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Gilles Nuytens

Interview with Gary Jones (2)
Date of publishing: 17th September 2005

Gary Jones interview Stargate Gary Jones has worked now for 9 years on the popular show Stargate SG-1 and he is always motivated for shooting another episode, more than ever! In season 9, he plays in almost every episodes and on the set they even called season 9 "The season of the Walter!". Gary has answered here some questions about himself and about Walter. The secret of his various names is now revealed!





Gilles Nuytens: How is the atmosphere in the set of Stargate Sg-1 season 9? Is it different from the latest seasons ?
Gary Jones: The atmosphere is a lot of fun down on the set. Stargate SG-1 is a big, well-oiled machine that moves along at lightening speed considering the CGI aspect of the show as well as how many people work on it. I spoke with an actor today who enjoyed his first day on the 'gate in 9 years and he couldn't get over how fast and fun everything was. Peter Deluise, Andy Mikita and Martin Wood are the old pro directors and they seem to be able to edit in their heads as they shoot. This cuts out a lot of unnecessary shots and also gives time to fool around a bit. This relaxes everyone and the job gets done, year after year, episode after episode.

Gilles Nuytens: How do you see the evolution of your character in the show and would you be interested by an episode focused on your character ?
Gary Jones: I have no control over the evolution of my character, chief sergeant Walter Harriman. The writers get full credit for giving me more and more as well as handing me the gift of some comedic scenes. The writers have gotten to know me personally over the years and I suppose that helps if they think I'm funny. But I stay away from suggesting things like an episode focused on my character. I think that if and when they feel that would serve the greater good of the show, they'll do it.

Gary Jones interview Stargate SG-1Gilles Nuytens: Some rumours said that your name changed from Walter Davis to Walter Harriman because there was already a Major Davis, is it the real reason and what is your opinion about that? And, he was also named "Norman" ... Why so much names?
Gary Jones: I have no idea why so many names. Maybe because they didn't think I'd be around this long. I have no idea. One thing is, when they first handed me the blue flight suit, the name "davis" was on the nametag. So I was davis. I don't know where Norman came from. I wish I did because the "name" thing has become the central question from all the fans when I appear at conventions. I never thought I'd be appearing at conventions so maybe I should've paid more attention to things like getting a name. if I remember correctly, in one episode, Don Davis referred to me as "airman." That sounded like he might have called me, "Harriman," so that stuck. That's how I became "harriman." And in episode "2010," Richard Dean called me walter, basically because he felt like it. Who was going to tell him he couldn't? certainly not me. So now I'm Walter Harriman after nine seasons. I have a feeling it won't be changing since the name "Harriman" now appears in the scripts above my dialogue lines. It used to just be "technician." This is a good thing.

Gilles Nuytens: Do you watch the show every weeks and did you watched all Stargate episodes, including Atlantis ?
Gary Jones: I'll be honest and say no, I do not watch the eps. Mostly it's because I have 3 kids and a packed life. My wife and I watch very little television and add to that the fact that my wife is not a sci- fi fan. There have been times when I'll be surfing the channels and "stargate" will come on and I'll see my name in the credits and I'll say, "hey, I'm in this one." If I don't actually appear in the next minute, my wife will change the channel. As you can imagine, this doesn't bode well for watching "Atlantis" in our house.

Gilles Nuytens: Just for fun: how many times have you said "Chevron 7 locked" LOL ? Any idea ?
Gary Jones: 100?

Gilles Nuytens: What can you tell us about your experience in season 8 ? Like piloting the Al'kesh in "Prometheus Unbound", or some funny scenes with RDA and/or Cliff Simon.
Gary Jones: Piloting the Al'kesh was really fun because all the space stuff got added later so I sat there pretending to blow up other ships but was just blowing up a teamster leaning against the far wall eating a doughnut. I had a funny scene with cliff simon in the gateroom where I was trying to make small talk with this pure evil character while we waited for colonel O'Neill to show up. The out-takes were funny.

