On Saturday night, August 13th, Syfy premiers its latest science fiction adventure entitled DOOMSDAY PROPHECY. Starring sci-fi favorites Jewel Staite and A.J. Buckley, DOOMSDAY PROPHECY is the countdown to a cataclysmic event that their characters race to prevent. Taking a few minutes to chat with press about the film and other fun subjects were Jewel and A.J.
Can you talk about your characters in the movie?
A.J.: My character is kind of a book editor guy. He doesn’t really know much about his past and has had somewhat of a troubled life growing up, bounced from home to home, but wasn’t really connected to anyone that he could remember. This is sort of a journey that he goes on, and I think it answers a lot of questions for him really quickly. Of course, the end of the world is coming, so he realizes that he’s the guy that has to do this — and he needs a partner in crime, which has to be Jewel – and I’m like, ‘Sweet, this is going to be fun!’ — and it is our job to save the world.
JEWEL: I play Brooke (Calvin) who is a young archaeologist — emphasis on young! — she is very much out of her element on this crazy journey that she’s going on, and is really excited. That’s kind of what I wanted to play the most — was how there’s disaster going on all around her and the world’s falling apart — but she’s really excited about everything that she’s discovering. It’s her passion. It’s her passion in life. So she’s a lot of fun to play. And A.J.’s all right too.
A.J.: I am all right?! [laughter]
How did you both get involved in the project?
A.J.: I just got a call randomly from my agent and they’d mentioned there was some interest. And I said two things. I said, ‘I love disaster movies,’ and then they said it was going to be shot in Vancouver, which is my hometown, and it was on my hiatus from CSI and going home to film is kind of like a paid vacation because I rarely get to see my family and working as well down there, it’s kind of like a double bonus. So I read the script and spoke with the director and I was excited. With CSI, I’m so confined to this character that lives in a lab. So I just knew that there were so many times in the script where you just read things were exploding or falling apart or racing in a car, and I was like, ‘Oh this would be actually really fun to go and do.’ To get out of what I’ve been doing for so long. So I was real excited to go and do it.
JEWEL: It was kind of the same thing for me. I’m from Vancouver as well, and I’d been living in L.A. for the last few years and any time I get to work in Vancouver, I totally jump at the chance. But I’d done a sci-fi movie before called MOTHMAN — everybody knows it, award winning — but I had so much fun on that shoot. I had a blast. So I knew that I was going to have a good time — and then they mentioned that A.J. had been cast as the lead. I’d always heard about A.J., because we’re both from Vancouver and we kind of know all the same people. And I was like, ‘Oh cool. I finally get to work with this guy.’
A.J.: I actually knew your husband first from back in the day in Vancouver, and we were kind of indirectly friends through a really good friend of mine. And yes, to answer your question, it was fun. We did have an incredible time filming. It was an absolute blast.
JEWEL: Yes, these sci-fi movies are a lot of fun to do. They’re a riot!
What did you both find challenging about your roles?
A.J.: Working with Jewel!
JEWEL: I was waiting for it. No, I was going to say the same thing!
JEWEL: I was like, ‘Who’s going to say it first?’
A.J.: Go ahead Jewel, you answer that one.
JEWEL: The most challenging thing for me? I get really nervous — A.J.’s going to laugh — I get really nervous around guns. And a lot of the time I get put in these sci-fi movies and what-not where I’m battling various alien races. And they put a gun in my hand and I have to kind of look like I know what I’m doing. So for this one, every time a gun was aimed at me, I would go into panic-mode, especially since they were giving the gun to Rick Ravanello, who plays Henning in the movie. I mean any time you hand an actor — who’s not really trained in weaponry — a loaded gun, you get a little nervous, even if it is blanks, I don’t care. So I would say those were the most challenging days for me. I definitely had to curb my anxiety somewhat.
A.J.: I think probably my challenging thing is when a gun was pointed at Jewel, I was trying not to laugh because she was freaking out so much, and we’re trying to play the panic and she keeps freaking out. . . . That was probably the most challenging thing was to make it through a lot of takes with not laughing. There was a lot of times where and the director was like, ‘Guys, come on!’
