|Beware minor SPOILERS for
SGU's "Human" in the interview below!
Almost like the dependability of a Swiss watch, the staff here at GateWorld loves to sit down with Michael Shanks every six months or so if they get the chance. Another occasion presented itself this past August, when we traveled to Chicago to talk to him during Creation Entertainment's
Official Stargate Convention.
While our talks with Michael aren't always lengthy due to time constraints in a convention setting, they are always opinionated and informative. Our latest conversation with the actor is no exception.
In this interview, Michael discusses his views on the re-cut "Children of the Gods," his upcoming guest role on Sanctuary
, and his impressions of Stargate Universe
based on his time on the sets. Always the diplomat -- much like his peacemaker counterpart on SG-1
-- Shanks talks candidly about fan reaction to the series.
This interview runs almost 13 minutes and is available in audio. It's also transcribed below!
GateWorld: So how are you, Michael?
Michael Shanks: I'm fine! How are you?
GW: I am good! Good to see you again! This is becoming a monthly...every-few-months thing.
MS: Whether we need to or not! [Laughter]
GW: So how are things going?
MS: Fine! Great!
GW: A lot of traveling back and forth, or are you still...?
MS: Yes, back and forth. And I'm actually just on my way en route to Australia right now. So I'm not stopping back home to go shoot a movie in Hobart, Australia. And I've been very busy landscaping all summer long and renovating.
Shanks dubbed several new lines for "Children of the Gods: Final Cut."
GW: Nice. Are you guys still in L.A. right now?
MS: No, we're back in Vancouver.
GW: [Let's] start off easy. Have you had the chance to see the recut of "Children of the Gods" at all?
MS: I have not! I have not. I don't know where to find it. Maybe I'm one of the demographic that's dropped off of the DVD market. Because I haven't been to the video store in a long time. I have not had a chance to see the finished version or see the differences.
GW: I know Brad [Wright] put a lot of time into it. Do you think the effort to do that...to go back and fix [it was worth it]? It's almost kind of like he was George Lucas-ing it. But not to the degree that Lucas did. Do you think that it's worthwhile to try to bridge...?
MS: I don't know. It's one of those things ... The cost-benefit ratio -- only Brad and MGM will know. For the fans, is it worth it? In terms of correcting the glaring things? Sure.
Listen, I'm a perfectionist by nature. I would sit there and love to be able to go back and re-do performances I did if I could. In terms of crafting it, I think that's a question for the fans. I mean, I've made peace with how the pilot ended up and where we wanted it to be, and what ended up on the finished product. And we understood the reasons at the time, so we kind of knew the conformity that had to go on for that particular vehicle.
So in my mind, it was already finished the way Brad had done it. Probably not to the level of detail, obviously. I don't live in his head. But I had understood his reasons for wanting to eliminate the nudity. I understood certain speeches that needed to be taken out. Certain scenes and some performances and whatever.
Things were done with agendas in mind. With those agendas not being so prevalent [now], yeah, you can play with it. Again, I don't know what it cost to put all [those] pieces together or if they are going to recoup it. For fans of the show, I'll have to wait to watch it to see if it was worth all the trouble that they went through. But in terms of "Does it really make a huge-enough difference to warrant re-doing it?" I don't know. I haven't seen it.
GW: Well, Season Two of Sanctuary is coming up, and you are guesting in an episode with Amanda [Tapping]. And you're playing a character named "Jimmy."
Shanks understood Brad Wright's desire to fix things in the SG-1 pilot that always irritated him.
MS: I'm playing Jimmy!
GW: What can you tell us about him without going into many details?
MS: Right! What can I tell you about Jimmy the pooch? Jimmy the pouch? Jimmy the pooch? What can I tell you about Jimmy?
GW: How big of a departure from Daniel?
MS: Oh, it's a complete departure from Daniel. Jimmy's a hustler, and a bit of a grifter. But for the most part, he's like a bag man for the mob. In all truth of it, without giving too much of the episode away, he's an abnormal who has a special ability, or special feature, which allows him to transport certain materials in a special place on his body. [Laughter] It sounds kind of funny, but not half as much fun as we had with it on set.
In transporting something to the Sanctuary, the process gets interrupted. And he ends up spending a great deal of time with a member of the cast. So, that being said, I think that's all the detail I can really give away. But the character is very different. He's got a tragic and edgy kind of background, and he's a bit of a streetwise type. Certainly more than Daniel was. It's a very strong departure from him.
GW: Was it nice being able to work with Amanda again? And seeing Damian [Kindler] and the old [crew]?
MS: It was great! The one thing I loved about it, not that I doubted it for a second...oddly enough, the feeling on that show was more "old Stargate" than the Stargate show was that I just finished doing, Universe. Just because so many of the original heads of departments and stuff are now over there. [Costume Designer] Christina McQuarrie and Brenda [Turner, hair stylist]. Teamsters and trailers and blah, blah, blah.
And then as well as having Martin [Wood], Amanda and Damian at the helm of it. It's very ego-free. The other actors there are very lucid and very down-to-earth. And very talented. No egos. It was just a very nice, pleasant family vibe. Very similar to the Stargate vibe of many years gone by. It was just a joy to shoot with them, and to see them again. And see them doing well.
" I'm a perfectionist by nature. I would sit there and love to be able to go back and re-do performances I did if I could."
GW: You've logged a little bit of time now on some of the SGU sets. What are your impressions of the show thus far? Just in the time that you've spent – the little bit you did for the pilot and we know you're going to be in an episode in the second half of the first season also. The cast? The writing? The style? Atmosphere?
MS: It's very different. And I don't want to make anybody gun-shy about the differences.
I can say this. The shows, at the end of each episode, they don't wrap up nicely in a nice little bow. They're not bottle shows. It's very much [an] arc driven series. The interplay between the characters bleeds into the next one, and the next one, and the next one. The tensions and the relationships. So it's very arc driven. By missing an episode of SG-1? Eh, no big deal. Missing an episode of this might be a bit confusing for the viewers. So that makes it a little bit [different].