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Stargate SG-1 Crew Interviews: Peter DeLuise

Primed Director: Peter DeLuise
Steve Eramo, TV Zone #166, September 2003




Wide-Eyed Wonder

"We had this child actor who played one of the personalities that is downloaded into Daniel's brain in Lifeboat. I asked our casting people to find someone with gigantic eyes and they hired the cutest little kid. We watched this child's audition and he had these long slow blinks and kind of nodded his head in a very innocent way. He also had these eyebrows that were all the way up to his hairline because he was so wide-eyed.

In the episode we did a big close-up of this child when his character was being asked a question. Like most young children he didn't just say, `Yes,' but also nodded his head up and down from north to south. He was terrific," smiles DeLuise.

"So Michael Shanks had to personify this little kid and copy his various idiosyncrasies for his performance. It was a huge help to the viewers in figuring out which personality they were dealing with in a particular scene. Once again, this episode was a tour de force acting extravaganza for Michael."


DeLuise took a page out of Greek mythology when he wrote Orpheus, which he also directed. "Usually stories with the word `orpheus' in their titles are about characters going through their own personal hell," he explains. "In this episode Teal'c's [Christopher judge] hell is that he no longer has his symbiote. In the past, he sort of took it for granted and came to depend on the strength that it gave him. This included being able to incur severe injuries during battle and later heal rather quickly. However, now that he's on [the drug] tretonin, his ability to do this is severely curtailed. Teal'c isn't as strong as he used to be and, of course, in the Jaffa culture weakness is a major taboo. It's akin to death.   So Teal'c kind of loses his mojo, if you  will.



Daniel Jackson [Michael Shanks] flashbacks to when he was ascended and realizes that at one point he witnessed the capture of Bra'tac [Tony Amendola] and Ry'ac [Neil Denis] on an enemy planet. They're being worked to death at a labour camp and now Daniel is feeling guilty because he chose not to interfere. So he convinces SG-1 to mount a rescue mission and Teal'c has to rise to the occasion. The Jaffa warrior has no choice considering it's his son's life that's at stake. So they both have to experience these cathartic life-changing events. It's a pretty powerful story and one I'm really proud of."

"There's a Sybil-type of thing going on with Daniel in this story," says the actor/director of Lifeboat. "It's a big testament to Brad's faith in Michael Shanks's ability as an actor. As a director, it was a difficult episode for me to shoot because there were a number of scenes with just two people in a room. To make it interesting for the viewer I decided to keep the camera locked on the actors and then let them move around however they wanted. Usually I'm much more rigorous when blocking a scene but in this case I had to change my tactics. I was very pleased with how it turned out. Luckily, Michael is a trained stage actor so he's used to performing quite a lot of material in one go."

Enemy Mine was written and directed by DeLuise.   "The Unas are back and they're mad," he says. "They consider an area we're mining as sacred ground and want us leave. Daniel suggests we bring in Chaka to act on our behalf as a liaison to his fellow Unas. Chaka has become far more sophisticated since we last saw him [in Season Six's Beast of Burden]. He's dressed in Human-type clothes and speaks better English. We asked Patrick Currie to play the part [of Chaka] and he did a terrific job.

"At the moment [early May], I'm prepping to direct a two-part story that Damian Kindler [supervising producer] and I wrote called Evolution. In it, our heroes discover Anubis has created a killer soldier. They're monosyllabic, super aggressive, incredibly agile and impervious to our weapons. So not only do our heroes have to figure out who these guys are and how Anubis made them, but they must also find a way to defeat them. It's a race against time, especially considering the upcoming two-part season finale. That's when the gloves will be coming off insofar as how we deal with Anubis."

(c) TV Zone, 2003.  All rights recognised.  No copyright infringement intended.  Extracts appear with permission.  To read much, much more, buy TV Zone #166 online.

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