"Never Surrender A Galaxy Quest (2019)"
Transcript of video Documentary

[opening screen shot]

In 2007, Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet wrote a book on Hollywood. In it, he listed only four perfect films:

The Godfather
A Place in the Sun
Galaxy Quest

Sam Rockwell: “David Mamet said that? That’s amazing.”

Wil Wheaton: “Galaxy Quest is the story of a group of actors who were on a Sci-Fi television series real similar to the original Star Trek.

Alan Rickman as Dr. Lazarus: “By Grabthar’s Hammer we live to tell the tale”

Paul Scheer (Writer-Performer): “And they get kidnapped and brought into space by a group of aliens who have studied their TV show as if it was an actual recording of real life events

[Thermian leader Mathezar] “Ever since we first received transmission of your historical documents, we have studied every facet of your missions and strategies.”

Daryl Mitchel [Tommy Weber] “You’ve been watching the show ...”

Tim Allen [Commander Taggert]: “Lieutenant: The Historical Documents.”

Damon Linelof: “We really want to believe that this stuff is real. We don’t want to believe that these are sets and styrofoam and people pretending. And Galaxy Quest basically takes that fantasy and makes it writ large. And this is the true genius of Galaxy Quest: the fans have made it real.”

Sigourney Weaver: “It’s such a charming idea, because of Star Trek and because it is so beloved it’s such a wonderful love letter to all those actors and all those fans.”

Damon Linelof: “It is a touchstone for filmmakers of a certain generation.”

Greg Berlanti (Creator, Arrow / The Flash): “For me what I remember most about it and what I love most about it is that it didn’t make fun of the fans. It really allowed you to have a sort of point of view in the story. This helped kind of usher in a generation of story telling that both could keep the stakes but still not take itself so seriously.”

Will Wheaton: Somebody does something first, and a small number of people go ‘Wow. That’s amazing.’ And the larger culture ignores it. Galaxy Quest was way ahead of its time.”

Robert Gordon (Screenwriter): “I don’t know when it switched over to, it wasn’t always this cult sort of favorite. And then it became that. And now it’s ...”

Dean Parisot (Director) : “That’s because they’re fans.”

[young woman fan]: “Galaxy Quest is actually a big part of my childhood.”

[another young woman fan]: “Every aspect of it is just wonderful. The story telling, the writing, the actors.”

[young man cosplayer]: “I thought it was funny. It portrayed cosplaying a little bit.”

[another young man cosplayer]: “When I watched it when I was a little kid, I liked it so much I was hoping they would do a mini-series.”

Fan: “I was talking to a co-worker about it today, and we were quoting lines back and forth.”

Fans: “Somebody said ‘What?” and we had to stop what we were doing now. And go watch this.”

Female fan: “I watch this movie several times a year.”

Young fan: “Who hasn’t seen Galaxy Quest?”

Female fan: “You can laugh and say, ‘Oh. That’s me.”

Young Male Fan: “That whole meta-take on it, analyzing Star Trek from the outside it a little bit.”

“Fan: “They weren’t making fun of anybody. They were just saying, ‘Don’t take yourself so seriously.’”

Young Male Fan: “We all embrace it together. It’s just like something we all love and experience together.”

Dean Parisot (Director) The real irony struck me when Tim forced me to go to a screening. And after the movie was over and I walked out and sat down to have a Q-and-A. And they turned the lights up and the first three rows are people dressed in Galaxy Quest costumes. Who either understood or didn’t understand the irony of that.”

[4:13]. . . [cosplayer adult couple fan comments] “I would make fun of people who would dress up and go to the openings of new movies. It wasn’t cool. It was never cool. But then it became OK to do it. [wife: ‘Only if it was the Galaxy Quest movie.’ These are movies you can watch again and again and again] . I was thinking, ‘Why do I like this so much?’ It’s the moment in the movie when he says: ‘Stop. It’s real.’ And the kid goes ‘I knew it.’ That was me. That was me. I knew it.”

Paul Scheer (Writer-Performer): “Galaxy Quest happened at this very unique period of time, because it was at this point where fans were still a little bit in the shadows.”

Greg Berlanti (Creator, Arrow / The Flash) When I think of fan culture in the late ‘90s I think about the Shatner Star Trek skit on SNL. (Saturday Night Live (1974 -Present)”

William Shatner: “Get a life!”

Greg Berlanti : “. . . where he says you’re a bunch of losers and go home.”

William Shatner: “For crying out loud. It’s just a TV show.”

Scot Mantz (Film Critic): “When Star Trek became really a hit which was in syndication in the early ‘70s, that’s when the fans started calling themselves “Trekkies.” That’s when you had the conventions . That’s when you had people turn out in record numbers to these events.”

[5:28] Damon Lindelof (Producer, Star Trek (2009) / Lost): “That fandom started to coalesce over the course of the next decade and basically gave birth to Star Trek The Motion Picture. And then, of course, The Next Generation, and all the series that followed. I don’t think that there has been a stretch of like two or three years when there has been no Trek being produced. And that’s only because of the fans.”

Greg Berlanti: “People loved it so much, that even when it was gone, they needed to still experience it.

