Picking at the bloated carcass of geek culture...occasionally!!!

Geek casting

In Movies, Television, Uncategorized on August 30, 2009 at 10:13 pm

I heard the other day that Jamie Bamber, Apollo on Battlestar Galactica, is going to be on the final season (I assume final) of Dollhouse.  Coupled with Helo, this is another BSG alum moving onto another geek show.  I feel like Dollhouse is becoming a bastion for geek actors from canceled shows, as Summer Glau is making her way to the house straight from the terminator show, which she was on after The 4400, right after her Firefly days.  Joss Whedon’ regulars, Ronald Moore’s people, various people from various Scyfy (or however they spell it now) programming and USA shows all work in the same geeky circle and continue to over and over.  How does this happen?  How does Katie Sackhoff end up on The Bionic Woman?  How does Tricia Helfer end up everywhere?  She was on Chuck, Supernatural, Burn Notice, and Warehouse 13 along with work in video games (Command & Conquer, Halo: ODST) and cartoons (The Spectacular Spider-man, Green Lantern: First Flight) in the last two years.  I mean, who does this casting?  How does this work?

Well, it probably has a logical answer.  It seems in Hollywood, people get caught up doing the same kind of thing and have a hard time breaking from that mold.  If someone becomes a fan-favorite on a geek show, that becomes the audience they can appeal to.  Therefore, they end up doing similar types of shows or movies for years to come.  While maybe Johnny Depp can get away with picking strange, eclectic roles to challenge his abilities, most mid-level, TV star celebrities don’t have that advantage.  They happily take whatever work is there to make a good living.  The funny thing must be those people whom have no interest in geekiness but keeping falling into those type of gigs.  Is Summer Glau a geek?  For her sake, I hope she has some interest in that kind of stuff because I see a long, Walter Koenig-like convention career when the world realizes she can’t act and her hotness (personally, not a big fan but I guess I’m in the minority) fades.

Summer, these guys have a seat all warmed up for you.

Summer, these guys have a seat all warmed up for you.

Another answer might be that some actors enjoy working on geek projects.  The best example I can give for this is Christian Bale.  Bale is considered a solid, respected actor with a resume of interesting, adult roles.  So what does he keep doing?  Equilibrium, Reign of Fire, Terminator: Salvation, Batman Begins. During the span in which he made these flicks, he has made plenty of non-geeky, perfectly respectable pieces of cinema.  He clearly likes being in movies where he gets to wear outrageous outfits, wield bizarre weapons, and fight all kinds of science fiction adversaries.  I say, good for him.  I’m glad he keeps appearing in our type of flicks, though the Batman-voice is getting pretty goddamn old.

I’m glad that I see the same old faces when I watch geeky media.  It’s always nice to see that Miles Dyson survived Terminator 2 and landed on Eureka.  I’m always happy to see Jane in the Buy More.  I just hope they enjoy being there as much I enjoy seeing them there.  Hmm…yeah, they get to make millions working on television.  I’m sure they’re fine, in retrospect.

  1. Some of these people are fans. Christian Bale for example. Vin Diesel collects vintage D&D modules and produces the sci fi movies he’s in. There’s no way those guys accidentally end up in these movies.

    Regarding the shows you mentioned though, I think there is an easy answer: Jane Espenson. She wrote and produced on Buffy, Firefly, BSG, and now Dollhouse. I imagine there are a lot of other behind the scenes geek crossover people, but because Ms. Espenson is my favorite geek tv writer I happened to notice her first.

    For instance, Marty Noxon (Buffy and then Angel) is a producer/writer for Madmen, hence, two Whedon alumnus on that show (Christina Hendricks and Vincent Kartheiser). I think Hollywood is a smaller world than we imagine it.

  2. well a majority of those shows you first mentioned are all owned by GE -(usa,nbc,syfy) i assume that has something to do with it?

    I would also guess most of those actors or actresses at some point realize..yep i am gonna be a tv actor, so i might as well take what i can get or an extreme case(shatner) exploit it. Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of them i am sure that think they will be the next george clooney or jennifer aniston. (my wife can back me up on that..being she works for usa,nbc syfy and i hear lots of great stories on “those people” heh…)

    second, i would bet a geeky show would be more likely to hire an ex geeky actor then a newbie. probally since they will fit in and “get” the show and possiblly bring fans of the actor’s previous geeky shows?

  3. Yeah, I think its the belief of the Producers that, say… the BSG fans will tune in if the Sex-bot Cylon is on an episode. Because, while the geek audience is fickle and can turn on you in an instant for the barest perceived slight, when they’re behind you, they are BEHIND you. They will show up and support you. It’s kind of like how Wolverine and the Punisher guest starred in pretty much every Marvel comic in the 90s. Why? Because at the time, their image on the cover alone sold books.

    Also, Summer Glau was much hotter on the Terminator show. Not hot enough for me to want to watch it regularly, but still, much hotter. I mostly blame the customer on that show.

  4. This isn’t really a comment on the whys and hows of the geek actor phenomenon. Just thinking about my brief trip to the philly comic con this summer. It was pretty bleak on a sunday afternoon. The greatest thrill though being to walk down the special guest aisle…..
    Now, this convention was pretty busted. I’m sure at big shows these people have long lines of fans. But it was really weird to see like…bored emma caufield. And for me, the big thrill of seeing erin gray, of buck rogers fame. yowza.

    Myles Dyson!!!???

    actor Joe Morton. …..Toooootally a That Guy.
    remember him in the IT miniseries? total geek cred. we’ll be seeing that guy forever.

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