I have personally attended seven Creation conventions now, and only twice have they ever had two guests on stage at once. The first time was back in 2005 when Christopher Judge came to Chicago. He and Michael Shanks had their Q&A session together, and it was a riot but it didn’t seem like we got to hear all that much from either of them because they were busy having fun – actually, Michael was busy trying to keep Chris on topic and it wasn’t working!
This time Creation paired Paul McGillion and Rachel Luttrell together. This was Rachel’s first visit to Chicago, and it was very exciting to finally see her. I have mixed emotions about having two cast members on stage, however. On the one hand, you get to see them interact with each other, probably in much the same way as they did on set on a near daily basis. On the other hand, the fans don’t quite get the quality time with the star that they would when they are on stage one at a time because they talk to each other and have to take fewer questions from the fans. It also makes it a lot harder to take good pictures because the gap between the heads in front of you is never wide enough to see both guests at once. Considering it was Rachel’s first visit, I would have preferred to see her by herself.
Since this was a two person Q&A session, I’m going to take a slightly different approach and write this up a little bit like a script. Hopefully it will minimize confusion!
Paul started off by telling us he’d brought some goodies for us. This has been a tradition of his every time I’ve seen him, so when you go to a convention and Paul is going to be there, come armed with Atlantis trivia! Paul quizzes the audience to find who gets the prize, and it’s always one of a kind, like his own personal sides or a script signed by the cast!
Then Paul said, “We want to thank you for being so supportive to us over the years. It’s just been a treat. Certainly for myself. The character went through so much, ups and downs so to speak, and exploding tumors and what-not. Beckett came back. It was so nice, every time we come here there’s all these welcoming faces, and a lot of you I recognize. Just thank you for being so supportive of the show, of us—“
Rachel: “Yes thank you, whole-heartedly.”
Paul: “Honestly, thank you, you’re great.”
As he often does, Paul started to joke about Joe Flanigan’s use of hair product. “I do my own hair.”
Rachel: “Yes. You do do your own hair.”
Paul: “And everyone tells me I make this stupid face in the mirror when I do it.”
Rachel: “(Does her impersonation of Paul styling his hair, one hand in the air, pulling up and crimping hair, head bobbing, lips pursed in concentration. Then in her take on Paul’s voice,) What Rach? What?!”
Paul: “Everybody does that, don’t they though? Like, ‘Right (runs his fingers through his hair a little), very good, good to go!’” That topic finished, Paul asked, “Did you guys watch Starhole on Friday? [Fans chear] Are you all seeking therapy because of seeing Dean Haglund in a bra? [Fans laugh] I know I am. (At Rachel’s incredulous look, Paul explains) It’s basicly where Dean pretends he’s (looking at us to shout it out, so we do, “Carter!”) Amanda Tapping’s character (Rachel winces before her head drops). She was on Stargate, (Rachel looks at Paul ruefully). And Gary Jones is pretty much everybody else, right? And people come in, it’s an improve show they do, it’s very funny.”
Now Paul and Rachel open the floor up for questions, and as anyone might guess, the first question was about when we might finally see the Atlantis Movie. Paul started by saying, “I know there’s a movie script written that Joe Mallozzi and Paul Mullie did, and I think all the main characters are in it, and I think they’re just waiting to see if it gets green-lit or not, so that’s sort of what we know. We don’t really know a lot at this point in time. We certainly hope there’s a movie, it would be nice for the fans. You guys would like to see a movie? [Everyone chears!] So we’re not really sure, but we’d all like to get together again and do something. We had fun. It’s was such a good run of the show and hopefully that will come to fruition. And if it doesn’t we’ve got Stargate Universe to look forward to and I think a lot of people are looking forward to seeing that, see what they do with the next Stargate. [Some fans shout out skeptically] I want to see it.”
Rachel: “(Shrugs) I’m looking forward to seeing it. Just to see.”
Paul: “All talk about – because Rachel doesn’t know a lot about the show – “
Rachel: “Thanks Paul, thank you.”
