Interview - Eureka, Season 4.5, Conclusion

Interview - Eureka, Season 4.5, Conclusion
The current season of "Eureka" takes place on the Syfy Channel every Monday night at 8 p.m. ET. Here, we discuss the show further with series regulars Colin Ferguson and Salli Richardson-Whitfield through a conference press call arranged by Syfy Channel.

Q. 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 realistic performance?

Colin Ferguson: That’s actually difficult. It requires a lot of communication and it requires a lot of trust. And you build that up with, for example, the visual effects guys, over time. Acting to green screen, if you don’t know how to do it, can be one of the more humiliating things you can do, because you don’t know how 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?”…And it’s all those sorts of tricks and necessities that if you don’t do, you’ll see the show--and I’m sure you’ve seen it, where you’re like,” Wow, that doesn’t work,” you know?

Salli Richardson-Whitfield: Yeah, and it’s so funny that that stuff has become second nature for us now. And I think that’s it’s helped us to direct this stuff, because you realize that you know how to direct it, because you’ve had to act it so much that you’re not as lost as you may have been if you had never had to be an actor doing visual effects all the time.

Q. What do you think makes this show appeal to all ages?

Salli Richardson-Whitfield: For me, especially these last few years we’ve been doing it, I think it’s just really the mixture. We have comedy, we have love, we have drama, we have the big explosions, and I really think that there’s something for everyone. And it’s also kept clean enough that you can have your ten year old watching the show and you’re not having to usher them into the other room, but it’s not doing 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.

Colin Ferguson: I remember the first season, the mandate came down and we were always being chastised, saying, “This is not a comedy. Stop doing that, stop putting the jokes in. This is not a comedy.” All the directors were told, “This is not a comedy.” Because [Syfy] was coming off ‘Battlestar Galactica’ and it was going to be serious and all that stuff. And I think the comedy that we throw in and the writers write in really helps. It 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, but then we started hearing from people, like “Oh, we watched this with our parents or I watched this with my kids, and my grandparents watch it.” And I guess as I’ve gotten older I’m really proud of that. It’s a little better than it used to be, but for the last bunch of years it was all “CSI" and murder and rape and TV was hard. It was really nice to do a show that people could watch together. It became a source of pride for us. So what makes that work? I think we got lucky. 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 is impossible.

Q. Salli, one of the great things about Allison is that she’s smart, attractive and a traditional scientist. Can you talk about what it’s like to be a role model in that way?

Salli Richardson-Whitfield: I seem to know all this science you know, I came in, I worked for the Department of Defense, but I was a medial doctor and somehow through osmosis now I know every bit of science that everyone else seems to know.

Colin Ferguson: Oh, Sal, hold up. If I remember correctly, we had deemed that episode that they were going to make you a nurse. Do you remember that?

Salli Richardson-Whitfield: Right. I was like, “Why a nurse?” Wasn’t I upset about that? I was like, “Absolutely not.”

Colin 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.

Salli Richardson-Whitfield: And now I’m mad because I have to. But at the time I felt that, why wouldn’t this really intelligent woman have gone all the way and gotten her medical degree? 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. We get to talk about that there are other avenues for women and other jobs to think about, and that our show shows that being smart is cool and kind of fun. And she really gets that and she likes that about the show.

Q. What have you most learned about yourself since you started the show? How has your life changed the most?

Salli Richardson-Whitfield: I feel like I have grown so much as an actress, and have learned that I’m better than I knew I was. I’ve just learned to really trust myself. We’ve been there a lot of years now and even though I didn’t come in there as a 20-year-old girl, I’ve definitely grown up on this show, and I feel like ther’es nothing you could throw at me as an actress leaving here that I couldn’t do, and I’ve learned that from being on the show.

Colin Ferguson: Yeah, I would say Salli is doing the best work she’s ever done. I would say even between last year and this year it’s amazing to see someone who you think is, “Oh, she’s Sal and she’s great and Sal, she knows what she’s doing, and she turned it up.”….She would all of a sudden this year, say “I’m going to say this. I’m going to go over here. I’m going to do this, and it’s…amazing to see all of this, in her own way, add little bits to our repertoire as we go through things. It’s really encouraging.

Salli Richardson-Whitfield: And Colin has always had that, which is an amazing talent, 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 afraid to be big and go there and try anything, and I’ve had to learn that.

Colin Ferguson: Well, I don’t know my lines half the time anyway….it’s an intense lack of prep, let’s procrastinate a little more. No, I would say for me, it’s really interesting. 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 not to damage it so much. And that may just seem like, “Oh, he’s getting old,” but it’s more. It’s 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 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 you love, while you are doing 14 hours a day for five months in a row. Sal has two kids, and we look to each other to pull each other through. And you end up having a huge respect for relationships and stuff like that.

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Part I

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