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Stargate SG-1 Cast Interviews: Michael Shanks

Saturday Q&A :: Sunday Q&A :: Michael Shanks and Anna-Louise Plowman Gallery :: Michael Shanks Gallery

Michael Shanks and Anna-Louise Plowman Q&A
SFX The Event, Saturday 17th May 2003

The following transcript is verbatim where possible, but in parts is a synopsis of what was said.  As recording equipment was not permitted in the hall, this record was compiled from the notes of a number of those who attended.  We've done our level best to give a flavour of the event for those who were unable to attend.

The Saturday Q&A was slowed considerably by a number of people requesting hugs from Michael Shanks, none of whom were refused, including one sorry individual who abused the privilege much to the disgust of fellow fans.

The session started with an introduction from the organisers, welcoming the beautiful Anna-Louise Plowman and the charming Michael Shanks.  Michael Shanks then greeted the crowd and chatted through the first few minutes on stage as he and Anna were photographed.

MS: Hello! So I guess you know I'm back on the show. [huge cheer from crowd at this wry comment]

MS: I'm blind! I'm blind! [cameras are flashing like crazy] We'll just wait until the photographs are done, okay?

MS: [drawls] My name is Richard Dean Anderson. [crowd cheers]

MS: Um, okay - they seem to be just about done. So does anyone have any questions or anything?

Q: How long have you been acting for?

MS: I've been acting up since I was about three years old. I graduated in 1994 so I've been acting for about eight and a half years.

ALP: I started acting about nine years ago.

Q: You said you wanted a script for a cross-dressing aromatherapist, you still interested?
MS: [laughs] Have you got it?  This is what I've been waiting all my life for!

Fan: Yes, yes I've got one. [MS takes the script from her]

MS: "The tale of the cross-dressing aromatherapist!" Woo!

ALP: I think we should read something from this.

MS: Thank you.  [he places the script on the stage]  I'll read that later.

Q: Do you still have any ambitions in life?

ALP: Workwise?  Yes.  On Stargate, I'm looking forward to coming back and doing some more of that. Family life is important. To write. To fly an aeroplane.

MS: I've always wanted to be an eighteen-year-old gymnast but I guess that's not going to happen.

Q: Hi, Michael. Welcome back to London. I have a request rather than a question. Can you sing "Row, Row, Row your boat" for us please?

MS: Okaaaay [said with a long-suffering sigh] But I'm not going to sing it on my own. You've all got to join in. And we need to stand up for this.  [MS gets to his feet] Everyone stand.  [points to someone in the audience] Hey, you, you're not  standing! [looks around until he's satisfied]  Okay.
[Sings tunefully] Row, row, row your boat [aims mic at audience] gently down the stream [leads audience in singing]  Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.  [cuts off abruptly]

I think there's more but that's all I know.

Q: In your Japanese interview you said that Jack and Daniel's friendship had been left largely unspoken and unacknowledged on the show. How would you like to see it acknowledged, and is that something you tried to do in your own writing?

MS:  I don't think the relationship has gone unacknowledged.  I think that lost something in the Japanese translation. [smiles]  Oh, I can't imagine what you're fishing for! [teasing]

Fan: Oh, yes you can!

MS: [laughs in acknowledgement] I've heard about that.  The Jack and Daniel relationship has come full circle. There's no need to argue and for animosity as each knows implicitly where the other is coming from. It's kind of like the relationship with Rick and I. We're on same page and we know where each other is coming from. So I think you'll see a flowering of the relationship.  That's as far as I'm going to go. [speaks teasingly and laughs again]

Q: Would you like to act on the stage in London's West End?

MS: Absolutely

Q: Which role would you most like to play?

ALP: Pygmalion.

MS: I've always wanted to play Blanche in "A Streetcar Named Desire".

ALP: And I'll play Stanley.

Q: Do you have any plans for other conventions and to visit Australia again - particularly Queensland?

MS: Where are *you* from? [drawls knowingly]

Fan: Um…Queensland.

MS: Ah-huh. Yes, I'll be Australia, but not Queensland - not sure how long I'll be there - 15th and 16th of November, I think. I'm also going to do Paris some time this year.

Q: Can you pick one thing in Stargate which you think was the best thing you've done?  And can you also tell us where you think you sucked?

MS: Where I think I sucked? I think that would have to be an episode called "Into the Fire". I was doing "Hamlet" at the same time, and I remember thinking 'what am I doing?' It's really bad if the actor is thinking 'what am I doing?'. So yeah, that sucked for sure.

