Avalon 2006. November 24-26, 2006
Convention, Wells, England
As the Sunday panel began, Richard indulged in a bit of role reversal as he brought out his own camera and began snapping pictures of the audience as they took pictures of him.
One of the first questions was directed at Amanda. She was asked if she ever did any of her own stunts instead of her stunt double, and had she ever made a mistake. She answered that yes, she had done a lot of her own stunts. As an example, she described the scene from "Smoke and Mirrors" in which Carter and Barrett had to leap over a stone wall and land in front of the camera as the house exploded. There were five cameras set to capture the action, and the director had them practice over and over, critiquing Amanda's jumps by comparing her to a gymnast. Finally she mastered the leap, only to fall into the camera when the scene was shot.
A question to Richard referred to his penchant for adlibbing lines and asked if it ever caused trouble during filming. He replied that he doesn't memorize lines very well, but he prefers instead to read over the script and memorize the ideas to get the essence. "Then, if I can twist it into an O'Neillism, more power to it." Amanda joked that they had to warn the guest stars because they were liable to miss their cues. They would get a script and O'Neill's dialogue would be blank, leaving Richard to fill in the lines and the cast to guess what he would say. The writers used to try to write what they thought Richard would say, but then he wouldn't say it because they were expecting it. Richard added, "I'm not going to say it if they think that's what I'm going to say!"
One fan asked them to summarize the Avalon weekend in one word. Referring to the uncomfortably warm temperatures during the mild November weekend, Richard answered, "Hot." Thinking of the cozy atmosphere of the small group sessions, Amanda replied, "Intimate." Immediately, Richard joked, "That won't be happening today!" They each went on to explain, laughing at the connotation that "hot and intimate" evoked. Richard mentioned the story of his mother telling him how cold it was on the day that he was born. Amanda talked about how pleasant and calm the weekend had been with small groups and opportunities to talk to people. She finished, "So… Intimate. And hot. Not together."
Amanda was asked about her own science background, and if she really understands the technobabble her character has to say. She answered that her brothers work in high-tech jobs. One is a biochemist, and another is a computer scientist. In school, she had won an award for science and one for drama, but although her parents wanted her to pursue science, she had discovered her love of acting, and now she has the best of both worlds, playing a scientist on TV. She said that she does research some of what she's supposed to talk about as Samantha Carter, and she does understand it at the moment, although she couldn't explain the theories later. Someone from the audience called out, "And if you forget your lines, Rick can't help you." Amanda agreed, "Richard can't even pronounce any of the words," to which Richard replied, "I had sense enough to prove to them early on that I can't remember any of those words. My contribution is, '…What?' "
Asked about their favorite foods, Amanda answered, "Sushi…sushi. That's my answer." Richard began, "Lately… if you could see me naked you'd understand…" then pretended to be confused by the giggling in the audience at the image he had suggested. He continued by mentioning that he has put on 15 pounds since he left "Stargate," and a cereal he discovered called Puffins, the peanut butter variety, is partly to blame. "I can eat a box at a sitting," he confessed. "I put blueberries all over it. I have a freezer full of frozen blueberries. Strawberries and blueberries go great." When Amanda reminded him that he had been speaking about "lately," he continued, "Oh, lately… scones. Someone just told me yesterday that they're fattening." Amanda teased, "With jam and cream, who knew?" to which Richard insisted, "Twelve pounds of fat in each one. But good fat!"
Someone wanted to know if an action series based on Sea Shepherd would be a good idea. Amanda thought it was a fantastic idea. Although Richard agreed in principle, he felt that pragmatically the storyline might work better as a thematic film rather than as a series. There is always the concern that such a project might come across as preachy. He thought that documentaries were the best way to go, and they have in fact already done some good. A similar series made during the "MacGyver" days had never taken off, but in a sense he felt that "MacGyver" had been successful as a dramatic series with a message.
Another fan posed the hypothetical question, "If you were to bump into a 20-year-old version of yourself, what words of wisdom would you give?" Immediately Richard asked, "Virgin??" and got clarification of the question from Amanda. Richard's response was, "I'd warn him against the future," and Amanda replied, "Stand up for myself more. In my attempts to be nice, I used to let people walk all over me. I'm not like that now, but I used to be." Finally Richard added, "If I ran into a 20-year-old 'virgin' of myself, I'd be… surprised!"
Richard was asked for his opinion of British comedies, and he mentioned Eddie Izzard and John Cleese as being among his favorites. He said he thought Ricky Gervais is a genius, and he has been searching out his work.
Another question for Richard referred to the house that he has been building in Malibu and asked if it was environmentally friendly. Richard admitted that the house is turning out to be much bigger than he had intended. In fact, he said that it is about the size of a small motel, although the builders have assured him that it will look more residential when it is finished. As for the environmental impact, he described it as "about half and half" and said that he has made some changes. He has two acres of land and he is using a water dispersion system to recycle clean water so as not to drain the city's supply. He had also considered installing solar panels but there was no practical place to position them. At times he has actively participated in the construction of the house, and he joked that he has had fun annoying the builders by helping out and hammering nails. He described it as a great experience, but not necessarily one that he would do again.
Both were asked if they would prefer to visit the Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota or to drive the pace car for the Indy 500. Amanda replied that she would probably eat Spam while driving the pace car. Richard joked about the choice between "Spam or Speed" and wondered if anyone actually eats Spam. He was surprised to hear that it had its own museum, and, wondering if there was really a need for one, he asked what it was like there.
One of the final questions asked both Richard and Amanda if they had had the time to do any sightseeing during their visit. Since their stay was a brief one, they hadn't had too many opportunities to be tourists. On Thursday they had gone to Bath and bought a lot of clothes for their daughters, and on Saturday they had taken a brief stroll through the local market. However, they were both missing their daughters, and they would be going home as soon as the convention had ended.
Many thanks for the additional photos from:
Carmargue Ltd., Legends Memorabilia, UgzY, Trekkie, Astra, Raquel, Teresa, Beverley J Barrett, dove0709, DMD, Wendy & Kelly & Scott, Diana, Gator101, Marieta, and Gabriele Gerritsen
Transcript written by KateR. Avalon 2006 is a production of Carmargue Ltd. Wells, England. November 24-26, 2006.