For All Seasons

For All Seasons

For All Seasons

Download the full interview in pdf here

Over the last few years, it’s been one of the perks of my job to interview Stargate SG-1’s Amanda Tapping. Warm, friendly and welcoming, I’ve interviewed her more than anyone else, but it’s always been on my home turf. This time, I’m on the set of her show, and Ms Tapping seems happy to see me. Well, she hugs me, so I decide to take this as a good sign, even if it does take me a little by surprise. Retiring to a quiet corner of the studio while the crew sets up the next shot, Tapping immediaely starts messing around, saying “Hello” in a strange voice into my dictaphone and asking if it’s working properly. I assure her it’s fine assuming the batteries don’t give out and tell her I’ll just sit back while she talks, knowing how good she is at it. Laughing, she relates her feeling on Stargate’s imminent conclusion.

“It’s a real mixed bag. Interestingly enough, two days ago on camera, a camera assistant, Jimmy Garrison, had put a piece of tape with ‘100′ on it. And I was looking at it and I said, ‘Jimmy, what is that?’ and he said, ‘That’s how many days we have left shooting,’ and I went, ‘Oh my God. A hundred? Oh my God.’ And it struck me as really sad suddenly, that hundred days of shooting – it’ll go over a number of months – is, wow, like, the finality of it. And it’s very sad. And this season has been so much fun, I think in part because we know it’s the last season so we’re just giving it and having a great time, but yeah, it’s gonna be strange. This is my family. I spend more time here than I do anywhere else. I love the people I work with, I love the crew, it’s gonna be really hard.”

So she’s trying to force retakes now so she can make it last longer? “Yes, exactly. We’ll have an extra day out of it!” she laughs. “No, it’s just… I mean, there’s still talk of doing a movie afterwards, and that would be great.” That would be a very different animal, though. “I think it depends on who we get to direct it and the DOP. I imagine we’ll have a lot of the same crew – I hope – but it really depends on whether MGM film division wants to use one of our director or whether they bring in someone new.”

As the actress does at least have the luxury of knowing well in advance that her show is ending, has she got anything line up yet? “I don’t at the moment. I’ve just finished shooting an independent film that will probably be done by the time this is over, and I’ve shot that on weekends while I was doing Stargate. The insanity of it all…” Don’t do it, kids. “Yeah, don’t try this at home, don’t work seven days a week. But I don’t know. I don’t know. I’ve got a manager in LA looking for stuff, there’s a couple of scripts that have come my way, but they start in September. So it’s really hard that far in advance to sort of figure out what you could be doing.”

Perhaps it’s a chance to simply sit back and chill out for a while. “No, you know, I’m not good at that. And I think that my husband would love it if I said ‘I’m gonna take a year off and chill out,’ but he also is pragmatic enough to know that I’m incapable of chilling out, as it were.”

The first time we ever spoke, we discussed the possibility of Tapping having a family; perhaps now is the time? “Yes. Yeah, thank you!” she says, mock-annoyed. “Like I need your pressure, Paul! Yeah, I just don’t know. I’d certainly consider it. But I love what I do for a living and I’m very motivated to continue doing it. And there’s always that fear that if you slink out of the mix for too long that you lose momentum, which is silly really, because what is more important? Life or… oh, rehearsal. Okay, we’ll get back to you.” I think she’s managed to shoot her point in the foot there, as she rushes off back to the set, promising to return shortly.

She does, sitting back down, clearing her throat in as comedic a way as possible and giving a tiny chuckle that cracks us both up. I ask why, when Richard Dean Anderson has headed off for the day (the remaining shots are close-ups for the guest actors), Tapping is still about. “Oh, I always do that,” she explains. “It’s my mantra. I mean, I understand why Rick left, and wasn’t there for off-camera because he had a plane to catch, but I have a really hard time leaving any of our guests talking to someone other than me, so I’ll say to do my off-camera. That’s my job.” Complimenting her on her dedication, I ask if there are any stories Tapping would like to do in this final year. “There’s a lot of things I want, yeah. In a perfect world, I’d like to know what happened to Joe when we left him up on the Harvester with the Aschen in 2001; I’d like to know what happens with the Tok’Ra and whether they are able to make their race stronger; there’s a bunch of dangling threads that we’ve left throughout the course of this six-year run I’d like to see tied up.”

