Blog #21 – For Fun

Blog #20 – ONE FOR THE ROAD

It’s dangerous business asking an ‘actor’ to write a blog.

Actors are best to stand on their little piece of tape and shut their pie holes. And if they do speak, it had better be scripted. Therefore, to send one untethered into the world to comment on the television show he’s working on is about as wise as betting on the hunchback at a limbo contest. Either way you can be pretty sure that both the producers and network responsible for FALLING SKIES have been paying close attention to this.

That said, I just wanted to conclude this little project by saying that everyone on the set is gay. I mean talk about happy. I’ve worked on a bunch of shows, but this group is perhaps the merriest bunch I’ve ever encountered. Though I will say such displays of happiness have to be tempered from time to time. Don’t want the brass at TNT thinking we’re actually having fun or they’ll take away the frozen yogurt machine I demanded for my trailer.

But to me, that is FALLING SKIES. Hope, in spite of the darkness. Laughter, in the face of hardship. To stand tall and yet all the while, careful not to crush the toes of the person standing next to you.

Right from the start, this project has always been a little different. On a feature or stage production, the actors job is to ‘interpret’… to bring life to the written word. But in television, more often than not, it’s to dignify crappy writing. Scripts better served hanging from a hook above an outhouse hole.

But fortunately, at least for this actor, FALLING SKIES was an opportunity to reconnect with why I ever became an actor to begin with. It’s quite the challenge actually. To shed all the usual actor ‘tricks’ developed over the years. Tricks designed to hide the fact that your script was written in Febreeze. 

And so, I say well done. We’ve all been blessed. From the PA (production assistants) three miles from the actual set (the ones who flip those ‘stop and go’ signs – in the middle of the freezing downpour – at 4 in the morning) to our most wonderful FS ‘background’ players. Brilliant writers, directors, crew and yes, even those crazy actors. To say it hasn’t been a special ride, is to simply say you weren’t there.

A quality show, is created by quality people. And so, to Michael Wright, Steve Koonin, (the team in Atlanta), Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey, Remi Aubuchon, Greg Beeman, Noah Wyle and of course, Mr. Spielberg. Thanks for giving us all a place to work, to play and to laugh in spite of it all.

Cheers my friends.
Job well done.

C.

Blog #19 – SUPER STAR!!!!

I didn’t immigrate to Canada. I was traded for Eric McCormack.

Such deals are often done on the quiet and for great sums of money. And giving up somebody like me didn’t come cheap. Negotiations were tough. And so in addition to McCormack, Canada had to sweeten the deal by throwing in Mike Myers, Jim Carrey and the drummer from Nickelback. The United States, in turn, gave up ‘me’ and agreed to renew William Shatner’s visa.

But I have to say, it’s all been worth it. My ‘star’ has shot through the roof like a sex comet. That’s right, a flaming, fire breathing sex rocket.

But it’s not easy gang. It’s not all fun and games, this past year alone I was stopped on the street at least 3 times. Granted, it was for directions, but I know that if any of those people had been watching me on FALLING SKIES (instead of Ashton Kutcher on Two and Half Men) they’d have been blown away at how super cool I am. Was. Am.

That said, can you feel it? I know I can. Get close enough, and you can actually smell it. And it’s just a matter of time before Steven whatshisface comes to his senses and begins work on my magnum opus, JOHN POPE: The Man, The Myth, The Legend. Only this won’t just be some kind of FALLING SKIES spin-off, but a spin-offsome. That’s right. It’s a new word. A word that means ‘All Pope.’ All the time.

But ’till then. I’ll just have to get used to being a super star. And ya, because of that, I walk with a certain kind of strut. ‘Cause I know I’m lookin’ good. See, when you’re a STAR (editor please keep capitalized), you have to walk a certain way. That lets people know, you’re special. That, and the chicks totally dig it. Just the other day, I walked past two very attractive women and overheard one of them whisper to the other, ‘Good Lord. Get a load of him.’

So. Ya. I may be from the States. And you may not think much of me at first, but with hard work and a bit of luck, I could just turn out to be the most popular import to Canada since Helmut Oberlander.

