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Gilles Nuytens

Tom McBeath interview
Date of publishing: 20th January 2006

Tom McBeath interview Stargate Tom McBeath's film history is quite extensive (especially considering he is primarily a stage actor). He has portrayed a wide variety of characters, ranging from a poacher to a priest and has received numerous accolades (including three Jessie Awards) for his stage work.
Tom McBeath is also well known of the Stargate fans for his popular role of Harry Maybourne. The Scifi World got the opportunity to ask him some questions about himself, his current works, Stargate and more!



Gilles Nuytens: Can you firstly talk about yourself, what leads you in your life as well as in your career, what do you like to do in your free time?
Tom McBeath: I've two focuses in my life. The first is my partner of 10 years, Karin Konoval, a fine actress, who shares the second focus in my life, acting. Whether the work is theatre or film & t.v. it is a profession that challenges, excites, teaches, humbles and feeds me. Karin not only shares those views but does the same for me. The ups and downs in this business are considerable and we manage to keep each other relatively balanced and sane.
As to free time I'm afraid at this point in my life I'm mostly a blob. I don't do enough biking, camping, carpentry, gardening or writing, all the things I like to do and hope to do more of. I probably do a little too much golfing but it does get me out in the fresh air.

Tom Mc Beath interviewGilles Nuytens: What decided you to become an actor?
Tom McBeath: In 1968 I had taken a job as a computer programmer for Air Canada Finance in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I joined an amateur theatre group in 1970 and enjoyed the fun, comradeship, and parties. By 1972 I belonged to 5 amateur groups and was spending as much or more time in the theatre as my paying job. It was then that it occurred to me that acting might be a career option. I entered the University of Alberta acting program in Edmonton and later attended the Playhouse Acting School in Vancouver.

Gilles Nuytens: You play in an upcoming movie called "Beneath" where Don S. Davis is also credited. Can you speak about this movie, your role and your scenes (if you had some) with him?
Tom McBeath: Beneath was for me a one scene, one day job. You really don't get to know the other actors or the piece very well. It was a little scary as the scene was filmed in an old mine processing plant on the side of a mountain. I had to run down a set of stairs that was perhaps 400 meters long very steep and slippery. I was supposed to have a limp and I was carrying a rifle. On paper it doesn't sound that scary but I'm also afraid of heights. At the end of the day the director seemed happy so I guess I did the job. I didn't run into Don S. Davis on the set but I do run into him from time to time here in Vancouver. We've been friends long before he was on Stargate.

Gilles Nuytens: Your name McBeath is close from the spelling of "Macbeth" who is supposed to be cursed for a certain group of actors. Does this had a good or bad influence on your career or on the roles you got or didn't got?
Tom McBeath: Macbeth/McBeath, they are both pronounced the same. My father came from northern Scotland where the name is not uncommon. Spellings in Shakespeare's time were never consistent even in his plays and it's probable that the two names are just two spellings of the same name. Some actors are superstitious but I assure them that if I'm there they'll be fine and then I whistle, which is another bad luck superstition especially backstage. To my knowledge I've never lost work because of the name but then again I've never been asked to work at Stratford, the big Shakespearean Festival in Ontario in Central Canada.

Gilles Nuytens: Are you aware of the new evolution of Stargate? With this new threat in the galaxy, do you think or do you want to return for one or more episodes? I think that there is a possibility that the planet where we have last seen Maybourne is invaded by this new enemy. So, a good opportunity?
Tom McBeath: I'd love to return to Stargate. They're great people and it's always been a joy to work for them. I'm not aware of the new evolution of Stargate but if it gets me back in the picture I'd be thrilled. I'll wait for the phone call...

Gilles Nuytens: On what are you working on right now and what are your plans for the future?
Tom McBeath: I'm currently working on a French play called Six Miniature Tragedies by Jean-Paul Wenzel whose also directing. It's with students of the Studios 58 acting program here in Vancouver. A very different kind of piece to what I'm used to but that makes it exciting itself.

Gilles Nuytens: What was the hardest thing you had to do for a movie/TV show and why?
Tom McBeath: The hardest thing, a movie called Run. Getting into a car balanced on the edge of a 5th floor parking garage and trying to remember my lines.

Gilles Nuytens: Your character in Stargate is one of the character that have evolved the most in the show, as you said before, from a boring character, Maybourne became very interesting to play and to watch for the viewers. What part of yourself do you think you have put in him?
Tom McBeath: The evolution of Maybourne as I understand it was probably not a long range plan with the writers. They developed the opportunities that presented themselves in previous episodes. Richard Dean and I worked well together for many reasons but essential to my characterization of Maybourne was his determined but insecure mano-mano attitude that proved to be fodder for the writers and the playing of scenes.

Gilles Nuytens: In Stargate, there's something like an alchemy between Jack and Maybourne and that was one of the things that makes Maybourne so interesting I think. Now without Richard Dean Anderson, and if a return of Maybourne was possible, how would you see his evolution with the other characters?
Tom McBeath: Now that Richard Dean Anderson has diminished his presence on Stargate the opportunities for Maybourne too may have diminished. I hope not. Perhaps the writers will find some route to keep him involved now and again.

Gilles Nuytens: Which Shakespearean character would you like to do? And why?
Tom McBeath: Shakespearean characters. I played many; Edmund in King Lear, Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew, Iago in Othello and many others. Although I've no real "must do" parts, any of them would be welcome challenges.

Gilles Nuytens: How did you enjoy playing George in "Who is afraid of Virginia Woolf"?
Tom McBeath: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. George has been one of my very favorite parts. The depth and complexity of the characters and plays in the American Classic repertoire continue to amaze me. In the spring of 2005 I played Willie Loman in Death of a Salesman. Parts like these demand all the talent, craft and hard work an actor can bring to them. From the research through the learning, the rehearsal and the playing, it's a never ending growing process for the actor. You come out of them with a deeper understanding of yourself as an actor, a fuller understanding of what the profession demands and a profound respect for writers. That's true of any good play but it's perhaps because I'm North American that writers like Albee and Miller hold a special place for me. Then too it could be because I've finally gained the experience to appreciate these masterpieces.

Gilles Nuytens: You said once that most of the directors doesn't like working with smart actors, why do you think that?
Tom McBeath: Smart actors. Boy do I feel stupid. I know myself well enough to know I probably said something that lame. It's possible this "gem" came out of my mouth shortly after I was turned down for a part I really wanted. Actors always find an excuse for their failures. Further insight on this phenomenon can be had by reading Simon Callow's "Shooting the Actor".

Gilles Nuytens: What draws you to a role in general?
Tom McBeath: I like material that is not obvious, not easily understandable on the 1st read or even several readings. One of my favorite novelists is John Galsworthy. He will sometimes take two or three pages to describe a minute (as in small) human quality that gets you right inside his characters mind.

Gilles Nuytens: Thank you very much Mr McBeath for this interview and for the time you took for answering my questions. I wish you good luck with your career and be looking forward to see more of you in the future!
Tom McBeath: Thanks for the interest.

Interview by Gilles Nuytens for The Scifi World / Stargate Ultimate


 



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