Syfy’s hit series, Eureka [Mondays, 8/7C] returns this evening with its mid-season [making it Season 4.5] premiere. I had the opportunity to take part in a Q&A session with series stars Colin Ferguson [who is also a producer on the show] and Salli Richardson-Whitfield, who play Sheriff Jack Carter and Global Dynamics Chief Medical Officer Allison Blake, respectively.
We talked about the show’s many intriguing relationships; upcoming guest stars, and of course, how much fun they’re having on the show this season – among other things. It went so well, that Ferguson and Richardson-Whitfield went a full half-hour beyond their allotted time!
Hi guys, thanks for talking with us today.
Salli Richardson-Whitfield: Thank you.
So let me ask you, how do you think the dynamic within the cast has changed, you know, as the show’s progressed, now that we’re in the fourth and a half, I guess we’ll call it, season?
Colin Ferguson: Gosh, Sal, you want me to take it?
Richardson-Whitfield: Yeah, because I’m not quite sure…
Ferguson: Okay. Yeah, it’s sort of been an amazing thing to watch actually, to – because you know we all obviously have actors of all different ages in the cast, and so we’ve watch sort of the younger members of the cast sort of grow up and become artists in their own right, and that’s been an amazing journey to follow.
But I would say, as far as all the adults go, it’s sort of stunning that we haven’t had more problems. You hear about casts and sort of infighting and whatnot, and everyone really gets along. I think we get along better now than we ever have, and that’s a really odd thing to be, for our calendar of six years, into a process like this and to find everybody sort of really, you know, doing – going above and beyond to respect each other’s process and respect, you know, the foibles and the complications of working together.
So as far as the people go, we’ve never gotten along better.
Salli, let me ask you then. In what ways would you say that you are most like and least like your character of Allison?
Richardson-Whitfield: Well, you know, it’s funny. I think that I’ve actually – our characters have become even more alike as the seasons have gone one. She’s – I think that I’m not quite as, Colin may disagree, as hard and as tough as I seem.
In this, the last season or so, you get to see a much softer side of Allison and of – you know, with her being a mom, but still having to juggle work. So, I think that we’ve – our characters actually have come much closer and she’s very much like me now.
Colin, you’ve been both an actor and a director now, which of these do you find more challenging and which do you prefer?
Ferguson: Well, actually, ask Sal. Sal’s also been an actor and a director at this point…
Ferguson: …two times over, as has – Joe Morton is also our – one of our actor/director types.
What do I like more? You know at this point, I don’t know. It really – in – you know, about a year ago I would have answered the question saying, “Hands down, directing.” It was new, it was fresh, it was so exciting, and now the three episodes and a movie at this point and I sort of get it, and I really sort of embrace both in the same way now. It’s – it really is project by project, scene by scene in, you know, what you can really do.
I think I’m tired at this point, to give you honest answers – an honest answer to the question is I’m really tired, so I need – I’m looking forward to a break so I can sort of re-plug in and get more energy to do anything at all. But, I – what I like about directing more is that you get the questions – I mean you get the story earlier, you can affect change in a more profound way, and stay with the story longer, and that’s a really rewarding process to go through.
As an actor, you really are sort of a professional athlete or a hired gun, you sort of show up on the day and you do your little magic and that’s what goes on tape. And you’re sort of – it’s sort of like it’s a gun slinger-type job. The problem is you show up so late that sometimes you can’t affect the change that you’d like to.
So, it’s good and bad for both, but I think we’d all sort of have the same answer; we really, really enjoy doing both.
A question for both of you. Here you are on one of the most high-tech series and the first episode coming back you’re both riding horses, which I got a kick out of. First of all let me ask you, had you been – had you guys ridden horses in other roles before, and what was it like?
Ferguson: Take it away, Sal.
Richardson-Whitfield: …I’ll start with that. I had ridden before, literally, I mean pretty much my first big film moving to L.A. I had to ride a horse and I’ve done maybe another job, but I think for all of us we had to – you know, we had some time before to get on some horses and get it back together.
Luckily for me I was supposed to look ridiculous on the horse, so it – you know, I didn’t have to really – I didn’t have to, you know, like get to be an expert. And Colin, I don’t think he’ll answer this, had ridden a lot of horses, but he’s very athletic, so he always gets everything together.
Ferguson: I had ridden, yeah, a couple of times, but not anything profound and not something where I’d say I was comfortable. And as much as – you know, as much as we get a bunch of work, it was mostly the stunt doubles. When you see the final show…
Salli Richardson-Whitfield: I know, we were very angry about that.
Ferguson: Yeah, it was like, “What the hell.” You know, but it was fun. I mean anytime you get to do something like that where you’re sort of outside of your zone it’s fantastic. And it’s more, for me anyway, it was less about the actual skill of riding the horse and more about getting to know your horse. So after, you know, a couple days it was significantly easier because you just knew the horse’s idiosyncrasy.
And then I just wanted to ask you…
Richardson-Whitfield: And of course, Colin has the mean horse.
Ferguson: I did have the mean horse. He kept biting on me and…
…and I was like, “Is it me?” And I was like – and then the trainer was like, “No, that’s what he does. That’s just how he…
And then, I wanted to ask you just to philosophize about that in general, it’s such an unusual show that you can pick up a script and have no idea what kind of a weird direction take yet, and you range all the way from comedy to romance to, like in this one, mostly dead-dead serious drama, and then you find yourself riding a horse and so forth.
What’s it like when you pick up a script and find one of these weird surprises?
Richardson-Whitfield: Well, I think for me…
Ferguson: Well, it depends on the surprise.
Richardson-Whitfield: Oh, go ahead. Go ahead, Colin.
Ferguson: Okay. Well, it depends on the surprise. I mean sometimes you open up the script and you go like, “Oh, that’s going to be amazing,” and then you – sometimes you open up a script and you go, “Really? Like, really? You know, that’s – I – we have to – all of us, and we’re going to – okay? All right. All right.”
You know, because it could be the middle of winter and they’re like, “Okay, so you’re stuck in t-shirts on the top of a blizzard,” you know and then…
Ferguson: …you cuss them – and what were you going to say, Sal?
Richardson-Whitfield: Well, I was going to say that’s what is so fun about doing the show too, is that we get to do – you’re not stuck in a goofy comedy all the time, you’re not stuck just doing, you know, straight drama or straight little get ups.
You really get to do different things all the time and I think that that’s what keeps it fresh for us, and why we continue to get better because you keep – you know, you get to stretch and you get to do different things and I think that’s why the fans like the show. It’s – you know, you’re not bored by the same thing every time.
Salli, can you talk about some of the issues that Allison has with Jack now, in relation to where things left off?
Richardson-Whitfield: Oh, gosh, I hope I know what – where – he thinks this is funny because I never know we – by the time we get to this season I don’t know what’s going on. I think that…
Ferguson: We’re shooting right now – we’re in the middle of shooting the season that’ll air in 2012, so we sort of have all that downloaded into our head, and so it’s now sort of going, “Right.” So, about a year ago…
Richardson-Whitfield: I think that that the issues that we have now, now that we’re sort of trying this new relationship on, you know, or seeing if this is going to happen, that sort of puts a different dynamic into working together. So, you know, it’s like working with your husband or wife, how do you now balance both of the two things? And I think that that’s where we start getting into trouble with each other.
