Deyvid reports on Jewel Staite's and A.J. Buckley's Doomsday Prophecy Q&A
Recently I represented the Outhouse in a Q&A conference call with Jewel Staite and CSI:NY's A.J. Buckley for their Syfy original movie, Doomsday Prophecy.
No strangers to science fiction, both Jewel and A.J. have played prominent roles in fan-favorite titles in the genre. Jewel is probably most known for her roles as Kaylee Frye in Firefly and Serenity, and Dr. Jennifer Keller in Stargate: Atlantis; while A.J. was prominently featured in the paranormal sci-fi series Supernatural and the spin-off web series Ghostfacers as paranormal investigator Ed Zeddmore.
Both Jewel and A.J. have greatly enjoyed their work in the science fiction genre, and enjoy the feedback and reception from the fans of their respective projects.
Regarding sci-fi fans, Jewel said: "I think sci-fi fans are the most loyal group of fans ever. They will follow you loyally wherever you go and watch whatever it is that you're doing, which is kind of nice as an actor."
A.J. agreed: "My first real experience of it was with Supernatural and Ghostfacers, and kind of feeling how dedicated they were. And the reason Ghostfacers had come back and turned into what it was, it was completely because of the fans and the blogging and the message boards and stuff. I'd never really realized that before -- I always knew how important fans were, but it's like Jewel said, the dedication of the sci-fi fans is second to none. There's nothing like it in the world."
They were asked if they seek out sci-fi roles or if the sci-fi roles just come to them now that they have had success in the genre. Jewel replied that she thinks once you're in the sci-fi family it seems to come easier, and AJ felt similarly, adding that he wants more sci-fi roles.
A.J.: "The more that I've done it, the more I want to keep doing it. I would love to, whenever CSI ends, I would love to go into some sort of sci-fi series. They're really fun, and like Battlestar Galactica, that's an amazing show - it was so well written. There's unbelievable sci-fi shows that are out there. So I would jump at the opportunity to continue in that world.
"And going back to what we were saying with the fan base and how much they follow you on that, when you get that love and respect from people it makes you want to continue in that genre and do good work for them."
Jewel: "Yes, absolutely. I also think that as an actor I just look for really fun characters to play, and a lot of really well written female characters happen to be in sci-fi. I do know a lot of actors that are kind of chomping at the bit to get in with the sci-fi fans, so to speak, because they are so loyal. And as an actor this kind of stuff is fun to do. It's fun to stretch and go beyond the limits of your imagination and just be in these crazy situations that you have to play out. It's always an adventure every day, and that's why I like staying in the genre so much."
Jewel and A.J. had a really fun time together on Doomsday Prophecy. One of the most challenging aspects of filming for them was trying not to break into laughing while shooting, which proved difficult for the fellow Vancouverites.
A.J.: "Probably the most challenging thing was to make it through a lot of takes with not laughing. There was a lot of times where the director was like, 'Guys, come on.'"
Jewel: "That's kind of all we did on this shoot was laugh hysterically."
A.J.: "I felt like we got good performance out of it but there was a lot of days where it was lashing rain and we were freezing out in the mud, digging up whatever we needed to dig up, and I think it helped pass the time. But it was definitely hard to get through takes with keeping a straight face."
Jewel: "But we're very professional guys -- very, very professional actors. (laughs)"
One of the primary reasons they had such a great time working together is that they consider themselves to be like-minded individuals who are grateful to be working in the industry and who try to focus on having a good time while doing it.
Jewel: "We don't take it too seriously. We're definitely not those actors who go all crazy with their notes all over the scripts. It's a job and I love it and I'm passionate about it, but for the most part you leave the ego behind."
A.J. agreed: "We've all been in those situations I think where you have to work with someone and between [takes] you and the crew, they're all rolling their eyes going, 'Come on man, let's just have fun' you know, and at the end of the day too, the crew is working ten times harder than you are and you just want to at least try and set the tone of, 'This is going to be a fun show to work on. We'll all get the work done and it'll be great work but we'll have some fun doing it.'"
With Doomsday Prophecy being an apocalytpic disaster movie, I asked Jewel and AJ about their feeling on the coming of 2012, whether they felt it would indeed be a doomsday event, or the beginning of an age of increased spiritual enlightenment and elevated consciousness as some have theorized, or whether it will be just another ordinary day.
A.J.: "What fascinates me is in history, just how so many different cultures had various different predictions but it was all around this time, and with a certain way buildings were built and it was very similar to the way other cultures built things. I'm big into that sort of stuff. I think if anything, if you're so worried about that far ahead and that the end of the world might come, you're not going to enjoy what's going on now. I tend to error on the positive side, so I think when it does happen, it's going to be party time."
Jewel felt similarly, responding: "I think it might be a regular ordinary time; but regardless, just in case the world ends, let me tell you I'm going to be sitting on a beach in Maui with a Mai Tai in my hand. That's exactly what I'm going to be doing."
A.J. continued, "I don't think that it's the end of days by any means. I think that stuff sells movie tickets, the fear and propaganda of it, but I'm excited to see it and I hope something really great comes out of it. And I totally believe in aliens. I think there's definitely some sort of intelligent life out there. I mean they just found water on Mars, didn't they? So I think we're in the embryonic stage of discovering what is out in the universe, and hopefully I'll be alive to get to witness something that we've talked about for so long. But I really think it's going to be something great."
