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Stargate SG-1 Cast Interviews: Ben Browder

Work In Progress
Steven Eramo, TV Zone Special #64, July 2005

...Oddly enough, it was Browder's work in this four-hour [Farscape] mini-series that indirectly led to him being cast as US Air Force Lt Colonel Cameron Mitchell in Stargate SG-1.

"I had met Brad Wright at Comic Con back when we were promoting The Peacekeeper Wars," recalls Browder. "Prior to that, I'd met Joe Mallozzi as well as Paul Mullie at the Saturn Awards, and had also shared a plane ride from Los Angeles to Canada with Michael Shanks. Then Claudia Black [Aeryn] happened to call and told me that she thoroughly enjoyed her experience working on Stargate, and that speaks quite highly of them. She's a discerning lady and we know each other pretty well having worked together on Farscape.

"So when the character of Cameron Mitchell was first being talked about, I got on the phone with Brad, Rob Cooper and a few other people involved with the series. Things sort of took off from there. Eventually they felt it would be a good idea for me to fill the fourth slot on the SG-1 team, so here I am today."

"Part of the challenge with playing Mitchell has been becoming accustomed to being outwardly military and yet figuring out who he is inside and not letting him be entirely dictated in military terms," explains the actor. "...On Farscape, I played a character for the better part of five years who had been dearly defined. With SG-1, it's like I'm back to square one insofar as acting and creating a character from the ground up. So it's a challenge to figure out who this guy is, and I'm sure that's true for the writers well.

"...There's an adage about playing the king on stage, and that is you never play the king on stage. Other people make you the king. That's a basic principle that you might learn in drama school, and I happen to think it's true. So I can't tell you at the moment just who Cameron Mitchell is. You might say he's a work in progress, and that's fine by me."

"What I can speak about with certainty is the fun I'm having working with the SG-1 cast. Chris Judge is a terrific presence on set. Anyone who thinks he's anything like his character of Teal'c is sorely mistaken. In fact, I'm always trying to draw a little more Judge out of Teal'c," laughs Browder. "Michael Shanks is a consummate professional who works diligently at his craft. Because he's played his role for so long, he has a great perspective on the show and is very much the pace and rhythm of the series. As for Amanda [Tapping], I think she's amazing to be back at work and be a mom at the same time. She has an incredible ability to focus on the task at hand as well as remember her lines and do everything that she actually does. To top it off, she's a real sweetheart."

When he was 22, Browder was at a career crossroads. Watching him on the SG-1 set, he obviously chose the right path. "I was getting ready to sign the papers for Air Force officers candidates school," says the actor. "At the last minute I thought, 'Rather than having someone tell me what to do for the next seven years, I'll go play around for a while [as an actor]. If I change my mind, I'll put my application back in.'

"And now here I am playing an Air Force officer. The irony of that does not escape me," smiles Ben Browder.

© Visimag. All rights reserved. Buy the magazine and read the entire interview at Visimag.

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