So, you know, of course nothing can ever be perfect because that would be boring with us if, you know, we were just all lovey-dovey and everything was great. So, I think that that’s where we start getting into trouble, how can we work together and do both, and where is that line?
Colin, is Jack oblivious to how Allison is feeling or does he have a hard time admitting it?
Ferguson: No, I don’t think he’s oblivious, but you know you – it’s a funny thing asking me about relationships; not my forte. I’m not terribly good at it. But no, he’s not oblivious, but at the same time, you know, it’s difficult when you’re working with someone and having a relationship with them, as these two characters do. So, you know you have to give each other more space and you have to give each other sort of the latitude to be – to have more off days than, you know, normally you would.
And also, you know, she’s – Allison is a character that has two kids, so there’s – you really got to move slowly and be really patient with that, you know, if you’re going to try to partner with that. So, I think he’s patient, I think he’s aware of it, and I think he’s – but we’re dealing with something in the next episodes we shoot, which is that he’s not aware of, so there are still bumps and problems to come.
The two of you are really fun to watch together on screen. You’ve got really good chemistry. Talk a little bit about that process, how that evolves, and what you like about working with the other person.
Richardson-Whitfield: Well, let me stress – let me figure this out. No…
Ferguson: How do you lie? How do you come up with a good lie, Sal.
Richardson-Whitfield: You know what, I think from the very beginning when Colin and I first did our first scene together, you know, you never know if you’re going to have chemistry with someone, and ours just – it just – you know, it s just naturally there. And I know this – I feel really corny when I say this, but there’s something that clicks, because obviously off camera we’re very brother/sister, you know, jokey-jokey, you know, “Oh, God, we’ve got to kiss.”
But, when – as soon as that camera rolls and I look into Colin’s eyes, there’s something that clicks and I always find an instant connection that makes all of my feelings just sort of come right up to the forefront, and I feel everything I’m saying with him. And it’s – you know, it’s very lucky for, I think, for us and for me, I just naturally have a wonderful connection with him when we’re working.
So, it’s – I love it and we know how to work with each other on and off camera. I know what he needs to do to get what he needs, and he knows what I need, and we make allowances for each other and we try not to step on each other’s toes.
Ferguson: And I made – and that definitely attributes to Sal. I mean, the – our – we haven’t had a fight in six years of working together, and that’s not because I’m easy to work with, that’s because Salli’s amazing to work with. She’s just top notch and, Sal, I’m actually really flattered and floored by your last answer to that question, so that was really sweet. Thanks.
Richardson-Whitfield: Well, it’s true.
Obviously the first half of the fourth season, a lot of substantial things happened on the show. For the second half of this fourth season, if you guys could put yourself back into that mindset, what sort of is the most exciting thing for you? What are you sort of excited about the fans seeing as we approach this new season?
Ferguson: I’m looking forward…
Richardson-Whitfield: Colin, I’ll let you have that one.
Ferguson: Okay, sure. Yeah, I mean, well, we pick up sort of right where we left off at the end of, I don’t even know what numbers that – you know, it’s Syfy, right, so it’s like 4.3, it’s 5.2, I don’t know what season we’re on.
So, we pick up right where left off with sort of the big sort of arc of the season, is the (Estreas), it’s the (Estreas) Project, basically Eureka going into space. And I was concerned when we started it that it was going to sort of be just sort of a path like, “Oh, this is, you know, the mission de jour that we’re going to on for 13,” but actually balloons and blossoms into this fantastically complex plot.
And then, at the end of the season you’re about see it kicks into the whole next year in a way that you completely don’t expect. So, it’s sort of this – what I’m really looking forward to seeing is sort of everyone even next summer going, “Oh, my God. Really? We’re – that’s happening now?” Because it’s sort of Eureka going into space and do they go into space, and it’s really interesting.
So, I’m looking…
Richardson-Whitfield: I think…
Ferguson: …forward to – yeah?
Richardson-Whitfield: Oh, I was saying, I think that’s what so hard for us is that, I mean really all these episodes that we’ve shot that you may not see for a little while, that – everything is just getting so much better and in – and it’s like you just want everyone to know and you want them to see all this great stuff that’s coming. They’ve really put everything together well, so it’s sort of hard to hold back and not tell you everything that’s going on because it’s so exciting.
I wanted to start just, Colin, thanks for showing me to Jaime’s office when I ran into on the lot last summer…
Ferguson: You’re welcome.
…and for not calling security. And Salli, hello from your hometown.
Now, I wanted to talk a little – I guess you guys talked a little bit about Jack and Allison being together, finally, with no issues. I’ve – at least for a little while anyway. I’ve seen the first three episodes of this round and I’m kind of loving it.
Has that been fun for you to know that, you know, there’s no problems, we’re going to get to do this for a little while? And then also, do you, when you see the scripts, sort of wait for the shoe to drop – the other shoe to drop like I am right now too?
Richardson-Whitfield: Right, I think they’ve found a way to put us together, but not make it boring.
Ferguson: Yeah, it’s not – it’s never straightforward. I mean, that’s what I really liked about it, and that’s what actually Sal and I fought against really hard for a long time, because you know, the temptation is like, “Oh, they’re together. Now you guys kiss in every scene,” and we’re sort of going, “No, no, no, no, no, you know, that’s not – it’s not realistic and it’s not interesting.”
And they’ve done a really good job of sort of having very real problems that you deal with in relationships that keep it, you know, both I guess affectionate and clear that there’s love there, but at the same time very clear that it’s not easy, and (life) is not easy and relationships aren’t easy, and I appreciate the realism of that.
Last year you sort of rebooted with the new timeline and everything and it – I feel like it really energized – like reenergized the show a lot, and it – that seems to still be going through with these new episodes. I really kind of want to talk about a lot of detailed stuff, but I know we can’t do that. But, could you guys just sort of talk about how things change when you had the new timeline? And also, are you surprised that the show’s been around and lasted so long?
Richardson-Whitfield: I think you’re always surprised when your show is – gets picked up the first time. But, you know, now I think the show is so good, like I said, especially the ones we’re shooting now in these last, you know, few seasons, that I would be more surprised when we’re not picked up because it’s such a good show now and it’s just gotten so much better.
And then, Colin, you talk because I’m forgetting the other part of your question again.
Ferguson: Yeah, the other part was sort of the timeline reboot and how it energized…
Ferguson: …the – I would agree with that. I think the show is as good as it’s ever been. That had to do with sort of a big shift down here in the writers room and, you know, sort of finally finding our footing and getting our way back after the writer’s strike and all of the, you know, big Hollywood problems that happened. It sort of made it really difficult even to know if you were going to have a job.
So, you know, we’ve had – we have a really solid group of writers and a really sort of core group of people that hasn’t changed, so that’s why it sort of feels really energized and is really sort of firing on all cylinders.
As far as the reboot and the energy that happens with that, I think that’s sort of symptomatic of the changes that happened. Sort of – we really found our footing and the reboot was sort of this symbolic gesture on behalf of the network that we were allowed to do what we wanted to do. I mean, they went in to the network and said, “We want to go back in time, and then come back and change everything and never address it.”
