With the opening of Season Ten, actor Cliff Simon may or may not be aware that Baal is officially the longest-lasting Goa’uld villain in the Stargate universe (both Apophis and Anubis lasted four years). This is likely because Baal has largely stayed out of the way, but as affairs with the Ori are beginning to shake things up, one thing is certain: the future may hold any number of possibilities.
GateWorld had the privilege of finally sitting down for a face-to-face chat with Mr. Simon following his stage appearance at Creation’s 2006 Official Stargate SG-1 & Stargate Atlantis Convention in Vancouver, B.C. Simon discusses how the character has grown since we last spoke to him (“Reckoning”), and drops a hint or two as to where the character might lead viewers.
GateWorld’s video interview with Cliff Simon runs about 6 minutes, and is also transcribed below. The interview is also available in audio format for your listening convenience!
GateWorld: For GateWorld.net, I’m David Read and I’m once again here with Mr. Cliff Simon.
Cliff Simon: How you doing, Dave?
GW: I’m doing very good. Finally good to see you in person!
CS: Yup! Good to meet you too — eventually!
GW: Yes! Everyone finally gets together here. Last time we talked to you — in an interview — [it was] after “Reckoning [Part 1]” had aired. How far do you feel this character has come since then?
CS: He’s come a long way since “Reckoning.” There’s going to be a lot of changes in him. You’ll see it in Season Ten. What we’re shooting now in those beautiful costumes. He’s becoming a lot more complicated. Even more so than he was. A lot more clones, but what you’re going to see starting to happen to him is that — I’ve felt — he’s becoming even more human than he ever was.
CS: Yeah. And you’re actually going to see that he does bleed. And all these kinds of things. It’s very interesting. There’s a few subtle changes that are going to be pretty major, I think, for episodes coming up.
GW: Michael Greenburg was a big petitioner for having Baal stay in the loop. Surviving “Reckoning” and “Threads.” Do you think that that was pretty significant as well, with the direction that this character is going now?
CS: I think it is. Michael and me are still very good friends. I saw him the other day. And he’s quite amazed that the character’s still in the show. He was very impressed with the character and the way the character was developing, and he seemed to think that it was definitely one of the better bad guys that they’ve had in the show. One of the more interesting bad guys they’ve had in the show.
He says he’s not actually surprised that I’m still in the show because I keep telling him “I keep getting killed off and I come back.” He says that’s not surprising because that’s a good character to have. I love the character. There’s no other character I’d want to be on that show. But Michael definitely did push at the beginning, and it just worked.
GW: How much input have you had on the direction of this character in recent years. You and I have talked in the past about how people seem to be watching the interviews that you do and are generating the storylines based on what you would like to see.
CS: Well it’s very funny because what everyone else has been saying out there about what they want to see the character do is actually starting to happen. And things that I wanted to see the character do have started to happen. Yet I haven’t conveyed anything to the writers, the producers, or anything like that. But things are happening now that we’ve been talking about for the past year. I’ve seen fans asking me questions about — “We’d like to see Baal doing this and Baal doing that.” And it’s actually happening now. Which is pretty amazing.
Like I was saying inside there [in the convention hall], you’re going to see Baal in a physical fight. We haven’t seen Baal be physical. And I’ve been waiting a year to get into a fight, because Baal’s always just standing around. Now we’re going to actually see him physically having a fight, which is great. So small things like that.
GW: Every time we see Baal now he’s pulling an “Oh my God, they killed Kenny!” [Laughter] Do you feel this character is any way not as threatening as he was, because every time we see him we just kill him off. You think that’s a danger?
CS: It is definitely a danger. Having clones. But now that it’s been established with the clones, that they are clones, it makes him more dangerous in a way because the problem now is that they don’t know who they’re killing. They don’t want to kill Baal Number One, but they know the clones are a threat, because they know the clones will kill him. So, yes they will kill the clones, but I have to still keep thinking of Baal as one person, or one entity. I can’t think of him as twenty clones.
In a way, I don’t like seeing my clones get killed off. As Cliff the actor, I don’t want to see those clones getting killed off because I do think it’s weakening the character. All the sudden we just shoot him — we can kill him. Whereas before you couldn’t just shoot Baal. But now it’s sort of getting established that we can just shoot him and kill him. But. It’s the clones we’ve been killing. Not the real Baal. So I think once we get through this stage it’s going to get back to that again where he has got that sense of danger about him.
GW: Why is Baal creating these clones? Is it like a Saddam Hussein thing. Saddam’s brothers — creating as many people as possible or getting them dressed up to look like him so he’s more protected? Or is there another reason behind it?
CS: No, there’s another reason which I’ve finally just found out now for Season Ten. It’s going to come out. I can’t say because it’s a huge storyline.
GW: Can you give us a trickle?
CS: There is a reason why he has the clones. Boy, if you think the amount of work that one person does over the amount of work that twenty people do, twenty people can do a lot more work than one.
GW: So Baal’s getting some plans together?
GW: OK. Very interesting. So “Insiders” is not going to be it for you. You’re coming back.
CS: Yeah I’m coming back. I’ll be back up in a couple of weeks. I think there’s another two episodes, then I’ll be back.
GW: Interesting. So probably before the mid-season break, or perhaps in it?
CS: I hope so.
GW: So you haven’t received any scripts yet?
CS: Not yet, no. But I have a feeling Season Ten is going to be really big.
GW: For Baal.
CS: For Baal. Season Nine built into it, and now it’s going to be Season Ten.
GW: Do you think you’ll ever be dead now?
CS: I don’t think I’ll ever be dead. I might disappear for a long time, but I don’t think I’ll ever die.
GW: Kind of like the Replicators, you know? You just never know. What do you think about attending conventions? You’ve been doing a lot more of them in recent years. What is your feeling about attending all these conventions?
CS: I’m still getting used to them. I did start doing a lot last year. I know this year I’ve got a lot coming up. We’ve already booked, like, six. November for me is just going to be a crazy month. I have one every single weekend through the month of November.
GW: Holy cow.
CS: I’m getting used to them. I do enjoy them as far as, what I said to the fans and the viewers, without them we wouldn’t have a show. So I’m always appreciative of the audience. I will never not sign an autograph. I will never be rude to somebody, because I’ll never forget that. I’ve been in the business for a long time. I’ve seen a lot of actors become like that. And it’s just terrible because you don’t put yourself where you are.
GW: You’re there because of them.
CS: Your viewers put you there. Your fans put you there. You can never forget that. So that’s why I enjoy coming to the conventions, because it gives me a chance. It’s not like doing theater work where you’re right there with the audience, you do a performance and you get an applause, and you know, “OK, that was a good performance.” Here you’re working with something, you think you do a great performance, it’s over and you leave. So the only time we get feedback is when we come to conventions.
Cliff Simon – The Official Site