This interview contains major spoilers for Atlantis’s “Sunday,” as well as minor spoilers for A Dog’s Breakfast and Sanctuary.
Paul McGillion, often described as the “heart of Atlantis,” recently granted GateWorld a large portion of his Saturday afternoon for an in-person interview on Venice Beach in California! The actor, who recently relocated to the United States, answered our questions in front of beautiful surf.
Since the death of Dr. Carson Beckett, many have wondered what has become of his counterpart. In one word, auditioning! Beyond this, McGillion discusses his dear character’s demise, as well as other recent portrayals including A Dog’s Breakfast — in which he played three different characters — and the upcoming Internet series Sanctuary.
Our video interview with Paul runs almost 35 minutes. It’s also available in audio format, and transcribed in its entirety below!
Paul McGillion: I’ll tell you a little story. Two years ago I went to Britain to do some conventions, and I said to the fellow who was organizing it, I said “I’d love to go to Ireland.” And he set up a couple of signings, one in Dublin and one in Belfast. This is fitting in Saint Patrick’s Day [the day of the interview]. I remember I was signing. It was a line-up at this Forbidden Planet store, and every time I looked up there was this little boy, about ten years old, had a little tuque on and every time he saw me he was like [two thumbs up]. I looked up and I was smiling at him, like “How you doing?” And I’d up again and he’d be like [points at Paul]. I can’t wait till this little guy comes over here, you know? And he comes up to the table and I’m like, “How are you doing?”
“I’m really good, sir. Thank you very much. Pleasure to meet you, Mr. McGillion.” And I’m like, “Great to meet you!” “My name’s Jimmy.” I said, “Well nice to meet you, Jimmy.” I go “How are you doing?” “I’m grand, sir, just grand. I came here to meet you and this is for you. I got you a gift.” I said “You got me a gift?” I go “What is it?” And he puts down a little napkin. And inside the napkin — I go “What is this?” And he goes “It’s a piece of my birthday cake. I just turned eleven years old yesterday.” I’m like, “You gave me a piece of your birthday cake?”
And he’s like, “Yes sir, I did. Thank you very much for Dr. Beckett.” And he walked away. I go “Where are you going?” I go “Do you want a picture or something?” He goes “No sir, I don’t have any money.” I go “Come here.” And it broke my heart. I saw his mum in the distance. I could just tell they didn’t have a lot of money. “Come here.” And I gave him a couple of pictures, had his birthday cake there.
To me, if you can do that and affect somebody like that, it made the whole trip worthwhile. It was so nice. And I think a lot of the fans, I think they bond. It’s time for them to bond. They go on their holidays. They spend their entire year meeting new friends and going to these conventions and I see a lot of the same faces at these conventions. So it’s really sweet. I think some people watch soccer. Some people watch football. And these people watch Stargate. And I think it’s a great way to get together and share a common interest. And that’s Stargate.
GateWorld: Where are we, Paul? Where is this?
PM: Dude. Dude … [Laughter] We are in beautiful Marina Del Re. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to everybody in Dublin, everybody in Belfast. [Paul speaks foreign language], which means “It’s a nice night tonight, and the moon is shining bright,” but it’s actually daytime.
GW: I was gonna say.
PM: But I’m here with my friends from GateWorld, and it’s a pleasure being here. It’s just great. I’ve been down in Southern California for seven weeks. Seven weeks tomorrow, actually.
GW: OK, and today is the 17th of March.
PM: Saint Patrick’s Day. That’s why I have my green on, so I can greet all of my Irish friends.
GW: Well it is good to be with you on this beautiful beach, and we really appreciate your time.
PM: Absolutely, my pleasure.
GW: I know you’re very busy down here. You’re auditioning!
PM: I am auditioning a fair bit, yes.
GW: How’s that progressing so far?
PM: It’s the whole pilot season thing, and that’s coming to a close so far. It’s been good. I haven’t really spent a lot of time down here. Of course being on the show for the past three years. I’m sort of like a fish out of water, so to speak, here. But it’s been great. I’m learning the ropes, finally getting a handle on the traffic situation and realizing where I am. I’m living up at Hollywood. I thought it’d be nice if we came down to the beach here to change things up for myself and you. But it’s been great. I’ve auditioned for lots of different types of films, and pilots, television and film. It’s been really interesting. Lots of interesting scripts.
GW: Such as? Any interesting characters so far you’ve come across?
