David DeLuise is no stranger to the camera. Coming from a large family of performers — including his parents (his father is comedic legend Dom DeLuise) and brothers, Peter and Michael — David’s screen credits include such films and TV series as 3rd Rock From the Sun, Doctor Doolittle 2, and the unforgettable Ted Davis in BachelorMan.
In this exclusive interview with GateWorld, David discusses his appearance in Season Seven’s “Chimera,” and talks about his work with Amanda Tapping (“Samantha Carter”). With most of Season Eight yet on the drawing board, he hopes for the return of his character and considers some of the intriguing possibilities. He also takes this opportunity to open his arms to fans in a warmhearted invitation to give Pete Shanahan a chance!
GateWorld’s interview with David is available in MP3 audio format for easy listening, as well as transcribed below! The audio version is about 19 minutes long.
GateWorld: Hi, this is David Read for GateWorld.net talking with David DeLuise! David, glad to have you with us.
David DeLuise: I’m very excited to be here. (Laughter) Actually I’m here, not there, but, you know what I mean.
GW: Amanda Tapping, she recently joined us and got a chance to voice her opinions on your two characters with the fans and we feel it’s very important you get the same opportunity.
DD: Well, first of all, Amanda is, like, the nicest, sweetest person in the world, and, you know, in the particular episode that we did I think that really comes across. But you know what’s so great about Amanda as an actress? She did a lot of stage, and she has a real comraderie with the actors. Because a lot of times now, “It’s my scene,” “It’s my shot,” and it had nothing to do with what we were doing. It was all about working it out, rehearsing. You know, when you’re a regular on a show, after about seven years, you don’t rehearse anymore. You just look for your tape and you say your lines. But for me coming in to a new environment and everything, she made me so comfortable with my new surroundings that I was able to bring it to the next level.
GW: Had you known Amanda prior to shooting?
DD: Can you tell that I like her? (Laughter) I don’t mean … I mean myself, I mean David DeLuise likes her, not the fact that Pete Shanahan doesn’t feel strongly for her. Well, as you know, my brother Peter — long list of credits with Stargate as a writer / director / producer / actor on the show. So I had had the wonderful opportunity of meeting her and several of the other cast members prior to doing this episode, which was nice because, again, I’m feeling comfortable and that kind of stuff. There was, I think, a wrap party that I went to and I met her there and kind of talked for a little bit. But, you know, nothing major before this episode.
GW: So you were familiar with Stargate long before you came aboard?
DD: Yes. I actually was familiar with the movie, because French Stewart — who I was on 3rd Rock from the Sun with for seven years — was in the actual, the original movie. And I don’t know how the fans feel about the original movie as opposed to the series, but I like both.
GW: Yeah, most of the fans think that the movie and the series are inseparable, so … Yeah, he played Ferretti.
DD: Well, look at you, knowing all the info. His character, he was like a tough guy. And French, he’s such a sweet little angel person. It’s so opposite of what I see him as, you know.
GW: Tell us about the process you went through in auditioning for Pete.
DD: Well, here’s the process. Peter called me on Wednesday and said, “They’ve been trying to find this character, Pete Shanahan, he’s the love interest for Amanda’s character and I think they might come to you.” And then the next day I got a call on Thursday saying, “Yeah, they want you to do it.” And then that night I was on a plane reading a faxed script to me, trying to learn my lines. Friday afternoon I’m doing my first scene with Amanda. I had only looked at the material that night and the next day, so … I was all, “OK, I’m doing the show, great, this is so exciting! What scene are we doing first?” That’s how it was, you know. And it’s just so great because, I know that — a lot of the producers I had met. My brother Peter had recently gotten married and I kinda had some time to hang out with them and I ran into some of them other times. And I think they liked me and wanted me to be on the show, but they wanted me to be on the show in the exciting way, rather than “Soldier Number Two.”
GW: Rather than getting killed on your first take.
DD: Exactly. Well, but being Amanda’s love interest you get killed right away. Gotta be careful, though.
GW: Tell us about your experiences with acting with Amanda.
