Report Andromeda Set Vancouver CA 2003 - English
Andromeda Set 2003
Right in the middle or welcome back on board!
Vancouver, the 24th of September 2003 on the Andromeda set
Actually I shouldn't get anymore heart palpitations, being that experienced - but my heart is pounding way up to my throat. Again I'm standing at the entrance of the Andromeda production and am scrutinized by the security. Only afterwards may I climb the stairs to the official offices. It's Kevin's birthday (to the story of his birthday cake a little later) - but nothing in the studios refers to this special day. On the contrary: in the inner courtyard grey buildings (hospice tents) are being erected, a myriad of crew members is bustling assiduously. Then everything happens almost simultaneously; Sid greets me, I'm offered coffee, the voice of Sam Sorbo further back in the offices and Kevin's new assistant welcoming me.
Suddenly a familiar quadruped appears: it's Gizmoe, being ten years by now, but she doesn't look it - closely followed by Braeden and his mother Sam.
For Braeden I got something exceptional, which however gets the special interest of Gizmoe. More of it elsewhere - to keep up the suspense! (see also Braeden's birthday 2003).
There's a small conversation going on, in which I hear from Sam that she's having a baby for the second time - so Kevin and Sam will rejoice in the growth of their family in March 2004... this is really amazing news.
Meanwhile, Kevin has been informed about our arrival, and so I'm soon abducted to the studios by his assistant - bye Gizzie - bye Sam! Since I haven't forgotten how much our chocolate is cherished on the set, I have put tons of Mon Cheries (it wasn't possible to keep these a secret from the eyes of the airport employees - they even managed to sort out by X-raying what kind of chocolate it was) for them all into a Halloween bucket in the office. Here we go and I hurry behind Kevin's assistant and get into the studios where they are currently shooting.
Even before I can set eyes on Kevin, I meet Steve Bacic, Gordon Michael Woolvett, Lisa quickly nods - she's in an hurry. Then I meet Cy again, he greet us heartily and he goes immediately for a chair and cold drinks. This time my position is behind the monitors, where also Gordon Verheul (director of photography) and Lisa (continuity - that means that while the actors are speaking their lines, Lisa's checking with the script in her hands, if the duration of the shooting matches the length of the text or, if it has to be shortened) are sitting to monitor the scene during the shooting - thereby the scenery inhibits an open view of Kevin, Lexa and Anthony Michael Rawlings. Occasionally there are bangs, some faint, some very loud - this scene is being shot for almost two hours, every now and then there are problems with pyrotechnics - at the end of this scene Marshal Zebra, played by A. M. Rawlings, will die.
Now is the time, I think, to reveal the title of this episode to you: "The Warmth Of An Invisible Light" (without engagement - that means the title can be changed again completely) - Direction: Jorge Montesi, a very nice, but very serious director. In another scene apparently Tyr (only his back to be seen) is running through a street, with a really cool swing of his hip - however it's evidently only his double (Victor Bryan), but just what a cool hip swing?- everybody laughs believing he did very well...
Now Kevin appears in front of the scenery and winks at me - there's no time for more, a new camera shot is in preparation and Kevin once again disappears behind the scenery. It is not until later we can greet each other heartily and exchange some words for a moment. In the meantime I discover a familiar face in the turmoil of the many crew members: Allan Harmon, he recognizes me and winks at me; two days later I happened to meet him together with his wife in a shop in a huge shopping mall - at the end the shop owner was really annoyed, because we had been talking for more than half an hour without buying anything.
Between the several scenes there are short breaks in which the actors get new make-up and hair styling - there are special teams for both standing by: the hair- and the make-up-team. At other times I see somebody of the crew who pulls the clothes of the actors into the right order or refastens something here and there; that's the set costumer. By the way it was a pleasure meeting Toni Burroughs-Rutter (an urbane, charming and attractive woman) who recently got an award for her great costumes.
Finally I'm able to greet Lexa and deliver belated wedding congratulations. She is happy about the small presents: "Niederegger Marzipan" and gorgeous coffee mugs for the shooting breaks, one for Michael and one for herself. Occasionally I see Laura scurrying through the scenery. Not until the late afternoon do I get the chance to exchange a few words with her.
Gordon and Steve are sitting on their chairs taking a breather - time for some small talk. Gordon is wearing a very conspicuous costume which highly confines the movements of his head and upper part of his body ( Terminator-like) - I ask him how long he has been wearing this costume, and Gordon suggests it has to be the third day now, and it's causing him a headache, especially because it was made too small for him - poor Gordon who otherwise loves to fool around, to get a lot of action and to move around freely. Gordon is as agile, talkative and funny as we know him in his role as Harper. Proudly Gordon introduces me to his brother who, unlike Gordon, is wearing his hair at shoulder-length and is growing a full beard. The blue eyes reveal the family likeness. By the way, I brought hearts of Niederegger Marzipan for them all and put them together with photos for autographs into a briefcase which every actor got from me. Gordon wants to know whether he should sign the marzipan hearts, too, or if they are for nibbling, - typically Gordon, isn't it?