PM: Yeah! I read for a really cool movie that Patrick Dempsey’s in, which is a lot of fun, read for that — called “Maid of Honor” — recently. A nice read for that. Lots of different scripts have been great. Some dramatic, some comedic, so a real variety, a real mix of a lot of different things. So that’s been really nice. And I’m getting a handle on meeting all the different casting directors, and all that kind of thing. Just laying a lot of ground work right now.
GW: I was going to say. People connections. Beefing things up.
PM: Yeah, just getting to know people, because a lot of people aren’t too familiar with the sci fi world. And for me it’s a chance to meet lots of different directors and casting agents. Just meeting all kinds of great people, so it’s been a lot of fun so far.
GW: Good. Let’s get this out of the way: A majority of the Internet fan base, whether they have seen the episode or not, is now aware that you are not going to be a regular in Atlantis in Season Four. They just started filming, and you’re here. This interview will be prefaced with spoiler warnings, so I just want this to get out of the way immediately. “Sunday.” What a marvelous hour of programming. When you were handed that script, had you already known of Carson’s fate?
PM: [Scottish accent] Are you trying to make me cry? [Laughter] Yes, “Sunday,” yes, of course. The producers brought me in a long time prior to doing the episode, and we had a discussion about the plans for the character. So I knew, obviously, before reading the script. Thank you for that. I thought it was a great episode that Martin Gero wrote, and a fitting way for Beckett to go out. I think he did touch the hearts of a lot of people. Many fans call him the “heart of Atlantis,” which is a real honor to be thought of that way. Yeah. They brought me in a long time prior, maybe two months prior, to shooting that episode. We actually shot out of sequence, and I did subsequent episodes after shooting “Sunday.”
PM: Yeah, that was a little difficult. But I spent three years on the show. From what started out being a recurring character we didn’t even know, maybe three or four episodes, all of a sudden I was in 17 of the first 20 and they made me a regular. I got nothing but good things to say about those guys. They gave me a great opportunity. I was the only one from Vancouver that was a regular cast member. Being able to play a Scottish character, I had just a blast.
That being said, I do miss — they went back to production a couple of weeks ago — and I do miss being part of that team. Such a great crew, especially. I love those guys and gals, and the cast I’m super close with. I talk to them all the time. It was a change for me, not to be able to go back and work on the show. That being said I did three years of it and who knows what the future will hold. I’m pretty excited about doing different things.
Back to that episode, Martin Gero wrote the episode and that must’ve been difficult for him because we’ve grown close over the years and he’s such a fine writer and a great guy. I think a lot of people blame the writers for things like that, and I think he’s just an information vessel, so to speak. It’s not his fault the character got written out. I think SG-1 got cancelled and they wanted to shake things up, so to speak. Losing a beloved character might do that. I think it has, and the response, for me, certainly has been very flattering.
SaveCarsonBeckett.com. I can only say “thanks” so much to all of the fans. It’s really flattering. I’m getting gifts and cards and it’s really nice. I know the powers that be have received lots of letters and petitions and things for the character, so that’s nothing but flattering for me.
GW: And next week there’s going to be some kind of peaceful protest outside of Bridge Studios.
PM: So I heard. Yes. Yeah, a pipe band, apparently, is playing. You know, those Scots, they wear their hearts on their sleeves. Again, I don’t know what to say about that. I told my brother, who lives up in Vancouver, to go check it out, because I want to see what happens. It’s really nice. The good thing about a lot of the Carson Beckett fans, I think like the character, they have a great sense of humor. I think they’ll do it with a lot of class and not disrupt things at the production, which I know won’t be the case. And I think all the fellas up at Stargate will get a kick out of it. That’s a really sweet thing to do, you know? I’m really touched by it.
GW: You said you saw “Sunday.”
PM: I did.
GW: Your last moment is particularly graphic. What was it like watching yourself be incinerated?
PM: Again, are you trying to make me cry? Watching that episode, I went back and did a commentary much after. I hadn’t seen it. This is maybe two months ago, three months ago. I ran into Martin Gero and he gave me a copy of it, so I just wanted to wait. My brother and I, we watched it together. It’s a tough episode to watch. Obviously you know what’s going to happen. But I think they handled it very tastefully. Will did a great job directing the episode, and just a lot of class all the way around. And the crew were so great around me.
