Michael Shanks Q&A
Fan Odyssey Convention, Jun 03
is quoted it is to the best of my ability verbatim. When information is not
in quotes it is as accurate as my scribbled notes and our memory can make
it. Information in [brackets] are my comments and should not be taken as
With much gratitude to
Tenaya, Tricia, Rowan, Rene, and all the many wonderful minions who donated
their pictures and memories to "the cause".
Cathy for Solutions
09 Jun 03
Alison interjects here
to bounce because *seven* of these questions were mine, including the story
pitch Michael Shanks pinched! And no, I won't sue :)
Fan Odyssey Photo Gallery
[The convention room was a
fairly smallish room with about a hundred people sitting in chairs, in about
five rows. Michael Shanks (MS) arrived from the airport at about 11:45
but came on at about 3pm. His presentation lasted about an hour with
an hour and twenty minutes of autograph time. After that he had to dash
back to the airport immediately to catch his flight back to Vancouver. Rumor
had it that it was Lexa's birthday on Sunday and he wanted to be certain
to be back in time for it. Yep, he came down just for us for a two
hour visit, for those not in the Los Angeles area it's about a 4 hour flight
to Vancouver so that's pretty cool.]
[And for those who like all
the details and haven't hit the picture section yet. (Insert run way announcer
voice) Mr. Shanks was quite lovely in faded torn blue jeans, a short
sleeved checkered shirt with rolled up sleeves that showed off his VERY nice
muscles and sun bronzed skin, with a faded light blue t-shirt underneath.
He was also wearing black leather Doc Marten style shoes that laced up (I
have no sense of fashion so please see the picture). His hair was short,
playfully spiky in the bangs, just long enough in the back to touch the nape
of his neck, sideburns were back to being average length, sandy brown hair,
a bit blonde on the tips and verrry nice. A+ on the hair cut. Of course the
smile and those cerulean blue eyes weren't bad either. And we need not even
mention the dimples. This ends the fashion section of this report. C'mon,
you know you wanted it.]
THE QUESTIONS AND INDEED THE
Michael Shanks greeted
us with: "So how's it going? Everything great? Where are we at?
You know I was going through the dilemma this morning because I had a full
beard, and I have to have a half one for the show right now. So I was
going through this dilemma, a lot of people don't like me with that [the
beard]. But for the show, there's a two-parter "Evolution" where Daniel
gets captured and flogged and beaten and tortured and beaten and tortured
some more. I was trying to think about what else I do in that show and that's
about it. Therefore…(he smiled at the audience with his very cleanly shaven
Q-What about that story of
yours this season?
"Writing any part of any show in general I'm learning is a strange, strange
medium. You go into a room with a few ideas and you're facing the writers
and they take your ideas and what they end up doing is, 'Wow! That's a great
idea for MY script.' (He went on to explain jokingly about how one shouldn't
ever give ideas to writers because you'll go into a room, pitch a bunch of
your best ideas and they'll say, 'Hm, okay. We'll get back to you.
They're just okay.' Then he mimed waiting for the person to leave and turning
to all the other writers and stealing those ideas for their own stories.
"So what ended up happening
is that I had about two or three different story ideas that I wanted to be
my story originally. I wanted to do a sequel to an episode called Crystal
Skull from third season. How Nick, the grandfather, is dying of cancer."
[The audience reacted with
sad 'aaaaaah's' to this but he laughed and said, "Don't worry, it doesn't
exactly happen this way anymore." and then explained that the Aztec gods
had tried to help Nick out by giving him something that was the equivalent
to the fountain of youth originally. And that Daniel finds the body and finds
Nick's notes on it.] [Note to fic writers, yet another member of Daniel's
family was scheduled to bite the dust. Poor perpetual orphan. But this
time he was doing it to himself.]
"Cooper had [a similar idea
that involved] the idea that they [the Goa'uld] get this device that is able
to create this brand new enemy that we're gonna have that will kind of replace
the Jaffa as our storm trooper-type characters. There's no name for them
as of yet, but they're much more powerful than the Jaffa, who you're now
able to hit with nail clippers or something like that, and they fall down.
So they're replacing those troops with a much more powerful soldier. This
is in the two-parter we're doing and how I got a writer's credit on it.
