Articles and Interviews
SKY ONE INTERVIEW 2000
Question: Working so hard on the show, how do you get an overview of where it's going & how your characters fit in?
Amanda: Teryl is now playing a far more active role, which is a welcome relief in terms of having another woman on the show and the dynamic between our characters. The only way the series can remain interesting is if we continue to develop not only the lead characters but the peripheral characters too. We have no idea what season 5 holds for any of us, no idea...
Question: Will you be doing more stuff outside the Cheyenne Mountain base?
Amanda: We all like to get off the base. We did that a bit more this year, we went to Egypt,
Colorado, Montana, wore non-Army boots and stuff. Real people clothes- very exciting!
Question: If you could choose how the Sam/Jack arc is played out, how would you do it?
Amanda: There's great chemistry between them which is wonderful to play, but I think we've pushed the envelope too far. The idea of male and female leads falling in love is so tired and over-used and our show has the potential to be far more intelligent than that. Teryl and I are proud to play strong, capable, emotional, fallible, fully realised human beings and when I'm reduced to just pining for Jack, I'm not happy.
Question: What was it like being directed by Michael Shanks?
Amanda: Michael was due to direct an episode called "Prodigy" but at the eleventh hour, they switched the schedule and had him direct "Double Jeopardy", probably one of the biggest ever episodes in terms of special effects, visual effects and people blowing up. Two O'Neills, two Carters, two Teal'cs, just insanity! When we realised that would be the one, we decided to be on our best behaviour as he had enough on his plate. He was great, I think it was pretty overwhelming for him. He would come into my trailer after half a day and just go, "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!", then he'd be right back on track again. Thankfully we have a great support system and we as the cast didn't want to see him fall. Not that he would have- he came in incredibly prepared. It's gonna be a good episode.
Question: Which other show would you most like to guest on?
Teryl Rothery:"Sex In The City", that's definitely one that both Amanda and I would be interested in!
Amanda: Apart from "Coronation Street", "Frasier"...
Teryl: "Frasier", I would love to do a "Frasier".
Amanda: I'd like to do "Ab Fab", but it's over... "Tracey Takes on", I'd love to do, Tracey Ullman.
Don S. Davis: Any of the British mystery series...
Amanda: If they were still doing "Sherlock Holmes" with, was it Jeremy Brett? "The Simpsons"!
Question: You've done plenty of animation voice work, Teryl...?
Teryl: Yeah! I'm doing one now when we get back, a series called "Noddy". I'm the voice of Mrs
Skittles. (laughs) I had no idea what it was. I went to a UK convention and one of the questions was, what are you doing next? I said, I do animation work but I don't know anything about this cartoon. The whole audience burst out laughing!
Amanda: Does he still have his little red car...?
Question: Don, you always seem to be playing authority figures. Do you ever resent that? Ever wish someone would cast you as an acid casualty or something? (laughter)
Don: I don't resent it, but I do look forward to those times when I get to play something other than a serviceman. As soon as I get back, I get to play an FBI chief... once, I actually played a gay theatre owner- that was fun, I got chopped to death (!).
Question: Any chance you'll work with David Lynch again? Any chance he'll resurrect "Twin Peaks"...?
Don: A lot of us from "Twin Peaks" stay in constant contact with each other- we've made some wonderful friendships. It's almost impossible given the way people's careers have gone since the series. I think because of that fact, some of the people have series of their own and whilst they're running, they aren't free to do any outside work. Others have gone on to establish pretty good film careers so they or their managers would want any "Twin Peaks" movie to feature them at least in the same starring context as they've achieved since. Unfortunately, careers haven't gone in those patterns, so there would be a lotta juggling.
Question: ...And you'd lose that ensemble feel too.
Don: Yeah, that was one of the nice things about "Twin Peaks". It's the only show I've ever worked on where there were not "star wagons". There were certainly "honey wagons", which were small dressing rooms, just wide enough for a little cot and a toilet. That's it. on most shows, you have an assigned dressing room if you're a regular and the quality of your dressing room matches your status on the show. With "Twin Peaks", Kyle McLachlan had a little trailer that looked like it was out of Fred Sanford's garbage! (laughter) All the rest of us had "honey wagons" and none were assigned- when you came into work on any given day, in the order you came in, the AD's would assign you a "honey wagon". You might be in cubbyhole 8 today, whether you were Piper Laurie, Lara Flynn Boyle or whoever, or you might be in cubbyhole 10 the next day. That helped maintain the ensemble feel, because there was no strata, but I've never heard about it before or since.
Question: Teryl, when did you realise Dr. Fraiser had become a major character on the show?
Amanda: Getting your contract! (laughter)
Teryl: Probably, yeah! Prior to that, the first two seasons, it was, OK, you have this episode off, we'll need you the next one, so I knew they were bringing her back whenever there was medical stuff involved. The contract came in for season 3, so I don't know if there was ever a realisation that the fans were enjoying it more, it was just, "boy, aren't I lucky". Right from the get-go, it was like, you just clicked. The first season in particular, it was like the boys and the girls. We hung and were very, very tight first season. Things sorta changed a bit in the second season- not that we weren't tight, but everybody was doing their own thing and now it's coming full circle. We've always been close, but it's even tighter now- they've always made me feel so welcome, so at home.
Amanda: It's a family & Teryl is an integral part. The fact that her character's expanded more and more just makes sense.
Teryl: It's great because she is a mystery, this little short person that pops in every once in a while, so it's nice we're finding out a little more about her and in particular, how important the main crew is to her. She loves each and every one of them very, very much.
Question: It's a joy to watch a show where characters are friends, colleagues, work together and that's it. You meet someone you work with, you don't instantly think, "I wanna spend the rest of my life with this person"- you do have some life outside!
Amanda: Exactly! Like any situation when you're spending that much time together, the characters get along, but they do also butt heads and they do it for the right reason. Teryl's character can over-rule anybody & that will cause friction. Jack and Daniel are always butting heads. It makes sense, it's not, say, heavy jealousies or weird sexual innuendo between characters. It's very real, very human, never trite.
Question: Another thing people have picked up on is that your characters do get things wrong.
Amanda: The one aspect of the show I loved from the very beginning is that we don't have a prime directive. We travel to these planets, we don't know what we're gonna come up against, of course, we're gonna make mistakes. We don't always handle them that well, either, (laughs), but we're aware of those mistakes and I think that's cool. Carter doesn't have the answers, Fraiser doesn't have the answers and I think that more than anyone, our characters are the ones they go to- "Fraiser, how do you fix this situation?"/"Carter, how do we save this planet from the black hole?" "Not exactly sure, SIR!" Or, "You don't really know- it's a guess!" "Yes, Sir..."
Amanda/Teryl: "...But it's an educated guess!" (laughter)
Amanda: I'd love to do a whole section of the lines that our characters say, over and over again. "SG-1, you have a go", and see how many hundreds of times Don has said that. "It's a guess"/ "Yes, Sir, but it's an educated guess". "COLONEL!!!" (laughter)
Question: And you were the one who worked in comedy...?
Amanda: (laughs) Trust me on this- it's a timing thing!
Question: Would you like to see more interpersonal conflict?
Don: We'd like to see revelation. Building relationships would not necessarily make them antagonistic.
Question: I was being cheeky a minute ago, but are you planning any more comedy?
Amanda: My comedy troupe recently got back together, we actually filmed a documentary which has turned out to be not at all a comedy, just a very heartwarming celebration of women in a small town. The dynamic of the three of us together , the way that our troupe works so well, came back into place, so now we're writing again, which is great.
