GW: That's one of the questions I was going to ask you. The pilot doesn't necessarily explain why he left MIT. You just said he dropped out. I was wondering if it had to do with expenses. His mother is struggling with medical bills, and I was wondering if he dropped out to help her.
DB: Absolutely. And not even just financially. Also because of care. When you have a single mother who you've kind of relied on for a while -- not to say he's a mommy's boy, which I really don't think he is. But I think he feels a certain amount of responsibility. Whether or not they always get along.
I think that it came time to take care of that and also she was working hard and he could save her some money. Even more than that, he can kill two birds with one stone. He can sit around and do the things he wants to do without any pressure to live up to anyone's expectations. At the same time he can also watch the house. [Laughter] He can guard the bed as long as possible.
GW: If these are part of future plot points to be revealed later on in the show, stop me. But do we discover what she has? What it is that is her illness?
DB: Yes. You will find that out later on.
GW: And do we find out where his dad is in all of this?
DB: We may find that out this season. And if we don't find out this season hopefully it'll delve a little further next season. The wonderful, huge, vast minds of Brad and Robert I dare not try to categorize. [Laughter] We just got a script yesterday. To me, if you'll excuse the metaphor, they're like crack. As soon as I get a script I can't wait. We're shooting a scene. I want to find five minutes to go and start reading it.
Eli's mother, Maryann Wallace, has medical bills to cover.
I look forward to, in all of our cases, finding out more about Eli's past and friendships that he had. We do touch on it in some of the first few episodes, which is great. Even with the other characters. Scott's motivation -- what forced him to join the military. Greer, same exact thing. How he became the person he is. What exactly made Rush Rush instead of Daniel Jackson. Why did Rush not become Daniel Jackson?
GW: You know, I've got to tell you, when I first heard of this character -- namely yours -- I pictured Rodney McKay in my head.
DB: I'm not going to hold that against you. [Laughter]
GW: Have you found yourself carrying a large portion of the techno-babble this year? Is there not as much techno-babble as there was on other shows? Is it more evenly dispersed? Have you lost your voice yet like David Hewlett did? [Laughter]
DB: Actually I have a couple of times but not for that reason. First of all, let me say that I agree with you. The first time I read the breakdown that's my first thought as well. But, I think, in some things that have happened recently as well as in the past, that's the danger of a breakdown. Because it's not always written by the producers or the writers. Sometimes not even by the casting people. That's just what was guided to bring people in and have them know who to call in. And once you're there you find out it's a lot more than that. And they nudge you in the right way.
I found that a lot of stuff in the original breakdown has fallen to the back. Other, more important things have come forward. Loving David Hewlett and loving Michael Shanks, there was a really important part of me to make sure that nobody thought that I was either Daniel Jackson or McKay. No one wants to see the same character. Nobody wants Rush to be Baltar.
No one wants Scott to be [John Sheppard]. They're different people in the world, even if they're the same rank, even if they're the same side of things. So it was very important to me to make it different from those characters, and even more so to make it different from any character I'd played before, like Logan on Moonlight, who just happened to be a hacker as well. I think that's what makes Eli interesting is he's his own person.
Now, the techno-babble, I do have to bow my hat because yes, I would say most of the technobabble is shared -- especially in the beginning -- between Robert Carlyle, myself, maybe Peter Kelamis who plays Brody, Patrick Gilmore who plays Volker. Screw that. Even Jen Spence who plays Parks.
We tend to pass it around a lot. But I don't know how I have lucked out but somehow, a good portion of the season, I don't know if they're torturing him or what, but Robert Carlyle ends up having to say the worst stuff.
I get to say little things here and there about buttons and equations and consoles and he's saying things like "orbital insertion trajectory" and I don't even understand how he does it sometimes.
Blue was blown away by the end result of the holographic screen.
GW: With the Scottish accent!
DB: Yeah, exactly! I think maybe that helps because he can say it quickly in the accent and then no one will know he didn't actually say the line. There's definitely a good amount but I think it helps being the nerd that I am having studied some of these things. A lot of times what I'm saying actually makes sense to me. Easier to learn the line when it makes sense to you.
GW: I'll be perfectly honest to you. I was waiting to see who I was going to endear myself to in terms of the cast first. Who I was going to root with before the end of the first two hours. And it was Eli. Largely it was the kino, because he's looking at me. He's sharing sarcastic asides with me. It's what's so brilliant about the kino. It's a doorway into that ship that is a doorway into my lifting room.
DB: Exactly. Not even just with the kino but with the camera itself. As much flack as people might've given before they ever see the show about the shooting style. I think if nothing else it allows the audience to actually be there with us. Instead of just feeling like they're watching a prepackaged sitcom they're actually in the room with us, peering around the corner, listening to someone talk about the gate. Or especially in the case of the kino, asking a question of somebody.
GW: They're acknowledging us!
DB: Yeah! It's great. As an actor it's a great device because it allows me to break that fourth wall and really connect with the audience. Brad and Robert said from the beginning that Eli and Chloe, specifically, touch the hearts of the audience and help represent them. Especially Eli. I feel like the kino definitely is a device that allows that to happen. Not like a leash, but almost lets me show you the window into the ship. I think it's a great device. I hope we keep up for a while.
GW: Has it been irritating interacting with a softball that isn't there?
DB: Uh, No. [Laughter] I find it awesome. I love doing it. I'm such an OCD technical person. As you'll know when you really pay attention to the show and realize that the buttons I'm hitting stay the buttons I'm hitting for that at every point in the show. If I'm hitting something for communications, that is my communications button from episode one until episode 20.
I love those vis-effects. I love interacting with green screens. I always am terrified, as I said before I ever watched the trailer at Comic-Con, we imagined what this holo-screen in front of us was going to look like. And once I saw it I'm like, "Holy crap, that's a million times better than I thought it was going to be!" I would have acted better if I'd realized how awesome it was. I feel like it overshadowed me, it was so good!
I love it. I really do enjoy it. It's nice to create things. Like when you're looking at a blank square of air and you have to imagine a galaxy zooming in and out. That's so much fun. That's a sandbox to me.
"I'm that person who, when you start talking about a movie I want to see, will put my fingers in my ears and leave the room."
GW: And it's a testament to the visual effects team. I didn't know that that was an effect. I thought that that was done practically.
DB: Oh good Lord, that would've been great.
GW: That's mind-blowing to me that's mind blowing to met that that was a vis-effect.
DB: You ain't seen nothing yet. Oh, man, some of the stuff that they have planned.
GW: Don't tell me!
DB: No, no no. Trust me. I'm paranoid to the point of being boring of not revealing things.