JEWEL: If you can’t tell already, that’s kind of all we did on this shoot was laugh hysterically.
A.J.: I felt like we got good performance out of it but there was a lot of days where it was lashing rain and we were freezing out in the mud, digging up whatever we had to dig up and I think it helped pass the time. But it was definitely hard to get through takes with keeping a straight face.
JEWEL: But we’re very professional — very, very professional actors.
JEWEL: Make sure you write that down.
There’s such great chemistry between the two of you, do you think that it came easily to you because you were semi-familiar with each other?
JEWEL: I don’t know. I think we’re just like-minded individuals.
A.J.: Yes. I think just very much the same. We’re very fortunate in our jobs and the careers that we’ve had. Just to be at work. I think Jewel comes from the same place, when we’re working you’re so happy and just happy to be there. So I’m in the same place and we’re at home in Vancouver filming a movie and having a blast. So it was easy to have fun and get along.
JEWEL: We also work the same way too. We don’t take it too seriously. We’re definitely not those actors who go all crazy with their notes all over their scripts. It’s a job and I love it and I’m passionate about it. But for the most part, you leave the ego behind.
A.J.: Yes, just go have fun. We’ve all been in those situations I think where you have to work with someone and between you and the crew they’re all rolling their eyes going, ‘Come on man let’s just have a good time.’ At the end of the day the crew’s working ten times harder than you are and you just want to at least try and set the tone of, ‘This is going to be a fun show to work on. We’ll all get the work done and it’ll be great work but we’ll have some fun doing it.’
Can you both talk about how you related to your characters?
JEWEL: Sure. Okay, well the thing that I like about Brooke is that she kind of reminded me a lot of Dr. Keller who I played in STARGATE: ATLANTIS. She’s very much in her element when she’s at work. When she’s on a dig, she’s totally relaxed. She’s very smart and she’s really in her element. But when she’s not and she’s in these crazy situations, she goes into panic-mode. And that’s the way I am too. I don’t deal with any kind of peril very well. It’s always really important to me to play that as real as possible. I like that she’s not a hero. She’s a reluctant hero. And at the end of the day, she sort of has to step up to the plate and do what needs to be done. And I really wanted to put the realism, as much as possible. And so, I would say, ‘We react very similarly in certain situations.’
A.J.: I would say that, just the fish out of water sort of element, I love the characters where you never believe that you can accomplish it. And I think a lot when I was younger, it was never that I didn’t believe it, I just thought it was going to be really harder or impossible to do certain things. But then once I got into it I realized that I could actually make something happen or do it. So it’s that first instinct of, ‘Oh shit!’ You know, really beat myself up first and then once getting into the groove of it that it was actually able to accomplish it. We talked with (Jason) about incorporating some sort of fighting and stuff into the guy, so he wasn’t just like a book editor — and I love martial arts and boxing and all that sort of stuff — so then we kind of changed the character a bit to have a little bit of an edge to him. Not that I have an edge by any means, but just to make him a little more interesting.
What about this film do you think makes it unique and innovative? And what makes it stand out from other science fiction films?
A.J.: That’s a great question. The thing that I thought was really clever was how they tied in Nostradamus and made it relevant today with somebody and sort of that bloodline. The concept over that — instead of just like the earth is exploding — but they kind of follow through. They did a nice way to tie in to someone who everyone has heard of and has made these great prophecies into someone living today and sort of pulling a connection between those two people.
While DOOMSDAY PROPHECY deals with science fiction elements, what type of real world themes do you think it deals with? Do you think it delivers any messages about normal everyday life?
JEWEL: I’m going to answer this honestly, ‘This is a fun, crazy movie.’ It’s one of those sci-fi movies that you sit back on a Saturday night with your bowl of popcorn and you zone out and you have fun. And you watch it for that reason only. I don’t know if it deals with any serious themes happening in the real world right now. And that’s why I like it. And that’s why I like doing those kind of movies. I like escapism, and that’s why I go to the movies. Sometimes you just don’t really want to think too much. Does that make sense?
