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Stargate SG-1 Cast Interviews: Richard Dean Anderson

Richard Dean Anderson
Steve Eramo, TV Zone #158, January 2003 (20 Dec 02)

The interview was conducted on 28th September 2002.  Richard Dean Anderson was preparing to shoot what he expected to be his last scene as Col. Jack O'Neill.

"I have some pressing issues on a personal level as well as career-wise that I have to deal with that will affect my future on Stargate," explains the actor. "In fact, last night I jotted down some points in an effort to clear my head as far as what my objectives would be with regard to a career move. Because I tend to write honestly to myself, I concluded that the ideal situation for me would be to stay on this show for a seventh season, albeit in an abbreviated form. I'd rather do that than the alternative, which would be to say goodbye and look for something else down the road. Honestly, I'm not interested in doing that, and with good reason. In this cast and crew of Stargate I've got a spectacular sense of community and virtually a family. There really is a warm feeling on our set. So it would be great to somehow work out an arrangement in which we do a seventh season."

"I'm very happy with how this year went," says Anderson. "We dealt with the introduction of a new character [Jonas Quinn, played by Corin Nemec] as well as the loss of an old one [Daniel Jackson, played by Michael Shanks]. Everything just seemed to fit. It was a comfortable transition and, I felt, a credible one, too. 

I got to work with Michael Shanks a couple of times this season, even though he wasn't a regular 'employee.' We had the opportunity to do some fairly intense scenes where they threw our two characters together in a paper bag and shook them up," jokes the actor. "I really enjoy acting opposite Michael, partly because of his awareness of rhythms coupled with his propensity for speed and reaction. The relationship between Jack and Daniel has, I think, found a really nice levelling off place this season."

Was the actor pleased with how the relationship developed between his character and the newest member of SG-1, Jonas Quinn? "I thought it unfolded nicely," he says. "Certainly, the seed was sown for conflict and distrust between the two of them. However, throughout the season, Jonas proved himself to O'Neill, who also had some revelations about Jonas's relative innocence in regard to Daniel's death. Oddly enough, we're shooting a scene today that I think further proves that O'Neill has come to accept Jonas. My character actually says something complimentary to him such as, 'Get well soon, we need you out there.' That's O'Neill's mid-western way of saying 'You're OK, kid'."

"Somebody recently asked me about O'Neill's sense of humour," notes Anderson. "Believe it or not, it was the first time I had really been pointedly asked about it. The thing is I don't think O'Neill has a clue that he might be perceived as being funny or having a sense of humour. 

He might try to be a little sly or sardonic but he's not aware of the comic manipulations that are involved in his manner. O'Neill can be a little dense. Sometimes he doesn't quite get it," chuckles the actor.

"I think a lot of what the fans call 'Jack-isms' stem out of my love of the absurd and the incongruity of speech patterns and/or tenses. I'm a huge fan of British humour, from Terry-Thomas and Peter Sellers to Monty Python and right through to people today like Eddie Izzard. I especially like Monty Python and their non-secular style of humour."

"Martin [Wood] did a wonderful job with Full Circle," enthuses Anderson. "It was a big production and we wanted to make sure that it was in the hands of somebody who's used to doing our show. 

I really enjoy working with him and Peter DeLuise [writer/producer], who also directs several of our episodes each year. Along with being great Human Beings they're also very talented and innovative people. Both Martin and Peter aren't afraid of exploring new ways of doing things and I truly appreciate as well as admire that."

"I'm now on the verge of having to take a big and very conscious step and really alter the course of who I am in relationship to the world. If there's not a season seven of Stargate, I'm not going to go out and look for work. I've said this before, I'm going to take a year off and let the reins go for a while.  My priorities now are life and [daughter] Wylie. The two are inseparable. I don't even know what else to reflect on now because everything else seems to pale in comparison."

"I haven't really given it [Season Seven] much thought," says the actor. "Because I'm so trusting of the producers and writers to guide the series through character and story development I've grown a bit lazy when it comes to putting in my two cents, much to my discredit. In some ways, though, that's OK. These guys are so good at what they do that it makes sense for me to leave them alone so that they can get on with it. I've received so many compliments about the sixth year. The Sci-Fi Channel really lucked out and got qualitatively a wonderful season's worth of work. Hopefully, we'll be able to give them that again and more in Year Seven."

© TV Zone, Visimag 2002.  All rights recognised.  No copyright infringement intended.  Extracts from published interviews and features appear with permission.

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