Wil Wheaton (“Wesley Crusher,” Star Trek TNG): “Spoiler alert. I was on Star Trek and I meet people every week who are inspired by us.

Brent Spiner (“Data,” Star Trek TNG): “We have these conventions and occasionally I have young people come to my table and say: “I could only relate to your character. It’s overwhelming.

Fan from audience: “Ladies and gentlemen. I’m not here to ask a question. I’m here to state a fact. About how all these wonderful people on stage changed our lives. . . . a lot of Galaxy Quest is the truth about Star Trek. But it was said in a way that was whimsical, beautifully done, well portrayed, and not offensive to anyone.”

[6:23] Wil Wheaton: “Galaxy Quest is, without a doubt, the best Star Trek movie, because it is about what makes Star Trek special. It’s about the fans

Brent Spiner: “What I mainly felt watching the film, and I felt it all the way through, was: ‘why didn’t we do this? It would have been us and we would have gone through that same journey. We would have had such a big hit.”

[6:55] Damon Lindelof (“And the reason why Galaxy Quest earns its space inside the Trek canon, is it really does feel like a Trek movie because it has all the hallmarks of what makes a Trek movie work, which is Never Give Up. Never Surrender. Like you can sort of overcome any problem

Dean Parisot: “We kept saying as we were making this, it can’t just be a comedy. It has to be a good Star Trek movie.

Wil Wheaton: “In the late ‘90s, Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katsenberg, and David Geffen all come together and they form Dreamworks. And they’ve got something to prove. These are three dudes who are at the top of their individual industries. Every other studio head wishes them well and tells them how much they want them to succeed and then roots for them to fail. Because that’s the way the industry works. Dreamworks needs hits.”

Mark Johnson (Producer): “Dreamworks and we, meaning our little production company optioned a script by David Howard [“Captain Starshine”] that had this concept, this idea of actors being mistaken by extraterrestrials as not being actors but the heroes they appear to be in the show. We really took to the idea and thought it would be the basis of a terrific comedy.

Robert Gordon (Screenwriter) “It was sort of like that moment when you stop at the door and turn because someone says something like “What if aliens thought William Shatner was real?

Elizabeth Cantillon (Executive Producer): “Which was the premise. There was no other thing in the script that we held on to. And we met with many, many writers. They all came in with this idea that he hated being the captain. He was trapped in this role. And Bob Gordon came into my office and he said: He loved being the captain. If he could be the captain again, it would be the greatest day of his life. And that simple adjustment changed everything.”

Robert Gordon (Screenwriter) I said should I read the script? No, they didn’t want me influenced by it. I sort of assumed some things about it. That there would be a ship that they had to operate in a certain way. That each crew member would have their own thing that they now had to deal with in real life. And the moment I felt that I could really write it seems really super obvious now. It’s when they have to admit that they are really just actors and they’re not really heroes and it all goes to hell. When that clicked in, I said OK. I’ve got it. I sort of know enough about it.

Elizabeth Cantillon: “And that was Bob who said: “And he has to go into outer space. And we were like, “what?” What are you talking about? Because we had it as sort of comedy of that era. Like an Amblin comedy of that era where the aliens come to earth.”

Mark Johnson: “I think that Bob Gordon did make it bigger than we thought it was going to be or that we thought we could afford.

Elizabeth Cantillon: “It was Bob’s brain that blew it out like that.”

Robert Gordon: “I think there were some people who were scratching their heads a little bit, like Mark Johnson who were like, This is like some kind of explosion.”

Greg Berlanti: “I would say in 1999-2000, things were still kind of in their box. If it was a Sci-Fi movie it was a Sci-Fi movie. If it was a drama, it was a drama.”

Wil Wheaton: “In 1999, the vast majority of Sci-Fi movies were action movies. All ofthese dark, gritty, nihilistic Sci-Fi movies.

Damon Lindelof: “I think that more than anything else, Galaxy Quest is an exercise in tone.

Elizabeth Cantillon: It is a broad comedy, of course. But is also has a real heart. And real sincerity.

[10:53] Mark Johnson: “I would maintain, that the studio never quite understood the tone of the movie, that they were expecting more of an out-and-out comedy a la Spaceballs. I’d never done a movie like this before. I’d never done a Science Fiction film. But they read it and even though it still needed work, they said, ‘We’re making this movie.’ So we started looking for a director right away and that’s when we came up with Harold [Ramis].”

Bill George (Visual Effecs Supervisor, ILM: “Harold Ramis is just an imposing big guy. And the one thing I will say, having worked with a lot of directors, they’re all different shapes and sizes, but the one thing they have in common, they start talking and you go ‘Yeah, yeah, I’m behind you.’ They’re like these natural born leaders.”

[11:49] Charles Newirth (producer) : “Harold had a particularly wry sense of humor and I think there was a notion that that was going to carry over into the film.”

Wil Wheaton: “He’s one of the very few directors in 1999 who can get people into a theater.

Shane Mahan (Effects Supervisor, Stan Winston Studio) “We were like, ‘Wow. Comedy genius. It’s gong to be a great, funny film.’ The relationship that Dreamworks had with Stan Winston Studio at the time was very very fruitful.”

