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Moment for Moment
Colin Cunningham has been an SG-1 mainstay since Season Two's "A Matter of Time," playing the informative Pentagon liason to Stargate Command, Major Paul Davis.

With more than a dozen Stargate appearances under his belt, he shows no signs of stopping yet! Following our interview, GateWorld learned that Davis would be making his first appearance on Stargate Atlantis in the series finale, "Enemy at the Gate."

GateWorld finally got a chance to sit down with Colin at Gatecon 2008, where he spoke freely about his new film, "Centigrade," his years on SG-1 and his struggle to become exactly who he wants to be -- a man who lives moment for moment.

GateWorld's video interview with Colin Cunningham runs approximately 22 minutes, and requires QuickTime 7.0 or higher. The interview is also available at GateWorld Play!

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GateWorld: For, I'm David Read here with Mr. Colin Cunningham. Finally, sir! We've been trying to get a hold of you for a long time.

Colin Cunningham: Yeah, no kidding, man. No kidding.

GW: [Laughter] So you've been busy lately.

CC: I have.

GW: What are some of the most recent projects, other than "Centigrade," which I'll get to.

CC: This past year really has been a bit of a whirlwind. Because, as much as I've been acting, which is my day job, I have. I've really, really began making a point of directing and producing more projects.

You can only stand on a piece of tape for so long, constantly waiting for the phone to ring, and I've really, really made a point this year -- it's like, "No, I'm going to start doing my own projects and I'm going to stop waiting around." We actually won a Kick Start award which started "Centigrade" off. It has just been a whirlwind of festivals and awards and all that kind of stuff.

Cunningham debuts as Major Paul Davis in Season Two's "A Matter of Time."
And right now that's why I have the mustache. I don't normally make this kind of fashion choice. [Laughter] This is for a thing I'm doing called Fireball which is kind of a Stephen King kind of thing. A guy -- his DNA gets changed -- he is impervious to fire and he can look at you and literally make you spontaneously combust. So I play a tabloid reporter that's hounding and obsessed with his story, and I track him everywhere he goes.

GW: Interesting.

CC: And last night I got lit on fire. It was awesome.

GW: Oh really?

CC: And it's crazy because you literally think "What a job!" Literally, I went up in fire and had to spin around and fall out of a window. There's just no greater job in the world; it's just a lot of fun. So it's been a busy year. It has been really, really cool.

GW: Wow. Where will this particular project be available?

CC: I think it is going to go to the SCI FI Channel, I believe.

GW: Like a movie of the week?

CC: Yeah, I try not to ask too many questions. I just go over there and learn your lines, do your thing.

GW: Do they hate it when actors ask questions? They just want you to do your part?

CC: When I'll go into an audition I don't want to know who is directing, who is producing, because if it's somebody big, and then you get nervous, and if it's somebody you have never heard of you may think, "Oh, maybe this isn't such a big [deal]" ... Every job is the same. You just show up and you just nail it, or try to nail it, and do the best you can.

GW: So usually the director is not in that room, the casting director is?

CC: Depends. More times than not they are. Sometimes it'll literally be just the casting director, somebody such as yourself, and there's a camera, and you read the scene. That's a small percentage of times where you'll get cast from tape. But mostly, yeah, there's physical people in the room and that's always best, to do it that way. They can tell you to bring it up, bring it down, take it wherever you're going to take it.

GW: Sweet. Tell us about the genesis of Centigrade. This story, you know...

Cunningham's "dirt bag" in Centigrade puts his hands where they don't belong.
CC: Yeah, "Centigrade," in a nutshell, is about a guy who lives in an old dilapidated, busted-up, trailer. It has no wheels on it, and it's just laying dead in the weeds. He does a bad thing, and he wakes up in the morning and it's rolling. It's rolling down the highway. He's being towed by a big, black pick-up truck. Basically the doors won't open and the windows won't break and he can't get out. That's essentially what it's about; it's about a man trapped. That's basically it in a nutshell.

But the film -- we got the Kick Start award through the Director's Guild and it was a real opportunity for me as a director to do something a little bit different. The challenge was there're maybe three or four lines of dialogue throughout the whole film and then it's all, basically, visual imagery, and telling the story through images. So in a way it's a sort of an homage, a tribute, to Stephen Spielberg's "Duel." I don't know if you saw "Duel." but it's great -- a great old lost Spielberg classic. It's awesome. Dennis Weaver plays a guy just driving down the highway and he gets tormented by a diesel rig. It's trying to kill him, and it's just a fantastic project.

The film turned out really, really well. We've actually qualified for an Academy Award, which is hard to do, because you've got to get into an Academy-sanctioned festival and then once there, you have to win, which is not an easy thing to do. Basically that's kind of it. So we've been traveling all over the world, and it's opened up doors. We're developing it into a feature, and just some good things are happening with it.

GW: So it is not a feature yet?

CC: No, not yet. [We] basically I started off making a short, but we're developing it into a feature film, and we should have that done in the next six months.

GW: Wow.

CC: Yeah, pretty cool. It is. It's pretty cool.

GW: Did you write it?

CC: I did. I wrote it, directed it, and acted in it. I didn't want to act in it -- that was the last thing I wanted to do. If anything, I really wanted to just focus on just directing. But my lead actor, the guy that I wanted, basically [was] blowing me off -- he wasn't answering his phone.

" ['Centigrade'] was a real opportunity for me as a director to do something a little bit different."
GW: [Groans]

CC: So, I said, "Fine, alright, great, I'll do it, I'll do it." And you know what -- it actually ... I won't say it worked out better, but it worked out quicker, because I didn't need to spend a lot of time talking to the other actor. I knew exactly...

GW: You know what you want.

CC: Yeah, I knew what I needed.

GW: "I can't find anyone who's as good as me!" [Laughter]

CC: Well, it was quick. It was like "Put the camera here," and I was able to just react and basically do it, do it quicker. But it's hard to flip back and forth, to go from acting, and then "OK, great, now put the camera here," then you'd act, and then, "Put the camera here," It's a weird kind of thing. You got to be really, really prepared. But it takes a lot out of you. It really does.
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