Question: Presumably you all enjoy the comedy episodes or comic elements on SG-1...?
Teryl: Oh yeah, I love comedy.
Amanda: It's funny... but I love comedy! We had a blast doing "Urgo". "A Matter Of Time"- is that the one with the wormhole? No, the one with the time-loop?
Don: Comedy is one of the things that sets our show apart from other sci-fi action shows.
Teryl: You need that levity- like she said, we're dealing with problems that can affect entire planets, so you can get locked into being too serious and too rigid. I love the little quips you get from Daniel and O'Neill, the writers do a great job.
Question: The comedy highlighted the one moment of drama, when Jack mentions having lost his son.
Amanda: And it's all the more poignant because of it.
Question: You know we recently ran a huge on-air/ online vote, "Trekkers Vs Gaters"...?
Don: How bad did we hurt ‘em?
Question: You did incredibly well- you were up against the Star Trek franchise, thirty-odd years of shows and it was right down to the wire.
Don: In reality, each of us has the strength of ten because our hearts are pure... (DD grins enigmatically as the room explodes with laughter!) I had sex once, y'know... (more hysterical laughter!)
Question: Don't take this the wrong way, but you really remind me of my late dad. I might have to come back for some advice or pocket money.
Don: I remind most women of their late fathers...!
Question: Any last words or thoughts for your UK fans?
Amanda/Don/Teryl: Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!
BIG BREAKFAST FEBRUARY 11 2000
Interviewer: She is Stargate's Captain Samantha Carter and real life's Amanda Tapping. How are you this morning, Amanda?
Amanda Tapping: Great. Thank you.
Interviewer: Thank you for entering the mad house.
Amanda: Oh. Thank you.
Interviewer: Now, before we talk, before we go any further, we're just going to have a little look at you in action, is that all right?
In the Line of Duty clip:
Jack: Nobody's going to open that Stargate. We're all gonna live... or we're all gonna die right here.
Sam: Let me go! I must go!
Jack: Not going to happen.
Interviewer: So, anyway, welcome once again, Amanda. Now, for the benefit, any non science fiction fans who might be watching. Can you just describe what Stargate is all about?
Amanda: Well, it's based on a movie that was done in 1994 with Kurt Russell and James Spader about this big giant ring that... Ah, yeah, it gets better! Big ring! People travel to other planets through this, it creates an unstable vortex and a wormhole through which people travel and in the movie they were just able to travel to one planet. In the show we can go anywhere, we figured out how to make it work all over the universe and there's Stargates everywhere. So we travel all over the universe.
Interviewer: So where do you actually do that? It is in America, isn't it?
Amanda: We shoot the show in Vancouver.
Interviewer: In Vancouver. So what brings you over here?
Amanda: I came here to do my very first science fiction convention.
Interviewer: Oh I see!
Amanda: Yeah! First time meeting British sci fi fans. I think this was the first European Stargate convention ever.
Interviewer: What were they like?
Amanda: Great. Really...
Interviewer: Are you sure of that?
Amanda: Really! They were wonderful, actually, they were really nice. British sci fi fans are apparently the most polite of any. Apparently, Australian fans chase you around and follow you onto the streets and up to your room. We had people come from Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, from the States just for this one weekend.
Interviewer: You're not a stranger to science fiction because before you were in Stargate you actually made an appearance on The X-Files.
Amanda: Oh... [buries her face in her hands in embarrassment]
Interviewer: Tell me what that was like.
Amanda: Well, I was mostly dead. I actually opened the show by picking up the Assistant Director Skinner, Scully and Mulder's boss, in a bar. Taking him to bed and sleeping with him. It was my first ever love scene. And then I wake up in the morning dead. And then, through the rest of the show, I'm dead. Apparently I give good dead.
Interviewer: It's not all dead stuff, though, because you have done comedy as well.
Amanda: I said I give good dead! one letter off and I give good deaf.
Interviewer: Okay. Tell us about all the comedy stuff you do as well.
Amanda: I actually formed a comedy troupe in Toronto about... actually, about 10 years ago, with two other women and it's sort of a feminist based comedy troupe. We do all these silly... very physical comedy and sketch comedy.
Interviewer: Oh, that's good.
Amanda: Shows that are based on feminine ideology but with a twist just to make it goofy enough that people, you know, laugh. Get the message but keep laughing.
Interviewer: You were actually born over here in Britain, weren't you? So where were you born?
Amanda: I'm an Essex girl!
Interviewer: I see. So how long ago did you go to the States?
Amanda: I was just in Essex when I was a baby. But not long enough to get my first pair of white stilettos apparently.
Interviewer: I'm sure we can say that it would cost you.
Amanda: Yeah, I left before I was old enough to have a pair. But then we moved to Canada, we actually lived in Toronto.
Interviewer: All right, Amanda, well, as you know, every day here on Big Breakfast we like to play a little game with our guests, right?
Interviewer: So today is no different. We were thinking of something fun to play with. So join me, Amanda, as we play.
A NOTE APPEARS on THE SCREEN: SPACE - THE FINAL FRONT EAR.
Interviewer: So your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to identify famous sci fi eros. Got it?
Amanda: Final front ear?
Interviewer: Yeah. From pictures of these ears alone. So you've got fifty seconds to identify all four auditory sensory devices.
Amanda: Right. You're going to help me with this.
Interviewer: And that's just as tricky as it sounds, believe me. So do you think you're up to the challenge?
Amanda: Absolutely. [there's a TV set close to both Amanda and the interviewer where there show up pictures of ears]
Interviewer: Okay. Here we go... Bring on the first ear. Any idea?
Amanda: Patrick Stewart.
Interviewer: Nnnn, there's no ....
Amanda: Jean Luc Picard.
Interviewer: Well done. Next, next. Let's have a look.
Amanda: Oh, ET.
Interviewer: Very good. Do you know what ET stands for?
Amanda: Extra terrestrial. Right. Right.
Interviewer: All right, now. Well done ET, let's have a look.
Amanda: Oh, uhm... Yoda.
Interviewer: Yes, simple, now you'll see. And let's have a look at the next one. The final ear.
Amanda: Spock. Leonard Nimoy.
Interviewer: Very well done. Congratulations, I think you did very well. Well done and thank you for joining us this morning.
Amanda: Thank you very much.
Interviewer: How long are you going to be staying over here?
Amanda: I leave today.
Interviewer: You leave today?
Amanda: Gotta go. We're starting shooting Season 4 in Vancouver next week, so I have to go home.
Interviewer: No plans to return back?
Amanda: Oh, definitely. Oh, you know, I want to come back I want to actually do some theatre next time I'm here.
Interviewer: You'll have to come back here and let us know?
Amanda: I will.
WHATS THAT NOISE EXPOSE APRIL 2000
It's Amanda Tapping! Noise? Tapping? Oh, never mind. After three years of interplanetary expeditions as Sam Carter in Stargate SG-I, Amanda Tapping returned to Earth to discuss her adventures. Paul Spragg gave her a Goa'uld talking to .
It's truly a pleasure to meet Amanda Tapping. Ebullient, friendly and slipping into all manner of silly voices at the drop of a hat, she's light years away from her usually serious persona of Major Samantha 'Sam' Carter, vital member of Stargate team SG-l for which she provides scientific expertise and a female perspective on missions across the whole of space. It's a mere few days before she returns to work filming the fourth season of Stargate SG-1 and she's been enjoying a chance to do some travelling thanks to the still-increasing popularity of the show. From a critically-slated beginning, Stargate SG-1 has now acquired a huge fan base. Tapping's thrilled with how things are going.
