The Hollywood Reporter. September 4-10, 2001
By Melissa J. Perenson
'SG-1' castmates know a thing or two about intergalactic stardom.
Richard Dean Anderson plays Colonel Jonathan "Jack" O'Neill, whose mission is to defend Earth and explore new worlds.
The Hollywood Reporter: How does your portrayal of Colonel O'Neill differ from the character in the movie?
Richard Dean Anderson: I knew that I couldn't remain as stoic and as serious as Kurt Russell's O'Neill did. So I've created a bit of an irreverent military figure, which goes over very big with the Air Force.
THR: What "Stargate" stories do you enjoy the most?
Anderson: I didn't start out as a fan of science fiction. I like "Indiana Jones" more than I like "Star Wars" - that's the difference for me. So the stories that have humor, humanity and action are the kinds of shows that I like. And I like the (shows with) quirky twists.
THR: What's the secret to doing innovative sci-fi stories?
Anderson: The audience is so savvy - especially in this genre. My contention has been that you can only fool people with smoke and mirrors for so long. Bottom line: If you're not telling good stories, people are going to tune out, and they'll see right through the sham. You have to have human beings driving the story lines - interacting as human beings with human reactions to extraordinary situations in extraordinary circumstances. If the story is not there, it can't sustain itself. Gadgets or no gadgets, effects or no effects, that's all well and fine, but that's cosmetic as far as I'm concerned.
Teal'c, played by Christopher Judge, is a Jaffa warrior who switched sides to join Colonel O'Neill in the fight for freedom against the evil Goa'uld.
THR: How quickly did you gel with your castmates?
Christopher Judge: Michael (Shanks), Amanda (Tapping) and I [bonded during our] screen test. No one believes this, but we three went off by ourselves, and for some reason, we found the whole thing funny. We were laughing and joking around, while everyone else was still preparing. We just had this natural chemistry, and we thought, God, wouldn't it be great if it were the three of us [cast since] we get along this well?
THR: As the resident alien on "SG-1," how has Teal'c grown along with the ensemble?
Judge: The one thing that the producers and I agreed on is that Teal'c's evolution should be slow. Knowing that you have 44 episodes going in, you can make believable character arcs.
Amanda Tapping portrays Major Samantha Carter. A mainstay on the "SG-1" team, Carter has a Ph.D. in astrophysics.
THR: What drew you to "SG-1" and the role of Carter?
Amanda Tapping: I wasn't a huge sci-fi fan, but [the show's] stories are told from a present-day, human perspective. And [Carter is] strong - it turns out she's probably the smartest member of the team. I hadn't read a lot of female characters that were like her.
THR: What was the first time you acted against a blue screen like?
Tapping: In one episode, "The Tokra," the visual-effects people told us what would happen and said we were [supposed to act] completely in awe. So I played it full tilt. They did this raking shot down the row of the four of us, and the guys weren't reacting at all. Then they get to me, and I'm like, "Ooh! Ahhh." That was my big note to self with blue screen: Make sure the other actors are reacting the same way, otherwise you'll look stupid.
Michael Shanks plays Dr. Daniel Jackson, a civilian anthropologist and explorer whose humanism guides him through each mission.
THR: Are you surprised by the show's staying power?
Michael Shanks: I'm very surprised it took off this way. I didn't think it would last more than a year or two at best, and here we are five years later.
THR: What intrigued you about the series?
Shanks: The variety is the most intriguing part about it. Each episode is completely different than the previous one. You have your consistent scenes - [which] establish the dynamic of team members and what life on Earth is like - but in terms of adventures, anything is possible. Each time we step through the gate, there's something new out there.
Don S. Davis' General Hammond is in charge of the "Stargate" facility.
THR: What does the 100th-episode mark mean to you?
Don S. Davis: That 100th episode is a milestone that we'd all like to achieve. Some shows, obviously, hit more than that. I thought that "Twin Peaks" was going to be one of the high points of my life, and it's a show people still remember - even though we only did 30 episodes. This one, we've done a 100! I think that's saying something.
THR: What is the underlying theme of "Stargate"?
Davis: It's a humanist viewpoint. You have two choices in life: make a difference or make a profit.
Teryl Rothery plays Dr. Fraiser, who runs the medical facility at the military base that houses Stargate Command.
THR: Although Fraiser's efforts are largely based at Stargate Command, does she ever have the chance to go exploring off-world?
Teryl Rothery: Fraiser has gone through the gate on a few occasions - and I love it. You have to pinch yourself when you think about what we do for a living. It's just so much fun; we get to play and use our imagination and pretend that we're in these places. It's like being a kid and getting paid for it.
Perenson, Melissa J., "Gate Mates." The Hollywood Reporter. September 4-10, 2001: p. S-3.