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Gilles Nuytens

Amanda Tapping interview

Date of publishing: 3rd July 2007

Amanda Tapping interview - Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG-1, Sanctuary Amanda Tapping was born in Rochford, Essex in England. She spent a short time in South Benfleet, Essex,and was relocated to Ontario, Canada, at the age of 3. She attended North Toronto High School where she was awarded the Dramatic Arts Award and Environmental Science Award. Her first love always was acting. Amanda studied drama at the University of Windsor School of Dramatic Arts in Windsor, Ontario. After graduation she spent four more years studying theater and appearing in several stage productions. She worked in theater for several years and co-founded the improvisational Canadian comedy troupe Random Acts with two other women. She had guest starred on television series The X-Files, Due South, Forever Knight, Kung-Fu: The Legend Continues, The Newsroom, Millennium and The Outer Limits. Her real success that seemed to launch her career came in 1997 with the start of the TV series "Stargate SG-1" (1997) where she plays Major Samantha Carter. She has won a Leo Award and has been nominated for two Gemini Awards as well as two Saturn Awards for her role on SG-1. After 10 seasons in Stargate SG-1, Amanda got a regular role in the spin off "Stargate Atlantis", still playing Samantha Carter, now promoted as Colonel. You can also see Amanda in the web series "Sanctuary", playing Helen Magnus.

Amanda Tapping interview - Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG-1, Sanctuary Gilles Nuytens: I’m very, very pleased to speak with you today. Thank you for calling!
Amanda Tapping: No problem.

Gilles Nuytens: Okay, so I will begin with my first question.
Amanda Tapping: Okay.

Gilles Nuytens: Now that Stargate SG1 the series is over and the filming of the movies is also over, how do you feel?
Amanda Tapping: Tired, but good. Because I’m still shooting Atlantis it does not feel like the ride is over yet. So it is actually pretty good. It was very sad the last day of the movies but I think that our fingers are crossed that we will come back and do some more SG1 movies. It never really feels like goodbye, when the cast was saying goodbye to each other it never really feels like goodbye, we’re just sort of saying see ‘ya later.

Gilles Nuytens: I read some rumors about maybe doing more movies, maybe one or two every year.
Amanda Tapping: Yeah we are hoping that that works out that way. Nothing is confirmed but that is what we are hoping happens.

Gilles Nuytens: Sam is a scientist and not really a leader, how do you explain that she is now is charge of Atlantis?
Amanda Tapping: Well I think that she is actually a good leader. Because she has both a military and a scientific background, I think that she is the perfect person to go over to Atlantis. She has never had her own command but she certainly lead missions for SG1. She certain has a huge history with the military so I think she is in a lot of ways a natural born leader. I think the way that she is going to lead Atlantis is not going to be, you know like a heavy handed commander. She is going to be a lot more aware of her people and how to best utilize them and draw on their strengths so I think she is going to be a really good leader.

Gilles Nuytens: Atlantis already has a super scientist with McKay. What do you think Sam brings to the show and the team?
Amanda Tapping: I think she brings a different balance and perspective. I mean they all have their strengths and like I said she is going to draw on all their strengths she is not going to take away anything from McKay by being there, he is the expert on all things in the Pegasus Galaxy and she will adhere to that. She is not going to take anything away from Sheppard because he has a far better military knowledge of the wraith and their situation in the galaxy. So I think she is just going to bring a balance to the team. I know that there are people that are not happy about it, but I just say to them watch the show because I think it is a nice transition. Certainly when I went over I did not go over saying I’m going to take over Atlantis. I went over saying I’m going to try to become a helpful member of this team.

Amanda Tapping interview - Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG-1, SanctuaryGilles Nuytens: Are we going to see more Sam off world or in Atlantis city?
Amanda Tapping: She will be more on the base, there are a couple of episodes where she goes off world with the team. One where she goes to help rescue the team. But most of her work is done on the base.