Normally when you got into a network and say that they go, “No.” You know, one of the biggest characters on the show is the Town, so to change the Town is a really tall order and it was a big sign off on behalf of the network as – sort of a gesture to say that the writers knew what they were doing. And I think the writers sort of, when they got that gesture, they you know sort of filled confidence and it just sort of redoubled on itself until we sort of had the energy that we have now.
Plus, the casting that’s gone on has been…
Ferguson: …unbelievably helpful. I mean we’ve got Felicia Day, we’ve got Wil Wheaton, we have Wallace Shawn coming in, we have Dave Foley coming in, and it’s just sort of – I mean, God bless recession, right? Like, those names – that’s great to get all those people in to the show. You know, so and…
Richardson-Whitfield: And they fit perfectly and we love them. I mean, these are people…
Richardson-Whitfield: …who they don’t come on and you’re like, “Oh, my God, can we get rid of these people as soon as possible.” They’re just wonderful people to be around and you – and they just fit in our show so perfectly.
Ferguson: Yeah, and so also what’s happened is they’ve – there was a decision made, you know, to write me lighter because I was just getting too tired and really bored at the sound of my own voice, unlike you know sort of this (unintelligible), which clearly I’m not for the sound of my own voice.
But, the – like – and so what happened was all of a sudden these characters who were so developed and so worthy of having this big long plots are getting way more screen time, and very deservedly and I think it makes the show a lot more interesting.
Salli, what did you do with your big cutout of Allison that you took from Café Diem last year?
Richardson-Whitfield: Oh, it’s so funny. It is sitting in my children’s playroom and I think it’s so Mommy can be there when I’m stuck in Vancouver. But, yes, I did steal my cutout and it is literally sitting in the corner of their playroom. And my little boy, every once in a while…
Richardson-Whitfield: …he goes, “It’s ma.”
Ferguson: That’s great. It’s Big Brother, but Big Mother, right?
Just wondering, Colin, if you were a little disappointed in the Canucks this year.
Ferguson: I’m from Montreal myself, so…
Ferguson: …although I would have loved the Canadian team to win, to be honest the Bruins played better and you can’t (progress if) the better teams are winning.
And as far as the Canucks go, you know, you’re going to drop a game 8 to 1, you know, don’t do that in the in the Stanley Cup final. You just don’t get to do that, so, you know, hats off to them. They played a (great game).
As for the show, it seems like this season, I guess it’s 4.5 or something, there’s a lot more emphasis placed on interpersonal relationships. And I’m just wondering which ones you enjoyed reading in the scripts more as they were being developed, the slow progression that finally is starting to pay off between Jack and Allison, the more combustible Jo and Zane, or the tentative baby steps that are happening between Fargo and Dr. Holly Marten?
Ferguson: Fargo and Holly.
Richardson-Whitfield: Fargo and – I vote for Fargo and Holly too.
Ferguson: Fargo and Holly.
Richardson-Whitfield: Because they’re both so darned cute that – I’ll say that because he can’t say that. Go ahead, Colin.
Ferguson: Yeah. No, they’re just great. I mean, it’s one thing when a relationship started and sort of, you know, going through its paces, and that’s you know where – we’re into ours and no one finds their own (lives) too interesting. But, that’d be funny, wouldn’t it. Like, “No ours is the most interesting,” by far.
Richardson-Whitfield: Yeah, ours is really by far the best story line.
Ferguson: …some of the best work on the show. And to be honest, you didn’t mention it, but I would say my second one is actually Henry and Grace.
Ferguson: I really like that relationship too. There’s something really warm and, I don’t know, there’s something really warm and genuine of both of those relationships and I respond to them in a way. It’s also really nice to – that they have these relationships going, so I think I respond to that. But, that’s why I like them.
Cool. And lastly, yet another relationship, will we see anymore of the S.A.R.A.H./Andy relationship in any substantive way?
Ferguson: Yes, a very…
Ferguson: …substantial way, yeah.
Ferguson: Yeah, they’re – that’s also a great relationship, but – and I know it’s really popular, give S.A.R.A.H. the house, and he’s a robot, and all that stuff. But – and they’re all – you know, they’re fantastic actors. So really, Grayston is in two relationships, you might say, as S.A.R.A.H…
Ferguson: …and Fargo; double duty.
Can you tease the Sarah/Andy just a little, give us a little hint?
Ferguson: Sure, yeah. They take their relationship forward in a very profound way and we all have to make do as we live inside of her.
We talked earlier about, Colin, you’re a director, but Allison you – I mean, Salli, you’ll be directing an episode this season. Can you tell us more about how it felt to, you know, kind of lord over your – rest of your cast mates?
Richardson-Whitfield: Oh, I love it, lord over. That’s exactly what it – well, I did one last season, I guess you guys will be seeing that coming up this season. I don’t know. But, I – and I just finished the one that I’m shooting this season. Actually, just finished editing it yesterday, and I just love it.
You know, I had to – it’s such a different thing from acting and it’s so – you really have to be a – my micromanaging in real life has – it works very well for directing, and I just – it’s sort of something that I would like to be the next step in my career. I have a great – you know, luckily I have wonderful actors, you don’t really have to direct that much more than say, “Can you tweak this one line?”
And I just found that I think that it’s something that comes naturally to me and you don’t know it until you get in there and do it. And I don’t know, I just – I’m hoping to do more and more of it. And really, directing on Eureka has to be one of the best training grounds that any director could have because you get to do these wonderful dramatic story lines, but at the same time you get to learn about visual effects and green screen and you have stunts, you have comedy.
And I – well, I have – I’m learning such a great – these great skills to go to any other show that, and particularly not very many women know how to do, let alone Black women in this industry. So, you know, action is a man’s – you know, action and visual effect stuff is usually, you know, the job that they hire men to do, so I feel very blessed to learn these skills that I can take on and do – hopefully do a lot more things.
Colin, how was it for you? Were you like a model actor or were you like poking at her with a stick?
Ferguson: No, I mean it – the funny thing is its really nice when one of us does direct because it’s always great to have a cause to rally behind. You know, you do – you know, we’ve done, I don’t know how many episodes, close to eighty at this point, and you just sort of go, “Okay, great. At least there’s a reason to show up today,” you know? (But I go with) Salli’s episode it’s like, “Oh, great. Okay, well this is sort of cool.”
And to the extent, what Salli’s saying, it’s not only that you have to know how to do it on our show, I mean we’re a cable show, so you know we don’t have $4 million a week to get this stuff done. You can’t learn on the fly, you have to know how to do it and know how to do it quickly. You can’t sort of figure it out. So, it’s – it is a great training ground because it’s trial by fire, which is fantastic.
I – when I’m directing I like – I’m all about sort of making the day, you know, and being relaxed, and I like a calm environment at this point, so I respond to how Salli directs because she’s very calm and she knows what she wants.
And what has been your guys’ favorite Allison and Jack moment so far?
Ferguson: Favorite moment? I’d go back to magnetic fence.
Richardson-Whitfield: I know – well, that one we have – yes, that was like in our first season we got stuck together on this fence, but I also like when I was pregnant and the baby was kicking, that – do you remember that?