MS: Best scene in Stargate?  The scenes in "Legacy" where I was in that little white room. [crowd cheers] I'm also very happy with an episode we've just shot called "Lifeboat". That's where, without giving away too much, the character isn't actually himself. I get to play three other people.

Q: Anna, can you tell us what it was like to attend the premier of "Die Another Day"?

ALP: It was absolutely terrifying. There were a lot of people there and a huge red carpet. It was very overwhelming and unbelievable. I got to meet the Queen and I got to meet Madonna. The funny thing was that I'd borrowed a dress that was so fitted I couldn't actually go to the loo.  The whole evening, I was thinking, "Oh my God!"
Q: Can you tell us about Sumuru?
MS: Sumuru - I shot that in South Africa last year. I believe there is a plan for RTL to show it in the fall in Germany, after that I'm not sure, but hopefully other stations in Europe. It was a lot of fun. The plot is a bit like a B movie but we treated it as campy fun.

Q: Which song sums up your career and can you sing it?

MS: I think for me "Row, row, row your boat".  [smiles cheekily] And I've already sung that one.

ALP: I know it'll sound really strange but [laughs] 'You're so vain'. And I can't sing, so no - sorry.

Q: Some of us saw you on "The Test". What was that all about?

MS: The Test is a politically incorrect show for morons. The thing about it is you're supposed to put as much sexual innuendo in as possible. They have all these different tests - I think the one I did was The Fitness Test, where they ask lots of questions like 'If you were a piece of gym equipment what would you be?'

ALP: Really? So what would you be?

MS: I said I'd be a weight bench. Make of that what you will.

Q: Has your mother-in-law seen you as Osiris and what does she make of Stargate? [ALP's mother-in-law is revered British actress Dame Maggie Smith]

ALP: [laughs] Oh, thanks! Yes, she knows I'm on it, but she hasn't watched it. I might make her one day.

MS: I'd pay *money* to see that!

Q: We've heard you're writing a script, Michael. Have you thought about who might direct?

MS: No, I don't get to choose the director. In television the writing process is very collaborative. It goes through a whole process and then the director gets it and they may do something different than what you had in mind. If it comes out the way you intended it's a miracle of nature, but I'm happy to just see how it comes out.

Q: Wood or composite?

MS: [queries this in confusion] Hockey sticks? [he turns to the audience] Do you guys get hockey here? [a chorus of agreement sounds, MS perks up and gets into full, confiding hockey fan mode] Okay!  Composites are a fibreglass and wood mixture that apparently gives much more strength to the shot than wood. Unfortunately they also have a habit of exploding. There's been a lot of controversy about that this season.

Q: Which are you?

MS: I'm a wood man.  A *big* wood man. [a double entendre and proud of it]

Q: Can you tell us about any of the practical jokes that you and Chris Judge have played on each other?

MS: No, there's too many cameras around. [laughs] I've already told you the bear story, right? Have you heard of the Chris character - the Turd Burglar?  Sometimes when you get back to your trailer you'll find there's something in your toilet that you know you didn't leave there. That's when you've been visited by the Turd Burglar. [audience groans and laughs]

At various points, MS was given gifts, to which he responded, "I love coming to London.  You guys always give me presents."  The gift which got the best reaction was that of a cute little teddy.  MS stooped to put it down on stage, commenting, "My daughter has more stuffed animals than I know what to do with."  Someone in the audience yelled out that he should hold the teddy.  MS responded, "Hold the teddy," in an eye-rolling, complaining sort of voice.  He held the teddy ;)  It remains with Michael and then with Anna for most of the Q & A session!

Q: How did you get the part of Thor and why didn't you want anyone to know it was you?

MS: I am Thor. [then switches to Thor's voice] I am Thor. Get some cream. [jokingly rubbing his bum with the teddy he was given.]  Michael Greenburg came to me one day and asked if I'd do the voice. I was a bit reluctant because I didn't want to put my own personality on to the puppet, but then it came out it was me. That's okay. He's a lot of fun to play.

Q: Anna, do you like being a bad guy or would you rather be a goodie?  [question hesitantly asked by a little boy]

ALP: Oh, it's lots of fun being a bad guy. I get to have my way and I get to zat people. [ALP smiles to the boy] Can I have a hug?  [She comes down off the stage, hunkers down and hugs the little boy, then returns to the stage to much appreciation from the audience].  His name's Daniel! [everyone laughs]

Q: What are your favourite episodes?