Gilles Nuytens: Why do you think they choose you to cross over to Atlantis, instead of for example Michael Shanks, they already have a scientist on the team but no archaeologist or linguist, so why Sam?
Amanda Tapping: I guess you would have to ask the producers that question. I think that she is a good fit. I know there are a lot of people that think that Michael would have been a good fit too. I think that because she is a good combination of military and science and I think the fact that she was ready for a command that the military saw this as a good position for her to go to and Atlantis needed somebody. The way it is explained is when everyone threw their hat in and said who is the best person to go over all the people involved thought Sam Carter would be the best one to go. And only from my perspective I can say that when the producers approached me I was very nervous about it because I was afraid I would get a lot of questions like this from people who obviously maybe don’t think I should be there. But I’m treading very lightly, I’m going over and trying to be a helpful member of the team and not take over the show in any way shape or form. Sam Carter is going in with the same attitude of I’m going to be here to try and help Atlantis and not take over. For me personally going over was hard because I really like Torri and wanted to make sure that she was cool with it and Torri was actually the one that made me feel best about it, she said ‘I’m totally cool, this is not where I want to be anymore and I’m happy for you.’ So she was great, all around it has worked out and the cast has been incredibly welcoming David and Joe and Rachel and Jason have all been just really been amazing and very happy that I’m there. So hopefully the fans will get that sense too and embrace it.

Gilles Nuytens: I think that some people are disappointed and some are happy that you are in charge so it is a bit mixed, I think.
Amanda Tapping: I understand that but I just go where I’m told. So I try not to take the negative comments too personally. Because it can be kind of hurtful because you think this is my job and this is what I do and people are saying I should not be doing it and that can be hurtful. But from a professional perspective when I was asked and the way that it was approached and the way everyone else talked to me about it, it seemed like the right thing to do. So hopefully the fans will see that too and I think that ultimately it worked out really well.

Amanda Tapping interview - Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG-1, SanctuaryGilles Nuytens: In the last episode of Stargate SG1 we received all the knowledge of the Asgards, how will the team and the show manage that?
Amanda Tapping: Well it is really interesting, it’s like any society when you get all this information, how does it change what you do and how you do things. I don’t think that the effect is hugely felt in the first two movies, you won’t see it as much. I think that subsequent movies you may see more of what that knowledge does to this team. But in the first couple of movies you won’t see it. I think that we are smart enough, we’ve come a long way that we are not as arrogant a race as we were at the beginning of the series, you know what I mean? We were sort of young and full of ourselves and now we have a better perspective on things so I think they will handle that knowledge well. If you had given them that knowledge 10 years ago maybe not so much.

Gilles Nuytens: In Atlantis do they speak about that?
Amanda Tapping: No. Not yet it has not been addressed.

Gilles Nuytens: The two Stargate movies that you just finished shooting, in the timeline do they take place before Sam goes to Atlantis or …
Amanda Tapping: Yeah that’s a good question because we talked about that do they run concurrent timelines. Is the Atlantis timeline exactly in line with the SG1 timeline. The producers have decided they are not concurrent timelines but definitely these two movies happen before Sam goes to Atlantis.

Gilles Nuytens: I think we are going to see the movies after the first episodes of Atlantis…
Amanda Tapping: Yeah you probably will see the movies after, but in terms of the logical timeline, it makes more sense that the movies happen first.

Gilles Nuytens: You have been playing the same character for 11 years, do you still have the same motivation …
Amanda Tapping: Yes absolutely

Gilles Nuytens: Is it always still as challenging to play her now as it was in the early years of Stargate?
Amanda Tapping: It is just very different. I think this year it feels completely different because she has got a different job. She has got a command position and she is in a new galaxy with new people and so it has been a revitalization of this character. And for me playing her it has become totally different, she feels like a very different character. I think as soon as you throw a character into a new position and a new set of circumstances things change for them. So it is definitely interesting. The challenge used to be keeping her motivated, interesting and real and now I just feel like I’m playing a completely new character in some ways because she is in a totally different position and dealing with totally new people, so it is a test of her in a big way. So it does not feel at all boring or like I have been playing her for 11 years, in a lot of ways it feels like a new character.

Amanda Tapping interview - Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG-1, SanctuaryGilles Nuytens: If a 5th season of Atlantis is confirmed are you ready to come back as Samantha character for a 12th year?
Amanda Tapping: Yeah I don’t know, I think if it does come back and they ask me then yeah I defiantly would consider it. You know I don’t think of it in terms of “oh my god I have been playing the same character for 12 years”, I think of it in terms of am I still being challenged as an actor, am I enjoying what I’m doing, am I working with people that I enjoy and all of those things are still true for me. All of those things are an answer yes. So I don’t see any reason to leave a job that is secure, happy, challenging and interesting. When all those things are in place it makes sense to stay. So if they were to ask me to come back then sure I would consider it.

Gilles Nuytens: What can we expect to see between McKay and Sam this year?
Amanda Tapping: It is actually interesting, I think that there's probably going to be some times in the second half of the season where they are going to butt heads a bit more but what you are seeing now is a lot more cooperation. Like I said she is not coming in and taking over as a strong handed scientist or strong handed leader. So she lets McKay do a lot of things and she supports him, which is a different dynamic to their relationship. There is some very cute moments at the very beginning between the two of them that I think the fans will quite enjoy. For the most part it is a much gentler relationship they are not as toxic with each other, but that may come out in the second half of the season. (laughter) Stay tuned!

