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Richard Dean Anderson

Richard Dean Anderson participated in a live online chat hosted by SciFi and promoting the debut of the seventh season of Stargate SG-1 on the SciFi channel. Participants were able to submit questions to be selected for the hour-long chat.

Hi everyone, thanks for joining us tonight. I'm Patrizia DiLucchio for, and tonight's guest is RICHARD DEAN ANDERSON who performs double duty on SCIFI's popular Friday night series STARGATE SG-1 as both executive producer and the actor behind Col JONATHAN "JACK" O'NEILL. Now Richard is actually talking to us live from the Stargate set where they are filming an episode. So from time to time, he may be called away from the computer to film -- in which case he has promised to provide us with substitute guests. Can't name any names, but I can promise: you won't be disappointed!

Richard Dean Anderson:
First off, I'd like to thank everyone for staying up so late. Ask away, ask all the questions you want.

Question from Sammy1986:
Hi and good morning from Germany. It's 3am but I am very happy to be here because this is my first online chat with you. You are my favorite actor and I love you very much but now my question: I heard something about a Season 8. Do you have some information for us?

Richard Dean Anderson:
I have no information as we speak. Today was a day where the topic was tabled formally. We're talking about the feasibility and what it might take to make it all work. At this moment there is nothing new I can say either way. It feels like everybody wants another year. And Gute Nacht!

Question from k4m4caZ1-2:
Hey Jack!!! I just wanted to say that you are doing an AWESOME job with SG-1!!!! You're a really awesome actor, and I'm just wondering, how much of your lines do you make up? Do you have to improvise a lot or do you help writing your lines? Thanks! Josh.

Richard Dean Anderson:
I try to be as respectful as I can be to the written word. We do have extremely talented writers. However, I seem to have a problem sticking to the script and I seem to know the voice of the character better than most. Everyone seems to exercise a great deal of patience when dealing with my on set "process." The bottom line is it all has to be fun.

Question from joannaspring:
Hi from DC! What was it like working with Michael Welch as a young O'Neill?

Richard Dean Anderson:
It was odd. When I arrived on set he'd already been working so I was able to see the dailies of his work and I could see his audition tape. We had to calm him down a bit. Some of his "O'Neillisms" were too mature. It was fun working with "the young me." I thought I would be much taller. :)

Question from LaurieAnderson:
Hi Rick I'm a huge fan of you since I was young. I'm French and I wanted to know if you have planned to come back in France. You have many fans here who will be very happy to see you! All my love to you and to Wylie too. Kisses from France.

Richard Dean Anderson:
Bless your heart for the sentiment, especially about my daughter. It's all about the time availability to me. My hiatus time was spent in Chile, Tibet, and Ecuador doing a lot of river rafting. I just took up surfing. I spent a fair amount of time in France and I truly love the countryside. N'est-ce pas?

Question from Col-Oneill-Wannabe:
How did you get involved with Stargate SG-1 and what are the differences and similarities between your version of Col. O'Neill and Kurt Russell's movie version?

Richard Dean Anderson:
The biggest difference between Kurt Russell's O'Neill and mine is the hair. There is no way I could make my hair do that. My involvement started with John Symes at MGM. He approached me with this. He asked me to do my research and what I thought about the potential of this franchise's success. I liked what I saw. Seven years later...

Question from Gemma-fae-Scotland:
How does it make you feel that so many people have stayed up into the wee small hours to show their support for you? (Despite having major meetings

Richard Dean Anderson:
Guilty. Honored and humbled. I'm in essence fascinated by this whole process anyway, so I'm always somewhat awed by the turnout. I'm very grateful. By the way, I have big meetings tomorrow too.

Question thru Moderator:
Hi from Michigan, Rick! Thanks so much for being here tonight! I've been a fan *cringe* since the days of G.H. My question: With your extensive background in acting and producing, is there any chance of your directing (Stargate or anything else) any time soon?

Richard Dean Anderson:
Nothing real soon. Certainly on Stargate I have no burning desire to direct. My partner Michael Greenburg and I are the executive producers and we are able to edit the show. Also we are not Canadian and that's one of the stipulations. Also, I am in California every 3 days. I don't want to sound lazy, but I have enough.

Question from riverkeeper:
You've done so much to bring to the public's attention the importance of cleaning up our rivers. What can ordinary citizens do when our state and local governments spray herbicides along creekbanks and cut vegetation that could be filtering ground water, all sources of river problems? Also, I work with a NASCAR team. Do you have any interest in driving a stock car?

