Richard Dean Anderson

Richard Dean Anderson  

Nick Smithson catches up with Richard Dean Anderson who is executive producer as well as portraying the role of Colonel Jack O'Neill on Stargate SG-1...

Nick Smithson: How did you get involved with the Stargate project?

Richard Dean Anderson: John Symes [president of MGM Worldwide television] called me and said: "I've got this project on the go at the moment and I would like very much for you to be involved with it". I asked him what it was and he told me that MGM had bought the rights to the Stargate franchise and that they were in the middle of developing a series, He told me that he wanted me to be a part of it. So I went and watched the movie a couple of times and thought, straight away, that it had great potential for a TV series - all the elements involved could really work on the small screen. So I signed on for what was originally a two year run. Showtime had ordered around 44 episodes and then in the middle of the first season they ordered another 44, and the ball started rolling from there. But my involvement was by request. But once the pieces were put into place to create the series the next task was to create a story that stayed true to the original Stargate movie, while at the same time being unique in its own way. I think they managed to pull that off quite well.

NS: Did the fact that you were asked to star in the show allow you to have any input from the beginning? And if so was there any thing that you pushed for?

Entering the gate

RDA: I had to make sure that the producers were willing to - or in this case endure -my sense of humour because I very much wanted to bring that into my character.

NS: You had some mighty big shoes to follow though? Did that frighten you at all?

RDA: Kurt Russell is just the most phenomenal actor and he did such a good job of portraying the original O'Neill in the movie. But I knew, just by looking at his hair, that I couldn't do that. I mean, who can do that with their hair?

NS: (Laughs) What make you laugh?

RDA: The type of humour I appreciate the most is, on the whole, British humour. But my favourite show on television has to be the Simpsons. I love this show, partly because it is so smart. Sure it's a cartoon but there are many different levels to the humour which mean kids and adults can appreciate it.

NS: This has got anything to do with the fact that Patti and Selma Simpson fancy you is it?

RDA: (Laughs) Errr. Oh, yeah that too. Yes they do have a thing for McGuiver don't they.

NS: Moving on from humour to romance. Do you think there will ever be any romantic involvement between your character and Amanda Tapping's?

RDA: First of all I don't want to totally dismiss the idea that there would ever be a future between the two of them... who knows? But I don't think it will move on beyond the flirting stage. We have had episodes were we have meet an alternative reality O'Neill and Carter and they are romantically involved. I just think that it would distract from the main elements of the show and I think that the chemistry works rather nicely as it is at present. There is also the fact that it would not be received well by the powers higher up, especially the chief of staff.

NS: You actually had the real Air Force chief of staff play himself in the series didn't you? What was that like?

RDA: Yeah, General Michael Ryan was on set briefly and that was quite strange. I got to talk to him briefly on the set during filming - I tried to relax him a little as he was very tense. I took him aside and asked him is they actually had colonels like O'Neill in the real Air Force and before I even finished the sentence he said: "Yes... and worse." He told me: "You're doing a fine job son."

NS: Thank you for your time.

SG-1 Team


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