Gilles Nuytens: Do you have any anecdotes or funny stories about McKay and Sam?
Amanda Tapping: Just watch for their scenes when Sam first comes to Atlantis. I don’t want to give it away but there is a very cute scene where it is typical Rodney McKay arrogance and it is very sweet it is a really, really funny scene. But I’m just enjoying it, you know I’ve always enjoyed working with David and so whenever we have a chance to play together it is always great fun so it’s a really nice place to be. And because I have been jumping back and forth between Atlantis and Stargate and Atlantis and Stargate and I mean doing the movies and the show and sometimes doing both on the same day it just has been so busy that I have not been bored at all. And I don’t feel like I’m missing my family because you know I get to see Michael and Chris and Ben everyday so it has been good. We literally just finished filming the movie a week ago so I don’t know that it has sunk in yet that’s over. Keep your fingers crossed maybe we’ll have more.

Amanda Tapping interview - Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG-1, SanctuaryGilles Nuytens: How different is it to play Sam in Atlantis than SG1?
Amanda Tapping: Well like I said it just feels like a very different character for her. She is out of her element, she is much more comfortable taking orders running her own lab, you know she is very comfortable out in the field as a soldier, so this is very different for her being behind a desk making decisions that effect thousands of people. You know having to be more of a diplomat in some ways and not have own lab so she can do experiments, which was sort of her happy place. When ever things got too stressful Sam would just go down to her lab and run experiments or try to write short essays on nuclear physics and things like that, so she does not have that time and she does not have that luxury. So I think it is a little bit more stressful for her because she is not in her element. But she’s finding her feet. It’s just like I said she feels like playing a very, very different character.

Gilles Nuytens: In other interviews you have already said how hard it was to be in the Arctic to film Continuum. I would like…
Amanda Tapping: It was hard but it was really fun. When I walked away from that experience I did think it was so hard as much as it was really exciting. But anyway sorry I cut you off again. Terrible I should just answer your questions. (laughter)

Gilles Nuytens: No problem. I would like to know what it was like shooting the other scenes, not in the Arctic. Any difference with the movies than with the series?
Amanda Tapping: Defiantly, the movies felt much bigger. The scope of the movies is very big and Rob Cooper directed “The Ark of Truth” and Martin Wood directed “Continuum” and they both have very big vision so scenes took a long time to set up and the big camera moves and huge sets. It just felt like shooting a big movie and there was a sense of excitement about them because it is a short term gig you know, we are not slogging away everyday shooting a series we have a finite amount of time to shoot something really spectacular so there was a sense of excitement about them that I don’t think we had felt in a while because they are so big. So it did feel a lot different. It felt a lot different.

Gilles Nuytens: From all your years on Stargate SG1 what was your most favorite episode or moment to shoot?
Amanda Tapping: That’s a hard question. I have to say my favorite episode overall for the show was probably the two part “Heroes”. Because I think it had everything in it that you know it had this incredible tragic story that gave all of our characters such great emotions to play. It had excitement and great action sequences and then it also had this outside perspective looking in forcing us to re-evaluate how we do things and questioning us and I just think that it rocked us all off our center a little bit and I think it was just a really succinct, well written, well directed episode and I thought everyone, all the actors did a great job in it. When I look back I think this is like a quintessential SG1 episode.

Amanda Tapping interview - Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG-1, SanctuaryGilles Nuytens: Now a question about Torri Higginson. We know we are going to see Weir in four episodes I think, do you know if we are going to see more this year?
Amanda Tapping: Of Dr. Weir, yeah, you know I don’t know. I know that there are four, I have not seen any of the episodes for the second half of the season yet because we have not started shooting them so I’m not sure. I certainly hope so. I think what they have done with her character right now is really interesting. But I can’t tell you too much about it. But I think it’s very cool so hopefully I like having Torri around so hopefully there will be more of the Dr. Weir for sure.

Gilles Nuytens: What do you know of about the rumored third series called “Stargate: Universe”?
Amanda Tapping: I don’t know anything about that actually. And you know they are not saying anything to us, the producers have really not said anything too much about that to us. So I’m not such what is happening with it and you know we don’t know, I don’t think it’s a cross-over series if it happens I don’t think it will have any of the old cast members in it. I think it will be a whole new cast. But like I said I don’t really know very much about it at all. Very quiet up stairs about that.