But it's not the idea I originally had. I had a more…purer vision originally."
Q-What has challenged you
as an actor and why? Specifically what episode stands out for you that challenged
MS: "A great
acting challenge was
by Brad Wright. He wrote it originally back in the 5th season and didn't
get the chance to use it. (In an aside MS says) Brad's not in the office
much, but like a Howard Hughes figure who grows long hair and fingernails,
like a ghost, he's still around, but not really active. He haunts the
corridors and is like a father figure to the others now." MS went on
to explain that he kept the character in mind, referring to Daniel, and waited
for another opportunity to use the story.
"In this episode I got to
play many different characters that are downloaded into Daniel. All
these characters are played different from each other. They all have their
own agendas and their own personalities. The fact that they (the writers)
trust you that way is respect enough and that's a great honor that Brad could
give me the credit that I could pull this off. It's a great gift.
I saw it and it's okay.
It's good. It's fine. It's fine. You know I'm a bad one to ask about my own
work…um it tells the story. I appreciated the chance to jump through
those hoops because we don't get too many chances. That to me this year
was the biggest actor challenge."
Although he goes on to explain
that "this year has been a bit of challenge in general because of the fact
that I've been given a lot more to do on the show what with Rick being there
less. That's not a bad thing. It gives him (Richard Dean Anderson) a
chance to spend time with his family. To do more of the things he wants
to do." MS is careful to go on to explain however the reason this is not
a bad thing is that RDA then comes back well rested and with lots of energy
for the show which makes it better for the show and the time they do have
on the set together.
Q-We heard about a project
a while back called "Children of the Monsoon". Did that ever happen?
What's going on with it?
MS: "That was a project
that went down to a week before I was supposed to go to India to film this
independent movie and as what often happens with independent movies, the guy
all of a sudden panicked at the last minute. His uncle is a big, you
know 'well entrenched' movie producer. The uncle had said something
like 'You know you could do this for 30 million dollars, rewrite the movie,
get Ben Affleck or someone to do the part and sell it to a big studio.' Basically,
the movie sort of fell through which happens all the time in the business.
Q-You showed the audience at
SFX your appendix scar a couple of weeks ago. Are you going to show
us? (At which point the audience dissolved into hooting and hollering
Q-Isn't Lifeboat pretty much
like Legacy again?
MS: "Oh, you
guys! What's with the flesh? I'll tell you what, we'll save it
for the end. It'll be the coup de gras. And besides there's children
present." [Note-Nope, sorry we didn't end up having time for a scar
appearance and so this con group didn't get to see that "bit of flesh". The
MS: "No, not
really. In Legacy, despite being under the influence of Machello's device,
Daniel is still his own person. While in
although he's still walking around in the white housecoat, it's a different
story. This time it's not schizophrenia. He's acting different because
there are all these distinct personalities inside of him, each with their
own agendas. They are actual people inside his head.
Q-With Daniel descending with
all the potential knowledge of the Ancients, which would be incredibly valuable
to the NID or the Goa'uld, will we be seeing any of that type of storyline
in the future where they want to get that information from him?
MS: MS blinks
wonderfully for a moment and then gets a really big smile. "That's a
great idea." He mimes reaching out and plucking up the idea. "Mine!"
he says delightedly. "What a great idea for a story I'm writing!"
(This is said jokingly, directly referring to his earlier mention of how writers
gather stories in this manner during pitches.)
MS then went on to laugh
because a number of us throughout this Q&A session had had bits of paper
with questions already jotted out on them and he said, "What, is this a consortium?
Did you pull all these questions out of a cookie jar? These are really
[In fact, what had happened,
unbeknownst to Mr. Shanks, was that while we were in line a bunch of us had
passed around a wishlist of questions from some of the fans who commune on Our Stargate
forum and had divided them up to use as well as adding our own.
Because many of us wanted to have thoughtful questions to ask and wanted to
be prepared with a nice variety which wouldn't duplicate each other. Since
it's not only easier to have something to refer to when it's your turn to
ask but also it's often difficult to think up a new and interesting question
when your top two have just been asked and the cerulean blue gaze is upon
you. This way we were well prepared. And, MS seemed to enjoy
them a lot.]