Richard Dean Anderson:
That's quite a question. I'll take the easy one first. I'm a huge racing fan for Formula One or Cart or IRL, but as far as NASCAR goes, I think it would be a kick to take a few hot laps. The whole question of environmental awareness is too broad a question for me to get into right now. I've worked with the Riverkeeper Alliance which was set up with Robert Kennedy Jr. If you really want to know what to do, as a citizen, I'd say contact them. They are in New York. If you get a chance to hear a speech by Robert Kennedy on it, it will expand your mind. You, as a citizen, can be a whistleblower. That's what the Riverkeeper Alliance does. Blow the whistle.

Question from DRA:
How long does it take to shoot an episode?

Richard Dean Anderson:
Depends on when you ask that question. You are asking right now, and because the schedule is so heavy with production, right now we are shooting 3 different episodes. But normally we give it 7 days to shoot, and then have to add visual effects, special effects, and that can take 2 to 3 months to finish up an episode. We tend to use those.

Question from ShanksSJ:
Do you and Amanda plan to continue the UST (Unresolved Sexual Tension) in season seven? Please do!

Richard Dean Anderson:
Do we plan too? Sure, why not. It's too bad that it remains unresolved. But I'm afraid it's got to stay that way at least for now. It's frustrating for me too.

Question from OraMac:
Hello Richard Dean Anderson. Who is smarter: Samantha Carter vs MacGyver? On Monday's SciFi chat Amanda Tapping said Samantha Carter was smarter, MacGyver was just lucky...

Richard Dean Anderson:
Oh, well that's just so cruel. But I have to say that I don't know if MacGyver was that lucky. But Sam Carter is smarter. MacGyver is wiser.

Question from hoodatwhatzit:
Thanks for taking the time to chat! I've noticed that Jack loses the sarcasm (or it takes on a more cutting edge) and quickly becomes very focused and intense when the situation demands. It's those moments that remind us of Jack's background and his capabilities as an Air Force colonel. Do you consciously make an effort to portray him in a different light for certain scenes or is it simply a result of the demands of the script and/or the director?

Richard Dean Anderson:
That's an excellent question. Some of Jack's dialogue will come about by accident, by rehearsal to find what the scene might be about. But O'Neill's penchant for turning on a dime may have to deal with his issues and temperament. He is Irish after all. He can in one breath be irreverent and respectful. That's an excellent question.

Question from anise5180:
Hi Rick! My name is Liz and I'm 13. I think you're the coolest actor ever; you're so talented. I have 2 questions for you: (1) What exactly do you do as one of the executive producers of Stargate SG-1? (2) I heard somewhere that you might retire soon. Is there any truth to this rumor?

Richard Dean Anderson:
My job as executive producer is not the classic definition. My duties have become more limited as time goes on. In the early going, as we were finding our rhythms to the whole franchise, I'd be involved with my partner in editing, script editing and development and such, mostly fine tuning what comes out of the writers' cage. In some regards I became a liaison connecting the writers with the actors, connect some of the problems the writers were having in relationship to the script and the storylines. To be perfectly honest, I don't know what retirement means to a work-a-holic like myself. I may afford myself some time off when all of this goes away. By then I'll have to pay attention to what my priorities are. At this time it's my daughter. At this time I will not fall into the trap of saying that I will not work again. But I'd like to enjoy some of the fruits of my labor.

Question from sunkissedone9:
Mr. Anderson, thank you for doing this tonight for us fans. My question for you is if you ever visit websites created in your honor? Also what is your favorite hockey team...(go canes) Lots of love, Lauren 19 - North Carolina.

Richard Dean Anderson:
I have the, which is extremely impressive to me. I honestly don't know how to react when I see all the work that goes into creating the websites. Kate Ritter has taken it upon herself to create a very impressive website. It's a little odd, to be honest. I sort of live a bit moment to moment, so to be able to go to a website to relive some of those times is fun. They are sweet little reminders.

Question from PeskyMum:
What is the title of the episode you are recording at the moment, while you are taking part in this chat with us?

Richard Dean Anderson:
It's called "Fallout."

Question from Ewokmonster:
Will we *ever* see Legend out on DVD? How much control do you have over that happening? Who do we ask to get it done?

Richard Dean Anderson:
Legend was full of all the emotions I was really ready to explore at that point in my career! I have no control over that. I think Paramount Pictures, Joel Berman, President of worldwide distribution of Paramount. If I were going to do something new right now I'd love to do that.

Ready for the next question?