Paul: “My five seasons on the show, and some more than others, but towards the end it was certainly nice for them to bring Beckett back. [Fans chear] A lot of that has to do with the fans. Obviously you know there’s a big Save Carson Beckett campaign and a pipe band rally and (points to someone) there she is, thank you. There’s one person, ‘(raising a hand) That was me!’ Alright, whatever. Maybe one lone bagpiper, whatever. It was great, it was so flattering as an actor when you never expect to have a rally behind your character. People in the pouring rain at Bridge Studios flashing all the people with their butts with Save Carson on it. It was really fun. I was really flattered. It was great to come back because I think it was a nice homage to the character and certainly to all the fans that supported the character so much, and it was great for me to come back and work with the lovely Rachel and the rest of the cast. And to be in the chair right at the get go in the pilot and then to be able to fly Atlantis back to Earth at the end was pretty cool for Beckett to be able to do that, so I was happy.”
Rachel: “When we’re on the sound stages doing our work, we forget that it reaches so many people, and when we get to come to these types of venues (gesturing at us) we’re reminded that – and incredibly honored – that it has touched and effected so many people and the work that we do is actually appreciated. It’s amazing because I tend to forget. I live in my own little bubble, and I’m always so surprised, truly, that so many people valued what I did, and I really do appreciate that, and I appreciate your presence here, and we really did have a terrific time one that show. I mean, (Paul nods, and then shakes his head, mouthing something like, ‘No we didn’t’ and then tries not to laugh was us. Rachel laughs and then presses on) It’s rare, it is rare for a show that runs as long as our show did for everybody to still get along and to really enjoy seeing each other at the beginning of the day and the end of the day. (Paul lifts his eyebrows and smiles at us, causing Rachel to laugh again.)”
Paul: “We just teased her mercilessly.”
Rachel: “Well that’s true. I did get teased quite a bit. Which is why I’m sitting here in silence. I’m just waiting for the bomb to drop.”
Paul: “(Looking at us significantly) It will.”
Rachel: “(Laughing with us) It will! So I’m braced for it. But no, we had a wonderful time, and when it was announced officially that we were going to be off the air, there was a contingency of fans that came to the Bridge to show support.”
From here we got into what could be one of the best, and certainly one of the most repeated ‘Tease Rachel’ stories that Paul likes to tell. As Paul explained, this takes place while filming ‘Irresponsible’, during the scene where the team is doing surveillance, watching Lucius Lavin go off and talk to his mercenary friends. Rachel climbs a tree for the scene, and this gave the guys a great opportunity! In between takes, they find little stones and twigs, “and we’re just throwing them at her, and she’s like, ‘Stop it! I don’t believe you!’ Jason [Momoa] gets this big twig, and part of Rachel’s back is showing from behind, (Paul shows us where, just above the waist) and he’s got the twig and he’s scratching her. But now she has to say in the tree because they’ve already established her in the tree. It takes quite a while to shoot this, so she’s up in the tree for about an hour. And the whole time we’re throwing little pebbles and sticks and stuff and she’s furious, but she can’t get to us because she’s up to high. So things like that I really miss. (Rachel holds her arms out, smiling.) It brings tears to my eyes.”
From there, Paul dived into the story of when he took Rachel’s wig, part of her costume, her fighting sticks, and her stunt double’s maternity belly to make a montage of photos they put in a book for Rachel. Paul described this at Dragon*Con as well. “I do a montage of fight scenes as Teyla (holding up the picture that we will later give away) with Jason Momoa, and I put it in the book.”
Rachel: “It’s actually one of the funnier pages.”
Paul: “It’s pretty funny. And each caption, I have, this one particularly, it’s ‘(with a bit if his Scottish accent) Mama fights. Mama’s tough.’ And then I have myself laying inside Rachel’s trailer, on my back with chips and stuff all over me, and the caption is (accented) ‘Mama’s hungry.’ (Laughs with us)”
Next, Paul was asked about A Dog’s Breakfast, where Paul had to dress in drag. Referring to the makeup artist that took care of Paul, he said, “He said to me, ‘I’ve done tons of drag queens. You’re going to look good.’ I’m like, ‘ok, alright’. So I’m sitting there looking pretty good, getting the makeup on, he puts the wig on, and I’m looking at myself in the mirror and going, ‘I actually look pretty good as a woman.’ Once I started putting the nylons on and the bra and everything like that, I felt like a linebacker.”
Rachel then told a story of one of her funny memories on set. “I don’t know what we were laughing at that was hilariously funny. We were just being so ridiculous because the scene – (turning to Paul) Oh and you get hit on the head, right? As we walk through the door? – So the sequence is –“
Rachel: “(Laughs) No but the sequence is the two of us are walking down this dark hall, we’re unaware that we might be attacked at any moment, and it’s very serious, (turning to Paul) and then you get wacked on the head –“
Paul: “By Sora, who is probably about 4”2’. (Rachel hangs her head) And she has a giant knife about the size of a machete.”