Blog #18 – POPE’S DIARY #2

It’s been six months since my last entry. But I might as well start here.

Tom Mason is dead.

It was a bad night all around and Tom wasn’t the only one lost. There were a lot of dead. A lot of wounded. Anthony got hit bad. Real bad. And it was touch and go with him for about a week. Don’t know how they did it, but those doctors actually brought the man back from the brink of death.

Mason himself turned out to have more balls than a bubble gum machine. Son of a bitch actually boarded a Skitter ship. Unbelievable. It took guts, yes, but… that was the end of him. No more Tom Mason. Hard to say wether I’ll miss him or not. Some here are still holding out that he’ll be found alive.

Me? I say if the man isn’t already dead, he’ll wish he was.

Naturally, such an absence has knocked the entire 2nd Mass on it’s ass. But I always try to look to the bright side of things. Tom’s sexy little doctor friend, Anne Glass? I can only assume she’s single now and could probably do with a back rub.

And so begins another chapter.

The Second Mass is running short on everything. Fuel, food, tempers. Hell, give us another week and we’ll be out of dirt. Everything you touch here is either rusted, broken or poisoned. The damned lizards nuked so much of the atmosphere, even the rain tastes funny.

But at least I’m out of the kitchen. Not only that, but Weaver’s actually given me the green light to put together my own crew. The Captain’s a smart man. And so, after hours of meticulous consideration and having interviewed some of the best and brightest, I have whittled it down to a crack team of ‘five’.

It would have six, but the other guy stepped on a rake.

There’s a quiet in the air. Not a silence mind you, but a quiet. A din made all the more empty with the distant crack of a rifle. Lives once so very much alive here no longer cry out in either pain nor laughter. So many voices have been cut short by either infection or a Mech bullet. As for those left behind, there’s simply not all that much left to express out loud.

In short? War has a way of killing a perfectly good tune.

It’s one of the first casualties of any conflict I suppose, but it’s true. Nobody here sings anymore. Too much pain. Too many dead.

That, and after a while you just forget the damn words.

Blog #17 – ‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE…

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the base,
not a fighter was stirring. Not a Cootie to chase.
The weapons were hung by the chimney with care,
in prep for the Mechs that soon would be there.

The Skitters were nestled all snug in their beds,
While Mason and Hal imagined them dead.
Dai and Anthony. Maggie and Matt.
Lourdes in camoflauged pj’s and hat.

When outside the tent, there arose such a clatter,
Mason sprung from his bed to see to the matter.
Away to the med-tent he flew in a flash,
To check on his hottie, most yummy, Anne Glass.

The moon had brought treaty, to our 2nd Mass
A moment of peace, but not one to last.
For, what to my wondering eyes should there glitter?
But a custom sleighed Harley, and eight harnessed Skitters.

Its pilot, so hip, so lively and dope.
I knew in a moment it must be St. Pope.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Cooties! Now, Lizards! Now, Maggots and Squids!
When the kids see me comin’, they’ll sure flip their lids!
To the edge of the bivouac! Beyond the mess hall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each Skitter hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Pope, came in with a bound.

He was dressed all in leather, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all splattered with blood, sweat and soot.
A bundle of Ammo he’d flung on his back,
Looked just like a convict with loot in his sack.

His eyes were half swollen! His hair kind of greasy!
His face was so cut up, it’d make you feel queasy!
A Colt in it’s holster, slung down nice and low.
But he’d come not to steal, but to love and bestow!

The stump of his pipe made him look oh-so regal.
But he never once lit it, cause smoking’s illegal.
I’d left him a snack, and he cried out EUREKA!,

Cookies and Milk, with a side of paprika!

He was skinny, but ripped, a right jolly old elf,
And I smiled when I saw him, in spite of myself!

I thought with a wink, alone in the med-tent,

If it wasn’t for panties, I’d probably get pregnant.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all my weapons, with ammo and mirth.
And when he was done, gave a flick of his hair.
Then back up the chimney, with purpose and flair!