It was really interesting shooting that episode because obviously there’s a bit of tension on the set because everybody knows the character’s dying and I’m really close to them all. I said “Guys, we all know what’s happening here. I’m cool, so just be yourselves and relax. It’s going to be fine.” But yeah, I remember my last day shooting that episode and I went back to my trailer. Martin Gero bought me a beautiful bottle of scotch and left me a note saying “Thanks for the journey. Really going to miss Beckett.” And that was a really classy move. I shed a couple of tears on the way home in my car.
GW: Was it hard to keep the information bottled up from the press?
PM: Yeah. I think it’s the only script, that I came across anyway, that had a disclaimer on the front of it. “Keep this very confidential,” throughout the whole time I was shooting Atlantis. I certainly didn’t want to say anything. I felt bad, sometimes, that I was at a convention and I couldn’t really mention it — I think there were some rumors out there — but I really want to honor the show and what they asked me to do, so of course I’m not going to say anything. It’s pretty difficult not to let that out. You don’t want to be misguiding to the fans. I think it’s better not to say anything. But yeah, I think it was a little tough. Obviously it was managed the right way. It hasn’t even aired in the States yet. It’s going to cause a big “impact,” so to speak. No pun intended.
GW: Yeah, I think it’s pretty reasonable that you want fans to see it for the first time uninhibited and to draw their own opinions and their own conclusions.
PM: That’s right.
GW: You once said in another interview that if you wanted Beckett to go it would be as an apparition. And you kind of got that! I mean …
PM: S***! [Laughter] What was I thinking?
GW: On that note, do you think Beckett ascended? Because some fans are assuming that he’s ascended in the last scene. [Paul looks around] Beckett!
PM: Yeah, Beckett! Beckett, you cheeky buggar! I hope he ascended right into Southern California because it’s beautiful here. Oh there he is with that hot blonde on the beach right now. “Absolutely. Thank you! Love me!” I don’t know. I guess that remains to be seen. It is sci fi, and everybody keeps on saying that to me. So we’ll see what happens with the character. A lot of people have asked me, is he going to come back? Is he not going to come back? I really, I don’t know. Would I be interested to come back if they gave me the opportunity? Absolutely. A hundred percent. If I’m available, absolutely. I miss all those guys and I love working on the show.
GW: Well, your schedule permitting. I mean, hopefully you’re going to really strike it big down here. You just got here.
PM: I certainly hope so.
GW: I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t want to bring you back at some point. I mean, look at JR Bourne. Look at Teryl Rothery. Every once in a while they just keep on knocking on their door.
PM: It’s crazy, isn’t it?
GW: Yeah, that’s sci fi for you.
PM: Yeah, exactly. I think everybody that works on the show generally has a great time. What a great way for me — I’ve never had an experience in my life like that. It’s really be in a dream job as far as an actor goes. You travel all over the world and you go to places and fans really appreciate you. They’re really thankful for what you do. I think we all wish for that in any job that we have, that you can be appreciated. And certainly that’s been the case for me.
GW: There was a rumor going around that it was your choice to leave Atlantis. That you had been picked up in something else. You care to debunk this?
PM: Yeah, absolutely not. Yeah. No, it was not my choice. No. Like I said, the guys walked me into the office and said that we’re going to shake things up, basically. I was as shocked as anybody else was. I think a lot of people on the set were at the time. But I’m a big boy, and that’s the way I think the business works. Like I said, I don’t begrudge anybody what they’re doing. You’re making a television show and I think none of the major characters — I shouldn’t say that because Rainbow left us in the first season — I think they have to mix things up once in a while for television and I think that’s what they did. They have their reasons. They’re very smart guys. They’ve been doing Stargate for, like, ten years prior to doing Atlantis, so they know what they’re doing. I just have to go with the flow and just be thankful that I got three years of doing this show.
GW: Well I was talking with David Hewlett just before Christmas.
PM: Can’t stand that guy. [Laughter]
GW: I am sorry, yeah. [Laughter]
PM: Nightmare. I miss him teasing me, actually.
GW: You really do?
PM: He’s a taunter. Yeah, I do. I do miss him, yeah.
GW: We were talking about the bonds that form off-screen, that seep through, on to the screen, and that the writers pick up on. But when they decide to shake things up it’s just an unfortunate side effect that your relationships have to be discontinued because — Ahoy! — it’s time for you to shove off.