Wil Wheaton: “It tells you a great deal about how much the studio cared about Galaxy Quest that they have Stan Winston Studio do the practical make-up effects and they have Industrial Light and Magic do the visual effects.”

Bill George “I can’t remember how many Star Trek movies I’ve worked on, I think 5 total. When we are brought onto a project, there are very very high expectations. Dreamworks felt that this was an important enough film to get an industry leader involved in it. They believed in the project. Immediately they knew there were some things they were going to have to do, like design the Protector. ... [stuff about lawsuits and getting sued by Paramount] so one of the production assistants at ILM came up with the idea – because we were having all this back and forth with the lawyers – that the [spacecraft ID] numbers should start off with NTE, which stands for Not The Enterprise. So we could stand up in a court of law and say ‘It is NOT the Enterprise. It says so right here.’”

Damon Lindelof: “The special effects in Galaxy Quest, they hold up, because when the Protector crashes, those effects are still really good.”

Mark Johnson: “I think that the visual effects people and all of the make-up effects people got a real kick out of the movie.

Bill George: “The visual effects were the straight-man, in a way. [shows picture of Tim Allen with Pig Monster in Goblin Valley]

Greg Berlanti: “You really want to state to everybody at every phase, how can we make this as believable as possible. I know that we’re dealing with something that seems inconceivable. But how can we make the audience feel that it’s real. And that comes in the form of the production team you put together to make the thing. [shows screenshot of entire production crew and cast]

Bill George: “People saying: ‘This is a comedy. It’s supposed to be campy. It’s supposed to be sloppy. No. These effects have to look real”

Mark “Crash” McCreery (Concept Art Directo, Stan Winston Studio): “It’s always a process, always and exploration. You just do as many concepts as you can possibly do and see what they gravitate to.”

Charles Newirth: “You know, we started to come up with design elements for Linda Descenna who was hired on as production designer.”

[14:33] Linda Descenna: I was the set designer on Start Trek: The Motion Picture and Blade Runner and Back to the Future II and they called me up one day and said ‘We’re doing this movie, Galaxy Quest and Harold Ramis is the director and we want him to meet you.

Charles Newirth: “. . .”

Linda Descenna: . . . we were basing the design of the sets on that 1960s sort of cheesy, cheap, funny TV sets. And I thought it was going to be a breeze.” [giggles]

[15:14] Bill George: “The main thing they were going through at that time was casting.

Debra Zane (Casting Director): “Before we did anything, it was about finding Jason. He has to be a leading man. He has to be the protagonist of that TV show. But obviously they need to understand the comedy. They have to have a funny bone.”

Charles Newirth: Harold had certain aspirations for who he wanted to cast in the film. The studio had other thoughts. They sort of agreed on one particular actor. If they could get him, Harold would be very very happy with him.”

Sigourney Weaver: “Who did he want?

[interviewer voice]: He wanted another co-star of yours, Kevin Kline.”

Sigourney Weaver: “Well. Kevin also would have been wonderful.”

Fans: ???

Wil Wheaton: “It’s really interesting, because the casting choices tell you where the executives are at. We want Kevin Kline in this movie. So you want somebody who’s a slapstick, comedic actor who’s really good at embracing over-the-top physical comedy” [shows screen shot of Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda (1988). I love you Harold Ramis, but you are all kinds of wrong about that.”

Charles Newirth: “We started building sets. We were fairly far down the line and the actor declined. Exactly right. He de-Kevin-Klined

Debra Zane “The people I remember that we really talked about were Bruce Willis [fans disagree] Tim Robbins [too goofy, too boyish], Mel Gibson was in there, too.[fans disagree] ... and a lot of people, you would be surprised, really pursued it. Wanted to do it.

Elizabeth Cantillon: “Alec Baldwin was desperate to do it. [. . .]

Mark Johnson: “We offered it to a number of actors, Steve Martin . . .

Elizabeth Cantillon: “Also Bill Murray, Robin Williams.”

Mark Johnson: “And for one reason or another, they didn’t want to do it. And the one actor who wanted to do it and made it clear that he wanted to do it, was Tim Allen.”

[17:38] Tim Allen [recalls his interview process with studio producers over lunch] ...

Elizabeth Cantillon: [about Robbin Williams and Club Paradise and Harold Ramis and his reluctance to cast Tim Allen] . . .

Tim Allen: “The next thing you know, Harold Ramis wasn’t working on it any more.”

. . . [producers talk about Harold Ramis quitting] ...


Shane Mahan (Effects Supervisor, Stan Winston Studio): “He left and then we’re like “now what are we going to do?”

Mark “Crash” McCreery: “And you never know. There are always so many pieces of the puzzle that switch and change. And you get excited about one, you know, manifestation of it. And then something changes and starts to let the wind out of the sail a little bit as you move forward.”

[21:08] Mark Johnson: . . .

Charles Newirth: “… keep the momentum going . . .”

Elizabeth Cantillon: “We talked to a lot of directors.” ...

Mark Johnson: “Dean [Parisot] read it and said “Why don’t you offer things like this to me?”

[interviewer]: How often do you watch Galaxy Quest?”

