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David James Elliott - Eyes the Storm
David James Elliott podcast on The Storm.
(Unfortunately I don't think the journalists are miked so hearing the questions is difficult. Also for about the first 30
seconds you can barely hear anything but it does get louder so be patient but have your speakers up for sure.)
NOTE: DJE = David James Elliott
M.I. = Male Interviewer
F.I. = Female Interviewer
DJE: (Speaking about his phone) I will be shutting it down--putting it in airplane mode.
M.I.: The Storm......
DJE: The Storm..... Good God. Whoever's calling is relentless. They won't let me shut it off.
M.I.: I can hear your phone ringing through the microphone.
DJE: Really? Wow.
M.I..: Especially with BlackBerry's. There'some kind of thing that happens with this equipment, and you can hear every time somebody with a BlackBerry's phone is ringing, it goes.....(he makes sucking sound).
DJE: That sucking sound.
M.I.: Sucking the life out of my audio!
DJE: Sucking the life out of the person. I can't use a BlackBerry. It's too small. My eyes are not that good.
F.I.: Would you say your name, please?
DJE: David James Elliott
M.I.: Could you tell us about The Storm?
DJE: The Storm is about our attempt to control the weather. You know, weather's a pretty diverse idea, I guess. So things go terribly wrong. I think it started out with philanthropic reasons, maybe---with the kernel of the idea. But, of course, minds far greater than ours thought that the military would probably be the best place to put that technology to use.
F.I.: You play a General in this. You were in JAG. Are casting directors looking at you and thinking military men, somehow?
DJE: No, I don't think so. They asked me if I would do it, and the character is completely different. He's in the Army and my other guy was in the Navy. He's a General, and I only ever achieved the rank of Commander. But aside from that, completely driven by different ideals. And it was a chance to work with my pal, Bradford May. He directed the film. He had done many, many episodes of JAG---I think close to 50---and he's just a gas to be with, and a master at this type of entertainment..
F.I.: Well, what drives the General, since you mentioned it? What is driving him?
DJE: Well, his career mostly. He's a real bright shining star. He's the Head of the Joint Chiefs---a very young brilliant guy, and achieved enormous success pretty quickly and lost his way, I'll say. That's a kind way of putting where the General winds up in this film. And it was fun. It was quick. It was in-and-out. We got a lot done in the short period that I was filming with them. And also the fact that I got to work with Treat Williams, which I was really looking forward to. Treat's a great guy---I was just talking to him again---and I was a big fan of his work. So those elements drove me to become part of it.
M.I.: Is this like a sci-fi story or a horror story?
DJE: Well, we're calling it a noir sci-fi action thriller.
M.I.: Got all the taglines. Wow. A lot of (possibilities) there!
DJE: It's the new range.
M.I.: A lot of green screen going on?
DJE: There's some green screen. You know, that's evolved too. Now they have---green screen is like a thing of the past. There's this new company out, and I think I saw some of their work in Yes Man, in fact. They've really found a way to make it real---I mean to really make it feel like you're there. So......
M.I.: ________ will always be grateful.
F.I.: Will you tell us a little bit about maybe some action scenes you had? Did you have any action scenes?
DJE: Let me say this. There's a lot of weather in this film. The weather is constantly bad! So there's probably a lot of bad hair days. Thankfully, the General was mostly under a canopy or indoors during the worst of it, but some of my co-stars may not have fared as well as me. So we'll be looking at a lot of bad hairdos. I was either with Treat, or on the phone talking to Treat. So that was my experience in the film. We spoke mostly the action, and experienced some of the weather. There's a lot of special effects. Maybe there'll be some of the old green screen or blue screen, as it used to be, right?--before the green screen.
M.I.: You mention that Treat was a bit of a hero of yours as an actor. What do you take from your heroes and incorporate into your own acting style? Because every film is like an NFL training film for you. You can look at it and say---that's what made him great, that's what made him great. What do you take from those people that you admired on the screen, and incorporate into your own acting style?
DJE: Well, a lot of times you don't want to meet the people you idolized, and thankfully that wasn't the case with Mr. Williams. You know, I look at their professionalism, and I look at where they've come from---the grass roots of who they are, where they trained, and who did they train with. You wind up talking about the work, and the business, and then you talk about fun stuff. We had the Bahamas in common. He goes to a different island than I do, but we talked a lot about that. So I really admire people who have survived in this business, and certainly Treat has done that. And it's nice to see that it can happen.
M.I.: Looking at your career...... You played the all-American boy for so long, from role to role, and you're not Amerian at all! (laughs)M.I.: Can you talk about playing a bad guy?