‘Twas a kick to his Harley, then team he did cry!
And away like a rocket, Hell’s Angels on high.
But I heard him exclaim, as he rode out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all.

And to all…

Take out a couple legs first. THEN the headshot!”

Blog #16 – CLUBBED TO DEATH!

Why is it that every time I go shopping I have to belong to a club?
“Are you a Club Member?”
“It’s toothpaste.”
“Yes. Are you a member?”

Why the hell can’t I just go into a market and buy a block of cheese without having to tell the clerk where I live?
I don’t get it. I mean, is this actually supposed to make me feel ‘special’ somehow? That I’m now part of an elite group of shoppers? Will it be included in my eulogy?
“A member of both Safeway and Shoppers Drug Marts, Colin took great pride in purchasing deodorants and laundry detergent…”
That, and I hate being put on the spot. Shopping is kind of a personal thing to begin with, you know? You’re standing there with all this stuff out on display. You just want to get out of there, when… bang.
“Member?”
‘Well. Ahh.’ Don’t really know what to say.
I actually find myself embarrassed for some strange, ridiculous reason. So, I look away for a second. Only to find that the whole damn line is now staring at me.
And I can just see it in their faces.
“IS he a member?”
“I don’t know.”
“I’ve never seen him in here before.”
“Condoms and Dog Food… Hmm.”
So. Here it is, for the record.
I don’t want your Petro Points, your Air Miles, your punch card, the free donut or the hat with your stupid filling station logo on it. I don’t want to belong to your stupid Club and have one of your stupid Club ‘cards’ that identifies me as being one of your stupid Club Members.

I’ve got my own Club. It’s colors are red, white and blue. And I flash my membership in 5’s, 10’s, and 20’s.

Blog #15 – Make Up Magic

Hey you guys. Just thought I’d share a few of these for fun. Photos of what Pope could have looked like. :-)

Okay, maybe not. But they should give you an idea of why I ADORE what I do. And why I’m luckiest s.o.b on the planet. The make-up was all done by my own hand and is one of the reasons I’m not recognized all that much on the street (which is just the way I like it.) But for any of you aspiring actors out there, you might find them worthwhile. Best. C.

Blog #14 – BECOMING JOHN POPE

It takes a lot of work to erase ones self. But in a way, that’s my job. To shed one’s own skin and adopt another. And even though, at the end of the day we’re all just kids playing make believe, it’s not as easy as one might think. Most of the real work is done ‘inside’, but for fun, I thought I’d post a few pictures of what it’s like to shed ones ego and comfort zone, and become a the ‘part’.

Blog #13 – POPE’S DIARY by John Pope

Cold.

Winter can’t be any more than a few weeks away. Runny noses and the scraping cackle of pertussis has begun to echo from the med tent. Sounds like marbles trying to free themselves from a drain pipe. For the children, it’s more like a BB stuck in a copper straw. Some of these kids won’t make it to Spring.

I’m not cooking for these yahoo’s anymore. Instead, they’ve got me right where I want to be. Up front, killing lizards. Still, because I’ve got a big heart, I passed along a couple recipes to some half-wit with dirty hands. Nobody’s gonna starve but, 10 to 1, half the company comes down with the squirts.

Beginning to tire of Mason and his brood. It’s not so much the professor, but the murmuration that worship the man. You’d think the son of a bitch could walk on water. Again, it’s nothing personal, I’m just saying.

That pretty little doctor and him seem to be growing fond of each other. Talk about a game of spin the bed pan. Golly gee, if this keeps up, Tom might just pin his Varsity patch to her sweater.

Personally, I think that she’s nuts. Cares too much for people. Like she’s personally responsible for the lives of every single human being out here. But they’ll all figure it out soon enough. In this new world, ‘compassion’ is kind of like barbecuing your rice crispies in the morning. Sure, you can do it. But what’s the f-ing point?

And speaking of stupid. I mean, Cupid. Look’s like Princess Margaret has got the eyes for Prince Hal-bert. Don’t know what her angle is, but I’ll be watching that one. I’ve still yet to tell her that I had nothing to do with what those filthy monkeys did to her. I may be a lot of things, but that turns my stomach. I’d like to tell her. Then again, what’s the point? She wouldn’t believe me anyway. My brother’s dead, yes. But it was his trade. And he’ll burn for what he did.

