TV Guide Interviews Michael Shanks

Michael Shanks as Dr. Daniel Jackson

Introduction

TV Guide’s Ileane Rudolph caught up with Michael Shanks at the end of his time off with his family to talk about his upcoming role in Sci Fi Channel’s top-rated original program Eureka, his possible appearances in Stargate Atlantis, and his upcoming project Rage of Angels. They also talked about the two direct-to-DVD movies, Stargate: The Ark of Truth and Stargate: Continuum, and the possibility of more of these movies to come.

There are plot spoilers for the Stargate movies and Eureka in the following:

The Ark of Truth

The two direct-to-DVD movies cost about $14 million to make, which gave the cast and crew the opportunity to tell “bigger” stories than in television episodes. Not only did composer Joel Goldsmith have the opportunity to include an orchestra in his soundtracks, but producers Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper were given more budget for visual effects (which were part of the reason for a delay in the release of the movies until 2008). Shanks commented, “We had a way bigger budget than we ever did for the series, so the action scenes will be that much better.”

As far as the wrapping up of the Ori storyline in Robert C. Cooper’s The Ark of Truth, Shanks was a little more enthusiastic about the outcome than in previous interviews when he told Rudolph, “And the fans will definitely be happy with the way we wrap up the series in The Ark of Truth. It reintroduces our villains that we created during the last two years, and we deal with them in a very climactic way. It’s a good payoff.”

Continuum

Brad Wright’s Stargate: Continuum will be a stand-alone SG-1 movie, the first of many that MGM’s Charlie Cohen hopes will contribute to a profitable future for the Stargate franchise. Shanks stated, “The impression we got from Charlie Cohen, who’s the head of MGM Television, was that he wanted more right away. We definitely got the feeling that this was not the end of the road, which is a very positive thing for those of us who enjoy that environment so much and enjoy the company so much.”

Shanks describes the plot of the movie: “It’s an alternate-timeline story. One of our remaining villains goes back in time and changes our future so the Stargate program is out of the equation. It’s up to Mitchell (Ben Browder), Carter (Amanda Tapping) and Daniel Jackson to try to put the timeline right. But the people existing in that other time don’t want to change and won’t let us do it.”

As far as what is in store for Daniel in the Arctic scenes, Shanks has mentioned in other interviews how Brad Wright changed the story to account for Daniel’s absence while Shanks was filming his three episodes on Fox’s hit series 24 during the crew’s trip to the Arctic. In this interview, Shanks explains the logistics of filming some of the Arctic scenes in refrigerated stages in Vancouver: “We did end up building a frozen ship and part of an Arctic flow in a frozen soundstage in Vancouver. The temperatures in there were minus 7 (19 Fahrenheit) so we didn’t have to act that much because it was cold! As much as everybody raved about their Arctic experience, I was happy not to go, and happy that they brought the Arctic to me!”

Eureka

Shanks talks a little about how his wife Lexa Doig (Stargate‘s Dr. Carolyn Lam) got the part for her episode of Eureka and then how he got his. Because they have three children at home, the two actors like to alternate working schedules so that one of them is home while the other is working. Doig filmed a separate episode of Eureka, “Maneater”, which will premiere on the Sci Fi Channel on Tuesday, September 18. Shanks’ episode, “All That Glitters”, will premiere the following week, on September 25.

Rudolf asked Shanks to describe his role of Christopher Dactylos in the show. “He’s an artist who works in metals, who got fired from Global Dynamics because he and [the former boss] Nathan didn’t see eye to eye. He sculpted a statue of Pythagoras that mysteriously one day turns to gold from bronze. Then other things start turning to gold and they rust, and the town starts falling apart. Finally people get infected in a way that deconstructs them as well, and they die. He’s the chief suspect.”

Shanks continued, “Christopher’s got issues. He’s very smug and self-assured and thinks he’s the only one who’s right. Actually, he’s one of my few bad guys — along with my 24 character [Mark Bishop] — who doesn’t end up dead, so there’s an open door there for the character to be Ed Quinn’s nemesis in the future.”

Stargate Atlantis

Executive producer and co-showrunner Joseph Mallozzi recently confirmed in his personal blog that Christopher Judge will be making two appearances as Teal’c in the fourth season of Stargate Atlantis. Mallozzi told fans, “He’ll make a cameo in Reunion and put in a full appearance in Midway.” Judge joins SG-1 veteran Amanda Tapping, who became a regular in the cast as Col. Samantha Carter, the new commander of the Atlantis Expedition in the Pegasus Galaxy.

But, will Dr. Daniel Jackson make an appearance as well? Mallozzi commented recently in his blog, “Alas, in response to many who have been asking, Daniel Jackson will not be making an appearance in season four. But, if we get a fifth season pick-up, it’s definitely something we definitely aim to pursue.” In the TV Guide interview, Shanks reinforces Mallozzi’s declaration, “I talked to the producer, Joe Mallozzi, who said they haven’t heard about a pickup for a sixth [sic] season, but if they do, they’re definitely interested in having Daniel visit for a bit. That’s exciting for me.”

Rage of Angels

Shanks also talks with Rudolf about Christopher Judge’s Rage of Angels in which he will play the fallen angel Lucifer. “We have a verbal greenlight from MGM, but we’re waiting for Brad Turner, who worked with us for years on SG-1, and who’s now a supervising producer on 24, to have a window of opportunity to direct. That may not be until next year.” Those who attended the recently held Creation Con in Chicago said that Shanks mentioned in his Q&A that filming won’t start until around February or March next year.

When asked how he will prepare for playing Lucifer, the ultimate bad guy, Shanks replied, “You know, that’s the $10,000 question. I think Lucifer is just a guy with daddy issues.”

Visit TV Guide for Rudolf’s complete interview with Shanks, entitled “Michael Shanks Visits Eureka and Returns to the Stargate“. For quotes from Joseph Mallozzi, visit his personal blog. Concerning the filming schedule for Rage of Angels revealed at the Chicago Creation Con, visit MSOL.

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