Ferguson: Oh, yeah. That was – we were on the couch.
Richardson-Whitfield: Yes, we were shooting this wonderful scene in my office when I was enormous at the time, and it was – maybe it was while – it was just a very sweet scene where he’s touching my stomach. But literally, when we were shooting every time Colin would touch my belly the baby, because I was really pregnant, the baby would kick right on his hand, like with every single take, Little Dre would go crazy in my stomach, so it was kind of funny.
Ferguson: Yeah, and Dre is a model athlete at this point in his life, so it really is no surprise that he ended up kicking on cue every single time.
Colin, I’ve spoken with you before. It’s been a while, but I have to say that when I got the notice about being able to talk to you both I was absolutely thrilled, because I’m unashamedly a Carter and Allison shipper.
And in – then in addition to Carter and Allison, I’ve been a big Jo and Zane shipper too. While the timeline shift worked out well for your characters, it didn’t work out so great for them as a couple. Can you give us any good news regarding their relationship on the episodes coming up?
Richardson-Whitfield: Can we?
Ferguson: …we can. The – you know, they go through a lot and they keep going through a lot for the next year. And really, as of right now, we’re still on the fence on if they’re going to pull through, and that’s, you know, a while later. Those two go through the – they go through it, you know? They definitely love each other, but that – but it’s a hard one. It’s hard to watch sometimes, you know, when two people keep missing each other in the night, and then ultimately do or don’t get together you sort of go, “Oh, God, guys, just figure it out.”
Richardson-Whitfield: And isn’t that real life?
It is. It is. Well, what is – my other question is, what’s the rest of the season looks like for Carter and Zoe? Will we be seeing anymore of her in Eureka?
Ferguson: Yes. Jordan definitely came back a couple times that season. I was actually – she was actually over here yesterday. She’s my designer. I’m getting some renovation done on my house and I’m going to be out of town, so I’ve (unintelligible) Jordan. She did. She came by with my contractor, (Leif), Jordan and myself and she’s handling all the design.
So, I’m going to come back to a house that she – Jordan is designing, which is…
Richardson-Whitfield: And that a 21-year old is designing.
Ferguson: Exactly. Yep, my closet’s going to be filled with Forever 21. Yeah, no, it’s great. I mean, it’s one of my favorite relationships and it’s been amazing to watch her grow, you know, from a 13-year old to now being 20 and watching her life bloom into what she’s created it today, and yeah, I love her and I love that relationship, and yes, she comes back.
One thing I really liked about your guys’ show is how it really emphasizes the science in the science fiction, and I was wondering if either of you had much of an interest in science before you joined the show?
Ferguson: Yes, definitely.
Richardson-Whitfield: Me would be no. I stumble through all my tech talk. Great to the guys they – that – you know, they love that joke because I’m always…
Ferguson: Yeah, which is a great blooper reel that we won’t ever show. A great blooper reel.
Richardson-Whitfield: We know when we’re doing a read through when they’re giving me this tech talk and, you know, we’re just reading the script for the first time and I’m like, “Oh, you guys are killing me.” I’m fine once I get there, but that first time I go through it I’m like, “Oh.” So, I…
Ferguson: Well, we also mess with Salli, and Sal actually my sister was in Hawaii two weeks ago and she was like, “Oh, we’re going to Haleakala to hike the volcano.” We play – because we’ll purposely mispronounce words for about ten minutes just before Salli has to do it, like Haleakala. Like, I think it’s Haleakala. I’m pretty sure it’s Haleakala. Is it Haleakala? It’s (pronounced) – it’s Haleakala. So…
Richardson-Whitfield: And I’m get – and I hate messing up on stuff, so I’m like, “Stop it. Stop it. I can barely remember this as it is.” So for me it’s very hard, but Colin is very – the person who doesn’t really have to do it, probably is the one who would be the best at it.
Ferguson: I like it. I like science. I like the words. I like the thing. I mean, it’s – yeah, I mean we – I mean we go into it in a show in an intensely more detailed manner than I ever do on my own, but I’m always interested in sort of what’s going on technologically.
Do you ever get fans coming up to you and asking you strange questions about the science and stuff on the show, like the…
Ferguson: No, I get – I mean, when fans come up to me it’s always like, “Are you the Dirty Jobs guy,” you know? And I’m like “No,” and it’s like, “Oh, you’re the Eureka guy. You’re smaller than I thought.”
Ferguson: I get – I take that to mean I read as incredibly manly on screen, that’s what I think that means. But I’m six feet, I’m not small. So, I don’t know what…
Richardson-Whitfield: No, he’s not – yeah. I’m always…
Ferguson: …I’m mostly…
Richardson-Whitfield: …surprised that people, especially when we go to Comic-Con and stuff like that, I’m always surprised that they aren’t asking more questions like that, because you know our fans, they love that stuff, but they don’t seem to ask – you know, it’s – they really like the relationship stuff, which is cool.
Ferguson: Yeah, and I’ve got to say, our fans are amazing. I mean, it’s like the most respectful, kind group of people. You know, you hear sort of the myth, and I’m going to call it a myth, of a sort of Sci-Fi fans being crazy and intrusive and, you know, boundary issues and all that stuff. And so, coming into it people were sort of like, “Whoa, watch out,” and I’ve found exactly the opposite experience.
People on the – they’re like, “Oh, really like the show. Thanks. I don’t want to disturb you, but,” you know, and really, really respectful and differential and I love our fans.
Oh, that’s so nice. I’m sure the fans love you too. I’ll speak for them and say they do.
Ferguson: I believe you.
Do you – I was – my last question was – now it went out of my head. See, that’s what I get for trying to be funny. All right, well we’re looking – oh, that’s what it was.
Is there anything else you can tell us about what’s coming up this season or next that you can divulge any spoilers, anything?
Richardson-Whitfield: Can we…
Ferguson: Can’t really divulge any spoilers. We’ll be strung up and hung if we do, but I mean sort of what we said already, which is you know the (Estreas) stuff, it’s – and that’s sort of the keyword for the next season. And then that key is off the next season after that. Sal, do you remember any episodes in particular?
Richardson-Whitfield: Are you (being)…
Ferguson: Obviously, we have the…
Ferguson: …first one, so we have the one where the power goes out. We have – what the heck is – oh my lord, my brain is just shutting down. I remember the…
Richardson-Whitfield: I don’t remember anything.
Richardson-Whitfield: And I let him know in the beginning, I don’t remember anything.
Ferguson: She has no need…
I’m sorry. I didn’t get that. What?
Ferguson: No, we actually can’t cite anything that would – that we have coming up. Sorry. It’s – we’ve been sort of warned about spoilers and what not, so we can’t help you on that.
My question is for both Colin and Salli. Now, with the Eureka show there’s a lot of things that seem to be way out there, like the change in the timeline, for example. How are the two of you able to relate to all the unusual things going on in the show so that you can turn in a performance that is – that’s real?
Ferguson: That’s actually difficult. It’s – it requires a lot of communication and it requires a lot of trust, you know? And you build that up with, for example, the vis effects guys, you know, over time. You know, acting to green screen is – if you don’t know how to do it, it can be one of the more humiliating things that you can do, because you don’t know to ask certain questions. You don’t know to say, where’s the outline? How big is the explosion? Is everybody going on the same cue? No, stop this. Okay, we need everyone moving on the same cue. Can we move the cue to unify everybody?