But, one thing’s for sure. These silly inamoratos had better stop with the, ‘All you need is love’ crap, and start learning the words to, ‘Happiness is a warm gun.’

As for the two other little Prince-letts… Masons, Ben and Matt. Now, there’s a reality check. The spikey one, Ben, freaks everybody out. You can literally see the Skitter spikes stickin’ out of his t-shirt. In another time, I might have felt for the kid. But… I don’t know. In a strange kind of way, he reminds me of my own son.

Whatever. Anyway.

The little one, Matt. He doesn’t really talk to me anymore. Too bad. I was going to teach him how to play the accordion.

And speaking of few words. Say hello to DAI, the quiet one. Gonna sound nuts, but I think this guy makes more sense than all of them put together. Usually, I’m cautious of the silent types, but he’s probably one of the fiercest men I’ve ever met. And in a corner, he’s one cat you definitely want standing beside you. I’d never tell him that, but he has my respect.

Then there’s ’5-0h’. The policeman… Anthony. Can’t explain it, but he’s one of the few people here I actually like. Makes me cringe to think about it, but I can just see ‘me’ taking a bullet for an ex-cop.

That said, I’ll still keep my cards close. I don’t give a rats ass what color he is, but I sure as hell ain’t telling him that. If he’s got a case of black-itis, then I can use it to my advantage.

As for Weaver?

I know this man. I know him well. To be honest, he’s the only real reason I’m here.

But there is one other person. There’s a young girl here named Lourdes. And she has me baffled. One night, I overheard her saying a prayer for me. I don’t know why she did that… Why did she do that?

I don’t even know her. But she did that.

Sometimes, I really don’t understand this place.

Pope out.

Blog #12 – Providence

Posted by: Colin Cunningham
Date: November 14, 2011

 

PROVIDENCE
by Nosmo King (1938)

Have you ever been broke, just to the wide
With just what you stand up in, and nothing beside?
Living on scraps for best part of a week,
When you can’t get ‘em and know where to seek.

I’ve been like that on a cold winter’s night
The streets were deserted with nothing in sight
But a slow moving Bobby, whose job is to see
That the public’s protected from fellows like me.

Who get put inside to answer the Court
Why they’re wandering round with no means of support.
It always strikes me as a queer sort of joke,
To pick on a man because he is broke.

Do they think he enjoys wand’ring round in the rain,
Soaked thro’ to the skin with a dull aching pain,
Thro’ his stomach forgetting its last decent meal,
Just praying for the time when it’s too numb to feel.

Life isn’t worth much when you get to that state
Just waiting to die with nowhere to wait -
I remember the time, it’s a long while ago,
When I stood on a bridge, with the river below.

The last food I’d had was two days before
And I never expected I’d need any more -
That night was the worst that ever I’ve known,
With a dirty wet fog that chilled to the bone.

I set my teeth hard, and I put down my heel,
On the rail that my hands were too perish’d to feel,
When a snivelling pup came out of the fog
And whimpered at me – just a scrap of a dog.

Bedraggled and dirty like me, just a wreck,
With a sad little face on his poor scraggy neck.
Another few seconds more and I would have died
But he just licked my hand and I sat down and cried.

I covered the poor little chap with my coat
And I carried him off with a lump in my throat.
I took him along to the one place I knew
Where they’d give him a bed and a biscuit or two.

Well, they weren’t too keen on taking him in
But the sergeant in charge gave a bit of a grin
When I told him the dog could do with a meal
He said, ‘I’ll fix him up, but how do you feel?’

It may be, perhaps, that the Sergeant had seen
The state I was in, I wasn’t too clean,
The hunger and cold that I’d suffered all day
Exhausted my limits – I fainted away.

Well, they fed and slept, and gave me two bob,
The following day they found me a job.
I’ve worked very hard, I’ve put a bit by,
I’m comfortable now.

I don’t want to die.