"I think any show needs time to find its feet and I think with us, probably our first six or seven episodes were not that great because we were still finding our feet as the characters, the writers were still trying to figure out what the best format to use was and [were] figuring out the relationships between the team members. So when you compare it to halfway through season two or season three, in a way it's almost a totally different show. I think probably the critics were right in a sense, but ultimately I think our production values throughout have been outstanding; the special effects have been amazing."
The rate of improvement is impressive, with the third season firing on all cylinders. Tapping feels that "The relationships are stronger, the characters themselves are stronger. Because of the [series] bible, certain integral things have come up in the arc, and we now have so much more to draw from. The interconnectedness of it all, it takes a while to build that up. Because we have so many dangling threads, we have a wealth of stuff to draw on."
Confidence in the series is so high that it was long a go confirmed for a fourth year. "We've all signed five-year contracts,"explains Tapping, "and I think there was talk and at least hope of going into the sixth year. So right now, I know for sure I have a job for another year, but I can't imagine them stopping it after four years. It's not the type of show or the type of genre; it seems like Sci-Fi always has a good long run, and whether we go to movies after that or not I don't know."
The cast seem to have a close friendship that extends onto the screen. It's always been present, apparently; "You know what's really amazing is even before the pilot, at the auditions, Michael [Shanks, Jackson], Christopher Judge [Teal'c] and myself had no idea who each other were, or who was going to end up getting the parts, but we sort of hung out together and had a really good time. All through the first season was really amazing, then in the middle of the second season we started sibling rivalries and I thought it was interesting because it was just like a family. Now we've just finished the third season and we're back where we started, just really enjoying each other's company. And even when things were sort of rocky, we laughed every single day."
The characters have also lightened up since the start of the series. "I think the first season was pretty much exploratory and as the characters have grown and as the relationships have grown, the easiness of the relationships between the characters is more apparent and out of that the humor is bred, and the ability to be silly with each other, just like you would with your co-workers. Our show is kind of irreverent at times, but that's, I think, because we're human beings. We're not like some shows, where it's a very distinct mission. We don't know what we're gonna come up against every time; we do tend to make a lot of mistakes when we go to these other planets." Tapping laughs. "SG-1 has not always been the most diplomatic unit."
Carter always seems to get the emotional stories, and I put forward the theory that this is because she's the only member of SG-1 who has a family."You know what's really funny? My perception of that is the complete opposite," says Tapping, surprisingly. "Y'know, O'Neill's got a wife and a son who passed away, and Teal'c's got a wife and son on another planet, and for years Daniel for years has been pining away for Sha're. Carter just has her dad, and has no sort of love interest in her life, has never been married, doesn't have children. So I've always thought I was the one unconnected to anything. I've mentioned that, and I think that's why the writers introduced the character of my father." "As an actor you kind of want to be able to do everything, and I have had enough action episodes and good fight sequences and good running through the woods with my gun stuff. It's nice once in a while to have a really emotional story, just as an actor, to be able to spread yourself that way."
But would Tapping like more action stories? "Yeah, sure, we all would, I think. But we actually have the most fun with the four of us together, like 1969, which was quite a silly episode really, but so much fun. We really enjoy episodes like that, where we all get to play together."
The third season of Stargate SG-1 was full of incident on and off set and ends on a cliffhanger. "Yes, it does. And it was something we didn't wanna do. Richard is actually quite adamant about not doing cliffhangers... so we did one anyway! Michael had an emergency appendectomy the day before we were to start shooting the final episode. And so we actually had to rewrite it. They wrote it into the script, and then we had to rewrite the rest of the episode. Basically, all they did to rewrite it was to give me Michael's lines, so I sent him a card in the hospital saying," Tapping puts on a threatening voice, "'Thanks a lot! Get better.'" Thankfully, the entire cast will be back for the new season, scars and all, but Tapping is unable to reveal any hints of things to come. "I'm slightly kicked, because I expected to get a script before I came to England [for a convention appearance] so at least I was to have some thing to work on, and they wouldn't give me a script. We were all bugging the executive producers and writers, saying 'What's gonna happen, what's going on?'They won't tell us a thing. I think [it's] because they realize that ultimately anyone could get the information out of us if they tried really hard: "since you asked so nicely, okay!"'
Aside from Stargate, Tapping has made a host of appearances in shows that will he instantly familiar to any Xpose reader. Firstly, she was in The X-Files' Avatar. "Where I was mostly dead," Tapping chips in, before I can check that it was her neck twisted round at the start of the show. "Yes, that was me, thank you very much," she replies with mock venom. But surely this means that Tapping was a participant in the all-time sauciest scene so far in the show... "I have been in bed with Mitch Pileggi." she starts off proudly,"I've kissed him."
"That was my first ever love scene though, and I did enjoy doing it, just because he's so sweet, he's such a gentleman. We both laughed our heads off through the whole thing. Y'know, we'd be laughing so hard and then the director would yell 'Action', and we'd have to just be kissing passionately, throwing each other around this bed. The director would yell 'Cut' and we'd start laughing again. It was really quite fun, although I was absolutely petrified prior to doing it."
"In Millennium I played an emergency room doctor who was trying to save Frank Black's
daughter's life (season three'sBorrowed Time), and [in] Due South I play a scientist trying to find aliens (season two tale Starman). So it's quite funny that every show I've done has been connected in some way to the genre. With Forever Knight it was a doctor experimenting with near-death and flatlining (season two's appropriately-named Near Death)and it was sort of weird. In retrospect, the television I've done has always been along the same vein, which might make people think I'm a little strange. And perhaps I am," she says, putting on a weird voice.
Tapping has also appeared in a couple of high-profile films and has plans to further her career in this area. "I actually shot a film before [I went to England], and I'm not sure what's gonna happen to it, so I'm reluctant to talk about it. I've written or co-written a couple of feature film scripts that I hope to get produced. I can't say too much about them, but definitely cross your fingers, because I really really want it. I'd love to do feature work. And ultimately too, I really wanna get back on stage, probably more than anything right now. I miss it.
"I'm actually doing a cameo in a feature film [in the week before shooting season four]." Tapping puts on her most serious face,"I get to do a scene with Meat Loaf."
With a career this hectic, has Tapping considered a family? With only a husband and a dog, surely the next step would be children."It's a consideration. For me, I would never want Carter to be pregnant. I don't think that it works for that character to be pregnant. So if I were to get pregnant, it would have to be either shoot the Gillian Anderson way, where you shoot around it and pretend it doesn't exist, or try to time it. It's not something at this point that I can even think about doing. We shoot 14/15 hours a day, five days a week. I would either be a terrible mom or a terrible actress or more than likely both, and if I do have children, I just want to be a phenomenal mom. And I know that I couldn't be a phenomenal mom doing Stargate."
With a schedule like hers, it's a wonder Tapping could even find time to get pregnant. "Yes, my astounding lack of sex life is really due to Stargate!" she laughs, before adding "I hope you don't quote me on that." As if.
CANADIAN AMANDA SHOWS NEW BRIT TV TIMES APRIL 3 2000
Are you concentrating? Amanda Tapping, Sam Carter in Sky One's sci-fi show Stargate SG-1, was born in England, brought up in Canada but plays an American.
"Things can get confusing," she admits. "Despite being brought up in Canada, I feel British because I grew up in British household. When my mother found they had Marks and Spencer in Canada she went nuts because she could get Melton Mowbray pies!