DD: Well, I think I met her in the wardrobe trailer. We had met, like I said, at a party, but then I went in there and she was so sweet and nice and then — I know I hate the way I sound right now, because I know if I was listening to myself on Howard Stern he would say, “What an a-hole, just suck it up!” It’s the truth! She was great. And she was like, “You wanna rehearse the stuff, cause I know you just got it.” And we did, and it just clicked. It wasn’t so much that we had to work on it. I mean, yes — you know the Dustin Hoffman / Lawrence Olivier thing where he stayed up all night and tried to make himself exhausted and he said, “How do you do it?” And Olivier looked at Hoffman and said, “You should try acting, dear boy. It’s a lot easier.” But when it’s there, you can act! But when it’s there, it’s there and it makes it that much easier, you know. There was a chemistry. We already had it. It was feeling good, you know?
GW: Did your dad or your brothers give you any tips for playing a character on SG-1?
DD: I think my dad just said “Have fun! That’s so great! Fun!” And then Peter, he did give me a tip, because — now, Amanda’s character is one of the smartest women in the world, you know, she knows about quantum physics and very, very detailed, elaborate things. And Pete Shanahan, me being kind of a detective/cop, a little rough around the edges, might not attract someone who is so intellectually stimulated. And one of the things that Peter had said to me was, “You gotta make sure that her character would be — because of course she’s attracted to my outer shell, of course — but that the inner shell, that the inner stuff that’s going on, that he definitely has it going on between his ears, that he’s thinking and that he’s aware of her intelligence and has a dry, witty sense of humor, because she likes that, because she’s attracted to it.
And I don’t have to say who I mean! You know who I’m saying? That’s clear, right? She’s attracted to a certain someone who is very gruff. He’s a little bit older than her, and her boss? I wanna say to the shippers right now —
GW: Go ahead.
DD: I wanna say to them right now that you’ve gotta give Pete a chance. You’ve had such a long time to get to know the other people. You have to let … you have to give me a second to prove myself, to prove my worthiness. And, you know, Amanda’s character would be fired if she did anything with him! ‘Cause it’s against the regulations. And so, everyone I think should just agree with me that we should be together (Evil Laughter). OK.
GW: Have you developed the backstory to the character, for instance this predicament he was in when he was young, that got him saved by a cop?
DD: Well, you know what? Really, I will just instantly say that I am the actor, and that I’m not writing this — but for me, in my mind, I did not see myself as someone who did things by the book. I broke the rules. You know, I was a rebel. And until, you know, this particular policeman or guidance counselor kind of showed me the light that I should be using my skills not to con people, but to figure out and solve and help people. You know what I mean? I mean, in my mind I was a troubled kid and I did all this bad stuff, and now those kind of street skills are lending themselves to me being a very good detective.
GW: Using it to your advantage.
DD: Right, exactly.
GW: Do you stand by Pete’s decision to do a background check on Carter or do you disagree with that motive?
DD: Oh, that’s a tough question. I myself would say that if you need to do a background check, you’re not trusting, and that if you don’t trust and respect the other person that you’re trying to be in a relationship with, you’re already screwed. But I would say that in my life I’m not gonna have to do background checks on people. If I get a vibe and I like hanging out with them I’m going to continue hanging out with them until that vibe is gone. So I would say that maybe doing the background check was not the wisest thing to do.
GW: Did Amanda prepare you for the possibility of your character being shot at by some fan circles who wanted her to be in a relationship with someone else? Did she mention that?
DD: You know what, we talked about it and this was my response to her. I would hope that any fan that holds her character dear would say that she should be gettin’ some kind of back massage, some kind of feeling, some kind of life outside of being shot at, being — you know, trudging through mud, being an officer of our country. I think that she should have the opportunity to put on some heels and go dancing every once in a while. Because I know that there are certain people on that show that get to make out with princesses from other realms and other worlds. I think she should have a little fun, because I care about her character. This has nothing to do with my character having fun with her character, it has all to do with her character. (Laughter)
GW: Speaking of dancing, where was that place that you took her?
DD: It was like some old gymnasium — it was like a dining hall. It was underneath a church or something, you know, and it was so great. I think, oh God, I think the band name of the people that were playing — and it was shot but it wasn’t on the episode — I think it was the Replacements, or something like that, like their body parts had been replaced so many times. It was really funny. One of the producer’s parents was sitting there, and there was this really nice shot. Will, who’s normally one of the DP’s [director of photography], was shooting this episode, who was just amazing to work with. He was so sweet and let it happen and guided it and directed it when it needed to be. My hat is off to him. But one of the producers’ parents were the parents they were taking the picture of.