[22:26] Dean Parisot (Director): “Never. I haven’t watched it in a long time. And it’s not playing. I’m basically a first-time director. I’ve done one movie [Home Fries (1998)] and it did fine. It was alright. But I wasn’t in the category of this movie yet as a director. I would assume I became possible because it was falling apart, and someone needed to come on.”

Elizabeth Cantillon: “Mark vouched for Dean and I think that really made a difference.”

Dean Parisot: “Mark has been incredibly loyal. Mark discovered Vince Gilligan and stuck with Vince’s work for 30 years to get Breaking Bad made. He’s just one of those guys who, like, ‘I like this guy’s work. I like what this guy does,’ and you’re in the Mark Johnson camp.”

Mark Johnson: “Now I know Dean well enough that when it came time for him to do it, when Harold left the movie and we gave it to Dean, he then had some second-guessing. ‘Well, let me re-read it and let me make sure it makes sense for me.’ And there were a couple of us – me at the forefront – who basically said ‘No, you son of a bitch, you’re doing it.”

Dean Parisot: “So then I got this call from Mark. ‘If you say yes right now, I can get you on this movie.’”

[23:31] [some scenes from Goblin Valley, Utah]

Mark Johnson: “I think he understood the movie. I think he understood how to play it.”

Dean Parisot: “I grew up with two brothers and we all watched Star Trek as kids. I can watch Star Trek and be absolutely invested in it and still look at it as this ridiculous thing.”

[Scene from Kirk and Spock in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)]

Dean Parisot: “That show, as a kid opened up so much possibility.”

Wil Wheaton: “You can tell that the film makers love Science Fiction television.”

Damon Lindelof: “It’s very tricky to work on something that you have incredible reverence for. You have to start from a place where ‘I love this thing and the last thing I ever want to do is screw it up.’ And to some degree, particularly as it relates to my work on Star Trek or J. J.’s work on Star Trek and Star Wars, they’re giving us hundreds of millions of dollars to produce our Fan-Fic. Because when you talk about the fans, I just hear you talking to me. We’re one of you.”

Greg Berlanti: “And I think you have to love the story and the kind of world you’re in. It’s a thin line between a really successful fantasy action show and a farce. Galaxy Quest really was one of the first films and stories that celebrated the relationship that fans have with these kinds of films and these kinds of stories.”

Scot Mantz (Film Critic): “The first time I saw it I went: 'Uh, oh. Here we go. OK. I’m used to this being made fun of, it happened when I was in high school.' But then I went, wait a minute. That’s not what this movie is.”

[shows fans at convention seeking autographs from Allan Rickman’s ‘Dr Lazarus’ character]: “By Grapthar’s hammer. By the sons of Warvan. I shall avenge you.” “Next.”]

[25:49] Tim Allen: “The original movie they had was kind of goofy. It was real goofy and everybody would have been goofy-er. That’s how I looked at it. Dean Parisot came on and literally turned it on its ear.”

Charles Newirth: “No question about it. It would have been a very different film if Harold directed it. I don’t know what the film would have been, I’m sure very entertaining. But that movie has a DNA of Dean Parisot. No question. One thing to know, is that Robert then did make several writing adjustments as the film progressed.”

Robert Gordon: “A lot of the stuff I wrote for Harold was making it bigger and we sort of brought it back down after that.

Linda Descenna (Production Designer) “I remember coming in on Galaxy Quest. Once the director was changed and things were sort of a little chaotic having there be some days that were really hard and very strange. And very strained.”

Elizabeth Cantillon: “Dean was afraid of it being too spoofy. So he was always double-checking us.”

Mark Johnson: “We did not want the movie, the sets to look ‘cheesy.’ We had somebody, and I won’t mention her name, who kept on using that word, and we all resented it.”

Linda Descenna: “We were in the middle of building them, having them look like cheesy 1963 based on Star Trek the TV series.”

Mark Johnson: “That’s not what it was supposed to be.”

Linda Descenna: “It sort of changed to look more like Buck Rogers [in the 25 Century 1979-81]. We had to accommodate that, trying to stay within our budget with everything having been designed for a whole other look.”

Wil Wheaton: “It does a wonderful job of creating what you expect from a late ‘70s TV show, but it all looks real.”

Dean Parisot: I looked at it like Oh, I’ve got this great movie that’s smart and absurd and has about 12 levels of irony to it, and fandom, and the whole thing.”

Elizabeth Cantillon: “Dean always understood it. He understood it from the get.”

[27:46] Mark Johnson: “Dean directed Galaxy Quest as a drama.”

Greg Berlanti: “To tell any story well, you have to really believe in the characters. And you have to talk about them, and write them, and shoot them, and cast them in a way that makes everything as real as possible. And it’s the thing that allows us to connect.”

[28:06] Dean Parisot: “Tim is not the obvious comedy choice. But Tim had in his life the experiences that this character had. Tim had just had a major television show stop. And now he was sort of out there in the universe with just a Santa Clause movie and that was it. I think Tim understood that world of protecting yourself from the fact that you might be a one-trick pony. That that might be the only thing you ever did.”

Tim Allen: “I really related to this guy. Kind of a lonely guy. Because when he gets home he lives alone in this creepy house up in the hills. And he’s drunk most of the time.”