"My husband Alan is always making fun of what he calls my little Britishisms."
Amanda's marked likeness to Princess Diana meant she was once asked to portray her in a biopic. Although flattered, she declined. "Don't we know enough about her? Let the poor woman rest,"she says.
Instead she'd like to do more of her first love, comedy. Her dream co-star? "Dawn French - I love The Vicar of Dibley."
GET CARTER SFX MAY 2000
Being the only woman in an all-male show isn't the easiest job on television, Amanda Tapping tells Isabelle Meunier.
'We insult each other every day'
She may have been playing Samantha Carter for three years now, but actress Amanda Tapping's first acquaintance with the Goa'uld ass-kicking character in Stargate SG-1 was far from a case of love at first sight with the script. "I like her more now," admits the impish blonde, tucking her hair behind her ears, sipping coffee and looking about as far from the combats-clad, rifle-wielding army captain of Stargate SG-1 as it's possible to get. "But I didn't like her so much at the beginning. They were trying to do this sort of 'hard-assed feminist', standing up on her soapbox with this raging diatribe about 'I'm a woman, and I'm as good as you!' I found that argument really boring. So I said to the producers after the pilot, 'Please, you know, women don't talk like this. I don't know any that talk like this. Can we just make her an intricate part of the team without red flagging that she's a woman?'
Seems the producers did the decent thing for once. They listened. 'Now they've opened that relationship with her, they've given her a softer edge, showed her compassion towards children, showed her ability to love and be loved and also, the relationship with her father... all of that has helped to open this character up and make her more accessible, more warm. It was important to me - because she's the main woman on the show - that she'd be real, believable, multi-faceted, that she'd be fallible and make mistakes. Not only is she a strong military person, a very smart scientist, she's also a human being and has all the emotional levels. They've allowed her that, they've opened her up more, writing these great character relationships for her. So I like her a lot better now than I did at the beginning.'
Did she have any reservations about entering her fourth season - after which she'll have played the same character in over 80 episodes? 'What keeps me on the show, as an actor, is to be working steadily, and to make my living doing what I love is an honour. I love the relationship between the characters and I love the people I work with, so it makes it easy to go into work every day. As long as they keep the stories interesting, keep developing these characters, so they don't become stagnant, then I'll be happy. I would want to leave the show when it became stagnant, when there was nothing new or interesting I could bring to it. Then it's almost like you're cheating the audience because you don't care anymore.'
Overall, Stargate SG-1 enjoys a bump-free ride, but surely, as with any other show, there must be lows? Well, no, according to Tapping, for whom it seems to have been uphill all the way, as the only lows she can cite are dialogue and the appalling weather conditions on the pilot. 'It was very difficult physical conditions working up in the mountains. It was pouring rain and it was so cold that the rain was freezing. We were wearing our army-issue helmets and the rain was making so much noise - it was ice, basically - hitting our helmets, we had to reshoot it because the sound crew said 'We can't use any of this.''
Despite the fact that she reckons the cast all gel, she admits that an outsider visiting the set may get a different impression. 'Yes,' she admits, 'we insult each other every day, all the time. What it comes down to is that we are so comfortable with each other and we genuinely like each other, so it's safe. People who come on our set and don't know us, don't know that's how we deal with each other, you know - punching each other in the arm... 'Fuck you, go away...' - would think that we really hate each other. We've had people going, 'Are things okay with all of you guys?' 'Yeah, things are great, why are you asking that? Oh... the way we interact!''
There's a striking contrast between Amanda and her on-screen character; she's a lot warmer and smiles with disarming ease. 'I wish she would laugh more,' she sighs. 'It's funny because I do, you know, but they cut it out a lot. I laugh at Colonel O'Neill, I laugh at his jokes and they often cut that out and I just think, 'Show it! Show there's a real warm, thiking passion between these four main characters.' Because with some of the situations we're in, I think it's important to show them laughing. I'd love to see an episode where you see them go out to diner and hang out together...'
AYE AYE CAPTAIN STARLOG MAY 2000
Amanda Tapping, Stargate SG-1's resident Captain confesses all to Richard Holliss.
Television is so intimate,' remarks actress Amanda Tapping, best known to genre fans as Captain Samantha carter in the science fiction series Stargate SG-1, 'You sit in people's living rooms and they feel they know you and that's how you are. Many people appear to think I am Sam Carter.'
Having created one of the most popular characters on television, you could forgive anyone for making that mistake. A bright and intelligent actress, Amanda has brought a great deal of herself to the role of the show's resident captain and astrophysicist Sam Carter. Yet the part is only one small facet of Amanda Tapping's talent. Beginning her career in theatre (she played her first professional role at the age of 18) and guest starring in numerous television series, she enjoys writing short stories, screenplays and poems. Aside from supporting several charity organizations she also co-founded Random Acts, a celebrated comedy troupe.
Amanda is tall (about 6ft), blonde, very attractive and has the look of an English rose about her. It's no surprise then to learn that she was born in Rochdale and lived for a short while in Benfleet before her family emigrated to Canada.
Her first visit to the country since she was child, Amanda agreed to promote the series and attend her first science fiction convention. 'I'm really nervous about what they're going to ask me,' she admits. 'Science fiction fans are so intelligent. It blows my mind the questions they ask and they're so detail oriented. They pick up on everything. If there's a single flaw in the show they will find it. Which is great, because it keeps us on our toes.'
Well into filming on the fourth season, Stargate SG-1 has proved to be an enormous hit. Based on the 1999 feature film, SG-1 is the name given to a special government team set up to defend the Earth against the dreaded Goa'uld, the alien race who designed the Stargate for inter-dimensional travel. Each week the team use the portal to visit other planets in their effort to stop an all-out invasion.
Amanda's colleagues on the series include fellow scientist and linguist Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), an alien warrior called Teal'c (Christopher Judge) and team leader Jack O'Neill (Richard Dean Anderson). Anderson is also one of the show's executive producers, not that having a fellow actor both sides of the camera helped when the writers originally created the concept of Sam's character.
'I had to go in and really fight for not that woman in the character, but the human in the character,' Amanda explains. 'They were writing her in a very one dimensional way, a way that women are always portrayed. In the case of Sam, very bitchy, out to prove herself, raging feminist diatribe. I said, women don't speak like this, why can't she be this fully realised human being who just happens to be a woman?'
Her perseverance worked; Amanda's belief in the character paid off and when she met up with the producers at the end of the first season she naturally asked them what plans they had for her character. 'To their credit they said, "we didn't expect you to do this with Carter. You've expanded her beyond what we thought she was going to be so now we've got this challenge."'
Originally sceptical about being involved in a long-running television series, Amanda believes that the show's success is due to the camaraderie between the central characters. 'I think what you see is this phenomenal chemistry between the SG-1 team, and I think the reason it's so good is because as human beings and as people we're so close and we're friends. During the first season we ate lunch together and we hung out together. Second season we started to grow apart a bit, find out feet and now we're back together again. It's like a family, these guys are like my brothers.'
Amanda's also well aware of the fan interest in her onscreen relationship with Colonel O'Neill. 'In the third season I kiss Richard Dean Anderson. They're trying to play up the sexual tension between our two characters and Richard and I enjoy it immensely because we know it's not going anywhere between Sam and Jack. It can't because it will destroy the cohesiveness of the team. But, we get to play it out in alternative realities, so it's still a lot of fun.'
