There's Something About Michael
Paul Gendreau, MGM Newsletter #14, Mar 03
Catching up with Stargate SG-1 Star Michael Shanks
Following his much-talked-about one-season absence from the hit sci-fi series
Stargate SG-1, actor Michael Shanks returns to the small screen for the show's
seventh season, beginning this summer on Sci Fi Channel. As Daniel Jackson, an
Egyptologist and the only non-military human member of the SG-1 crew, Shanks
plays a character who is both intelligent and sensitive, as well as extremely
popular with fans of the show, many of whom have clamored for his return
throughout the past year.
We thought you might like to know a bit about the man behind the Egyptologist,
so we sat down with Michael to find out about his past, present and future.
Born in Vancouver, Shanks grew up in a variety of small towns
throughout Canada but carried with him big dreams. "I was always a big fan of
movies and knew at a young age I wanted to be an actor, but I didn't realize
there was an industry in my country that would support it," says Shanks. His
fate was sealed, though, when he entered college at the University of British
Columbia and a friend encouraged him to audition for a play that took Shanks to
the coast of Vancouver. With time to spare before his appointment, Shanks went
to the beach and witnessed his first television production. "At the time, there
were only three film productions being shot in Vancouver and, ironically, I
happened upon the shooting of MacGyver with Richard Dean Anderson," says Shanks,
who has since told his current Stargate co-star the story. Fate, indeed.
Having been bitten by the acting bug, Shanks traded in his
business courses at the university for the theater and ultimately earned his
bachelor's degree in fine arts. Within three years, he starred in more than a
dozen plays, including "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" and "Wait Until Dark."
Discovered by an agent while performing the lead in a play called
"Translations," Shanks signed on and immediately landed his first work, in ABC's
popular crime series, The Commish. "I played a teenager who holds up a flower
shop in order to steal corsages," says Shanks, who recalls fondly the role that
cemented his career choice. "Now it sounds a little ridiculous, but at the time
I thought it was the greatest thing in the world."
After graduation, Shanks became one of only twelve actors
across Canada to be chosen for an apprenticeship program with the esteemed
Stratford Festival. "It was an invaluable learning and growing experience," says
Shanks, whose credits there included "The Merchant of Venice," "King Lear,"
"Amadeus," "Macbeth," and "The Merry Wives of Windsor." His additional theater
credits include "Hamlet" at the Arts Club, "Leonce & Lena" at the Dorothy
Somerset Studio and "Love of the Nightingale" at the Frederic Wood Theater.
Not wanting to limit himself to theater, Shanks continued to
pursue other television roles, including guest-starring roles on Showtime's
sci-fi series The Outer Limits, NBC's telefilm "A Family Divided," and
"Madison," "Eye Level," "University Hospital" and "Highlander," and a lead role
in UPN's telefilm "Escape to Mars."
On the big screen, Shanks can be seen in the film adaptation
of Jack London's "Call of the Wild." "I'm definitely ready to tackle more
feature films," he says. "It's a very different format from television, but
challenging because you can take more risks and be a little edgier."
In his free time, Shanks enjoys rollerblading, golfing and
spending time with his 2-year-old daughter, Tatiana. "There is no denying that
I'm a true Canadian," says Shanks, who has also played hockey for more than 22
years. Despite his active lifestyle, Shanks' true passions still lie within
acting and the artistic process. "I'm interested in all aspects of filmmaking,"
says Shanks. "From directing to producing to delving into features, I'm ready
for it all. But, I can assure you, I will always be keeping one foot on the
© 2003, MGM Newsletter.
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