PM: Yeah. I have to agree. To me, the Beckett/McKay relationship was such a great aspect of the show. David and I did one convention together in Australia. We went on stage together and we just laughed and laughed the whole time. After that we were at Comic Con and we sat together. We have such a great repartee together. We’re really great friends as well. He’s such a talented actor. It’s a pleasure to act with him, as well as the rest of the group. That was a special part of the show for me, certainly. Right from the pilot when we had our little moment at the end of the pilot, which was great. “We’re in another galaxy — how much more out can you get?”
GW: “Is there lemon in this?”
PM: And I loved that. I think that started a relationship. I think the writers caught on to that right away, and I think the fans did as well, because they’re very much equals in a lot of ways, and very similar yet different, you know? I think the juxtaposition was a really interesting chemistry. But thanks for that. I really enjoyed that, and I do miss working with David, especially.
GW: What are some highlights from this past year for you? Season Three? Both in front of the camera and behind it.
PM: Highlights in Season Three. I’ve got to say, the episodes that stand out for me — “Misbegotten” was a very interesting episode for Beckett. It went with the whole retrovirus aspect, again dealing with with Michael. I think in a lot of ways, Beckett in that episode really became the reluctant hero in some ways. He was being tortured my Michael, and that was a very interesting thing. It showed his courage a lot. It showed the growth of the character throughout the years.
In the beginning he was often referred to as the cowardly lion, so to speak, and I think over time he became acclimatized and dealt with the situation — became braver — and I think in that episode it really showed some of his courage. And again, working with Connor Trinneer, I really enjoyed working with him. He’s such a fine actor. Another episode, “Irresistible.” The first opportunity to work with Richard Kind.
GW: You break down and cry.
PM: Yeah, exactly. The great part about the character, he gets the dramatic highs and he gets the comedic highs as well. The scene with Joe and I in the puddle jumper, when I’m crying, and Joe punches me in the shoulder, was fantastic. Such a blast to work on. The crew was just buckling themselves.
GW: “Don’t laugh — shut up!”
PM: Actually what they did — this is something the fans don’t know — that scene went on for a while, and I think I had a Kleenex. Joe handed it to me. At one point in time I was just leaning in[to] him and I made Joe blow my nose for me with it. And I’m like “Thank you.” And they ended up taking it out. The episode was too long to begin with. They cut it in a great way. The editors did a great job. But it was really funny. Joe’s like “What are you doing?” I’m handcuffed and I made Joe basically blow my nose.
But that episode was fun, and working with Richard — all the characters in that episode — they’re all not themselves, which is great. You saw Jason’s character laugh, which was hilarious, and Torri, she was so great to see her getting all coy, with Rachel, and David too at the end. He finally succumbed. Joe is the only one that was like, “What is going on here? What the hell is going on?” That was a really clever episode, and really fun to shoot, especially [from] an actor’s point of view. I love to play like that, so it was a lot of fun.
“Phantoms” was one of my favorite episodes of the year, for sure. Another Martin Wood episode as well. And Carl Binder. I love his writing in particular. He has so much humanity he brings to his writing, which I really appreciate. He has such a flare for that. I really enjoyed working on that episode a lot. Again, the characters were out of sorts, but in more of a dramatic way.
GW: Their personalities weren’t changed. They were simply being manipulated.
PM:Absolutely, being manipulated. That’s right. The scenes that I have with David, and I’m trying to take care of — Barrasso was the character. It was great to see the passion in each fear was enveloped to a large degree. All the characters had very interesting and different storylines. That was a standout dramatic episode for me. I really thought it was great. Really well shot, executed and written.
GW: That show, most of the guys, granted, were soldiers. The Wraith manipulator device messed with them on a very defensive level where they were actually going to have to go out and defend themselves with their weapons. But it didn’t affect Beckett like that. It tortured him from the perspective of a healer.
PM: It affected him at an ethical level. And a moralistic level. And I think that’s the thing about the character. It hits the heart of the character. I think in a lot of ways that’s why I liked it so much. It’s the essence of that character. His primary concern is to save lives, and you really saw it in that episode. You saw him being tormented because he couldn’t do something.
GW: Worst fears.
PM: His worst fears. The humanity of the character was just drawn out so much in that episode, because that’s what he’s all about. He wears his heart on his sleeve and that’s the kind of guy he is. And hat’s why I love playing the character so much. He’s got so much compassion.
GW: Besides the laughter, and the good times, what are one or two of the things you’re going to miss most about being a member of the core cast?