Rachel: “Yeah, she was very sweet, but not very tough. Doing the fight sequences with her, ‘(in a high little voice) Are you going to hit me there? Because it really hurt.’(Makes a funny frown) But we were so campy before they yelled – “
Paul: “I think Martin [Wood] directed it, and Martin said, ‘the good part is you guys have to stay – because Rachel’s got your back – so you have to stay right beside Beckett because he’s kind of a wimp. So we’re butt to butt basically the whole time, like this.” Rachel got up and she and Paul demonstrated, back to back, Rachel with her hands in a gun shape with her mic pinned in between. Paul went on describing how they went down the hallway like that, but much of it was lost in the audience’s laughter! “And anywhere she moved I moved with her right? So while we’re doing it I’m just bugging her I’m going like this.” Paul stands back to back with Rachel again and then rubs up and down against her, nearly pushing Rachel over as she laughed. “It was great.”
I think they could tell that we were really enjoying the funny set stories, so Rachel launched into another one. “I know I’ve told this story before but it was funny. When we were hit by a bomb for the first time, and I think it was Peter DeLuise who was directing it, and yeah, I think it was Peter!”
Paul: “I think it was a tree that was falling.”
Rachel: “Yeah so Peter is yelling because that’s just how he directs. ‘BAM! And another one goes off! Boom!’ and we’d never done a puddlejumper hit, and you know, the ship doesn’t rock (laughs). So I went this way (leans right abruptly) and I think Joe went that way (leans forward and jerks to a stop) and Paul went this way (bounces up out of her seat and laughs). We all went in different directions – “
Paul: “And at all different levels. Somebody’s like, ‘Whoo! (since he’s standing, Paul kind of jumped to the side like he’d been pushed hard) and David’s like, ‘Ah’ (acts like someone just pushed him back on the shoulder and barely moves at all!). So we learned shortly that we all had to do the same thing. And ask questions like, ‘How big is the explosion?’”
Rachel: “Some people are doing, ‘Ah! (Leans back and shields her face with her hand) and others are doing, (silently shrugs it off!).
Paul: “And Joe’s like, ‘(Going into is pretty darn convincing imitation of Joe and playing with his hair – See his DragonCon panel to see for yourself!) It’s alright, I’ll take care of that one. It’s got to be Sheppard.’”
Rachel: “That was funny. We had so many funny episodes.”
Paul: “A LOT of funny episodes.” Paul then began to tell us about the scene in ‘Irresistible’ where Sheppard has kidnapped and cuffed Beckett to get him away from Lucius and they are in the puddlejumper. “In the scene, Joe punches me and says, ‘buck up Carson!’ because I’m going, ‘(whimpering in his Scottish accent) I miss Lucius for God’s sake, I miss him!’ So then, they didn’t keep it in the episode, but it was very funny because I made Joe – and he’ll tell you this – blow my nose for me.”
Rachel was asked about the many fight scenes she did.
Rachel: “(Referring to the sparring scenes in general) It was a rather treacherous event . . . to put things mildly (Laughs)!
Paul: “Rachel can kick Joe’s @$$.”
Rachel: “(Laughing, mic lowered, waving us off, I think she said,)That’s not what I’m saying! Well, (reconsidering) anyway (Laughs). No, but it was fun for different reasons.
Paul: “Who was the best stick-fighter?”
Rachel: “The best? You mean between Joe and Jason or just anybody?”
Paul: “Just anybody.”
Rachel: “Just anybody. Umm, it had to be. Of course! Umm, Jason was pretty damn good with it. I mean you know he’s a very physical guy. And then a lot of the stunt performers that I got to work with were fantastic. They’re all martial artists and that’s what they do. (To the fan who asked) Does that answer your question?”
Paul: “That’s the problem. I didn’t stick fight with you. I’m a martial artist! I’m a ninja.”
Rachel: “(Trying not to laugh) I believe you were a model though, weren’t you?”
Paul: “Sure (laughs) I don’t know. (Gives a really weird smile that I tried to take a picture of, but my shot got blocked by a head in front of me!) Blue Steel.”
Next Paul and Rachel were asked if they took anything from the set after Atlantis was cancelled.