Michael Greenburg:
RDA had to go back to the set. Mike Greenburg, the executive producer, is on hand until he gets back --

Welcome Mike! Can you tell us anything about what we have in store in this season? Lots of people have been asking!

Michael Greenburg:
The season already started so they've already seen "Fallen and Homecoming." One is called Fragile Balance that I co-wrote with Peter DeLuise and it continues the Asgard storyline and it deals with a cloned O'Neill. At this point he's a 16 year old who has the special abilities of Jack O'Neill as an adult. It's a fun dynamic to be played out between Rick and the young O'Neill. I get so engrossed in the episodes that we're shooting. We have a two parter called "Evolution" which I don't want to give too much away, but it continues the Anubis storyline. "Birthright" is a planet of warrior women. That sort of continues the storyline of the Jaffa's symbiotic dependency. Basically what we are doing is continuing all of our storylines which have been set up over the past 6 years, continuing them and resolving them. We did a fun episode called "Space Race" which I think would make a fun computer game.

Just a reminder -- we're talking now with Mike Greenburg, RDA's producing partner in crime! I know you have questions -- don't be shy. Mike, a bunch of people are asking what scene RDA is filming right now -- so when they watch that episode they'll know he just talked to them.

Michael Greenburg:
It's a scene from "Fallout." There are two warring nations who are bickering while their planet is about to explode.

Mike? You still with us? As I think I told you all, we're doing this chat live from the Stargate set! So lots of things are going on while we're chatting with RDA and Mike.

Question from jess:
Hi RDA, we luv u here in KY, the redneck state!! ;p How do you feel about the contest going on now for one of the fans to win a walk on role in the show? Thanx :)

Michael Greenburg:
I think it's great! I'm all for anything that promotes the show and gives something back to the fans. Maybe they'll get discovered.

Question from OldGhost:
Mike, so how did you and RDA decide to form your own company? And why "GEKKO"?

Michael Greenburg:
We formed it during MacGyver. It was apparent that we shared the same sensibilities about filmmaking. By sensibilities I mean the quality in dialogue and storytelling technique. We were never interested in telling the story the same way they'd been told on TV in the past. We wanted to push the envelope so that each MacGyver got better and better during the 7 years. We saw early on in our partnership that we both wanted to keep the process of filmmaking fresh and innovative. To do that you have to surround yourself with the best of the bunch. Over the years we've worked with just that crew who could continuously raise the bar in delivering a high quality production. I think if you look at the visual effects, the stunts, the special effects and the attack on scenes, by that I mean the dialogue and the type of dialogue the characters have with each other, there is a heightened sensibility. I believe you have to have that to keep the people coming back every week. The name Gekko is the Latin word for the gecko lizard. The myth and legend of that is that their eyes move independently. The natives of Tahiti think they keep one on the road and one eye on the future. That's our philosophy of filmmaking. It all ties in with the name.

Mike, thanks for stepping up to the plate so gracefully (and thank RDA for us too!) Mike, we'd like to keep you for several more hours but it sounds like you're busy there... Thank you so much for coming online with us!

Michael Greenburg:
Rick is back, so I'll pass the phone to him.


Richard Dean Anderson:
If you want, I'll take a few more questions.

Great! We have about 10,000... Two related questions...

Question from everythingsroses:
I'm from Iowa. So does Rick like to fish as much as Jack?

Question from liberty:
Hello from PA. Are you an outdoorsman or is that only part of the character? If so, do you have much time to fish or hunt? The walleye are jumping in the boat on Lake Erie.

Richard Dean Anderson:
I'm neither a fisherman nor a hunter. Part of the joke of O'Neill fishing is that he loves the process of fishing. He loves the environment, but he's never in his entire life, caught a fish. It's a bit of trivia I'm giving away. But yes, I personally spend 80% of my life outdoors. I like to trek, I ski, I like to cycle. I spend time in the mountains, in the woods, on rivers, scuba diving, etc.

Question from ShelBel:
Hi Rick! Greetings from Brainerd! And GO MN WILD! Is there a particular scene or episode of the show that you're proud of for some reason? Thanks so much for taking time out for us in your busy schedule!

Richard Dean Anderson:
For varying reasons I have a couple of favorites. The one I had the most fun as an actor but was most disappointed as a producer was "Brief Candle." It was an episode in which I aged from about 40 to 100. I ended up in the complete prosthetic make-up. It was interesting to say the very least. We shot so much footage on the entire episode that it got cut to shreds. There is also an episode that dealt with the death of O'Neill's son. It was a fairly poignant episode. "Abyss" was one we had fun with because Michael Shanks had come back and we had a few fiery scenes. The list just goes on.

