That’s a nice complement to you.’ I was like, ‘You know, I kinda think it is’. I think that partly it was a compliment to me, and a big middle finger to the people cancelling us. That’s how I feel about that. The rest, the whole corporation, the Next Generation folks, I understand that people were upset about it. I think that they were all bringing it back home, and I think they – well to be honest with you I have no idea what they were trying to do. I will say this much. How many finales have you ever seen – you could probably count on one hand – that were worth it. That were worth how much you like the show and it was a proper send-off. I think we did that.
[Taking suggestions the audience calls out] M.A.S.H.? M.A.S.H., yeah. I mean the war was over. Fugitive? [Clearly bluffing] That’s a good movie. And Seinfeld sucked. I mean what a great show. And did Friends even have a finale? Yeah? So my point is it’s not easy. Was BattleStar’s good? [Fans say, ‘Yeah’] I’ll have to watch that. Don’t laugh, I’m busy! (Laughs) Honestly I’m going to watch BattleStar and Supernatural by the next time I’m here.”
Have there ever been roles that you turned down and then kicked yourself afterwards? “I wouldn’t say that I turned them down, but there have been auditions that I didn’t do so well at. The muse wasn’t quite in the room. Mad Men being one of them. [Some fans go ‘Awwwww!’] And John Ham I’ve known for years and years and years, and I could not be happier for the guy, it’s a perfect part for him, he’s perfect for it. I was there the day he had his first audition for it. We had a producer’s session for it, I was there, he was there, he went in first, came back out, and obviously he must have been given some notes. [Chuckles ironically] It’s sort of amusing in a painful way for me to tell you this. So he comes out and he’s got these notes and he goes over to the corner and he’s like working stuff out, and I’m going in (walks loosely on the stage) and I just didn’t get it. I didn’t get the show. And I go in and sit down and do the audition and they were like, ‘(very quickly, not very sincerely) Great, thank you.’ Thanks.
“I was the writer/producer team’s first pick to play Will on Will and Grace. [Fans gasp] I’d been in L.A. about six minutes, and I was like, ‘(shrugs and smiles) It’s pretty easy!’ I had like eleven-teen auditions for these guys, they kept bringing me in! – I know I said ‘eleven-teen’ I misremember how many it was. – They kept bringing me in and telling me, ‘you’re the guy! You’re the guy! All we have to do is convince the network. You don’t have any credits, but that’s ok!’ I had one credit. I was one month on One Life to Live. It was the worst work I’ve ever done. I got this gig on One Life to Live the night before I started work, and it’s one of those things that they always tell you in acting class, ‘If they ask you if you can ride a horse and shoot a gun left-handed, you say ‘yes”. And so they asked me if I could do magic. I was like, ‘(shrugs) Yeah. I can do magic.’ ‘Really?’ ‘Yep.’ So I get the part and they’re like, ‘You’re going to hook up with a magic guy in two hours down at [something I couldn’t catch] in New York and you’re going to work tomorrow at 7:00. And I was like, ‘ . . . well I can’t really do magic.’ They’re like, ‘Well, you’re cast. Figure it out.’ So I get down there and I’m miserable, I’m terrible at it. So by the end of the evening he decides the way this is going to work is we’re going to put poster putty on different parts of my body, because I’m doing this coin trick and I’m having a scene, talking to people, doing a coin trick! No idea what I’m doing! I’ve got poster putty behind my ears, the lapel of my shirt . . . . So I go and do it. Making this a shorter story, the woman who was the casting executive on wound up being the show-runner/producer on Will and Grace. “
“So I walk into this network testing like, ‘(in an odd low voice) Hey baby, it’s me.’ And I walk in and I’m meeting (pointing down the line) so-and-so, and so-and-so, and (face falls like he’s thinking ‘oh . . . crud’) Sonia. Hmmmmm. Oh well, it’ll be fine! Had a great audition, blah blah blah. I haven’t even gotten in my car yet and my agent calls me and says it’s not going to happen. I’m like, ‘But why? They said!’ (Chuckles sadly) Doesn’t matter. What they’re answer was was that the executives don’t think that you’re ready to lead a show. [Fans go, ‘What?!’ ‘Awww!’] I was like, (like he’s cursing under his breath) Sonia! Where is she?
