In the opening episode of Stargate Atlantis viewers watched as Lieutenant Aiden Ford enthusiastically jumped into the event horizon of the Stargate, on his way to adventure in the Pegasus Galaxy. This sums up the actor who plays him, Rainbow Sun Francks, a young man who jumps feet-first into every opportunity that life presents him. Now he talks with GateWorld about his first convention experiences, what’s to come for Lieutenant Ford, and how much he loves going to work each day.
By the age of 24, when Francks joined the regular cast of Atlantis, he had already been nominated for a Gemini award (the Canadian equivalent of an Emmy), been one of the top video DJs on Canada’s MuchMusic channel, and produced a hip hop band. He also writes songs for the band and for himself, and in this interview he tells us more about his up-and-coming solo music project.
GateWorld chatted with Francks at the London Film and Comic Con in November of 2004, at the end of a long day. The actor worked hard signing autographs, chatting with attendees, and having his photograph taken. Even with jetlag, he never stopped smiling. It is clear that this is a young man who genuinely enjoys new experiences and meeting new people.
Rainbow Sun Francks: Am I just sitting down right here?
GateWorld: Unless you’d like to stand!
RSF: No, I can’t stand. [Smiles] I’m done. I’m so tired right now.
GW: You look exhausted.
RSF: Yeah, I am exhausted. Oh, do I? How bad do I look?
GW: You don’t look bad! Is this the first time you’ve been out to England?
RSF: First time I’ve ever been out of North America — so yeah, very exciting for me.
GW: When did you arrive?
RSF: About a day and a half ago, but I slept for about three quarters of a day or so.
GW: Have you been enjoying it today?
RSF: Today’s been very exciting for me. I did the San Diego Comic Con. We, the entire cast, went to that. But that was sort of a SCI FI / MGM thing where we had to go and experience it, so it was fun. This is the first time I’ve been asked to come out and have people come and actually want to meet me, which is cool.
GW: Were you surprised at the response?
RSF: Yeah, I was very surprised! Last night I woke up in a cold sweat. I had a dream that I was sitting in my booth and I — well, I didn’t know it would be set up — but I was dreaming I was sitting in sort of a cubicle. I had two walls on either side of me and no one in front of me. I looked out and there were hordes of people running past, in front of me. So it was nice that some people actually came to say hello!
GW: Quite a lot of people, actually.
RSF: Yeah, quite a lot of people. It was very exciting and surprising. But I had a great time. I’m having the time of my life doing this show.
GW: And you’re enjoying your time on Stargate Atlantis?
RSF: Best job I’ve ever had.
GW: Even better than being in your band?
RSF: That’s not a job, that’s a pleasure.
RSF: Sometimes it’s a job, but even then it’s been a pleasure. This is the best. I’ve never had a job where I was so happy every single morning, as tired as I am, to get up, get in the car, and go whether it be 3 in the morning or 4:45 and actually just go to work. It’s the most exciting time. I love everyone I work with and who I work for.
GW: That really comes through to the character, too. He’s very enthusiastic about his job.
RSF: Very much so, yeah. Sometimes it’s nuts! He jumps into danger a little quickly, but honestly I can’t say enough about the experience in a positive way.
GW: We’ve seen up to the first half of the season …
RSF: So up to “The Storm.”
GW: Do we get to know any more about your character in the second half?
RSF: You get to know bits and pieces. There’s no dedicated episode for me because we’re exposing every other character and so you get to see quite a bit more of him, but not in a dedicated episode. I’d say that in the second half of the season in “The Eye” you get to see a lot because he gets to lead a team of himself, Beckett, and Teyla. So there’s a good sort of leading-man time for him and a little storyline there, which is really nice.
And after that, several episodes stand out where you get to see him expose a bit of himself. In “Letters from Pegasus” at the end of the season he’s in control of a camcorder that takes him around the city and he has to interview everyone. He’s sort of the medium between Atlantis and Earth in that episode, so that’s very cool. And he’s not a military guy — he’s just Aiden walking around with a camcorder. You get to see him just talking as a normal guy.
GW: Do we get to hear him called by his first name, Aiden?
RSF: He calls himself Aiden, yeah, which I think has only happened once or twice before in the whole season. So that’s nice. In “Hot Zone” he’s in a bit of trouble because, once again, he’s going to die and we’ve got to find a way to save him. We get a nanovirus and we’re all going to perish. Myself and Zelenka. It’s a tough story, very hard to deal with, but there’s good parts in that.
And “The Siege” at the very end of the season — and I won’t tell you too much about that — but that’s a lot of fun. Very high-energy, action-packed adventure.
GW: What was the toughest acting challenge of the season?
RSF: I think the toughest challenge for me has been being there and not having too much background. It’s been tough. I have to — you know, they only have so much background written for me. In some cases it’s easy; I get to create whatever I want. But then there’s always a chance that it’s given to you later on, so you can’t create whatever you want. You have to keep it open. It’s kind of hard.
GW: Perhaps we’ll find out more about Ford in Season Two.
RSF: Season Two is going to be fun. From what I’ve spoken to the writers about, there are some very interesting things in line for Ford. “If you weren’t interested in Ford before, you definitely will be,” is all I can say. I can’t let any of it out because it’s all speculation right now, but what we’ve spoken about is extremely exciting.
And you can’t anticipate what’s going to happen. When they brought it to me I was like, “Oh, OK, cool. Let’s do it.” So you’ll see. Season Two is very exciting for Ford.
GW: When will production on Season Two start?
RSF: Late January, early February.
GW: What are you doing in between?
RSF: I haven’t had a chance to read a lot, so I’m catching up on my reading. I’m going to start recording my first solo record with a member of my group probably in late December, early January, and start working on that. Other than that I just want to travel. I’ve never had the chance to travel except in North America, so I want to be able to travel and see the world while I have the opportunity, and write as much as possible and love as much as possible, and just be …
GW: Is that writing songs or … ?
RSF: Writing songs, writing some screenplays that I started when I was about 18 or 19 years old that I want to finish, which I’ve never had time to work on. And to just say hello to my family and to grow as much as possible.
It’s been such a growing experience, the last eight months as it is, that I’ve got to adjust to the person that I’ve become. It’s been an eye-opening experience and it’s changed my entire life and I’m getting to see what I’ve become, so to speak. I’ve made so many new friends in Vancouver. So spending time with everyone and letting our relationships grow and blossom — it’s beautiful.
GW: Whereabouts are you from, in Canada?
RSF: I’m from Toronto.
GW: Everybody seems to be from Toronto or Vancouver!
RSF: Toronto or Vancouver, yeah, pretty much. Well those are the — we have such a big land mass that everyone sort of picks the largest city that is closest to them.
GW: Thank you so much for your time! I think that’s about all the questions we have.
RSF: Thank you! I’m going to go fall down now.
Interview by Lynley Oram and Feli