Rachel: “The very last day of the final episode, the last day for me, the only thing that I wanted was the back of my chair (reaches behind her and taps the fabric back of her chair) which had my name on it and ‘Atlantis’. And that was it. I asked for a couple of other things but I wasn’t going to be greedy. That’s all I wanted. It was there at the beginning of the day. Close to the time of my final scene I was looking for my chair and it was gone. It was gone! Jason was really concerned. He was like, ‘Rachel, who would take it? Who would take it?’ Everybody was very concerned. In fact I thought somebody had stolen it, and after working with these people for so many years I thought ‘(hand on her heart, hurt) Who could have done that to me?’ Well, Jason was in Baltimore with me recently, and I was talking about that story, about how I just wanted that, and he revealed to me – he was actually reminded of it. ‘Oh yeah! Oh Rach! That reminds me! I took the back of your chair!’
Paul: “He has the back of my chair too.”
Rachel: “Does he really?!”
Rachel: “Oh Lord have mercy. He said that he took it and he was going to give it to me at the end of the day, but then he forgot where he put it. Which, knowing Jason, is true. So he couldn’t find it, so then he was terrified because he thought he’d lost it. Now apparently he’s find it in his house somewhere.”
Paul: “(Joking) I have the Stargate in my apartment.”
The next question led to this hilarious story.
Paul: “In an episode called ‘Poisoning the Well’, my character has a long monologue that opens the episode.”
Rachel: “Oh God, Paul!”
Paul: “(Grins mischievously as we laugh) Long. It’s one shot. I probably have to walk in a tunnel probably from here to the exit sign over there (pointing to one of the doors near the back of the long room) with all these guys with me and I’m carrying all the things and I’m going on about ‘(in his accent) the bloody wormhole’ and all that. Rachel (who sits there laughing, rather pleased with herself) has not even a line. Three letters. ‘Who.’ That’s what she has to say. We’re doing this take over and over again. It’s really really hot. Brad Turner is directing it, I’m sweating. They’re like, ‘we’ve got to get it in one take because it’s all we’ve got.’ The camera man, the steady cam is running backwards (demonstrates by walking backwards). Huge guy too, he’s pouring sweat, had a bandana on, and we finally get a good take after like 10 times where everything just works, the lighting, the camera, and all that kind of stuff. We get a good one, everything is great, and Brad goes, ‘Ok, let’s move on!’ and Rachel is like, ‘(weakly raises a hand and whimpers) Sorry, I . . . I forgot my line.’ To which I go, ‘You don’t have a line, Rach. You have a word.”
Rachel: “(Wagging an accusatory finger at Paul) That’s not exactly how it went.”
Paul: “Yes it is.”
Rachel: “It is not! That’s not exactly how it went!”
Paul: “So for the next past 5 years I would always go to Rachel and be like, ‘(with an insolent innocent look on his face) Who?’”
Rachel: “I couldn’t hear you! You were there, and (gets up and goes to the other side of the stage) I was back here, and there was the camera man clanking and there were all kinds of things going on and I was desperately trying – and I didn’t want to interrupt your . . . fabulous . . . dialogue, so I couldn’t hear my cue! (Looking pointedly at Paul) Who?”
Apparently, ever since the episode where Carson bemoaned his “wee baby turtles”, people have been giving him turtles!
Paul: “I have ceramic turtles, a lot of them. I have quite a few of them at home, and I gave a few to my mom. I have a turtle hat, turtle shirts, turtle slippers, . . . yeah a lot of little stuffed animal turtles. Sometimes I give them to my nephews and nieces cuz they love that. They probably think I’m weird though, like, ‘What’s with all the turtles?’ But yeah, that’s what I do with them.
What are your favorite episodes?
Rachel: “Oh my goodness. I get asked this question a lot and you would think that I would come down with some quick answer and the truth of the matter is . . . I don’t know my favorite episode! It’s very hard. It sounds lame but it was 5 years and each year we did 20 episodes, and so I don’t really have –“
Paul: “(without his mic says to Rachel, shrugging) A couple favorites.”
Rachel: “Ok, a couple favorites. Umm, ‘The Gift’ for obvious reasons, because it was the first episode that really kind of expanded on my character and her abilities.”
Paul: “Is that the one you sang in?”
Rachel: “No (laughs). No. But I did enjoy that, that was ‘Critical Mass’, and actually I enjoyed that one for many reasons. It got to show a different level of Teyla’s background, her people and what they believe in, and that was fun for me. ‘Duet’. (Paul looks askance at us as people cheer preventing me from hearing what Rachel said, but she laughed and it sounded like she enjoyed that episode simply because of how funny it was).”
