Two weeks ago at Motor City Comic Con, just outside Detroit, I had the chance to get an exclusive interview with Colin Ferguson, Sherriff Jack Carter from Eureka. Having met Colin several times prior he was more than happy to take some time out of his very busy day to talk to me. I have to say that Colin is one of the nicest, most genuine people you can ever meet.
He requested we get together at the close of the convention so he would actually have the time to chat. When I came back to do the interview, there was a group of people waiting for Colin to finish up. This group included Sam Witwer from Syfy’s Being Human and Erin Gray from Buck Rogers. Colin informed the group that he had agreed to do an interview so it would be a few more minutes. Erin Gray turned to me and asked if I could do the interview the following day. I told her that I couldn’t since I was only in town for the day.
I told Colin it would only be a 10 minute interview so he wouldn’t have to hang around long. That was when Erin Gray turned to Colin and said, “We’ll send the shuttle back for you.” I have had a crush on her since Buck Rogers and in my head I was a kid again; and Colonel Wilma Deering was talking about sending back the shuttle. How cool was that! True to my word I kept Colin for only 10 minutes.
As we sat down to get started my recorder decided that it was going to die. Sometimes you can pull the battery out and then plug it back in to get a few more minutes but not this time. Being the professional I am, I adapted to the situation and used my video camera to get the audio. Colin didn’t want to be filmed so I focused off to the side and used the camera like a big ass microphone. The audio was a bit dodgy with all of the background noise so here is the transcript.
James Hamilton: This is James Hamilton and I am here with Colin Ferguson star of the hit show Eureka which is in its final season on Syfy.
Colin Ferguson: Hello everybody.
JH: So how are you doing today?
CF: Pretty good. It is the end of the day so and its Saturday which is the busiest day so…everyone is a little bit burnt at this point in the game.
JH: So you are in your final season of Eureka.
JH: It’s pretty much over…
JH: The last episode that aired you got to play several parts.
CF: Yeah, that was the body swap episode. Directed by…um…the first episode our creator Jamie Paglia directed. So, ah…it’s always nice, you know, to have a cause to rally behind when you are going to work in the morning. More than that, because it was Jamie directing they let it be more character driven. Which Syfy, we experienced was very frightened of that…um because it means it relies on the acting and writing. And you can’t fix it in post. You can’t fix it with more money. You can’t throw visual effects at it and make it work. So that is a risk and it is really nice when it pays off when people sort of come running up to you and go, “Oh it’s the best episode we’ve seen!” And that…that’s really validating.
JH: Do you think that it was because you guys have worked together for so long that is was easy for you guys to play each other, basically?
CF: Yeah, I think so. And more than that even, I think the fact that Jamie could get word to us like 3 weeks in advance um, that he wanted us to start playing each other so…you could start thinking about it and start watching them and going, “Ok they do that…they move like that.” You know and his feet twist out…and he sorta walks with his shoulders…and you know all sorts of stuff you start logging and playing in your head. So the lead time made the most difference for me.
JH: I thought you did a great job being Fargo.
CF: Thank you.
JH: I loved hearing you say, “Frak!”
CF: That was great. That was really fun. I liked that too.
JH: Now, considering we are talking about that episode, I really have to ask: who is a better kisser? Erica (Erica Cerra who plays Jo) or Salli (Salli Richardson-Whitfield who plays Allison)?
CF: (Laughing) Well it’s not like you kiss the way you kiss when you are kissing on screen…
CF: So, you know, I couldn’t really judge them on that. But it’s always a great thing to kiss a beautiful lady. I mean there’s no…it’s not like it’s a losing proposition. Um, so I enjoyed kissing them both. I’m smart enough to not answer that one.
JH: So are you happy with the way it ends?
CF: The series?
CF: Yeah I am. I know they, the writers wanted to do a six episode run towards the end which is fine. And would have been great in its own way but I prefer to end things ending quickly. But that’s a personal thing for me. I also prefer quick goodbyes…and I prefer “See you later” as opposed to you know, long drawn out or protracted things. So um, for me I like that the show sorta wraps up in an episode. In a sorta cool way…and a lot of things come full circle that I was impressed they were able to do. Um, I mean we sorta knew the show was gonna wrap down well before they quote, un-quote cancelled us. Our contracts were up. So they had to pull things together a little faster. It’s not like they had to do it out of thin air.
JH: Now…without giving anything away, because I really don’t want any spoilers…
JH: Is it…When it ends is it pretty much done or is there a chance for movies or….
CF: Oh, there’s a chance for movies.
JH: There is a chance for movies?
CF: Yeah absolutely. I mean the way it’s done…it’s done in such a way that you could have splinter groups go off and set up their own thing. You can have the same people go off and do the same thing…It’s done in a way…I mean, it’s not like Macbeth you know, where you have a giant murder scene and everyone is slayed on the floor. There’s no murder in the last episode. Which is good.
JH: Well speaking of murder, you did lose a character.
CF: Yeah we did.
JH: Felicia Day.
CF: Yeah we did. We did lose Felicia. She was great.
JH: That was surprising. I didn’t expect that.
CF: Yeah. The writers wanted to make everyone to take it seriously. You know and if you don’t do something like that everyone sorta goes “Well they’re all going to get out of it.” When you start losing characters people sorta wake up a bit. I think like, you know…when um, what’s Alay Tudyk’s character in Firefly? When he died…
CF: Yeah…it’s like, “Oh! WOW! Ok, so people are going to die.” You know, it’s a wakeup call.
JH: Now um, what are your new plans? You did a pilot recently…you shot a pilot.
