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Stargate SG-1 Cast Interviews: Michael Shanks and Christopher Judge

Michael Shanks and Christopher Judge: Infinitely Better
Daniel Garrett, BBC Wiltshire Radio, 29 Jan 04

Infinitely Better, Swindon, England, January 29, 2004
Images and Interview Copyright 2004 to BBC Wiltshire
All rights reserved. Printed with permission.
Transcribed by Helen

Daniel Garrett: Our first question is from JH in Canada and his question is for you, Michael. He's asked: How did you feel about getting killed in the show?

Michael: Just fine (laughs) No, at the time it was something that was... I think... I thought it was necessary for both the show's evolution and for my personal evolution as an actor, so... uhh... obviously the *character* didn't care for it too much but I think that, with what happened afterwards with the ascension process and whatever, the character was fine with it. The actor was *totally* fine with it and I think that the show actually benefited for a little change-up mid-stream, so uhhh... for all parties involved it was a beneficial thing. It's uhh... come full circle and we're back to being happy and working together again.

Daniel Garrett: Great stuff! Our next question is from A in Cambridge to both of you, really. She asks: how would you like to see the series end?

Chris: Ummm... I'd like to see us all die in a fiery death glider crash (Michael sniggers in the background and Chris laughs.) Why? Why is that funny?

Michael: Ah... it's just funny. I don't know why. We can't all fit in a death glider.

Chris: Oh, right! (Michael is laughing quietly) In a fiery mother-ship crash!

Daniel Garrett: What about you, Michael?

Michael: I don't think I'd like to see the series end and I don't think it's actually possible that... the... the... concept is certainly not going to end, not with the spin-off series happening and the proposition of feature films, I think that the... the standard for the series, the very idea of the series beckons, you know, constant use of imagination and constant use of the... the possibility that anything *is* possible. I don't think there *is* a proper ending for something like that unless you, you know, go touch the hand of God or whatever and realise the maker and creator. But, I think, because we can actually...

Chris: Star Trek did that.

Michael: Yeah, I know. (Michael says that almost dismissively, and Chris laughs) We can actually philosophise on that notion and we don't want to present our idea of what that is to all the different religions that would have our heads on a plate (Chris chuckles) but I think it's best that we just keep searching, just like people do in this life.

Chris: I'm in a fiery mother-ship crash after the 16th season, of course. (They laugh)

Daniel Garrett: You mentioned the new series, Stargate: Atlantis. You going to have anything to do with that, both of you?

Michael: Ummm... as far as I know, the only involvement that I'll have with it is in the first two acts of the pilot of that. Myself and Richard Dean Anderson are... are there to sort of pass the torch on to this new group of people and they carry on their own adventures in a galaxy we can't get to, so it uhhh... it kind of makes the idea of crossing over a little bit impossible at the moment. Of course, we'll find a way to do that if it becomes necessary but for the first two acts of the pilot, we'll be there and after that, who knows.

Daniel Garrett: Right, well, we'll look forward to that. Our next question is from M in Seattle. He's asked: Daniel and Jack's friendship is what I tune in to Stargate for but in Season 7 there's hardly any. When Jack's on screen he's with Sam and when D and J are together there is not that special buddiness projected as much as earlier seasons. How come is that? And that's for you, Michael.

Michael: Umm... I wouldn't say that the buddiness is not there. I'd say that the writers can certainly milk that opportunity but as Christopher Judge will easily attest to, that that on-set gets tiresome sometimes, at the way we actually enjoy that banter between us. so they tried to tame it to tell the story instead of just having us screw around a lot. But Rick's involvement in the seventh season has been somewhat limited so it makes it very difficult for us to capture those moments and ummm... there are some coming up I think... definitely in the two parter finale this season, there's a lot of that kind of interaction again, so it hasn't gone away. Rick and I still get along as well as we ever did and still have a great friendship off and on camera and I think that we'll just wait for the right moments and hopefully it'll still come about both in this season and in the eighth season.

Daniel Garrett: Great. Our next question is for Chris and this is from C also in Seattle. He says: Hey Chris, are you going to encourage your kids to go into acting or discourage them?

