of publishing: 11th October 2005
William B. Davis started acting as a child, working in summer
stock with The Straw Hat Players in Ontario and doing radio
drama during the CBC's golden age in the early fifties.
He weaned himself from acting while at university and embarked
on a twenty year career as a theatre director and acting
teacher. In the early eighties, he drifted back to acting.
Within a few years his acting career blossomed, highlighted
by the iconic Cigarette Smoking Man in The X-Files. He is
now in high demand for a range of roles on film and television
and had an appearance in Stargate SG-1 as a Prior in 2 episodes.
More information on: http://www.williambdavis.com
Gilles Nuytens: First,
thank you very much for allowing me this interview! Could
you tell something about yourself, what do you like to do
in your free time, the things that leads you in your life
as well as in your career ?
William B. Davis: You might want to have
a look at my personal website. But I am an avid skier, a
competitive waterskier and snow skier. I read fairly widely.
I'm particularly interested in evolutionary biology but
really in anything that helps explain who we are and why
we do what we do.
Nuytens: You are a non-smoker,
how do you manage your image as "the cigarette smoking
man", never tempted to smoke in your life ?
William B. Davis: I used to smoke so I
certainly knew how to do it. But when I got the part I hadn't
smoked for twenty years. I smoked real cigarettes for the
first two episodes but I soon realized this was dangerous
for me and I switched to herbal cigarettes.
Gilles Nuytens: What
was the most difficult part playing your role in The X-Files
? Playing with all this smoke around you, was it hard ?
William B. Davis: It wasn't until after
three or four seasons that I realized I was taking in the
most smoke when I lit cigarettes before each shot. After
that I had the props people mechanically light the cigarettes.
It was a lot easier after that.
Gilles Nuytens: How
did you approach your role on The X-Files, did you smoke
a lot of these "false" cigarettes to learn becoming
a strong smoker on screen ?
William B. Davis: As I said above, I had
been a smoker so I knew how to do that part of it. I suppose
the two main things were that I had to convince myself that
the character's point of view was the right one - and Mulder's
therefore the wrong one - and to explore that feeling of
being burnt out inside.
Gilles Nuytens: Do
you have some inside stories or a funny anecdote or something
unforgettable from your experience on The X-Files ? Same
question about Stargate.
William B. Davis: I'm really not good with
funny stories but my first day on Stargate I had to wear
contact lenses with no aperture. They let in a little light
but I could really see nothing at all and had to be lead
by the hand to everywhere I had to be. The next day they
cut a little hole in the lens so that I could at least see
where I was.
Nuytens: You played in
2 episodes of Stargate SG-1 as a Prior, can you tell us
something about your character (his personality for example)
and his role in the story ? Is he pure evil ?
William B. Davis: You may know more about
this than I. I was not given a lot of information and so
I had to pretty much make up my own back story. He was certainly
Gilles Nuytens: You
are not yet credited for more Stargate episodes, is there
a chance to see you again in the future ?
William B. Davis: I don't hold out a lot
of hope that my character will reappear. I was shot dead
in the episode - or so it would seem.
Gilles Nuytens: Where
did you shoot "Fourth Horseman - Part 2", in the
studio or in a different location ? Some photos show you
in the Sodan planet, is it the only place where we will
see you ?
William B. Davis: It was all shot on their
Gilles Nuytens: With
who did you have the most scenes in this episode, and how
was it to play with him/her ? Could you explain your experience
William B. Davis: To be honest I don't
remember the name of the actor who has replaced Richard
Dean Anderson - you would know. He was very athletic doing
his own stunts. I also had a scene with Beau Bridges.