[young fan]: “I think he was the perfect cast. Because he plays Buzz Lightyear. And Buzz Lightyear is nothing but full of himself.”

[28:57] Cosplay fan: “I could see where they liked the guy from Home Improvements. What? But he did great. [other fan: ‘Oh, yeah. Phemomenal’] Perfect.]”

Wil Wheaton: “He takes the very best of William Shatner as Captain Kirk and then he combines it, I don’t know if he even did this on purpose, with the very best of Patrick Stewart as a human being. Patrick was very much the leader of our set. And he would put his neck out for people. And he was our captain, on screen and off.”

Paul Scheer (Writer-Performer): “If you squint a little bit, he kind of looks like William Shatner. That is the perfect catch.”

Tim Allen [Jason Nesmith]: “[scene entrance] ‘Your commander is on deck.’ I have this T-shirt, had a big number one on it. But I get to act like that when I come in: ‘Your commander is on deck.’ It was just so much fun to rib these people. Because no matter what they did, I am number one on the call sheet. I’m number one in this movie. But I never believed that.”

[29: 56] Dean Parisot: “Tim was already on board. And nobody else was. The hardest thing on this movie was casting. Debbie Zane is fantastic at bringing in people.”

Mark Johnson: “Just people you ordinarily wouldn’t expect to see in those roles. It’s the cast from Mount Olympus. It just couldn’t be better.”

Greg Berlanti: “I think that one of the things I would go to immediately that I love about the film is getting great, great actors to do something like that. And one of the things that really began to celebrate comic book films was when amazing talent decided it was OK to do those things. That it wasn’t going to be career ending.”

Mark Johnson: “Sigourney went crazy with her part.”

Sigourney Weaver: “My agent told me about it and he said I can’t submit you because they don’t want anyone who has ever done any science fiction to be part of this movie. I don’t understand that. It’s me who has lived in science fiction who really understands what we’re doing.”

[30:51] Damon Lindelof: “You know, when I went to go see Galaxy Quest I was certainly aware of the fact that Sigourney Weaver was in the movie Alien, but that she also had comedic chops. The fact that she’s so different from Ripley. I think that if the character she played on Galaxy Quest was Ripley-esque, it probably wouldn’t have worked.

Sigourney Weaver: “And once I’d read it, [I thought]: I’m certainly as close, if not closer, to Gwen and Tawney as I am to Ellen Ripley.”

Damon Lindelof: “I literally cannot imagine anyone in that part other than her.” Sigourney Weaver [as Gwen DiMarco]: “Look. I have one job on this lousy ship. It’s stupid, but I’m going to do it, OK?”

Sigourney Weaver: “You cannot be an actress in Hollywood without having those Gwen and Tawney thoughts. You can’t be in that atmosphere where it is so much about what you look like, without getting some of those insecurities. I guess in the end they relented, because I forced my way in.”

Sigourney Weaver [as Gwen DiMarco]: “I mean, my TV-Guide interview was six paragraphs about my boobs and how they fit into my suit. No one even bothered to ask me what I do on the show.”

Wil Wheaton: “It’s real important for everyone to understand that this is before Harry Potter. Allan Rickman is known as an incredibly serious actor.”

[Allan Rickman from Sense and Sensibility (1995) “For there is nothing lost that may be found.”

Elizabeth Cantillon: “Allan Rickman is who Bob wanted. It would be Laurence Olivier, you know what I mean? That’s what you want.

Dean Parisot (Director): He’s not a hard sell because everyone respects his work. He’s a hard sell because initially they see it as broad. I’m now seen as an impediment because I’m not putting comedians in it. Allan is unbelievably funny. It’s a different way of looking at it. It’s people who are funny because they’ve committed completely. And it’s a hard thing. It’s a difficult thing because not everybody is in that zone.”

Tony Shaloub (“Fred”): “Loved the script. I sat down with Dean. We chatted.”

Dean Parisot “Tony to me is a silent comedian. He’s physically incredibly funny. Everything he does feels like Chaplin to me. It seems that Tony was made for this part, because this part was underwritten. Sorry Bob. It was kind of underwritten. So there’s a lot more invention. A lot more physicality. A lot more behavior rather than dialog.”

Daryl Mitchel (as “Tommy Weber”): “Man. Where in the hell is he? An hour and a half late. An hour and a half.”

Dean Parisot: “Well, Daryl had been in Home Fries with me. The more irate he got, the funnier he was.”

Daryl “Chill” Mitchell: “I was just imagining what could happen and what couldn’t happen. And then I’m saying to myself, you know, brothers don’t go out into space too often. It got talking to Lavar Burton and he loves it. He loves the movie. He’s like, you know, it made him feel good because he felt like he was trailblazing.”

[34:06] Debra Zane: “If I remember correctly, I think that because Dean wanted Daryl “Chill” Mitchell so badly and he was so much younger than the group and it didn’t make story sense that he would be so much younger. We had to come up with a reason Corbin Bleu playing him as like this boy wonder. And he went on to have a pretty huge career. It was almost like flypaper. All the right people came in and then stuck and they all have big careers.”

[34:08 Paul Scheer (Writer-Performer): “It’s a fun movie to kind of watch in the background. Is that Rainn Wilson?”