“So that was the worst one, but there have been many occasions where I’ve auditioned for things, or I’ve passed on a few projects. I can’t remember what they are right now that have come out to be successful shows. Oh! I passed on Ugly Betty. [Fans gasp] Even though I look nothing like the role [We laugh]. I mean I passed on the romantic guy part and I was like, ‘(muttering) this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.’ It’s not. There’s a couple things dumber. It’s actually pretty funny.”
What would you say was your favorite episode of Stargate Atlantis? “The first one. [Fans cheer] Because my personal feeling is that they went to the well a few too many times on ‘you did this to me.’ When they killed me off – first off, here’s how I feel about that. If he’s cloned an army and hasn’t cloned himself six times and [a word I couldn’t catch] himself in Brazil or some planet XM4, shame on him. Shame on him!” The fan asking says, “We can’t all be Ba’al on that one.” “What?” The fan explains – has Connor watched SG-1? – and Connor says, “Are you agreeing with me? I can’t tell.” A fan in front of me tells Connor that it’s an SG-1 reference. “Oh. I’ve never seen SG-1!” The mother of all collective gasps is heard! The questioner says, “you fail, my friend. You fail.” Connor looks a little abashed and says, “I’m your actor friend, that’s what I am. That’s not true, I’ve seen SG-1. (flops the mic over in his hand and gives a look that tells us he’s lying, trying to save his skin. Ha!) I have. Supernatural? I’ve already told you I haven’t seen Supernatural! But I thought that they’d gone to the well a few too many times, I thought that they would stretch that, and I thought there was a lot of room to stretch that story. The way I’d set it up in my own head was that he was desperately, obsessively in love – or something – with Teyla. Otherwise, what kept bringing him back? You know there had to be some sort of connection there beyond – granted, there is the kid – but he kept offering her the moon. So the first one was just a great stand-alone episode of science fiction. What season should I watch of SG-1? One through 15, which one? [Some fans correctly shout “All!!!” Others shout 7 and 4, others still Ark of Truth and Continuum] 7? 4? Got 4 going once, going twice . . . 8!” I’m sitting there thinking ‘Connor just opened up a can of worms, and he has no clue!‘ Fans start to get just a little argumentative – There’s too little of Jack in season 8! – but Connor pulls them back by asking, “How was season 12?” Everyone laughs at Connor’s joke, whether he realized it was a joke or not, and everyone calms down.
The young woman with the Washingtonian questions came back, having gotten the words for the State Fair song, and Connor bugged her into reciting it. “You can do it at a trot, you can do it at a gallop, you can do it with a blow, you can do it real slow so you’re heart don’t palpitate-” When the rather risqué nature of the lyrics became obvious to the adults in the audience, Connor said, “That’s how we roll in Washington, people!” Then he wanted to know what his choice should have been between elephant ears and scones. “She wanted elephant ears.” “I have to say it’s more Oregon. I’m getting your vibe. Kinda nasty.”
In ‘Michael’, was that you costumed as a Wraith for the Day 1 video record? “No, it wasn’t me. It was the guy who played all the Wraiths. [Fans try to help Connor remember because he clearly can’t. Someone shouts “James?”] James! Thank you! (Looks at the questioner) James. Because I think shortly there-after he decided he wasn’t going to do it anymore because . . . he wasn’t happy . . . being a Wraith. He looked awesome! The dude had the perfect face and a mouth that opened for like a million miles (using his hands to indicate how wide, from a couple inches above his head to about 5 inches below his chin). Skinny as a stick, and nice, nice guy. I think.
