In this interview, Beau explores the aftermath of SG-1‘s cancellation from an enlightened point of view. We discuss highlight moments from the first half of Season Ten, including the milestone 200th episode as well as a memorable moment from “Uninvited.”
Our interview with Beau is about 10 minutes in length. It’s also available in audio format, and transcribed below!
GateWorld: For GateWorld.net, I am David Read, and I’m once again here with Mr. Beau Bridges. Beau, thank you so much for your precious time. I understand you’re very busy!
Beau Bridges: I’m glad to be here in Chicago at a Stargate convention, and it’s good to see you again!
GW: Good to see you. When did you arrive?
BB: I got in last night.
GW: Okay. Been touring around today? Where have you been today?
BB: I went to a little — what do you call those things where people bring out all their old stuff?
GW: A flea market!
BB: A flea market, yeah! I saw it out of the window of the hotel. [Laughter] I had an hour or so, so I just walked around town.
GW: Anyone stop you?
BB: No. Not over there. No.
GW: Is this your first time in Chicago?
BB: No, I’ve worked several times in Chicago, but a long time ago, so I haven’t been here for a while. But I think it’s a fun city. Last night I had a little sushi dinner down State Street. It’s good.
GW: Good. Beau, word of SG-1‘s cancellation has now managed to circulate through almost all of fandom. There are still a few people finding out. No one’s really happy, for good reason. The show has taken, in my personal opinion, a marvelous turn in the last couple of years. What is your take on the cancellation of the show?
BB: One of my favorite books that I ever read in my life was a book I read — oh gosh, I must’ve probably been in my early twenties — by a man named Alan Watts. W-A-T-T-S. And the book is called The Wisdom of Insecurity. And what it basically says is that all our lives, our parents and people older than us, our teachers and everyone, keep telling you that to find real happiness in life you must be secure. You want security in a job, security in family, relationships, financial, all of that, you want to be secure, and then you will be truly content.
And then Mr. Watts also points out what a pain in the butt that is because the truth is there is no such thing as security. The only thing you can really count on is that things will change. So if you spend your whole life looking for that secure, unchangeable place, you’re going to be pretty frustrated most of your life. You need to just jump into the sea of change and go for it. Change usually isn’t easy in the beginning. This wasn’t easy for any of us to know that this show is cancelled. I’m sure the fans who’ve been watching it for ten years feel the same, yeah. But I think change is good, too, because it reinvents life for us when it happens.
I know that MGM certainly, really values the Stargate franchise and they intend to make some movies with it. I don’t know if that’ll ever happen, but that’s what their intention is. It made them a whole lot of money so I would imagine that would be an impetus for them to continue. We went out with very strong ratings, so that’s a good feeling. It wasn’t like we were weak in the knees there. I think the last show, the 200th, scored huge.
GW: I think 1.9.
BB: Yeah. I learned a lot of times in this business it’s pretty hard to make sense of a lot of the decisions that are made. So I just kind of come in, do my thing the best I can. I had a great run with this show. It’s so much fun. Of course, I did a couple of Atlantises in the beginning, and three this year. That show, I think, is continuing. So maybe I’ll pop up on that one. I know there’s been talk about the Stargate people going over there.
GW: Rob Cooper has assured us that SG-1 will continue in some form, be it a miniseries, a film, Season Eleven — if they can secure another network — SCI FI may not allow that … or potentially an Internet series. Would you be interested in staying with the show if it moved on to another form?
BB: Oh, sure! I think this is a really exciting time for media right now. It’s taking so many different forms. So yeah, I’m kind of excited to see what its next form will be.
GW: Episode 200. What a hurrah. Did you ever think that you would be playing the wizard of Oz?
BB: No! That was really fun. A floating head. We had to do it twice because there was some mess-up with the camera or something, so it was crazy. But yeah, when I read that script I couldn’t make hide nor hair of it. I didn’t understand what it was.
GW: In a good way, I hope!
BB: Well sort of. I didn’t understand it at all. Because there were so many little “in sci fi” things that I wasn’t party to. In the end, I watched it. I had a good time. It was fun seeing all the old people back.
GW: Yeah, the 200th episode. That was quite a milestone for the franchise. You probably, I would imagine, were feeling like “It’s their 200th. I’m just kind of along for the ride.”
BB: No, I felt good about being part of it, because eight years is a lot different than ten years. The show didn’t kick into those groundbreaking moments until Ben and Claudia and myself came aboard. Speaking for myself, I enjoy it so much, and I feel that I am a part of that show now, and I always will be, because I was along for a good part of it. I think it’s a wonderful show. And I think it’ll go on in some fashion.
GW: The episode “Uninvited.” That was a great opportunity to see a good deal of character development, particularly between Landry and Mitchell. And I’ve been wondering ever since I saw that episode, how could you two keep a straight face with the duck call?
BB: [Laughter] Yeah, we didn’t too much. I happen to really love birds anyway. I didn’t think that Rob knew that when the guys came up with that story, but oh, I laughed when I read that. I like to tease my own son when he was younger, especially, that there was this fictitious bird club that he and I belonged to. My son, Zeke. And I would talk about it in front of his friends. I would say “Let’s have a meeting of the bird club.” He’d say “Dad …” So I went back to a lot of that when I was doing that thing with Ben.
GW: What was your inspiration for acting, originally. Was it your father, and did he push for you and Jeff to enter this industry or did he try to dissuade you from doing that?
BB: Yeah, many people ask me if my father — what hand he had in choosing my career. He had a lot to do with that. He gave me my first job in this business, which is the hardest thing to get in show business. That first opportunity.
But most importantly he was just a great dad all the way down the line. He was always there for me and for my brother and sister. And as far as show business is concerned, he really enjoyed being an actor and loved it. But he made myself and the rest of the family, the kids, aware that if we wanted to try it that it was a very risky business. Not a lot of security like we talked about. And that if you really wanted to do it, it was something you had to be prepared to sacrifice a lot for and work hard. All of that was true.
When I first started off I was trying to make a mark for myself, maybe try to distance myself a little bit from my dad. I found out that once I got into it that you did have to bring something to the table. Maybe one or two jobs you could get there having someone’s word help you. Yeah, no, he was great. And he also gave me my tools. Taught me how to do it.
GW: Last question for you. What do you intend to do next?
BB: [Laughter] I have three films coming out. I did The Good German. Steven Soderbergh directed it. George Clooney is in it. Then I did Charlotte’s Web down in Australia. That’s a mixture of cartoon and real people. I think just two real actors, or maybe there’s two or three characters. Dakota Fanning plays a little girl and I’m playing her shrink. [Laughter] And then I did also a movie called Spinning Into Butter with Sarah Jessica Parker. All three of those will be coming out. So I suppose in the next few months that’s how I’ll be getting busy. Just going out and promoting those shows.
GW: Probably looking forward to some time off!
The Wisdom of Insecurity (by Alan W. Watts)