Actor,Patrick Gilmore has been leading a distinguished career as a Canadian actor ,having appeared in various Science fiction series such as Battlestar Galactica and Eureka.Patrick’s most recent role within the science fiction genre involves the astrophysicist,Dale Volker on Syfy’sStaragate Universe.
With Patrick being kind enough to participate in an interview with us and Stargate Universe having just concluded its run after its two seasons,we take the opportunity to discuss the character of Dale Volker and the challenges involved in portraying the character,Patrick’s experience in interacting with the fandom ,his reaction to SGU’s cancellation and the actor’s view on the factors which led to the cancellation. Patrick also shares his thoughts on the suitability of SGU’s finale, Gauntlet as an end to the short-lived series, his thoughts on the future of the Stargate franchise and much more!
We also learn of Patrick’s experience working on AMC’s new Drama series, The Killer as well as well as his aspirations for the future of his acting career.
Abbas Karimjee: In addition to having played in other science fiction series such as Battlestar Galactica and Eureka , as well as having aired in Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis. Were you a fan of Science Fiction prior to gaining experience in genre entertainment and how did your previous experience both in genre entertainment and Stargate in particular impact your performance as Dale Volker?
Patrick Gilmore:Admittedly I was not a SciFi fan. Not that I didn’t enjoy SciFi movies, I just wasn’t one to actively search out the genre. I was a child of the late 70s, early 80s, so Star Wars was prominent in my imagination. I enjoyed the original Star Trek movies and I did see Stargate in theaters twice. The feel of Stargate Universe to me was less SciFi and more Character Drama reacting to SciFi. So I was comfortable going in, having not been influenced. It felt more real & relatable that way.
AK: How did you relate to the character of Volker?
PG:I loved getting a script and seeing that Volker had a smart-ass remark or diffused a situation with an offhand joke. I’d see that and say “That is so my voice.” And, for the most part, it was. The writers, having gotten to know us as actors and people, were able to write in our voice. Humor is something I fall back on when things get awkward…it became the same with Volker.
AK:How do you think the character of Volker has evolved over the course of the show and what aspirations did you have for the character?
PG: Like with all the characters, Volker found his place and role on Destiny. He began the journey uncertain of where he would fit in and unsure of how to deal with unstable authority (Rush). By the end Volker was a leading member of the science team, the go-to navigator on the Bridge and was able to hold his own against Rush. I would have liked to have seen his journey continue that way, but for the sake of good story telling it would have been fun to see him get knocked down a few times.
AK:What aspect of Volker was the most challenging and how did you cope with this challenge?
PG:It was tough to negotiate the relationship he had with some of the military, especially in Season 1. In such circumstances he would have become friends with many of the people on board but given the attempted coup those relationships would have become murky. But as the story progressed, those connections became clearer. As an actor, the science was challenging at times. But thanks to Wikipedia & Writer/Producer Carl Binder’s astrophysicist daughter…I was covered.
AK: 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?
PG: David Blue introduced me to Twitter early in the first season of SGU and two years later I’m a full on addict. It’s like theater, instant feedback. It’s also a great creative outlet and now my news source too. My fan interaction, for the most part, has been humbling. I’m still trying to make sense of it all and manage my reaction, but I hope I never get used to it, because then I’ll think it’s normal. (That’s a piece of advice Lou Diamond gave me.)
AK:Back in December, Syfy announced the cancellation of SGU once the current second season draws to a close. 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? What is your perspective on the direction which the producers took with SGU, by placing an initial emphasis on establishing the background of the show’s characters as well as the initial emphasis on survival?
PG:I, of course, was heartbroken to hear of the cancellation. We had a lot riding against us but I had convinced myself that loyalty to the franchise and the superior quality of the show would ensure at least a third season. There are so many factors involved in the number of viewers that tuned in live to give us such low ratings. But what we have to start taking into consideration is the changing viewing habits of people. I’ll use me as an example…In the last two years I have stopped renting movies, I have stopped buying DVDs and get all my movies from iTunes & I never, EVER, watch TV shows live. Thanks to DVR I wait till all my favorite shows have piled up and I watch 5 straight hours of Fringe or Community. The ratings that contributed to the cancellation of SGU do not take any of these things into account. The rating system is archaic and is ruining TV.
As far as the direction the writers took SGU…I never watched SG1 & SGA, but SGU was a show I would have loved as a casual TV viewer. It showed the incredible range of Brad Wright & Rob Cooper as artists. It was the right move and I don’t think they would have changed a thing.
AK: This season, Volker showed signs of his affection for Lisa Park. What do you think drew him to Dr. Park and what do you think of their suitability for each other? Would you have preferred that the two develop a romantic relationship, had SGU continued and what challenges would you foresee in having this actually transpire?
Gilmore was hoping to see Drama ensue with further development of the love triangle between Volker, Park and Greer, had SGU been renewed for a third season
PG:Early in Season 1, Director Peter DeLuise gave us a note as secondary cast members to create our relationships with the other crew members. When he said “maybe one of you is in love with Lisa Park” as an example, Peter Kelamis and I both took that note to heart, as a “friendly” competition. So when the script started to hint at a possible connection between Volker & Park I was quick to throw that in Kelamis’ face. Aside from her love of the military, I think they’d be a great match. If there had been a Season 3 there would have been some great drama with Park, Volker & Greer, given that Volker regards Greer as a brother after the Kidney transplant. I would like to think that Dale & Lisa ended up together, but, again, for the sake of good story telling, it would have been cool to see him sacrifice himself to save Ronald & Lisa maybe.
AK:With the series finale, Gauntlet, approaching in the coming week, could you please give us a brief idea of what is in store for the conclusion of the series, both for the crew and the character of Dale Volker, in particular? How suitable of an end do you think the finale will be to the series?
PG:By the time you read this the SGU finale will have aired. All of us in Stasis Pods and Eli on the observation deck. I watched it live, I teared up when Volker stepped into his pod and immediately texted David Blue the moment the show ended. That last scene was brilliant. Alone, Eli looks out at the stars in wonder and his expression changes to a smile because, as he told his mom, he’s happy. But then, quietly his face shows the slightest hint of apprehension. And then Destiny leaves us behind. Beautiful, poetic. Not the ideal ending, but our future is left to the imagination of the audience.
AK Once the news of SGU’s cancellation had been released, producer, Brad Wright began a series of negotiations with MGM in an effort to have SGU continue either in the form of a movie or miniseries. Though Wright recently announced at a Vancouver convention that these negotiations were unsuccessful, what are your thoughts on the future of the franchise? Do you think Stargate will be revived at some point? Why?
PGThere is no doubt Stargate will be back. It’s a brand. It’s a money-making franchise. Above all else, Stargate is a really cool concept. One day, years from now, someone will have an idea to restart the story and we’ll have another generation of Stargate fans.
AK:What message do you have for fans of the series, as SGU draws to a close?
PG:I really can’t think of anything more profound to say other than “Thank you.” Their support has been humbling and I feel honored to have been a part of something that so many people love.
AK:- What other acting projects have you been working on, which you would like to share with viewers and what aspirations do you have for the future of your acting career?
PG:Since the end of SGU I’ve kept busy with other projects. “The Killing” on AMC has been my most notable work. It’s one of the best shows on TV right now and I feel once again that I’ve lucked out with my involvement in such a high quality show. I’d like to continue to find fun work environments and roles that will make my fans say “I didn’t even recognize him.” All the while I’ll be on Twitter,keeping people posted and saying irreverent & sometimes inappropriate things… @PatrickGilmore