What was your favorite thing about filming in Vancouver? “Vancouver itself. That is one of my favorite cities in the whole world. I love Vancouver. I mean, I’d live there. (Scoffs) That’s a real statement, isn’t it? ‘I’d live there!’ It’s chalked full of beautiful people, the multicultural, the food is just out of this world. It could not have been put in a prettier place. If you’re an outdoor person at all, it’s heaven. If you like fish, it’s good. If you like rain, also a good place. If you like hockey, yeah, go to Vancouver. I would go to Vancouver – I’m a sports nut, I appreciate hockey. I don’t like it, I appreciate it. [Someone shouts, “Why don’t you like it?”] It’s boring. I’ll tell you why. Because it’s not a sport made for television. I’ve seen it live, and I love it live. It’s like the worst sport for television. [Some fans start saying “Golf”] No, golf you can at least get a sense of what they’re doing. In hockey it’s like they’re coming from everywhere, it just seems like they have the puck and run into each other, and nothing is going on. But live, it’s a different story. That’s why I appreciate it. Now, if you watch ESPN in Vancouver during hockey season, (sighs) ah god. There’s no other highlights of anything else, nothing at all. And then when Sports Center is over, you get darts until like 4:00 in the morning. And I’m like, “What’s going on here?” And then the occasional – depending on the season – then you get some curling. Which is good. The replays are kind of not so fun, but you know. The hockey season is tough there if you want to know what’s going on in the states because they could care less. And rightly so, you’re in Canada. [Someone tells him something I couldn’t hear] You guys are the most argumentative crowd. I mean it’s fun, but I’ve got to be on my toes here. (Glancing down at his drink, which looked like beer to me) Thank god that’s not just ginger ale. . . . It is!”
What’s your most recent project besides the audiobooks? “Well I’ve got an episode of The Closer coming up in (looks at his watch) like three days. [Fans cheer] Yeah, well I fired my manager over it. Here’s the thing. There’s a story. One, it’s a great show, it’s got great guest star parts, it’s got recurring stuff that’s also very cool, one of the executive producers of the show I’ve known for years and years and years, and I thought, ‘Yeah, if I get to do this show, I’m going to get a great part’. Never auditioned for it. Wait for the right thing. My manager goes outside my agent and begs me to audition. Kevin Bacon is directing it, he’s like, ‘(in a rather annoying raspy higher voice) Kevin Bacon is directing it, and it’s a great part!’ So I’m like, ‘great, I’ll get dinner, when I come home I’ll look at it and e-mail.’ ‘It’s tomorrow’. ‘Fantastic. Book it!’ I go home, I open up the file, and it’s a page and a half.”
“Now I’ve done this long enough to know that if it’s a page and a half audition, it’s a page and a half part. And that, as far as I’m concerned, is taking a step back. And I don’t want to take a step back. I’ve only played really guest leads, and this was not even the best friend of the guest lead. (Scoffs) He’s actually the red herring in the episode. So I call my manager up and I’m like, ‘Um, I’m going to pass’. He’s like, ‘(in an agitated whisper) Why?! It’s Kevin Bacon!’ (Looks at us like, ‘Big Whoop.’) ‘If it were a Kevin Bacon movie I’d be a little more excited about one and a half pages.’ He says, ‘What do you mean?’ I say, ‘Did you open up the file?’ He says, ‘No.’ I said, ‘(through gritted teeth) Open up the file!’ He opens up the file and he’s like, ‘What’s wrong with it?’ ‘How long is it?’ ‘Two pages.’ ‘(Frustrated) Look, it’s one and a half! It’s not the guest lead, is it? Have you called and asked them if this is the role?’ He calls and asks them. It’s the role. ‘Tell them I pass’. I pass. Casting gets all up in arms. ‘We’re bringing in four or five of or favorite actors for each role, Kevin Bacon-‘ ‘Stop saying that!’ (Laughs) My first reaction was like, ‘Oh, f off.’ But then he’s like, ‘Just go in, they’re all mad at me, and if you don’t come in there’s going to be consequences.’ (Gives us a look like, ‘What the heck? So what!?’) Right. So I’m like, ‘ok, fine. I’m going to go in. (Pointing accusingly at his former manager) But you watch, I’m going to get this, and I’m going to be pissed.’ And I get it. So my agent and my manager both call me, which is what they do when I get a job, and they’re like, ‘Hey, it’s Greg and Jay.’ ‘Hi Jay,’ my manager. He’s like, ‘you got it’. I’m like, ‘great. Greg, I’ll call you back. Jay, I’ll call you back.’ Get off the phone, call Jay. ‘We’re done.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because you’re the caretaker of my career. You’re not doing that.’ ‘Oh, Ok.’ (Laughs) So I get off the phone with him, call my agent, let him off the hook. This ain’t nothing to do with him. He’s like, ‘if it had gone through the proper channel he would have seen it and been like, ‘No, no, thank you, no.’ But they didn’t. My manager calls back again, he’s like, ‘You think you’re over-reacting?’ I’m like, ‘(in a rather ominous tone) No. You wanna hear over-reacting?’ He goes, ‘no’. I’m like, ‘Look, no offence, you’re a great guy. We’re done, see you later, bye.'”