CF: Yeah that’s not going to go. And um…(he then responds to my concerned look) I’ll be fine. And um, I am developing stuff on my own. I’m more taking time right now to really relax. When do a show you sign on for 7 years; it’s a 7 year contract. So, before I sign another 7 year contract I think I am going to, you know, consider it. I’ll consider it very seriously. Which isn’t to say I’m not going to audition. I am auditioning all the time; and if the great thing comes, the great thing comes. But in the meantime I’ll be developing hopefully, you know, my own thing and I’d like to see if I can navigate that labyrinth.
JH: Would you consider doing stuff with Syfy again?
CF: Absolutely. Yeah I mean hands down. They’re a good place to work. I’d imagine they’d want, um, fresh meat. It’s not like they have a ton of shows so if they start recycling faces too much, you know it uh…
JH: Well they do that with their Syfy movies…
JH: You get the actors who are from shows that have been cancelled and all of a sudden they start showing up in things like Sharktopus and things like that.
CF: I done mine…I did mine on that. Yeah I would work with them in a heartbeat and I’d work in the genre in an instant. I know my version of it so well. I know the technical of doing viz effects, comedy and drama. So I would love to work in the genre again. Um, but Syfy just has so few programs. Although they have extended to me; they have been great about it…”We’d love to work with you again. It was a great experience.” You know they have been very kind. So…Absolutely if they had a great fit I would do it in a second.
JH: Your character of Sheriff Carter, he was actually the smartest person in Eureka
CF: I totally agree.
JH: He was. Everyone was very book smart but you had the common sense and when it came down to it you always figured out the problem…
JH: How did it feel to know you were the smartest person on the show?
CF: I don’t think he ever knew he was the smartest person. Its not really something…I think he’s just a job doer. He does his job. His job is to fix it…he fixes it…no kudos for doing your job, you just do your job. That’s what you are supposed to do. So I don’t think he thinks of himself in like some sort of elevated like you know…pecking order type thing. He just does his job which makes him an endearing character. For me anyway.
JH: Eureka, it was a good show, still IS a good show…because it is still on the air. When you did the complete change over, when you guys went to the 1940’s and came back to the alternate reality that was a big chance you guys took…
JH: Where you guys worried about that?
CF: Absolutely. I was…you know to do that and not come back from it and to not undo it really bold. Um, better choice I think than going back to the past and then just completely undoing it. There’s nothing new there. But yeah I thought it was an incredible choice for the writers and a huge sorta reveal of the faith that the network had in Jamie and the writing staff; that they would let them do it. When Jamie said, “We could pull it off.” The network said, “Ok. Do it.” I was impressed with that.
JH: Well now let’s get away from television and talk about real life. You are going to Haiti.
CF: Yeah, I’m going to Haiti.
JH: Tell us about that…
CF: With a group called, Hope to Haiti and Random Acts…and my buddy Misha (Misha Collins) who plays a character on Supernatural. Going down to build a children’s center and stucco the side of it. And maybe build a shelter as well. I’m only there for a week, so I will do a week’s worth of work. I’m excited. I’ve never been to Haiti and l love warm weather. Hopefully that will end well for me.
JH: You’re from Canada how can you love warm weather?
CF: I live in California now. I love warm weather. It’s nice to do something like that…it gives you perspective on your own life. So when you gripe and bitch about things you realize you could have it significantly worse…in a very dire way. So I think it is important when things go really well to do things like that.
JH: Well I’ve kept you long enough I know you have a bunch of other stuff you need to do tonight.
CF: Thanks…I’m busy and I so tired.
JH: I just feel bad I’m not gonna get to see you in Florida this year.
CF: (Feigning shock) WHAT!? Why not?
JH: Do you think Syfy would let you come down for the Digital Press Tour.
CF: No. They’d never let me go down anyway. I want to go to Comic Con anyway and I don’t think they’re going to have me do that. It will be the first time in 6 or 7 years I haven’t done that.
CF: But also the first time in 6 or 7 years that I’ve had a summer. So…there are tradeoffs.
JH: Yes…because you shot Eureka in the summer.
CF: Yeah, every summer, all summer. So for 7 years I haven’t really had like a turn up the music and let’s have a barbeque.
JH: Kick back at the pool.
CF: Exactly. Exactly.
JH: Well Colin, thank you very much.
CF: It was a pleasure…an absolute pleasure. Thank you for being patient.
JH: No problem.
When we were done with the interview the two burly security guards looked to Colin and asked if he was ready for them to call for his ride. I jokingly mentioned that I was parked right outside and I could take him back. Colin smiled and told the guards, “I trust James, he can take me back.” Needless to say security looked a bit nervous but they conceded to Colin’s wishes. The 20 extra minutes with Colin in the car were great. We were actually able to have a very nice off the record conversation.
There were however 2 questions that I didn’t ask during our interview that I was able to ask in the car.
JH: I actually have 2 more quick questions that I didn’t ask before since we were limited on time.
JH: If you were stranded on a desert island which one of your cast mates from Eureka, not their characters would you want with you?
CF: Niall (Niall Matter who plays Zane).
JH: And of all the inventions in Eureka if you could have one what would it be?
JH: Since things in Eureka don’t always seem to work the way they are supposed to wouldn’t you be worried about that?
CF: That is why you don’t buy the first version you wait for them to work the bugs out…that is why you don’t buy the first iPad. You wait for version 2.
Thanks to Colin Ferguson for taking the time to talk to me. I wish him luck in his next venture, even if that is only a Sunday barbeque for now.