Date of publishing: 3rd
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.
Gilles Nuytens: I’m very,
very pleased to speak with you today. Thank you for
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.
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,
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.
Nuytens: In the
last episode of Stargate SG1 we received all the knowledge
of the Asgards, how will the team and the show manage
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
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
Gilles Nuytens: Do
you have any anecdotes or funny stories about McKay
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
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
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.
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
Gilles Nuytens: What
do you know of about the rumored third series called
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
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
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.
Nuytens: So Helen
Magnus is 157 years old, that makes her some kind
of mutant I think, like the other creatures? Is that
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
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
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.
of Stargate and Sanctuary, do you have any other upcoming
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
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.