When filming called for a submarine to burst through the ice and surprise a lost SG-1, the Navy volunteered the services of the USS Alexandria, already on station for research purposes. The studio sent out Stargate SG-1 DVDs so that when the crew and cast reached the Ice Station on March 24, they had an enthusiastic fan base.
According to Browder, the team was sleeping three to a hooch — a prefab plywood shelter with a stove/heater for warmth and melting ice for drinking water. Tapping reported that women decorated theirs with Sharpie drawings and cardboard “carpets.” Amenities such as showers and Internet connections were only available at Prudhoe Bay. Anderson reported it was minus 58-degrees Fahrenheit when he arrived on March 26.
Amanda Tapping bundles up for filming.
It was an exciting week of shooting. A cameraman lying on the ice edge filming the USS Alexandria with a submersible camera was splashed. As it was minus-37 degrees Fahrenheit, he was immediately picked up by helicopter and flown to base camp as he was in danger of freezing to death.
When the crew and cast arrived, a mother polar bear and cub were spotted 14 miles away. Each day they moved closer and closer. There were riflemen standing guard in case the bears wandered too near.
The landscape itself changed daily as the floating, 4-foot-thick ice cover over the Arctic Ocean breaks up and refreezes.
Amanda Tapping and Ben Browder are filmed from a distance as the sun sets.
The Alexandria was to break through the ice to find a lost SG-1. The crew cut a hole through the 4-foot-thick ice so a submersible camera could film 18 feet below the surface. The sub was also rigged with a camera. A target X was made on the ice where the sub should break through.
Ben Browder greets the USS Alexandria as it surfaces through the ice.
The first time the entire sub easily popped up, but not on the mark and displaying more sub than they wanted. On the second try, the sub had to grind through the ice — again not hitting the mark. The joke, of course, became that the safest place to observe from was the X as the sub was never there. On March 28, they did finally get the money shot with the Alexandria coming up right in the X.
The day before, according to Amanda, the cast and crew toured the USS Alexandria and had lunch aboard.
In the end, the feel of the exotic locale, the sounds of continually grinding ice, the colors and intensity of the environment, made the time and effort worthwhile, said Wood.
N. John Smith, Martin Wood, Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda Tapping, and Ben Browder send greetings home!
Information and photos compiled from The Hollywood Reporter (March 28, 2007), Playback Magazine (April 2, 2007), and Jeff Gossett’s Postcards.