Bridges on Fleshing Out General Landry

General Hank Landry ("The Ark of Truth")

With the release of the first of two direct-to-DVD movies, Stargate: The Ark of Truth, the cast of Stargate SG-1 is getting quite a bit of press attention. Among the latest is a three-page interview with Beau Bridges who portrays Major General Hank Landry.

Bridges tells Mark Wilson at that he enjoyed doing the research that defined much of Landry’s backstory. “And I actually researched American generals, from George Washington all the way up to Tommy Franks, and Eisenhower, MacArthur, and kind of worked out a lot of the qualities that I liked in these guys and also a lot of the things that they said, the quotes, and I gave that — it must have been a 40 page thing of research — I gave that to the writers to help create General Landry. So we had a lot of fun. It was great.”

There was a history with Brad Wright’s Outer Limits that Bridges believes was instrumental in his being asked to join the cast. Bridges said that Landry’s progression was much like his own in finding his place and determining what was required of him. “And when I came into the show — yeah, it was a transitional period, and as the new general coming it I felt it was time to kick ass and take names [laughs], and tighten the ship. So I was a pretty serious guy and had a short temper. As the show went on I became more relaxed as an actor in the show, and so did my character, and more of the practical joker aspect of his character came out — it was neat, you don’t often have a chance to have that kind of evolution for a character.”

Still, Landry’s command came at a pivotal time at Stargate Command when the Ori began their crusade in the Milky Way. This type of situation calls for a general who knows what it’s like to be in the field and can provide his people with what they need, even though he no longer goes out on missions himself. “And I think he’s the kind of guy who — if you meet him out on the field of battle, he’s the kind of guy who’s going to enjoy the fight. And the tougher the odds, the stronger the enemy, that just jacks him up, because he’s that kind of a warrior.

“And even though, because of his age, he’s not the young buck going out and killing the dragon, he still felt very motivated and very excited about the whole proposition of it and being a master tactician. And also he’s good at getting out of his troops the things that he needs, the people that work for him. I liked doing him. Because I think as a younger man, he had been there, done that. So it wasn’t a problem in terms of not being on the battlefield himself, because he’d been there. He felt that he owed it to the people he was sending out there to make sure they had what they needed, and gave them the best advice he could before the battle.”

Of course, this type of dedication can be destructive to a warrior’s personal life. “He’s a man who really loves his service to his country, loves his job. He’s sort of married to that aspect of his life. And because of that, that’s one of the reasons he had problems personally, with his family — he loved his job so much, he kind of short-shrifted his wife and his daughter.”

General Landry confronts Prior in "The Ark of Truth"

In Stargate: The Ark of Truth, Landry demonstrates his unwavering faith in SG-1 to save the planet and gives them the extra time they need by talking with one of the Priors who will lead in the Ori’s attack on Earth. Landry shows a cool and calculating head when dealing with the Prior’s threats. “I had two people in my personal life who I though of when I played Landry. One of them was my father, who has been gone ten years now, but he was certainly a leader in his profession. I saw many times that calm aspect under fire when things got tight, he would be steady. And the other was my college basketball coach, John Wooden at UCLA, one of the best collegiate coaches ever to play the game — he won 10 out of 12 national championships. His whole composure was just very even-tempered, he never raised his voice, and he said wonderful things like, ‘Make every day your masterpiece’ and ‘Be quick, but don’t hurry,’ that was another great one. And so I thought of both those gentlemen a lot when I was doing Landry. They were very impressive to me.”

Now that the two movies are done, will Landry be included in any future Stargate stories? “I think that with these two two-hour movies that we made, Rob [Cooper] and Brad [Wright] always seem to leave the door open a crack, in case we want to do any more. We’ll wait and see how things go. If the people enjoy them and show enough interest, we may even make some more. I don’t know definitively whether that’s true, but they have such a loyal following. … I think all of it will be determined by how these DVDs do. But I’m always up for it, if I’m free.”

To read the rest of the interview, visit Interview: Beau Bridges: Stargate SG-1’s commander talks about “Ark of Truth.”.