[Back to the question of
Daniel's knowledge of the ancients.]
MS: "It's like the
Jolinar with Sam Carter issue that is touched upon when convenient but left
alone most of the time. It (the ascension information and issue) will
come to a head at some point. I'm actually trying to write a story
for possibly next year, if there is one, which will involve certainly a lot
of back story of what happened to him while he was ascended. You know
with Richard [most likely referring to Jack during Abyss] being there, that
could be mined as well. There is [one episode this season]
which touches on Daniel's memory of being an ascended being and that's going
to be the fourth episode of the year, but we haven't really delved into that
Q-Why did Daniel, the character,
between '1969' and 'Out of Mind' change his hair?
MS: MS asks
for clarification, "You mean the character and not the actor?" And the questioner
MS: "He didn't GET
his hair cut! Those crazy, wacky aliens DID it to him! He didn't do
anything. They did it!" MS gets a sly grin at this point. "But he LIKED
it and he kept it." [You can tell he's talking about himself at this end
point and not necessarily.]
Q-When's your episode scheduled
to be done? Is writing something you want to do more of?
MS: "The episode
I'm writing [Resurrection]
is now scheduled for episode eighteen. (He laughs.) Now, I don’t think
there's a snowballs' chance in hell it's going to be done by then. Sooo...
(He laughs at himself again.) We had the story meeting and it's all mapped
out. I've got the beat sheet all done. The outline has to be
fleshed out. I'm spending the three-week hiatus, starting in late June,
beating my head against the wall and trying to hash out the actual dialogue
and whatnot for it. It doesn't come easy to me. Is it something I want
to do more? I get a lot of good ideas. It's like school. I had
a lot of great ideas for my essays, but it's actually sitting down and following
through that's work. I'd rather pitch."
Q-So, what possessed you to
do it then?
MS: "I'm an
idiot! (And he cracks up laughing at himself.) It's like walking a mile in
the other person's shoes. If you're going to sit there and harp on the writers
for their job, then you need to live in their world and find out what they're
doing. The same thing happened when I directed in the fourth year, which
is that you learn to lighten up on directors as an actor because as you realize
too much (time spent) on a dumb point or something like that can really cost
him his day time-wise, so you learn a lot of valuable lessons. The lessons
help you to empathize with a lot of other people. I think it would
be great if we all could swap jobs for a day just to see that you don't have
to bark at the postman all the time."
Q-What's the story about?
is a part of the story writing process too. The story I started off writing
is not the story I'm actually writing and I think that comes from being the
low man on the totem pole. You sort of go… (during the meeting), 'O-kay.
Okay. Okay.' (mimes nodding his head as he looks at all these people
giving him new information from around a table) and then you look at what
you've got, after they've given you their notes on your ideas, and you go,
'What the hell is this?' It's like the broken telephone relay. There
are five writers in the room going, 'No, no, it won't work. Hey, how about…'
and then the next guy goes, 'Yeah, and then we could do this idea I've had,'
and add that, and they add their own parts to it and it goes around the table
that way. By the time you get it back you don’t even recognize it and then
they shoo you out the door and say 'Yeah, go write that.'
So, it's an NID story now.
I originally had them as a small element in the story but it's a lot more
than I had planned. Now it's about an NID facility, and they are stealing
all these artefacts and are conducting a programme which is experimenting
with genetic research. They're taking a human host and combining it with a
symbiote so that a person would have all the benefits, given the knowledge
of the Goa'uld, without having to deal with the Goa'uld. It's a genetics story,
where you have this nice innocent young girl, Daniel, and an evil scientist.
And it's about her struggle of treading that fine line between good and evil.
It's still mythology-based and still has a backstory, but in this case it's
a young girl that Daniel ends up encountering and SG-1 interacts with."
Q-Will you go to Gatecon?
MS: "I don't
know. Maybe, but then we may be done by then. I've been asked
the last three years. But then again, I'm down here each second week to see
my kid. So it's difficult to know."