Rainn Wilson [as “Lahnk”]: “Sir. I am Lahnk, senior requisition officer.”

Rainn Wilson: Galaxy Quest was one of the very first auditions I did in LA. And actually, my part was supposed to be a lot bigger. But I was also cast in the world’s worst television pilot [The Expendables (1999) on NBC.”

Dean Parisot: “Yeah. He did. He would have gotten more. He was great.”

[34:35] Elizabeth Cantillon: “OK. No one had heard of Sam Rockwell.”

[Sam Rockwell in character as “Guy”]: “What’s my last name? . . . Nobody knows.”

Mark Johnson “My head turned the most with probably Sam Rockwell. I just said, ‘This guy is brilliant’”

Sam Rockwell [“Guy”]: “I did not want to do the part, originally.”

Elizabeth Cantillon:“ He said ‘No’ a million times and she [Debra Zane] just wouldn’t let him.”

Sam Rockwell: “Finally I said, ‘Yes’ to it because I realized that it would come out probably about the same time as The Green Mile. Galaxy Quest and The Green Mile would be such a nice contrast. I can’t explain why I would ever say ‘No’ to this movie. It was just me taking myself way too seriously.”

[35:21] Justin Long [“Brandon”]: “For me it was my introduction to Sam Rockwell and how great Sam was as an actor and as a person.” . . .

Paul Scheer: “Justin Long playing . . .

Justin Long [“Brandon”]: . . .

Debra Zane: “It wasn’t a really big part. He was just so perfect, like that little crack in his voice.”

Justin Long [imitating Michael J. Fox and other influences] . . .”I’m going to steal from everyone that I love.”

Sam Rockwell: “Justin is a very gifted actor and comedian. And he’s got a great ear.”

Justin Long: “I love Sam listening.” [Justin Long imitating Sam Rockwell.]

Sam Rockwell: “Yeah. Yeah. I’ve seen his impression of me. It’s, yes, it’s slightly exaggerated.”

Brandon’s mother: “Brandon, honey. Garbage.”

[37:00] Damon Lindelof: “It’s one of the best comedic cuts in the history of modern cinema. They’re [Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver] trying to get in touch with Justin Long’s character [Brandon], and they’re like ‘Are you there? Are you there?’ And he’s not answering. And you cut to him taking out the garbage. [Brandon: “Mother, I can not stress enough the severity of the commander’s predicament”] He’s still a teenager who has to take out the garbage. His mom does not care that, like, that the fate of all these people up in space depends on him. If you’re a sports kid which I suspect you’re not if you’re watching this Galaxy Quest documentary, it’s not enough to just be in the NBA. You have to win the championship in game seven with three seconds to go. For us. For us, it’s getting the call from Captain Kirk, and he’s saying the Enterprise is in trouble and only you and your nerdy friends have the information required to get the Enterprise out of the situation it’s in. Can you help me, Damon. That’s the fantasy that we have.”

[37:51] Dean Parisot: “There were all these suggestions thrown at us. One of them was to remove entirely the subplot of Justin Long’s character. Which is the very heart of the theme of the movie. There was a little friction.”

[38:08] Damon Lindelof: “I can’t imagine what Galaxy Quest would be without Justin Long’s character. And his little buddies. And also, when you think of like, ‘99, the Internet culture certainly exists but the fact that there’s a fandom and they all have different schematics of areas of the Protector and they’ve got vid screenss of each other up. This is like way ahead of its time.

Greg Berlanti: “I don’t think for instance you could do a film today about the teen nerd and say he was the outcast. Like, it wouldn’t be true. But when I was growing up and I was the DM of my local Dungeons and Dragons group with a bunch of foreign exchange students, it was a very different thing. Then Galaxy Quest came along and said ‘These people are heroes, too.’ They don’t have to be just the funny sidekick. They can actually be at the center of the story. … I really do think that’s a lot more prominent now, that sort of self awareness of one of the characters that kind of reflects the kind of people that might watch the show or see the movie. You could really draw a direct line all the way back to a film like Galaxy Quest.”


[39:25] Wil Wheaton: “And it’s a terrific character arc where they go from being, like, a punch line, to being heroes. And it mirrors very much the journey of the characters who are on the Galaxy Quest show in the movie.”

Two Fans :“In the end it’s the fans who bring the plot together and actually save the universe.

Fan: “If you didn’t have that, then you wouldn’t have Galaxy Quest.”

Roxanne Weir [Galaxy Quest Fan / Cosplayer]: “And one of the things that I really like, is There’s a hero within all of us.”

[39:56] Damon Lindelof: Fans in Galaxy Quest are not just the people who are attending the convention or Justin Long and his buddies. The Thurmians are the fans in Galaxy Quest. They just don’t realize that they’re fans of a television show. They literally say that this television show changed their culture. They credit this television show almost with religious awe.

[video clips of Roxanne Weir and Harold Weir, Galaxy Quest Fan / Cosplayers]

Damon Lindelof: “Real fandom is about creating this illusion that in some way this piece of popular fiction may in fact be real.”

[40:39] Wil Wheaton: “I have always thought that cosplay is the purest, most wonderful expression of love.”

Damon Lindelof: “We love the show. We need the show. We want the show to be real. And you need us. The reason there is a convention is because of us.”

Roxanne Weir and Harold Weir: “We relate so well to the Thurmians, so naive about things. Why do we have to be so crass when we get to be adults. Why can’t we all stay kids? And just: things are what they are. And we don’t know about lies, deception. It started out with the two of us. I made the costumes. [Roxanne]: ‘If you look really close, our costumes aren’t awesome.’ [Harold] They’re not professional quality. I sew my own costumes. When I put those uniforms on, and then I’m not me anymore. [Roxanne]: In this role, we are the Thurmians from Utah.”

[41:38] Wil Wheaton: “It’s perfect that they’re octopuses, because an octopus is real sensitive, and really smart, and very willing to sacrifice itself to preserve its children. And it’s one of the reasons I have an octopus tattoo. So when they are revealed to be octopuses, I’m not saying that I get a little bit of a tear in the corner of my eye, but I’m not not saying that.”

[42:09] Shane Mahan (Effects Supervisor, Stan Winston Studios: “We thought that’s a really unique, crazy out there. They’re kind of funny but no one has ever seen octopus people in a long time. When they were done about three weeks before they needed to shoot, and I got a phone call from Stan, in his car one day. And he goes: ‘Are you sitting down?’ I go ‘No.’ He said ‘Maybe you should go sit down.’ I go, ‘Why?’ He goes, ‘Stephen saw the test footage and he thinks they’re too ugly. He’d like them to be like Close Encounters aliens.’ And I was like, ‘But they’re done. ... They’re done. They shoot in three weeks.”

[42:52] Fan: “I like the octopuses better.

Young Fan: “Octopus. Quality.”

Shane Mahan: “Ultimately it came back to OK, leave them as-is. But there was a fleeting moment when those were almost cut from the movie. And that would have been really tragic.”

[Sam Rockwell as Guy:] “Hey, Fred. Oh, that’s not right. No.” [Fred kissing octopus Thermian Laliari]

Fan: “It’s not right. No.”

Fan: “Oh, that’s not right. Yeah. That is not right.”

Robert Gordon: “I had some very generic line in there. And Sam was so respectful. He comes up and says ‘I was thinking of playing it this way and I was thinking of playing it this way.’

Interviewer: “You asked him permission to change the line to ‘That’s not right.’

Sam Rockwell: “Did I really? Wow. That’s great. I’m glad I did that.”

[43:38] Tony Shalhoub [“Fred”]: “I’m not exaggerating. We were making it up as we went along.”

Greg Berlanti: “Obviously, I wasn’t there when Dean Parisot was shooting the movie, but my sense of the film is that at every sort of step of the way it was a little bit like jazz. They kind of know what the story is they’re telling, but they have to take those risks and still all of that feeling like a single, like, orchestral thing.”

Dean Parisot: “It wasn’t so well planned as you might expect.”

Enrico Colantoni [‘Mathesar”]: Dean, he was like the great enabler of choices. The bigger, the weirder, it was all good.”

[44:15] Debra Zane: “You have to play it completely for real, including Enrico setting the tone for the aliens.

Dean Parisot: “He auditioned. And it was good. But it wasn’t what I was looking for. He got up to go, it was like tentative, something on his mind. I said ‘What? What?’ He goes, ‘I had this voice I was trying.’ [I said] ‘What is it?’ And that was the voice.”

Enrico Colantoni [‘Mathesar”]: “There was a vocal exercise I was taught at the Yale School of Drama. And I was just hitting all the resonators, touching your head, there are seven different resonators.”

[as ‘Mathesar’ at Galaxy Quest Convention to ‘Captain Taggart’]: “I must speak to you. It is a matter of supreme importance. We are Thermians from the Klatu Nebula and we need your help.”

Dean Parisot: “And as soon as he did it I went, ‘That’s genius.’ As I started casting other people we all started trying to duplicate the voice.”

[45:15] Debbie Zane [casting Missi Pyle as “Laliari”]: “I don’t normally do this, but I’m going to show you someone’s audition.’

Missi Pyle “Because I had looked at the sides and I wasn’t really sure. So his audition was [turning to one side and then facing front with a big wide-eyed grin] You know, like that. OK. I know what this is.”

Enrico Colantoni: “Is that what happened?”

[45:33] Debbie Zane: “He basically invented that whole thing.”

Enrico Colantoni: “I didn’t know I had the job yet. I’m glad I found this out after the fact. If I had known that, we would have negotiated a much bigger and better deal.”

Dean Parisot: “As we had alien school every day, they started growing, and getting more fun and more interesting, and having their own particular quirks and traits.”

Actors Patrick Breen, Missi Pyle, Jed Rees: [Missi Pyle doing her their versions alien voices] “...”

[46:07] Woman and man (who speaks) fan: “The part that made me laugh unexpectedly when I first saw it, I thought they were going to kick me out of the theater was the limo scene where he’s looking at her and everything like: “What? She doesn’t speak?”

Thermian “Teb” Jed Rees: “Her translator is broken.” [Missy Pyle in character as Laliari does her squealing alien voice]

Patrick Breen (to Missi Pyle): “Don’t hurt yourself. ...”

Dean Parisot: “And then, once the ball was rolling, they’re all so brilliant, they just kept taking it and inventing more.”

[46:33] Jed Rees: “It had said that they were like Disneyland employees. And they didn’t know what lies were. Patrick came up with the walking with the hands and legs together [Missi Pyle] “slightly wrong. They watched, but they just didn’t – ”

Patrick Breen: And I got that from Thunderball XL-5, because they were marionettes. And we destroyed every extra on that show, because they all had to get that hammered in. any time they were walking behind the camera, they all had to be like….” [Missi Pyle relates how awkward some extras found that particular alien walk] “. . .”

. . . {47:10] Tim Allen: “They came in [makes alien voice noises] It was the longest day because no matter what – once they knew we were laughing at them – they never stopped with that –

[47:17]: Enrico Colantoni: “We were all looking at each other going “maybe we’re having too much fun. We shouldn’t be having so much fun. . . .”

Tim Allen: [makes loud laughing noises]

Greg Berlanti: “They found every joke. They found every exciting moment. They had every great line you could possibly have. No one can explain lightning in a bottle in the business.”

Dean Parisot: “It became what it was going to be. There was nobody stomping on it.

Marc Johnson: “What you always want to do when you’re making a movie for a studio, you want the studio to be making a movie other than yours that’s either really expensive or very high profile, or going dramatically over budget, so all of their attention is on that movie.”

[47:56]: Elizabeth Cantillon: “The studio was making another movie at the time, this movie Gladiator, which is a fantastic movie. It was shooting in Malta. The actor, Oliver Reed, died also while they were shooting. So the most tragic thing that can happen on a movie happened on that other movie that was shooting at the same time we did. So, you know, they weren’t paying that much attention to us.”

Dean Parisot: “There was no adult supervision, or very little.”

Linda Descenna: “The sets melted.”

Elizabeth Cantillon: “No, no. There was a literal fire.”

Dean Parisot: “And I wanted to shoot anamorphic. [stuff about projecting different film aspects in theaters]”

Bill George: [adds comments about film aspect projections]

[50:25] Greg Berlanti: “I think one of the amazing things about great movies is that ultimately everything happened exactly the way it was supposed to.”

Sam Rockwell: “We didn’t know what this was going to be. It was so eclectic, the group of people we had.”

Dean Parisot: “One of the things that helps is that on location people become closer because they’re not dealing with their regular lives. They’re out in some weird place. We were in a very strange location.”

Charles Newirth: One of the things that was very unique was to be able to shoot in Goblin Valley, Utah. It’s a national monument. It’s protected by the government. And Dean responded immediately to that and flew out from Los Angeles.”

Dean Parisot: “And this is where we are. In the middle of nowhere. There’s no stop lights. There is no anything. It’s completely empty. Just a lot of sand and dirt and rocks.”

Mark Johnson: “We were all getting along pretty well. We had a lot of fun. We had some good parties in Goblin Valley. It was hot and people were in latex suits and it was hard, but we had a good time.”

Tim Allen: “This was a horrible McGuffin. That [under] shirt comes off in the desert and the way it’s written, I’m the rest of the movie with no shirt on. And I said: ‘You know what, Dean? If you read this script, when do I get my shirt back on?’ And he says: ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do about that.’ Well, I’m not going to do the rest of this movie – I don’t mind a couple of [times if you] grease me up or whatever you’ve got to do to make me look manly. So that shirt just magically shows up on the control room.”

Dean Parisot: “Yes, because it got beamed up with him” [wipes brow in mock relief]

[52:02] Tim Allen . . .

. . .

[1:02:55] Dean Parisot: “We have this screening where we think it’s great, and that goes really badly.

Elizabeth Cantilon: “I guess it was the PG-13 screening. There were some families there. And a woman followed me into the bathroom and she was like: ‘How dare you. This is a Tim Allen movie.”

Mark Johnson: “And the studio was not crazy about it.”

Elizabeth Cantilon: “We never recovered from that, as far as the studio was concerned. They kind of thought that, “Well. It’s not that good.

[1:03:20] Dean Parisot: “Everybody is afraid that the movie is not working. Because they’ve read it a million times. They’re so invested in it.

Robert Gordon: “None of the jokes are fresh.”

Dean Parisot: “So it’s a very dangerous thing when you make a movie to screen it, because it’s always a mess. And there’s a whole collection of people who want to believe that they fixed it. None of it makes any sense.

[some stuff about the Limosine scene which the studio put in because they believe there was a logic problem and they thought the kids wouldn’t get it.]

Sigourney Weaver: “They cut all these scenes to make it a kid-friendly movie.”

Elizabeth Cantilon: And then they said, ‘OK. It’s Christmas, It’s PG. It’s Tim. Just finish it.’

Bill George: “The darkest day on Galaxy Quest was when Rug Rats came out . . . and it made a butt-load of money.”

“when Sigourney Weaver says “Well [F…] that ...

Elizabeth Cantilon: We didn’t even cover it. We didn’t even try not to do it.” . . .

[1:06:14] Sigourney Weaver: “It’s really a very sophisticated movie.”

Dean Parisot: “For eight year old audiences.”

“...” [more to complete as time allows]