Scott Bakula couldn’t believe how many people showed up for “A Leap of Faith — A Quantum Leap Retrospective” at Thursday’s Comic-Con. More than 600 people filled Room 6A to hear the actor, all by himself, talk about a show that’s been off the air since 1993. That’s almost two decades.
But even with all that time passed, Quantum Leap lives on and not just in the hearts of many die-hard fans.
“The good news is that Don is working on the film script and has a big time Hollywood producer who wants to do it,” said Bakula, then had to wait for the cheering to subside. “It’s about time. But what I always thought would happen, happened… [that he’s now too old for the role]. But Dean [Stockwell, who played Al] and I will have a part in it somehow.
“Don did say that as he was writing, he told me he was having trouble, ‘getting you and Dean out of my head.’ But I know he will do it.”
A few other tidbits that Bakula shared:
• Malcolm McDowell auditioned for the role of Al. But Bakula was most impressed with Stockwell’s reading. “I can’t believe they made him audition,” said Bakula of his co-star, who had been a film actor since childhood.
• Of all the crazy situations his character, Sam, was put into: “There were many times I felt as though the writers were out to get me,” he said.
• As to the rumor that Sam’s “Oh Boy” was originally improvised: “No, that was in the script. The challenge was not to say it the same way 400 times.” But it was improvised in an episode of Chuck this season, where Bakula plays the title character’s father. “I asked if I could do it and they agreed, reluctantly,” he said.• About all the young actors that got their first break on the show, such as Jennifer Aniston, Jason Priestly and Neil Patrick Harris. “Yeah, the show had a buzz for that,” he said. “I ran into George Clooney last year and he said he had auditioned for the show three times. He told me, ‘I wanted to be you.’ I said I was sorry and if he had any parts in any of his movies for me…”
• He hated how the series ended, with Sam choosing to not go home. “We didn’t know it was the last show when we shot it,” he said. “Don wrote it so if the show continued, it could, or if there was a chance of a film or TV film, it could go in that direction. I’ll never forget my son, who was 10 years old at the time, bursting into tears. He said, ‘that’s so unfair — you never got to go home.’ But that’s what the show as about — Sam sacrificing his life so help someone else.”
Despite four seasons as Capt. Archer on Star Trek: Enterprise, two seasons as Chuck’s dad and a season on “Men of a Certain Age,” Bakula admits that the role of Sam is the one that has stuck with him the most.
“It’s still what I’m known for,” he said. “That’s OK by me.”