I’ve a nice little house on a quiet little street,
With a decent sized garden that’s always kept neat,
I’ve worked there a lot when I’ve time to spare,
And I’m so very proud of one little corner that’s there.

With the pick of the flowers round a little old stone
That stands in a corner, all on its own.
It bears an inscription – not very grand -
The letters are crooked, but you’ll understand -
That I wasn’t too steady, I couldn’t quite see
When I carved it – just recently.

Here are the words that I carved on the stone:
‘Here lies my friend – when I was alone’,

Helpless.

Homeless.

Lost in a fog,
God saved my life… with the help of a dog.

Blog #11

Posted by: Colin Cunningham
Date: November 9, 2011

 

A woman once asked me to autograph her dog.

Welcome to my blog on Fandom.

Let me first start by stating that I am a fan. A big one. Sports teams, rock stars, actors. I’m not immune. And there has been many an occasion where I have been rendered utterly speechless by the presence of any one of them.

It really is a weird thing to be a mature, grown adult and yet the second ‘they’ walk in, you’re reduced to a sweaty, blathering, stump. It truly is a phenomenon. But no matter how crazy that is, just imagine how weird it would be to have some poor soul acting that way because of ‘you’.

Now please don’t take offense. There was actually a lot of discussion as to wether or not I should post this. But I hope you’ll see through the story to find the bigger picture.

I remember one particular convention photo-shoot fifteen years ago. Sixty minutes were scheduled and the fans had paid 20 bucks a pop to take a professional keep-sake with me. Lined up and around the corner were some great people. Kids, older folks and some pretty hard core fans. Only they were terrified. And because they were so nervous, they were sweating like Ghandi at an NRA Rally.

To make a long story short, after just one hour I had to go back to my hotel room and change my shirt. Why? Because I smelled like soup. The perspiration of 200 people had been absorbed by my Gap V-neck and I could practically wring out a litre of flop sweat.

And guess what? I thought it was great. It reminded me that we’re all the same. First time I ever met Noah Wyle or Will Patton, I was practically shaking. But that only meant that I was alive and in the presence of someone or something very cool. And in an often dark and weary world, I pray I never lose that.

That, and it’s kind of fun to know, that sometimes, in the middle of all that glitz and glamour…

You get soup.

:-)

Blog #10

Posted by: Colin Cunningham
Date: November 4, 2011

 

I think I need to check into rehab.

No. I’m not addicted to anything. I just think it would be good for my career.

All the best celebrities go into rehab. Lohan, Sheen, Downey Jr. The list goes on and on. Don’t know when it happened exactly, but somewhere between singing lessons and my stage combat class, ‘Betty Ford’ became something you put on your resume. And so today, if you want the best possible coverage; magazine covers, prime time interviews. You gotta start huffin’ glue.

So, what will it be? Sex, drugs or alcohol? Not entirely sure about the ‘sex’ one. When I was younger, nobody ever referred to sex as an ‘addiction’. We just called it college.

Booze? Nah, too old school. And I’m not a ‘pill’ guy.

I’ve got it. FALLING SKIES. I’m addicted to Falling Skies. Can’t get enough of it. Not enough scripts. Not enough episodes. Not enough of the wonderful people that I’ve been blessed to work with.

I’m craving it and I’m craving bad!

Let’s hope there’s no cure.

:-)


Mpho Koaho (Anthony), Colin Cunningham (Pope), Peter Shinkoda (Dai)

 

Blog #9

Posted by: Colin Cunningham
Date: November 3, 2011

 

Had some fans come by the set last night.

Pretty cool people too. Braving a very cold and wet evening, they waited patiently in the middle of a downpour in hopes of snagging an autograph from Moon, Noah, Drew, or the lovely Sarah Carter.

And it got me thinking.

How cool would it be if every profession had it’s own fans? People to scream “We LOVE YOU Jane!” every time you scanned a bag of groceries. Police escorts for ‘Burt’ over at the JIFFY LUBE. Kindergarden teachers besieged by paparazzi! Receptionists in stretch limo’s! And on the cover of TIME magazine this week?! Sonya, the night auditor at The Motel 6.

