Life after Stargate Atlantis continues to be busy for the man who spent the better part of a decade playing one of the franchise’s most iconic (and neurotic) roles: Dr. Meredith “Rodney” McKay. In addition to more directing after the success of his film A Dog’s Breakfast, David Hewlett has also found the time to show up on the big screen, with roles in the summer theatrical release Splice and in the upcoming The Whistleblower, co-starring Rachel Weisz and Monica Bellucci.
GateWorld caught up with the actor for an extended chat, when Hewlett was a guest at the Vancouver edition of Creation Entertainment’s Official Stargate Convention. He discusses his work on his current projects, his feelings on the final year of Atlantis, the dynamic change that Robert Picardo’s addition to the cast provided, and much more!
GateWorld: How is Sebastian?
David Hewlett: He’s good. He’s very good. He’s growing up ridiculously fast. They really are like little alien beasts.
But the coolest thing actually – there’s two, actually – my two cool moments with Baz recently have been … one is, as a kid I used to do this little face sucker thing. Like from Alien. I’d actually do the little pod opening and then I’d jump on his face with my hand. Which would scare most children. He actually likes it. He’s now started to do it to me. So, he does this cool little thing with his little hand and then he just goes, “Whoooo!” So, I’m kind of proud of the fact that my two and a half year old son already knows how to do the little face sucker from Alien.
The other one was that, I asked him what he wanted to watch the other day on television and he said, “Doctor Who.”
DH: That was kind of cool.
GW: I actually just got into that myself.
DH: Oh, did you? Well, you’ve got a lot to catch up on.
GW: I haven’t finished the second season yet. I know [where I’m at], they’re about to lose Billie Piper [“Rose Tyler”] but that’s all I know.
Hewlett's love of Doctor Who has been passed on to his son, Sebastian.
DH: Oh, really? Oh, so you’re way back there.
Well, I actually … I was a big fan of the original series. I found the new one a bit campy for me. But I’m actually … now that this Moffat guy’s taken over I’m really liking it.
GW: Netflix will save your butt.
DH: Oh, yeah. Netflix is great. Netflix. I live on Netflix. I made a lot of money off Netflix.
GW: Yeah, you have.
DH: Because I owned their stocks for a while.
GW: Jane and Mars [the family dog]. How are they?
DH: Good. Good, good. Mars is fat. Mars has been away for a while. We’ve been away for, like, three months. And he stayed with friends. And I think they just fed him every time that he looked at ‘em. So, he just basically, he’s like a balloon with, you know, little stick legs. So, huge.
GW: What have you been up to recently? Personally? Professionally?
DH: A bit of everything. I mean, I’ve literally been … I’ve been in Europe a lot. So, I’ve been doing … I did a film with Rachel Weisz out there in Romania. Her and Monica Bellucci and …
GW: Was David Nykl in that too?
DH: David Nykl was not on that. No, no, that was Helen, which was shot in Vancouver. Yeah, yeah, that was a different one. That was Ashley Judd.
DH: Yeah. So, did that. I did a couple films in Bulgaria. And I just directed a film in Bulgaria, which is a creature feature for SyFy, out there. An evil snow monkey movie.
DH: It was in Bulgaria. In Sophia, actually. Just in one of the … it’s some evil mountain that they have up there that we …
GW: Is it cheaper to produce there?
DH: Yeah, I guess so. I mean, it’s tricky because … As a Canadian, I grew up being the cheap place to shoot. I mean, Canada was where we would used to go, you know. But the dollar’s on par now, so I guess that’s made a difference. And they’re constantly pushing the budgets of these things down.
A promo still from The Whistleblower, Hewlett's upcoming film also starring Rachel Weisz and Monica Bellucci
DH: So they’re always looking for new places, like new frontiers where they can get people for cheap and stuff. So, Bulgaria’s definitely a cheaper place to shoot. But it’s also suffering the same problem where its local currency is beginning to creep up towards the American dollar. I’m not sure how long it’s going to be a deal. But it fluctuates so quickly. Who knows what’s going to happen? There was a volcano, right? That just stopped all of the airline’s travel. So, you know.
I say that if you can direct a film in Bulgaria, you can direct anything. Anywhere. I can’t remember who it was, but one of the directors I read about when I was doing research before A Dog’s Breakfast said that if you can’t direct it for nothing, you can’t direct it for the huge multi-million dollar budgets as well. So you’ve got to be able to do it with no money before you can do it on the big budgets. So, you know, before I’m doing Iron Man 3, I’ll …
GW: [Laughter] The last time that we talked with you, back in 2008, the last official talk …
DH: Nine, ten … Really?
GW: It wasn’t too long after the announcement that the fifth season of [Stargate] Atlantis was going to be the last one.
GW: But at that point …
DH: Was I crying? Were there tears?
GW: There was sadness.
DH: There was grief. There’s still grief. It’s amazing how people are still mourning that show. You know?
GW: Yeah, absolutely.
We didn’t really actually get a chance to discuss the final year, though, because most of it hadn’t aired yet.
DH: Mmm, mmm. I don’t even remember it now. [chuckles]