MS: The two-part episode that was shot this year called "Heroes". Another favourite is "Changeling", which was written by Chris Judge.

ALP: I think "The Curse" because I got to be Sarah and Osiris.

Q: Is Richard Dean Anderson a sweetie or is he scary?

MS: It depends on what time of day it is. Richard is a very down to earth guy, but when he's tired he turns into that character from "Brief Candle" and is curmudgeonly. [teasing the audience, who remembered curmudgeonly Jack very well] Most of the time though he's just really down to earth.

ALP: I haven't actually had much to do with Richard, but whenever I have, he's been absolutely charming.

Q: Will we be seeing the Unas this season? And can you do the chocolate bar scene for us?

MS: Yes, there's an episode called Hallowed Ground that features the Unas. [does the chocolate bar 'mmmmm' scene much to everyone's delight, including ALP]

Q: Anna, what is it like hearing yourself on screen with a Goa'uld voice?

ALP: It's very strange. I keep wondering whether Osiris is King or Queen of the Nile! There's this whole gender thing going on there. Yes, it's very odd to watch myself.

Q: Is there going to be a movie and will you be in it?

MS: We don't know what the hell is going on. There's talk about the possibility of an eighth season of the show [a *huge* cheer goes up from the audience] Might be. [MS emphasises carefully] Might be.  [emphasises again] There might be a spin-off.  There might be a feature film at some point down the road, though that's the least likely. These are all possibilities.
Q: Has Daniel got over Sha're and will we see Daniel fall in love again on the show?
MS: [amused] Daniel falls in love every week!

Q: Most people in this hall would like to see Sam and Jack get together.  [audience groans in protest]

MS: Sci Fi Channel seems to get a lot of mail about the O'Neill-Carter romance.  There's talk about interjecting some sort of kiss into episode fifteen or sixteen this year. [crowd gives mixed response, some cheers, some booing, to which MS reacts]  I think there's a bit of a split over it.

MS: What do you think about that? [Gets to his feet]  Let's take a show of hands.  How many of you guys want Carter and O'Neill to kiss? [MS walks across the stage, looking out at the audience, counting]  A smattering of hands.

MS: And how many don't?  [a sea of hands is promptly raised, the number against vastly outnumbering those for]  Wow!  [MS reacts to the sea of hands against a kiss in some surprise, then he laughs and points at the centre section of the audience, near the front] I  know what *you* people want!

MS:  SciFi gets a lot of mail - more pro than con. They're contemplating maybe doing a poll on their website. I don't know when but you might want to keep eye out if you have any interest in that.

Q: Who is your favourite person to work with on the show?

MS: Richard Dean Anderson. He has such style. He changes the script around - he tends to lead and I follow - which is a lot of fun.

Q: Anna, did you experience the puff and ruffle when you were on set?

ALP: What is the puff and ruffle? [turns to] Michael?

MS: You didn't get that?

ALP: I've never heard of it.

MS: You don't notice it if it's done well. [preens]

[crowd yells enthusiastically - show her!]

MS: Okay, I'm going to be the actor. The male actor. [to ALP] You have to pretend to come on set.

[ALP walks across the stage - MS pretends to be busy reading a script, then as she walks towards him, he notices ALP is there.  Looking out at the audience, he makes preparations, shooting sidelong glances at ALP while he unbuttons his shirt and slips it down to bare some skin.  [audience reacts appreciatively] Then he gets up and goes to greet ALP.]

MS: Hi, how are you?  [he schmoozes ALP blatantly, being all sweet and attentive and nicely touchy-feely]

ALP: [startled and laughing] I did get this! I didn’t notice!  [everyone laughs]

[MS puts his hand above his head like a rooster's comb and struts towards Anna, both of them laughing]

And the crowd goes wild....
Saturday Q&A :: Sunday Q&A :: Michael Shanks and Anna-Louise Plowman Gallery :: Michael Shanks Gallery
Solutions, 2003.  Transcript prepared with contributions fron Sharon, Cheryl, Alison, Carole, Sally et al and we're damned if we can remember *everything* *exactly* as it occurred...we *were* having a good time, ya know :) All rights reserved, yadda yadda.  Feel free to link to this page.
Photo credits: PhotoMellen, 2003.  All rights reserved.

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

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