Part 8: Barry Campbell talks about Stargate filming in the Arctic
Yesterday Richard Dean Anderson got announced for Germany's Fedcon in May, and I realized I never finished telling you all about the wonderful "Meet the Man" convention in Vancouver back in 2010. I shall change that now. In case you don't know - Barry Campbell is the man that brought "Stargate" to the Arctic. He also appears in a small role in the movie "Continuum". At MTM he showed us lots of pictures and talked about the week the team was there - he was a great story teller! Click the link to read the full story.
Barry Campbell is just a lovely man. He came on stage in his Arctic coat so we all could make pictures. He did not wear it for long, though, since obviously it was quite warm. Interesting enough, though, there is a saying in the Arctic: When you sweat you’re dead. Meaning, when doing hard physical demanding labor, you need to take off some layers. Because when you start to sweat, it soon will freeze and you can get frost bumps. At least I always thought they were called frost bumps but now I learned from my dictionary they are called chilblains. Whatever the name, you surely don’t want them.
Picture by Penjab
He told us about the whole story how he got the Stargate team to the Arctic. It started with him being at Gatecon and giving out pictures of himself standing in the Arctic to Martin Wood and N. John Smith. He wanted them to remember him, and they certainly did. He later got from APLIS the okay to bring some people on the ice, as long as they brought some stars with them so the young men had something special to look forward to.
Barry had a card with the phone number of N. John Smith and when he called his secretary said, he would not be there. Obviously she thought he was just an ordinary fan, and wondered where he got the number from. But once Barry left his number John called back within five minutes ;)
Then Barry had to give an introduction for the team about how life in the Arctic is like. With all the dangers and hazards. He also had them all for dinner in his house later. After the talk Christopher Judge decided that he was the only one that looks very much like a seal, and he did not want to become dinner for a polar bear. So he dropped out. The others though were fascinated with it all.
Barry showed pictures through his talk, for example the whole team in full polar gear (in case there is an emergency landing) in the little plane flying over there. Everyone is looking out of the window, only Ben Browder has his nose stuck into the book they all got with all the instructions. He also has watched the DVD three times to learn it all by heart.
Somebody (I forgot who) had fun with the original APLIS logo, and had photoshopped a Stargate into it. At first they did not like that they had messed with their logo, but then they liked it very much. Barry also said what APLIS (which stands for Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station) was inofficially called: „Abnormal People Living In Shacks“ LOL
When the Stargate team arrived they got introduced to the APLIS team. At first some did not expect much from the movie team, but it soon turned out that they all were great guys and did fit in quite nicely. Amanda was very adamant about doing the dishes the first evening. “You promised us we could do the dishes!” They also had to close some gaps in their wooden huts with duct tape. So Amanda went to the other house asking for duct tape. Apparently four guys stumbled over themselves to help her ;) It was so funny the way Barry told these stories. He is a great entertainer.
The first thing he showed the newcomers was a deep hole in the ice, so that they see, there is indeed water down there, and no solid ground they walk on.
Very much important for the well being of the crew is the cook. They had a lovely kitchen which did not lack anything. Everyone needs 5000 kilocalories every day. And even eating that much Barry lost quite some pounds at his time there. Amanda Tapping also calls it “The Arctic diet”.
He also had pictures of the thing where all male people peed into. It was only a wooden box outside. Actually they had two boxes. One with a stick in the middle since some men like to have something to aim at, while the other box was empty. He says after a few weeks when it is filled the one with the stick looks like a frozen popsickle. A rectangle yellow popsickle. Also, when peeing, you have to take care of the direction the wind is coming from. So it is not important you have your back to the huts, but to the wind. So often Barry stood there in the morning, with one hand being busy, while waving good morning to the people from the camp with the other hand. In any case, you want to take care of your business rather quickly, because of the cold.
For the women and the “big businesses” (forgive me, I don’t remember the exact English term ;) ) they also had a wooden hat where you could sit down. Which is no easy thing to do at 50 degrees below zero. I never found out whether that was 50 degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit, but I guess at this point it really doesn’t matter. Freezing is freezing ;) The good thing about it was that the frozen stuff does not smell. You just put it into a bag and stand it aside.
He also had some funny pictures of somebody in a Santa Claus costume, which was no Arctic gear at all, and making pictures with everyone.