Q-You seem to have done a
lot of Sci-Fi. Do you like it or are you worried about being typecast
as a genre actor?
really cool. No. No. It is. A lot of genre TV is filmed
in Vancouver where I started. It's true a lot of different shows I've done
are more what you would call genre shows. But rarely do such shows like "NYPD
Blue" or "Law and Order" get to do what we do. It's all the same thing
each day in the courtroom or whatever. Where this is great, very interesting
stuff we work on. It's never dull and the people who seem to watch
are so enthusiastic. But you do sometimes have those moments where you think,
I get to do all this cool stuff I've always wanted to do and pretend it's
real, and I get paid for it."
Q-You were on "Highlander"
the series, did you know about "Highlander" before you came on the show?
MS: "Oh, yeah.
That was one of my favorite movies. The original movie was one of my
favorite movies. When the series first came to Vancouver I was dying to get
on it. Then I got on it and I died," he says laughing. "No, I really liked
it. I thought it was a great show. A great concept. And I think it
probably has a lot more legs to carry it on to a new generation of series.
So I think it's great and I enjoyed it a lot."
Q-If Daniel could get away
from it all what would he do? What does Daniel do in his off-time?
does Daniel do to get away from it all? Oh, boy. Oh, boy.
We're wrestling with this sub-plot. I'm wrestling with it. (He lowers
his voice) Daniel's secretly a Ninja. (Huge laughter from the audience.) Oh,
you laugh," he sing-songs. "Why do you laugh? I'm in the writing department.
(More laughter.) No, it was very funny because…oh, I thought it was
a great thing because we kind of did an episode coming up called "Space Race"
where we show the other side of Sam Carter. She's a person who comes across
as this straight laced girl but who has an adrenaline junkie heart.
It's an episode where we have this motor race and they show this other side
of Sam. They originally wanted to have this whole scene where she's racing
down the side of the mountain to Colorado Springs on a motorcycle before
we get into things but decided that it wouldn't work. It was way too expensive."
"So, here's Daniel and I
thought," MS gets up from his chair, pretends he's packing up for the night
and waves, calling, "No. No, I can't come out tonight. Things to do. Good
night, Jack." MS then pulls on an invisible mask and energetically mimes
Daniel as a Ninja to much audience laughter saying sotto voice, "So, to unwind
Daniel Jackson goes around the streets of Colorado and fights crime as a
[Note-this is absolutely
utterly hysterical. You have not lived until you have seen MS go from
one second playing Daniel innocently calling out good night to Jack and then
transforming into Ninja Daniel, delightfully determined to save the world.
Q-In Double Jeopardy, did
you kill Daniel deliberately to have more time to direct?
MS: "Did we
kill Daniel Jackson on purpose? (He grins big.) Hell, yeah. Killed him
gooood. (Then he becomes serious.) Yes, it was so I could get out from
in front of the camera as soon as possible."
Q-Tell us about filming the
naked Daniel scene.
MS: "You want
me to tell ya what? It's… It's… You know. [Note-MS is laughing
and really hamming it up on this one] A lot of actors just get these you know…when
they have to get a little bit naked… And they have to do love scenes which
are already uncomfortable… And you've got a piece of tape… Yeah, laugh
it up! You don't have to take it off. You got a piece of tape
over your Johnson and that's it. And you're lying in a field of…whatever.
We can't do it in a warm studio. And we can't do it in August. But
in February. So the tape was…small. And we can't do it on a closed
set, only the essential personnel present, sign this rider, blah, blah, blah.
HELL, NO! That would be too easy. We got to do it in a field. In the MIDDLE
of the suburbs of Vancouver." (The mock outrage continues to build in his
voice.) "Where people walk their DOGS!" (Much unsympathetic laughter from
the audience.) "So, how was it?!!! (Lowers voice to little boy
Q-In 'Fire and Water', in
the end scene on the beach where Jack makes the comment about sushi.
Is that an ad-lib?
Absolutely. Oh, yeah. He always comes up with these strange, absurd
zingers. And that one just seemed to work. I think the look on my face in
that particular take is, 'Somebody's gonna yell 'cut', right?' I think
there's another one in "Full Circle". You can watch Christopher and Amanda
when Jack says, 'Well, spank me rosy.' That one. Look at Christopher's
face and he's like…(mimes just barely held stoic look) and then look at Amanda's
face. Amanda's doing this… (and he mimes Amanda twisting her face up just
about dying trying to hold a reaction back)." He comes up with these ad-libs
that somehow end up in the final edit. Ah, the power of the executive producer."