Paul: “(Smiling, he replies unenthusiastically) Yeah that’s my favorite too.”
Rachel: “It was a funny show!”
Paul: “I have a restraining order against David Hewlett. . . . Um, for me the pilot, ‘Rising’, was pretty special because it was just a great atmosphere.”
Someone asked a question about the type of things their characters got to do, which resulted in Paul telling this story.
Paul: “It’s different for each character and they all have their places in the show. Often times for me it’d be, David especially too, would have a lot of dialogue and medical alien Scottish jargon sometimes. Then you’d get Joe, and not so much Rachel, Rachel’s very respectful. Very sweet. She is. Gotta say. It’s sickening, really (Rachel laughs). Really sweet. Hot though really. . . . But I would have to say this gigantic monologue and serious thing, and I think Torri [Higginson] was in a bed. There’s this machine that’s scanning her body, and I’m talking, I can’t even remember what I said. It was like pages stuff. And while this thing is going across it was very distracting, but Joe and Jason are like, ‘(In a deeper gruffer voice like Jason’s) What are you doing?’ and they have like one word in between so their talking, ‘What are you doing today?’ So they’re over there joking, punching each other and stuff. I’m just trying to get the lines and of course they realize I’m trying to concentrate so they’re making it worse going, ‘Pauly!’ They’ll throw things at me while I’m doing it, or while I’m doing the monologue and I’m off camera they’re like, (acts out Joe and Jason yawning exaggeratedly). That was fun. But as soon as you get it they say, ‘Moving on, great.’ And then Rachel will go beat somebody up and that’s what she does. She’ll get in some crazy fight scene, so everyone has their little spot that they do and they different things that they do, so those things are always fun.”
A fan comes and asks if Paul can do an impression of Connor Trinneer.
Paul: “I can’t really do Connor. Every time you see him he’s dressed as a Wraith and he’s evil. But actually in real life, Connor has sort of (attempting to imitate Connor’s way of speaking) a twang in his voice, something like that. He’s from Texas or something, you know? ‘(With a twang) Hey boy, how you doing? What’s going on?’ That kind of thing. He’s a good guy, great actor too.”
Rachel: “I like Connor quite a bit. Good guy.”
Paul: “Yeah, he is.”
Rachel: “But we can’t do Connor impersonations. Wasn’t Connor just here? [Fans answer yes.] Didn’t we get enough Connor? So we have to be Connor now too? (Laughs)”
Paul: “(To the young lady who asked the question) Do you have a crush on Connor?”
A fan asked Rachel where she looks to get the inspiration Teyla. Superheroes, perhaps?
Rachel: “It had nothing to do with superheroes. It had a lot to do with her and her influence and hoe she grew up, and the side of my family that is from Tanzania. My mom grew up in a small village in the Usambara mountains. It’s a rainforest region in Tanzania, and they didn’t have electricity and so they lived with stars and nature and they were farmers. I really took a lot of where Teyla comes from from that because there seems to be quite a lot of similarities between the two. That and also the mysticism from her side of the family, so that’s really my jumping point. When I tested for the character I had a picture of my grandparents from her side of the family in my pocket, and I just really called upon them. Yeah, she wasn’t based on any kind of superheroes. She was just based on my family history, the history of my own ancestors.”
A fan asked Rachel, At what point did you realize you were pregnant and how did you tell the producing staff? Did you warn them it was a possibility? “Oh no, no no no! They had no idea! When I found out it was about 2 months before we started to shoot, and I was very anxious about how they would take it because I’d had a conversation with them at the end of the season that preceded that, about how it was going to be a strong Teyla season coming up and they were working on that. So I knew that that was their focus, and I didn’t know how they were going to take it. And Amanda [Tapping], who you all got a chance to meet yesterday. [Fans cheer and Paul joins us with an enthusiastic “Whoo!”] She’s such an amazing person, and she was the first person whom I called involved with Stargate because I knew that she went through it. So I called her and asked her for her advice and she told me she was going to be there the next week for wardrobe fitting and she would be there for me to have a conversation with prior to like give me the pep talk and to be there after I went upstairs to tell the producers. And she was true to her word and she was there and I went up and I told the guys, and thankfully most of them are parents, and so although their faces looked something like this: I walked into the room and it was like ‘(Smiling, happy) Hi Rachel! It’s good to – ‘ and then it was like, ‘(Smile falling, trying to sound excited and at ease, but inwardly clearly going ‘Oh that’s trouble!’) Oh. Yeah, sure, no problem! . . . What the hell are we going to do?’”