I say we do it. One day out of every month, let’s give the regular folks out there the star treatment they deserve. Personally, I think it would make me feel pretty good to give everyone a taste of what it’s like to be in the ‘spot light’.

That, and my plumber needs a stalker.


Photo © Susan Gittins


Photo © Susan Gittins


Photo © Susan Gittins

 

To view the hi-res version of these images please visit Susan Gittins’ Flickr page at the link below.
Colin Cunningham of Falling Skies Meets His Fans on Location in Vancouver

 

Blog #8

Posted by: Colin Cunningham
Date: October 28, 2011

 

If any of you liked my previous ‘road of hard knocks’ blog. You might just get a kick out of this one as well.

I used to live in my car.

It was 1993, and parked at the back of the tennis courts at Alma and 4th Avenue (Vancouver), I hatched my plan to become Brad Pitt. My palace? A 1982 Honda Civic. Only in order to sleep at night, I had to take all my stuff from the back seat and put it outside, on the car’s hood. It was the only way I could recline the front seat. But I never slept a wink, because all night I’d have one eye stuck open to see that someone didn’t jack my luggage.

But I was never late for film school. Not because of any superior work ethic, but because the damn sprinklers came on every morning at 6:20. And so, I’d bolt awake to clear my crap off the hood before it got soaked. Then I’d sit-sleep ’till around 8:00. That was when the custodian arrived to open the toilet so that I could wash up before class.

My second apartment was a closet. A student friend of mine, Aaron McCoy, had rented a one-bedroom apartment that had a small ‘walk-in’ closet. So, I lived there. (Bugger charged me 250 bucks a month!) It was just big enough to fit an army cot and a suitcase. I could finally sleep with both eyes closed.

My third pad? Pure gold. A basement. Not a basement ‘suite’ mind you, but a basement. A glorious asbestos-filled cave where all the plumbing in the house came together and merged with a much larger septic/waste tube just above my bed. It was a spectacular array of giant valves and knotted pipes. The kind of thing H.R. Giger would poop in.

There were 8 people living in the house and so, any time someone flushed one of the four toilets, there was a thunderous roar of crap that came flying through my room, passed directly over my head and then off into the wild blue yonder.

Today, my current employers put me up in a gorgeous hotel. A place where the linens are fresh, the marble floors are polished and the smell of Old English emanates from hand carved teak and mahogany. I get a call that my driver is downstairs and the man who opens the door, knows me by name.

The lesson in all of this?

Anybody tells you, ‘Money can’t buy you happiness.’… is brain damaged.

C.


My niece Scotand. She plays 'Tom'. I get to be 'Pope'

 

Blog #7 – There’s nowhere I’d rather be

Posted by: Colin Cunningham
Date: October 26, 2011

 

My GOD that was fun.

Picture this. You’re in the middle of a raging battle. Burning rubble to the left of you, dead Skitters to your right. Total chaos. And under your ass, one wicked piece of machinery. A 1962 Harley Davidson ‘pan head’. And today, that’s where we find John Pope.

Flying down the road, no helmet, Mech’s converging from all sides. A shot is fired and the car in front of you explodes. It’s heat totally enveloping you. Like opening the door to an oven and an invisible fire wraps itself across your face. Then, whoosh! Another Mech rocket whistles right over your head. It barely misses me, but not the other unfortunate soul of the Second Massachusetts. He’s blown 15 feet in the air and lands lifeless.

Then, the director yells, “CUT!”
And you grab yourself a donut.

What a job.

I often laugh when an AD (assistant Director) says to me, “Not much longer Colin. And we’ll get you out of here.” To which I can only reply, “Thank you, but it’s taken me 40 years to get here. I’m in no rush to get home.”

But it’s true. I know what my apartment looks like. I’ve spent years staring at its walls. Granted, if I had a few little ‘skitters’ waiting for me at home, it would be a different story. But today, this is it and there’s nowhere on the face of the earth I’d rather be.

Anyway, I’ve finished my donut. Better get back to saving the world.

C.


