Peter

"I'm English — we don't have sex symbols. I'm English — we don't have sex!"
— Peter Wingfield at Syndicon, 9 May 1997

Wingfield @wingfieldfans.org Dr Helm

a t   c o n s

 

Syndicon 97

Peter's Q&A
Q&A #1 with Peter, Jim Byrnes, Stan Kirsch and Elizabeth Gracen
Q&A #2 with Peter, Jim Byrnes, Stan Kirsch and Elizabeth Gracen
Charity auction
Autograph session & other pics
 

In this section

Anglicon 97
Syndicon 97
Highlander DownUnder 3 (2000)
 

Syndicon '97
Friday, May 9, 1997
Q&A

Transcribed from video and audiotape.

Peter Wingfield arrived late due to the gridlock that trapped his limousine on the Baltimore beltway for more than two hours. He entered the room running up to the front table, literally dressing as he went. When he sat down, he was still rolling up the cuffs of his shirt and tucking everything in, smiling the whole time. Because he had come straight from the airport and hadn't had dinner yet, the con organizers announced that the talk was going to finish earlier than planned...

A good guy...

Q: How does it feel to play a good guy? (photo by Dianne Smith)

Peter: Do you know, I never thought of Methos as being a nice guy! [laughter and applause] I love playing Methos. It is a thrill, it's a joy, it's exciting, it's fun. The great thing about playing Methos is that all of the stuff that is [?], and all of the scenes that I've done, all of the stuff that I've read, all of the stuff that's been actually declared as fact, none of it allows you to be really sure if he's a real good guy or a devious, manipulating son of a bitch. It's still possible to read all the stuff that he's done as being a ploy, as being some way of getting other people into a position where he can control them. It's possible. And until they [?], it could go one way or another. I think it will continue to be exciting. It will never — I mean, I wouldn't turn my back on him.

Can you speak Welsh?

I grew up in Cardiff — it was, I think — until I was 17. And I learned Welsh in school for two years. But that's a long time ago! [giggle] [I was] in my third form. I had to be 12, 13 when I stopped learning it. The only thing I can remember is twill din bob sias [giggle] which uh — Does anyone speak Welsh here? Any English people here? Um, I'm afraid I've just insulted your ancestors. [giggle]

[Twill din bob sias means "arseholes to the English"!]

A sexy guy...

Do you consider yourself a sex symbol? (photo by Dianne Smith)

Absolutely not, come on! Hey, I'm English — we don't have sex symbols. I'm English — we don't have sex!

Last year you seemed baffled by the fan scene. Are you having fun now?

Am I having fun now? [grin] Yes. Yes, yes, yes. The answer is yes, oh yes [in the same tone as "Comes a Horseman" car scene]. Conventions — what's it? Denver, the year before last, was my first one. Boy, I didn't know what was going on. This year's been busy. I've gone to Glasgow. I went [?] before Christmas. I just came from Seattle a couple of weeks back — yeah, Seattle! Woo! [punches air with fist] Yeah, I'm enjoying it now. I'm having a great time. This one, I really didn't think I was going to make [but] because I had a day off today, I hopped on a plane, and here I am.

What was your reaction when you read the "Comes a Horseman" script? Did you realize running the London Marathon was just training for con season?

"Comes a Horseman" — I first had any kind of notice of it scriptwise when we were in Vancouver, from one of the props guys. They get the script a bit earlier than us. He said, "Have you read the script?" I said no. He said, "You are the baddest of all bad guys!" I read the script, and it was a fantastic role because there's always been a danger, I think, if Methos just becomes MacLeod's sidekick. I think that's a danger for any semi-regular character — they just start repeating the same stories. So that was like a gift from heaven. And filming it was such fun because being a nice guy is much harder to play than being a bad guy. If you're going to be evil, then it pushes the barriers — you do much more stuff. And you don't have to worry what anyone thinks about you.

And did I realize the London Marathon was training for this? No, I didn't. I'm in good shape for it!

A quick guy...

What's with this double quickening in "Revelations 6:8"? There's been a lot of talk about the meaning of that final quickening, that it implies a new and different connection between Duncan and Methos. (photo by Dianne Smith)

What's with this spiral quickening? Do you know when we were filming that [I said], "Oh no! [giggle] People will talk!" I was very aware of how incredibly homoerotic that was. People were saying people might read in double meanings to it — but I can't think what the other one is! On a practical basis, what it was like was really tiring and quite scary because there's all these massive explosions going off in our faces when we're filming it. And it was filmed in a World War II submarine base. I thought we'd just set off some charges that were left there for 50 years. I was terrified.

Is Simon Pemberton coming back to The Archers?

My guess is that he probably will, but not with me playing him. That would be my guess. You see — I can talk about him now — it's not even broadcast over here.