Paul: “I have a quick question, just to cut you off. Honestly, don’t you think after 3 –what season did you get pregnant in?”
Rachel: “It was season 4.”
Paul: “After 3 seasons of playing Teyla and sleeping around all those villages . . . (I couldn’t catch the rest of what Paul said over the aghast noise the crowd made! Rachel looked at Paul in shock and then shoved him on the arm.) Teyla was very naughty behind the scenes, I’ve got to tell you. Late night in the Athosian villages were crazy.”
Rachel: “(Smiling, Shaking her head over Paul’s antics) Just like old times.”
As the first cast woman to be pregnant during filming, many were curious how Rachel coped with the challenges it presented, asking questions like, How did the costuming work while you were pregnant? Did you just walk in and they’d say, ‘You’re wearing this’? In particular this fan wanted to know about the leather-looking dress Rachel wore in ‘Kindred Part 1’. She tried to describe it because Rachel wasn’t sure what she meant, and then Paul starting chiming in.
Paul: “You know, leather and it’s got some stitching in the front?”
Rachel: “(Laughing) Stop! Jeez! Um, the creative department over in wardrobe come up with the sketches and then they come to me most of the time with fabrics and fabric choices and color choices and they run it by me. So yeah, I was involved in it throughout the process. You go and you have your fitting and you kinda say, ‘A little high here, a little lower there, this that and the other.’ So yeah, I was involved, but I can’t remember the exact dress. (Paul muttered something into the mic, maybe “The leather dress!”, and then he and Rachel had a quick whispering conference that apparently jogged Rachel’s memory.) “(Gasps) Yes! (Embarrassed, Rachel laughs, covering her face with her hand.)”
Paul was asked a question about Carson’s death and sudden return, drawing a comparison to Daniel Jackson’s demise and reappearance.
Paul: “I guess it had some similarities to it in some ways. You know, he ascended . . . I exploded. (Laughs) Similar yet not. But the scene at the end with David and I, they wrote that in later, actually. That scene at the end of the montage (referring to the music video Creation played before Paul and Rachel came out). I don’t know who did the montage. That was a very nice montage by the way. I was in tears back there. Thank you. So a little bit I guess. And then he came back, which is kinda nice. In ‘Kindred Part 2’, that’s when I fully come back. That was kind of interesting how that all played out as well.”
What’s your favorite moment with David Hewlett?
Paul: “NOT ‘Duet’. (Fans laugh) We were so lucky, we had so many funny moments on the show, and so many poignant moments as well. Like that that scene at the end of ‘Sunday’. That was really hard to shoot because David and I are good friends and to shoot that was kind of a special time. God, there’s just so many times. In the episode – and forgive me, I forget the name of it – where David gets injected with this thing and there’s the spinning hamsters, we’re testing the hamsters. (Someone hear me says ‘Hide and Seek!’) ‘Hide and Seek’! Exactly. David had to come in and I had to do a bunch of things at once and put the tourniquet around and slap in on the arm and stuff. So every time David would come, each take I’d be slapping him like (shows us by slapping his own arm audibly) and by the end of it I’d be cracking him pretty hard, but he’s like, ‘Ow!’ Let’s put it this way. David’s not Ronan. So that’s always kind of fun when you get to do stuff like that. In the last season the last episode we did where we’re in the Wraith dart together, we had a lot of good laughs doing that where I was sitting on top of David in the dart. That was a lot of fun to do because we had so many funny moments. Honestly a lot of them were really kind of special.”
Paul was asked about his accent which brought about his usual audition story, but also this fun little fact: Paul’s mom won’t leave messages on his voicemail because he teases her accent! “I get the accent from them a lot.”
Rachel was asked if the baby that played Torren was hers. “No. No one would believe that he was my baby, because his hair is white blonde and he’s got blue eyes. [Some people laugh] Yeah, so . . . He’s mine! He’s definitely mine, but yeah there’s no way. People would be like, ‘Why on earth would they choose that blonde blue-eyed baby! So I couldn’t use my own child!” Rachel went on to say that about 4 different babies were used to play Torren, and the first was about 8 weeks old.
