Geek Pride Chats to the Guests at Asylum 12
I recently had the pleasure of attending Asylum 12 on behalf of Geek Pride, and what an adventure I had. I would like start by thanking the organisers Rogue Events for their hospitality and being so accommodating, you guys really made our day.
The perks of being the press meant my sidekick and I were able to sit in on the coffee lounges – a room with 20 attendees and and a convention guest. These intimate Q&A’s are a unique experience that though initially daunting are a great opportnuity to pose those questions you’ve been dying to ask.
Let us kick off with Mark Sheppard and if you don’t know who this man is then you need to hand in your geek card now..or watch Firefly, White Collar, Warehouse 13, Doctor Who and of course Supernatural. The most prolific actor in geek TV he is fondly loved and fangirled over for his portrayal of Crowley the King of Hell in CW’s Supernatural.
Being press we were asked to sit behind the group of attendees and Mark, during the coffee lounge, not a problem at all. However, Mark decided that we were upstaging him and invited us to join the group, for all he comes across as a quick witted grump, the guy is, well, a nice guy.
It was clear that many of the people in the room were nervous, but the ever experienced Mark started by asking us where we were from, making quips and jibes about our home towns. As a group we went on to discuss politics, the British education system, football and freedom of speech. He enthused about his love for British TV and how he would like to do a British show, something Cracker-esque. When asked which his favourite season of Supernatural had been Mark confirmed that the latest run – season 9 – had been his favourite, then joked that his character ends up dead. One statement he did make which I am sure will please you is “The geeks have inherited the Earth”
Next up was Amanda Tapping, I am a huge Stargate fan so you can imagine my excitement and having the opportunity to speak to the legendary Samantha Carter. On sitting down it was clear that Amanda was quite nervous, this was her first Asylum convention and she unfortunately played a character in Supernatural that wasn’t all that well loved – you mess with their angel and the fans are gonna hate you. However, the group felt Naomi somewhat redeemed herself before her death. Which brings me to a little dig Amanda made during her stage talk, “I knew I was going to die, I mean I was a female on the show.” – so very true.
Stargate SG1 ran for 10 years and having recently watched the entire run again I noticed just how much of a commentary it is on the speed at which technology evolves over a decade – for instance the PC monitors go from being chunky and heavy to the flat screen LCD monitors we use today. I asked Amanda about this and she agreed saying when they started filming the series and it was time to take a trip through the stargate, the cast would get a 45 minute break whilst the crew set up the lighting etc by the end of the series it would just be “right step through, we’ll add it all later” She also confirmed that Chris Judge, who played Teal’c, was a blubbering mess during the filming of the last episode.
There was one topic during the talk that Amanda enthused about and demonstrated a great love for – her charity Sanctuary For Kids. There mission is to improve the lives of children around the world who need protection and are in crisis – those who are exploited, dispossessed and threatened. She talked about the children she met in the home the charity funded in Nepal and how their attitudes and resilience is humbling and makes her feel guilty about getting upset over the little things like traffic; despite their suffering these children are happy and generous. She talked about how proud of the fans she is, many of them running charity events to raise funds.
Osric Chau was the next guest we spoke to and I love this guy, he seems to be as much as a geek as you and I. He waxed lyrical about his love for cosplay and shared his experiences; I was particulary impressed to hear he had cosplayed Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time and Rapunzel from Tangled. He told us that the people upstairs were concerned that attendees go to cons to meet him and cosplaying may put them off, the up side being he now gets to attend cons for a couple of days so he can cosplay for one.
He talked about his new out look on life, following a viewing of Yes Man, Osric has decided to, well, say yes to everything. This has resulted in him living China for a while and immersing himself in the culture and language – he demonstrated a little chinese for us – and ending up performing live on stage with very little preparation. He definitely recommends this attitude towards life.
When asked what other TV show he would like to have a part in agreed Game of Thrones but if it is a choice between that or Supernatural, he would always pick Supernatural. My sidekick got to ask him about his role in the crowd funded fan made live action Akira trailer. Osric said it was a lot of fun and he would love to star in a full film version; sadly didn’t get to keep the Kaneda leather jacket. It was also at this moment my sidekick and I out geeked the entire room, having been the only other people to have seen the original Akira, I was quite surprised by this. Overall the time spent with Osric felt more like chatting to a fellow geek then chatting to a well loved actor from a hit TV show and that is a good thing.
The final coffee lounge we sat in on was one I was super excited about, the one and only Sam Winchester himself, Jared Paldalecki. Due to a family emergency last year Jared had to cancel his trip to the UK and so this was the first time I had the opportunity to see him in real life. Boy is he tall, which sounds stupid because obviously he is, but to see just how tall kind of took my breath away. He brought with him his bodyguard Cliff; a big, big man who has his own fan following among the fanbase. This was the first lounge that had been packed out and was clearly full of nervous fans.
Through the discussion we learnt that Jared hates Frozen, having a young son who played it on repeat had turned him against the Disney hit – kids will do that to you. Whilst discussing his travels to and from the UK he suddenly had the realisation that he had left his car in the short term car park at the airport and forgotten to ask his brother to pick it up. He also said he was a huge fan of the fries (or chips as we Brits corrected him) he’d had at a British pub in London. When asked about Jensen Ackles – best mate and brother on the show – Jared agreed that he needed to persuade him to come to the UK for one of these conventions, but for the moment Jensen is enjoying some well deserved family time.
During his stage talk Jared talked about how season 9 is paralleling season 4, Dean thinks he is doing the right thing because his judgement is clouded and when asked if Sam would be the Abel to Dean’s Cain, he kept tight lipped – sometimes silence says it all. He did go to say that the finale of Season 9, the last 5 minutes would make the fans cry. Having seen the finale I now understand why, but I’m not in the habit of spoilers. Finally I will leave you with this, when asked how he would end the show Jared replied “They die, they all have to die”
Overall it was a great experience and a fantastic opportunity for the fans. I highly recommend the guest lounges to con attendees, yes it comes with an extra cost but it is worth it for the unique opportunity for an intimate discussion with the stars of your favourite show.
For more information on the other events run by Rogue Events, visit their website http://www.rogueevent.co.uk/wordpress/