Actress Julia Benson has been leading a distinguished career,having recently been involved in Syfy’s feature film,Earth’s Final Hours and having played the role of the vibrant,independent and emerging character of Lt.Vanessa James on Syfy’s,Stargate Universe.
With Stargate Universe currently airing in its final episodes and Julia being kind enough to participate in an interview with us, we took the opportunity to chat with Julia about her experience with the fandom, her perspective on the new direction which SGU brought the Stargate franchise into , how Julia related to the character of James the actress’ perspective and on how the character of James has developed over the course of the show, Julia’s thoughts on the cancellation of SGU and much more!
Being a Vancouver based actor,I was fairly familiar with the Stargate Franchise.
I hadn’t really watched much Sci-fi before getting cast on SGU.Although,I did get into Firefly,which I can’t believe got cancelled,I loved it!
I had previously done an episode of Stargate Atlantis, and had a great time! Stargate has been a huge part of our industry for so many years so it’s weird to not have a Stargate show currently shooting
2. Science Fiction fans have been known for their great passion and loyalty towards genre entertainment. What have been the various ways in which you have connected with fans and could you please, briefly describe your experience in interacting with the fandom?
I think Sci-fi shows are lucky to have the kind of fans they do. All of the fans that I have had the chance to meet in person have been fantastic. I try to interact with people on my facebook fan page and twitter.I will be going to my first convention in June- so I am excited to meet some more of our fans then!
3. Stargate Universe brought the Stargate franchise into a new direction, with a greater focus on character driven relationships and an initial emphasis on the crew’s challenge of surviving in space. What was your opinion on the franchise’s new direction and what are your thoughts on the writer’s initial emphasis on establishing the backgrounds of the series’ characters. How do you think this initial focus has impacted the storytelling of SGU 2.5?
I think that all great shows focus on character- that is the heart of storytelling. The circumstances that characters are put in just teach you more about characters, so I love the direction that the writers took SGU. It’s great to explore where the characters came from as it helps the audience understand why the characters react the way they do in different situations.
4. How have you related to the character of Vanessa James?
I think that Vanessa has both strength and vulnerability. She can be one of the guys but also has a softer side; those are qualities that I definitely relate to.I also think that in difficult situations she wants to do what is right and even though it doesn’t always work out how she planned, she always gives it her all.
5. What has been the most challenging aspect of playing the character and how have you coped with this challenge?
I have really enjoyed all the aspects of playing Vanessa James; I particularly loved working with Bam Bam (James Bamford) on stunts. You have to be so focused and precise while at the same time stay in the moment as an actor. I have crazy respect for stunt actors, the things they do on set are mind blowing and…they make us look good! I would love to play another role that has some fighting and stunt work as it is a ton of fun.
6.In the season one episode, Pain, viewers had the opportunity to learn that James still had strong romantic feelings for Lt Matthew Scott and had to cope with a great sense of abandonment, given that he moved into a relationship with Chloe. Why do you think James has had such difficulty in overcoming the loss of Scott and do you think her attitude regarding Chloe and Matthew Scott’s relationship has evolved?
James had real feelings for Scott, plain and simple. He was messing around with her for one reason and she was there for another. I think that being stuck on a ship with someone you care about and having to watch them fall in love with someone else is awful. It makes it so much harder to get over when there is no distance.These things take time, and James takes it!
7. How do you think the character of James has developed since the series inauguration what aspirations did you have for the character
James went through a lot in the first season. There is a Kino scene that was only released on the DVD and it is a nice description of her journey throughout the first season. Since the beginning she has really been dealing with 3 things; trying to get home, her feelings for Scott, and her constant desire to find her place in Young’s eyes.I think that in season 2 she settles into her role on the ship. She is a bit harder and she may have finally let go of Scott…you’ll have to wait and see.
8.Back in December, Syfy announced the cancellation of Stargate Universe, once the show concludes in its current second season. What was your reaction when you discovered that the series had been cancelled and why do you think SGU was unable to attract the audience needed for the series to continue? How do you feel about the series ending this season?
I am definitely sad that SGU got cancelled. We had a really great thing going and I am grateful for the experience. But nothing in our business is permanent so you just have to appreciate what it was and move forward.
Our fans have been incredible since the show got cancelled and we all really appreciate the support, hopefully we get to make a movie to finish up our story! It would be so great to work with the cast and crew again.
9. Could you please give us an idea as to the challenges and adventures for the crew of Destiny in the second half of the season?
Some crazy stuff happens….spoiler, spoiler, spoiler. That is all I can say- WATCH IT!!
10. Which episode in the second half of the season is your favourite? Why?
Epilogue is a very cool episode and it was so much fun to shoot. There are a lot of “changes” that we all go through as characters…should be lots of fun for the audience.
11.Although Stargate Universe has been cancelled as a TV series, producer Brad Wright has been negotiating with MGM to continue Destiny’s journey, in the form of movies or another medium. What are your thoughts on this and would you be willing to reprise as James? What type of role would you like the character to play in achieving the end of Destiny’s mission?
Shooting a movie with everyone would be a dream. It would be great for the fans to have an ending and it would be really nice for the characters to get closure. I want to see James kick some serious alien butt!
12. What message do you have for fans of the series, as SGU draws to a close?
Thank you for all of your support over the past two years; it has been an awesome experience. I look forward to meeting some of you at conventions!
13. Are there any other acting projects which you have been working on, which you would like to share with viewers?
I have a couple of things coming up, but my most exciting venture is a project that my husband, Peter and I have with Ryan Copple (Riese). Details are in the final stages but I will be updating everyone on my Facebook page when things are locked down. This is a big year for us shooting our own work! Also, I starred in a movie with fellow SGU cast mate Robert Knepper called Earth’s Final Hours that will air on Syfy later this year!