Paul was asked about this walk on role in the Star Trek movie. Now that I’ve seen it I can honestly say that although I have nothing against Simon Pegg, Paul would have ROCKED that role! Paul had this to say of director JJ Abrams: “You could just see the energy thriving from the guy. I met him on set and he’s just so ingratiating, ‘thank you so much for doing this’. We looked around the set, it was just a major major set, and he takes time for everybody. There’s a real reason why he’s so successful because without demending it he just gets it because he knows what he’s doing and he just seems like such a class act and a really nice guy.”
Someone asked about Stargate Atlantis the Musical, an idea conceived by David Hewlett while stuck in a small set with Amanda Tapping and Jewel Stait for ‘Trio’. Rachel and Paul didn’t know anything about it, and when the concept was explained, they replied that they aren’t sure they would want to see it!
Rachel was asked if she knew how much fighting and stunts she would be required to do when she took the role of Teyla.
Rachel: “My background is as a dancer, so I had never done any fight-work at all really, except some small work on stage, but really nothing like that. I was shooting the pilot and the stunt coordinator, James Bamford, came and brought me these fighting sticks and gave me a little sequence to do, and initially the character actually wasn’t even supposed to be a fighter. He looked at me and thought, ‘Well maybe I can turn this girl.’ No, she wasn’t, that wasn’t part of who she was. So that was a surprise. About 2 months before I got the part I remember having a conversation with my girlfriends about how I would love to get cast in a role where I got to learn how to fight. Seriously! And there I was, and he showed me the sequence and I thought there was never a chance in high hell that I was going to learn how to do that. He said, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll figure it out.’ And I practiced and practiced and practiced. I got to work with some wonderful martial artists who really took their time teaching me, so I built on that. I wouldn’t say that I’m highly skilled, per say, I just know how to follow choreography and I love it and I lent that aspect to the character. But I was completely new to it.”
Paul: “She kicked butt though, didn’t see? [We cheer!] Really, she was great!”
Paul then recounted watching his fellow cast members practice a sparing scene.
Paul: “They’d bring in the pads and these guys would go in. These stunt guys, they’re big dudes, and it’s amazing to watch what these guys can do. It’s really cool. Up against the wall throwing these guys around and stuff. Jason is a huge guy if you’ve ever seen him, and he’d be getting in there. Rachel is just – it’s hilarious – watching them go like, ‘(hand on his forehead) Oh my God!’ It’s pretty amazing and James Bamford, like Rachel mentioned, is such a talented stunt coordinator. He really is, it’s really cool to watch how they put this thing together. They start off very slowly and then the speed gets more rapid. It’s like a dance, really.”
Rachel: “Exactly. I learned each fight sequence as if it were a dance, and broke it down as it were choreography. Doing it that way, it was easy for me to learn the fight sequences. They really are that way. It’s not like we get on stage, on set, and they give us fighting equipment and say, ‘Go to!’ (laughs) I’d be really bad. We usually get at least a week of warning and I would have worked with James and he would have said, ‘Does it feel more comfortable going around this way (swinging an arm) or would you go down?’ We would work it out that way and we would have a good solid week to rehearse it so that when we got on set we were really dialed in and we could just fly through the choreography.”
Paul does such a funny impression of Joe Flanigan . . . Yeah, you guessed it!
Paul: “’(In his Joe voice, playing with his hair) Are they ready on set yet? Alright? I wear product. I think I need a haircut. Eh. Oh no I don’t, it’s good.’ And then David Hewlett is like, ‘(talking as fast as David does as Rodney, some of which, like with Rodney, I couldn’t understand!) Are we going to start this? Are we starting? When are we going to shoot this? I mean it’s been nearly an hour for God’s sake, I mean . . .’ (Fans break into such laughter and cheering that I couldn’t hear the rest! It was brilliant!)”
This led to some fun David Hewlett stories!
Paul: “He’s very dry.”
Rachel: “I could not have called David for say a month and I will call him and he’ll pick up the phone and say, ‘(in a very irritated Rodney-like voice) What now?!’ (Laughs) And it would have been like a month has gone by!”
Paul: I live in like a high rise and David would call me up and say – a single at the time – and he’d call me up and he goes, ‘McGillion, what are you doing? Are you alone in your tower of loneliness?’ I’m like, ‘Yes Hewlett.’ ‘Hmm. Interesting.’”
Rachel: “But David is a lovely guy. He’s a really warm sweet guy. He’s got a big big heart. He was like a big brother for me for many reason for the first couple of season and he’s a terrific guy. And Baz and Caden play all the time, they’ve got play dates. So don’t get the wrong idea about David, he’s not all this curmudgeon. He puts is on because it’s like this act, but he’s really a sweet guy.”
