It has been over a year since GateWorld last chatted with Kavan Smith about his role as Major Lorne on Stargate Atlantis. The character has remained the steady go-to guy in the absence of Colonel Sheppard, and Smith couldn’t be happier.
GateWorld’s Chad Colvin recently caught up with the actor at Creation Entertainment’s 2008 Stargate Convention in Vancouver. Kavan talks about recent updates to the character, relishing in moments where Lorne’s personal life is explored. He also reveals some of his favorite moments from Season Four, such as a particular scene between he and David Hewlett in “The Last Man.”
GateWorld’s interview with Kavan runs 7 minutes, and is also available in audio format. The full interview is also transcribed below!
GateWorld: For GateWorld.net, this is Chad Colvin, and I’m here today with Kavan Smith from Stargate Atlantis. Kavan, thank you for sitting down with us.
Kavan Smith: Thank you. And you’re welcome.
GW: It’s been about a year and a half since the last time we sat down and chatted with you. And the character of Lorne has been given quite a bit more detail and depth since then. How has that evolution been for you?
KS: It’s been great. It’s a lot of fun. It’s great to be able to give the character more layers than he was receiving initially. It’s flattering that they want to pursue the character a little bit. It’s a lot more fulfilling, as an actor, anyway. You get a chance to really create something instead of just having it all be in my imagination. I get to do some things. So it’s been a lot of fun.
GW: Is it helping to define the portrayal a little bit?
KS: Oh, absolutely! Any time you’re given any kind of action, or any kind of background, it just really completes the character — or at least it gets you a lot closer than you were initially — so it’s helped enormously.
GW: Of the appearances you had in Season Four, do you have any standout moments in your mind for the character himself?
KS: Well, I think the season finale (“The Last Man”) was definitely a chance to show a bit of a sense of humor. A bit more importance to the team. There was a couple episodes. There was one where I get paranoid and pull a gun on Joe [Flanigan]. That was a lot of fun. They made a lot of fun at my expense because I had to run around a freezing cold sound stage with bare feet for three or four days.
GW: Ooh …
KS: It was kind of a drag. Martin Wood decided that any time he wanted to play with me, he’d say “Okay, we’re going to do this scene in your bare feet.” So now, every scene he’s threatened to [have me] be in my bare feet.
GW: We also saw a little bit, in one of the episodes, a scene between you and Rachel … Teyla …
KS: Ah, yes.
GW: Where you talk a little bit more about your character’s family life.
KS: And past. On the Wraith ship. No, it was fun. Little bits like that. I think it was the season prior, where you discover that he’s a painter. In his past, his mother used to teach painting. So when you find out a little bit more about his sister and her offspring and things like that. All those little things add up and just give you a bit more to play with and a bit more depth. The audience isn’t just kind of guessing. Like, “Oh, what is this guy all about?” You’ve got a bit more to build on and it makes it a lot more dynamic.
GW: That episode where you find out he’s a painter, that was “Sunday” in Season Three.
GW: That episode was written by Martin Gero, who is a phenomenal, phenomenal writer. Are you a fan of his episodes in general?
KS: Absolutely! Martin is one of the guys who actually writes Lorne in quite a bit. So I love Martin. [Laughter] I love Martin quite a bit.
GW: Was that his concept? Having Lorne be a painter? Or was that something that was personal with you?
KS: That was all [Martin]. I always try to get the guys to give him more depth. I don’t really care what it is, per se. I think sometimes if an actor has too much say in what the character does, it ends up being too much like what Kavan would be. As opposed to what I think the character would be. The character was invented by somebody else. All his traits should be invented by somebody else, too. Then I just do my best to incorporate those traits and make something interesting out of him.
GW: We got to see Lorne in some real command roles, as of late, both on SG-1 in Season Ten in “The Road Not Taken” where he’s the alternate universe leader of SG-1. And also in “The Last Man”, this last (Atlantis) season finale, where he’s leader of the SGC. Is Lorne ready for a promotion, in your mind?
KS: Well, he’s a major. I think, because it is television, we’ve got to suspend belief a little bit. It’s very unlikely in the military that I would be made a colonel or anything like that at my age. So a Major is really about, realistically, as far as we would go right now. But, f**k yeah! Why not? Let’s hand him a promotion. I think a general would be good. Three star general. And I’ll just take over. I think it’s a good idea.
GW: Fans have dubbed him in the past, previously, with his first name as Marcus. I know we talked about that with you a little bit about that before (in a previous interview).
GW: But in “The Last Man”, we see that his first initial is “E”. And it’s been confirmed by some of the production staff and writers since — that it was cut out of the episode — but that his first name is Evan. Did you have a preference as to what you preferred it would have been?
KS: The only thing — I know the fans kind of had this thing about some bizarro names. And I was fine with anything that wasn’t bizarro. One was “Spanski.” And I don’t understand what the hell that was supposed to mean. But anything would have been fine. I think “Evan” is great. I know an Evan. He’s a nice guy.
GW: What do you think are some of the reasons that fans identify so much with Lorne? What makes him real?
KS: I think he’s that sort of faithful, loyal guy that everybody kind of knows. You don’t know too much about him, but you kind of like him. You want to know more about him. He sort of represents the “everyman,” I think. A lot of times, not being one of the key guys on the show, or the leads of the show, it’s nice to be able to have some guy that is just sort of the steady constant. And I think he represents that.
I think it’s a bit more approachable sometimes for people. Even though they want to deify some of the leads. Like “Oh, man, I’d love to be ‘so-and-so.'” But I think it’s more realistic sometimes to say “Yeah, you know that Lorne guy. I understand that. I sort of live that life myself.” So, he’s a very approachable kind of guy, I think.
GW: Season Five. Filming recently commenced a few weeks ago.
GW: We know we’re going to see you in the premiere, “Search and Rescue.” Have you been confirmed for any more episodes as of yet?
KS: I think we’ve done, what, six now? Moving on to six. And I’ve done three or four. Three I think, maybe. Prepping six right now. I think I’ve done three so far. The first one was a lot of fun. A lot of rubble. The continuation obviously. “Search and Rescue” was a lot of fun. I can’t say anything about that. I can’t say anything about any of them. But I’ve been in them. The truth is I don’t remember what happened in them anyway [Laughter]. I shoot it, I go home, I get drunk. [Laughter]
GW: Without going into spoilers, do you know how much of a role Lorne will play in them? Does anything increase?
KS: I think in this past season, he’s sort of taking over as the second-in-command, militarily speaking. They sort of defined that a little bit more in detail. So I think anytime that Sheppard’s off doing something, I think that there’s an opportunity to have Lorne commanding a second team somewhere. And I hope they give that some definition, and give it some depth.
GW: The character has really come a long way since the first time we saw you back in Season Seven of SG-1.
KS: He really has, yeah. So we’ll see what happens. They haven’t killed me yet, which is surprising as hell. I’m still around.
GW: You’re not a doctor.
KS: Not a doctor. You know no one dies on the show unless you’re a doctor. So if I end up going to med school in the next episode or something like that then I’m dead.
GW: Yeah, be careful.