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Stargate SG-1 Cast Interviews: Amanda Tapping

Woman of Substance
Steven Eramo, TV Zone Special 71, July 2006

Amanda Tapping

[regarding shooting Camelot] "I think that was the final thing we shot last year, and it was me in Space and wearing a full NASA spacesuit," recalls the actress. "They even have a specialist who comes up and helps you get into it. The suit itself is quite heavy and it really weighs on your shoulders. Afterwards I literally felt like my back was permanently curved because you're sort of crunched into the thing, so it's really uncomfortable but it looks great on screen.

"Martin Wood directed this episode and for these scenes he had me up on a platform and lying on a jib arm or camera crane [long pole] that they hoisted up in the air. I'm not a big fan of heights, but it was kind of cool. The difficulty with a scene like this is that it was all green screen and one tiny piece of set, which was the Ori Supergate. There I was 'floating in Space', and meanwhile poor Martin is down below yelling, 'And there's a battle going on overhead, and one ship blows up! Now they're firing on each other, and then the gate kawooshes! Oh, my God, look at that!' You have to react not only to Martin who, God bless him, is just amazing, but also to something that's clearly not there. It's really tough to know whether you're going over the top or what you're doing is enough."

For the past nine years, Samantha Carter has been the only woman on the SG-1 team. How does she feel now that Vala has come on board? Certainly not how some people might expect. "From the get-go, Claudia and I decided to make the relationship between Sam and Vala a good one," says Tapping. "It would be too easy to make them bitchy. Instead, why not make them buddies? They do it with guys all the time, right? The secret handshakes, the special code; it's OK, they're buddies. You never see that with women.  

"So Claudia and I are determined that our two characters are going to be buddies. That's what we've been working towards and it's happening. Yes, Sam and Vala have totally opposite ways of doing things, but they can respect one another and what they each have to offer to the team. From Sam's perspective, I think more often than not she looks at this woman, rolls her eyes and says to herself, 'Oh, boy, here we go again'. But she's also starting to find Vala kind of amusing, which is important, otherwise she'd just be annoying to Sam, and that wouldn't be any fun for either of them or me and Claudia, and especially not the audience."

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