GateWorld: Absolutely. I’ve actually had the chance to meet most of the cast, not all of them, but outside of Robert, I’ve actually talked to everybody else. The cast is phenomenally warm, they’re generous. It’s nice knowing that you have that behind the scenes prior to seeing what gets put onscreen.
Lou Diamond Phillips: I’ve always said the celluloid sees the heart and the chemistry and the relationships, and all of that support, I think, is very evident in the final product of the show. That goes for the crew as well. A lot of the crew has been on since the original SG-1 and they have this bond and this camaraderie and that extends to the actors and certainly with the writers and producers and directors. Everybody just has an immense amount of respect for one another and their talents. Then you throw into the mix our set designer, or Mark Savela the effects coordinator, or any one of our cinematographers and it’s just a dream team.
To be honest, I’ve gone onto other projects either doing guest spots or little indie films or whatever and you can get spoiled. The fact that these guys are such a well-oiled machine [means] that they literally give so much more bang for the buck than your average crew. You go onto another show and all of a sudden you start to see how really privileged we are to have the expertise we have on the show.
GW: How much of yourself would you say is a part of Telford? What personality traits would you say you share with him and in what ways are you different?
Phillips feels that Telford -- at his core -- enjoys playing the hero. From 'Intervention'
LDP: [Laughter] That’s a good question, especially since most people thought he was a real prick for the first season.
GW: Oh, we’ll get to that, believe me.
LDP: You know, I come from the military background. Not that I’ve been in the military myself but my father did two tours of ‘Nam in the Navy, I’ve been around military types my whole life and there’s a certain amount of duty and honor that go along with living that life, with committing yourself, sublimating yourself really, to a greater cause. I would like to think that’s a part of who I am but also a major part of who Telford is. It’s just the he wasn’t always able to perform in a way that didn’t ruffle any feathers.
I think he’s definitely cocky, he’s certainly cockier than I am, but he’s got a singleness of purpose. In some respects, it’s very admirable; in others, it’s very irritating. I think that’s what it is, is that he truly felt as if he should have been leading the mission and he never lets go of that. There’s a great consistency to his character. When the writers throw a twist in there, or do something very unexpected, it’s still true to form and true to who he is. I think that’s very interesting and it’s fun being able to play somebody who is that capable of being confrontational or really doesn’t mind getting in people’s faces and telling it like it is.
Quite honestly, I’m much more of a diplomat than that. I really have much more of a difficult time in leadership positions. Although I have to say that when I’m directing, that bone certainly comes out. It’s something that I do have the ability to do, to be direct and to be emphatic about what it is I need and want.
GW: Let’s talk a bit about Telford’s character arc over the course of Season One. Even prior to the brainwashing, his bull-headed nature didn’t really win him a lot of friends overall.
LDP: No! You know, it’s interesting — I’ve read some of the blogs and I’ve read some of the things that people had to say and it strikes me as a lot of those comments come from people who’ve never dealt with military types or law enforcement types or anything along those lines. Those guys aren’t touchy-feely. You know what I’m saying? Having done a movie like Courage Under Fire with the people who had gone into Desert Storm and, like I said, a lot of my Dad’s contemporaries who had gone into Vietnam, I mean these are guys who are not there to soft-pedal anything for you. They’re not there to candy-coat it. They’re just very, very straight-ahead and I think that informs a lot of what Telford does.
He is a Colonel. He didn’t get there politically, he didn’t get there by glad-handing. I think Telford got there by getting the job done. And he’s a fighter pilot, which hasn’t played a whole lot in the rest of the episodes, but there is a mentality there. There’s a real cowboy, kind of Top Gun feel to who he is. That certainly rubs some people the wrong way, and it’s interesting because that’s his purpose on the show — to be a contrast to Young’s style of leadership and certainly to Rush’s duplicitousness or his conniving.
With Telford, what you see is what you get. What I love is that, even though he was brainwashed, he had a mission and the overlap of that mission. Obviously he was supposed to get information for the Lucian Alliance, but he was trying to get back on Destiny. He was trying to get those people off. Whether he’s going to take control of the ship or not, we never found out, but he did feel like he was going to be the savior. I think that was a big part of his complex.
Phillips is glad viewers have gotten to see "mutual respect" between Young and a post-brainwashed Telford. From ''Subversion''
GW: So do you think that maybe some of the animosity between Telford and Young came from David feeling like Everett really did essentially steal this coveted command from him? That the command of the Destiny should have been his and now he’s both jealous of Young’s position and of the belief he’d have done a far better job.
LDP: Oh, absolutely. I think you’re one hundred percent right about both of those things. I think that, yes, he feels like he could have done a better job. I don’t think he feels like Young stole it, I think it was one of those really unfortunate twists of fate where circumstance got in the way and kept him from taking his rightful place as leader. I think that played into it as well, a certain amount of jealousy. But what’s fairly cool about their relationship is that, once the brainwashing is done, you suddenly see this mutual respect. Some of the competition and some of the agenda gets taken out of the way and you realize that these guys were once friends, that they obviously went through the Academy together, that they’ve spent a lot of time on tours of duty.
GW: Telford and Greer weren’t exactly best buds initially either.
LDP: Yeah, it’s interesting. Once again, it’s like, “Okay, what have we not revealed to the audience and what have we filmed?” Just the very fact that you and I are speaking and I’m finishing up the season lets people know that Telford is not dead. The last time we saw him, he was with those aliens on that seed ship. How he gets back, why he gets back, in what form he comes back, all of this is yet to be seen. I will say that it’s very exciting and it’s very fun and I think people will be highly gratified when Telford makes his inevitable return. I’ve said it before, he’s like Stargate Universe herpes. He can lie dormant for a long time, but he will flare up and irritate you and complicate your life.
GW: Excellent. That’s the best analogy I’ve ever heard. [laughter]
LDP: He will never go away! He just might not be visible all the time! [laughter]
NEXT: Telford’s journey in Season Two, conventions, and Texas Hold ‘Em
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