To switch gears to a lighter topic, with the recent increase of movies based on comic books, I asked both Jewel and A.J. if they could choose any super hero they wanted to portray, which heroes would they choose.
Jewel replied, "I'd kind of play any of them. I don't care what super hero it is, as long as it's a super hero, and maybe I can fly -- that's all I'm saying."
A.J. said, "I would be The Greatest American Hero, that old school guy, that'd be fun because he was kind of really cool but then he'd fly through a building. So if he screwed up, you'd be like 'Yes, it's okay, it's just him.'" I noted that it was an interesting choice considering that The Greatest American Hero got his suit and powers from a UFO.
A.J. continued on about super hero movies in Hollywood: "One of my favorite comics growing up was Daredevil. I loved Daredevil. I didn't think the movie did it justice by any means. I think they should definitely redo it and do sort of a darker version of it. The movies they have been doing lately have been just so awesome -- everything from Iron Man to Thor to Captain America. They've really kind of got away from the bad spell of Batman's movies we had there for a while. Me as a comic book nerd, I think I have really responded to that -- the really great super hero movies that got into just the story and the characters and their sort of torture and their journey. I'm so excited about all the other super hero movies that are coming out."
I also asked them which Syfy series they would like to guest star on, and their answers touched on the super hero theme again.
Jewel: "I'd like to be on Alphas. I've always had this little actor complex where I want to play a super hero and I just will not let it go. And they're kind of super heroes on that show. So I'm sort of holding out for a part on that. And Being Human's great too -- I'm loving Being Human."
A.J. agreed, "Yes, any of those that Jewel just said. I love Alphas, it is awesome. Like I said before, I would love to go do a sci-fi series in that sort of genre. I just love the world that they get to play in."
When asked what powers they would want to have if they appeared on Alphas, A.J. quickly answered, "If I could blow things up and fly, that would be awesome." After thinking a moment, Jewel responded: "My husband has this weird obsession with wanting to be able to produce perfectly cooked bacon out of his pockets. I'm serious, that's his super power of choice; and I'm all for it because I like bacon and then I could tell people, 'I'm married to Bacon Boy.' But I guess I would probably say the power to heal, because I think that would be the most awesome power of all -- but I wouldn't use it on everybody, just the people I liked probably."
Regarding people she likes, it was asked what would they do if Jewel got to reunite with the cast of Firefly.
Jewel: "That happens quite often actually. We usually end up in Maui. That's kind of my favorite place in the world. And A.J. came to Maui last year for Christmas with us, and we're going again this year. I mean we do spend a lot of time together, the Firefly cast. We usually end up at Nathan's house playing this game he has. He's like a big TV star now. Apparently he's on some show, Castle, I've never heard of it, and he has this big media room now, with this big screen TV. He bought this game, where the sensors pick up your body movements and you kind of mime the dancing. So we do a lot of hip hop dancing. That's what we do as a cast. That's really interesting information I know."
Since both series have ended but remain popular with her fans, I asked Jewel whether she gets more fan comments about Firefly or Stargate: Atlantis these days; and in retrospect, which series has had a bigger impact on her life.
Jewel responded, "I think in terms of fans it's usually 50/50. This is going to sound totally trival, but when I did Stargate I was a blonde and when I did Firefly I had dark hair. So it's sort of based on that -- recently I went brunette for my new show, so now I'm getting recognized for Firefly moreso than Stargate. But yes, I would definitely say it was more 50/50.
"And in terms of which show had a bigger impact on my life, I mean Stargate was obviously a longer job. I was on that job for three years, and I got to shoot in my hometown for a whole three years and see my family and my friends and sleep in my own bed, which was really great.
"But with Firefly, it feels like unfinished business. It's like, you know when you have this really amazing love affair with someone then you break up over something stupid and you can't stop thinking about them and you always wonder, 'what if?' It's sort of like that."
I mentioned how it was cool that fans got a bit more Firefly with the comics, and that we always hope for another movie.
Jewel agreed, "Yes, me too. I mean we're still holding out. And that's another thing we do in Nathan's big media room: we sit around and listen to Nathan talk about winning the lottery, which I think he said in the press at one point, and he was like, 'If I win the lottery I'm going to buy the rights to Firefly and we're going to make another movie.' And we're all like, 'Whatever, Nathan'. There is no bigger Firefly fan than Nathan, let me tell you."
I closed out the Q&A call asking them both if there are any charities or causes that they are involved with or support, and both of them happily answered that they are involved with organizations in Vancouver. Jewel works with the Aids Foundation and Dyslexia Foundation, and A.J. works with the Adoptive Parents Association.
A.J. can currently be seen regularly on CSI:NY as Laboratory Technician Adam Ross whose specialty is trace evidence and is described as a "textbook geek".
Jewel has began filming for a new upcoming series, Highland Gardens, in which she stars as Raquel, a "slightly washed up actress who is very manipulative and can be very nasty and will do anything and everything she can to book the part." Jewel says she is very fun to play because Raquel is always overdressed in ridiculous outfits, and is kind of a jerk.
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Written or Contributed by: Deyvid