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Stargate SG-1 Cast Interviews: Michael Shanks

Jackson's Back
Thomasina Gibson, Sci Fi Magazine Vol 9 No 2, Apr 03

"Robert Cooper and I have talked about what supposedly happens off-camera [between the end of Full Circle and the beginning of Season Seven] and, in true Stargate tradition, Daniel is left to make a choice. Basically, it comes down to the philosophical difference of Daniel realizing that what he thought of as Utopia is actually full of dos and don'ts, and he's not actually going to accomplish much by staying on the path he's currently on. "So, rather than stay and continue his spiritual journey, Daniel chooses to go back and conclude the unfinished business in the 'real' world, as it were. So in the episode entitled 'Fallen,' we find that he's basically been tossed out of heaven, and we find him buck naked in the middle of some park with no memory of who he is or how he got there or what happened in his previous life. So the journey picks up from there."

Michael Shanks is forever grateful for the support from everyone who made his return to the fold possible. "I'm truly delighted to be a part of the team once again. I was filming in South Africa when I got the call from Hank Cohen at MGM asking if I would like to return to SG-1 for the seventh season. I don't know who to thank most, between the people at SCI FI and the fans and the guys at Stargate Productions but, of course, the only response I could give was a resounding 'Yes!' I've had a great year travelling and filming other projects and exploring other avenues but am truly delighted to be working with the SG-1 team once more."

Building Friendships

 "Rick is in fewer days per week," explains Shanks, "and one of the main factors contributing to my wanting to come back was the fact that I knew I was going to get the chance to be involved in the individual episodes a lot more. Obviously we all support Rick's decision to take that quality time with his child, and the benefit to all of us is that all the other characters get the chance to do a lot more. I think that all the dynamics between the characters, i.e., between Daniel and Carter [Amanda Tapping] and Carter and Teal'c [Christopher Judge] and Teal'c and Daniel, have all been underdeveloped during the first five years of the show. Last year and for sure this year, all those dynamics are getting a chance to grow and bear fruit, and that'll be great for the audience and for the actors, too."

"When he's [RDA] not there we miss him a lot," Shanks smiles. "We shot the first week of the show without him, and though we were all doing a great job and were really pleased to be working together, something was missing. It felt kind of empty. But then Rick showed up and we all went, 'Ah! OK! There we go. We're getting back to it. I guess you could say there's just a palpable chemistry between the actors. You can really feel it. Having been away for most of last year, I certainly felt it when I got the chance to come back and play with everybody again."

Season Seven

"We've just shot 'Fragile Balance,' which is a fun one. It involved a young actor playing Col. O'Neill as a younger version of himself. It was a lot of fun to work with a kid who was trying to get all the O'Neill-isms we all know and love so well. [Director/producer] Peter DeLuise, of course, was right in there giving line readings, which I have to tell you weren't off the mark. It was hilarious, because in doing a character for so long you almost become caricatures, and watching somebody do Rick's character for a whole episode was a lot of fun."

Another episode high on Shanks' list of forthcoming attractions is entitled 'Orpheus.' "It involves the ramifications of Daniel's ascension and the effects of what happened to Teal'c from 'Changeling.' The results of these two situations unfold independently and they'll sort of culminate in a climax that involves a third story. It's very multi-layered and there's a lot of interesting interaction between Teal'c and Daniel.  As actors, Christopher and I get to bite into a rather large sandwich with that one, and to see what we do with it should be fun. We don't often get the chance to play off one another, so I'm looking forward to dealing with some tougher emotional material there."

Scriptwriter

"I'm in the process of hashing out an outline for a script that should show up around episode 13 or 14." The multi- talented Shanks ventures, "Writing is a whole other arena that is both exciting and sometimes frustrating, but it's great to see the other side of the coin. As I learned when I did my director's stint, being actively involved in another aspect of television production gives you insight into what the writers go through to get things to a point in time where an actor can breathe life into their words."

Before then, though, he's just happy to be back enjoying his time with the cast and crew, hopeful that once his episodes start to air his fans will think getting him back was worth all their effort.

2003, Sci Fi Magazine.

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Since 2002, an independent Stargate site by fans, for fans. Contact us. Read our copyright statement.

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