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Stargate SG-1 Cast Interviews: Michael Shanks

TVGen/ Yahoo! chat with Michael Shanks
Yahoo!, 8 Sep 98

We're here with Michael Shanks... Get those Stargate questions in, folks!

Hi!! Michael, what aspect of your character do you find the most intriguing?
His wardrobe!

Did you ever expect the show to get so popular?
I didn't realize it was! I think, probably, personally, Need was my favorite so far. And one we are about to do, Holiday, is also dear to my heart. The Torment of Tantalus is probably my favorite ensemble piece, a wonderful story.

What do you find most annoying about Daniel?
I think the whole allergy sideline I find, and have found, very annoying, very stereotypical. I think it's a generalization that was made in the feature, that has sort of persisted, that has been trimmed back nicely. I don't mind doing it every now and again.

Michael, do you think that Daniel is gaining the respect he needs from Jack since Need?
I think the relationship is growing. I think there will always be antagonism between Daniel and Jack by the nature of their "opposite pole relationship" that our show requires, and it provides and interesting contrast of perspectives.

How did you get started in acting? Was it something you always wanted to do?
Yes, it was something I always wanted to do. And I've been doing it since I was about five years old on a very amateur basis, mostly through school and community theater. A high school teacher made me pursue it, and I am grateful to her for that.

Sometimes it seems that Daniel's only reason for being a part of SG-1 is the quest for his wife. Do you believe that it is his only motivation?
No, I don't think so. I think that any adventurous archaeologist would be absolutely flabbergasted by the opportunity that Daniel is provided. And I believe that long after that story line is resolved, that his choice would be to continue to travel through the Stargate.

What can we expect from the new season?
Less trees! LOL! I think a growing arc of story lines, and continued character development. Lots of fun stuff!

Michael, I laughed when C.J called you "Young Lord of the Internet". Was this an inside joke? Do you ever get teased by cast or crew for your 'Net popularity?
Yes, it was an inside joke. Yes, I do sometimes get teased by the cast for that, but it's all in good fun.

How do you think your character has developed through the series?
That's a long question to answer. I think Daniel has become more of a team player, and less of an outsider than he began as, by the nature of the growing character relationships. I stress that his attitude toward violence hasn't changed, though his involvement in the action seems to have increased. But I don't think his beliefs or genuine sensitivity towards the subject will ever change.

Do you ever visit some of the other sites they have up on the sites, or go into the chats to speak with your fans?
Occasionally I visit the sites, but I have never chatted with fans. Not that I don't want to, but I think it's best to keep a little bit of the mystery.

Do you believe in life on other planets?
I'd be a fool not to!

Michael, what's it like working with Michael Greenburg and Richard Dean Anderson?
Oh boy! It's always interesting. A lot of fun, youthful energy, and a diligence to the work that we do every day. I've learned a lot from those two.

Do you find it difficult to remember all the jargon that goes with your character?
Just today! Sometimes I do. But I talk fast, so it keeps me afloat!

What kind of relationship with the other cast members is there off set? Do you go out and spend time together? Parties, hockey games and such?
I think that compared to most sets that I've been on, there is a tremendous amount of socializing that goes on after work with this cast. We all get along very well and enjoy each other's company sincerely.

But I won't get into specifics! Do you like sci-fi? What is your favorite genre?
I think action adventure is my favorite genre, and I've always been a fan of science fiction beginning at a very young age, with Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and Space 1999, etc.

Has anything really funny happened between you and the others behind the scenes?
What goes on behind the scenes, stays behind the scenes! These walls have ears!

How much of yourself is in the character of Daniel?
I'd say a lot. The role isn't a huge stretch for my own personality, but there's other facets of Michael's personality that manage to stay away from the character -- gratefully!

Michael, you do a sterling characterization of Daniel! Do you still do a lot of outside research for your portrayal, or has the pace slackened?
I think the amount of outside research that gets put into the character has diminished considerably, but the everyday diligence to the character and the continual discovery as we go is an hour to hour process that will never slacken.

Michael, seeing that you lurk on the sites, will you ever do any conventions?
Yes, I'd attend conventions, but that is something for the future.

Do you think Daniel will ever save his wife?
I honestly don't know. And the mystery of that fuels both the actor and the character.

How do you feel about Daniel getting hurt so much in the show?
A lot has been said about Daniel being the whipping boy of SG-1. But like a rubber ball, he continues to bounce back, and as long as he does that, then I'm okay with it.

Do you have any major distractions in life other than acting? Such as hobbies?
I'm an avid hockey player. A big fan of video games. And a newborn golfer and skier. If I had more time, I'd probably be doing all those things and more.

Do you watch the finished eps?
Yes.

Do either of you have any wishes to direct an episode of the show?
I think my own career aspirations head in that direction. But I have a lot to learn about the film-making process before I'd explore that. For now, I'm like an apprentice, watching all the details and taking notes 'til my turn comes.

Do you get any say as to what goes into the script?
Sometimes, but in terms of story lines, I leave that to the people who know best, because it keeps me on my toes.

So, has RDA hit you up to join the Celebrity Hockey Team?
He hasn't made the proposal yet, but I think that he, like I, has his mind on other things right now.

What has been your favorite special effect?

It was way cool! It would have to be the collapsible armor from Secrets.

With who do you think you have your funniest scenes with?
I think everybody gets their fair share of comic scenes, but I think my funniest scenes have come with Teal'c, because he makes the perfect straight man.

Thanks for being here this evening, Michael.
Thanks for having me. Gotta run, best wishes!

1998, Yahoo!

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