Q-In the seventh season what
is the relationship between Jack and Daniel like?
MS: "The relationship
between Jack and Daniel this season has kind of elevated itself to a different
level. Actually, where Rick's and my own personal relationship is at.
Where we don't really have to say anything. You don't have to talk that much,
you sort of communicate telepathically. You find you don't have to say anything,
you just look at them and just smile, you know you're both thinking the same
thing. The same joke, the same internal dialogue, is running through your
heads. That's kind of how it is. There's a lot…"
("Is there any animosity?"
the audience asks, interrupting.)
MS: "There's no animosity
between the characters this year. (MS says this firmly.) No, there's none
at all. Like I said, it really is a reflection of Rick's and my work. Which
is always been our relationship. We've always had this thing. We have this
similar thought process. Where we just look at each other, even from
a hundred miles away, and know that we're the only other person in the room
that gets it exactly the same way."
Q-What's the origin of the "Spacemonkey" comment from Serpent's Lair?
(Long thoughtful pause) Um…what's the origin of it?" (He thinks about it for
a while longer.) "I'll get back to you on that one later." [Note-Nope, he
Q-How do you know the words
to say in Egyptian and Jaffa? (This was asked by a little child in
voice gets very gentle and his face softens as he addresses the child.) "How
do I know the words? 'Cause the writer's tell me." (Then he smiles
gently.) "I think they make them up as they go."
"Actually, I think there's
something that's going to be great coming up in "Behind The Scenes".
Peter DeLuise has a great line in it. Where we find out that everything
that he's been having his Jaffa say the entire time is something like 'Kree
Tre'tak' which means "Kill"." MS goes on to describe how every line means
this. It's all. Kree. Kill. Kree'tak. Kill him. Kree shak tak.
What? He's still not dead? Kill him again! So just assume that with
DeLuise whenever there's an episode with the Jaffa language in it that it
all just revolves around killing.
Q-How long did the Andromeda
"Day of Judgment, Day of Wrath" fight scene take to choreograph? And
how long did it take to film?
started blocking that with the stunt people two days before we started shooting.
The episode took seven days to shoot and in between there came a whole bunch
of rehearsals. So probably about nine days in total to do that. What's so
great is, we don't do that sort of thing on our show and I got to experience
it. On Andromeda, they have a real cult for that kind of work. It was great
to watch Lexa go through her process because she used to be a gymnast so she's
great at it. I suck. I'm terrible at it. In the pre-edit they use a
stunt-double during the wirework. They filmed the stunt double stuff
all before we got there. The producer has them do everything ahead
of time. It was entirely blocked out and done which was amazing. I thought
it turned out really well."
Q-What kind of car does Daniel
a very interesting question. In fact that was brought up as background
on the two-parter that we're doing, "Heroes".
We've never seen Daniel in a vehicle except for maybe a taxi cab or getting
dropped off by a military car or the Egypt thing (in The Curse), but we also
thought that that would be a great thing to fill in because we've already
seen what kind of car the others drive. And the type of car he drives sort
of shows where his mind set is. He drives…he would drive… something circa
1940's, an old clunker, you know not anything new, so they found an old revamped
1950's military vehicle because he's not a new car or motorcycle type, but
more a military vehicle type. (Like the land rover? The audience says
referring to the one in The Curse.) Yeah, like that."
Q-In the early seasons, Daniel
does a lot of self-hugging. What's the origin of that?
MS: "Oh, a
psychology question. Hmm… (He pauses and then decides to answer) Because
it's just really comfortable standing that way? I think that's it -
it's just really comfortable for me to stand that way."
Q-You've mentioned a couple
of times about the possibility of an 8th season. What do you think
about taking Daniel into an 8th season or even the spin off, Stargate: Atlantis?
MS: "I think
it's a great idea. Whether or not it happens is really dependent on
MGM & Sci Fi though as it's a matter of them working out their business
end of it. We're all for it. And story wise I think there's a lot of life
left in the show and the characters have a lot of life left in them too."
