David James Elliott
JAG's David James Elliott has traded his buzzcut and pressed uniform for a flowing mane and leather battle-wear to star in Sci Fi's two-part movie event Knights of Bloodsteel (Sunday, April 19 and Monday, April 20, 9 pm/ET, Sci Fi). Elliott stars as freedom fighter John Serragoth in this tale about the continent of Mirabilis, where humans, goblins, elves and dwarves seek bloodsteel, an ore that imparts magical abilities to anyone who can draw it from the Earth. TVGuide.com spoke with Elliott about making the leap into the fantasy genre, training for sword-fighting scenes and talking up the idea of a JAG reunion.
TVGuide.com: Knights of Bloodsteel could not be more different from JAG. What drew you to the project?
David James Elliott: I'm a fan of the genre and I'm always looking for something my 6-year-old can watch. I thought it was right up his alley. He's always asking me to be in a movie, because he's a big movie watcher.
TVGuide.com: Did you read all the Lord of the Rings books?
Elliott: I read The Hobbit, all the Tarzan books when I was a kid, and Conan the Barbarian — all that fantasy stuff.
TVGuide.com: Did you pass that love of the genre on to your kids?
Elliott: Well I have a 16-year-old daughter, so she was never aware of any of that, although I think she's reading Twilight. But my son is certainly into it, you know Star Wars and all that, and that's a similar realm, I guess.
TVGuide.com: How long did it take you to learn how to sword-fight?
Elliott: I grew up in the theater — the classical theater — I went to theater school and studied swordplay. I worked with a man named Patty Crane who was Errol Flynn's stand-in back in the '30s in Hollywood. So I wasn't a stranger to sword-fighting, but it had been a while.
TVGuide.com: It seemed pretty intricate. Were you ever nervous you'd get hurt?
Elliott: Well it's choreographed, so hopefully it comes off like a dance. ... The swords were made of steel and they were sharp. I had one glance off my eyebrow — ripped through my eyebrow and just missed taking my eye out. So I had one mishap, but it's pretty amazing that with all the fights we had, that was the only disaster. Usually in fistfights you get punched in the face. I remember on JAG, Joe Jackson punched Stephen Culp and shattered his nose. You know, we were going into our 18th hour of shooting, and they had a sequence where he had to pretend to punch him in the face, and he landed it and they had to take him away in an ambulance.
TVGuide.com: Would you ever return to series television or are you happier doing smaller projects now?
Elliott: I guess if the series was right, I'd like to do it. It's tiring though. At the time, at the end of 10 years [on JAG] it felt like, "never again will I do this to myself." But you miss it too. You miss that everyday practicing of your craft and it's a big family. But I do enjoy the freedom of doing a movie and then having some time off.
TVGuide.com: Any chance of a JAG reunion movie in our future?
Elliott: I'm not aware of any in the works, but that would be interesting. I've never actually had that question posed before. But maybe it's that time now when people are thinking, "You know what? Maybe there will be a movie."