London Film and Comic Con July 2013

Been looking forward to this con as 1) I wanted autos from both Sarah Connor’s 2) My daughter, Laura and her friend reeeallly, reealllly (cue pathetic expressions) wanted to meet Jason Momoa. How could I refuse that? Timetable sorted military-op stylee. 06:00 revelle. 07:00 depart for a near-as-damn-it 09:00 arrival at Earls Court to use the 3 shiny Early Bird tickets in my sweaty mitt. Or, Standard tickets as it turned out, since Show Masters had sent me the wrong stuff 🙁

Gaff 1 was … anyone? WinterBotham Minor at the back? No? … forgetting to set the alarm properly. Set the time right but didn’t switch it on, doh! So a post 6.30 get-up and mad bloody rush for an eventual 7:07 departure. Painless trip (although I did stand on the lead-welly a bit to make up time) as no one with any sense is on the M4 pre 9AM on Sunday. Explained ticketing faux pas to the gate guys that “yes, I do in fact have Early Bird Tickets … look see!” no problemo and in we go. It’s been several years since I’ve visited this venue for a LFCC event, nothing much changed – unless you count the press release issued this week from the local council to bull-doze it for 4 villages and a mall, I kid you not. Flog those Kensington and Chelsea post codes! But where will us nerds, geeks and cos-players go then?

Usual race round at the top of the day to get virtual queueing tickets and this time round photo session and panel/talk tickets as well. Bagged my Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey and yes, the fabled Jason Momoa queue tickets pronto. Spookily the girl wrangling Peter’s queue said … there is no queue (also, these are not the droids you want) … you can go right it. So we did. Mr. D did look somewhat weary this being his 3rd straight day of autos, photos and talks but was very polite to us nonetheless. Stop Press: Hadn’t done my IMDB research – usual MO for these things – so imagine my surprise when he spoke with us in a New Jersey accent. I’d assumed that his Game of Thrones voice was too good to be an accent, I guess that’s why they call it acting hmm?

Queued up with Kim for a while to escort her into the photo shoot with Jason Momoa not that she needed any encouragement, we were sorta’ expecting a plaintive call from JM for security 🙂 That in the bag we caught up with brekkie we’d postponed and headed over to Jason’s queue. Coffee was drinkable strangely. Now Kim has a photo of her and Jason, signed by Jason and is never going to wash the shirt she wore EVER again. Another short break and a wander round the comic and exhibitor stands – managed to resist – and off to the queue for Lene Headey. Timed perfectly to arrive as she was off to lunch, result. More wandering, some on-spec photo ops of Armin Shimmerman, Amanda Tapping, Nana Visitor and a pilgrimmage to the voice talent for Thunderbirds. Shane Rimmer (Scott Tracy) IS ace, Gerry Anderson (his shows, not the man silly!) figured heavily in my child-hood.

Returning to Lena Headey’s queue, with her there this time which helped. I picked up a photo of her in classic Sarah Connor pose, you know the one with her kneeling down with a -king great pump-action shotgun. Lena was nice enough to allow me a posed photo too (1st of the day) which you can see here – along with other pix of guests and cosplayers. Should mention that my Sarah Connor count stopped at one today as Linda Hamilton was unfortunately not able to attend the event 🙁 Laura even weakened and got a rather special black and white signed too. Hand-shakes and thanks and we’re off again.

I wanted to try something a bit different for the talks and scribbled copious, now barely legible, notes at each of two panels. Read on if you want to see what happened at the SG:Atlantis and DS9 panels

SG:Atlantis with Amanda Tapping and Jason Momoa

First up Amanda Tapping and Jason Momoa for the some Stargate: Atlantis fun and games. Jason trying to keep on-topic when faced a question prefaced “My Q is for Khal Drogo”, replied.

“This IS (his emphasis not mine) a Stargate panel sweetheart!”

Which pretty much set the tone. The actors were comfortable around each other and bounced quips and comments back and forth; muchos enjoyment for all. I always feel having several actors on-stage together makes them feel less-uneasy and the repartee is nearly always cracking. The quality of the questions was generally good – not too many “if you could be anyZ ….”. Both actors were asked who’d they’d like to appear with and what time period they’d like to explore. Amanda’s answers were Helen Mirren, Dawn French and the Victorian era. Jason’s response was

“When they’re grown, either my son or daughter” Which got a big girly sigh and he then spoilt it by adding his time period

“Dinosaurs!” very emphatically. Which got a laugh.

Innevitably we qot round to Amanda Tapping’s appearance in the Rodney McKay fantasy ep. “Grace Under Pressure” and who knows maybe David Hewletts’ too! Amanda pointed out that she had to shoot the scenes shortly after having given birth (no, not on-set) and felt anything but the sexy lady she looked on-screen, in the water. She was not comfortable shooting it. She also revealed that to make the discomfort even more piquant, David Hewlett’s wife was on-set during filming. Jason helpfully suggested that she should receive danger pay for kissing him.

Amanda said it felt “really weird” to see her computer-generated self in the recent SG video game, especially as the character had also been aged. Yes “weird” was her resounding comment on this.

Jason was asked about having his hair cut and would he be growing it back? He replied that “he’d had it cut for a role and he wasn’t a big fan of hair cuts”. Which prompted Amanda to talk a little about her physical appearance since SG. She consciously went for a “complete transformation” prior to shooting Sanctuary as she didn’t want it to look like “Carter with a British accent.” She has, imho, reverted to her natural hair-colouring and you can see in my pic that it is now way down her back and very good she looks too.

Both were asked if they would be interested in more SG if it were to happen. Amanda, definitely and Jason; commenting on his recent Game of Thrones success “Hell, now that I’m more successful than they are, yeah!” More laughs.

<Daft question of the session alert> to Jason. “Who would win in a fight between the Conan’s. Yours or Arnies’?”. Classic, if unrepeatable reply …

“Arnie then would have kicked my ass, cos’ I would have been like f***ing 6!” … HeHe.

Amanda was asked if she ever felt like a fangirl. She recognised the cleverness of fandom in general and admitted “We are all fangirls, that’s why we’re here!”

To close Amanda was asked which character she’d play on Game of Thrones; to which she replied Khaleesi’s sister. Cue a barrage of suggestive comments from Jason, including “some times I’d play hide the dragon with Khaleesi AND her sister” to which Amanda fired-back “I know where the dragon is!” And with that we’d better move on to the DS9 panel.

Star Trek DS9: With pretty much the entire cast

With the larger ensemble of guests on stage the answers in this session were a more terse, not so conversational. It has been 20 years since (actually 21, Alex Siddig corrected me later in the auto-queue) the start of DS9. That was a crikey where did THAT time go moment.

All were asked why they got into acting to which Armin Shimmerman replied …

“Girls!” The 3 Ferengi (hope they don’t mind me calling them that) sorta’ monopolised the Q&A. They were just gregarious (look it up) guys. He added that his acting inspiration was James Cagney. Avery Brooks. Now Avery Brooks gave some, I can only say “interesting” answers to the questions directed at him. for instance he acted because he was

“Brown and on the planet” Not sure if he was having a laugh or not here?

Q. Did you/your characters enjoy the mirror episodes? Nana Visitor did but the *ahem* wardrobe she was given was a tad, uncomfortable shall we say? More suggestive banter.

Max Grodenchik “I watch it every week!”

Armin Shimmerman “At night”

Max G. “With Armin!”

A number of the actors applauded the writers and studio for the characters they were given. Many of the cast not on regular contracts felt that each time they left the set was probably going to be their last but were pleased to keep on getting those call-backs. Especially Max, Aron and Andrew (there called ’em out).

Q. Would any of you play another DS9 character (sigh!) to which Armin replied he absolutely would not want to change anything about the character he’d been given … he wouldn’t want to be a hu-man! Allegedly, he even wrote a manual on how to be a Ferengi. Well if anyone can write it’d be Quark

Q. Was anyone unhappy with what they been asked or not asked to do on the show? Nana was VERY unhappy with the “affair” she was scripted to have with the Cardassian, Gul Dukat and refused to do that, it was definitely not the way her character would go. She mentioned that she was given latitude during filming and actually left not only the set but the studio during the long waits between her shots. Not thinking anything of walking out of Paramount into a nearby store, in full costume and make-up, attracting some interested “looks”. Nana registered this and classic Kira style spat.

“Yeah my nose is wrinkled, what about it?”. Attitooood!

Rene Auberjonois shared that he thought the “gunk” they plastered him with during the Odo-transition sequences was the same stuff they used in MacDonald’s milk shakes, some of the other stuff her wouldn’t repeat 🙂

Last-ish question was answered by Nana. Unfortunately another “if you could be … delete where applicable” question. Any role in a show they’d wished they’d done. Nana confessed to having asked Paramount for the role of Captain on Voyager to which she was advised “You’ve already got a job!”

That was all the time we had, 45 minutes zipped by. 21 years and I confess here and now that I never got much past season 3, being heavily into Babylon5 at that time (ask me about those cons if you ever see me in the bar and have spare year) and thought the “me-too arc” introduced retrospectively to DS9 in later seasons a straight lift. Albeit an improvement. The lack early on may go some way to explaining why I never persevered with the show.

Spurred on by the guys and gals from DS9 we double-timed over to Alex Siddig’s queue. An affable chap. Could not do enough for the queue-ees (?), insisting that everyone had their picture taken with him. He even climbed on the table – cue worried looks from his Health and Safety conscious guest wrangler – to sit between two folks for a photo. Chatted about the panel and I observed that most actors seemed more at ease on stage when there were others to verbally spar with. Alex prefers to appear either by himself or with just one other. That’s just the way he rolls. He took a keen interest in Laura and Kim’s flat-mate situation and commented on the similarity in appearance between myself and Laura. Got our autos. Photo time and the girls now sat on the auto-table flanking Alex leaning forward. Laura was a little unsteady dismounting the table and he asked if she was dizzy to which Laura explained her “House” stick situation. He actually told her to look after herself. What a REAAALLLY nice guy. Alex, wherever you are thanks for a memorable end to the day.

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