Profile: Michael Shanks
Cinescape, May 02
On his forthcoming appearance in his only Season Six episode "Abyss":
Dr. Jackson will be back for the Season 6 episode titled “Abyss”, where Jack O’Neill is captured and tortured by the Goa’uld Ba’al (Cliff Simon). Daniel, now in civilian clothes, comes to O’Neill with an offer to “ascend.”
Shanks relaxes in his trailer on the set. “It’s a very emotional, character-driven episode,” he says. “It’s all related to the Jack and Daniel friendship that began in the movie. Brad Wright told me last year that he had an idea of the story that included the Daniel character. I asked him if I could read the script and I thought it was a beautiful way to have Daniel back. "The character retains much of who he was before, no matter what spiritual journey he’s on now. He is different physically, but inside he’s the same."
On why he left Stargate:
“I’ve been playing the same character for a long time,” says Shanks. “I felt that the character was a regular and should be utilized like that. I thought that would be appropriate, but I felt that wasn’t going to be the case. I was going to become a useless actor on that show. I felt that I should move on and do something else as an actor, so I decided to leave. But,” adds Shanks carefully, “our disagreement about the course of the show is not related to the wonderful years I have worked with these people. These people are great.”
On fan reaction to Daniel's departure:
Shanks comments that he knew there would be some reaction to his departure, but he never imagined that the show’s fans would be so vehement over it. “It’s been lovely, but it’s also been difficult,” says Shanks thoughtfully. “Some of the criticism, some of the overly passionate defenses of the character and the actor. People are very upset, and that hurts me too because I think of it that way. But I believe that I made the right decision at the time.”
“Directing is something I really want to explore,” says Shanks. “But I have a lot of work to do in regards to understanding the technical process behind that. I have lots of great ideas running around my head all the time, but I don’t know how to make them come to life. I need to learn more about that. I think that’s the best position to be, to be able to show others that picture in your imagination.”
On the future:
Stargate: Christopher Judge (Teal’c) is in process of writing a Teal’c-centered episode with Daniel’s return as a spiritual guru.
Anxious fans await the second return of Daniel. “I don’t expect that,” Shanks says in a low voice. “We’ll see one, anyway. I think it’s a step-by-step process between the producers and myself, how they feel, how I feel. It’s a kind of ball game.”
Other projects: “I’ll be leaving for Ireland in late April or early May,” says Shanks. “I’ll be there for four weeks and then for two weeks in Toronto. It’s called MYSTERIOUS LAND. It’s a little bit of political poetry about love and spirituality."
Stargate the movie: “I’d really like to be involved in that,” Shanks says, leaning forward. “I think it’s such a great concept show to come from a big screen and go to a small screen and then back to the big. But, again, I think that’s one of those decisions where I wouldn’t just do it to be doing it. I’d want to be involved with the character, if that option presented itself. I hope everything will work out for the best for both of us. I still very much like the show. I still very much like Daniel Jackson.”
“Abyss” is tentatively scheduled for July 19.
© 2002, Cinescape.
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