Gilles Nuytens: I’m curious about that show. Okay I have a question from a friend – have you had a chance to fly in military jets like Ben and Joe were able to do a few years ago, I know you were disappointed that you did not do it.
Amanda Tapping: Oh yeah, no I have talked with the Air Force about that and hopefully it will happen this summer. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Gilles Nuytens: I will!
Amanda Tapping: Thank you.

Gilles Nuytens: Let’s talk a little bit about “Sanctuary”. What was it like to work with Emilie Ullerup?
Amanda Tapping: Oh she is awesome. She is a young actress, she has really great instincts, she is a lot of fun and she is game for anything. You know she will try all of the stunts and the fight sequences. She is just great, she has a really, really good attitude and she’s got a fun perspective. I’m really excited for her because I think she is going to be quite a huge star.

Gilles Nuytens: Yes she is very talented I think. I have already had the chance to speak with her.
Amanda Tapping: Oh good, good she is a sweet heart. So yes I’m very excited for her.

Amanda Tapping interview - Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG-1, SanctuaryGilles Nuytens: So Helen Magnus is 157 years old, that makes her some kind of mutant I think, like the other creatures? Is that correct?
Amanda Tapping: Well, she has been given this gift and it has not been explained yet how she has managed to live this long and maintain her youth. I don’t think that she is a mutant so much as she has been given an elixir that has allowed her to do this. She is not like the creatures that she brings into the Sanctuary. Or at least she will not admit that she is like the creatures that she brings into Sanctuary. But it is a very interesting part of her character because it just speaks to her loneliness and to be around for that long and to watch the people that you love and care about grow old and die around you and to still be young so in some ways yeah she is a mutant in that sense. I think the emotional toll is a lot different. And I think that she would not acknowledge it, that she would hate it if someone called her a mutant. She would be deeply offended by that.

Gilles Nuytens: Being a mutant is not something that people enjoy hearing!
Amanda Tapping: Yeah! (laughter)

Gilles Nuytens: So with both parents having some kind of special ability, do we know if Ashley will get some kind of special ability too?
Amanda Tapping: You will have to stay tuned and find out. I think what is interesting is we're writing a lot of it as we go and Damian is so creative and is coming up with some great ideas but he's also letting us put in our thoughts on it too. I don't think anything has been decided about Ashley 's fate but I think that if Helen has anything to do with it then definitely Ashley will be given that same gift if it is something that can be transferred and at this stage, we don't know. It is all in Damian's head, we'll just have to wait and see.

Gilles Nuytens: After the eight episodes of Sanctuary, what are the plans for what is coming next with the series?
Amanda Tapping: Well we are hoping that we're going to start shooting in October once Atlantis finishes, that is our hope and to shoot maybe 10 more hours so that is all being worked out all right now. Definitely because we leave the eighth webisode with a bit of a cliffhanger, so we'll finish out that storyline and then more adventures to follow, so stay tuned.

Gilles Nuytens: So 10 new episodes?
Amanda Tapping: Oh I'm just making that up, I mean that's what we are hoping for. It's not 10 new webisodes but 10 more hours. Which we hope would be 40 new webisodes but at this stage I am not sure what is going to happen. We're still figuring that out but the hope is to come back and start shooting in October once Atlantis finishes.

Amanda Tapping interview - Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG-1, SanctuaryGilles Nuytens: Outside of Stargate and Sanctuary, do you have any other upcoming projects?
Amanda Tapping: No. It's keeping me pretty busy, literally that's kept me shooting for a year solid so, no. I don't have anything else, right now I have two weeks off right now and I’m going to spend it with my family. It's pretty much my only two weeks off this year.

Gilles Nuytens: Is there a project you would like to be part of? Any project, any movie?
Amanda Tapping: Really, honestly, I just want to get Sanctuary up and going, that's my main motivation right now. And that is my new baby so...

Gilles Nuytens: That must take a lot of time.
Amanda Tapping: Absolutely, yes I mean you are shooting 15-16 hours a day and that's all you really have time for.

 

Gilles Nuytens: I'm very grateful for you taking the time to speak with me.
Amanda Tapping: Well thank you.

Gilles Nuytens: I hope you have a good holiday and that you have a good time on the sets.
Amanda Tapping: Thank you so much.

Gilles Nuytens: Good luck and have a nice day.
Amanda Tapping: OK you too and good luck with the site, it is a great site. Congratulations.




© 2007 - Interview by Gilles Nuytens for The Scifi World
Transcript by RealmOfX & Tsaxlady


 



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