Recently, Stargate Command’s David Read and Stargate SG1’s Christopher Judge caught up with James for the Dialing Home interview series available on the Stargate Command website.
James is well-known to Stargate fans worldwide as Stunt Co-ordinator of SGA & SGU & Fight Co-ordinator on the final few seasons of SG1.
James gave me and BamBam Fans the sweetest shoutout! Thanks, Bam!! You rock! 🙂
In the interview, James discusses the development of Teyla’s fighting style and the introduction of the “Bantos rods” on Atlantis, which was a story I hadn’t heard previously. Initially it wasn’t scripted, but James saw Rachel’s audition and with her strong athletic physique, matched with her strong performance, he picked her out as his warrior and approached Brad for permission to train her.
“So, they had to defend themselves in some manner, and just looking at how we were production design-wise, how we were designing their villages, and you know, where they came from, I thought they weren’t particularly high tech. So I wanted to come up with a style of combat that one, I enjoyed myself and two, that would suit her character and future characters from the same planet.
So I approached Brad Wright and said, I’ve just seen this audition of this lady for Teyla. Would you mind if I started training her in this particular martial arts that’s called Kali?
I think I’d be able to get her personally and/or a stunt double to be able to perform this style. Or parts of this style. And I think we can sell it. I know it’s not currently written in, but I want to make this person my warrior.”
A feature of James’ choreography is the thought he puts into the choice of weapon and fight moves. It’s not just a case of what looks cool on screen. He looks at the level of technology, influences on the character, who trained the character and the production design to develop a style. He chose Kali, a Filipino martial art and once she was cast taught Rachel some training drills, having her practice on her own before they would shoot a rehearsal to show Brad Wright and the powers that be. Needless to say they were extremely impressed and Bantos fighting became an integral part of Teyla Emmagan’s character.
For more stories such as SGA’s Midway fight between Teal’c and Ronon, the Vegas High Fall and the car hit from SGU’s Cloverdale, watch the full 2-part interview. You’ll need to purchase a full access pass to Stargate Command ($20 US). The pass gives you access not only to the interviews, but to all Stargate episodes.