Q-Traditionally there has
been a lot of really great banter between Daniel and Jack as a part of the
friendship. Will we be seeing that this year? Do you know what
I mean: the sarcastic give and take but without any animosity?
I know exactly what you mean. Banter without animosity. Corin (Nemec) wrote
Fallout and we have banter in that. Don't worry. We will have
a little bit of banter between Daniel and Jack. There are tidbits but
not that one dynamic scene yet where I go, 'Yeah, watch for this!' or that
kind of thing. But I'm sure before the year is out we will."
Q- Will you be going to San
Diego Comic Con this year?
MS: "I believe
Don Davis and Amanda Tapping will be going there so I won't be going this
year. I seem to have become a staple product there the last couple of years
whether I intended to or not what with coming down the first time and then
accompanying Lexa last time."
Q-We've heard about the "Puff
and Ruffle". Can you tell us about it?
Tapping has a story she tells about how the men behave when there's a hot
chick on set. And she calls it - they actually have a word for it bcause
it's in reference to peacocks - they call it the Puff and Ruffle. That
Richard, Christopher, and myself all have a way of carrying on when there's
an attractive female guest star on set. So it's the, you know…(MS jumps from
his stool to perform a spirited impersonation of a peacock — one that looks
suspiciously like a rooster — as he mimes a cock's comb on his head with
his hand and then puffs out his chest. He then goes over to the empty
stool next to him and says, mimicking perfectly how Amanda has mimicked them,
"Hey, there. How's it going? You doing all right? You need a
blanket? A drink? A jacket?" Meanwhile he says Amanda implies
that she's over somewhere on the edge of this all sitting there freezing
to death and shivering and nobody is doing anything about it or even noticing
her or Teryl.) "You know it's slightly exaggerated, I would say. I
frankly have never seen that happen," he adds, tongue in cheek, with an impish
Q-Does Amanda do that when
there are guys?
MS: "No, but…actually
women are different. They have different ways. Oh, yeah, right! Amanda does
the wounded lamb." He performs the wounded lamb look. He dips his his
head shyly, looking neglected and innocent, peering up through his lashes
at the audience. "Amanda will appeal to other people, the onlookers, for
sympathy. Sooo, it goes both ways."
Q-Do you ever play practical
jokes on each other on the show?
never. Actually once we [MS and CJ] taped Teryl (Fraiser) to a tree.
Actually Christopher taped her to a makeup chair first. You know those days
when someone is saying something and you say if you don't stop we'll have
to stop you…and then when they don't you put tape over their mouth? Well,
once the tape was on it was like, oh, the hell with it, let's do her whole
body, and taped her to a tree. Why? Why not?"
Q-Would you like to do comedy?
I think I am a frustrated sit-com actor. I think I would like to do
more comedy. The original Stargate movie didn't have as much of that,
whereas on our show we manage to milk it pretty good. For example whenever
Peter DeLuise is directing, watch the extras in the background. In "Evolution" the scene with Rick and
the specialist he's talking to while trying to find Daniel, listen to the
linguistics in the background. The guy talking Spanish is saying all
sorts of crazy stuff like 'sack of cheese', and when they're in Honduras,
the cook is picking his nose the entire time he's cooking in the back of
the cantina. There are always little things like this to lighten things up."
Q-What's a typical day for
you on the show like? What's your schedule like?
MS: "In a
typical week I get up at about 5:30 or 6:30 and work until about 7:30 at
night. If you know anything about the business you know that's a good working
day as some shows can go up to twenty hours, while ours is more oriented towards
a family schedule. So, I start off in makeup in the morning, you have a little
bit of breakfast, you go block a scene [when they actually physically work
out how they're going to move through a scene on the set] and we do coverage
on the scene [working out what the camera should cover from every angle on
a scene], that will take, depending on the size of the scene or how many
people are in it, that will take various amounts of time. We film seven
and a half pages of script a day, unless there's a lot of action.
I don't know if too many
of you know about script writing but when a writer writes: "and the German
army marches in…" it can take much longer than that. (He laughs as he adds)
"And then the producer walks in and asks the director, 'What's going on? You've
only gotten a half page done? Why aren't you farther?'" [MS is probably referencing
his own experience here while directing Double Jeopardy where in previous
interviews he's described times just like this where the script had lines
like "And Jack comes in and takes out six Jaffa." Which does not film nearly
so quickly as a page that is dialogue driven.]