You’ve both done a lot of sci-fi work. Is that something you look for or is it just the way things work out, that once you do sci-fi you tend to get more sci-fi roles?
JEWEL: I mean, don’t you think that once you’re in the sci-fi family it just seems to come easier for you, A.J.?
A.J.: Yes, I think so. The more that I’ve done it, the more that I want to keep doing it. I would love to, like with CSI whenever that ends, I would love to go into some sort of sci-fi series or some sort of thing. They’re really fun, like BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, that’s an amazing show. Edward James Olmos and just that whole [show] – it was so well written. There’s unbelievable sci-fi shows that are out there. So I would jump at the opportunity to continue in that world. [Touching upon the] fan base and how much they follow you on that, when you get that love and respect from people it makes you want to continue in that genre and do good work for them.
JEWEL: Yes, absolutely. I also think that as an actor I just look for really fun characters to play. And a lot of really well-written female characters happen to be in sci-fi. I mean it just sort of works out that way. But I do know a lot of actors that are kind of chomping at the bit to get in with the sci-fi fans, so to speak, because they really are so loyal. And as an actor this kind of stuff is fun to do. It’s fun to stretch and go beyond the limits of your imagination and just sort of be in these crazy situations that you have to play out. It’s fun. It’s always an adventure every day. And that’s why I like staying in this genre so much.
About the movie; is this a, Save The World situation or a Save Yourself And Run For Your Life situation?
A.J.: I think it’s a combination of both. I think it’s a nice mix of – it’s like, ‘save yourself, run for your life, and then you realize that you’ve got to save the world before your life can be saved.’
I’m curious about working with the CGI, because there are a lot of effects in this. What sort of challenge did that pose for you?
JEWEL: Those scenes with all the [CGI] — the green screen is tough.
A.J.: Those are always the toughest things to do. Because it’s the only time, I think, you ever really kind of break a sweat as an actor, because you just feel so ridiculous . . . There’s a monster behind you, there’s – whatever it is, or this or that — and the director’s usually [describing] what’s happening. I find that to be the hardest thing to do because you have 60 crew members looking at you and they know nothing’s there. You’re looking at the other actors you’re working with and there’s nothing there. So their interpretation of what they’re thinking, it takes a little bit to kind of get into it to find out what we’re all doing. Because the first couple takes are always a mess. People are all over the place. But green screen is definitely, I think, the hardest thing to do.
JEWEL: Yes, I agree. It’s the hardest thing to do without laughing too, because you do just feel so ridiculous. I remember shooting that scene where we were watching the Mai heads come out of the ground, and they’re supposed to rise out of the ground and then the beam of light shoots up into the sky and we’re standing there having to be totally amazed by this and I just kept laughing because you just feel like an ass really.
A.J.: Yes. You know, I haven’t actually — I saw the rough-cut — but I haven’t seen the final version.
JEWEL: Oh you haven’t?
A.J.: No, not yet. But I’m excited. I was going to watch it, but then I was like, ‘I’m just going to wait till the 13th and watch it.’ I can be more excited then. But when you watch the rough-cut with CG they have template shots so it’s kind of like a drawing of what’s going to happen. So your imagination starts running. But those are definitely the hardest things to do.
Is there something like a Syfy movie or a title that you really want to see or one you really want to be in?
JEWEL: Well, I was kind of hoping for the title of this movie at the beginning when we were shooting — the working title I think was DOOMSDAY SCROLLS and then they were like, ‘Well we’re going to change the name before the movie airs’ and I was like, ‘Well what are we going to change it to? Like DOOMSDAY OCTOPUS? (Doomsdoctopus)? Snakehead Doomsday Terror?’ Yes, I was sort of hoping for one of those titles, but obviously it wouldn’t make sense. [laughter]
A.J.: I love action movies and action sci-fi movies even better. Getting to kind of play in this genre is definitely somewhere where I’d like to end up being for a while. So any of those titles, those are awesome.
DOOMSDAY is very timely. Did your gut instinct tell you that the year 2012 will be disastrous or do you think it’ll be like some say, an increased spirituality and elevation of consciousness, or do you think it’ll just be a regular ordinary time?