PM: The friendship. The friendship aspects. Seeing my friends every day. Because we really became really close friends. I’ll miss that. Like I said, everyone was going back to work three weeks ago. There is a sadness there, of course. You’ve been doing this for the past three years and all of a sudden you’re not going back to be part of that. And the camaraderie that we had together. I became close with everybody on the cast. Jason coming in the second season, we’ve become great friends, and Joe. And David, of course. Rachel and Torri. Everybody. And the crew. I can’t say enough about that crew. They work so hard and they do such a great job. I can’t say enough about them. They’re such a class act and so supportive and so fantastic at what they do. The great thing about them is they’re part of the crew too. The cast. They’re part of our cast as well. I’ll miss that. And the food is delicious.
GW: I know! [Laughter] But what about egos on set? Because I’ve heard Amanda Tapping say people aren’t flaunting. “Who’s your agent.” It’s more like “How are your kids?”
PM: Yeah! There’s no ego on set. With the group that we have no one would allow that to happen anyway. If you see somebody come in, sometimes you’ll get a guest star who comes in, has a little bit of attitude, it doesn’t really last long.
GW: That [attitude] comes straight from the top.
PM: You’ve got to treat people with respect. When anybody comes on the set. Especially being from Vancouver, myself. We had a lot of people come on to play that were from Vancouver. I always made sure that I was the first person to go up and say “Hi” to them. I think it’s conducive to a good performance to make people feel comfortable, and I think that’s in any job. I think just being a nice person, and such a great job for an actor to have to be able to come and work on that set. It’s so much fun. You’re going to the Pegasus Galaxy to play for a day or two. It’s just great. You dress up.
GW: And then you’re back for dinner.
PM: Exactly! It’s cops and robbers in space. It’s fantastic. It’s such a fun job. God I miss it. I do miss it, yeah.
GW: In all honesty, do you have any disappointments about leaving this series at this point in its development.
PM: Sure, I’ll be really honest with you, I was very disappointed. I was very disappointed with not being able to continue on the show. I love the show. It was shocking to me and disappointing. Like I said before, it’s a part of the process. The whole acting game. I’ve been doing it for quite a while. Of course, you’re disappointed when you work on a show and you’re enjoying yourself and you feel like you’re doing a good job.
GW: — You’re ripped from it.
PM: Yeah, you’re taken away from doing that. Everything happens for a reason, I think. I don’t want to sound cliché but that’s just the way it is. Maybe now’s another chapter in my life and my career as an actor, but it’s something I’ll certainly never, ever forget. And I always will cherish.
GW: Not only have you been called the “heart of Atlantis” but you’ve also been called the cowardly lion of Atlantis. And you shared a story with me this afternoon that I have not heard in fandom before. Some of them may know about it but I don’t know. About how close to the ball they actually were about that.
PM: One first things I did years ago in Toronto, I think they had the 50th anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz.” My agent at the time called up and said “Listen, we’ve got a gig for you.” It’s a hundred dollars a day, four days over a long weekend. You’re going to be one of the cast members of “The Wizard of Oz.” You basically have to dress up in the costume and go around this trade show and say “Hi” to everybody. I’m like “Great. Perfect.” So Dorothy’s there. I don’t even know who all is playing. I get there and I’m the lion. [Laughter] Fantastic. I’m the lion. How much fun is that going to be? They’re the original suits and everything. I’m like “This is amazing” I had my pants and t-shirt on. I get inside the suit. We’re up in a hotel room. We’re getting changed and there’s the Tin Man. Everybody’s having a great time. They look amazing. The costumes are great.
GW: You feel like a million bucks in it.
PM: I’m like “Jeez, I’ll put that on. I’m the lion. This is fun, right?” So I put the costume on and we take the elevator. As we get in the elevator I start sweating profusely. “It’s really hot in here.” There’s no ventilation whatsoever. After about ten minutes inside the crowd, little kids coming up to me and stuff, I am pouring sweat. To a point in time, after twenty minutes, where I have to tap the lady that’s walking us around. “I have to go upstairs. I am going to fait.” So she got me back upstairs. I am drenched. Just drenched in sweat. So I have to go back down. Oh, God, maybe five, seven, 10 more times that day. By the end of it, the last day, basically I had just my underwear underneath the thing. “I can only do twenty minutes at a time, going back there.” I tell you, I was pretty svelte after that weekend. I probably dropped about 15 pounds. But that was my experience as the Cowardly Lion. That was the first part. It’s kind of fitting, I think, for Beckett.
