He’s the GQ (“Goa’uld Quarterly”) bad guy. Cliff Simon (Baal) recently talked to Eclipse Magazine about his character.
The former Mr. South Africa thinks his sense of humor is what keeps his performances fresh and believable. “I had a lot of freedom in turning him into what I wanted to turn him into,” Simon said. “Right in the beginning of the show, a lot of the bad guys I noticed in the show were pretty wooden — not anything to do with them, they were all really great actors. But people make a mistake when they play a bad guy of being bad the whole time, and you become very boring.”
There was nothing boring when he tortured Jack O’Neill in the Season Six episode “Abyss.” Many fans cite that episode as one of their all-time favorites. But few people know that Simon was torturing a stand-in.
“It was very difficult, also because I was pretty new in the show and I hadn’t worked with Rick [Richard Dean Anderson] before. Rick had to get out of town — I think he was doing a ‘Discovery’ show or one of those kind of things. So I worked with him for one day only and the rest of the time I worked with a stand-in. It’s very, very hard because as an actor you are reacting the whole time, and to get a guy standing there — he looks like Rick, he’s a great guy, but he’s reading off a script. It took about two weeks to shoot that episode because there were a lot of special effects. But yeah, 90 percent of it was with the stand-in.”
Who knew a minor role in Season Five’s “Summit” would turn into such a pivotal role? Simon’s character has become his own continuous story thread for five seasons.
“The last episode I went up to shoot, Brad Wright, the producer, came down into the wardrobe department. I was putting on new costumes and he wanted to see them, and he said to me, ‘Cliff, did you ever think that little part you had in ‘Summit’ would end up being this big?’ And I said ‘No, I had no idea.’ But it’s great. I love it and thanks to all the fans, because without them, we wouldn’t have a show.”
With multiple Baals running around the galaxy, Simon recently filmed “Insiders” for Stargate SG-1‘s tenth season. Baal has grown to like Earth and certainly has the resources to make a power move there. So the team struggles to find the “real” Baal amidst all of his clones.
Simon emphasizes that the clones are copies, not different individuals, so he can make them more malevolent. In the episode, Simon worked at creating the sense of a connection between the clones.
“I thought about that,” he said, “but I played them all exactly the same, as if they were one. We had that discussion on set and I said, ‘No, we’re all psychically linked. We all know what each other is thinking the whole time. We are not separate. I know when one of my guys is killing somebody. I know about it, so it’s not a surprise when I hear about it or see it.’ There is a scene in one of the episodes where one of my clones shoots a Jaffa warrior behind me and I don’t even turn around because I know he’s going to do it.”
Don’t miss the complete interview with Cliff Simon at Eclipse Magazine! “Insiders” is expected to air in August on SCI FI.