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Stargate SG-1 Cast Interviews: Michael Shanks

Stargate: Behind The Gate
Presented by Miwa Hirai, AXN Channel (Sony Pictures Japan) 

The special covers the history of Stargate from the original movie in 1994 to Season Five, airing in Japan.  Commentary is by journalist Miwa Hirai, who researches Stargate SG-1 in a library, introducing the viewer to Jack, Daniel, Carter, Teal'c and Hammond before going on to give some highlights of each season.  There are clips of all the team members.

The programme introduces key elements of the Stargate universe from villains to allies, Goa'uld to technology, with more illustrative clips.  There are excerpts of interviews with actor, director and future writer Michael Shanks, and with writer and Co-Exec Producer Joseph Mallozzi.

Below are the interview excerpts with Michael, though there were also a number of clips tracing Daniel's story from his recruitment to the Stargate programme onwards through the seasons.

Michael on Stargate SG-1

"What Stargate has going for it that a lot of other science-fiction shows don't, is it brings us back to a more intellectual, modern outlook."

Michael on mythology and stuff

"Here's what I'm curious about.  Oh, wow, these modern-day soldiers and people get to go through this portal and see where the origins of, you know, ancient Egypt came from and stuff like that."

Michael on a seemingly inexplicable casting decision…

"No, I, um, I thought they were mad.  I thought that it was the best character in the movie and I thought how could they possibly give it to me?  Do they know what they're doing?  But I was very excited and I thought it was a fun character and it was gonna be a lot of fun to play."

AXN Channel (Sony Pictures Japan)
AXN In-Depth
Michael Shanks interviewed by Miwa Hirai

"Where would I like to go off-world?  You know, if I - all those pictures of Mars and everything?  They just aren't making it look too appealing, so..."

Clips of Dr. Daniel Jackson from the episodes:

Children Of The Gods
There But For The Grace of God
Broca Divide
Mr. Michael G. Shanks and Dr. Daniel Jackson

"She [Possibly Lexa Doig, Michael's partner?] tends to think Daniel is this sensitive new-age guy but I'm a bit of a dick, but - um..."  Michael bursts out laughing.  "There is a certain shyness and sensitivity that is inherent within the character that is also me.  There's a certain passion and idealism which exists in both as well so I think those are the closest parallels I can make."


"It's [Stargate SG-1] given me a crash-course in film making for sure.  Television series in general do everything at the speed of light.  And if you can get through that, when you move on to something that moves at a slower pace, like a feature film and whatnot, then you're pretty much laughing because you've learned - baptism by fire - how to act for camera, all about the business of film making and all about the business of being on a set and all about… Every aspect of film-making comes in a jar, so to speak, and it's just…" Michael clicks his fingers rapidly.  "Everything happens lightning-fast.  So it's a crash-course in production for film and television in general.  So I've learned - technically I've learned so much in such a short period of time, it was like going to school, everything happened so fast."

Clips of Dr. Daniel Jackson from the episodes:

 Montage of all the cast members from Double Jeopardy
Baptism By Fire

"That was great.  No, I have no regrets about my baptism by fire experience of directing and I'm sure I'll have no regrets about, you know, beating my head against a wall trying to write an episode, so… Again, to show all the different facets I'm involved in, in the process, even producing and whatnot.  I've been introduced to certain people who can teach me new things, and we're always hanging around, you can always ask somebody, 'Hey, how do you do your job?'  You know, 'What's involved in that?', and they can let you in on it.  And that direction came about from that, my constant curiosity of knocking on office doors and going, 'So, whatcha doing in here?  What are you all about?'  It made me think after a while that I knew probably a bit more than I did and so I jumped into directing and that was a tough experience, but at the same time, a very strong learning one, so I have no regrets about that."

Extra-Terrestrial Humour

"Some of the funnier moments are when…We have a puppeteer who does all the puppetry and a couple of days, I showed up on set while he was working the puppet, just to see how exactly we would work together to find it.  And I think that he's a lot funnier when he's doing the voice himself and he is able to do the puppetry at the same time.  And where Thor places his hand sometimes when he's doing scenes with Carter and whatnot.  Those are always funny moments.  It's always funny too, to be in the looping stage and occasionally redo a line so that it doesn't quite match what the lips are saying but it matches a more ironic twist in the script, and then we cut and we do it again.  But those kind of out-takes would be very funny to hear."

Clips of Dr. Daniel Jackson from the episodes:

 The Curse
 Crystal Skull
 Window Of Opportunity - Daniel off-world with his rubbings
 Torment Of Tantalus

Shades of Grey

"I liked 'Beast of Burden' a lot because it was the second part to 'The First Ones' from the fourth season.  'Beast of Burden' is fun because for once the seemingly know-it-all moral centre Daniel, he learns that there is no right answer for once.  There is no right-er answer.  Each answer - there's just different shades of grey, and there's no real right or wrong in this situation.  And he just has, for once, to choose to a side, and he doesn't necessarily come out on top at the end of it and I think that's great because most issues aren't so black and white.  And I think for the character to be finally sort of shown the other side, that he can't win this fight and this is why people have to make difficult choices and so he's forced to make a difficult choice, maybe not for the better."

Clips of Dr. Daniel Jackson from the episodes:

 Window Of Opportunity - Daniel turns at his blackboard
 Crystal Skull
Big in Japan

I think it's great.  I think that it's unexpected, I would wonder why but I always do wonder why, you know, we do so well in other countries.  Because we don't really hear about it a lot here.  I mean, like, Canada is a place where we don't hear about ourselves at all and in America, there's such a large market out there, so many different shows, that we really get lost in the shuffle.  We're never really talked about.  It's only when you go away to other places that you hear the show's doing really well in Australia or France."

We hopefully hope

"Thank you for watching Stargate and we hopefully - we hope - we hopefully hope.  Thank you for watching Stargate and we hope that you join us through all our adventures."

And finally

"You keep watching us, now, y'hear!"

Transcript by Alison
21 Feb 03

AXN Channel (Sony Pictures Japan), 2003. 

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Since 2002, an independent Stargate site by fans, for fans. Contact us. Read our copyright statement.

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