Two related questions...

Question from KareBearLowrey:
My question is: Who is your favorite hockey team, hockey player, and do you ever wish you had been able to play pro hockey instead of becoming an actor?

Question from hokypuk:
Greetings from Portland Maine. YOU ARE THE GREATEST! I love MacGyver and Stargate. I also love hockey, so, do you have a favorite hockey team and player and do you get to any games? Have you or the writers ever thought of an ice planet where you would have to lace up your skates and play hockey?

Richard Dean Anderson:
My favorite team is the MN Wild, of course. Even though they've only been around for a few years, it's nice to have a pro franchise in the state. Favorite player-- Joey Sakic. He's a buddy. I've been to a few games up here. I know Brian Burke, the GM of the Canucks. I've been able to get to a few games here and a couple in LA. I've lost touch with the franchise of late, but I used to be a season ticket holder. No lacing up on an ice planet. It's too much of a stretch. Not in the near future anyway.

Question from doddlebot:
Hi from Liverpool! If Jack had superpowers, but could only use them for evil... what would he do? ;)

Richard Dean Anderson:
I'm confused. I have a hard time thinking in terms of evil :) Although, being a military man, the mind reels.

Question from Ellory1:
Are you still doing some of your own stunt work? Or does Dan Shea do it all?

Richard Dean Anderson:
Dan does the falls and the really big stuff. But I refuse to give up the firearm -- it's too much fun. That, and Dan does not know how to handle a rifle.

Question from flygirl2007:
Hey from Texas!! Ok, I know that you and Amanda would never get together, but what are your thoughts on her? Is she attractive...repulsive...rude and snotty....? Thanks for your time! ~*~Jamie~*~

Richard Dean Anderson:
She's neither rude nor snotty. She's a beautiful and talented actress and an even more beautiful and talented woman. I respect Amanda more than I can say. She carries the load of technical dialogue. She's the only one of us that can endure it. She's a babe.

Question from ackoluvr1339:
Hey Rick, do you like watching other SciFi shows? How about when you were young, did you like SciFi? Do you read SciFi books also? Who is your favorite SciFi author (if you have one)?

Richard Dean Anderson:
My only exposure to the SF world was the early Star Wars trilogy. I'm a fan of George Lucas because of what he was able to do technologically. He expanded things. Also I like Tim Burton and Jonathan Frakes. He's a buddy.

Question from GinaS:
Do you have any input into the visual FX or do you just see it when it's all done and say "cool!" and have you ever thought something wasn't quite right?

Richard Dean Anderson:
Virtually my only input aside from the odd suggestion of what could happen or might be nice. James Tichenor is the man behind this. He's such a genius that he needs very little direction.

Question from JaxhWay:
Rick, Jackie from Manchester, England here. Do you believe that there may be forms of life out there in the universe?

Richard Dean Anderson:
I'd like to think there are. I tend to like watching the science shows, Nova, the PBS types of things on space and astronomy. I have a bit of a pragmatic view on it. I do like the fact that we continue the search.

Question from Andromeda:
I've heard of several of your more famous injuries -- running into the camera and breaking your arm on MacGyver for instance. All in all, how many serious injuries have you sustained through the years? Lucky for you, you haven't ruined your good looks... yet :)

Richard Dean Anderson:
Yeah, well, I keep trying. Let's see. I've had 2 concussions, a broken nose, 4 broken fingers, 2 broken arms, 3 knee surgeries, and back surgery. I've dislocated my thumbs and my shoulders. It's not because I'm a klutz, it's because I over-extend. I keep thinking the tenacity of my bones is the same as when I was 20. I'm being pestered by an AD to come back to set. We have to dive back into this endless scene. I really do appreciate everyone staying up and exercising such patience. I actually might be one of those people who enjoys doing these.

Well, the last question was the one all girls are dying to know... Jack: boxers or briefs? But we'll have to leave them in suspense!

Richard Dean Anderson:
Hahaha -- Commando! Is that an option?

Of course! Commando is always an option. Thank you SO MUCH for coming online with us! Please come back and chat with us soon. It's been a tremendous pleasure. This has been a great chat! Thank you, Richard, for joining us. And thanks to everyone in the audience as well. Great questions. There will be a transcript of tonight's chat in case you missed any of it. And don't forget to join us tomorrow night when we will be chatting with the actor behind another popular Stargate SG-1 character, Christopher Judge who plays Teal'c.

Online chat held at Chat. June 18, 2003.