Recently, I was honored to speak with Eureka creator Jamie Paglia and star Colin Ferguson by phone about the upcoming return of the Syfy hit. While I started with my curiosity about Colin's comedic talents in Eureka, we transitioned into what is on the horizon in the series' fifth and final season.
Both were very generous with their time and their answers. Here's what they had to say:
TV Fanatic: My first question’s actually part question and part compliment. In "Up in the Air" the facial expression and squealing that you do as you’re going through the window by far is one of the funniest pratfalls I have ever seen, I actually rewound it three times to rewatch it. Do you practice?
Colin Ferguson: No, We always try to push it as far as we can, and the funny ones are frequently the ones that go too far, where you just finish a take, and then you’ll hear from behind the monitor, “No. Tone it back a bit." But it’s really fun when one of them sneaks in like that where all of a sudden it’s sort of appropriate and it can fit there, and I’m so glad you enjoyed that. That makes me so happy, we have a really goofy sense of humor.
Jamie Paglia: I have to pay Colin a compliment here too, which is, I think that he is kind of a rare actor who, can do both the drama and the comedy (including the physical comedy). I mean, it’s one thing to be really great with a one-liner and have that kind of timing with other actors, but to be able to be that funny in the physical comedy is another sort of extra gift, tool that he has in his voluminous box of acting tools.
TV Fanatic: Where do you find inspiration for that type of thing? Because you do some great facial expressions and squeals and screams and it’s just such great timing, and it adds such a great flavor to the episodes featuring them.
Colin Ferguson: Where does it come from? I don’t know. We enjoy having a good time. I’m just really grateful that it plays and that it makes the cut, and that it’s recorded for posterity.
TV Fanatic: Jamie, any worries that Colin wouldn't be able to do a pratfall or that it wouldn't work?
Jamie Paglia: I think it's a rare actor who is not afraid to not look the most macho guy in a moment; to be afraid and to show that, and to go to the larger comedy moments and not be worried about "how does that speak about my character?" Colin is fearless about doing anything in the scene that will maybe work, and he gives us a whole range of colors to choose from. So we can go more broadly if we want to with the comedy, or not, and it’s really fun when you’re editing the show to be able to have all those options. So I’m going to miss you, Colin.
TV Fanatic: Do you think the comedy (and/or drama) has changed since the show started?
Colin Ferguson: It sort of spiraled up. I mean, it was one of these things where Jamie would write something, and it comes to set, and you’re like, oh, we’re going to do that? All right, well, let’s see how far we can push that. And then Jamie watches that and goes, oh, you pushed it, there? All right, well then I can see if I can write this and I’m going to do that, but then I’m going to make it dramatic.
It was a really fun exchange over the years to sort of see how far we could push the different boundaries of things and obviously make us laugh along the way.
Jamie Paglia: Yes, I think that process is, especially when I was lucky enough to be able to be up there for a lot of the shows that I had written and be able to work with our cast and directors; to be able to kind of work through some turns of the scene, just talking them through with Colin and our other cast members, was like, "okay, so then I need to find.... okay, if I can have this there, I can make that turn..." Then Colin is like, "you know what? I’ll figure that out. I got that. I know what I have to do." But that’s part of the creative process it’s a surprising operation.
TV Fanatic: Well thank you so much for your time and Colin, I’m really looking forward to see what you do in Like Father, being it’s a sitcom, I had a little internal cheer for you when I read that you were signed on to do it. I’m really looking forward to seeing it.
Colin Ferguson: Oh, thanks, Jim.
Jamie Paglia: Oh, man, I can’t wait to see it. It’s going to be great. I think Colin is fixing to knock this out.
Colin Ferguson: I’m nervous. I mean, it’s you know - me. I’m the king of pessimists, so I’m like, I haven’t seen it yet, I probably screwed it up. I know some bits of it worked, but I’m always the last one to make it work. So well, thanks, guys. I’ll let you know if it works.
Jamie Paglia: Yes, it’s going to be great.
Eureka begins its fifth and final season Monday, April 16 at 9 p.m. on Syfy. Return here shortly after for a full recap and review of the season premiere, "Lost."