Chris: Ummm... you know, I truly will neither encourage nor discourage them. I mean, I really believe that they really have to find their... what their own desires and wants and likes and dislikes are. Ummm... certainly if they do decide to go into acting, you know, I have some... some pointers for them to make their lives a *bit* easier but that's *really* something they have to come to on their own and, you know, and it would make *me* happy but it certainly has to make them happy first.

Daniel Garrett: Next question is for you, Michael. This is from F in Manchester. They ask: Do you get tired/annoyed with fans, especially female fans, giving you loads of attention or do you enjoy having the undivided attention of probably every female Stargate fan in the world?

Michael laughs.

Michael: I think it would be insane of me to say that I get annoyed with female attention, that's for sure (laughs again). But uhhh... as long as it's polite and friendly and everything's on the up-and-up and there's not any, you know, untoward ummm... movements being made and whatnot. As long as it remains...

Chris: Ass grabbing...

Michael: Yeah, ass grabbing (Chris chuckles) and whatnot, as long as it remains polite and... and cool like that, I really have no problem with it. I think that all the fans I've met have been very gracious and very polite so I.. I haven't... I've had one bad experience but it wasn't really that bad so... I'm sure that a lot of *female* actors would argue a lot differently in terms of male behaviour but so far, everybody's been great.

Daniel Garrett: You're fine with it? (Michael says "Yes" very quietly in the background.) Next question is also for you, Michael. This is from S in Bath. She said: How long are you staying in England and during your time here where have you most enjoyed visiting?

Michael: Ummm... buey!... we've been sort of back and forth so actually to say that we've stayed (laughs) in England for any length of time is odd. We've been here about a grand total of four days in our stay so far I think. Tomorrow will be our last one here before we do other travels and then I think we end up in London for three or four days at the end. Ummm... we've had such brief experiences at different places that it's really hard to find some great one experience that we've had. I think Bournemouth was very beautiful, Bedford was very rustic and the snow was certainly interesting to watch and Swindon here we've seen ummm... the restaurant and this building here! So, I can't say we've had a lot of great experiences of England (he is obviously smiling here) in terms of sussing out the countryside and finding our way but ummm... boy, the scotch at the hotel sure is good, isn't it?

(Laughter in the background.)

Daniel Garrett: So, you found the bar all right?

Michael: Yeah, oh yeah.

Chris: I just find it fantastic that you can remember all the names. (Michael laughs) Though I think you were awake for most of the rides. I kind of just wake up when we get there. (Laughter)

Daniel Garrett: Now, you mentioned Daniel's ascension earlier. E in France has asked: Will we know what happened to Daniel during his ascension during the next season?

Michael: That's a good question. It's a story that I've... I've sort of wanted somebody to pick up the ball and tell and... and I will certainly pitch that idea to one of the writers in the future if they want to pick it up or if I should pick it up myself. It might be... it's always good sometimes, though, for the suspension of disbelief and also for the maintenance of mystery, because the ascended beings in our universe are... are particularly omnipotent, particularly great in their mysteriousness as, almost angelic-like characters. It's almost... sometimes what's *not* said is more interesting than what is said, so I'm not sure if they want to keep it at that or if they want to tell. It'll be up to the heads next year to... to dictate where that goes.

Daniel Garrett: R in Iowa has asked - another question for you Michael, you're very popular today (laughs) - she's asked: Do you have any projects in the works other than the film that you are producing with Don S Davis? Any guest appearances we should keep an eye out for?

Michael: Given the time on this particular hiatus I made a devoted effort to take as much time off as possible. Ummm... we've been meeting with the fans and having a great time doing that and I just wanted to make sure I re-charge my batteries so we have as much energy to give for what we *believe* is our last season of Stargate. I wanted to have as much energy to give as possible for this coming year. Uhhh... because we shoot for six to eight months, as it is.. it's... uhh... to have something on the go is... is not exactly a possibility for an actor like me so ummm... I hope to have as many opportunities open to me when I'm done as possible.

