Hot Spots, Georgia's Entertainment
Magazine, Feb/Apr 99
Once in a blue moon an actor
comes along who is not only dashingly handsome but has his own unique brand
of charisma that literally guarantees him a shot at becoming Hollywood's
newest heart throb. Michael Shanks, who stars as the sexy scientist Daniel
Jackson in the new syndicated sci-fi series Stargate SG-1, is that actor.
His perfectly chiselled features set off by his turquoise blue eyes, make
this exciting young artist one of the freshest new faces on television
Shanks' character is part of
the SG-1 team of explorers who travel the galaxy through an ancient watery
portal known as the Stargate to unusual and often dangerous planets. The
SG-1 team, which is headed by actor Richard Dean Anderson, is on a mission
to Earth and destroy the evil Goa'ulds. Jackson's knowledge of ancient
civilizations and mythology make him a vital part of the team.
Based on the 1994 hit
motion picture Stargate, Shanks took over the role played in the film by
actor James Spader. His similar features and his talent were instrumental
to the actor when he auditioned for the role. "A lot of people who have
watched the series, think that it is James Spader who is continuing to
play the part. In reality, people have never confused us on the street,"
jokes Shanks. He admits there was pressure in reprising Spader's role.
"There was a certain amount of expectation with the part. Viewers are already
very familiar with Spader's work. I could never repeat his performance
from the film. What I can do, is bring my own talents to the role making
the character of Daniel Jackson progressively more interesting, sometimes
humorous and ultimately three dimensional," reveals the actor.
Shanks continues to note the
differences in his portrayal of Jackson saying, "I think that one of the
things I bring to the character is a bit of a youthful naiveté.
Spader is a few years older than me. I think his approach to the character
shows a bit more street sense and a more cynical edge than the naive honestly
I bring to the role. I think that is the main difference between our characterizations.
I play Daniel with a childish enthusiasm."
To make the character work and
create a balance with the SG-1 team, Shanks says there are several key
elements, "Jackson's character has to me somewhat of a dichotomy from Jack's
(Richard Dean Anderson) character. Jackson has to be a bit more sensitive,
meek, passive, non-violent and the intellectual of the group for the chemistry
to work properly."
One of the reasons Shanks' character
is eager to travel through the Stargate is his quest to be reunited with
his wife Sha're. In the feature film, it was established that Jackson's
parents had died when he was young and he grew up in a faster home. Because
Jackson does not have any earthly attachments, Jackson chose to stay on
Abydos with Sha're at the end of the movie. In the two-hour premier of
the television series, Children of the Gods, Jackson's wife, Sha're is
taken by the evil Apophis to be his queen. "Though the relationship between
Jackson and Sha're is passionate, there is something more. Sha're symbolizes
the only attachment and the only home he has ever found, making his quest
to find her that much more earnest," reveals Shanks.
Born and raised in Canada, Shanks
discovered acting early in his life, but never pursued it until he was
a student at the University of British Columbia. Needing a few art credits
before earning his Fine Arts degree, Shanks took several acting classes.
Upon graduation, Shanks traveled to Ontario, Canada where he spent two
seasons with the world renowned Stratford Shakespeare Festival. There,
he appeared in the stage productions of Amadeus, Macbeth, The Merry Wives
of Windsor, King Lear and the Merchant of Venice. Eventually, Shanks make
the transition from theater to television guest starring in a number of
series including The Outer Limits, Highlander The Commish and a popular
Canadian series, Madison. Shanks has also appeared on the big screen in
Call of the Wild with Rutger Hauer.
Shanks recalls working with
Hauer, his favorite actor, on Call of the Wild. "I got the chance to work
with him on this movie in Montreal. The first time I saw him on the set,
I was thrilled to be working with one of my heroes. I remember watching
him sort of looking at me from across the way. He knew that I was acting
with him but never came over and said hi. I saw him whispering to somebody
and pointing in my general direction. I knew he was talking about me but
he never came over until we were about to roll camera for the first time.
So here I am, acting with one of my favorite actors who walks over and
pushes me and then he carried on with the scene. I think the most ironic
part of this is that he hardly talked to me much after that. Each time
we did a scene together, he would push me a little bit harder. I don't
know if he thought I was a bit of a puppy dog or if he was just having
fun. Having your hero not even speak a word to you and come right over
to you in the first scene with him and push you, was very ironic," jokes
Though he lives in Vancouver,
British Columbia, Shanks spends time in Los Angeles. His favorite eateries
include the upscale restaurants Ivy by the Shore and Le Dome. For lighter
and healthier fare, Shanks like to eat at Avotre Sante in Santa Monica.
When he is in Los Angeles, Shanks checks out various parks and spends much
of his free time hiking in the mountains.
As one of Stargate SG-1's hot
new stars, Shanks' career is about to be launched into stellar heights.
His talent and good looks guarantee this actor a long career ahead of him.
© 1999, Hot Spots.