Cliff Simon: Fueled By Death and Personal Space

By Jeff Ayers — / Death Wish Coffee Blog

On a recent episode of Fueled By Death Cast, we talked with the talented actor and athlete Cliff Simon. Cliff has an incredible life story and is most widely known for his portrayal of the villain Ba'al in the science fiction show Stargate SG-1.

Speaking of science fiction show, Cliff is in a brand new show on Amazon Video called Personal Space. A groundbreaking idea in the genre, it follows astronauts on a deep space mission while their therapy sessions are broadcasted reality television style back on Earth. We asked Cliff about the new series:

Cliff: It was amazing. Tom Pike, the producer, and writer, he's amazing what he was able to do with the limited budget he had. There's a lot of projects we get offered. Like I don't ... 99% of the time I don't do student films and I don't do web series stuff or ultra-low budget stuff simply because a lot of it is not stuff I want to be attached to.

They always say as an actor you're only as good as your last job and all that kind of stuff. It's, unfortunately, one of those things you got to kind of pick and choose what you want to do. Tom came along and my manager, Marilyn Atlas, knows him pretty well. She said, "Cliff, you got to work with Tom. Tom is ... You just got to work with him." I said, "Fine. I'll work with him." She wasn't wrong. What he can do and his writing is phenomenal. That's why the show ... It doesn't matter where we shot it, it is a great show. It's going to get even better when they get to season two. 

So he's just a great guy to work with and I think Tom's going to go a long way in the industry. Hopefully, I'll work on anything he's done. I just shot another movie, a short film, for him now called the Long Big, which was amazing. You see the shots he got was unbelievable. So stuff like this it's very important because this is ... I'm choosing kind of from an artistic point of view. It's something I wanted to do, and yes, the premise of this Personal Space blew me away. I thought, "This is brilliant.

This is an amazing premise and if it ever became a TV show, would be unbelievable because it's the first time it's ever done." Yeah, so working with him was great and working with Nicki Clyne, of course, was fantastic.
We're also talking about disability in film. Kurt has got a prosthetic leg. So it's amazing to work with these people because that's what it's all about. So they're going to release the 28 episodes all at once onto Amazon Video in March. So that's going to be pretty amazing.

But another thing we learned about Cliff was how he truly is 'Fueled By death' and subscribes wholeheartedly to the idea.

C: There's a very good ... I've been reading a book. It's very good. It's about people. Are we fueled to be so ambitious that it's greedy? Are we being greedy? Why don't we just go about our day to day life, wake up in the morning, go to a job? Why don't we just do that? Why do some of us want more and more and more? Are we being greedy? But I don't see it as that. It's like I just feel some people have more ... They want to risk taking. They want to experience new things. It's definitely not about the money. It's definitely more about life. The earth is such an amazing, huge place and why should we just live in one little city, in one little suburb, in one little house and go to the same little coffee shop every day? There's so much to experience. 

I've always believed ... I have a video up on my website, which is just me doing a video about ... It was done for a hosting to host and I say the body is built to feel sensation. It doesn't matter what that sensation is. Whether you want to fall through the sky or whether you want to race cars or whether you want to be an actor, it's built to feel sensation. I'm a big believer in that you have to feel sensation. You can't just sit on a couch all day. You must go to the gym. You must do whatever. Stay active.

So I think what fuels me is to experience different things and to experience a satisfaction in learning something new. One thing about acting is and why I was attracted to the acting industry, in the beginning, is because every time I got to a job, every time I'm on a set it's different. Even though I'm still being an actor, it's completely different. I'm playing a different character so I'm becoming a different person. I'm working with different people. I'm in a different workplace. So I think that's what attracted me to this business right in the beginning and actually right through whatever I've done. Right through modeling and dancing and even teaching water sports. Every day was different.

Ambition fuels me, for sure. I'm never an ambitious person, and yes, I get very down sometimes when things aren't going my way or I'm not getting to where I think. But I think wherever we think we want to get to is probably not realistic. I've always said and I've always believed in the saying, "Shoot for the stars and you might hit the moon." It's like, okay if your dream is to be a millionaire, aim to be a millionaire. Maybe you're gonna make $200,000, but you got a dream really big to get anywhere. You might not get to what you think but you're going to get somewhere.

My dream at one state was to become a United States citizen. I had no idea I would ever become a United States citizen. I became a citizen in 2005 and of course one of the best days of my life. I'd reached a dream. I'd reached a hurdle. It's just amazing. 

I've always said, "Just go for what you want and never let anyone tell you-you can't do something." A lot of teachers tell kids you can't do this, you can't do that. If your kid says, "I want to be an astronaut," you must say, "Good. Go for it. Be an astronaut."

If you want to hear the full inspiring conversation with Cliff Simon listen to Fueled By Death Cast Episode 64 right here.



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