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Interview with Morris Chapdelaine

Date of publishing: 24th July 2005

Morris Chapdelaine Morris Chapdelaine, his name is maybe not much known but in fact, Morris is the asgard puppeteer on both Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. He is also an actor and played the alien "Tenat" in "Prometheus Unbound" and in some episodes of Stargate SG-1 season 9 such as 9x04 "The Ties That Bind".

Gilles Nuytens: Hello Morris. First, could you tell us about yourself, who you are, what you are doing?
Morris Chapdelaine: I am an actor and puppeteer living and working in Vancouver, British Columbia. I have been here for 8 years and have had the honor to work on many feature films and televsion shows including Smallville, Andromeda, Battlestar Gallactica, Scary Movie 3, Slither, and others. My favorite project has always been Stargate and I have worked as an actor and puppeteer in over 10 episodes

Gilles Nuytens: You worked as a puppeteer on both Stargate shows, could you describe us what it is like and how you approach it?
Morris Chapdelaine: Puppeteering on the Stargate shows is always exciting and quite a challenge. We are a team of four people working to bring one Asgard to life, so it is vital that we can work as a team. We are given rehearsal days so that we can 'choreograph' distinct personality and physical traits for each Asgard. As a lead puppeteer, I operate the mouth and speak for the character on set opposite the other actors.It still always amazes me that our fellow actors can be so drawn in by the puppet that they forget there are so many of us bringing it to life.

Gilles Nuytens: You studied Drama arts at the University of Alberta, how did you end up being a puppeteer on Stargate?
Morris Chapdelaine: After moving to Vancouver, I began to audition for many shows and slowly started to establish myself as a credible actor. I had done some puppeteering work at home in Edmonton, and I made that knowledge known to people I was working with at the time, including special effects make-up artist and fellow puppeteer Todd Masters. Within a few seasons I found myself apprencticing and then moving into more challenging roles with the puppets. As a busy voice over artist, I was always doing the lines on set for the Asgards, so it was a natural progression to begin puppeteering work.
Morris Chapdelaine and Thor, the puppet
Morris Chapdelaine and Thor
Click the image to enlarge

Gilles Nuytens: I assume you are in charge of the Asgard's puppet seen in the second season of Atlantis. We are already aware that his personnality is different from Thor's and that he will be a technician on the Daedalus ship. His name would be Hermiod or Hermoid... could you tell us a little more about him?
Morris Chapdelaine: Hermiod is a blast to do! He is a bit of a younger, edgier clone of Thor, and he has no qualms about pushing his weight and great knowledge around. He also has a bit of a frisky edge, and is known to take on a few 'select' human traits. You may notice him at times, grumbling Asgard profanities under his breath when he gets pissed off about something. He appeared in the first two episodes of Atlantis, season 2, and will be returning for another episode very soon...I really think the audience and fans will love him

Gilles Nuytens: You worked in several departements of the TV business, such as actor, puppeteer or even producer. Which aspects did you prefer in each of them?
Morris Chapdelaine: I have always been an actor and that is my first love, but I have used my new connections to allow me to produce independant productions and to tell stories that I needed to tell. Being a member of the booming film and television community here, I found it necessary and important to be versatile and work in any capacity that I was able. Puppeteering is great for an actor, especially if you have a theatrical background like I do.

Gilles Nuytens: What is you best memory on the Stargate set?
Morris Chapdelaine: There are really so many. The first time I worked with Amanda Tapping she was so warm and giving and made it very easy to get the work done. The show has a very talented and dedicated cast as well as directors/writers so its always fun. I have especially enjoyed playing Tenat over the last few seasons as he is quite complex in his ridiculous simplicity. I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of him as well.

Gilles Nuytens: Do you have an anecdote related to the set to share with us?
Morris Chapdelaine: There are many funny stories from set, but what I find especially entertaining is how our puppet, although a lot of work for the crew, is so much fun for them. We end up with a lot of different nick-names and questions about how he works and jokes about some of what he gets to do. He actually has his own stand-in, which is a cardboard cut out, and over the years people have added little features to it, like a cigarette in his mouth, underwear, names tags, and things like that. We also end up with some great out takes, especially during rehearsal.we have hours of tape of him singing songs and telling dirty jokes, and when I miss a line, I keep speaking as an Asgard and ask for another take or for a coffee. We have shared some nice kisses as well with the gorgeous girls on the show.

Gilles Nuytens: How would you describe the work you do with an Asgard? What exactly is it you are doing?
Morris Chapdelaine: As I said above, I am in charge of operating his mouth and jaw and speaking for him on set.it allows me to be a 'real' actor opposite the rest of the cast so that they have something tangiable to work off of. We have someone else on his eyes and brows, someone on his head and someone on his arms and body. At times we all work together on the body to have an Asgard move about the ship and control some of his working station.

Morris Chapdelaine is Tenat in Stargate SG-1  "Prometheus Unbound", "The Ties That Bind"
Morris Chapdelaine and Thor
Click the image to enlarge

Gilles Nuytens: You portrayed the alien Tenat' in two episodes of Stargate SG-1, whose one of them hasn't been aired yet. Your character's role on the show in 'Prometheus unbound' did seem to be a one shot performance, could tell us more about his return in the 9th season?
Morris Chapdelaine: Well, I don't want to give too much away, but lets just say that he has some 'unfinished business' with a certain character, and he want to get revenge, and to get back what is truly his.

Gilles Nuytens: You've been both working on SG-1 and Atlantis, was it different? How would you describe both atmospheres?
Morris Chapdelaine: The only difference is the cast and crew, otherwise most of the writers, producers and directors are the same. We share studio space and there is other cross-over from show to show, so it really feels the same. SG1 is a family that has been together for a long time, and Atlantis is like the kid brother. Its exciting to be able to work on both and to see how the stories weave together.

Gilles Nuytens: You will soon work for two new episodes, one on SG-1 and the other one on Atlantis, what will it be about?
Morris Chapdelaine: Well, on Atlantis, we are back on the Daedelus with Hermiod and we have to utilize some Asgard technology to get out of a bind.as usual, it's a risky operation. On SG1 we will be introducing a brand new Asgard character. His name is Kvasir, and he's very well written. I don't think he's had a lot of human contact and he gets frustrated with some of the crew. They have lent a powerful weapon to SG1, and Kvasir needs to make sure its used properly.

Gilles Nuytens: On your resume we can notice your work mainly gravitated around SCI-FI productions, is it your favourite genre? Are you a fan of Stargate?
Morris Chapdelaine: Sci-fi has always been fun for me to do. It just happens that a lot of that kind of work is shot here in Vancouver, and an actor/puppeteer needs to do what's in his own back yard, so to speak. I am a fan of the shows.of course. I don't get a lot of time to watch TV, so I see a lot of it on DVD.

Gilles Nuytens: You started your career on stage, do you carry on with your theatre career at the same time?
Morris Chapdelaine: Id love to do more theatre, but at this point in my life, I am too busy to. Perhaps if the right play came along, and I had enough time between gigs, but at present, if I am not shooting tv or film , I am trying to produce more of my own work, so it keeps me quite occupied.

Gilles Nuytens: Many thanks for this interview, I wish you the best for the future and hope to see you in the upcoming seasons!
Morris Chapdelaine: I am working on a documentary this weekend called 'The Science of Stargate', hosted by Amanada Tapping. Keep an eye out for it...its a great script!

Interview by Gilles Nuytens for Stargate Ultimate / The Scifi World


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