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Stargate SG-1 Cast Interviews: Christopher Judge

Highlights: Q&A at I-Con
Con Report by Sharyn, March 2003

Don S. Davis arrived smiling and looking relaxed in a grey sweater and slacks. He greeted us all warmly and announced that there were "no limits" and that he would answer everything that we asked.

Question: Did your military background help you to prepare for the role of Gen. Hammond?

Answer summary: DSD discussed his background stating that he was an army officer, in Korea, during the Vietnam War and agreed that it did help him with the role.

Question: What the difference was between filming a "Network" Sci-Fi show and filming a "Cable" show?

Answer summary: DSD said that it came down to time and money. Filming Network means filming 6-8 pages a day and more time and cost compared to filming 8-10 pages a day on cable. He continued to say that the major portion of Stargate SG-1's budget goes to effects. He considers that it is comparable to filming a "mini-movie" every 7-8 days. Comparing filming Stargate SG-1 to a movie DSD said that a 30 second shot in a feature movie could take 6 days but on Stargate SG-1 30 seconds of screen time has to take 30 seconds of shooting because of the time constraints. Comparing the pay scales between Network and Cable, Network pay scale was higher than Cable's.

Question: Why was there a change in command from Gen. West in the movie to Gen. Hammond on the show?

Answer summary: DSD explained that by the end of the movie the Stargate project had ended and would have been shut down. Gen. West would have been transferred to another project. General Hammond had been given command of the Stargate base as a "reward" for his service on the basis that he was nearing retirement and the assignment would allow him to sit back and write his memoirs. DSD explained further that this is why Gen. Hammond was angry with O'Neill in CoTG.

Question: Will Gen. Hammond go through the Stargate in Season 7 DSD?

Answer summary: "Yes, Hammond will use the Stargate and get to 'rough and tumble'".

DSD told us about working on MacGyver. Originally he was the stunt double for Dana Elcar on MacGyver. Now, he is Rick's boss on Stargate and when DSD/Hammond "screws up" RDA puts out a call for Dana. DSD speaks glowingly of RDA saying that he is a "wonderful man" and that DSD owes his career to RDA and Michael Greenburg. In 1987 DSD was a University Professor, had published and was teaching. He earned $34,000/year. He found that he could make double that for one stint as a Stunt Double getting shot and knocked down.

Question: Do you write scripts for Stargate SG-1?

Answer summary: DSD told us that he does not write scripts for the show. He writes 'feature scripts' which are hard to get produced. DSD has formed a production company with Michael Shanks and they are planning a feature film which will star MS. DSD said that "Michael is a wonderful guy and a great actor".

Question: Would O'Neill get away with his sense of humor in the real Air Force?

Answer summary: DSD said that RDA is allowed to be witty with the characterization of O'Neill. DSD said that Rick likes to kid and play practical jokes. He warned that no one should "come to the set grumpy" because they would be inviting Rick to play jokes on them or for Chris Judge to "turn you upside down and sit on you". DSD said that the more dangerous consequence would be CJ's as he is well know for his perchance for "flatulence".

Question: How much of the Jack and Daniel "banter" was actually scripted?

Answer summary: DSD smiled and said that "most was let fly".

Question: What happens around the conference table when not shooting?

Answer summary: DSD said that a lot goes on and "it is mostly triple x rated" and that they have a lot of fun. He went on to say that many shows will say that the cast is "like family" and that it is usually a "load of crap" that it is just a public face that is put on. He assures that on Stargate this is not the case. Many of the crew and actors on Stargate SG-1 have worked together for years, some as long as 20 years, and that they are family and "really enjoy each other's company". They do socialize together after work frequently going to CJ's house to watch games or shows on his "big screen". The only exception is RDA who spends as much time at home with his daughter as possible so does not stay in Canada and is not available for these events. DSD explained that the rest of the cast travels all over the world together doing the conventions and that "we would not do that if we didn't like to be with each other".

About Christopher Judge, DSD says that he is a "larger than life person, and not just physically". He keeps in shape by running 6 miles every morning and is fond of saying that he is a 400 pound man in a 240 pound body. DSD also said that CJ "cheats at golf".

Question: Is there any chance of Season 8?

Answer summary: DSD said that this will depend entirely on RDA's willingness to participate. RDA wants to spend as much time as possible with his daughter, and also has a wish to do more environmental documentaries. He may not want to commit to another season.

