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Ice Man

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GW: Did that help in your, encouraging them to say "Hey, take a look at these guys? It's a good show?"

BC: Well, that was part of it. The Navy folks that are in Public Affairs know all of the different shows that are on TV and realize that Stargate does have a good reputation with the United States military, and when Brad -- who is no dummy -- wrote a script that had the U.S. Navy saving the U.S. Air Force, that's all it took.

GW: [Laughter] Yes, I can see where this is possible.

BC: Boys will be boys.

GW: So they get the idea that it's possible, possible, to shoot in the Arctic. How long was it before you heard back from them before Continuum started to be sketched out on the drawing board?

BC: Well, when I talked to John Smith on the phone I said, "You know, we can invite you up to do some filming for either or both of the series."

GW: Yeah. That's what you're thinking.

BC: Exactly. But it would have to be a very skeleton crew. We're going to let you have maybe 7,500 pounds of gear, maybe a dozen, maybe a little bit more, that kind of folks. Can you do that? Would you like to do it? He said "I think we can. Let me see."

Plywood and Styrofoam which made up the APLIS hooches.
So he went and talked to Brad and they came back and a few days later he came back and said, "Well I think we can put something together. We don't know what we'd film for but we'd like to go ahead and cast our lot to say, 'Yes, we would be willing to come up.'"

I have no idea how long it took ... it was from them until Brad Wright came up with the script that got them up there but, according to John, he went and talked to Brad about coming up, and Brad says, "What in the world am I going to do that's going to have the Stargate crew in the Arctic on Earth?"

GW: On Earth. Exactly.

BC: With a nuclear submarine involved. It could be anywhere until that nuclear submarine pops through, then it has to be on Earth. So that's what he had to wrestle with to come up with a script for Continuum.

GW: How many people can APLIS hold? Generally how many staff it?

BC: Nominally we had staffed up for 40 people. But when we found out that the Stargate folks were going to come up we were going to have to build two more hooches.

GW: Oh you had to build?

BC: Yeah, we had to build extra hooches. And the Navy came to me and said, "In order to keep this from being a conflict of interest we have to get those guys to pony up whatever money it would take for us to boost up the camp."

So they did. We figured out on paper what it would take to host them, to get them up there and get them back from Prudhoe Bay, to feed them, and helicopter time, and all that stuff. And we told John what the number was and he said, "Yeah, that sounds reasonable to me. We'll be willing to do that."

GW: So this wasn't pro bono?

BC: Not at all.

GW: They treated it like a location shoot?

BC: Exactly right. Exactly right. Yeah. And so we boosted the camp up. At one point this time I think we had as many as 55 people overnight. Which is quite a large camp.


Filming Stargate: Continuum on the arctic ice.
BC: We had to bring up an extra cook.

GW: [Laughter] To feed them!

BC: That's right.

GW: Now when was this again? This was around ...

BC: This was in March of 2007.

GW: 2007 was when they went up there to shoot.

BC: The second two weeks in March of 2007.

GW: Were you there the entire time they were shooting?

BC: Yeah, in fact I went up the in last part of February and was on the flight that went out to look for the flow we were going to be on.

My job at the camp was Officer in Charge of Camp. It sounds a little more grandiose than it really is. I do run the camp. I work for a Navy Captain who's the officer in overall charge. But my job is to make sure the camp runs smoothly and safely. So I'm just dealing with day to day camp stuff before, during, and after the camp. So I was up there for about five weeks. The submarine was involved for a couple of weeks and the Stargate folks were up there for about seven days.

GW: Now, the rest of the team up there, were they prepared for these guys to visit? I mean, were they psyched? What was the mood around the camp?

BC: A few of them were. A few of them are Stargate fans.

GW: Oh really?

BC: And they knew we were having some actor-types up. But it was a little tense ... I mean, it's a pretty close-knit group of folks that were at APLIS because Stargate didn't get there until we'd been rolling for about ten days. So we were all very close and very organized and we all knew each other and we all had confidence in each other and knew our individual strengths and weaknesses.

And here we're going to bring another fairly large group of folks up who have never done this before, who are not military types, but in fact are wacko, you know, actor types and ...

GW: Hollywood types.

BC: Hollywood types, you know. So it was a little tense at first but it became obvious very, very quickly that the folks that John Smith and Martin Wood selected to come up here were not typical folks. They were [an] amazing, amazing group of people. As I like to tell people, based on looking at the behind-the-scenes on some of the DVD's, they can go two blocks from Bridge Studios and they'll take 18 semi-trailers full of stuff and three hundred people. [Laughter]

"You have not lived until you've sat your bare naked butt down on a toilet seat that's at forty degrees below zero."
Well, we were asking them to go thousands of miles and we allowed them to bring seven thousand five hundred pounds of gear, which is not very much. For us it's a huge amount. Takes three airplanes to get that much up there. And they ended up with a total of 18 people. And most of those, a core group of about seven or eight people, that were the worker bees. I mean, they had three cameras and one camera man. And typically they have four people per camera. So it was pretty impressive what they were able to do up there. They really worked hard.

GW: You said earlier that the guys that had been up there beforehand were already there for ten days. Is APLIS not run year round?

BC: Not at all. It's a temporary ice station. We go out and pioneer us a place at the end of February. We get it prepared. If we're going to have submarines involved we usually like to have the camp ready to go by about the middle of March.

GW: So you guys stake a claim on a new spot every year?

BC: Every year. Well, the ice in the Arctic is constantly in motion. And, in fact, the piece of ice that we lived on for six weeks is no longer a single piece of ice.

GW: It's gone!

BC: It's moved off and melted and broken up. And so when we go back up next year we're going to go have to find a whole new piece of ice to work on. And, the truth is, we like to be off the ice by about the third week in April or so because the instant radiation from the sun has softened things up to the point where we...

GW: ... It's not safe.

BC: We just can't count on having a 2,500 foot runway every morning when we wake up.
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