Date of publishing: 8th
RHI Entertainment, a leading developer, producer and
distributor of made-for-television movies, miniseries,
and other television programming, announced that two
of its most popular productions (Flash
Gordon, a 22-hour adventure series, and The
10th Kingdom, a 10-hour fantasy saga)
will be seen on the ION Television Network’s
RHI Movie Weekend beginning Friday, August 1 (7/6c).
This August, Eric Johnson will star in the title role
of SCI FI Channel’s original action-adventure
series, FLASH GORDON, a modern day retelling of the
classic comic strip franchise. This was the occasion
to ask a few question to the leading man: Eric Johnson
For more information about Flash Gordon and RHI Entertainment,
Johnson is most recognized for his role as “Whitney
Fordman” on SMALLVILLE, a character he portrayed
for three years (2001-2004). His career began over
a decade ago, when he landed the role of “teen
Tristan,” the younger counterpart to Brad Pitt
in the film LEGENDS OF THE FALL. Prior to and following
SMALLVILLE, Eric has enjoyed a successful career in
both the USA and his native Canada working in a number
of films and TV shows, including TEXAS RANGERS, QUESTION
OF PRIVILEGE, STEALING SINATRA and BANG BANG YOU’RE
DEAD. Most recently, Johnson made guest starring appearances
in several television series, including CRIMINAL MINDS,
THE DEAD ZONE, GHOST WHISPERER and THE UNIT.
At the age of 9, to further his desire to be the
center of attention, Johnson enrolled in theater school,
a far more appropriate venue for his little performances
than the hockey arena or dinner table. Eric’s
passion for an audience was undeniable and he soon
began performing in professional theater as well as
landing film and television roles. It was after appearing
in the epic Western drama LEGENDS OF THE FALL that
he realized film and television was the best way to
act out his imagination without people looking at
him funny. (Bio from: www.rogersandcowan.com)
Nuytens: First of
all: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Eric Johnson: Thank you.
Gilles Nuytens: How
did you decide to start acting?
Eric Johnson: I had always enjoyed
being in the school plays and really enjoyed making
people laugh so it seemed a natural fit. I also was
a terrible hockey player so my parents had to find
something to get me out of the house for a few hours
on a Saturday afternoon.
Gilles Nuytens: Your
first big role was playing the young version of Brad
Pitt's character in "Legend of the Fall",
nothing less than that! How did you land playing such
a role? Do you have any good memory with Brad Pitt
(Question dedicated to our female readers!! lol)?
Eric Johnson: Well to be honest it
was a cool process for a 13 yr old kid. I had met
a casting director in my hometown of Edmonton (about
three hours North of Calgary where they shot the film),
he apparently liked what I did and so I was flown
down to Calgary with my dad to audition in front the
director Ed Zwick. Nervous as I could be I somehow
didn't screw up too bad and looked enough the part
to get the Job. It was that experience that made me
realize I could do this for a career. As for Brad
Pitt I never met him. Playing the younger version
of his character meant we were never on set at the
same time. The big thing that I remember people saying
about him though, was what a gentlemen he was and
how fantastic he was to work with.
Gilles Nuytens: I
learned that Flash Gordon isn't going to have a second
season, so what are your plans now? Anything in the
pipeline you are authorized to speak about?
Eric Johnson: Nothing that I am authorized
to talk about except enjoying this summer
playing the best role of all, Dad. My daughter is
10 months and we're having a wonderful time as a family.
Nuytens: So, back
on Flash Gordon, now that the show is over, what would
you say are the positive aspects and the negative
Eric Johnson: The whole experience
was very positive. I have never worked with a
better group of people, not just the actors but the
entire crew. From Producers to PA's it was a great
group of people. I think the only negative thing was
we didn't have the money to do the show as we would
have liked but I am sure every show has that complaint.
Hind sight is 20/20 and of course there are things
at every level we would change, from network decisions
to the everyday choices we made early on but as a
whole given the circumstances everyone can be proud
of the show we put on the air. Our schedule was, on
paper at least, impossible and every week we found
a way to make it work. Despite the critics it is something
I am very proud of, not necessarily for the end result
but the process.
Gilles Nuytens: As
many shows lately, it doesn't have a proper ending,
so do you think there would be any chance to close
the story with a TV movie for example?
Eric Johnson: I think that door is
open, we'll have to see.
Gilles Nuytens: You
all got a wonderful time doing this show, is there
a particular moment that you will remember more than
something else? One of your best memory?
Eric Johnson: One of the best things
about the show is when Gina would get the giggles.
It was always good for a laugh and I was no help to
her at all, in fact I encouraged the giggles. There
were more than a few times when I had to leave the
room so we could get the shot as she couldn't look
at me without laughing. It wasn't fair to Gina but
it was really funny.
Gilles Nuytens: Did
you feel a bit of pressure or stress to portray such
a legendary hero, trying to not disappoint all the
Eric Johnson: No. Filmmaking is so
collaborative, especially TV. There is more pressure
on the networks exec's than me. The only thing I could
do, was do the best I could everyday. If I gave it
my all everyday then there was no pressure for me,
because I could never ask myself "Maybe I
could have done more". So whether the show
was a wild success or a colossal failure, I knew I
did my best.
Nuytens: How did
you land on Flash Gordon? Normal audition process?
Eric Johnson: Yeah it was pretty
normal, the only difference was that as soon as I
read the script I knew it was mine. There was never
a point in all of the hoops an actor jumps through
during the audition process that I doubted that the
Job wasn't already mine.
Gilles Nuytens: Did
you watch all the episodes? What would be your favorite
one as an actor and what would be your favorite one
as a viewer?
Eric Johnson: That's a tough question.
Episode 2 directed by Paul Shaprio was a lot of fun
to shoot and we were starting to get our legs as a
team. Episode 15 with the Bog men was really cool
as it was in the middle of that episode that my daughter
was born. But I have to say as an actor and fan, episode
17 where we went to Frigia was really fun.
Gilles Nuytens: As
a classic in my interviews, do you have any "blooper",
anecdotes, funny moments you'd like to share about
Eric Johnson: There were bloopers
all the time, but one of the funniest things to happen
on set was a prank pulled on me. I really dislike
the band Fleetwood Mac, they just get under my skin.
Anyway it was episode 8 and Karen Cliche aka Baylin
had a very Stevie Nix inspired costume and she started
singing, needless to say it wasn't my favorite. SO,
I come to work one day and everyone is adorned in
Fleetwood Mac buttons on their clothes, my trailer
is filled with Fleetwood Mac stuff and to top it off
Fleetwood Mac was Blaring out for the whole studio
to hear... Everyone was in on it. I now hate Fleetwood
Mac more than ever.... good times.
Gilles Nuytens: What
aspects of your own personality did you put in Flash?
Eric Johnson: Being a dork.
Gilles Nuytens: Question
of your choice ... answer a question you'd like to
Eric Johnson: What about you changed
during the filming of Flash Gordon?
I learned to be fearless. No matter how dire things
may look, no matter how impossible, with the right
attitude and the help of some great people, anything
is possible. It was very humbling.
Nuytens: Do you
have a dream role?
Eric Johnson: Westerns. I want to
be riding horses and out in the prairies. I have done
a few but not nearly enough.
Gilles Nuytens: You
were the Director, Writer, Producer, Composer and
Editor of a short movie called "Fishbowl",
how was the experience being on the other side of
the camera? Is that something you'd like to do more
Eric Johnson: It is something that
I am in heavy pursuit of. I take it very seriously
and really enjoy it. I am a very visual person and
being behind the camera is a good fit for me.
Gilles Nuytens: What
do you like to do in your free time when you're not
Eric Johnson: Play peek-a-boo, work
in my garden, write, cook, and play my guitar.
Gilles Nuytens: Are
you often recognized on the streets as Flash Gordon?
Eric Johnson: In Europe yes. In Canada?
Never. And on the rare occasion in the US.
Gilles Nuytens: Thank
you very much for this interview!
about this interview on the forum