The Saturn Awards is one of the most random red carpets, ever. Legends, A-listers, actors on hot TV shows, up and comers, also-rans, workhorses and the ones you've never heard of… it would seem there is no stone unturned.
That goes for traffic cones, too: I overturned one stepping out the shuttle van, too distracted from the high-altitude headache that'd suddenly come on, piercing my temples. Actually, I shouldn't blame the headache. I am "that person" — the one who trips over her own shadow, gets TP stuck to her shoe, bumps into the column, pushes the pull door (and vice versa), and generally blunders in whatever might be the most embarrassing manner in public. But it's true. My head did hurt. Still does. Yet this article, like the show, must go on.
For the third or fourth year in a row, The Saturn Awards are held high up in the hills of Burbank, CA., at the famously romantic Castaway Restaurant in its banquet hall. I've been covering the show for several years, and regardless of location, altitude or otherwise, I've always found it to have the same quirky, low-key, not-quite-there vibe. (Be sure and click the header image above, read the award recipient, and what it's for.) And certainly not romantic.
For instance… I'm speculating here, but… every year, somebody there in the offices of the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films looks at the calendar, sees it's summertime and says, "Oh, yeah! It's time for the awards. Who can we get? Oh, I know! Let's get legendary Academy Award winning director and gazillionaire James Cameron, and… oh, how about Richard Grieco? Wasn't he on 21 Jump Street decades ago? What's that you say? 21 Jump Street was neither Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror or a Film? So what!"
Don't get me wrong, it's fun... ish. I mean, where else am I going to hear Richard Grieco jawing on about his "abstract emotionalism" — a term he coined, he'll have you know — artwork, in which he rolls around in paint on a giant canvass. "I paint for the streamline of consciousness," he says. He's spent the past three years doing this, to the exclusion of all else. Good to know. Oh, there's also his reality series about man-ho's (Gigolos), but that's about as sci-fi as a Wonder Bread commercial.
Meanwhile, my co-producer and co-host on the Inside Horror chat show, Elric Kane, joins me. After just a few moments, his eyes begin to glaze over. "I can't talk right now, because it's too bright," he says. No, Elric isn't hung over. He hasn't got an altitude migraine. He's just a red carpet sissy. He's never had to endure the blazing hot sun of a Disney premiere on an August morning surrounded by extras dripping sweat in princess costumes, nor has he ever had to blink just to keep his eyeballs warm on a frosty December night while waiting four hours just to watch Peter Jackson rush by saying, "Sorry, I'm out of time — I have to get in the theater!" Those of us who've been deep in the red-velvet rope trenches know, The Saturn Awards are child's play.
Elric's observations are trite, yet somehow refreshing. Yes, it's true uber-nerd reporters (of the ilk only trotted out once annually for such specific red carpets) hyperventilate when asking their favorite genre stars nerdy questions. Some mouth-breather threw Lance Reddick of Fringe for a loop when they asked him about something he was wearing in a specific episode in Season 2. Yes, it's true some reporters have no concept of time and take advantage of the fact there's no protocol enforcement here. Bruce Greenwood is held on the line in front of a generic mic for at least 15 minutes, presumably having been asked to recite War & Peace backwards. Yes, it's true low-level publicists really aren’t going to give their low-level client your business contact info. "Oh, your card? Yes, I'll get it directly to him" really means, "Oh, your card? Yes, I'll get it directly to the nearest trash can."
Only about halfway through our stint, Elric points out the blueness of James Remar's eyes. The dad from Dexter is giving an interview, down the line. "You know I'm really bored if I'm noticing the twinkle in a 60 year old man's eyes," Elric says. He Tweets his boredom, then rethinks. Not rethinking that he's bored, but the word itself. "What do you say in America? In New Zealand we say we're swinging dicks." Apparently kiwi's are more proactive in their doldrums. In America, we might cool our heels (that is, if we are gumshoes in a Raymond Chandler novel), perhaps we'll twiddle our thumbs (if we're in kindergarten), but mostly — we're just bored.
Elric has some semblance of fun razzing countrymen. Craig Parker from Spartacus: Vengeance, goes with it, saying his work on a local NZ cable-access soap opera actually helped fuel and shape his rage for this current role as Glaber. Elric gets to meet his hero, Walter Hill. I snap the photo. For being bored, Elric certainly is having a lark. Me? As I wait for relevance, I'm entertaining myself contemplating William Katt's long, stringy ponytail from afar, and wondering why the kid from Breaking Bad, certainly not a genre series, nor a film, is giving interviews on the red carpet.
Finally, some of our brethren arrive. I ask a few horror folks some questions. Lynn Shaye, of recent Insidious fame, tells me she's really looking forward to the release of Mega Spider, an upcoming sci-fi horror about, well… the title probably gave it away. Glenn Mazzara, executive producer of The Walking Dead, tells me that although we might think we already know a lot the upcoming season of the AMC original zom-dram, we're just fooling ourselves. There are lots of surprises to come. Tom Skerritt says he really isn't drawn to sci-fi in particular, but ever since his appearance in the classic Alien, and with the resurgence of interest in the franchise thanks to Prometheus, he's just happy to be working. Bruce Greenwood says he can't wait to be in the next Star Trek film.
So there you have it, folks. The shocking revelations, secret scoops, and plethora of revealing information that's always the result of a long stint on the red carpet of the Saturn Awards. Fun! …ish.
Once the show was over Elric and I pause to see if we can catch the shuttle back down the hill to our cars, but it is nowhere to be seen. So I kick off my high heels and as we walk down the winding mountain road, a white shuttle careens around a blind corner, coming at us, head-on. "Wouldn't it be ironic," says a sidestepping Elric, "if the shuttle we were supposed to be on creamed us and we became the resident ghosts of The Saturn Awards for centuries to come?" Not just ironic: boring. (And maybe a bit fun...ish.)
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by Staci Layne Wilson