Paul: “He is, he has a really big heart.”
Rachel was asked how she managed to do fight scenes while pregnant.
Rachel: “Well I didn’t do that many, thankfully, while I was pregnant. But one of the biggest fight sequences that I had done actually to date was when I was 3 months pregnant. I had to tell James Bamford about 2 weeks prior to because he was so excited about this particular fight. And he was going on, ‘Rachel, there’s going to be 12 guys, and it’s going to be huge!’ And so I thought I need to let him know that maybe I’m not going to be doing as much as I used to do. So when we got to set that day and it was outdoors he knew and the director knew, and the stunt guys knew, but nobody else on set knew. That was a little crazy. I remember afterwards going to my natal checkup and my doctor was very upset because I had lost 5 pounds, just following that particular fight sequence! But after that we started to tone it down and take it easy. The character was still quite agile. But I’ve got to say it was probably a good thing because it kept me physical throughout my pregnancy.”
It wasn’t long before Paul started teasing Rachel again, so Rachel attempted to get him back.
Paul: “I don’t know if you’ve ever had an exploding tumor before.”
Rachel: “I couldn’t stand working with you anymore, I had to do something!”
Paul: “(In his Scottish accent) How could you hurt Carson? He’s like a puppy! You’re kicking a puppy for God’s sake! Leave me alone!”
Rachel: “(Sarcastically) Who?”
Paul: “Now you remember the word. Not line. Word.”
Finally, after a great deal of coaxing, from Paul and the fans alike, Rachel agreed to sing for us. As at Dragon*Con, Rachel said she couldn’t remember the words to Beyond the Night, so she sang a little bit of Baby Mine. What a voice!
And now for the left over notes!
When asked what their favorite part of acting was, Paul answered, tongue in cheek, the craft services table, while Rachel said getting to play different characters was her favorite part.
According to Paul, A Dog’s Breakfast was filmed about 3 miles from Bridge Studios in Burnaby B.C. The house was going to be torn down and might become a new subdivision. Rachel only had one or two days of filming the clips of Star Crossed, and said it “was just about being ridiculous.” Paul was proud he got to play “A beefed up Joe Flanigan!”
Apparently towards the end of Rachel’s pregnancy people thought she would have twins, she was so large!
Paul said that Jason is like Marmaduke meets Chewbacca.
In the future for Paul, we will be seeing him in The Supernatural, apparently at the very beginning of the episode, and he will be in at least 2 episodes of Sanctuary, reprising his role of Terrance Wexford from the original webisodes! Also, when asked if he would ever work on something with David Hewlett again, Paul said they had been talking about it, and “It’s a certainty.”
When asked what their favorite pieces of wardrobe are, Paul said his lab coat, but he liked the flack jacket too. “I felt like Joe but not as cool.” Paul also commented that he never had the flag patch on his costume after he came back. Rachel answered that she liked all the stuff she wore in her fight sequences. “I’m just glad I’m one of those character who got to wear some really cool diverse clothes.”
Commenting on motherhood, Rachel said, “When you are not a mom you don’t have to worry about someone else’s life, and now I base my decisions on him.”
And that’s the end, folks! Paul quickly asked a couple trivia questions and gave away one of the pictures of him fighting Jason in Rachel’s costume, and a signed script, and then made their escape. It was really fun to see these two on stage together, despite the drawbacks. Rachel plays big sister to Paul’s little brother act, and it’s very funny to watch!
Last but not least, our next report from Chicago is the man himself, Joe Flanigan! Sit tight!
7 thoughts on “Chicago 2009: Paul McGillion and Rachel Luttrell, Set Siblings”
Well done PlayItGrand!
I always enjoy reading your reports. 🙂 I wish I could have been there! They sound like so much fun to watch!
Loved the report. Brought back memories of being at the con. Reading your report help me remember some of the stories I forgot they both told. Loved the pics as well, especially the one with Rachel imitating Paul styling his hair, LOL! Thanks again!
That was an awesome report,, i smiled alot and even laughed out loud “WHO?”, lmao… good thing i read this alone.
Thanks for sharing your experience.
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Hmm, never thought it could be like this…. very nice and wonderful!
Appreciate you for your comments. I was just about to say the same thing myself!
Thank you Play it grand for an outstanding report! Great “read”!
Great report! Thanks!!!
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