JEWEL: I think it might be a regular ordinary time. But regardless, just in case the world ends, let me tell you I’m going to be sitting on a beach in Maui with a Mai Tai in my hand. That’s exactly what I’m going to be doing.
A.J.: I will be right there too.
JEWEL: And we’re not joking.
JEWEL: That probably will happen.
A.J.: Yes, I tend to error on the positive side. I think that if something does — what fascinates me is in history, just how so many different cultures had various different predictions but it was all around this time and with a certain way buildings were built and it added up to or it was very similar to the way other cultures built things. I’m big into that sort of stuff. I think if anything, if you’re so worried about that far ahead and that the end of the world might come, you’re not going to enjoy what’s going on right now. So I tend to think that when it does happen, it’s going to be party time.
What you think about the Mayan calendar ending in 2012?
A.J.: I’m excited. I just think it’s so fascinating that something so long ago and just the intelligence of this culture and this race. And just from their architecture and everything, they did – I’m excited to see it. I don’t think that it’s the end of days by any means. But I’m excited to see it and I hope that something really great comes out of it. I think that stuff sells movie tickets and stuff, the fear and propaganda of it. But I think that something great will happen. . . . And I totally believe in aliens. I think there’s definitely some sort of intelligent life out there. I mean they just found water on Mars, didn’t they? So I think we are in the embryotic stage of discovering what is out in the universe. And hopefully I’ll be alive to get to witness something that we’ve talked about for so long. But I really think it’s going to be something great.
We’ve seen an increase in superhero-type shows in the last few years. Is there any comic book characters or superheroes that you guys would like to play?
JEWEL: I’d kind of play any of them, to be honest. I don’t care what superhero it is, as long as it’s a superhero, and maybe I can fly — that’s all I’m saying.
A.J.: One of my favorite comics growing up was Daredevil. I loved Daredevil; I just thought it was a really cool thing. I didn’t think the movie did it justice by any means. But I think they should definitely redo it and do sort of a darker version of it. But just what you were saying, I agree with you on that, that just with all the superhero stuff, the movies that they’ve been doing lately have been just so awesome — everything from Iron Man to Thor and Captain America. . . . Me as a comic book nerd, I think I have really responded to that. So I’m so excited about all the other superhero movies that are coming out.
If you could go back and play a previous role, or even work with certain people again, who would it be and why?
A.J.: Wow. I got to work with David Strathairn in the BLUE CAR. It was cool. I actually never got to have scenes with him, but I remember being on set and watching him work, and this is before he had his Oscar nomination. But I just thought his process was really awesome and kind of demanded a lot out of you as an actor. I noticed how he worked with other actors. But I loved that. And one of the most fun characters I think I’ve had the privilege of playing is definitely the GHOSTFACERS. I love playing these guys in these shows. One of my good friends and I ended up doing a lot of writing with it. Just kind of getting to create, it was such an exciting experience when we were asked to write the spin-off and getting to direct it and do all that sort of stuff. We had great help from everyone across the board. It was such a collaborative effort. I think to get to do more GHOSTFACERS would be unbelievable. Because again, it goes back to what’s it like going to work and touching on what we said about how it was coming to work for DOOMSDAY. It’s the same with GHOSTFACERS. When you’re going to work and your stomach hurts at the end of the day from laughing so much, I mean that’s the greatest job in the world. So having that experience and being so excited and ever when you have those long days on set, it’s so worth it. Just to have had so many of those experiences. But GHOSTFACERS — because I was so invested in the creative — that would be more of that for sure.
Do you have kind of like a funny story of maybe a prank or a blooper or something that you can think of that happened on set you can talk about?
JEWEL: Why don’t you tell the story A.J.? Just tell it.