Having now completed 66 episodes, Amanda's working on the next 22, but admits that shooting a television series can sometimes be gruelling. 'On a Monday you might finish shooting one episode and then after lunch you'll start another. I've worked 18 hour days on The X-Files, Millennium and The Outer Limits. Here my day is 14 hours long, which gives me just enough time to drive home, work on the script for the next day, go to sleep, get up and go back to the studio. Compared to other shows, I guess we're really lucky.'
Amanda also loves the physical aspect of working on a series that incorporates so many spectacular visuals. 'I love the fact that they let me do a lot of my own stunts,' she says. 'The only thing they won't let me do is fall from great heights, but all the running and fight sequences I do myself. As much as it was important for me to learn the science, it was also important to learn about Carter's physical side. So I met up with an ex-Nave Seal, who showed me how to handle a gun. I'm not a person who likes guns.'
With Anderson serving as the show's executive producer, it's not unusual in long-running series for the cast to also try their hand at writing or directing the odd episode. Amanda is no exception. 'I tried my hand at writing an episode, just for me personally. I didn't submit it to anyone. I found it really hard because I'm too close to my character to write for her. And because I know the guys so well it's very hard to write for their characters rather than for them.'
But whether Amanda will eventually see one of her scripts transferred to the screen or not, she hopes that MGM will consider a fifth, sixth, maybe even a seventh season. Whatever the studio decides, ratings for the show are excellent. Something that Amanda Tapping attributes to Stargate SG-1's loyal fanbase. 'You don't really do television to please yourself,' she opines, 'you do it to gain an audience and once you get that audience you have to stay loyal to them, to treat them with respect. We didn't want our scripts to be in any way condescending.
'The real difficulty is keeping the characters alive and interesting. The challenge is not to fall into complacency. Stargate SG-1 is a sleek show and our special effects are phenomenal. Kudos to the powers that be for having the foresight to give it that much.'
ACTRESS CHALLENGES SCIENCE FICTION STEREOTYPES JUNE 29 2000
It's been one of those mornings for actress Amanda Tapping on the set of the Showtime series Stargate SG-1. She has spent most of it crawling on her back, defusing an alien bomb, saving the universe. That sort of thing. And now, she's eating her lunch.
To think all Uhura had to do on Star Trek was look pretty and swivel around in her chair to tell Capt. Kirk who's on the interstellar phone. Of course, that was a step up from what June Lockhart did as the mother and chief bottle washer on Lost in Space.
Times, they are a'changin' -- even for women in science-fiction TV.
"For a woman, this is a pretty amazing character to play," she says of her alter-ego, the analytical Samantha Carter. "She is physically strong, also incredibly smart, a soldier and a good, and thankfully, well-rounded, person."
In the series, which begins its fourth season at 10 p.m. Friday on Showtime, Carter is part of a dimensional hopping team ledby Richard Dean Anderson. When the series began, she was the token female, a brainy, beautiful blonde who seemed more useful to the show's young male viewers' fantasies than to the plots. That changed shortly after Tapping started with the role.
"In the pilot, I didn't like her," she says. "I thought she was too one-note, a hard-nosed feminist. She was spouting the same tired argument that we hear again and again and again."
What changed her? "I talked to the writers," she says. "I wanted to warm her up more, have her have a sense of humor. I wanted her just to be a viable part of the team without constantly having to prove herself.
"I wanted her to be part of this very diverse team without the fact she's a woman being an issue. They didn't need to put a red flag on her and say, 'Look, she's a girl! She's a girl!' It's lame."
The writers listened to Tapping, to her benefit.
"There are a few strong female characters in this genre, but not many," she says. "Most of them are written with this overt sexuality."
Exceptions, she says, are characters like Capt. Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) of Star Trek Voyager, who is the captain of her ship. "She's strong and in charge, and it doesn't matter that she is a woman. She's a leader," Tapping says.
"I am more comfortable in the part I play because she is so real. I think there is an idea shown in the media of the perfect woman and what she is. I have always so balked away from that."
Roles for women in sci-fi have changed a lot in the past 10 years. Tapping says series such as Buffy, the Vampire Slayer reveal that strong female parts are being accepted by today's sci-fi fans.
"She kicks (backside) and is very capable yet she retains her femininity," Tapping says. "Very intelligent men write (sci-fi), but they write very linear females."
Science-fiction TV is "writing its own rules" now, she says. "It's an interesting time to be involved in this," Tapping says. "There are a lot of trails being blazed."
Tapping does her own stunts. "I love fight sequences," says the self-professed tomboy.
In the second episode of the first season, Tapping got a concussion after she was mashed against an elevator wall in a fight. She also had a bomb go off in her face, singeing her and melting her makeup.
The response to Tapping's character has been positive. Overall, she receives more fan mail, much of which is from single mothers and young girls, than other cast members.
"It blows my mind when they thank me for being a role model," she says. "It's so humbling. I also started to get letters from more men in the past year (and) they say they find Carter smart and sexy.
"Who knew? I was so busy trying to be smart and strong, I forgot about the rest of that."
SUBJECTS AND OBJECTS GLOBE AND MAIL AUGUST 14 2000
What do actors do when they're not working? If you're Amanda Tapping, one of the stars of the series Stargate SG-1 (Samantha Carter), you do home renovation.
In a project that's been the talk of the movie industry in Vancouver, where the sci-fi series is shot. Tapping and her husband Alan have been working on their 1940s house in West Vancouver for two years. The house has a view of the water and Tapping thought it was worth spending some time fixing it up. But what started out as a fun reno turned into a project that saw the actress live in what she calls a version of 'Little House on the Prairie' .
"At one point the kitchen was an open room with just a fridge and no ceiling"Tapping told us from the set of Stargate. "I said to my husband that the house must have been built by Papa Smurf on crack".
Everything that could go wrong did. "We pulled down the roof and a friend came over and took a look at it. He told us that it was an act of God that the house was still standing. There was no support beam. We had an electrician come in to look at the wiring and he said, "You know when they say that a fire was started by faulty wiring? this is the wiring". It was held together by tape and extension cords."
After two years of grouting and painting every weekend, the renovation is almost over. And Tapping is waiting for her call from the Learning Channel. "I could have a show - Renovating with Amanda"..
AMANDA’S MAJOR SUCCESS TELEWEST CABLE GUIDE SEPTEMBER 2000
Amanda Tapping has a huge following among sci-fi fans, thanks to a starring role in Stargate SG-1 as Major Samantha Carter. Not bad for an Essex-born actress who vowed never to 'do television'.
Watch Stargate SG-1 and the impression you could get of Amanda Tapping's Major Samantha Carter is of an uptight, raging feminist - particularly in the early episodes. So, not surprisingly, the Essex-born actress admits quite freely that she didn't like her character when the series first started.
'This diatribe, standing on my soapbox fighting the gender war, was so tired,' she says. 'Women don't talk like that, and I wanted Sam to be fully realised as a human being, not just a ramrod. I didn't want her to be one-dimensional. I wanted her to be an integral part of the team who just happened to be a woman.'
As Stargate enters its fourth year, the few episodes concentrate more on developing the characters, so viewers will see a softer side to Sam Carter.
'Slowly but surely, she's lightening up,' Amanda explains. 'She's getting a bit of a sense of humour; she doesn't have to prove herself any more. I think it's one of the nicest things the producers could have done. She can be rather sharp.'
'This doesn't mean the rough edges won't appear from time to time. I think they have to, to keep her interesting. If we soften her too much, then she becomes boring, and much as I want her to be an integral part of the team - not "the girl"- there are still situations where there's that feisty fire in her.'