Colin Cunningham as John Pope

 

Blog #6 – If You’re Going To Make It In This Business, You’d Better Change Your Name

Posted by: Colin Cunningham
Date: October 24, 2011

 

John Wayne was born ‘Marrion Morrison’.

Tony Curtis, ‘Bernie Shwartz’.

And in 1992, Colin Cunningham became ‘Ray Tyson’.

I was broke, my student visa had expired and I was now living illegally in Canada. Busking on the street to keep myself in rent and ramen noodles, I needed a job or I was going to be in trouble.

But, as fate would have it, I met a guy by the name of ‘Ray Tyson’. Now, Ray did have a job, only it was the kind of job that, well… let’s just say he was paid in cash and wrote his own hours.

To be honest, I never did ask the guy what he did for a living, and he never told me. But one thing was clear. I needed to work. And, at least when it came to a paper trail, Ray needed it to look like he was working.

Don’t know what the statute of limitations is for such a thing, but to make a long story short, I borrowed the guy’s Social Insurance Number and (for the sake of a pay check) I became, Ray Tyson.

Now before you condemn me or begin conjuring up images of Michael J. Fox in ‘The Secret of My Success’, let me tell you something. It sucked. I don’t care how big your desire is to get ahead in life, deceiving people will take a big chunk out of your soul. But that’s what I did. And for about 6 months, ‘Ray Tyson’ worked along side some good people. Broke bread with them, remembered the names of their kids. And all the while, did everything he could to remember his own.

“Hey Ray. Ray… RAY!”

“What? Oh, ya. Hey.”

“What the hell’s the matter with you man? You goin’ deaf?”

“Oh. Ya… Sorry man.”

For six months I did this. And I hated every minute of it. But for me, the only thing worse than living this kind of lie, would be to live another. It still baffles me that as an illegal alien, I could have simply gone down to the welfare office to pick up a check. But I considered myself a guest of this great country, not a leech to it. And as long as I was able bodied, there was just no way that was going to happen.

But perhaps more importantly, I remember the day I packed up my bags and left Los Angeles. I swore to myself and my family that I would not return until I had something to show for myself.

I would make a name for myself in Canada.

Even if it wasn’t mine.

C.

Blog #5 – Captain’s Log: Day 1 – Season 2

Posted by: Colin Cunningham
Date: October 19, 2011

 

Remember your first Christmas? The one where your belly was all full of butterflies the night before, and then that feeling you had in the morning, just as you came around the corner and saw all the presents under the tree?

Welcome to day one of Falling Skies.

The set is a whirlwind. Some of the most talented people in the business are darting from A. to B. Rigging lights, laying track, tweaking sets. Stunt people are working out a big Mech ‘hit’, and all of them surrounded by an army of extras. There’s a lot going on.

Me? I’m sitting in my warm and cozy trailer. A frothy latte’ to one side of me, the days scenes to my left. A far cry from the Burger King headset I used to wear. (And yes, I did get your order wrong on purpose.)

Took a good hour and forty-five to get ‘Poped Up’ in the make up and hair trailer. Hair, tats, then a whoooole lot of dirt. Feels good. And it will probably be the busiest I’m going to be for the next 8 to 9 hours. As the old pro’s used to say, “You get paid to wait. Acting, is a bonus.”

Oh, one last thing. Pope’s ‘limp’. You’ll recall last year that I got shot in the leg. But there’s a simple little actors trick we use to remember. You drop your house keys into your boot. Hurts like a mother, but there ain’t no way you’re going to forget. Remember that next time you see ‘sexy’ John Pope walking into a scene.

C.

 


Connor Jessup, myself and Ryan Robbins on the set of Falling Skies

 


Me and the exceptional Remi Aubuchon. Falling Skies head writer and all around great guy!

 

Blog #4 – Motorcycle Training

Posted by: Colin Cunningham
Date: October 17, 2011

 

People and Skitters have one thing in common. Neither particularly care for the ear piercing clatter of Harley Davidsons screaming through their neighborhood. Any second hand Harley with a set of Screamin’ Eagle exhaust pipes is enough to give a Mech a heart attack.