Since this was a Richard Dean Anderson con, he had many nice pictures of him. Him having fun with the controls of the helicopter or the submarine, for example. Barry commented it with “The Air Force sent a General for flying”. He also showed him sitting at the hair dressers chair, since when he arrived he did not look like Jack O’Neill at all. But the new hair cut took care of that.
Barry also said that there was something odd with Rick when he had arrived. He did not seem to be his usually cheerful self, was quiet and did not seem to feel well – and worried why he was so tired. He also seemed to forget a lot, like his photo camera equipment in the helicopter.
We all have seen the pictures of him lying down on the ice, but I always assumed it was because of backache. Now we had to learn that this was where his poor heart condition showed for the first time.
Barry had brought a little stuffed polar bear with him to the camp. He actually had gotten it from somebody and did not like it, intended to “lose” it on his way back. But in the end the little polar bear, named “Bruno” became the most photographed thing, it was in more pictures than RDA actually. Everyone loved it.
They also had pictures at a fake North Pole. The North Pole is not there at the camp, but quite close actually.
The food they just stowed outside the huts, it was the biggest refrigerator ever! Since it all was frozen, no polar bear would smell it and come near. But whenever the helicopters or the planes got off, they did a tour around the camp, looking for bears.
For filming they had special cameras who could take the low temperatures, and all the equipment worked quite well. Barry was very excited about the scene where Amanda and Ben walk over the ice, where nobody has walked before. The crew was sitting in the helicopter, trying to catch them on camera. But the pilot was looking out of the front window, while Peter Woeste, the camera man (and fellow German, by the way!) looked out sideways. So they flew over them two or three times, till he got the angle right. Then he exclaimed: “I got them, I got them! – They are making snow angels!”
Filming the scene where the submarine breaks through the ice was very complicated also. Is the ice too thick the submarine will not surface at all and get stuck. Is the ice too thin, however, it will break into little pieces and the crew cannot walk to the land then, since there is water everywhere. So you need the right size of ice. They marked it with an X and the submarine tried to hit the X, so that the break through would be on camera. Well, on their first attempt they did not hit it. It is difficult. Barry even says, the safest spot standing on while a submarine is surfacing would be on top of the X ;)
But with the third try they hit exactly the spot and everyone was happy.
Barry also has a few lines in the movie, looking out of the hatch and talking to Jack O’Neill. Only, RDA was not there when Barry did his lines. The day he was there, to do his part of the dialogue, Barry gave his lines, while standing sideways, while Rick was looking up at the submarine, where Barry was supposed to be. That is filming, ladies and gentlemen.
Even more weird were the scenes with Michael Shanks. Due to a guest spot on “24” Michael had not been able to film in the Arctic, so all scenes involving him got shot in the studio much later. The room on the submarine was built by the set designer, who took lots of pictures from the real rooms. And Barry was also impressed with Rick’s acting skills. Because he shot the scene in the submarine hallway, coming out of the room, and had exact the same face he then had three months later inside the room, being annoyed with Daniel. So he knew three months in advance which face he was going to make there. Things like that showed us that Barry is a great fan of the whole thing himself. It is always nice to see that in people.
When there was the world premiere of the “Continuum” movie and also the party all stars attended, Barry and some friends built a Stargate for the entrance to the party. It looked wonderful, but he changed some of the ornaments – there was a penguin, a polar bear and Rick especially liked the Bart Simpson ;) This Stargate now stands in Barry’s living room. Martin Wood said: “I don’t have a Stargate in my living room. I have a wive!” LOL
And the last picture was of some weeks ago when Barry had been in Las Vegas – and there is a Stargate Slot machine no less!
That was it, he was more than half an hour over the time, but nobody minded. It was a very fun talk and for all those that missed it due to photo or autograph sessions I hope I could bring some of it over. But if you meet Barry the next time at a convention – talk to him! He is a very nice man.
Picture by Penjab
To be continued
And in case you want to read all the previous parts:
Part 7: first Q&A with Richard Dean Anderson - Friday morning
Part 6: Q&A Dan Shea (stuntman/stunt coordinator)
Part 5: Opening ceremony with Richard Dean Anderson
Part 4: Dan Shea, Barry Campbell and Paul Brown at our table
Part 3: Dinner with Richard Dean Anderson
Part 2: Moving to the Sheraton, many goodies and a surprise
Part 1: Arrival and actionfigures on location