When Brian J. Smith's agent first approached him with the offer to star in the upcoming Syfy movie, “Red Faction: Origins,” the actor was less than thrilled.
"I immediately was like, 'No, no, no,'" Smith, who plays Lt. Matthew Scott on “Stargate Universe,” told me in February, admitting that he'd seen many a Syfy Saturday B-movie. “They’re fun for what they are, [but] they’re kind of shitastic. Do you know what I mean? Which is awesome. There is a kind of tongue-in-cheek quality about them.”
“Red Faction,” he said, will be a step above Syfy's movies of the week. ("Mega Python vs. Gatoroid" comes to mind.) "It's definitely quality and it has really, really smart minds behind it. … This is not going to be another MOW. It just isn’t.”
The movie is based on the popular “Red Faction” video games. Andrew Kreisberg wrote the screenplay based on a story developed by Paul DeMeo and Danny Bilson of THQ, the company behind the video game franchis. Michael Nankin directed the film. The film is set between what happens in the “Red Faction: Guerrilla” and “Red Faction: Armageddon” video games.
In the film, which Syfy has announced will air at 8 p.m. June 4, Smith plays Jake Mason, the last surviving son of Alec Mason (Robert Patrick), the man who led the Martian Colonies to freedom 25 years prior to when “Origins” begins. Kate Vernon, Danielle Nicolet, Gareth David-Lloyd, Tamzin Merchant and Devon Graye also star.
Smith said he initially wasn’t all that interested in the movie, until he read the script. He loved the story, and the Jake character, he said, who is a lot different than his “SGU” character, Lt. Scott.
“It was great to play someone who is a bad-ass and knows it,” he said. “I love Scott, but my God that kid has the weight of the world on his shoulders. There is so much self-doubt and angst and just inner turmoil about him—and guilt, Catholic guilt I guess—about everything. He takes responsibility for everything.
“It was nice to play someone who just could not give a shit about what anybody thinks about him. He’s a lot more reckless.”
Smith also jumped at the chance to work with acting heroes Robert Patrick and “Kate-freaking-Vernon,” as he said. Both veterans, he said, nail their performances.
“[Kate] brings a regalness and a stillness to her performance,” he said of the “BSG” alum, who plays The Matriarch, leader of the tribal Marauders sect that fights Jake’s Red Faction Militia. “I just think it’s really going to be fantastic.”
Despite the often difficult filming conditions in and around Sofia, Bulgaria, Smith is happy he didn't turn down the role because it was a Syfy movie of the week.
"It was the best experience I've ever had on a set," he said. "It was incredible."
Smith talked more about his co-stars, the film itself and the cuisine of Bulgaria. But first, here is Syfy’s description of the movie: