Dan Shea kicked off a wonderful evening of laughs for us. Despite the late hour, Dan was still high on whatever it is he gets all that energy from! Whatever it is, he should sell it! Unfortunately it meant that only one of my pictures was any good because all the rest blurred!
Dan brought out a long pair of pants, just to prove that he owned a pair! He said he called back the wardrobe woman from V, the one he kinda had to hang up on earlier. Apparently she didn’t think it was as funny as we did! “I guess I’m not working on V on Tuesday!” Dan joked.
What Dan did next was . . . well, pretty crazy! He made us do the wave! I’m serious! It wasn’t easy when the wave was coming up from behind you because we did it back to front so you couldn’t see it coming, but I think we did alright! Dan coached us through it, so you know it had to be good.
Dan then launched into one of his favorite stories from the Psych set, where they had to send Dule Hill’s stunt double onto a burning building. Dan wanted the stuntman to be able to wear in long sleeves because it would better protect him, but someone didn’t get the memo! Dule came to set in a tank top and a speedo swimsuit, so to keep continuity, that’s all his stunt double could wear! Fortunately not that much fire was needed, so Dan was able to work around it. Or he would have if one of his effects team members hadn’t created too big of an explosion, and if someone else hadn’t misread the cue to put out the fire, “gas”, and instead threw gasoline on the fire! Yikes! With a blaze that big, Dule’s stunt double didn’t want to go in, but as Dan put it, he knew that if he didn’t they would have to start over, and he had flame retardant gel all over him and if he let it dry it wouldn’t protect him! He needed to go in and put the fire out on another man using a blanket. He gets the blanket and it’s the size of a face towel! He runs in, and he does the job without anyone getting hurt. The Psych producers were impressed with the results! According to Dan, they said, “‘So we just got like a $200,000 burn for like $1500?’ Then they were like, (claping,) lets hear it for Dan Shea and a stupid person yet again!”
Dan then told us about the time he almost blew up Amanda Tapping! Heaven forbid! I’d love to hear her side of this story, but according to Dan, here’s what happened. They had a big battle scene to film, directed by Martin Wood. They marked off the area they were using on location into quadrants, like a stage, and then they placed gas mortars through the area. “They said we’ll have the extras run through first and then the principal people second and then we’ll have the stunt people go close to the mortars and they’ll blow and that will be our shot. But at the last second Martin Wood, Mr. Liar-Liar-Pants-On-Fire said, lets just do the whole 110 yards field and have the whole thing blowing up all the time!” Since Amanda always did most of her stunts herself, they practiced it with cones by the mortars so she’d know where not to go! But then on the day they shot the scene, all the cones were removed and nobody knew where the mortars were! The stunt doubles for the rest of the cast had the task of protecting Amanda. One of the guys, Dan teasingly said, thinks he’s quite handsome, and Dan blamed him for musing on his looks instead of paying attention, hence how his clothes caught on fire! He starts running hard, looking back. Amanda sees this and thinks that she’s on fire too, so she starts running! “She’s saying ‘A year and a half ago I was a part time model working at Tim Horton’s in Canada, and now I’m an action hero and I’m gonna die?!’ They must have put like 10 cans of aerosol hairspray in her hair and just one little spark and BOOM! She would have just gone up all over the place! But luckily we didn’t set her on fire, and the rest is history. Aren’t you glad we didn’t set Amanda on fire?” The applause was HUGE. We love you Amanda! As for Mr. I’m-So-Hot-I’m-On-Fire Stuntguy, apparently he did get away unscathed!
Some new fun was had on set when Ben Browder joined the cast. Ben, coming from Farscape, was used to doing a lot of physical acting and doing his own stunt work. Dan loves joking about Richard Dean Anderson, so he said, “Big Boy, my boy Richard Dean would never let the producers mess wth him. He’d say, ‘Screw you. You want me to walk down these stairs? Get Shea to do it, I’ll be in my trailer watching that porn channel.’ So when Ben came, Ben was younger and keener.” The stunt that Dan always talks about in regards to Bed was when Khalek mind-slams Mitchell into the concrete wall in ‘Prototype’. I mean that looks like it really had to hurt! When the producers started talking about putting Ben on a wire and pulling back into a wall, Dan didn’t think it was such a good idea. “Cuz Big Boy, he’s gone now, he never shows up. He spends half his time in L. A. and whenever they shoot him, he’s getting so old that they bring out and they sit him in a chair and they put a big green screen behind him and say, “Ok Big Boy! Lift up your gun! Good job! take one, he did it again!’ It’s like with hockey. On MacGyver we used to play hockey all the time and he was actually a pretty good hockey player, Minnesota boy, and now he’s getting long in the tooth, he’s had every bone in his body replaced.” So now Dan jokes that when they play hockey, they prop Richard up, position his hockey stick, have a bucket of pucks on hand let him chip shots at an empty net!