Daniel Garrett: Christopher, we've got a question for you. This is from F in Winchester. She says: You've been described as a joker and it's been said that you play pranks on the other cast members. What's the worst thing you've done?

Chris: Well, the worst thing that... that I've done is actually coming up in the next season which we start in around a month. And... uhhh... so tell her to write back and ask in, like, April, because I've got a doozy coming up. That's all I can say.

Michael: Now *I'm* curious.

(Chris laughs)

Chris: It's a doozy.

Michael: You don't want me to tell the turd burglar story?

(Chris laughs)

Michael: (In mock angry voice) Christopher Judge will use my bathroom without authorisation sometimes. Use your imagination.

(Chris is still laughing)

Daniel Garrett: Okay, we'll leave it at that! K in Melbourne has asked - this is for you again, Christopher - How much has being in Stargate changed your life, aside from the obvious?

Chris: Ummm... what's the obvious?

(Michael and Chris laugh)

Daniel Garrett: Just... just from, you know, having fans and that type of thing, I would imagine.

Michael: That you're a bigger idiot than you were before.

Chris: Ummm... I can afford a better bottle of scotch... No, it's uhhh... you know, just the whole experience of it has been really wonderful. I think I've changed a lot, just as... just in... everyone goes through changes as you get older and wiser and uhhh... you know, it's uhhh... I don't know if the show itself has changed me but I have changed as I've been on the show. Ummm... just becoming wiser and more mature and uhhh... you know, really kinda just taking it day by day and really appreciating this wonderful journey that we're on.

Daniel Garrett: Our next question is also for you, Christopher. This is from John Storey in Northampton. He asks: What is it like being a part of the Stargate universe and what is it like working with Richard Dean Anderson and Amanda Tapping?

Chris: Ummm... (Chris makes a pathetic sound as both he and Michael laugh) Ummm...

Michael: (In "put-on" voice) It's just fine.

Chris sniggers.

Chris: Nah, it really uhhh... you know, for the first while we were just overwhelmed by uhhh... be it everything from the work to the sets. Then we were overwhelmed by how the show was received and uhhh... you know, working with Rick... I mean, Rick is great, you know. We went in to it not knowing what commodity would be there, if he'd you know... kinda be this star that was aloof and unapproachable and he was (Laughs) But no, he is really, I mean, Rick has really become an older brother to Michael and I. We get along so well... we... we do have so many things in common that just... people would just freak out, they just wouldn't understand. Sometimes we don't understand... like the closeness of our bonds and uhhh... it really... it's been a fantastic, fantastic experience.

Daniel Garrett: The last question we've got is from LC in Luton in the UK and this is for you, Michael. She asks: What do you think of the fan fiction out there? Have you read any of it, do you know anyone within the cast or crew that's looked at it?

Michael: Ummm... I do know that the writers and producers do know about fan fiction. I don't choose to dwell in that universe. I live with this character 24/7 as it is that it's very difficult to... you know, the idea of logging in and finding out what the characters... what other people perceive as the characters' off-camera life is like, so... I don't choose to watch it. I've heard about certain kinds of fan fiction that are both risque and somewhat... ummm... just plain wrong. So, ummm... I haven't read it but, uhh... I do know that as long as it keeps the fans happy that's what's most important.

Daniel Garrett: Were you referring to stuff between your and Richard Dean Anderson's characters?

Michael: That's *exactly* what I was referring to! Odd that you mention that. Ummm... yeah...

Chris: What's being wrong about that?

(Michael laughs)

Chris: It's very natural.

Michael: (Laughing) Some people perceive it as very natural and... Rick and I, we have a running joke on set about that as well and so, to actually have people pick up on that is even more disturbing than the jokes that we make so, uhhh... I think it's very funny and... whatever floats your boat.

Daniel Garrett: So you play on it a little bit?

Michael: A little bit but... no... not as much as the fans would like... some fans would like.

(They laugh)

Daniel Garrett: Great. Well, thanks very much for your time today, guys.

Michael and Chris thank him in return.

© 2004, BBC Wiltshire.

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