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Stargate SG-1 Cast Interviews: Michael Shanks

Nine Lives
Thomasina Gibson, Cult Times #118, July 2005

Michael Shanks was featured on the cover of this issue, with a four-page interview including several photographs from Season 8. The interview was conducted during the filming of episode 10 of Season 9. Excerpts of the printed interview follow.

With 10 episodes 'in the can' Shanks is pretty happy with how things are shaping up in the new, improved Stargate SG-1. "Everybody has been much more an ensemble this year. We have the brain trust of the writers and they are also the producers and they are the bosses. Then we actors are trying to figure out where all the different pieces of the puzzle work together and we are trying to be very open and give everybody as many avenues as possible. It's an interesting process because everybody is so new. Everybody is feeling their way round the dark trying to find out what other people are like to work with and how the characters are going to interact and what kind of stories are going to be written. It's like a blind man walking with a stick in a mine field. Fortunately we haven't stepped on anything big yet, but there have been a few close calls. But it's been exciting regardless and interesting to see that."

One of the new recurring characters who will certainly give Mr. Shanks a run for his money and make sure he doesn't outgrow his britches is none other than Mrs. Shanks, aka Lexa Doig, as Dr. Carolyn Lam. "That was funny how that worked out," laughs Ms. Doig's husband. "We were sitting and I said, 'Hey, there's a doctor in the script,' and she said, 'Well, what is it like?' and I said, 'Actually it's kinda cool'." […]

Continuing, Shanks says, "So Lexa read for the part but I didn't know how she was going to do or if it was just going to be 'one of those things' [code-speak for 'not right for the part']. I remember the night before she auditioned for it she was reading with me and I listened to her speak the lines and I realized the character actually was her. I went, 'Oh my God! You're really good. You're bringing elements to this that you don't even know you're bringing.' She didn't really know what I was talking about then but I think she realizes now that she's worked on her own personal backstory. Lexa went in there and totally blew them away and then it was just a matter of working out the details of her being a recurring character on the show. As much as she was trying to take a year off she just happened to be so right for this part. It's funny because she's working on this, she's working on The 4400, they keep offering her other stuff and she keeps going, 'I just want to be at home with my baby'." […]

When the season opens, the original members of SG-1 are scattered to the four winds, so where has Daniel Jackson been and why is he drawn back to the SGC? […]

"What was talked about last year at the end of Eight when we were still in talks with SciFi about doing a Season Nine or what would happen blah blah blah, [show-runner] Robert Cooper said, 'We'll wait and see, because if nothing else we'll put Daniel on the Daedalus and he'll be on his way to Atlantis, which is kind of where he should be any way'," explains Shanks. […]

They're almost mid-way through the season when we speak but already there are two episodes that Shanks thinks will be his all-time favourites. "Viewing-wise I've enjoyed Avalon parts I and II, which are the first two of the season. […] We have some great sets and some great stories which flesh out what I think is successful in our show in terms of adventure, exploration and mythology. […] I think that Avalon really is some of the strongest work we've done in years. It's a lot of fun and think the audience will really enjoy it."

The season opener introduces Farscape's Ben Browder as Colonel Cameron Mitchell, the man responsible from bringing the illustrious SG-1 team back together again. "Ben and I get along just fine," declares Shanks. "We've yet to work together in a strong capacity. They had Claudia Black and I work together a great deal at the beginning of the show, which was great fun." […] "Ben's character is the goofy colonel who is out of his element a lot of the time and Mitchell and Daniel have been carrying different parts of the storyline as the year's progressed. We haven't really had that time where we've been locked into a room and see how the characters behave around one another. So I would have to say that Ben and I get along just fine. The characters, we'll just have to wait and see how they get on with each other."

© Cult Times Magazine. All rights reserved.

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