Interview: David Blue

We sit down with Eli Wallace, also known as David Blue, from Stargate Universe…

SGUS1-PR-0022As we said earlier, there’s been a lot of praise for Stargate Universe, but one of the things that people have picked up on is that the pacing, particularly in the earlier episodes, is quite slow. How would you respond to that?

I understand the concern, I do. But then again, I think a lot of that concern comes from previous fans of the show, who we are very much wanting to hold on to. We’re not trying to alienate any fans, we’re just trying to grow the family. We want to keep the 1.6 million original fans and then add another 1.6 million on top of that. So it’s hard, when you’re used to the breakneck pace that we had in SG-1 and Atlantis. It’s hard to slowly learn about the characters, especially in an ensemble drama where you have 10-20 characters that you’re gonna have to be introduced to – you can’t do that in a few episodes and it’s gonna take a little time to pick it up. You start to see it in ‘Life’ – it’s a little bit slower than ‘Time’, which was pretty intense, so it’s going to have to go back and forth for a while, you’re going to have to have sci-fi, action-based episodes and then you’ll have some where you learn a little piece of the character, and then some mixed episodes. It’s just the nature of the beast unfortunately, and I’m glad that the fans have been patient enough to stick with it and realise that things change as you go, but it’s kind of a necessary evil.

Has the network been happy with how the show’s performed so far?

I think so, as far as I know anyway, I’ve been looking at all the ratings. The live ratings themselves have been changing, but when you add them into the DVR ratings, which is kind of a necessity these days, our ratings have either grown or stayed the same almost every week. So that’s pretty darn good for a new show in its first season and its first few episodes, because to do that, it’s kind of unheard of. And I predicted at the beginning that we would grow from ‘Air’ parts one and two to ‘Air’ part three, and everyone kept telling me, “That’s not going to happen, it’s unheard of” and it happened. I think there’s something special about the show, and I understand that people aren’t watching it live as much – I myself don’t watch anything live any more, I DVR it.

Given the nature of the show and the way it’s branched out in touching a few puzzles and dilemmas, such as using other people’s bodies, do you think that it has the capacity or the intent to maybe tackle some modern day issues in the way that Battlestar did?

I hope so. I really do hope so, I think we have, there’s been a few times where I’ve read a script and gone “Oh my God, I can’t believe that just happened”. You’ve watched ‘Time’, right? When I first read it I was like “Are you kidding me? They killed everyone – we learned so much about the characters then they went and did that. Did it actually happen?” And then things like with the body swapping, it’s kind of… I hate to say this because I don’t want to sound like a jerk, but it’s kind of been humorous to me to see people’s reactions to an episode, and they flip out and go “Oh, how are they gonna fix that? Why is Eli’s phone still working?” And then every time my response is “Wait until next week… you’ll see…” I feel that way about a lot of these stories – people flipped out about the body swapping controversy. These people aren’t stupid, the people writing the show, they’re not going to let things slip by. The body swapping is dealt with, for instance, it’s explained. They’re never going to just introduce something and let it go.

They have been doing it for years, particularly with this property.

Yeah, and more than that, they enjoy taking these risks, they want to try something new. So when they do it they’re not doing it because they had a whim, they’re doing it because they wanted to see where it went. They definitely do deal with the human condition and with the controversy very well – I’m not going to lie and say that everything is solved right away, but it will be dealt with in time.

Could you give us a little information about yourself?

Yeah, I hold a Bachelor Of Fine Arts degree in acting and musical theatre actually, I’ve been acting since I was in second grade. I am a trained actor, singer, dancer. I spent a lot of my time doing theatre and then decided to move to Los Angeles to get into TV and film and spent a few years cracking away at that.

Any reason you decided to change to television?

I wanted a change. When I graduated from university, my resume was mostly theatre – I think I’d only done one film at that point. To me, and Robert Carlyle agrees, we both come from the theatre world and that will always be a part of us. So you do TV and film and in your break, you do theatre and that’s just the way it works. And I think with Brian [J Smith], he went to Juliard. So I worked my way up in the TV world, started doing background work, under five lines, then guest stars and now Stargate Universe. It’s been the thing that I’ve always wanted to do.