It's almost become a cliche to describe the atmosphere on the set of a TV show as being like a family, but Amanda believes it's absolutely true in the case of Stargate. It's not a cliche at all,' she says. 'By the nature of the friendship we actors have making the show, it allows the chemistry of the team to grow. We're lucky, everyone genuinely cares about each other. It's not that we don't have our differences but we're the quintessential family: I'd do anything for these guys. They'd do the same for me.'
Amanda always wanted to be an actress, but the stage was her first love. 'When I graduated from theatre school,' she recalls, 'I vowed I would never do television, never prostitute myself for my art. Then the bills came in, and I did a commercial for a doughnut shop. The cheque paid my rent for three months. I realised I could do theatre, and commercials would pay my rent. But I never anticipated being in a series.'
The road to SG-1 was the normal mix of auditions, demo tapes and a lot of waiting. 'My husband thought I was going psychotic,'she laughs. 'One minute I was saying, "I don't want the part," the next I was saying, "I really love this character! She's so good."
TAPPING THE LIGHT FANTASTIC TV AND SATELLITE WEEK SEPTEMBER 2 2000
Amanda Tapping gets that out-of-this-world feeling with the success of her major TV role
It's the kind of problem that brings some actors out in a cold sweat - a speech chock full of technical dialogue. But scientific jargon presents few difficulties for Stargate SG-1 star Amanda Tapping. She walked off with a top scientific prize while at high school in Canada.
'I won the Environmental Science Award at North Toronto High and a lot of people thought I would embark on a career in science,' recalls the 31-year-old. 'But I wanted to be an actress and I haven't regretted my decision for a second.
'I can always call on another member of my family if I stumble over a word - one of my brothers is a bio-chemist!' she laughs.
Tapping's scientific knowledge is especially useful for her Stargate character, Samantha Carter, who is not only a USAF major but also an astrophysicist.
Major Carter is part of an elite squad investigating alien words by travelling through the Stargate portal. The team return to Sky one this week for a fourth season following the cliff-hanging finale to the last series, which saw them battling to save the Earth - and themselves.
Despite these life and death situations, her character has a sense of fun, maintains Tapping.
'What's great about Sam is that she may be part military and part scientist but she is also very human with a great sense of humour. I admire her a lot although not everyone agrees.'
Although she has a North American accent, Tapping actually hails from Essex, her family moving to Canada when she was a child. Her father was firmly against her becoming an actress, but his plan to put her off acting backfired.
'Dad thought that if I went for an audition, and suffered the pain of rejection, it would make me seek an alternative career,' remembers Tapping, who was 18 at the time and living in Toronto.
'There was only one thing wrong with dad's plan - and that was landing the part. After that, dad just had to accept that acting was what I wanted to do.'
Tapping still lives in Canada - in Vancouver with her carpenter husband - but should she ever follow in Carter's footsteps and go in search of intelligent, extra-terrestrial life, she knows just the sort of planet she'd make a beeline for.
'A world run entirely by women. I would like to see how such a world would differ from one like Earth that is governed principally by men. I suspect it would be less prone to wars and conflict, but who knows?'
TAPPING’S STARGATE SERENITY THE VANCOUVER SUN 2000
These are the dog days of late autumn on the set of Stargate SG-1, judging by the shaggy-haired housepets lounging on office floors and outside the giant soundstage that dominates the Boundary Road side of Burnaby's Bridge Studios, and Amanda Tapping couldn't be more comfortable.
One of the perks of being a series regular on one of the best-kept secrets of Vancouver's high-flying production scene is on-the-job day care - or dog care. Everybody has a dog, it seems. Tapping has a dog. Tapping's co-star, Richard Dean Anderson, has a dog. The producer has a dog. The key grip has a dog. The cable guy has a dog. What looks like a gigantic Rottweiler lies on the ground outside the soundstage, its leash conspicuously un-tied and unattended as it studies a visiting journalist with a hard-to-read expression that could be anything from mild curiosity to muted hostility. (Another reporter:, Didn't the last one learn his lesson!)
Moments later, kicking back her heels in a studio office Tapping giggles at her visitor's obvious discomfort. "Oh so you met..."(undecipherable, though it sounds suspiciously like Lucifer). "What a friendly dog! Don't think?"
There is a celebratory feeling in the air on this late October afternoon Stargate's 10 month shoot - the third in as many years - is coming to an-end and a noisy crowd is assembling outside Tapping's door with what looks like the world's biggest champagne bottle. It doesn't stay full for long!
"I feel good," Tapping says, and looks it. "I'm not as tired as I was last year. The first season, we were all beaten up. Everybody was sick by the end of the first season. At the end the second season we were all exhausted And at the end of this season, we're all feeling pretty good. It's bittersweet this year. I'm sad that it's over for the year, but I'm looking forward to a rest."
It wasn't always like this. Tapping, the youngest child and the only girl in a family of would-be athletes growing up in Toronto, spent much of her girlhood squaring off against her twin brother and their two older brothers, invariably coming up on the short end of the stick. The boys would play war in the local woods and she would insist on joining them. Amanda was her given name but her father nicknamed her Sam and the name stuck.
Back then, she could not have foreseen the day she would play in the woods for real and be paid for it. Her girlhood dreams could also not have imagined the woods be in North Vancouver's Mount Seymour watershed, or that the days would drag on for 12 hours at a time, often in driving rain and wind."We laugh a lot", Tapping says, explaining how she has managed to stay out of therapy these past three years. Serendipity definitely seems to be playing a role, though - her character on Stargate is named Samantha or Sam for short.
Stargate SG-1, loosely based on the 1994 MGM film Stargate, is about a military squad of troubleshooters who hop from planet to planet through a portal that allows travel over cast distances in an instant. The TV show has aired on the U.S. cable channel Showtime for the past three years, and another two seasons have already been ordered. Production is set to resume in Burnaby in February. The show is seen across Canada on WIC's mini- network of stations.
"It helps my anonymity that in Canada our broadcasting schedule is all over the map" Tapping says, laughing. "I don't even know when our show is on. Actually, in fact, I do know now when our show is on. It's on Saturday nights at 7 here in B.C. [on BCTV]. I'm frankly watching hockey, as many people are."
Tapping is being recognized more and more these days, even on the odd occasion while hiking in the North Shore mountains. She laughs at the memory of an incident in a supermarket a few days earlier when a woman pointed her direction and shouted: "You!"
In her off season, Tapping plans to hang with some old girlfriends in Toronto and re-establish their improv. comedy troupe, Random Acts, a kind of all-estrogen brigade about as far removed from the boys-will-be-boys ethos of Stargate as it is possible to get and still be on the same planet.
Assuming a stargate actually existed, Tapping has already charted a course of where she would like to go. "I would like to go to a planet that is governed entirely by women, just to see what kind of a society they had created. I'm talking about a society not dissimilar to where we are now on Earth in terms of our technology, but where every major head of every country is a woman."
"I don't mean that in a highfalutin' sexist way. Certainly, I come from a feminist perspective and my comedy troupe is a feminist-based comedy troupe. But the real reason is that, because I work in a male-dominated industry where the major figures for the most part are men, and I work on a very testosterone-driven show, I would be curious to see how female sensibilities, if allowed to flourish unhindered and uninhibited, would shape society. I think it would be very interesting."
Tapping allows that her character has changed over the years - both the one she plays on television and her own personality.