Enter, John Pope (Mr. Considerate). And he’s ready to make some noise.

Fortunately, I’ve been invited down to meet the great people over at ‘Trev Deely-Harley Davidson’ in Burnaby this afternoon (Oct 13) for some riding lessons. Spent a good deal of my youth zipping around on a motor bike, but riding a Harley is kind of like giving Anderson Silva a melvin. It can be a lot of fun, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re probably gonna die.

Apparently, they’ve set up an obstacle course for me. Red safety cones and cardboard ‘Pop-Up’ targets to shoot at. Probably Skitter cut-outs. (Either that, or the cast of Jersey Shore.) I’ll get back to you.

C.

Blog #3 – The life of an actor

Posted by: Colin Cunningham
Date: October 15, 2011

 

Hey everyone. Thought you might find this interesting.

I was channel flipping last night and came across three different actors that had beaten me out for the job.

One of the gigs was a film with Al Pacino and the other two were pretty big cop shows. And I remembered that I auditioned for at least nine different parts before finally landing the role of ‘Major Davis’ on Stargate SG-1. Anyway, it just got me thinking about how crazy it is to be an actor.

I have to audition for every meal I eat. Every pack of gum. Every rent check. From the cell phone in my pocket, to the shoes on my feet. If I’m going to lay my head on a pillow tonight, then this morning, I had better beat out the 30 other guys looking to take it away. In fact, come to think about it, I’ve auditioned for pretty much everything I own.

For most folks out there, getting a “job” is a pretty straight forward affair. You see an ad in the paper, you send off your resume and voila, you’ve got yourself some kind of gig. And for the most part, that’ll stay your job until you quit or get canned.

Not me. To make my rent, I have to navigate through 30 other actors looking to bury me. And not only that, but I have to do it three, four times a week. And that’s if I’m lucky enough to even get an audition. An actor can sometimes go weeks, months, even years before we get the chance to go in and get our teeth kicked in. That, and when I am lucky enough to get the audition, I know of at least five guys in there that are better than I’ll ever be.

So why do it? Why go through it all?

Granted, it’s not like you’re working in a coal mine, but still, I doubt there’s anything on my resume worth leaving a body on Normandy for. God knows there are more noble endeavors in the world than to bounce my boobs on Baywatch. And yet, here I am. A grown man of forty-something handing out his ‘head shot’ to some pimply, 17-year-old intern.

It’s not easy to explain. Except to say that when I was 9 years old, I sat in a little theatre in Hollywood, CA. and watched Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge. And since then, nothing’s ever been the same.

Can’t really explain why, but after that night, ‘life’ became a little something that happened only between the words, action and cut.

C.

Blog #2 – Weapons Training (Or, How To Kill a Skitter without a Permit)

Posted by: Colin Cunningham
Date: October 14, 2011

 

The Skitter is a nasty piece of work. 6 legs, bad breath and not something you want to bring home to the parents. Granted, there’s a rumor that Skitters used to be harnessed kids. But I like to think they’re the same kids that used to stick gum in my hair at recess. So I don’t lose much sleep over it.

Noah and Drew will be practicing their best Shwarzenneger faces, while the girls will be looking for the best hand bag to match a 50. calibre Browning. As for Pope, he’ll be making sandwiches.

Over and out.

C.

Blog #1 – Intro

Posted by: Colin Cunningham
Date: October 14, 2011

 

Hi everyone. My name is Colin Cunningham and I play ‘John Pope’ on a television show called FALLING SKIES.

Welcome to my blog!

A weekly smattering of thoughts and whimsies on what it’s like to be a very un-Hollywood kind of guy working in the ‘biz’. As an actor, my story isn’t all that unique. I’ve lived in my car, served you breakfast and on occasion, actually paid my rent. And so, I thought it would be fun to shed a little light on what its like to work on ‘Skies’ and in a way, take the ride together.

Hope you enjoy it.

C.


Drew Roy (Hal Mason), Colin Cunningham (John Pope), Seychelle Gabriel (Lourdes), Peter Shinkoda (Dai)