David Blue is probably best known for his roles as the reclusive, technology-obsessed vampire Logan Griffen on the cult TV series Moonlight, and Cliff St. Paul, a photographer at Mode Magazine on Ugly Betty.
Back in the sci fi genre, he’s now starring on Stargate Universe as Eli Wallace, another geeky computer expert who, along with soldiers, scientists and civilians is forced through a Stargate when their base comes under attack. Marooned on an alien ship called Destiny on the other side of the universe they must figure out a way to return home. I spoke with David Blue about his newest project at the NBC party at the Langham Hotel in Los Angeles.
Did you go after this job or did they pursue you?
It was a pretty typical process, the role came up and I was definitely interested. I auditioned for it, screen tested, all that jazz, went through the usual channels. I honored the decision by the producers to do that with almost all of the roles. They could just do a show that they’ve done before, but they wanted to do something different, and with that, and I’m not talking about myself, you need to look for people who can add these different levels to their characters, make them not just stereotypical soldiers or doctors; make them more about a person who has good and evil, light and dark, in their hearts.
So the question is, what are they going to do in each situation? And in order to do that, when you can bring on names like Robert Carlyle, Ming-Na and the rest of my cast mates, you’re looking for something specific, and I think that they needed to make sure they had that before they committed to anything.
Did you know the franchise before you did the audition?
Yes, I’m a huge fan of the stories on TV and film. It’s kind of sad, I’ve seen almost every movie whether it was good or bad that’s out there right now. I’ve seen every episode of SG1 and every episode of Atlantis; my friend Claudia Black actually was on it for awhile. I’ve seen it all, so coming into it I was hesitant to admit that to everyone, especially during the casting process because I didn’t want them to think that I was Eli.
You character, Eli, is kind of the eyes and voice of the audience in this, can you talk about getting into the mindset of this guy?
I will admit wholeheartedly that I’m a huge nerd and geek, and I am proud of that I will fly that banner. It did make the role a little bit easier. Eli Wallace, my character, is a great role to play on this show, because I get to come into something that any one of us, if we were in that situation, would look up at the Stargate and be like, ‘What the heck is this?’
And watch it turn on and be absolutely flabbergasted. So coming from that perspective, I’m getting to see everything on the ship with new eyes. The big trend right now is to feel like you are a part of the show, the style, the fly-on-the-wall feeling. And a lot of shows seem to be adopting that because that’s what the viewers want.
Are you the humor in the show as well?
I’m not going to deny that they’ve come up with some great lines and there’s some fun moments in there that have ended up on screen. But for the most part I think my character Eli is a really intelligent person, and when you really are able to take yourself out of situations, you can see humor in the world, even when you are about to die you can find some humor in it, because that’s how you cope.
They have given me a couple of one-liners here or there, but they’re not inappropriate. The [people on the ship] need him to help them, they probably can’t survive without some of the things that Eli can do, and more than that, as much as Dr. Rush (Robert Carlyle) and Eli go head-to-head a few times, the truth is Dr. Rush counts on Eli and Eli looks up to Rush.
What is the relationship between Eli and Dr Rush?
When you come down to it, I like to think that Eli thinks of Dr Rush as his mentor, somebody who he would strive to be, but better. He wants to have the position and be in the world that he’s in, without isolating himself and without being weird. But because Eli is a little bit scared to fail, scared to do things wrong and have all these people die because of his watch, I think he’s almost willing to say, ‘He can do it too, don’t put the pressure on me.’
Were you a fan of Robert Carlyle, it’s unusual for him to do a TV series.
Absolutely, I loved 24: Redemption, I loved 28 Weeks Later, I love Trainspotting, The Full Monty, and he’s a brilliant actor and one thing I discovered working with him is he’s one of the nicest, most down-to-earth, friendliest people that I’ve ever worked with. So now I’m proud to call him a friend because of this experience.
Have you been warned about how passionate the Stargate fans are?
It’s nice to have this fan base behind you. It’s nice to know that you can bring them along on the journey with you, but at the same time spread the family out a little, bring some new members into it, and really help grow the consciousness of the series and these characters.
I think they appeal to not just the sci-fi fans, but there is a mainstream audience out there that can find pieces of each character that they can easily connect to and find themselves reflected in.