David Blue on Stargate Universe, Twitter's Dark Side, and His Galaxy Quest Obsession
If you're a fan of the Stargate franchise, you've got an inside man in David Blue. The actor doesn't just play Eli on Stargate Universe -- he's also a sci-fi junkie who'd watched every episode of previous Stargate incarnations before he was cast in the part. It's that kind of insider knowledge that leads Blue to say with confidence that the latter half of Universe's season one (which began airing last week after a hiatus) is its best yet.
Now shooting the second season, Blue took some time out to dish on the fanbase he's accrued with past roles (including a stint as Marc's boyfriend on Ugly Betty), whether he reads sci-fi blogs, and a bit of news he read on Movieline that led him to opine on how exactly Universe's Robert Carlyle resembles Alan Rickman.
We were just talking about that new Syfy comedy about washed-up genre stars. Do you know Michael Rosenbaum?
He's a good friend of a writer friend of mine, but I've watched Smallville from the beginning. In addition, on Stargate, half of us have seen Galaxy Quest and the other half hadn't, so we sat down with some bottles of wine and made them watch it and said, "This is your future."
Have you already begun to feel that Galaxy Quest effect?
Not so much the feeling like we're irrelevant, but I'll say two things. One is that every day on set when we have a new piece of technology that we're dealing with, you'd better believe I'm trying to figure out how it works because God forbid if an alien invents a station patterned after how I operated it, I need to know! [Laughs] Two, I've sat around a few times playing with Carlyle saying, "OK, you're Alan Rickman. Louis [Ferreira], you're Tim Allen." We go through everything.
Who would you be?
I think I'm the little kid. I don't know how I feel about that.
When Stargate Universe premiered last year, there was a lot of hope from Syfy that it would fill the niche left by the outgoing Battlestar Galactica. Is there less of that pressure now?
I think personally, I found it to be more pressure than most people would, not only because I'd seen Stargate before, but more than that, I love Battlestar Galactica. I've met a lot of the cast from that. I guess we have to look at it from the perspective that we really like [Stargate Universe] and that's what we have to set our minds to, and not worry so much that we have to prove ourselves. You can't knock yourself out looking at numbers and questioning the response. I think we've gotten to a good place, especially in season two up here, where we're just trying to make the best shows we can and trusting the audience to like them. I'm pretty confident in the first two episodes of [Season 1.5], and I think you'll see a jump in the ratings just because they're great episodes. I enjoyed watching them. I'm just saying...it's like, "Oh yeah, and I'm in this!"
You shot the first season continuously, even though it was split up into halves by Syfy. Is the second half much different than the first?
To boil it down, I think the second half of the season is much more exciting. It's like a rollercoaster and there's just more crazy stuff going on. I think it's a great hodgepodge because new fans of the show are gonna love where it's going, and old fans are gonna flip out over some of the stuff you see in the first three episodes.
How does Eli change?
From the beginning, I think it's been like a western for Eli. There are the guys in the white hats and the guys in the black hats, good guys and bad guys, and yay, he looks at the world that way. Through some events in the first few episodes, he starts to realize that he can't really count on everyone the way he thought he could, and he starts coming into his own. It's more about who he wants to trust instead of who he should trust. It's funny, with the characters in general, we shot so much of this show before it had premiered, so when people said, "This character hasn't evolved as much as I thought," we all laughed. We were so far into the back half of the season that some of the characters they were talking about had become our favorites. In the second half I was working so many less days than I was used to because all these other characters start coming to the fore.
There were some blogs like io9 that said that the female characters didn't have enough to do.
That's what we were talking about, mainly. Ming-Na is a brilliant actress, and they wouldn't cast her if they didn't have stuff for her to do. You'll see from very early on that she becomes an important part of things. Maybe because I knew where it was going, but from the beginning, T.J. had been one of my favorite characters, and I think that's a testament to how amazing Alaina [Huffman] is as an actor. Unfortunately, with ensemble dramas, these things happen...take Lost, for example, where you're gonna have three episodes with Jin, and then you'll have two that are about Ben, and one about Shepherd. I think there are definitely parts of the latter half of [Stargate] where you'll start to see the focus shift a little. The actresses are amazing, and the women wouldn't still be here if the characters weren't interesting. I hate to say, "Be patient," but I've seen the last ten episodes. I can say right now that some of my favorite moments are with them.
Do the producers let you know ahead of time when your workload is going to lighten up?
The one thing that's not like Lost is that when Matthew Fox isn't in some episodes, he'll get, like, the month off. That never happens for us, since we're in each episode at least a little bit. We're always in the mix. I'm a workaholic, so I don't mind it.
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