"One of the most gratifying parts of doing this show, quite honestly, is the character I've been allowed to play. She started out as this bitchy soap-box feminist full of diatribes, and now she's an integral member of a team, with a distinct personality like all the other characters. It's no longer about putting a flag on the fact that I'm the only woman, and I love that. It's not about being a girl. It's about playing a strong, intelligent, interesting character. She has to be warm and compassionate and interesting, She can't just be 'the bitch'. Fallible? Definitely. Emotional? Definitely. But not because she's a woman."
Lately, Tapping has felt a renewed bond of kinship with her brothers - the inevitable result, she says, of maturity and learning who she is as a person."What I love about the men they have become is that they are loyal and honest and honourable and really compassionate. And, they all have great senses of humour. My twin brother is hilarious, absolutely hysterically funny. He's a computer programmer - a brainiac - funny and warm."
"I love the fact that my brothers are not afraid to be compassionate and show warmth. I feel very fortunate to be in this world."
VICKY GABEREAU SHOW DECEMBER 20 2000
Vicky Gabereau: Born and raised in England, I'm not exactly sure where but I think it's a small town, then she came to Canada where she grew up, now she plays an American. I'd like to introduce, from Stargate SG-1, Amanda Tapping.
Vicky Gabereau: And yesterday she was in the US, England the month before and even Paris, I think.
Vicky Gabereau: Yeah, so Paris. You took your mother?
Amanda: I took my mom because I--
Vicky Gabereau: Good girl, eh?
Amanda: Yeah. You know I felt like I had to pay her back for the road rage that was my adolescence. So I thought it was time that I did something nice.
Vicky Gabereau: You were a creep, were you?
Amanda: A bit, yeah.
Vicky Gabereau: Oh now I am surprised to hear that because, you know, you're such a calm nice charming woman now.
Vicky Gabereau: Did you--- was it a surprise for her?
Amanda: She knew we were going to England but Paris was kind of a last minute surprise.
Vicky Gabereau: Right. And what were you doing in England really?
Amanda: I went to do a Stargate SG-1 convention.
Vicky Gabereau: What's that like?
Amanda: Really weird.
Vicky Gabereau: Do they come in costumes? You don't have really crazy characters with knobs on their heads and things, do you? You just--
Amanda: No, not really. But they come in full army costumes. We had people, at this one, from all over Europe and from the States. They're amazing. I mean, I have to say something. First of all about sci-fi fans are tenacious and unbelievably generous and so supportive. I mean, they were supporting Stargate on the Internet before we'd even aired. So, that blew my mind.
Vicky Gabereau: The thing that's so interesting about this series is that it started small and is now huge.And has a following all over the place.
Vicky Gabereau: You have a great character, which curiously enough has the same name as you do, your family nickname.
Amanda: Yeah. Samantha. And in fact, there's more to it than that. When I was born, my father wanted me to be called Samantha. So, he lost and my whole life in defiance he's called me Sam, so I play this character Sam. And then I grew up with three brothers Richard, Christopher and Stephen and I have a stepbrother named Michael, and I work with Richard, Christopher and Michael!
Vicky Gabereau: What is that telling you? Where's Stephen?
Amanda: Uh, I don't know.
Vicky Gabereau: Hasn't shown up yet.
Amanda: We'll find one.
Vicky Gabereau: I have never been on the set but I've always wanted to go and--
Amanda: You're welcome.
Vicky Gabereau: I know, apparently I'm allowed to come there. Richard and your director, most often director, Martin Wood. They've all said I can go. Is it fun there?
Amanda: It's so much fun.
Vicky Gabereau: Really?
Amanda: You know, it's really cool because everyone who comes on our show, every guest star we had or recurring character loves to come to Stargate. Because we do have a lot of fun shooting the show. There's a sense of irreverence to that. I mean, sci-fi is very... can be a very linear type of genre.
Vicky Gabereau: And earnest.
Amanda: And very earnest, and we tend to break away from that, of course with Richard and his character.
Vicky Gabereau: Yeah, and I think that's an interesting thing about his character. You are not also a cliche? character.
Vicky Gabereau: Did you think you would be at first?
Amanda: Yes. In fact, when I auditioned when I was screen-tested in Los Angeles, the scene that they gave me was from the pilot which is this stereotypical written by a male writer about, you know, female reproductive organs being just as powerful as male, you know, that whole feminist diatribe up on my soapbox and I just said, you know, this character cannot be this. She cannot be so one-dimensional. And so when I auditioned in LA I decided to give her a sense of humour and said if they go for it then that means that that opens the way up for this character.
Vicky Gabereau: So what did you do?
Amanda: So I joked around with Richard, you know, in between the scenes--
Vicky Gabereau: So he was sitting there and they were seeing other people?
Amanda: It was hillarious. Well, they had all the actors for all the parts sitting in a waiting room together. So I saw all of the girls for Sam Carter and all the Daniels and all the Teal'cs and all the General Hammonds. And we all sat in the same room and then they took us in individually to this darkened theatre, all of the MGM executives are sitting there. You do the audition... they didn't even film it, it was like stage, which was great because that's my training, so I was really comfortable, but... you know, I read opposite Richard, and then they send you out of the room and then the casting director came out in front of all these actors and said, 'Okay, if I read your name, you're done for the day, thank you so much.' If I don't, please stick around, so you've got like 30 actors in the room going, 'Please don't say my name! Please don't say my name!'
Vicky Gabereau: It is usually the other way around.
Amanda: Of course. And then she reads out the names and then she leaves and then of course those of us who that left are going, 'Did she say my name? Did you hear Amanda Tapping? Anyone?' So we are freaking. But it was... and I just had fun, I mean, at the very end I was the last person to read the second time through. They stood me up on stage beside Richard Dean Anderson and he put his arm around me and I put my arm around him and I'm looking into this darkened theatre going, 'So is this like the swimsuit part of the competition?' and they laughed and I thought, okay, good, they either love me or they hate me but I thought, you know, they're checking to see if we look good together...
Vicky Gabereau: Yeah. You're tall.
Vicky Gabereau: And he's not a short guy.
Vicky Gabereau: So that was a perfect match.
Vicky Gabereau: You do have things in common. You know, I mean, physical, and that was what they were looking for.
Amanda: I think yes. And the whole cast is really tall, actually.
Vicky Gabereau: Giant people, in fact.
Amanda: You bet.
Vicky Gabereau: Now, when you jump through that thing--
Amanda: That Stargate thing.
Vicky Gabereau: I actually tried it. We made a fake one here. But you don't actually get to jump in anything, you just like jump through nothing. That's the way it works, isn't it?
Amanda: Oh, no.
Vicky Gabereau: Oh, no. It really is real? It's real? It's such a relief. You look at the clip and you tell me how real it is. I don't know whether you're jumping through the thing or not. But this is Amanda herself in action.
Amanda: Oh dear.
Vicky Gabereau: Oh, come on, you don't have to watch it.
Vicky Gabereau: Indignant! Make that face. Make that face, how do you do that? Is that what they say? You've got to look wide-eyed and furious?
Vicky Gabereau: Indignant, that's so indignant. You're an astrophysicist, you know what you're talking about, sort of.
Amanda: I'm a Major in the United States Airforce and a theoretical astrophycisist. I'm kind of everywoman.
Vicky Gabereau: Your parents must be so proud. You're not just some thespian. You really are an astrophysicist, which is what they always wanted.
Amanda: Exactly, they wanted a scientist. Yeah.
Vicky Gabereau: Yeah. Well, there's a science to acting. I'll be right back with Amanda Tapping.
Vicky Gabereau: I'm talking with Stargate SG-1's Amanda Tapping. In her spare time she has shot a documentary. Not about astrophysics.