The original idea for this [?] recording The Archers. They wanted to kill him off, but they wanted to kill him off in a really spectacular way that people would talk about for years. [And that was what the producer said.] On my last week of recording, I got the script for the final episode, I looked at it — and he's not dead! I was outraged! Everyone else in The Archers has the opposite experience. They get the script, and they look through, and they get to the final [part and say], "Oh dear, I've just been killed." But I knew I was going to die — and I didn't. And my assumption is that what they'll do is leave it about a year so people will forget my voice a bit and then recast him.... They said they're writing stories about him.

Do you want a spoiler? He's going to come back into the country and be arrested at the airport. And there's going to be a court case. He's going down; he's going to jail. You heard it first in Baltimore.

How do you feel about unofficial fan clubs?

They are unofficial so I have no business with them by definition.

Well, there's an unofficial fan club that's not for you; it's for Methos—

I'll tell him when I see him.

A happy-face t-shirt gets the Bronze age treatment

And we've got a t-shirt for you. [Fan runs up on stage and displays it.] This is our motto.

[Reading shirt] "The Methos Harem... Live, love, learn, share and survive." Thank you. [Fan skips off the stage. Peter stares after her.] Well, she's skippy, isn't she?

If you could act in any play with any actor, what would it be?

I would very much like to do a Sam Sheppard play called The Tooth of Crime, which I did many years ago when I was in university. I would like to do that again playing Hoss — there's a fantastic part for a kind of anarchist rock-n-roll star. There are lots of actors I'd like to work with. James Woods. Yeah, let's do that with Oliver Stone directing.

How does it fell for Methos to have 69 wives? [Audience shouts, "Sixty-eight!"]

Sixty-nine — including Duncan! Sixty-eight? Sixty-nine? I have the same problem — they all blend into one. The question is: What does it feel like?!? They didn't film that episode. I think the producers will gradually spin that off into a series.

Have you see much of America — especially Maryland — besides our traffic?

I've seen quite a bit of it actually — lots of people waving...

How is it sword fighting with Adrian Paul? How much of it is "free" fighting?

None of it is. It's too scary even when it's choreographed, because often we only get a couple of hours rehearsing. We then try and film it under the pressure of having to get a whole day's work crammed in. This is just a little bit of it.

So you get [a bit of instruction then] you're actually filming. Quite often, you're also talking about filming outside, in darkness, with incredibly bright lights shining in your eyes. So there is absolutely no intention to improvise. [If] you'd try, you'd simply lose.

There are instances when, particularly Adrian, does his own scripted bits of fighting. In the penultimate episode this season ["The Modern Prometheus"], I don't think this is common knowledge, but he has to fight it out where in the final blow, the bad guy spins round and he does a head cut — which Adrian blocked with his eye. It wasn't exactly how it was intended.

OK, maybe not a quick guy...

[The con organizers announced that the talk was going to be cut short to fit in an autograph session. Peter echoed them....] (photo by Sharon L)

It has to be a quickie tonight. [Peter breaks up laughing when he realizes how that sounds.] And that's the first time I ever said that!

Do you want Methos to be a good guy or a bad guy?

I like the bad guy stuff 'cause it then sets up conflict with Duncan, and it sets up a whole bunch of stuff that then has to be resolved; it can't just go away and be forgotten about. The more we dig up in his past that was specifically evil, the more you have to deal with that as an issue — that's interesting. Being noble and heroic is an end point.

And having said that, I loved doing the stuff about Alexa, that whole storyline. What I like best is doing something different in the next episode than I did in the one before. Having done the love story thing, [I now want] to chop some head off.

How long does it take you to memorize a script?

It varies how long we get to memorize it. There have been occasions where we've been given rewrites for scenes actually after we've filmed them.... It's quite common to get rewrites for scenes in the morning for stuff that we're doing that day, so we'd get maybe an hour or two. I — [giggle] I tend not to learn my lines, so that's kind of a tricky one to answer. The scripts, we usually get a week or so before we film, so there is a week to learn the lines, but I tend to arrive with an idea of what I'm supposed to be talking about, but maybe not the exact words. And that's usually how it ends up on film.

I read that you never rode before "Comes a Horseman" and that you tried to make friends with the horse, but they changed the horse.

Well, I had the theory, because I had never ridden before, that the horse is gonna know that I've never ridden before. So my best bet was just be friendly to it, and it would like me enough [not to throw me]. This is my theory. So I petted it a lot and whispered in its ear—

I bet he liked it!

That happens in the flashbacks — there was this beautiful white horse — but then for the contemporary stuff in "Revelation" at the start, it can't be the same horse — unless it's an immortal horse. So a completely new horse, but I just thought the same thing — just be nice to the horse, and it'll be nice to you.

A tasty guy!

I'd like to make a presentation to you. It's something from my hometown. You can't get it in England. [Fan hands Peter a package.] (photo by Sharon L)

What is it?

Marshmallow peeps.

Maaarshmallow peeps? What [the hell are these, Peter's expression seems to say]? Do you toast these over a fire?

[The organizers announced it was time for the autograph session.]

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