And what things will she and won’t she miss when it’s all over? I add in the proviso she’s not allowed to say ‘the cast’ because that’s cheating. “Dammit,” she smiles, then cheats anyway: “I’m gonna miss everything.” I sigh, but resign myself to my fate and let her continue. “I’m gonna miss getting up at five o’clock in the morning and having somewhere to go that I love. Seriously. It’s sick but it’s true. I’m gonna miss this crew. I’m gonna miss the camaraderie. I’m gonna miss feeling like a part of this family. Such a tight-knit group, I’m gonna miss that. I’m not gonna miss army boots. I’m not gonna miss technobabble.” She laughs, then admits, “Maybe a little bit.”

Has she got a favourite bit of technical nonsense? “Oh God, so much stuck in my head!” she cries. “I’m not gonna miss the stupid things, but basically everything else I’m gonna miss. It’s been an incredible ride. It’s not even over yet, and you’re making me all maudlin, Paul!” I apologize. “You’re mean!” I apologize once more and Tapping bursts out laughing again. Perhaps, I suggest, I should come back again near the end of the season, once I’ve got some more cash together. Unfortunately it comes out as, ‘When I’ve worked out where my money is’ and Amanda is confused. “What do you mean ‘where your money is’?” I explain that I had enough for this trip… “But not the next one. I’ve got you. I thought you’d left the money somewhere. That’s how tired I am.” No, that would be stupid. “I didn’t wanna say it!” she laughs.

As usual, Tapping has completely put me off and all questions have disappeared from my mind. “I’m trying to think if there’s anything else I can tell you,” she tries to help. “Oh, it’s not Stargate-related, but the independent film I did, I did with JR Bourne [Stargate's Martouf], who plays my boyfriend. And we have sex. So the fans might like that.” Was there body doubling? “No body doubling.” What about naughty bits? “No, not really. But we kissed quite a lot. I have a wonderful husband, I can’t stress that enough. I have a really wonderful husband.” What, but he’s not as good a kisser? “My husband’s the best kisser,’ Tapping responds with confidence. “Which is why it’s easier to kiss anyone else. It’s like, no worries. He actually jokes around, because he knows JR pretty well, but he’s cool. It’s my job.” To kiss lots of people? “Absolutely,” she says, barely keeping a straight face. “It’s par for the course.” So let me get this straight, the reason Amanda Tapping was put on Earth “is to kiss a lot of people. on camera,” she quickly qualifies, before laughing and adding, “No, not at all what I’m saying!”

There is, of course, one question has to be asked: does Tapping miss Michael Shanks?

“Yeah,” she replies, unsurprisingly. “It’s just different. It’s like I knew he was going, I knew he wanted to leave; you resign yourself to that and you move on. We still talk now and again, but you have to just move on if you still enjoy it. He wasn’t happy here, and he left and so in a way it’s almost even better, because he wasn’t happy. Sure it’s tough, but he moved on and we have to too.”

I’ve already met his replacement, Corin Nemec, who I point out seems a nice, friendly, happy castmate. “He’s a very cheerful guy, but to be honest with you, interestingly, by the eighth episode of Season one, Christopher [Judge], Michael and me knew everything about each other, because we had the luxury of spending six weeks living in a hotel doing the pilot together and eating all our meals together. We were literally forced to form friendships, in a way. It wasn’t difficult by any stretch of the imagination, but we had a much easier road to really establish relationships. It’s like being the new kid in school; we’re still trying to make [Corin] comfortable, but it’s not the same. And we’re so established in our routine, we’re patterned with each other. I don’t envy him, I really don’t.”

And with that I thank Amanda for sticking around for a chat and let her head home for the weekend.

Source: Cult Times

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