And it’s all those sorts of tricks and necessities that if you don’t do you’ll see the show and, you know, I’m sure you’ve seen it where you’re like, “Wow, that doesn’t work,” you know?
Richardson-Whitfield: Yeah, and it’s so funny that that stuff has sort of become second nature now…
Richardson-Whitfield: …for us, you know?
Ferguson: Yeah, absolutely.
Richardson-Whitfield: And I think that it’s kind of – and I – it’s kind of helped us to go direct this stuff because you realize that you know how to direct it because you’ve had to act it so much that you don’t – you’re not as lost as you may have been if you had never done – you know, had to be an actor doing visual effects all the time.
Ferguson: Well, a lot of times you’ll be working with an actor and you’ll see them, and you’ll see them drowning. You’ll see them flailing on something. And the perk of having – of you know being an actor is, you know, gee on this one show, probably done 500 days, is that you can sort of go, “Oh, I know where they are. Okay, this is what they need.”
And you can sort of come and go, “Right, I’m going to give you a cue for that moment so everybody can get on the same thing.” And it’s usually something like that, which is the silliest easiest thing in the world to do, and it’s night and day for an actor. It makes all the difference.
And the fact that you can provide it for them they go, “Oh, thanks,” because they, you know, not sure if they can ask for it or not sure what they should ask for, but they know they’re not hitting it and they’re sort of looking around like, “Please help me,” you know?
What’s been your guys’ favorite scientific invention on the show?
Ferguson: Favorite scientific invention? The Bosun Cloud Exciter.
Richardson-Whitfield: Yeah, right
Ferguson: My latest – (well, that they) make some castings from space, which sort of cracks me up. It’s like, “Oh, fire up some Bosun Cloud Exciter)
. We’re going to catch something from space.” You know how hard that is? It was like, you know, like, “Okay, fire it up.” And then there’s that one scene where Zane’s like, “I got an extra Bosun Cloud Exciter.” Yeah, funny stuff.
But I – well, just to get back to the other question for just a fraction of a second. The other thing that you do is you make it physical and you make personal, you know, with the science. It’s the only way to make it through. You choose, you know, is it hot, does it smell, does it sound – you know, is it loud, is it bright, you know, do you have to struggle to see it? It’s all those things that you can put into your body and the choices that you make about it that you use to unify it with everybody.
So, you know, when you go into a scene like that you also say, “Okay, this is loud or this is really bright,” and you know if everybody’s sort of reacting the same way it just helps. And so, any little thing you can do to help sell, so that’s also how we deal with the science is that personalizing and physicalizing.
Well, Eureka has such a wide appeal, I actually go hooked because my ten-year old daughter introduced me to the show.
What do you think is a special ingredient that gives is such a draw to all ages?
Richardson-Whitfield: Well, I think – oh, you got an idea?
Ferguson: Take it away, Sal.
Ferguson: I’m sure I do, yeah, I could – me? I could blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Richardson-Whitfield: I mean for me, especially these last few years we’ve been doing it, I think it’s just really the mixture. We were talking earlier that we have comedy, we have love, we have drama, we have the – you know, the big explosions, and I really think that there’s something for everyone.
And it’s also kept clean enough that, you know, you can have your ten-year old watching the show and you’re not, you know, having to, you know, usher them in the other room, but it’s not done in a corny way where adults can still enjoy the show. They really found a happy medium where anyone really can watch and enjoy it.
Ferguson: Yeah, we try to put in as much – I remember the first season, it was, you know, the mandate came down and were always being chastised saying, you know, “This is not a comedy,” you know, “Stop putting – stop doing that, stop putting the jokes in. This is not a comedy.” All the directors were told, “This is not a comedy.” You know, it was sort of – because they were coming off Battlestar, right, and it was going to be sort of serious and all that stuff.
I think the comedy that we throw in and the writers write in really helps. It sort of helps us take the sting off of ideas and be a little more self-aware and make it fun. When the show began I really wanted it to be dark and edgy and, you know, all this stuff, but then as we started hearing from people, you know, like, “Oh, we watched this – you know, we watched this with our parents or I watched this with my kids, and oh, our – my grandparents watch it.”
And you – as I guess I’ve gotten older I’m really proud of that. I’m really proud, you know, in sort of a – I mean, it’s a little better than it used to be, but for the last bunch of years it was all CSI and all sort of murder and rape and just TV was hard, and it was really nice to do a show that people could watch together. It was – it became sort of a source of pride for us.
So, what makes that work? I think we got lucky. We – the right combo worked and we were on a network that was patient enough to keep us on the air and if we knew what worked we could probably do it again, which…
Ferguson: …is impossible.
Well, I can tell you as a parent, I really appreciate that I can watch the show with my daughter and enjoy it with her. And she wanted me to ask, what is the funniest thing you can recall that’s gone wrong on the set so far this season?
Richardson-Whitfield: Has gone wrong?
Ferguson: That has gone wrong? Yeah, there’s always something going wrong. What happened this year? Some things go wrong and they’re not funny, like when Frasier had his collar bone ripped out this year. That was funny.
Ferguson: It was the one stunt I’ve ever said, “You know what,” I’d been going through a rough time personally and I said, “You know what, I don’t know the scene. I can’t do it. I just – have Frasier do it.” And Frasier went to do it and it tore out is collar bone and I was like, “Okay.”
So, you know, it’s – we have things like that, but there was – I would say the funniest thing that’s gone wrong, what would that be? Probably Neil Grayston, a couple years ago, and jump in Sal if you have one, but when he was – we use this stuff called Methocel, which is – Methocel is the stuff that’s in McDonald’s milkshakes and it’s like a food additive. And one of the properties of Methocel, when you get covered in it, is that it wicks all the heat from your body, and then dries so it’s really, really cold.
So, basically getting covered with stuff is sort of always an exercise in – and you know Neil was supposed to shoot first and ended up shooting six hours later, so he was covered in this stuff. I think he was painted green, standing in his trailer for six hours and that’s because you’re covered and you can sit down and you can’t do anything, (and he has glasses) and he’s functionally naked because he was naked in the scene.
So, he’s got this little banana hammock and a bathing suit on, you know, going like – I – you know, that was – that provided us with endless amusement. And then, I guess right before we stopped shooting I was supposed to get – I was, peppered with paintballs, you know, and those – they hurt, but you know there’s this giant plaque that they’re supposed to be pounding on, which they systematically missed more times than they hit over the course of the scene.
And I’m supposed to be reacting like I’m in pain, which is like good, because I was, and then after the scene, “Aren’t you bruised?” In like four or five different places for like a week. You know, those things kill, the paintballs, so we always get up to no good with stuff like that.
Richardson-Whitfield: Yeah, Colin usually is the one getting tortured. I’m going to tell you…
Richardson-Whitfield: …I can’t talk about it, I’ll be – Colin’s episode coming up, I think I’m going to get some torture in there. They found a way to torture me, but yes, he’s usually the one getting it all.
