Alex Zahara interview
of publishing: 30th December 2005
Alex was born in Northern Alberta, and, according to his mother,
has always enjoyed performing for others. He grew up loving
the classics in acting, Bogart, Cagney, etc. Got involved
with theatre while still in school, performing in a stage
version of MASH. Took some time off to travel Europe and while
lying on a beach in Greece, decided to go to Film School.
Later, taught a class on `Acting for Teens’ at the Vancouver
Film School. A familiar face to sci-fi fans, Alex has appeared
in numerous genre series, including seven guest spots on Stargate
SG-1 (Spirits, 1969, Foothold, Beast of Burden, Metamorphosis,
Enemy Mine, and Space Race), and the SCI FI Channel's movie,
Babylon 5: Legend of The Rangers: To Live and Die in Starlight,
portraying "Dulann", the lead Minbari warrior monk
who serves as first officer of the starship Liandra. Alex
has also made guest appearances as "Johanssen" in
James Cameron's Dark Angel (Red, Rising), Andromeda (Music
of a Distant Drum), The Immortal (Forest for the Trees), Welcome
to Paradox (Blue Champagne), First Wave (The Purge), and the
special 100th episode of The Outer Limits (Tribunal), as "SS
Lieutenant Karl Rademacher".
Gilles Nuytens: Can
you talk about yourself, what do you do when you are not acting?
On your free time or for other jobs.
Alex Zahara: Well I go to the gym as much
as I can with my buddy Eric, usually every morning at 6 am.
Hang with friends and try to be a little creative with some
producing of a tv show that I am working on.
Gilles Nuytens: What
are your current projects, what are you working on?
Alex Zahara: I am executive producing a spec
pilot called Bandwagon, it is about life on the road for a
touring band. It is told mainly from the perspective of the
road manager, James Bodine, as he tries to keep the chaos
on the road from destroying his hopes and dreams!
Nuytens: You have played
several different roles in Stargate but we haven't heard of
you since some time on the show, is it a personal choice or
a lack of opportunities?
Alex Zahara: Well they write what they write
and I guess they haven't seen me in any of the roles, I guess
I am their alien choice but perhaps I haven't fit their views
of their alien needs.
Gilles Nuytens: Would
you be interested to play a wraith in Stargate Atlantis?
Alex Zahara: For sure, they look very cool,
not sure if I am tall enough though, a lot of the wraiths
seem quite tall!
Gilles Nuytens: Playing
several roles in the same TV show must be interesting on the
acting point of view, what did you learn from your roles on
Alex Zahara: How to keep things interesting
and how to conserve your energy and use it when it was needed.
It is pretty taxing on the body and mind to be in those suits
all day (18 hours.) Plus making every character different
and unique to themselves.
Gilles Nuytens: You
played Dulann, a minbari in the movie "Babylon 5: Legend
Of The Rangers", could you first talk about your experience
there and I think it was supposed to be the pilot of a new
spin off. Can you talk about this whole subject and how have
you been approached by the producers, was it only for the
movie or did they talk about a "future" series?
Alex Zahara: B5LOTR was supposed to be a
back door pilot for a new series, if the numbers were good
enough on the initial broadcast. It was a great time, everyone
on the show was cool from start to finish. As a cast we all
got along very well and hung out a lot. The production staff
and crew including of course the producers were all amazing.
It seemed like a big family all wanting to do the best we
Gilles Nuytens: Is
there a role you would like to play at any cost?
Alex Zahara: Well I don't know about any
cost but I would love to play Hamlet but I may be getting
a bit old for it, (LOL.)
Nuytens: What was the most
challenging thing you had to do for a sci-fi show?
Alex Zahara: I think the most challenging
thing was to play a Nazi in the Outer Limits, I had to make
this inhuman monster seem like a human and not just a charicature.
The person really existed and ran the family barracks at Aushwitz
and was responsible for the deaths of thousands of people
including Leo Egan the father of the show runner and producer
Sam Egan. I had the responsibility of making this man a believable
threat rather than a unbelievable evil man. The reason the
Nazis were so terrifying was because they were men doing absolutely
inhuman things, so I had to make him a man and not a monster
because if he isn't human then people won't be affected by
his actions they will write it off as a story and not something
that was real and did happen and could happen again if we
Gilles Nuytens: Do
you remember an anecdote that happened on the sets of Stargate?
Alex Zahara: I guess my favorite one is during
my first episode, Spirits, it was so hot in the studio and
I was wearing a very warm costume, it was hard to keep cool.
My character X'els had been zat gunned and was passed out
on a gurney in the med lab, well I was so hot that I fell
asleep without realizing it. The next thing I knew, Amanda
Tapping was gently shaking my shoulder saying, "Alex,
you're snoring." There was no airflow through the mask
I was wearing so I had started to snore, it was pretty embarrassing
but also funny.
Gilles Nuytens: Can
you talk about Ezekiel and your time on the sets of the TV
show Jeremiah, did you read the comic book?
Alex Zahara: I had a great time on the series,
everyday was a pleasure. I never read the comic because I
didn't want it to affect my performance, I though I would
bring what I got from reading the script because some elements
of the comic may not have been in the script and If I would
have brought elements of the character that were only in the
comic and not the actual script I may have confused the audience.
Gilles Nuytens: You
auditioned for a role in X-Men 3 and Hollow Man 2, can you
say something about the roles you auditioned for, and was
is a success for you?
Alex Zahara: Well the role for Hollow Man
2 was a cool part in the beginning with a guy who gets killed
by Hollow Man. X Men 3 was kind of strange, they were really
only auditioning for very small parts, like team leader etc,
for the original X men movie I had auditioned for Wolverine
and for X2 Night-crawler. I didn't get the roles for either
show but wasn't too disappointed because they would have been
very minimal roles anyway.
Nuytens: What attracted
you first in sci-fi, the stories, the universe, imagination,
...? Can you talk about what you like in this genre, first
as an actor and second as a fan?
Alex Zahara: Well the
work is the work and we do a lot of sci-fi up here in Canada
so... it kind of dictates what you as an actor are able to
do. In the greater picture though I am lucky because I really
like sci-fi and have been a big fan of sci-fi for years. I
am a have been a Star Trek fan for years and watch a lot of
sci-fi whenever I can.
What is the role you enjoyed the
most to play in Stargate and why?
Zahara: I think the role I enjoyed the most was plying
the hippie Michael because that episode had a real message
behind it and it affected me in a lot of ways. 1969 was a
real anti war statement and I think that that was the most
important thing of all, that war is never a solution, sometimes
it is a necessary response but should never be entered into
as a fist response.
J. Michael Straczynski is to my opinion
one of the best sci-fi writer, especially with his Babylon
5 stories, any project to work again with him?
Alex Zahara: I would love to work with Joe
again, working with him gave me some of the most fun and experience
I have ever had, B5 and Jeremiah, I would work with him again
Gilles Nuytens: What
is your opinion about the new Galactica TV show?
Alex Zahara: I really like it and think it
has a great future. It is dark and character driven which
makes things so much more engaging. I just read something
about the western series Gunsmoke which ran for 20 years,
it was character driven and had great stories, so that is
the path to success in the story business.
by Gilles Nuytens for The