"Then you go home and you
learn your lines for the next day, and if there's time you maybe visit with
your friends or family for a couple of minutes, and maybe exercise, and then
you go to bed."
Q-In Shades of Grey, Daniel
states to Makepeace that he doesn't trust Jack's command. What's Daniel's
reasoning behind this?
that was a long time ago. I think that was just more or less that Daniel
operates from the moral high ground position and that Jack sometimes operates
from very selfish motives. He doesn't operate for the good of all the interested
parties. He operates strictly for whatever his agenda happens to be.
[Be it the team or the Air Force rather than the good of both sides is implied.]
So, it's hard to trust a leader if you don't necessarily trust that he has
the whole interests of the group involved in it. So I think that was what
was pertaining to that, because they at times had different goals. But that
has changed over the course of time. Jack's changed since the beginning.
Daniel trusts him now. They're on the same wavelength more."
Q-Is Daniel a coffee snob
or caffeine addict?
is absolutely adorable during this entire response.] "He is a caffeine
addict! That started because I am. (He grins, crinkling his nose up.) And
you don't see it a lot this year because I've finally given into the fact
that caffeine no longer has an effect on me. (From the audience a groan of
"Oh, no!") "I know! It sucks! Really it does. It's gotten to the point
where it just doesn't do anything for me any more. I switched to Coke
at, you know, six o'clock in the morning and stuff like that (he rocks back
and forth in his chair like a little boy at this point) and it just wasn't
happening any more. So I have to find a new drug. Anyone?
Anyone?" (Looks around to the audience for suggestions)
Q-Did you dream of being an
actor as a child?
question! I don't know if I actually ever dreamed of being an actor
as a kid. I actually dreamed of being all the things I saw on TV. I actually
dreamed of being Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica so I'm not really sure
it was…(He breaks off to respond to the audience reaction to the mention
of Starbuck. Some are cheering and some are groaning.) Have I touched a nerve
or something? Yeah, I know. That's kind of a dumb idea, isn't it? (MS
is referring to the recent news of the remake of Battlestar Galactica featuring
a female Starbuck. The audience responds with mixed opinions.) Yes?
No? Okay, I'm not going to start a revolution here. We'll talk about
Back to the original question.
There is a lot more work involved in acting than I had anticipated there would
be. However, I still get tickled that I actually get paid to do this. This
is a business and the dream we think, you know the ideal dream, that we dream
of as children doesn't always turn out to be that way, but at the same time
you can't lose that pure notion of doing what you love for a living and making
a good living doing it, so I'm having a lot of fun."
Q-Which episode is your favorite
one from Stargate?
have to say 'Torment of Tantalus'. I'll tell you why. It's the
first one in the first year where I actually felt like, okay, we really got
it this time. It was the feeling of this is where we really sit as
a show, where it feels absolutely right. We're touching on mythologies,
and mystery, and intrigue as well as overcoming an obstacle at the same time.
And working with Keene Curtis (Ernest) was fantastic. Working with…um...god,
what's her name? Who played Catherine? Help me! (He entreats the audience
obviously embarrassed that he's gaffed and can't remember her name. The audience
responds with her name.) Elizabeth? Elizabeth. Don't tell her!"
[Note-MS has managed admirably
in most of his interviews to date to remember the titles of most episodes,
the content of most scenes, and guest actor and director names unlike most
actors when asked about their shows.]
Q-Are you a fan of Science
Fiction? Do you watch or follow any?
Stargate, I do follow a few Sci-Fi movies. Right now it's 'Lord of the Rings'.
I also just saw 'Matrix Reloaded' and to be honest I was not that thrilled
with it. And I didn't see the second 'Star Wars' movie just on principle
because I really didn’t like the first one. I thought he [Lucas] betrayed
his original vision there. In many movies today there's a real danger of
relying too heavily on special effects, when a great story is so important.
That was one thing I harped on to the director of 'Sumuru'. He was
so ecstatic about the visual effects and how they were turning out, that
he wanted to do more and more of them. I tried to help, remind him
that it's the story that we need to focus on first before the special effects
come in. But to get back to your original question, I do have an interest
in Science Fiction in general though."
