It’s been close to a year since the final episode of Stargate Atlantis, “Enemy at the Gate,” premiered. But for the cast members and some of the crew who helped make the series a sensation, the time away from the series has been even longer.
At Creation Entertainment’s Chicago Stargate Convention this past August, GateWorld took some time to sit down with the one female cast member who stayed with the series from beginning to end: Rachel Luttrell.
In the few spare minutes she had between convention duties, Rachel discussed the joys of motherhood, her reflections on the time she spent on the series, a new project she’s developing, the chances of her recording a music album, and more!
This interview runs a little over eight minutes and is available in audio. It’s also transcribed below!
GW: So how are you?
RL: I’m doing really well, thank you for asking.
GW: How is Caden doing?
RL: Caden is marvelous, he’s wonderful. He’s doing great, he’s almost two. He’s running around, but that’s not new for him. He’s been doing that for awhile now.
GW: Getting into mischief already?
RL: Oh, yeah. He likes to do things like tumble off the bed head first over and over again. And he’s gotten into this phase where he counts “one, two, three,” and says, “go!” and then leaps off various precarious objects in the house. He thinks it’s very fun. He’s having a ball doing that.
GW: What is Rachel up to these days? How are you keeping busy?
RL: Right there, my friend. Right there! And any mother will tell you that that’s a lot. So, I’ve been taking care of my little one. And I’m also starting to write and develop my own work.
I actually just wrote the first installment to a series that I am going to start pitching. And we’re starting to shoot the pilot episode. I don’t think he would mind if I said this, but David’s going to be in it — Hewlett is going to be in it… and a number of other people. It’s going to be a lot of fun. That’s what I’m doing. I’m very excited about it, actually.
GW: Now that a little bit more time has passed and you can give perhaps a little more distant perspective now that it’s been a year since the show wrapped, how would you sum up the past six years? From being first hired to play Teyla til now with some time off the air?
RL: Oh, boy! Goodness. Well, it was a wonderful experience. It was a fantastic experience. It was a whirlwind. When I got chosen to do Teyla, I found out and I had two days, essentially, to move my life and my world to Vancouver, and it was a whirlwind.
Luckily, the folks over at Stargate — the actors as well as the crew and everybody involved — were amazing and embraced me and we became great friends. It was a wonderful growing experience, and learning experience, and bonding experience. I made some wonderful friends who I think I’ll have for the rest of my life. I just had a terrific time.
I had a wonderful time portraying the character of Teyla. I think she’s a wonderful, well-rounded, strong female character and we don’t get to see a lot of those. So that was wonderful. It was an honor! In summation, it was just a terrific experience and it was very sad when it all came to an end. But, you know, things do come to an end.
GW: In five years of work, was there a single episode featuring Teyla, or maybe even not, where you can look back and say, “Yeah, I’m proud I was a part of this. This made the whole journey worth it.”
RL: Hmm. One single episode?
GW: Or maybe just a moment in the five years, a series of events?
RL: I don’t think there was any one moment for me, per se, that made the whole thing worth it. There were a multitude of moments that made it worth it for me. From the character standpoint, my goodness! Little touchstones, “The Gift” [was a] touchstone. “Critical Mass” for many reasons. Goodness, there were so many! “Missing,” you know. [I’m] just jumping all over the map.
You know, there are probably a few things I would have liked to have done and still explored. But on a whole the journey was a wonderful one. And it’s very hard for me to pick out certain episodes because there were so many. And to be fair I will probably be blanking on numerous [ones] and then I’ll leave the room and think, “Well, why didn’t I say that?” But it was just a terrific experience from so many standpoints.
GW: Did you put yourself out there at all this past pilot season looking for something new? Or has your focus shifted a little now with motherhood?
RL: No, I’m still auditioning. My focus has shifted in so much as I stepped back a little bit this year and I wasn’t as ambitious as maybe I would have been in other years. I suppose that that has definitely taken a little bit of the backseat. But I’m starting to come a little bit more back to “me.” And to what it is I want to accomplish in this industry and my career.
And what I’m coming to now, at this particular stage in my life, is that I want to have a lot more control over what it is that I do. But I have always loved to write and I’ve got a number of ideas that I think are good. And I’m going to start nurturing that side of myself and that’ll, I think, be the next phase of my journey. But, I did audition for a few pilots.
The face of the entertainment industry has completely changed. When I got into Atlantis, it was one way and now that I’m out of Atlantis, it’s completely different. I remember when I first moved to Los Angeles I would audition for up to four pilots per day during pilot season. It was like “Poof!” It was a windfall of stuff, and this year it’s been kind of slim pickings. It really was.
I think it was in the Hollywood Reporter that productions in Los Angeles are down by fifty percent from last year, and last year they were hurting. So it’s changed quite a bit. It’s definitely the time to start to kind of start taking advantage of newer technology and the fact that you can access so many fans and would-be fans in an very immediate way. You don’t necessarily need to have a big studio behind you.
GW: You were talking a little bit about “Critical Mass” and you actually just got done with the Q&A with fans downstairs [at the convention]. Have you really thought about, seriously, pursuing anything musically? Your voice is just phenomenal.
RL: Oh, that’s so sweet! I’m so hard on myself and after I sang that song I thought “Why did I sing that song? It was so pitchy and I didn’t do it right.” So, thank you very much for saying that! … I disagree! [Laughter]
But, thank you! Yes, I have. I definitely have thought of pursuing that. I love to sing and I’m kicking myself to a certain extent, because I wish that at this point I had done something, but I’ve been waiting for the inspiration. “What’s the genre that I’m going to want to tackle?” And that kind of stuff. But, I will. I will definitely do it.
GW: Have you been keeping up with any developments as far as the Atlantis movie?
RL: You know what? I don’t know much. I really don’t know. I’m just waiting to hear about it and I haven’t really heard much of anything at this particular point, so who knows?
GW: Any other projects besides what you’re developing right now?
RL: Well, at the end of last year I did shoot a movie with Cuba Gooding Jr. called “Hard Wired” and I think that comes out in 2010. And other than that, no. [Laughter]
GW: Thank you for your time Rachel.
RL: Thank you, it was a pleasure.
Interview by Chad Colvin. Transcript by Chad Colvin and Tiffany Steines.