Vicky Gabereau: About?
Amanda: It's about a small town in northern ontario called Blind River and every year for about sixty years they've had the Miss Blind River Pageant. And I have formed a comedy troupe in Toronto about nine or ten years ago with two other women and one of them is from Blind River and--
Vicky Gabereau: I've done my Christmas shopping in Blind River.
Amanda: Have you really?
Vicky Gabereau: Yepper.
Amanda: It's like this big. [shows it's small]
Vicky Gabereau: Well, there's a street with stores on either side. There are smaller towns. Iron Bridge, for example.
Amanda: Iron Bridge is smaller.
Vicky Gabereau: Oh yeah. Anyway, Blind River?
Amanda: We had always wanted to do a comedy piece about Miss Blind River Pageant but I got Stargate, moved to Vancouver. Anne Marie Kerr, who was one of the members of the troupe went to Paris to study, Katherine Jackson who's here in Vancouver is raising a family and so, you know, we never got the piece together and then we found out about this reunion and we got together and I said, 'We've got to do a documentary, we've got to shoot these women' and I thought I would do... you know, we'd sort of taken Errol Morris kind of Gates of Heaven skew, you know how he did that sort of ... I don't know if you're familiar with Errol Morris the documentarian but he does sort of a skew on small towns and there's a tongue-in-cheek aspect to it, but it's all very real, he's just filming real people and yet it's on this bent and I thought that that's what we would get. And instead what it turned out to be was this incredible celebration of these women and their stories. We're editing right now, so I don't know what's gonna happen with it.
Vicky Gabereau: It just goes to show you that if you have a preconceived notion of what you're going to get, then you have to when you find out that it's something else be able to do it and not try to push everything to make it fit your idea.
Amanda: That's the nature of documentaries. Because you don't know what you're gonna get. And so the truth will lead you down.
Vicky Gabereau: The truth is definitely out there.
Amanda: The truth is out there.
Vicky Gabereau: You were out there, you were in that too, weren't you? You've done an episode of X-Files.
Amanda: I was mostly dead on The X-Files.
Vicky Gabereau: Were you?
Amanda: And I give good dead.
Vicky Gabereau: Do you? Do me dead.
Amanda: I sleep with Assistant Director Skinner, Mitch Pileggi, for my first love scene, and
then I die, I wake up... he wakes up and I'm dead.
Vicky Gabereau: And you don't. You woke up dead.
Amanda: And then in the two scenes I had with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson I was in a morgue drawer on an autopsy table.
Vicky Gabereau: You could see that your career was going nowhere fast.
Vicky Gabereau: It was cooling off, so to speak.
Amanda: It was cooling off, so to speak.
Vicky Gabereau: When you got this job, I guess you didn't know it'd go on the fourth year?
Amanda: No. We knew that it would go two. So that was kind of a neat committment when we shot the pilot, to know that we were gonna continue with the series, it gave us so much freedom in terms of character arcs and story arcs. We were very lucky in that sense. And then I think at the end of season one we found out that it was gonna go two more seasons. And this year we found out it was going for five.
Vicky Gabereau: Which means you can get a mortgage.
Amanda: Yeah. Which I did. Bought a house here in Vancouver. Have no intentions of moving.
Vicky Gabereau: Anywhere.
Amanda: No. I mean, I'll go between here and LA but--
Vicky Gabereau: But it is a heck of a schedule. I mean, it seems to me it's the worst schedule I've ever heard of. It's so long. You are there for every day for ten months.
Vicky Gabereau: Well, do most television shows go like that?
Amanda: Uh, yeah. We're actually down to nine months now and our days are really not too bad, generally 14-15 hour days, on a lot of shows it's 18-19 hours. So we're... we're pretty lucky, golly. But we have a weird hiatus compared to other shows. We go on hiatus November-December-January whereas most shows get the summer off.
Vicky Gabereau: And why is that?
Amanda: Rumour has it that it's because Richard Dean Anderson shot MacGyver up here.
Vicky Gabereau: And he didn't want to stay through the winters! No, it's always... you have no outside. Are you outside a lot? You're not outside a lot.
Amanda: We were this season.
Vicky Gabereau: Oh, you were?
Amanda: Yes, we spend a lot of time up in the GVRD and on Mt. Seymour.
Vicky Gabereau: Yes, because when you go through the Stargate you get to go places.
Amanda: Yep. And apparently the entire universe is planeted with trees and flowers...
Vicky Gabereau: ... and nice and...
Amanda: ... and evergreens and rain, the galaxy.
Vicky Gabereau: And people that appear to be so so nice at first... and then turn on you...like thieves in the night. You know, I'm sure you've been asked this a thousand times but if we all had the chance, I'm sure we all dream about other areas in which we would care to live, not planets in my case so much but other times. You know, do you have one? Another time or another planet
Amanda: This is gonna... okay. You know what I would love? I would love to go to a planet where we're in the same time frame as Earth, the same level of technology but where since the beginning of time every country and every, you know, everywhere has been governed by women from the beginning of time and I don't mean that from a didactic feminist perspective, I simply would like to see if we would have a more nurturing caring society, would women be as Machiavelian in our pursue of power, would we be Maggie Thatchers or we'd be Indira Gandhis. Would we... what would happen? And I would just love to see...
Vicky Gabereau: When you say that about whether we'd be Indira Gandhis or Maggie Thatchers, Maggie Thatcher didn't get assassinated, Indira Gandhi did.
Amanda: Exactly. By whom, though? Women? No. No. Men.
Vicky Gabereau: Right.
Amanda: So I would just like to see what society and what global society would be like if women had been in power since the beginning.
Vicky Gabereau: You should write that script. You could do that, couldn't you do that for Stargate?
Amanda: Yeah, sure.
Vicky Gabereau: Would they buy it?
Vicky Gabereau: Why not?
Amanda: I don't know.
Vicky Gabereau: Too silly? So inconceivable.
Amanda: 'How could we possibly...' I don't know the answers. I don't know, maybe we would. I don't know, but it's something that I thought about and thought, 'That would be fascinating.'
Vicky Gabereau: I think you're right. Anyway, renovating your house? That must be fun.
Amanda: Our house was built by Papa Smurf on crack. I swear to God.
Vicky Gabereau: Excuse me? Is it just awful?
Amanda: It's a great piece of property and it's a great house but it was built in the forties, added-on in the sixties, added-on in the seventies. We took down the ceiling in our kitchen and this contractor came and went, 'Wow, you know, the fact that your roof is standing is nothing short of an act of God.' And there was no beam--
Vicky Gabereau: This does not fill you full of confidence, does it?
Amanda: And then we ripped the walls outs and then the electrician came in and said, 'Do you know when they say fires are started by faulty wiring this is what they mean and it was old knob and tubes spliced together with extension cords and wrapped in masking tape.
Vicky Gabereau: U-huh.
Amanda: So, my husband is a carpenter.
Vicky Gabereau: It's a good thing.
Amanda: And that's so good.
Vicky Gabereau: It's good to have a handy man around.
Amanda: I tell you. But I love it, I love renovating. I love doing it myself.
Vicky Gabereau: Never again.
Vicky Gabereau: No. I've done it...
Amanda: See, I think if I ever got out of the acting thing, I'd just buy houses and renovate.
Vicky Gabereau: Good. Well, your time may come.
Amanda: Yeah, exactly!
Vicky Gabereau: Thank you very much for coming. I hope you have a wonderful holiday.
Amanda: Thank you very much.
Vicky Gabereau: Amanda Tapping from Stargate SG-1!