James Callis is probably best known for his role as Dr. (and eventually President) Gaius Baltar in the reboot of Battlestar Galactica. But, the talented actor has done plenty of other work. Great work, actually. So, it is pretty surprising to those who have followed his career that his name isn’t bigger around Hollywood. But fans will know that he’s been in some of the best science fiction work around including a recent stint in the Star Trek franchise.
JAMES CALLIS IS JEAN-LUC’S FATHER ON STAR TREK: PICARD
Science fiction fans were in for a treat in Star Trek: Picard Season 2’s seventh episode “Monsters” which brought James Callis into the mix. He played Maurice Picard, a name folks would recognize as the father of Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard. But how could that be possible seeing as how Stewart is 31 years Callis’s senior? Well, it happened in a flashback/ memory for starters.
In the episode, Picard sees Maurice in a flashback and gets clarity about his father’s treatment of him as a child. Callis was cast perfectly in the role, offering a bit of ambiguity around whether he’s “good” or “bad,” an acting trait the dude has somewhat perfected over the years.
James Callis got the role, in part, because of his work with Picard showrunner Terry Matalas after the two had worked on the series 12 Monkeys together. Callis would appear once more, two episodes later in Season 2.
JAMES CALLIS GOT HIS START ACTING IN LONDON
James Callis was born in Hampstead but he was raised in London to parents that owned a bed-and-breakfast. His school background included the University of York, where he received his BA in English and Related Literature. Here is where he began to find interest in acting.
After York, he went on to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, where he received the Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer. He told the A.V. Club about his early days:
“I’ve been acting for years and years, at prep school—you know, school plays, that kind of thing. That was always very high on my agenda. I went to study English for two reasons. Principally because when I was in university, studying drama wasn’t considered an option. You couldn’t get a degree course for it. And so many plays and things that I was interested in landed themselves in a broader spectrum of literature.”
He also told the A.V. Club of his desire for a quick jump into acting, “From university, I tried to get into the profession almost immediately, and just got kind of kicked back in London, by lots of people saying, ‘Well, you know, we’ll need to see you in something.’ And the easiest way for you to get seen in something is drama school. That is the best way to get an agent.”
HE GOT MORE RECOGNITION IN THE BRIDGET JONES FRANCHISE
Persistence paid off for the eager actor. James Callis had begun to forge his career. His early roles were centered around British work, starring in series such as Murder Most Horrid, Soldier Soldier, Ruth Rendell Mysteries, Sex, Chips & Rock n’ Roll, Arabian Knights, and Jason and the Argonauts. This led him to the first of three Bridget Jones movies.
The movie obviously centers around Renée Zellweger as Bridget but also stars Hugh Grant and Colin Firth. James Callis found a role in the film as Tom, a friend of Bridget Jones.
The movie spawned two sequels: 2004’s Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and 2016’s Bridget Jones’s Baby. He reprised his role as Tom in each of the sequels.
JAMES CALLIS IS GAIUS BALTAR IN BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
James Callis first joined the Battlestar Galactica crew in the mini-series pilot. The mini-series was created to gauge the interest of fans. Producers wanted to see if a possible series reboot could happen. Thankfully, it did. The series started the following year with James Callis on board as Dr. Gaius Baltar. His character was a reimagining of Count Baltar on the original 1978 Battlestar Galactica series.
As Baltar, Callis truly embodied the role. He perfected the persona of a shallow man with an overinflated sense of self. His brilliance, though, was recognized and he was given the role of Chief Science Officer onboard the Galactica.
The series ran for four seasons and Callis played Baltar throughout the entire run of the show. He was also seen as Baltar in the TV movie Battlestar Galactica: Razor.
BEYOND ACTING HE IS A MUSICIAN AND HAS ALSO DIRECTED
Acting isn’t all that James Callis has up his sleeve. Besides being well-educated and a wonderful actor, Callis is also known for his musical abilities. He can play both the piano and guitar amazingly well.
Callis has also spent some time behind the camera as a writer and director. As a writer, he has two short films, Surety and All Cock and No Bull!. He directed the latter short film. He also wrote and directed the feature Beginner’s Luck.
Callis has also been married for 22 years while raising three children.
HE IS IN 12 MONKEYS AND MACGYVER
Bridget Jones and Battlestar Galactica are only a couple of titles on James Callis’s lengthy resume. He has seen extensive work on hit TV series such as Flashforward, Portlandia, Eureka, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, A.D. The Bible Continues, and The Musketeers. His feature film credits include Narcopolis, The Hollow, Blood Moon, and House by the Lake.
Lately, Callis has been involved in television series like 12 Monkeys, Blood & Treasure, and MacGyver. He has also lent his vocal talents to the animated series Castlevania.
If you have seen any of his work, you know James Callis is seriously talented. It’s nice to see such a talent continue to work in Hollywood. With as many remakes, sequels, reboots, and reimaginings that continue to plague Hollywood, don’t be surprised if another Bridget Jones is coming soon or even another adventure on the Battlestar Galactica.
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