Friday, August 20, 2010

Colin Ferguson and Jaime Paglia on Eureka Stunts

In this week's episode of Eureka, the love triangle between Sheriff Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson), Dr. Allison Blake (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), and Dr. Trevor Grant (James Callis) really heats up. And while this clip shows a tender moment between the sheriff and the doctor, Ferguson also does his share of action scenes and stunts. We spoke with the actor and the series creator, Jaime Paglia, about which stunts go too far and if he takes pity on his fellow actors.
Q: Colin, have you ever read a script and seen a crazy stunt and thought, "I’m not doing that"?

COLIN: When have I not read a script where I’ve had to do a crazy stunt? Yeah, sometimes, it’s usually later on in the season because at the beginning the first two or three you’re like, "Yeah, this is going to be awesome. Let’s do it. Sure kick me in the face. I hope everyone kicks me in the face." You’re just going to do everything that’s requested of you. But by Episode 8 all of a sudden you’re going, "So in the scene where I get hit by the car, we’re getting Heath to do that right?" You start seeing [that] your body doesn’t heal quite as fast as you were hoping.

Some [times it] is more curious for me technically how we’re going to pull it off. Like okay, so he crashes into the side of a car. Are we going to use an air ramp? Are we going to use CGI? What are we going to do? Is that going to be a two-day thing, second unit? How much of it are you going to be wearing a helmet? That for me is more where my mind goes—the technical of how we’re actually going to pull it off. And then within the technical where is it going to be the window to put the character in there.

Because the stunt itself is very, very quick. So you’re left with okay, so is it going to be on the fall? Is it going to be on the reaction to the fall? Because that’s the stuff where I have to feel like [I] can get a laugh. You can maybe make the scene a little better by putting some character stuff in. So that’s where I like to do my work.

JAIME: Well Colin is particularly good at the physical comedy also. The ability to control his body in the way that he can. One of my favorite moments in the series ever was in "Duck Duck Goose" when he comes walking into Global Dynamics and he gets hit by the field that makes him lose control of his body. It’s completely unnatural to any human body, arc back and falls flat on his back on the floor.

And we laughed at that so much that when it came to writing the season finale last year and he has to go and turn off the device that’s inside the garage and all of the things are flying around and the magnetic poles are swirling and all that stuff it was the opportunity to use him as a puppet essentially, with a remote control. I thought at first there was that potential that in most series you were like, "Okay, this is your big dramatic climax. You’re really going to go for the funny with this." And I absolutely knew that Colin would be able to make that funny and dramatic at the same time. And it was. It was great.

COLIN: And that’s funny. In situations like that because in response to the question, I get really, really nervous because I mean obviously Jaime and I know each other really, really well but this one show I know that he’s going, "Oh, do this." I’m like, "Oh he’s raising the bar and going and do this now." You get nervous because you read it and you’re like, "What can I do? I know it’s a challenge that he’s throwing my way and it’s really nice." Sometimes I don’t think things through when I do that sort of stuff. I’ll say, "Oh, I’ve got this great idea. I’ll throw myself off the stairs and I’ll land on my face. And I’ll do it and it’ll work and then I’ll have a mild concussion."

JAIME: So he’s okay, you’re not going to get another take on that one. I’m done.

COLIN: But I get so married to the idea because they write it and I think, "Oh, that’s hilarious. We’ve got to do it. We’ve got to do it." And I get so excited about it that I forget the ramifications of what happens right afterwards.

JAIME: But we have fun.

Q: As a director, do you take into consideration the physical challenges for your fellow actors?

COLIN: I’m a bit pigheaded about it to be honest. I don’t. I feel like I take the body so many times that when someone else has to do it I relish it and I’m not really like, "Oh you have to wear knee pads? Oh okay. Sure. All right, whatever." I’ve said I’m not a soft guy when it comes to that stuff. I think it’s part of the deal. And I have a really childish sense of humor when someone gets hurt. I mean not injured but hurt. You know, like you’re doing a stunt, you know it’s going to hurt and you can see that they’re hurt. It just tickles me the same way that I laugh when I get hurt. We were doing something… recently when my face was too close to the explosion.

JAIME: Yeah. We had a spark explosion from an electrical transformer and Colin insisted on getting right down in there. He wanted to be in the moment and that thing went off right in his face.

COLIN: Yeah, so… you burn. You burn your eyelid or whatever and it’s a stupid thing. And then about an hour afterwards I’m like, "That’s the dumbest." So we tend to get really excited about our ideas and not really think about how hard they’re going to be or how much they’re going to hurt.

Tune in to Eureka on Syfy at 10:00 PM on Friday nights.

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For more of our interview with Colin Ferguson and Jaime Paglia check out:
The Eureka/Warehouse 13 Crossover Event 
Jaime Paglia and Colin Ferguson on the Eureka Season 5 Switch Up

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