Only one Stargate SG-1 villain could top the sinister Sokar, who made a memorable appearance in Season Three’s “Jolinar’s Memories” and “The Devil You Know.” That would be the half-ascended Goa’uld Anubis, one of the biggest threats the team ever faced.
The same man is behind both classic Stargate villains: David Palffy. GateWorld caught up with the actor at August’s official Stargate convention in Chicago, hosted by Creation Entertainment. In this interview the actor talks about wrapping up Anubis’s storyline, jokes about what made the Goa’uld evil, and hints at what he is working on now.
Our video interview with David Palffy runs about 10 minutes, and is also available in audio format. It is also transcribed below!
David Palffy: My pleasure, my pleasure. Hopefully you’ll be able to say that after we finish this interview.
GW: [Laughter] We’ll have to see.
DP: As I just said, I’m kind of foul-mouthed and I might say some things you might regret.
GW: We can edit for what we need to.
DP: No, no, that’s not in my contract.
GW: The last time that we talked with you, back in 2004, the Anubis storyline on SG-1 was just beginning to tie up. Were you happy with the way the storyline itself came to a close?
DP: I suppose — I would answer that from a self-centered, selfish point of view as the actor, the character behind the mask, I would say no. But then again, as always, you’re not in charge of the storyline, you’re not in the charge of the storyline when in begins, you’re not in charge of the storyline on how it ends. I suppose I would have ended it differently.
GW: How so?
DP: Well, first of all, probably I thought it would have been kind of interesting to humanize him a little bit. I would have looked forward to that opportunity to have had him shape shift, those kind of things. Then find a human form that he lives in and then to carry on certain story lines from that. That would have been really fun and interesting to do and I think would have added a great deal of depth to Anubis. That’s just my opinion.
The thing is, when you’re playing a character that is literally wearing a black sock, it’s symbolic, basically evil. It’s difficult to humanize him without having the characteristics physically of a human being, because he’s just an embodiment of something. He’s an embodiment of evil. And the idea, if you can physicalize him in some way, I think it makes him that much more interesting. Much more frightening. Instead of having just the void. Then again, of course that’s my long winded assessment of the situation.
GW: Long winded is fine. [Laughter] You had the opportunity to play two very evil Goa’uld, in both Sokar and Anubis. Do you find as an actor that villain roles are easier, or more fun, to play? As opposed to others?
DP: I think they’re fun. It depends. They’re more fun to play because I think that sometimes you’re allowed to get away with more. I suppose one would have to be specific. Because when you’re playing a villain in a sci-fi type of program, the confines or the limitations that are put upon you are a little different than, for example, a crime-drama, that kind of thing.
I find with sci-fi it’s fun because usually you associate the villain with a heightened sense of being. And it’s funner because you’ve got an elaborate costume, you’ve got usually an elaborate makeup. Usually the lines that you get you’re able to get away with saying. You could never do that down the street. You could never do it on a primetime TV like CSI or something like that. Again it’s just so off-the-wall sometimes, the things you get to do.
And as a result, the enjoyment is of that, because you are allowed to embody something, in a way, that only a child will really think about. I find that sometimes as adults we’re confined by primetime drama and you’re actually confined as an actor. But with sci-fi the expanse is a lot bigger. I mean I’m not saying that I wouldn’t love to play a romantic lead or have an affair with, whoa, a goddess or something, you know. [Laughter]
GW: In the end, what were Sokar’s and Anubis’ major downfalls? Were their personality traits that you felt may have led to their to their destruction?
DP: Yeah, hubris, as always. There’s always that thing, I think, that’s a major downfall for most villains, whether it’s sci-fi or any other genre, as we can also see in everyday life. The thing is that they get away, or he or she, gets away with too much and starts to take things for granted. I think that’s the thing with Sokar and Anubis. I think that’s the thing. It’s hubris.
GW: Where they’re unchallenged?
DP: With Sokar and Anubis, let’s just face it. The two large gods, who are in a way ascended gods, who were bigger than life. I think that at some point they have to feel challenged. The main thing is that they were somehow too big. You know what I mean? That’s a lot of bull**** anyway. [Laughter]
GW: Do you personally believe that either character is evil per se? Or do you believe in their mind sets there were justifications for their actions?
DP: No. Because both of them had very bad childhoods. They were orphans. And the fact is, in both instances, their mothers were quite mean to them. Of course they didn’t have fathers, so they had a certain problem in that respect. And that’s one of the reasons why they both had a lot of problems with women. They weren’t able to deal with this. That’s the thing. They were into other aliens, other life forms. But we won’t go there, because this is not for the Internet. It’s perhaps for a story book or someone’s insane sense of reality like my own.
GW: [Laughter] Did you watch the series in the later years?
DP: No, absolutely not. I think the show sucks. [Laughter] I’m just kidding. I’m just kidding! I’m just kidding!
GW: [Laughter] That’s getting out of hand!
DP: I’m just kidding. But you did kill me off, so whatever. I’m just kidding.
GW: [Laughter] How do you think either character, had they survived, would have reacted to the Ori, which was the threat that came after the Goa’uld in the later seasons?
DP: Together Nub and Sokar, they would have decimated the Ori. That’s what people don’t realize. Those two boys together, pffft, it’s unbelievable. They would have taken over prime-time TV. If that would have happened, they’d have Stargate Three and Four right now. SG-1, 2, 3, 4. Nubis and Sokie. [Laughter]
GW: Since your time on SG-1, what other projects have you completed or are you currently working on?
DP: So numerous to mention that I’ll probably bore you. Or more importantly, bore myself. One thing I can’t stand is an actor who constantly talks about himself. OK, so let’s talk about 20 projects I’ve been working on.
GW: [Laughter] What’s current?
DP: Right now actually I’m working on a couple of treatments for some films. A lot of actors do writing, but very few actually sell the treatments and sell the scripts. I’m one of the very few that actually sells them. As well as a used car or a house here and there. But to make things a little bit more ridiculous than they are, I’ve been working on a number of things. But if I told you I’d have to kill you.
GW: [Laughter] Top secret. Do you consider yourself a fan of Stargate?
DP: Oh, God. [Laughter]
GW: Some of these questions are …
DP: Yes. To be honest, I haven’t really watched so much of it now that I’m not associated with the show. I think that, to be perfectly honest, which is kind of difficult for me, I think it was a show that kind of set the standard for sci-fi.
GW: Finally, if you could send a personal message to fans, what would you say?
DP: Vive la France! Just kidding. [Laughter] May you live long and prosperous. No, that’s nonsense anyway. Personally, because I’ve been an actor who’s been involved in Stargate and other sci-fi programs, I appreciate the support. It’s been a pleasure. I’ve had a wonderful time actually meeting a lot of wonderful fans. I’m grateful for being a part of Stargate and et cetera, et cetera.
GW: And we know we’ve enjoyed watching you through the years.
DP: Now you’re bull****ing.
GW: I am not! [Laughter]