Getting back on track, Dan tells us how the wire ratchet works. It usually involves a harness warn by the stunt guy, or in this case the actor, a pulley point somewhere behind him to pull him in the direction they want him to go, and then from there the wire goes to a pulley on the ceiling and then down to they big stunt guy who gets to jump off of something, like a ladder, while holding the wire. When Dan has misgivings about something like this, he likes to tell us that the producers said, “Well did you know that the stunt coordinator from Smallville just got fire? And he’s available and keen to work on Stargate?” In other words, “Do it or he’s going to have your job next!” So Dan immediately says, “So you want to put Ben on a wire? Ok, we can do that!” Then comes the negotiation for how far Ben is actually going to get pulled, the shorter the distance the safer it is. Dan starts it out at just a couple feet, but the producers want to actually see Ben in the air, so they want more space. They settle on something that looks like about 4 feet. 2 weeks later when they go to shoot, Ben’s mark is put down where he’s supposed to stand. Keeping in mind that Dan does tend to exaggerate just a little, the distance Dan showed us looked like about 10 feet! “We want to put 10,000 lbs per square inch and slam this guy back into the wall, and I said, ‘I don’t really think we can do that,’ and they said, ‘Well you know the guy that took over on Smallville? He just got fired and he’s available.’ And I said well yeah. that’s seems fair enough, roll the camera!’ Safety first, that’s my motto.” Needless to say they did it, and Ben survived, though I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a real concussion from that! Dan joked later that, “Ben had a little twitch from then on, he hasn’t worked a day since, but they actually used it and it was great. I got fired and it’s all good!”
Another favorite story of Dan’s is about Steve the Stand-In, who after some 20 years in the business was given a speaking part as a random Tok’ra on Stargate SG-1 in ‘Tok’ra Part 2’. The line was, “Our scopes have spotted Goa’uld warships dropping in from hyperspace. They will be attacking through the gate and through the air within the hour. Garshaw has ordered that we destroy the rest of the tunnels and transport the Tok’ra through the Chappii!” Usually any secondary coast would have their close-ups done first, but on this day the principal cast was shot first, so Steve, who was very nervous, had a bunch of chances to practice the line. Each of which he screwed up. “By the time they turned around to him, the guy was covered in sweat, and this was his big opportunity to be on camera.” Steve would come stomping around the corner, and stammeringly get through half his line before asking to try again. “He kept that up for 30 takes! By take 30 the whole camera crew and the boom dude was laughing so much they couldn’t even face the dude. All the teamsters came in from craft service with their thick donuts and for them to put down their donuts to watch this was a big thing. The Smallville guys came over, the Supernatural guys came over, and were wondering why Steve was making a total fool of himself. After a while even his footsteps would make the whole crew laugh. It was like, ‘Oh my god this is hilarious! This guy is dying a miserable death,’ and finally he would say to the director, ‘Sorry, what’s my line again?’ and the whole crew would go, ‘Our scopes have spotted Goa’uld warships dropping in from hyperspace. They will be attacking through the gate and through the air within the hour. Garshaw has ordered that we destroy the rest of the tunnels and transport the Tok’ra through the Chappii!’ Poor Steve never did get it. They ended up looping him with a guy with a really low Southern voice, and they cut around it so he never actually appeared anywhere on the show. What I did, for a nice parting gift, I got him a t-shirt, and on the t-shirt it read, ‘Our scopes have spotted Goa’uld warships . . . . through the Chappii!’ and then a tombstone that said, ‘Steve the Stand-In’s Acting Career’. That’s the kind of nice folks we are on Stargate.”
Fan asked about Bam Bam, James Bamford. He worked as the fight coordinator on Stargate Atlantis, and now he’s working on Universe.
The next story was told by request, and I’m so glad because I really love this story! Dan acted like he didn’t know what he was being asked for, so he had the fan whisper in his ear. Then he turned on her and said, “Well if you know all the stories what the hell you doing sitting there? She’s tell me my stories! Ok, I’ll tell the cell phone story. Remember ‘Crystal Skull’? I played this really cute devonair with a big wrench named Sergeant Siler, so I had my one line. The Big Boy [Richard Dean Anderson] was doing his close-up one day, and on set we always have to have our cell phones on vibrate and for some reason I had taken mine off vibrate and I had it on ring. The second AD was going to give me my call sheet for the next day and I didn’t want to feel the vibrate, I wanted to hear it ring. So I went to work the next day, and it was Big Boys close up, and Ba-Ding-Da-Ding! The deal with being on set is that if your cell phone goes off during a roll you’re so fired. Of course Big Boy wanted to know who it was, it was me, and he couldn’t fire me because I was his buddy. But eight months later I had this part as Siler. When it’s my turn, usually all the principal cast are all off on the phone with their agents, but on this particular day all the guys, The Stinky Brown Thing [Chris Judge!], Shankster [Michael Shanks], Amanda and old Big Boy are all there, and I thought, I must be a really good actor all of a sudden! They want to interact like Shakespeare. Their going to nurse me along and I’m going to get bigger and bigger parts, and my own series, and then we’ll start hanging together. So Brad Turner said, ‘Action’ and I was about to do my thing and all the sudden, off camera I heard Ba-Ding-Da-Ding! I thought, ‘It’s just someone’s phone going off, so ‘Action’ came again and I’m about to do my line and Ba-Ding-Da-Ding! There’s Big Boy, off camera, he’d remembered from eight months earlier how my phone had gone off and he forced them to write me a Sergeant Siler part so that he could be off camera to screw with my head! And I didn’t get my own series, and that’s why I’m here today jumping around like a fish out of water in front of you guys while he’s in L.A. in his Winnebago with 20 million dollars in his pocket!!”
At this point our kind MC Adam came out and said to Dan, “Get the hell off the stage you loser!” With tears of laughter in our eyes we waved goodbye to Dan . . . until the next day! Aaaah!
If you thought this was funny, you’re going to die laughing! Dan was just the warm-up act, and what an act he was! Andee Frizzell is next and you won’t believe what she has to tell us!