Question: What is coming up in Season 7?

Answer summary: About upcoming episodes of Season 7, DSD can't go into details yet, except to say that one of the upcoming episodes would be exceptionally exciting and an "actor's dream" featuring Michael Shanks. He said that "it will blow people away when they see it".

Question: In the end of Season 5 when Daniel Jackson was "killed off" was it known that he was to come back?

Answer summary: DSD didn't hesitate when he said "Yes". He explained that MS had been advised by his people that he should strike while the iron was hot for feature films. DSD felt that those who advised MS in this direction did so for their own benefit not MS's. MS missed the show and his friends and wanted to return. The show was also hoping to bring MS and Daniel back and that was the reason for the "ascended" approach to Daniel's departure. The return of MS and Daniel was "very mutual".

About Corin Nemic not continuing as a regular in season 7 DSD explains that this was not due to CN being a "good" or "bad" actor but more to do with the show's elements which are set by "the bible, the spine of the show referring to canon".

DSD explained this by describing the emotional make up of the original Stargate SG-1 team: O'Neill was a burnt out special op trained killer who was in deep guilt over the death of his son. Teal'c was an intense, focused alien warrior dedicated to freeing his people from slavery. Sam was the brilliant female warrior making her way in a man's world as an officer and a scientist. This mix is a foundation group for Sci-fi stories, the warriors, the noble soldier, vanquishing the bad guy through true grit. Then you have the key that makes Stargate SG-1 unique, makes it work so well. You have the moral voice saying "If you just go out and kill and you don't try to understand, you just look for technology and weapons then you are no better than the Goa'uld". This voice is Daniel. He is the conscience, the voice that asks "why" and "how". The voice that asks "What is the best that we can do and still serve the people we are running roughshod over"?

DSD said that Corin, as Jonas, could not take that role because he entered the show as the person involved in the death of Daniel, the moral voice. The character [Jonas] was part of the conspiracy against Daniel. He lied and betrayed. He could not be the "moral voice" for the team as it was not believable. During the 6th season other characters had to take on the part of the moral voice and it got so bad that in one episode near the end of the season O'Neill had to become the "moral voice" and it just didn't work. There was O'Neill lecturing General Hammond on what was right and what was wrong with the situation. The Jonas character simply "didn't feed the original spine of the show".

An additional problem discussed by DSD was that you have a team of 4 people working together for 5 years. They are close. They lose one of their members. The new guy is the "replacement" person, the one that comes in when the hurt is fresh. This never works in real life. No one ever likes the person who is the first replacement of a beloved or revered colleague, professor, department head, etc. The person after that one stands a chance but the first replacement is always a reminder of how much the former is missed and no one cares how good he is at the job, he can't replace the original, so "his butt's mud". Jonas was in this position.

Question: Would the show ever consider writing in a plot line where they find out that God "of the Bible" was a Goa'uld?

Answer summary: DSD said that this would never happen. Way too controversial to consider.

DSD told us that we will see John DeLancie again.

Question: What do you think about Michael Shanks as a Director?

Answer summary: DSD told us that MS is a very good Director. He said that he and MS are good friends and he likes him very much but he has to say that MS is [and DSD draws this word out for effect] "intense". "Michael is anal. This makes him a good Director". DSD told us that when the scripts are given to the actors on the show, each will sit around and review their part and occasional clarification or questions come up. However, MS takes his script, reads it thoroughly, then writes notes to the writers about what in the script Daniel would or would not do and "drives them crazy". He directs the same way. DSD say that he thinks that MS will direct a lot in the future.

DSD then introduced Peter Williams, who had come in and sat at the side waiting for his turn with the group. However, DSD did take a few more questions before saying goodbye.

Question: What episodes do you like best?

Answer summary: DSD said that the ones that define Hammond are the ones that stick out for him. Those include the episode where Hammond's grandkids are kidnapped. The episodes that he enjoyed the most were Cold Lazarus, the episode where Carter confronts her dad, the episode in which Teal'C returns to Chulak to save his son from implantation, and Window of Opportunity and Wormhole Extreme because he likes to laugh.

Question: In the Groundhog Day type episode what was the question that Daniel was asking O'Neill each loop?

Answer summary: DSD said that they were not supposed to refer to that episode as "Groundhog Day" and no, he had no idea what Daniel had been asking O'Neill in that episode.

By Sharyn
02 APR 2003

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