GW: Send a few roses to Bert Lahr’s grave.
PM: Yeah, exactly.
GW: “You did good, fella. I don’t know how you did it!”
PM: “Thanks for that!” We swapped sweat.
GW: As posted on GateWorld, I recently reviewed A Dog’s Breakfast. And I have to say, Paul, nice legs!
PM: Thank you. [Laughter] I got a whistle. Thank you!
GW: Was it refreshing to do an all-out physical comedy? I mean, not ridiculously so, but just enough to keep you laughing.
PM: Oh yeah, absolutely. It was just a blast. Again, I’ve said this. I’m proud of David and Jane and John Lenic for pulling this thing together. For David, he’s in almost every scene. I think he was only in, maybe, not in two or three scenes, and directing it and wrote it. And one of the producers. It was an amazing accomplishment. And for me to be able to play three different characters on a show, it was a lot of fun. We had a blast doing it. Kudos to those guys. MGM picked them up for worldwide rights for the film. It’s a great film.
GW: It’s a testament to their work.
PM: I think it’s just a great job for the film overall. For a first feature it was just an amazing accomplishment. I think the film, actually, has a lot of legs. Maybe a spin-off series coming out of it for those guys.
GW: How exciting!
PM: Yeah, and we did that in our off-season from doing Atlantis. So it’s great to play different characters. I mean, I love playing Beckett. What a fun opportunity for me. The Colt character’s so much fun. Ryan was great. I had the highlights in my hair and everything. It was a lot of fun. Detective Morse was great. We didn’t know the voice of her. I really make an ugly woman, though. Got to admit.
GW: Not any worse than Robin Williams.
PM: Thank you. I was playing around with the New Yorky, sort of raspy voice. I said to David — I just came up and said “Why not a little homage to Beckett? We’ll make her Scottish. An older Scottish character.” And we all agreed that would be really funny. Chris Judge is in the movie as well, and Rachel. I think it’s a little kiss to the fans so to speak. It was a lot of fun playing that character. Chris [Mark Pinhey], who did the makeup on it, just did a fantastic job of making me look like a hideous woman. It was just a lot of fun to do and I’m really proud of those guys for doing it.
GW: Was it appalling to see David Hewlett naked?
GW: OK. [Laughter] Just getting that out there.
PM: We’re laughing because there was a scene — it was freezing out and pouring, the worst weather, and David’s lying naked, in the mud. I am standing above him in drag, in a pair of heels, looking at his ass. And I look at David. We had a moment and he just looks at me. I’m like, “What are we doing?” I go, “Please tell me this is going to be funny.”
GW: “You think you’re never going to eat again?”
PM: Yeah!! [Laughter]
GW: Alright. What’s David Hewlett the director like compared to David Hewlett the actor? Are they one in the same or are they different men?
PM: I think they’re obviously different. He has to put on different hats for that. But as funny as David is, he takes his business very seriously. He’s always prepared, always bring his A-game, always on-time, he knows what he’s doing, and he’s very set-savvy. He’s the same as a director. He really worked hard. He storyboarded everything. He knew what he wanted. He really knew what he wanted. I think that makes for a great director, you know? He really had a vision and I think to handle film like that, and work with friends — sometimes it gets a little tight in situations — you have to have a strong vision, and David certainly had that.
As an actor, as well, that’s what’s so great about working with David. You have to be on your game to work with David because he knows what he’s doing. And I love that. I love to work with somebody who’s on their game as well. It’s a lot of fun that way. As a director I think he’s really well-prepared. I think, at times, it’s a lot to take on. To do a film. We [David and I] talked before. He said “I don’t know if I was going to act in it,” maybe give himself a smaller role next time. Because it’s a lot. It’s very stressful. Short shooting schedule. You’re just dealing with so much. And for that matter he did such a great job doing it. But it’s a lot to take on. And that being said, he did such a great job with all those things, all those different hats he had to wear.
GW: Have you seen the completed film?
PM: Absolutely, yeah.
GW: Are you proud of it?
PM: I am really proud of it. I loved it. It’s a great laugh. I saw it in Vancouver. We had a cast and crew screening for it. It was really nice. I think everybody was really — it looks great too. And I love the score. It’s kind of a quirky Emma-Lee score.
PM: It’s a dark comedy, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. And Mars is the star of the show. The wonder dog.
GW: Mars is a good boy.
PM: He really is.
GW: I love that dog. Sanctuary. You have appeared in, I believe, the pilot of Sanctuary?