(At this point MS was swinging
the large and presumably heavy microphone around and bonked himself in the
mouth. His startled "Ow!" and his bemused look at the betraying equipment
as he tenderly rubbed his lower lip was very reminiscent of the character
of Daniel. The audience "aaaahed" in shared sympathy as we've all done
something similar a time or two.)
"When I was younger I was
very into the more regular science fiction shows like 'Battlestar Galactica'.
Then as I grew older, anything by James Cameron, such as 'Aliens', 'Terminator',
'Terminator 2'. I'm afraid I've become a bit of a science fiction snob
now as a result of being in the industry. The more you know about how they're
made and the process, the more you tend to pick things apart. It's
harder now to tell your brain to shut up when you just want to watch."
Q-How has the growth of the
show matched your own sense of personal growth over the past few years?
questions. As you know a child actor grows up on camera. Well for us, you
see us and what we're doing every day for nine months out of the year. Everything
we're going through in our personal lives is somehow reflected on screen.
So, I think there is a strong parallel between the growth of the character
[referring to Daniel] as an individual and the growth of the actor [referring
to himself] as well. Although, I wouldn't say quite so dramatically."
He laughs. "But there's a certain maturity process that's gone on with both
and I think that one's reflected off the other."
Q-If you could use three single
words to describe your life in the last year what would they be?
MS: MS becomes
very thoughtful. Then says, "Relaxed. Reflective. And, um…" He thinks for
a moment then smiles and nods. "Progressive."
Q-As an actor do you prefer
theater or television or film?
MS: "Yeah, those are
three different animals." He thinks about it and indicates that it is very
hard to choose. That he likes all three. "Still", he continues, "actors often
say that tv is for producers, film is for directors, and the actor is made
for the theater. Theater is much more fun to do as an actor because in film
and tv the director and producer tell you where to look, in theater you look
where you are most interested in looking."
He explains how this can
change ones performance and make it even better at times and that in theater
"That often times means that if an actor has a particularly strong performance
[that night] compared to the star or something like that then everyone still
gets to see it. There's nothing edited out. There is so much edited
out from film for time." He goes on to speak about how in tv there are a
number of different personalities involved that you need to appease. Referring
to all the directors and writers and producers and all the other administrative
staff of a show. "While in film you as an actor are there to serve the star,
the icon as it applies to the story."
He then goes on to conclude
with the fact that although theater is probably his preferred method, all
of them have their merits, their pluses and minuses.
Q-The Artist Circle.
I was just wondering how it came about and how you felt about it?
MS: "You guys
are resourceful!" MS smiles, seemingly impressed. "Boy, oh, boy.
How'd it come about? There were friends of mine who were aspiring producers
and they had made friends with this gentleman who had produced a movie in
New York or something and he was living in Vancouver and he wanted to get
in the directing game. He contacted them in the whole schmooze kind
of way and they said great. They got on the phone and told me it was a short
film script. Very basic. Very simple. I decided to do it and
after talking to Don he seemed interested too. And then Joe Ransom
(from X-Files) who has done some really respected work was brought on board.
And because of him the word got out and suddenly there were all these people
from the various areas needed volunteering their time and offering to work
One thing I noticed during
all this, it was the most amazing thing, when you're working for free no
one complains. In every workplace there's always someone griping about
this or that or the other, but when you're there because you realize you're
there for the love of it and you're there working together on something, all
of a sudden it becomes about the work again which is kind of why people get
involved in stuff in the first place. So it was a great experience,
I think. The film turned out very well, went to er…er…that little festival
in France (impish grin) Cannes!"
Q-Final question. In the "Lord
of the Rings", which would you be? A hobbit or an elf?
MS: Long pause
then slow smile and with a firm voice MS says, "I would be Viggo Mortensen."
And This Ends Our Con Report.
And the crowd goes wild....
© Solutions, 2003.
Transcript prepared with contributions from Tenaya, Tricia, Rowan et al and we're damned
if we can remember *everything* *exactly* as it occurred...we *were* having
a good time, ya know :) All rights reserved, yadda yadda. Feel free
to link to this page.
© Photo credits: Stargatefan and
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