Ferguson: Well, there was the one where I was – I still – I’m positive I got a concussion on that one when Matt was directing and he was slamming my head into the top of the jeep. Do you remember that? I was on the (crane), and they were like, “Just drop him,” and we couldn’t get the shot and he was like dropping me ten times in a row on the top of the Jeep and I was like, “Really”? And he was like, “What?”
Richardson-Whitfield: Well, I think there’s one where, and I’m not – I don’t want to say who does it, because I’m not sure when it comes, but when you keep getting slapped.
Ferguson: Oh, yeah.
Richardson-Whitfield: Yes. Yeah.
Ferguson: That got old.
Yeah, talking to Salli about the – you know, about the young kids watching and things like that, one of the things I’ve always been very impressed by with Allison’s character is the fact that she’s not only very smart and very good looking, she’s not a traditional scientist. Salli, could you talk a little bit about what it’s like to be a role model in that way?
Richardson-Whitfield: Well, you know, Allison isn’t really – somehow I’ve become – I know – I seem to know all this scientist – science, you know, I really came in I was a – you know, I worked for the Department of Defense, but I was a medical doctor and somehow through osmosis now I know every bit of science that everyone else seems to know. But, I – so I don’t – I think it’s – my daughter, who is six, loves watching the show, and for me…
Ferguson: Oh, Sal, hold up. Sal, if I remember correctly, we had deemed that episode that it was going to be established, they were going to make you a nurse.
Richardson-Whitfield: Oh, yeah, and…
Ferguson: Do you remember that?
Richardson-Whitfield: Right, I was still…
Richardson-Whitfield: …I was like, “Why a nurse?” Wasn’t I upset about that? I was like, “Absolutely not.”
Ferguson: You were pissed off, yeah, and now you’ve made yourself a doctor and now you’re screwed. You’ve got to know everything.
Richardson-Whitfield: And now I’m mad because I have to do – but I just – you know, I – but at the time I felt that, you know, why wouldn’t this really intelligent woman, why wouldn’t she have gone all the way and gotten her medical degree.
And – but I think it’s wonderful for my daughter who usually only sees a lot of my friends who are in the acting business, because she loves the show. She gets to – you know, we get to talk about that there are other avenues for women and other jobs to think about, and that you know our show kind of shows that being smart is kind of cool and kind of fun, and she really – and she gets that and she likes that about the show.
Also, the character of Beverly Barlowe, who was in that first season, and then came back and I think she did at the time. I’m trying to remember now. But, are we going to be seeing more of Debrah Farentino?
Richardson-Whitfield: That’s all we can say.
Ferguson: Yep, she’s coming back. But, that’s tied into like the spoiler of spoilers, so that’s about all I can say on that. But yeah, she’s coming back and coming back with a vengeance.
In the past you’ve done some character crossovers, will we be seeing more of that in the – with other shows this season?
Ferguson: I think Grayston’s doing another one.
Richardson-Whitfield: Oh, is he? Okay.
Ferguson: I think so. Yeah, I think he’s doing another – or yeah, they did one – it’s so hard. I think they did one in February, so that’ll air this summer. He and Skaggs are – or he’s going to Warehouse 13 again, I believe, but I could be wrong, but I think that’s correct, and I don’t think anyone else is.
I mean the hardest thing is because we all shoot at the same time, so the idea that, you know, I could get free or Salli could get free is just not – it’s not in the cards.
Richardson-Whitfield: Yeah, not…
Ferguson: We’d love to. In fact, Jack and I, the Executive Producer of Warehouse 13 were actors together in a show in 1999, so I’ve known Jack for about 12 years and I’d love to go up and work with him on a show. I think it’d be hilarious.
So, do you find that when you do character crossovers does it change the dynamic on the set?
Ferguson: Well, I mean, I would imagine, you know speaking for myself, if I was to go over to Warehouse 13 and – it’s a tough one. I mean, you have how you like to work, but it’s their home and it’s their show, and you know what they need for their show trumps anything that you’re – that you could, you know – I know Jack and I know Eddie very well because we did The Circuit together for – I mean the (backing) Circuit for a while, and I did a movie with Joanne.
And so, I know – and then Saul did an episode of Eureka and Skaggs has been on Eureka, so we know them all and we know how – you know, they’re very – they’re so kind and respectful it wouldn’t be a problem. But, you know, first and foremost in our minds would be like, “What do you guys need,” you know? “We’ll supply you with what you need.”
Absolutely. And let’s see, actually I think that’s it. Salli, would you ever do a character crossover yourself?
Richardson-Whitfield: Oh, of course. I mean, you know, like Colin said, if they find the time I would love to go do it. It’s always fun to go do something different, even though we would be doing our character it’s just – it’s fun doing someone else’s show.
I think that I’d – honestly I’d like to go over there and direct the show. I think that Colin would too.
Ferguson: Yeah would be great. Good plug, Sal, good plug. Well done.
Richardson-Whitfield: (Have) us over. I think that – we’ll act in it if you let us direct it. How about that?
Ferguson: Yeah, exactly, exactly, exactly.
So, how are each of you most and least like your characters.
Ferguson: Hold on, I’m just Tweeting your thing right now, because you’ve been Tweeting the whole time, so now I’m Tweeting…
Yes, I have.
Ferguson: …as you’re asking the question. Ah-ha, so what was your…
Richardson-Whitfield: Okay, I can’t do…
I had just…
Richardson-Whitfield: …both, you’ll never talk to me, okay?
I’m getting better at it. How are you both like and not like your characters?
Richardson-Whitfield: Well, I answered this one earlier so, Colin, you go for it.
Ferguson: Well, I’m a Sheriff in real life, so (that sums that up). No, how am I like, you know, I think – how would I say I’m like him? I mean, personality-wise we’re pretty similar at this point. They’ve done an amazing job of sort of taking the best of me and making it, you know, palatable for other people, so that was – that’s sort of – that’s – so yeah, the personality is the same.
I guess the biggest difference would probably be, I would say, you know, relationships, I guess. I mean, he has a steadfast (and that’s how he makes things work), you know, with Allison and he sort of pushes through the problem, and that’s something that I’m working on in my own life.
A hard thing working out of town and trying to get something going, you know, back in Los Angeles, but that would probably be the biggest difference. But you know what, I’m working on it and…
Richardson-Whitfield: And you’re also…
Ferguson: …I’ll figure it out.
Richardson-Whitfield: …much smarter than they try to portray you.
Ferguson: That’s true. Yes. I mean, yes, I can say that.
Richardson-Whitfield: You can’t say that. I can say that.
Ferguson: All right, I’m a little – I’m (emphasis) slightly brighter than my character at times.
Great. So, to both of you, what have you most learned about yourself since you started this show, or maybe the way you’re life’s changed the most?
Ferguson: …this is sort of crazy. Sal, do you want to take it or should I?
Richardson-Whitfield: I’ll just say quick, because I think you have – I just have – I mean honestly, I feel like I have grown so much as an actress and have learned – I’ve just – I’ve learned that I’m better than I knew I was. I’ve learned – I’ve just learned to really trust myself and I mean we’ve been there a lot of years now and you know, even though I didn’t come in there as a – you know, a 20-year old girl, I’ve definitely grown up on this show and I feel like there’s nothing that you could throw at me as – in particular as an actress leaving here that I couldn’t do, and I’ve learned that from being on the show.