So it was fun, you know, it was really fun. There’s a lot of people that are involved in all aspects. ‘Cause when you go to the set and then you’re at the production office it’s a little different. Here’s the people who deal with the money aspects of the show, but sometimes they get to participate, which is great.
GW: What can you tell us about your return in Season Eight?
DD: Not much, ’cause I don’t know much. You know, I know that it’s been talked about that I’m going to come back and that something’s gonna happen. I would hope that somehow I’m going to become closer and make more of a commitment to her. That would make more sense. I mean the way that I played it, I had a lot of feelings for her and I care about her deeply and now that I know all this information about her secret life, what’s holding us back? Except for all the fans not wanting us to be together! (Laughter)
So, I mean honestly, I don’t know any details. But I certainly hope that I come back and that I am a part of the show. And I think it’ll be fun. I think there’s a lot of avenues and a lot of ways to go about exploring the relationship between the two of them.
GW: Do you hope to be directed by your brother that time around?
DD: I don’t know! He’ll probably beat me or something. Yeah, you know, that would be great. I would love it, and I’ve gotta say that the nice thing about Will directing and not having Peter direct is that I had my brother, that I was able to utilize him. He wasn’t busy directing an episode, so not only did I get to visit with him, work on the material with him, and hang out with him, but now that I think I’ve found the character, it would be fun to be there. And of course he was on the set the whole time. It was very rare that I was working and he wasn’t kind of hanging out and having fun, you know.
I guess, I do look forward to — I did a V.I.P. with Pamela Anderson that Peter directed. He is so much fun to work with on the set, ’cause he’s been there. He’s been the actor and he knows what it’s like, and he makes it fun, you know?
GW: Well, cool. Where would you like to see this character go next year? Just your personal opinion.
DD: I think I should … I don’t know. I think it would be very interesting to see what it would be like to have a relationship outside of her work and how work — a day at the office is not a normal day for her! So I wouldn’t mind seeing these characters trying to work out some kind of relationship where their normal lives can continue while there is this amazing stuff going on and, you know — I don’t know. Somehow because I have law enforcement behind me I could participate with her in solving some kind of crimes, or anything like that. I don’t know.
GW: So maybe a joint effort.
DD: Yeah! It could be a joint effort. You could easily — you know, there’s a million things you can do. I could get into a wonderful relationship with her. I could get all the secrets of the Stargate and all the information and then somehow I could turn out to be … a bad guy. I could be, you know, some kind of alien entity that is trying to get all the information so that we can shut it down and destroy it. Or, I could be a normal guy and — I know they did the futuristic episode where they already ended up, and she had a … Remember when they had to write themselves a note?
GW: “2010,” yes.
DD: Yeah. So, her character has had — I mean, she was married at the time. You know what I mean? So that has to be taken into consideration.
DD: That bastard. That rat bastard! Tried to take my woman. You know, anything that they come up with or do because they’re so creative would be fun.
GW: Do you think Pete will eventually succumb to Carter’s “Black Widow” curse?
DD: I certainly hope not. Not until I do a couple of episodes. I don’t wanna die … I wanna love!
GW: Can we look forward to seeing you at any Stargate conventions?
DD: Yeah, you know I’ve been working on that. There’s been a couple of talks about certain things. Nothing’s been locked in yet, but I definitely am going to try to make some appearances. I think I’ve confirmed a couple of dates through a convention … locater person. But you know what it is — I mean, I have a family to provide for. If I can do the convention, I’m there in a heartbeat. But if I’m working or, you know, if something comes up of that nature, I have to work. But I’m gonna try, I’m gonna try, because I’m excited. I wanna go just to go for fun, you know?
GW: Well David, thanks so much for your time, and we look forward to following up with you after your next appearance!
DD: Thank you, and if you can put a little disclaimer: To any fan that I’ve offended, I am so, so sorry and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Please tell me that somebody liked me? Somebody said, “Ah, he’s OK!”
Big thanks to David’s family Web site at DomDeluise.com for allowing the use of their photos!