Despite appearing in just over a season’s worth of Stargate SG-1‘s monumental 214-episode run, the character of Jonas Quinn — expertly portrayed by actor Corin Nemec — was and still remains a fan favorite. The character, who was meant to be a replacement on the team for “Daniel Jackson” after actor Michael Shanks departed the series for a brief period after Season Five, quickly built a following of its own — a development Nemec is both proud of and humbled by.
GateWorld had the chance to sit down with the actor earlier this year, during one of the stops on Creation Entertainment‘s Official Stargate Convention tour. In our exclusive chat with Corin Nemec, he talks about his ever-shifting focus within the entertainment industry, how the sci-fi landscape has changed, his thankfulness of the Stargate fan base, why he feels the character of Jonas has endured over the years, and more!
GateWorld: Corin, thank you so much for taking the time to talk a little bit with us. How are you?
Corin Nemec: I’m doing well.
GW: What have you been up to?
CN: Just been working, actually. “Been working, actually,” as if that’s a rarity. This year’s been really busy. It’s been great. I’ve done four films, pretty much back-to-back starting in January with a film called Besties which is kind of a teen-angst thriller. I’m not playing a teen in that, mind you. I’m playing the parent of a teen.
The next one I did after that was called Nuclear Family, which I shot some of last year. It’s a post-apocalyptic action drama and that’s been produced and distributed by Michael Eisner’s company, Vuguru.
Then right after that, I did a comedy called Sand Sharks, which is like one of these Syfy original type shows. But it’s actually tongue-in-cheek, kind of like Tremors was. [Editor’s note: A just-released trailer for the movie is embedded below]
Then I just wrapped a few days ago a film called 333, which is another psychological thriller, a kind of slasher film. All of them, I think, should be quite good.
GW: Sand Sharks, Besties and Nuclear Family — you’ve got quite a few production credits on those projects. Has that been the standard norm lately?
CN: As far as being a producer? Yeah, yeah. I’ve been producing the last ten or so years.
GW: Because you enjoy it, or because a certain project speaks to you the right way? To the degree you want to take on that additional workload and commitment?
CN: I’ve been doing my best to expand my potential in the industry, not just to continue being an actor for hire but to start branching and becoming a little bit more my own boss. It’s kind of the goal, you know.
GW: Do you ever see yourself completely leaving in front of the camera?
CN: I don’t know if I would leave on-camera stuff for good, but it’s possible. If I got busy enough as a producer and a writer and started branching out into the directing — I would really love to do that as well — then it’s possible. I’m not so obsessively attached to being an actor. I’m more obsessively attached to being in the entertainment industry, so remaining in the industry is more of a point of focus for me than remaining in a specific part of the industry.
GW: On-camera, we’ve seen you in between the last couple of times that we’ve talked to you on Ghost Whisperer and Supernatural, both of them genre series. Do you prefer genre series? I know here in Vancouver that’s a good chunk of what’s up here, what’s in production. But when you compare that stuff to the projects you’ve done that are composed of more contemporary-type things, do you have a mix that you try to do? Do you see yourself enjoying the genre stuff more?
CN: I enjoy the work, it’s not necessarily genre-specific. I just love working.
GW: You’re kind of all over the board. You did that web series with David Faustino [Star-ving].
CN: Yeah, it’s comedy, drama, action, whatever the case may be. I enjoy all different areas of it.
GW: You’ve got the established genre fanbase that will follow you.
CN: I love being in the genres that I’ve gotten a chance to do, I love being in the horror genre, the sci-fi genre, the action-adventure genre, all of that. I mean, I prefer to do some of the genre work because the fan base is so specific and also so dedicated. It’s a great path, I think, to build a fan base in more genre-specific areas because you can always go back to it.
I find that the fan base is just awesome as far as dedication and kindness and the whole experience, being able to do conventions and travel the world. I can’t imagine being able to do this without having been a part of the sci-fi scene. I just don’t know how it would have happened. and that’s incredible, that the fan base is so strong, world-wide, that you’re able to have these kind of events where you can go and have one-on-one time with all of the viewers that enjoy the shows or movies of whatever the case may be. It’s an awesome opportunity.
GW: Talking about, again, the genre itself, we’ve seen a lot of projects over the last couple of years start to fail. Even the ones that were initially successful began to falter a little bit in the ratings and viewership. Where Battlestar Galactica succeeded, Caprica failed. Where SG-1 and Atlantis were successful, Stargate Universe wasn’t. Do you see the genre itself is diminishing, or is it a case of just viewer habit, the tone of the series, and the type of escapism?
CN: Gosh, I think it’s all of the above. Everybody watches what they enjoy for slightly different reasons than everybody else. I don’t know about why some shows are more successful than others. I mean, I know when you have a franchise such as a Stargate franchise, I know when the fan base gets used to one certain group of cast members or one certain style of telling the story or one certain feel.
Because of Stargate SG-1 — the original — and because of Richard Dean Anderson and his take on that character, and the writers, we kept it kind of light. There was a sarcasm to it, which was always nice, and I think when you spin off, when you lose those characters in a series and then you end off a series with almost an entirely new cast, it’s tough for a fan base to sometimes make those transitions. Then, when you go on and do a whole new series based on the franchise, when you start messing with the tone, I think that your fan base definitely is going to have a reaction, because they’re used to a certain feel that a show has.
I don’t necessarily know what the answer to that is, because in the same breath, it could be the exact opposite. You never know. You could do a different tone and it becomes more successful. I don’t know, I think that any franchise that is as successful as Stargate, it becomes tough to get away from because there’s so much profit involved for a studio or network or whatever that they want to keep reinventing it somehow to keep it going.
So the creators are almost, in a way, forced to come up with another way to keep telling the story for the profitability. Would it be smarter to just start a whole new franchise or a whole new concept? Maybe. I don’t know. I was just blessed to be able to do the work that I did do on Stargate SG-1 and that certainly opened up a whole new vista of opportunities for me, even having only done a little over a season of episodes.
CN: My God! It’s been seven years!? [laughs]
GW: It has been! [laughs]
CN: I don’t know because what I was told was that in an episode of SG-1 it was loosely mentioned that my planet had been overrun…
GW: It was taken over by the Ori.
CN: So I don’t know, story-wise, what may or may not have happened with the character.
GW: Does he keep fighting the good fight?
CN: I don’t know! Of course, he would be. They wrote him as that kind of guy. Either that, or he’s opened up a nice restaurant someplace. [laughs]
GW: Did Brad [Wright] or anyone else at SGU talk to you at all about reprising Jonas for “Seizure”? At one point, there were rumors floating online that you had been approached…
CN: No, not at all.
GW: Let’s talk a second about Jonas’ resonance throughout the years. To this day he still has a very devoted and very vocal fan base. Why was he so popular, in your opinion?
CN: I don’t know. I did my best to try and approach the character tenderly, in that transition. Just keep the character as not edgy as possible, as likable — that’s probably the best word to use — as possible so that there would be an easy transition for an audience to go from being such huge fans of one character to another. I couldn’t just go in there and have some too specific, too edgy of a character. You’ve got to like the guy, you’ve got o get to know the guy, otherwise it would have never worked. Hopefully, a combination of what the writers were doing and what I was doing is what won over the majority of the fan base during that season.
GW: Any message that you want to send fans of not just Stargate but your body of work in general?
CN: Just really a message of thanks is the most important message I can possibly give, because without the viewership, without the people who have been following anything that I’ve done over the years, I couldn’t do the next job without that modicum of success. I really appreciate it and my thanks from the bottom of my heart goes out to fandom.
Interview by Chad Colvin. Transcription by Lahela.