A.J.: There’s so many. There is so many. But my favorite one — I think we kind of touched on it briefly — it was a really big gun scene and a lot of explosions were happening at once. We were in kind of rough terrain. It was pretty rough. There was a hill that was kind of straight up that would take any normal human being a good distance to climb up this hill, because you had to strategize where you put your foot and this and that. So in this scene, what happened was we were supposed to turn, look at camera, duck, take four steps to the right, I’m supposed to step on something, and then explosions would happen. Then like ten guys open fire at us. So I’m looking at Jewel, and again we’re supposed to be really terrified. I’m looking at Jewel before we roll and they’re saying, ‘Sound, speed,’ and I look at Jewel and she has this look on her face like, ‘This is crazy, I need to get the hell out of here right now.’ So as soon as they call ‘Action!’, we’re supposed to go to the right, and I’m sort of being the hero, holding her hand and pulling her to the right, and then run up to the hill. Well, I can’t even [tell you what happened] because I get yanked to the left. And all these explosions happen and I look up, and it looked like E.T. flying through the woods. [There was Jewel] running – she ran that really steep incline in like ten seconds. And I fell on the ground laughing so hard because I couldn’t even climb up the mountain and Jewel was gone. Then they had to cut because I’m just cackling on the ground. They’re like, “’What happened?’ They thought I was screaming. They ran up, and I’m crying because Jewel, the mountain goat, is up the [mountain before me] …It was so funny. It was really, really funny.
JEWEL: And the craziest thing is I don’t remember that happening. All I remember is hearing explosions and then I was at the top of the hill looking down. And A.J.’s like crying, he’s laughing so hard.
A.J.: And the stills photographer had it on high speed and he showed me the pictures afterwards. It literally shows in leaps and bounds, Jewel just flying up this hill. It was so out of nowhere. We were supposed to go right, and Jewel goes left.
JEWEL: Oh my God.
A.J.: It was so funny. It was really funny. It was really good though.
Jewel, fans want to know what would happen if you got to spend a week with the Firefly cast again? What would you guys do?
JEWEL: That happens quite often actually. We usually end up in Maui. That’s kind of my favorite place in the world. And A.J. came to Maui last year for Christmas with us.
A.J.: Yes, that was awesome.
JEWEL: And we’re going again this year.
JEWEL: You’re booked, right A.J.? You booked a plane ticket?
A.J.: Yes. Yes, we’re booked.
JEWEL: Okay good.
A.J.: We’re booked to go down there the 22nd.
JEWEL: Good. But yes, I mean we do spend a lot of time together, the Firefly cast. We usually end up at Nathan’s house playing this game that he has. He’s like a big TV star now. Apparently he’s on some show, CASTLE, I’ve never heard of it. And he has this big media room now, with this huge big screen TV. And he bought this game, I think it’s called Dance Revolution, I think. Where you, you know the sensors pick up your body movements and you have to kind of mime the dancing. So we do a lot of hip hop dancing. That’s what we do as a cast. That’s really interesting information I know.
Jewel, which of the two series FIREFLY and STARGATE: ATLANTIS had more impact on your life in a personal sense?
JEWEL: In terms of which show had a bigger impact on my life, I mean STARGATE was obviously a longer job. I was on that job for three years, and I got to shoot in my hometown for a whole three years and see my family and see my friends and sleep in my own bed, which is really great. But with FIREFLY, it feels like unfinished business. It’s like when you have this really amazing love affair with someone and then you break up over something stupid and you can’t stop thinking about them and you always wonder, ‘What if? It’s sort of like that. . . . I mean we’re still holding out. That’s another thing we do in Nathan’s big media room, we sit around and listen to Nathan talk about winning the lottery, which I think he said in the press at some point. And he was like, ‘If I win the lottery I’m going to buy the rights to Firefly and we’re going to make another movie.’ And we’re all like, ‘Whatever, Nathan.’ There is no bigger FIREFLY fan than Nathan Fillion, let me tell you.
A.J., can you talk about working on THE X-FILES way back when?
A.J.: Yes, THE X-FILES, that was actually one of my very first gigs. And it was so funny I didn’t really understand even what it meant to – you know, because my character had to get high and all this other stuff. So I was going to the audition and I didn’t even know, I think I was like 14 – 13 or 14, and Kim Manners was the director, who was on Supernatural but passed away last year. And I remember him just like walking through me, what it is to do this and to do that. And I got to where I was working with Tyler Levine. And at that time of doing THE X-FILES it was such a huge show. And I think that was the biggest show I’d been such a fan of and then to get to work on it was a really great experience. So there was a lot of new experiences on that. And ones that I’ll never forget. I’ll never forget that experience for sure. What one, Jewel, did you do?