Ferguson: Yeah, I would say Salli is doing the best work she’s ever done. I mean, there’s been – I would say even in between last year and this year it’s amazing to see someone who you think is like, “Oh, she’s Sal and she’s great and Sal, she knows what she’s doing, and she turned it up.”
I think she did a movie in the off-season. What was the name of the movie, Sal?
Richardson-Whitfield: Oh, I Will Follow, thank you.
Ferguson: I Will Follow, which did amazingly, and the amount of confidence and presence and – I mean, she’s added sort of this improvising aspect to her work right now, which was never really a part of what she would do.
She would sort of, you know – and all of a sudden this year it’s like, “I’m going to say this. I’m going to – you know, I’m going to go over here. I’m going to do this,” and it’s like, “Oh, my God,” that’s – it’s – and it’s amazing to see all of this sort of, you know, in her own way, you know, add little bits to our repertoire as we go through things. It’s really encouraging.
Richardson-Whitfield: Well, and Colin has always had that, which is an amazing talent, that he can come up with the line right there and change this and do that, and it just happens so naturally. And that’s something I was always afraid of and Colin has never been – he’s not afraid to be big and go there and try anything, and I’ve had to learn that and he…
Ferguson: Well, I don’t know my lines half the time anyway, so if I’m making them up that…
Richardson-Whitfield: Oh, that’s how you do it, okay.
Ferguson: Yeah. It’s an intense lack of prep, let’s procrastinate a little bit more. No, I would say for me, I mean it’s really interesting. You know, it is something that you can mark the passage of time by because it has been six years and who you were six years ago and who you are now, they’re very different people.
I have a respect for my body that I didn’t before. I really try to not damage it so much. And that may seem just like, “Oh, he’s getting old,” but it’s more – it’s sort of respect and I have more respect for, God, I guess life and emotion and all sorts of things that I didn’t have before. I was sort of all about work before. And just the difficulty, this is not a fun answer, but the difficulty of shooting and the trauma and the tragedy of not being around those that you love, while you are doing 14 hours a day for five months in a row.
I mean, Sal has two kids, you know, and the – we look to each other, you know, to sort of pull each other through and you end up having a huge respect for relationships and stuff like that…
Ferguson: …and that wasn’t there for me. I respected it, but not in the way that I do now. I really think they’re special.
What’s something that people for both of you that people would be surprised to know about you?
Richardson-Whitfield: Oh, I’m – I play golf. On my time off I play golf every day. I’m a big golfer.
Richardson-Whitfield: That always seems to surprise people. They’re like, “Really, you don’t look like a golfer.” But – so there you go, that’s all I can think of.
Ferguson: Yeah, I guess people – I’m shy, in my own way and I think…
Ferguson: …when people get to know me – I’m brash and I’m all sorts of things, and there’s this one side of me which is sort of very out there, but people who know me know me as someone who’s quite different. I mean, that’s always sort of strange for them when they go, “Oh, wow, he’s actually quite shy.”
Well, I’m surprised to know that.
Richardson-Whitfield: I’m surprised to know that too.
I’ve been a big fan of the show since the pilot. I am sorry, I came into the call late. I was on the Warehouse 13 call that we before this and, you know, Grayston – yeah. You know, Grayston’s going to be on Warehouse 13 Episode 5, that’s what…
Ferguson: Oh, perfect.
Yes. So, I apologize if you’ve gone over this but, Colin, I wanted to confirm that you were going to be a Comic-Con this year and not in some Eastern European country like you were a couple years ago.
Ferguson: Yes, Sal and I both are going to be there. I…
Great. Last years’ panels were so much fun to watch, everybody seemed to be getting along so great and the friendship between the two of you is clear. It’s just – it’s a treat to watch as a fan. So, do you enjoy being on the panel?
Richardson-Whitfield: Yeah, I look forward to it every year. It’s amazing. And I think we’re going to be in the big ballroom this year, Colin.
Ferguson: Oh, really?
Ferguson: Holy smokes. That’s going to – how many people does that take, because we had the other one that was like 4000. The ballroom’s got to be more than that.
Richardson-Whitfield: …I heard that we’re going to be in the big ballroom. It’s – I mean, it’s just amazing to go this thing and you see – you know, you’re seeing 4000 plus people there and people sitting on the sides and people who couldn’t get in. It’s just – it’s an amazing feeling walking on that. And it’s always fun when you’re there and you get to see one of the episodes with them.
Ferguson: Yeah. And – I mean this goes back, I mean I did WonderCon in San Francisco the year we premiered with Andy. We went up and we had this ballroom and there were ten people in the audience, five of them were just saving a seat for the next people that were coming in after us.
And so, to sort of go from that where we were like, “All right, any questions? Any questions? Any – no, none yet? Okay, no worries. So, the show,” you know, and you’re sort of you know waffling and trying to just fill space. And to go from that to sort of the big ballroom at Comic-Con is – I mean it’s great. I just want to – I really want to go out on top with this, so I mean I feel we’re pretty close to it.
And what do you feel, Sal? What do you want to call it a day?
Richardson-Whitfield: You know, it’s such a hard thing. I mean I can’t see it going on. You know, I don’t think we’re going to be there for 15 years…
Richardson-Whitfield: …but I think that, you know, maybe one more after this. I don’t know.
Richardson-Whitfield: But – you know, but I didn’t think I’d be here this long, but…
Ferguson: No, exactly. I mean, it’s such a hard – it’s not in our court at all. It’s always the network, but it’s been so great and it’s been such a special experience for us and now that we’re – you know, we’re doing the main ballroom at Comic-Con it’s sort of like, I don’t know, it’s really nice. It’s been a great journey and there are a lot of really good memories for us, and that’s…
Ferguson: …going to be one of them.
Well, Ballroom 20 is where you definitely belong and it will be a treat and it’ll be packed, I’m certain of it. Do you have any details about anything besides the fact that it’s going to be in Ballroom 20? Do you know about the clips or who’s going to be there?
Richardson-Whitfield: I don’t…
Ferguson: Just Sal…
Richardson-Whitfield: Is it just me? I don’t know. Who’s going? Do you know?
Ferguson: Yeah, it’s you, me, and Grayston.
Richardson-Whitfield: Okay. Well, there you go.
Ferguson: Yeah, and I know we’re doing obviously the party that nigh and we’re flying out on the Friday, I believe, and we will be coming back on the Sunday. Have you booked your flight, Sal?
Richardson-Whitfield: No, they were just calling me about it.
Ferguson: Well, you’ve got to get on it because there’s only one direct from San Diego, it’s Air Canada.
Richardson-Whitfield: I know. I know. I heard.
What would you consider to be your definitive episode of Eureka?
Richardson-Whitfield: Oh, that’s a good one.
Ferguson: I think that there are a bunch of episodes that sort of meant different things at different times for us, and I definitely clock them that way. I mean, they’re – I’ll talk as you think, Sal.
For – I remember when a good friend of mind, Johanna Stokes wrote, wow what was that called, it was Game, something about Game. It was like first or second season, and she – you know, when a friend of yours writes an episodes that’s a great thing. I remember the first time Salli directed, that’s a big thing. I remember the first time I directed, which was, Your Face or Mine. It was a smaller episode and that was a huge thing for me.