How did you not get killed by Jack Bauer on 24? “Scenes. Multiple scenes. Little monologues. Did you watch it? I talked a lot. If you see The Closer, do not get up from your seat. Because if it’s three minutes, I’ll eat my hat. So I assume that there is positive reaction from family and friends that Jack Bauer did save your butt? Not only that. Strangers in the grocery store have walked up to me and said, ‘I can’t even believe that you’re alive!’ I have gotten more reactions from the role on that show – besides like Trip – but anything else. The Michael stuff, people don’t even know who I am in the Michael stuff! But with Trip I still have people, they’ll be like very honored and Southern and they’ll be like, ‘You brought honor back to Southern people.’ But people will walk up and be like, ‘I can’t believe you’re alive! The last person, they killed!’ And I’m like, ‘(nodding with false enthusiasm) Yeah!’ Everyone that Jack Bauer runs across pretty much dies. Yeah, right. It also had a lot to do with what happened to him next. You know, a little nuclear foul-up there. Hey, it’s tough being Jack Bauer. That guy has got some days that are brutal!“
Tell us about Star Runner. “Star Runner was a sci fi movie I did, well, for the Syfy channel. I’ve seen a few of these, and you’ll watch and be like, (lowers the mic, sits forward, jaw dropping and eyes blinking slowly in disbelief) Seriously? They’re so bad that they’re funny. Sabertooth, Megasnake, Rock Monster . . . I did this one and it could have been 15-20 minutes shorter, but I watched it and I was like, ‘you know, it’s not embarrassing.’ [Tell that to Michael Shanks, Connor! He hates the Syfy movies he has done!] There’s a couple good things in there. But it took me three tries, ME (pointing at himself), I did it, and it took me three tries to get through it. It just seemed eternal, it seemed really long (laughs). And I cried cried cried.”
What do you think of the new StarTrek movie? “I haven’t seen it. [Fans gasp and cry out in disbelief] Oh, stop it. The reason I haven’t seen it is because I don’t want to see it on the little TV. I want to see it on my big TV. I don’t want to see it on an airplane. I could see it on an airplane, I could see it at my hotel right now, but I don’t want to. I want to wait till it comes out . . . look, I’ve got a kid. I’m busy. I’m trying to learn the guitar. Sometimes it was either the StarTrek movie or the new Harry Potter, and my wife wanted the new Harry Potter, so there you go. I’m looking forward to seeing it. I’ve got to tell you, I have been kind of terrified of that question, because I could go, ‘it’s great. I think it’s great.’ But I’m an honest person. You all can tell that, and if you sense me lying you’d probably attack me.”
Did you do much of your own fighting for Atlantis, especially for the last scene? ‘Oh yeah, I did a lot of the fighting. I didn’t do the flippity flip flop flop, but I did a lot of stuff. I fell. I punched. I got punched. I did a lot of the lunching, and you know, getting hit. But yeah, that was a lot of fun. It’s difficult to do all that in basically heals (gives us a funny look) and a cape and a dress. And still keep your, you know, ‘I’m a tough guy’.”
Last question! If you could have any other job in production, what would it be? Maybe a make-up artist? “No, god no! No, I would want to be the director of photography. It television, the director of photography and the director, it’s their medium. In film, it’s the actor’s medium, and the editor. And the director. But in television, the director of photography sets the tone for your show. He’s the one that answers all the questions of how to do this or what to do here and there. You want make up? You’d want to do make-up, wouldn’t you? That was the first thing you said! (laughs) You guys have been great!”
And with that, Connor signed the stage banners and bid us farewell. Thanks Connor!