JEWEL: I think mine was in Season 2. I was like 13 and I played this young kidnapped victim, and the crazy pedophile was trying to drown me in the river. And then Mulder saves me and I got mouth to mouth from him, which was a very weird experience when you’re a 13 year-old girl. Thanks for bringing that up A.J.
You are both kind of connected to big shows, FIREFLY and SUPERNATURAL, what’s it like being part of that sort of fan base and atmosphere?
JEWEL: Well for me I think sci-fi fans are the most loyal group of fans ever. Like they will follow you loyally wherever you go and watch whatever it is that you’re doing, which is kind of nice as an actor. What do you think A.J.?
A.J.: I agree. My first sort of real experience of it was with SUPERNATURAL and GHOSTFACERS and kind of really feeling how dedicated they were. And the reason GHOSTFACERS had kind of come back and turned into what it was, it was completely because of the fans and the blogging and the boardrooms and stuff. And I’d never really realized that before about – I always knew how important fans were, but it’s like as Jewel said, the dedication of the sci-fi fans is second to none. There’s nothing like it in the world.
What do the both of you think makes the sci-fi fans so loyal, beside the fact that it’s a really awesome genre?
JEWEL: I really have no idea. I’ve been thinking about that a lot. I mean, every time I go to these conventions I think about that and go, “I wonder what it is?” I’m really not sure. I don’t know. What do you think A.J.?
A.J.: Yes, I’ve asked that question so many times about, ‘What is it about this genre that people [respond to]?’ – because people watch other types of genres, but the loyalty does not exist in those genres. And once they kind of become a fan of yours, they’re your fan. And there’s been a couple of times where I’ve just been so blown away and touched by some of the nicest people I’ve met and some of the coolest. Just more interesting people and super thoughtful. Opine of the great things about having Twitter is being able to have that instant connection with them, and just showing gratitude of the support. Because again, going back to what I said before, a lot of things have happened because of that fan base in my career.
Is there currently any sci-fi shows that are currently running that you’d like to guest star on?
JEWEL: I’d like to be on ALPHAS.
A.J.: ALPHAS would be awesome.
JEWEL: Yes, I’ve always had this little actor complex where I want to play a superhero and I just will not let it go. And they’re kind of superheroes on that show. So I’m sort of holding out for a part on that. And Being Human’s great too — I’m loving BEING HUMAN.
A.J.: Yes, any of those that Jewel just said. I love ALPHAS. It is awesome. ALPHAS is amazing and I don’t know, like I said before, I would love to go do a sci-fi series in that sort of genre. I just love the world that they get to play in.
You mentioned that you would actually like to guest star on ALPHAS. And is there a specific super power that both of you would love to have?
JEWEL: That’s a good question.
A.J.: If I could blow things up and fly that would be awesome.
Why do you think people will want to tune in to see DOOMSDAY PROPHECY?
JEWEL: Because it’s a disaster movie. Who doesn’t love disaster movies? I know I do.
A.J.: My beard looks awesome in the movie.
JEWEL: It does. It’s a very thick beard.
A.J.: I got to see a screener of it. If you’re into ‘2012’s coming’ and any sort of conspiracy and it definitely touches [upon that]. There’s some stuff on there that I responded in the script like, ‘Oh, I’ve heard of this before.’ So they did a nice way of tying in some really good conspiracy. But it’s a fun little film. I think people would really enjoy watching it. It’s action-packed and a lot goes on and, yes, it’s fun.
If you had to describe this movie in three words, what would it be?
JEWEL: Adventuresome, exciting and perilous.
To find out the fate of the world as depicted in DOOMSDAY PROPHECY and to see how Jewel and A.J.’s characters save the day, tune in Saturday August 13th at 9PM on Syfy.
Tiffany Vogt is a contributing writer to TheTVAddict. She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at Tiffany_Vogt_2000@yahoo.com or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower).