London MCM Expo
Saturday 26th May 2007
Review and photos by Muriel "Mogs" Moore
Expo isn’t a convention, it’s a memorabilia fair; basically it’s a big dealer room with areas where famous folks sign autographs, a stage where a few panels are held and that’s about it. It’s also very much about computer gaming, comic books and anime, with a smaller emphasis on genre TV, films and other media. At least that was how it seemed to me.
I had originally arranged to go with a friend, but she unfortunately had to cancel due to needing an operation on her foot, so my partner Steve came along to keep me company.
Once the doors finally opened, albeit about 20 minutes late, we made our way through the hall to find out where James and the other ‘24’ cast members were located. James Morrison ("Bill Buchanan") was the first in the line up with Louis Lombardi ("Edgar Stiles"), next, Jude Ciccolella (Mike Novick), and finally Mark Shepperd (Ivan Erwich).
Mr. Morrison looked very relaxed in a black tee and grey pants, and seemed happy to meet the folks who went up to his table.
When I introduced myself by saying "You probably won’t remember me, but I’m Mogs." He answered, "I definitely remember the name. How are you?" (I’m still not quite sure if I should be pleased or worried that my name is apparently so memorable…). We had a brief conversation while he signed a couple of things. He posed for a photo, and then I moved off down the line.
As sometimes happens at conventions and fairs, attendees had the chance to have a photo taken with some of the guest stars by a professional photographer. James had a solo session-mid morning and one with the other ‘24’ actors in the afternoon.
While waiting in line to buy my ticket for these, I met Lourdes and her sister, Olga. We exchanged our early impressions of the day, and agreed that Mr. Morrison was looking very handsome and was totally charming.
I happened to be first in line for the solo shoot, and got a grin from James as I entered the ‘studio’.
Once the picture was taken, James who had obviously shown an interest in how the process worked went over to the photographer. He brought the shot up on a lap-top, commenting that the colours weren’t quite right on the screen. James nodded and said it looked like a good shot. He asked me if I liked it. I did. I also like the one from the afternoon shoot with the other cast members too.
The ‘24’ panel was scheduled for 15:30hrs. After getting several conflicting stories as to how far behind things were running, Steve and I joined the queue at around 15:00 to try and get good seats. No-one seemed quite to know just what was going on. I have to say that this was generally typical of the organisation all day. It eventually turned out that things were running about an hour behind schedule and several panels ended up being cancelled in order to the get the ‘24’ line up on stage just about on time.
Most of the questions were directed to all 4 of the actors, so all of them had mike time, which was nice. The panel seemed to get along very well, and there was a lot of laughter and joking between them and there was obviously mutual respect as well.
When asked how much the actors interacted with each other, they mostly joked about never having worked together and how Jude had it written into his contract that he didn’t work with the other three. James then explained that Jayne Atkinson (who plays Karen Hayes) and he always made themselves available to each other off camera for their telephone conversation scenes. He commented "Jayne gives good phone," which got a few giggles. He then grinned and asked "Was that too risqué?"
Someone asked that if the actors had a say in the way their characters died, how they would have chosen for it to happen. James’s reply was that he’d have Buchanan go up to his office and commit seppuku as an honourable death. Mark commented that he had chosen the way Erwich died, that the character had known he was dead as soon as the gas attack failed, and was like Caesar in his final walk saying goodbye to his trusted men.
Another question was "were there any bloopers that the fans wouldn’t otherwise get to know about". No-one answered for a moment, and then James responded: "You want to know about bloopers that you might not otherwise find out about? There’s one where Kiefer came up and tried to kiss me on the lips. That got sent to the producers, but it got rejected." He almost managed to keep a straight face all the way through the answer, but didn’t quite make it.
Someone commented that you never see anyone on the show doing ‘normal, real things’ like going to the toilet. James, obviously still in a playful mood, commented that he was going to the toilet at that very moment. Then he got a little serious and (along with the other panel members) said that things like that didn’t really make for interesting TV.
When it was put to James that Buchanan was the only ‘adult’ in CTU and surely he would like to send the children (i.e. Jack and Chloe) to the naughty step or to bed without supper, he said that the directors were the ones who had said Bill was the only adult in the show. Then he smiled and said something along the lines of "his actual emotional age is only 6, but he does his best to get along", though I can’t quite remember his actual words.
Then the panel was over and it was time for Steve and me to head home. I visited James at his table once more to get a final autograph for a friend who couldn’t be there and to say goodbye. He asked if I would be there on Sunday. I told him that I wouldn’t as we’d travelled down from home just for the day. He gave me a smile and said it had been nice to see me again.
If I could have gone back on Sunday, I most definitely would have. The format of this kind of event isn’t quite as ‘open’ as a convention; most of the guest’s time seems to be spent at the autograph lines. But, James was as giving of himself and his time as I remembered from Neutral Zone in 2000. If he was tired or stiff from signing for most of the day, he certainly wasn’t showing it. He still managed to chat freely with folks and make us all feel welcome. His warmth and friendliness toward the fans is I think what I will remember most about London MCM Expo.
This review and captured pictures is provided solely as a record of James Morrison's work as an actor, and does not intend or imply any infringement of any copyrights or trademark.