So, there’s sort of these more in point episodes all the way through, which sort of mean the world to us, as people – like the first one that (Alexandria) directed, we fought really hard for our script supervisor to get an episode to direct. She directed a Dead Zone before and is really one of the people who held the show together when it was going through rough times.
It was, you know, (Lexi) and myself a lot of times, sort of you know, fighting for the best work that we could get. And for her to be rewarded and respected by getting an episode was absolutely huge for us as a cast. It felt like we’d had a big victor, and she could (unintelligible) amazing job.
So – and hers – oh, hers is this season. Hers is the bank episode…
Richardson-Whitfield: Right, that’s why I’m so – it’s hard to think of them because I don’t know what you’ve seen, you know?
Ferguson: Right. Yeah, the one that – hers is the bank episode. I don’t remember what the – her episode is the episode that has to do with the poster.
Richardson-Whitfield: Yes, which might be a very Eureka – I mean, I…
Richardson-Whitfield: …can’t think of one in particular. I think when we find the ones that really have that middle ground of the comedy, you know, that sort of banter back and forth comedy that we have, and then they throw in some of the sci-fi that that is a real Eureka episode for me.
You know, there’s one’s you just read and you just go, “Okay, that is so Eureka,” with the comedy and, you know, a little bit of the danger. But, I can never remember exact ones.
Ferguson: Yeah. Yeah, so that’s why it sort of goes for us because we are a family. You know, we spend 14 hours a day together and, you know, five, six days a week, a lot of the time, and so when someone get a huge bump it’s huge for us. It’d be like this year, (Ian), who is – oh, he was pulling (focus), he was second camera, he’s now our operator, and it was huge for us.
And (Herby), when he went from being, you know – when he went to doing – when he (starting pulling focus), it was huge for us when people get promotions, and that’s the sort of stuff that really makes it for us.
You guys obviously seem like you have so much fun. Could you talk about like something really funny that’s happened on set, maybe like a prank that someone’s played or, you know, just something that’s happened?
Ferguson: We can’t really – I mean, yeah, we do little things with each other and sort of mess with each other a little bit, but we take it so we don’t have a lot of time to get done what we have to get done…
Ferguson: …so I mean the pranks are such, where like if we were doing a serious scene and somebody pulled a prank and make us wreck a take, I mean as much as we have a ton of fun, you definitely have a look on everybody’s face of like, “Really? You know, that was – was that, you know, really necessary?”
Richardson-Whitfield: Yeah, there – I mean, we have fun. Some – I mean if the scene is funny and you kind of feel like you have it, like I’m very safe with any jokes. Like, okay, I think the person can handle me making a face to them off camera during the scene.
Richardson-Whitfield: And then, you know, Colin will look and look at me and laugh and go, “What are you doing,” or – you know, because you’ll do that to me too, but nobody does that…
Richardson-Whitfield: …to – if there’s something serious, and like you said, most of the time we are in a hurry and you don’t have time for jokes. We just want to – you know, we want to do the best work we can and we only have another 15 minutes. So, jokes are not – you know, pranks – you can do pranks on a feature, not on a TV show.
Ferguson: Yeah, we do – a lot of our –most of our jokes, there are a tons of jokes on set, but they’re all when we’re not shooting. They’re all…
Ferguson: …sort of – you know, like making fun of each other in between the take and, you know, somebody – well, yeah, you know, the director yells, “Cut,” and then all of a sudden, you know, we’re making fun of what each other did in the scene and it was like, “Wow, really?” He’s like, “Yeah, I’ll fix that in the next one. That didn’t work out very well.” You know, we do a lot of stuff like that.
I remember Jaime’s a big prank player. In the pilot, I believe. Was it the pilot where he was inside…
Richardson-Whitfield: He jumped out of a box.
Ferguson: Yeah, scared the living hell out of me. Scared the living hell out of my, but that’s, again, the pilot where you have twice as much time to shoot the same amount of footage, so you have latitude to sort of, you know, play jokes on each other.
Richardson-Whitfield: Well, and Matt Hastings loves to add some funny lines in, but it’ll always be – he’s one of our executive producers and directs a lot of our episodes, so he’s – but it’s pretty much like once you have the takes he’ll go, “One more take,” and then he’ll add in a funny line that’ll surprise someone. But, it’s always after you got what you needed.
Ferguson: No, no, and that was the most boring stuff ever because we don’t have any pranks on the set.
Richardson-Whitfield: I know where the…
Ferguson: Too bad.
For both of you, what would be your ultimate dream role, or is there maybe somebody specific you want to work with that you haven’t?
Ferguson: Oh, wow.
Richardson-Whitfield: A dream role? That’s a – well, for me honestly, Colin, you’re going to laugh at me, I – just recently I was able to do this performance honoring Halle Berry for someone – for the Genesee Foundation and I performed as Lena Horne. And that’s something that is sort of a – something I’m working on trying to make happen and would be my ultimate dream, because I loved her as an icon and I loved to sing and I always loved her musicals, so – and that’s also why I’ve been pushing our show.
I don’t know how Colin feels about this, but I would love to do a musical Eureka. I’ve always – and I keep getting Tweeted about it too. People are like,, “When are you going to do a musical?” I would love to do that.
Ferguson: Salli has an amazing singing voice. Like, when she got this job…
Richardson-Whitfield: Colin has a – Colin is a great singer too.
Ferguson: I do not. You can’t – no, no, there are different levels of singing, right? There are people who can like, you know, with enough work I can hold a tune, and that’s about where I’m at, with enough work I can hold a tune. Salli has a fantastic singing voice. I mean, huge range, which she…
Richardson-Whitfield: Well, we’ll sound really good in the studio. That’s all that counts.
Ferguson: Oh, that would be great. A musical would be fine.
Well, what about your dream role, Colin?
Ferguson: What about me what?
Richardson-Whitfield: Your dream role?
Ferguson: My dream role? What do it – I’d really like to do something where I sort of conceived of it, you know, shot it, maybe acted in it, and then edited it. It’s – coming from TV where we, you know, out of necessity we have to move so quickly, it’d be really nice to move slower, you know, and take some time or something and really sort of hone it.
So, it doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as it was with friends. I really want to work with my friends at this point doing stuff that I want to do. So, I think a lot of actors feel that way these days, particularly you know with the Canon 5D being so comparable to, you know, the F23, Viper, or the Genesis or, you know, all the different cameras that we use. In fact, we’re using the 5D more and more and more and that’s a cheap camera that you can get from, you know, the – a (consumer) line anywhere in the country.
So, I think that with the technology finally getting to the place where anybody with a story can tell it, it’s a really exciting time, you know, to be someone who wants to tell a story. So, I’d like to do something like that, I think, and see where I fall on my face there.
Okay. Well, I hope you don’t fall on your face, but okay. Thanks.
Ferguson: Well, at least really you know, it’s like I’m fine with that. I just want to like, “Oh, that’s where I sucked.” It’s like, “Okay, I can fix that,” you know?
Photos by Eike Schroter and Art Schreiber/courtesy Syfy