Steve can spare some time for a short interview. Afterwards he quickly devours the marzipan asking if I had more. As the answer is yes, he dryly says: "Give it to me!"
The shooting continues - it's shortly before lunchtime and suddenly the whole crew is gathering quiet as a mouse in front of the scenery where Kevin is still shooting. Kevin's assistant arrives with a big trolley-table with a huge birthday cake and a gift basket on top. Slowly Kevin, Lisa and Lexa squeeze in front of the scenery and suddenly all start singing: "Happy birthday, dear Kevin".
Kevin is completely flabbergasted, because he, as he admits later, hadn't reckoned with such a surprise any longer. (It is well-known that Kevin loves being surprised and also loves to give surprises to everybody.)
Many photos are taken and then it's time for lunch. Afterwards there's some time left to hand Kevin our presents (see also "Kevin's 45th birthday").
On my way back to the studios I meet Laura in her gorgeous costume and I take some photos of her standing in front of jungle scenery. Kevin's assistant informs me that, after the shooting of the next scene, Kevin will have some time to do the interview. It's going to be a mini interview, because we have to change location twice. There are either too many people standing around or the lighting conditions are lousy or it's simply too loud. During the interview Kevin has to leave for shooting, but later he takes some time out again to patiently answer further questions. Kevin explains why everything is so dreadfully tight and why there is so little time for a longer conversation. - they're very behind schedule with the shooting of the episodes and Kevin is very sorry about it all.
After the interview I return to the office and spend some time talking to Ernest, the stunt coordinator and to Kathy who's in charge of the imaginative manufacturing of the props.
It's very fascinating to learn about production designer Richard B. Lewis. He is responsible for the scenery (inside and outside), the costumes and the whole look of the Andromeda series. In his office there are sketches of Trance's and Beka's appearances hanging on the wall.
It's Thursday, the 25th of September 2003
It can't be any different; Sid welcomes me in the office again with a cup of coffee and delicious chocolate. You can feel, almost grab an unbelievable tension. A look through the window reveals that the crew already must have been working for hours, there's so much change compared to the day before. Now the inner courtyard looks like a big sick bay, "corpses" of adults and children are lying everywhere, stretchers, blankets and hospital equipment are spread onto the floor.
I hear that today Peter DeLuise (among others known as Dag Wood 1994-1996 in "Sea Quest DSV" and as Doug Penhall 1987-1990 in "Jump Street") is here. He's going to direct a new episode (title: "The Others"). Peter actually comes into the office and we are introduced to each other. He appears to be very friendly and open-minded. We have much fun together while we take some photographs of him.
Somehow the flashlight didn't work as it should, that's why he is looking so expectantly. In the studios during shooting Peter is completely changed. When the camera starts rolling, he demands absolute concentration and accurate timing of the actors - he doesn't like any diversion.
Every now and then there's a change of the location inside the studio. There's an unbelievable hustle today, everybody appears to be tense and soon I discover why.
Today is an important day, soon the 4th season is to be broadcast in the United States. Today there are important people on the set: the main script writer and producer Robert (Bob) Engels, producer Sherry Gorval, executive producer Josanne B. Lovick and producer Allan Eastman.
A scenery of outer space is set up: the background is a huge white cloth, onto which later the universe and stars will be projected. In front of it, the cockpit of a slipfighter is mounted. It's unbelievably cramped and there's really only space for two pilots sitting one after another.
Before the actors take their seats in there (pilots: Steve as Telemachus Rhade and Lexa as Rommie) the seat and camera adjustments are tested with stand-ins. A new actor is standing in the semi-darkness, wearing heavy make-up, and I'm hardly able to believe my eyes. He's Peter Wingfield (known as Mythos in the Highlander series). Playing the character of "Lach" he shows up as a prisoner in a scene in this slipfighter together with Telemachus.
Unfortunately, Peter Wingfield is not willing to be photographed. He seems to be offish. Later at lunch he quickly withdraws into his trailer. Quite casually I learn that he hasn't introduced himself to anybody and that he only talks his scenes over with the director.
Kevin's assistant informs me that Kevin has to leave the set earlier, because he'll be flying to Chicago today. Since he wants to spend some time with Braeden before leaving, we have to say good-bye. Just while bidding farewell to Nancy, Melissa and Sid in the offices I'm called back to Kevin's trailer by his assistant. Kevin shows me his trailer and presents me with some souvenirs.
The last pictures are taken - Kevin is anxious for me to be on the picture as well and so we cuddle up to each other one last time and say good-bye.
Gil, his chauffeur drives up in a silver-coloured Ford Explorer. Kevin gets into it with his traveller bag and departs.
Report: Hannelore Müller