Gilles Nuytens: In Atlantis' episode "Letters from Pegasus", your character made a three-sentence-long cross-over. Do you know if one day, you would have a real cross-over, and that you would shoot on the Atlantis' set ? If not, would you like to ?
Gary Jones: Again, I leave my fate in the hands of the writers. They know what they're doing and I trust their vision. If I'm needed in atlantis, I'll be there. In the meantime, I will show up for work wherever they send me.

Gary Jones interview Stargate
Gary Jones as Chief Master Sgt Walter Harriman
Click the image to enlarge
Gilles Nuytens: What do you think about your character, is he anything like you?
Gary Jones: Only in that I wear a full flight suit around the house. Okay, I like my character a lot. I get to be the guy who's worked at the gate for ages and knows it inside and out. He's unlike me in that walter is pretty calm in the midst of all the chaos. I would be more panicked and extreme in my reactions. My wife is always telling me to calm down and think things through before I act. Walter, I believe, is the opposite.

Gilles Nuytens: What do you enjoy the most, theatre or cinema/TV ? Can you tell me a bit of your theatre experience ?
Gary Jones: Well, at this stage of things, TV and film pay better. Theatre usually has to scrape together money to pay and is constantly hounding the government for more arts funding. In the past I did a ton of theatre but I suppose I've removed myself from that scene for economic reasons. Evenings at our house are quite busy and if I was doing a play, I'd be gone every night. I've chosen not to do that. I have to say that theatre does have its benefits in that you work closely with a small group of people for a short period of time and you can make some good friendships. One of my oldest and dearest friends, shawn macdonald, was a writing partner of mine from years ago here in Vancouver. He and I had an idea for a one act play called WORLD'S GREATEST GUY that we entered into the Vancouver Fringe Festival back in 1994. it did really well and made it into the "Pick of the Fringe." This was the time after the fringe is over and all the most popular plays get an extended run at a slightly larger venue. So we did that and the play sold to packed houses. During that brief time, the artistic director from one of the big, local commercial theatres came to see it and liked it. But it was a one act and he asked if we could turn it into a two act. So we did and the play got better and funnier. So he booked it into his theatre for a month and the play proved so popular that it ran for four months and eventually won a JESSIE RICHARDSON AWARD for BEST PLAY OF 1994. it was an amazing journey for shawn and i. we never for a moment imagined that our tiny play, that we also performed in, would become voted the best play of 1994. the Jessie Richardson awards are the Vancouver equivalent of New York's TONY AWARDS.

Gilles Nuytens: How did you become an actor, what was the thing that makes you the feelings that you know it's what you wanted to do?
Gary Jones: I used to work as an art director for some small advertising agencies in Ontario. I have a bit of an artistic flair and so it was a very creative outlet for me and I was quite happy doing that. Then I began taking improvisational workshops at Toronto's SECOND CITY THEATRE. They eventually liked me enough to offer me a job in their national touring company. Once I did that and got on stage and made people laugh, then I knew that's what I wanted to do. I mean, you guys know me through stargate as an "actor." But really, my background is in comedy and that's why, I suppose, fans at conventions are so surprised that I make them laugh. They think they're going to meet "walter" the serious computer guy. Meanwhile, I'm the exact opposite. I can't just get on stage and answer questions. I want to make it fun. There is no feeling in the world like making a group of people laugh.

Gilles Nuytens: What do you want to say to your fans in Belgium and from France?
Gary Jones: Bonjour! Je suis un petit chien et ma chemise est jaune!
(Note: This means in English "Hello! I am a puppy and my shirt is yellow! )

Gilles Nuytens: Thanks to you for giving us so much fun with Stargate!
Gary Jones: Anytime. Thanks for asking. See you in Paris on the 10th of december!

Check out another interview of Gary Jones here (1)
Check out another interview of Gary Jones here (3)
Interview by Gilles Nuytens for The Scifi World


 



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