The top story in today's Hollywood Reporter billboards the cast of the new Sci Fi Channel series Stargate Universe, third in the Stargate franchise. Starring opposite Robert Carlyle (The Full Monty, Trainspotting) is Brian J. Smith, a young actor we've been writing about (OK, gushing over) since he wowed critics and audiences in A Clockwork Orange at Collin County Community College's Quad C Theatre in 2002.
Smith, pictured here, is one of the four leads on the show. He'll play Lt. Matthew Scott, a junior member of the Stargate team "thrust into the role before he's ready." (The character, not the actor.) The series, yet another based on the 15-year-old movie starring Kurt Russell, follows a group of soldiers, scientists and civilians left to fend for themselves after being forced through a Stargate (a sort of time portal/black hole) after their base is attacked. The survivors are led by Dr. David Rush (Carlyle), who takes charge of trying to unlock the ship's mysteries and return the group to Earth. The show will debut in the fall as a two-hour movie on Sci Fi.
"I think this is going to be a pretty cool project," writes Smith via Facebook. "There's been a lot of criticism of the show already, and it hasn't even been SHOT yet. A lot of the fans of SG1 and Stargate: Atlantis were appalled at the cast breakdown, calling it Stargate: 90210 based on some of the character's ages (mid-20s)." Smith, 27, actually is the second youngest of the cast so far.
"They're pitching Universe as a completely different type of show -- it's going to be edgier, darker and much more character-driven," says Smith. "I've read the first four episodes (the first two are condensed into a two-hour opening movie) and I gotta say I'm pretty damn impressed. Tons of special effects, as well as some exotic locations that will require us to shoot WAY outside Vancouver... I really think people are going to be surprised -- even those of us who aren't sci-fi fans. The show has heart. These characters are mostly young people who find themselves in a terrifying crisis situation, and they must adapt or die. They're not at all heroes. I think there will be good room for character growth as well, and the concept allows for a very long story arc."
The show is a nice career boost for Smith, who went from Plano's Quad C to Juilliard. After graduation, he was cast in last year's Broadway production of Come Back, Little Sheba
starring S. Epatha Merkerson. Just this week he wrapped a guest-starring role in an episode of Law & Order. About that he says, "I shot three scenes up at the studio, then shot two exterior
scenes Tuesday and two exterior scenes today [Thursday]. It was so cold, my face couldn't move. I came home a very tired, very cold and very happy actor. Got to work with most of the regulars and had a great time. Plus the character is a tear-jerker. I feel pumped and primed for a good year of TV!"
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Us too! We always knew the kid would be a star.