GW: As a character named Wexford?
PM: Wexford, yes.
GW: Tell us about this guy.
PM: Wexford — it’s really great. Damian Kindler and Martin Wood asked me if I’d come in and do this part. I was in Toronto over the holidays. I said “Absolutely. Anything for you guys.” So I read it. And he’s a quirky, fish-like character. I don’t want to give too much away, but he’s a confidant of Amanda’s character. I had one scene in the pilot with Amanda. It’s a great scene. And the character — again, we didn’t really know the voice for the character. They just said “Come up with something.”
GW: You didn’t go with Scottish, did you?
PM: It’s not Scottish. It’s very different than Scottish but it’s a lot of fun. What an interesting concept. I saw the rough cut of a couple scenes recently, and it looks amazing. I have a really good feeling about it for those guys. I think it’s going to be very innovative, very interesting and I don’t think it’s anything that we’ve seen before. And I’ve got a really good feeling for it. I had to wear prosthetics, and I hadn’t done a lot of that before. So that was really something different. I’m kind of a crazy, eccentric character. He is. He really is. I think he’s going to re-occur.
GW: Yes, Damian said he wants you back.
PM: Yeah? Really? Oh that’s cool.
PM: [Laughter] Really? He said that?
GW: Yes, he did. He absolutely did.
PM: That’s great. I think it’s going to be something the fans should really look out for. I think they’re really going to love it. Certainly sci fi fans are just going to jump on this thing. From what I saw it looks really, really exciting. I’m very excited for those guys. It’s a really cool project. And I’m really happy I was part of it.
GW: You’ve been auditioning down here. How do you discriminate the projects that you’re looking for? What do you think is necessary for you to take on a role? Like good writing?
PM: For me, if something’s written well, it doesn’t matter if it’s comedy or drama, I just want to be part of it. To read for something that has great writing, if it’s a small role I’m fine with that. If it’s a little gem. I always think within a great project you can find these little gems. And that’s what I think. As an actor I want to really act and do something interesting. If it strikes a tone with me where it’s interesting or it’s funny or dramatic, it’s something I really would like to do, I’ll go in and read for it. I have no problem with doing that. There’s a lot of stuff I read where I’m surprised it’s being produced. So sometimes you take passes on things if it isn’t really up your alley. I don’t want to waste anybody’s time, and certainly not myself or the agent. So some things are better than others and some things are a better fit for you.
Every actor can’t play every role. I flip for good writing and interesting projects, and working with great directors if I can.
GW: You have a degree in teaching.
PM: Yes, I do.
GW: What would you like to teach, if given the chance. Is this something you’ll now consider making time for at some point in the future? Maybe not in the near future, but at some point?
PM: Well I have taught before. I taught at the Vancouver film school. I taught acting. I was going to teach, it’d definitely be acing. There’s no plans for me to teach right now. I do coach people in auditions quite often, which I enjoy doing. But yeah I did an education degree. It’s something I always wanted to do. A long time ago I got that. I really enjoy teaching. It’s something I really love to do. Acting especially. And I really enjoy script analysis. I think that really helps me, as an actor, being able to tear apart a script and understand the thoughts of the writer, and honoring what the writer says.
So I’d definitely teach acting if I was going to teach again. Right now I don’t have any plans for that. I want to stick with the acting, which I really enjoy doing.
GW: So where do you plan on ending up, both professionally and geographically, in the long haul?
PM: [Scottish accent]Well on that beach with that lovely blonde over there. Hello!
Professionally, like I said before, I just want to work on interesting projects. If I can get on to another series — I don’t know if it’s possible to get a group that’s as close as the group we had on Atlantis. If I can get on something like that it would be great. Films would be fantastic, just given the opportunity to work on. Again, just interesting projects which, hopefully, will have me.
GW: Do you have any conventions lined up?
PM: I do! I do have a convention lined up in Chicago.
GW: OK, Creation.
PM: Yeah, going to a Creation convention in Chiacgo, and I think they offered me another one. I don’t know if that’s been confirmed yet, but I think I’m going to do do another one of the conventions. I haven’t done a Creation convention before. Hadn’t been to Chicago, so I’m looking forward to going there. That’s for sure. And I’m going to Germany — FedCon. In June. And I also love going to Germany. The fans are great there as well. And it’s nice having a trip to Europe. So I’m going to be doing that in June, going to Chicago, I believe.