DJE: Same island--we're on the same island.
M.I.: North America.
DJE: Yeah, North America.
M.I.: What is it about Canadian actors that have a resonance with American audiences, you know?
DJE: Well, we helped start Hollywood. Wasn't one of the originators from Canada? We're the same people. I tell you, the only difference between Americans and Canadians is that Americans know nothing about Canadians, and we know everything about you. It was difficult to have an identity in Canada with this monolithic force of character beaming down on us constantly. I think we're just so similar. I don't know what it is, you know. I felt very close. I lived close to the border, so we had your programming. I watched all the shows you did. I grew up the same way you did, really, except that maybe you're older than me, and they weren't paying as much in Canada for the same work down here.
M.I.: 60 cents on the dollar.
F.I.: David, your JAG co-star, Catherine Bell.....
F.I.: .....has wound up on another series.....
F.I.: .....a military series, Army Wives. Are you thinking about a series, or are you happy to go from mini-series to guest role, like in Medium?
DJE: Here's what I'm looking at and was and have always looked at---was just finding something interesting. I love to work, you know. If I could work everyday, I'd be in heaven. So the business changed a lot. It certainly suffered a lot the last year---two years---with the strike and the SAG work slowdown and that insanity, and the influx of reality, and the fact that all those prior factors--the strike and the slowdown---probably helped to have it take on an even greater role. And you know, that's a question I get---I meet with writers---and I would absolutely consider doing another television show. But I just don't want it to be........ You know, with JAG, 10 years is a long time to do a show. And a lot of people in that position start to phone it in earlier than 10 years certainly, and I never wanted to be one of those people. And when it got to the point that I felt like it was going to start, that's when I said I'd had enough and it was time to move on to something else. I just want it to be interesting. I don't want it to be a job---I want it to be interesting! And like I said, I've been meeting with writers, and I write myself. One of the questions that comes up---what would you like to do? How would I know what that is? There's like no television role that you can do. It's not like in the theater, where I want to be Richard II or I want to be Hamlet. I don't know.....it has to be interesting, and where I can see it would be interesting for a sustainable period of time, too.
F.I: Since you write, have you generated your own material? You've also directed, too.
DJE: Yeah, I have a partner, and we've been writing together for some years. It started on JAG. We actually wrote a couple of JAG episodes, and we have a bunch (!) of irons in the fire. One of the things I told Johnny during the writer's strike was we'll just keep writing. We'll just keep creating. We have some reality projects out there, some scripted stuff, some films and a couple of television pilots. So we're chasing that down. Somebody told me a long time ago---Douglas Campbell, who was a big figure in the classical theater, said---Don't just be an actor. Do everything. Get your hands into everything. Just be part of the whole ball of wax, and just create and stay active.
M.I.: In The Storm, are you the "heavy" in The Storm?
DJE: I'm not as heavy as I was when I shot The Storm, if that's what you're getting at--No..
DJE: No, I'd say I'm part of a team of heavies. Treat's probably the driving force behind the heaviness in The Storm.
DJE: I don't know..... This thing about playing a bad guy---the bad guy doesn't think that he's really a bad guy, you know. I mean, it's great, it's fun to play something different---somebody who's driven by different things than somebody else. But, what do they say about criminals---bad guys---they're just looking to be happy. They're looking in the wrong direction, that's all. But, yeah, it was cool. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed every minute of it, really. It's probably some of the most fun on anything I've done. And.....you know what..... This is the year for disaster mini-series. I have another mini-series called Impact, which airs the week before and its second half---they dovetail.
M.I.: Well, before they take you away, what's that about?
DJE: That's called Impact, and that is an asteroid that hits the moon and knocks it off its axis, and it's on an elongated axis now. And also, as we find out later in the piece, this asteroid is actually a remnant of a dead star, called a brown drawf, and its polarity is opposite that of the moon. So not only is it knocked off its axis and it's now elongated, the earth and the moon are drawing each other closer, because they're polar opposites---they're magnetic opposites. So in that I play an astrophysicist. That was a little typecasting on their part, and a General in this one, and last week I had a mini-series called Knights Of Bloodsteel on SciFi where I played a Scottish barbarian. So I don't know what my next role is. But maybe a monkey in a tree, the way things are going.
F.I.: Is your astrophysicist a good guy?
DJE: He's a good guy. You know what? General Braxton is a good guy, too. He gets what's coming to him, though.
Other: Well, thank you guys, for your questions and answers.
DJE: Thank you. Thank you.....see you, guys.
Credit to EMM report.