Thursday, October 29, 2009

Michael Shanks talks SGU, Santuary and Twitter

Hey everyone! Got some good stuff for you Michael Shanks fans! And if my Twitter feed is to be believed, there are TONS of you out there. I'm certainly included in the ranks! The main part of our interview was about his upcoming appearance on Smallville as the Justice Society member with gravity-defying Nth metal wings, Hawkman. (I'll link as soon as it goes live.)

But Shanks gave me some great info on his Stargate Universe appearances, his opinion about the show and his upcoming role on Sanctuary. You guys get to check it out before it goes up on The Huffington Post. He also mentioned that, if he looses a bet with his might actually see him on Twitter!

So, you're appearing on Stargate Universe...

I did a brief cameo in the pilot and I've shot a couple of episodes, I think episode nine, called “Human” and then one near the end of their run...I think it's the eighteenth episode of the season.

I love the show. What do you think of it? It's really different...

It is different. I mean, it's a completely different taste palate than the previous Stargate incarnations. It's more realistic. The characters are much more dimensionalized. The visual of it is far more aesthetically pleasing and stunning. The camera work is more interesting. The visual effects are amazing. I mean, we had some great visual effects on SG-1. But these are just feature as far as I'm concerned. From the shots I've seen. The acting is wonderful. The actors are really commiting. You can tell. And there's some wonderfully drawn characters there.

I just had a little...I just watched the first three episodes, and I just had a little issue with some of the drama. I felt it was somewhat forced, and I just mean from the perspective of...the characters come across order to create the tension, the mistrust, or the angst between some of the characters, it seems to lack logic, where the arguments have come across sometimes as, like, petulant children, not responsible adults engaged in discussions about actual issues. The was that, when they were squabbling over something simple, the voices seemed to be a little more heightened for the sake of creating drama than they should be, as opposed to how people would react more in that kind of situation to another adult as opposed to yelling at you because it says we're supposed to be yelling at each other.

I had a little problem with that aspect of the drama, but again, I am not the expert because I've not sat down and watched every episode. I've seen aspects of the first three and the later part of, I believe, "Light". So, again, I was blown away by the physical aspects of the show and really transported. When I watch it, I'm really transported to the world that they've created. It's really three-dimensionalized. I'm just not quite buying all of the mistrust elements and the tension elements just yet. But I think they're one strong story from hooking me and turning the corner on that. And I've also found that I haven't quite gotten attached to the characters as much as I probably should be. But that might be intentional as well. They're much more dimensionalized therefore, they're not completely likable, they're not completely unlikable. And there's a little bit of mystery to it. So it keeps you coming back saying, 'where are they going with this'. That's not a bad thing. Dole it out slowly. So yeah, I've liked it for the most part, but I've just had some issues with some of the creation of the drama.

So you're going to be guest starring on Sanctuary, right? (You're on all my favorite shows.)

Yes. My speech therapist...we had a little sit down and he told me that, in order to get past my fear of the letter "S" I may only appear on shows that start with the letter "S" so I can build up my resistance to it. So yes.


Smallville, Stargate, Sanctuary. I'm looking for some others. If you can reccomend any other shows that start with "S" that I could pitch myself out to that would be great. But yeah, Sanctuary.
Have you filmed the episode yet?

Oh yeah, I filmed it in June I believe.


April, May...I don't remember. It's been a hell of a year. [Laughs] We used part of the Watchmen backlot, which was a three block cityscape that they built for Watchmen. So there's this beautiful standing set in the middle of Burnaby (Vancouver) that has some great exteriors for, I think it's episode nine. I think. I may be completely off base with that. But yeah, I play a character called Jimmy. "Jimmy the Pouch". [Laughs] Or as I call him, "Jimmy the Pooch". He has a strong interaction with and a similar background with the new character called Kate Freelander, played by Agam Darshi on the show, and has a history with Helen Magnus, played by Amanda Tapping (his former co-star on SG-1). We kind of toy with that a little. But most of the scenes I have are with Agam Darshi.

I actually drove past that set when I was on a set visit for another film up in Vancouver. I didn't get to stop, but it looked really cool!

Yeah, it's pretty nifty, I have to say. I didn't know that on the Smallville lot, they've got a block and a half of Metropolis built on their back's really neat to discover these things in Vancouver. [Laughs] I've lived here for a large portion of the last twenty years and I haven't seen a lot of this stuff. So it's really neat.

A bunch of my Twitter followers asked where your wife is on Twitter, and want to know when you're getting on there.

Oh, uh, never. That's that one. Let's get that out of the way. Michael Shanks twittering is not going to happen. Let's just go down that road. [Laughs] Although apparently I might. I made a bet with my wife and she had to choose what I would have to do if I lost the bet. She said, because she knows how much I don't like the notion of twittering, if I lose, I have to twitter for a week. So that will be probably be the only way you will catch me twittering. I'm just not that guy. [Laughs] But she is. I don't know. I don't keep track of her twittering...I don't know what you call it. [Laughs]

Tweets? [Laughs]

When she's doing it I walk by and roll my eyes. That's my twenty cents. I'm sure all the true twitters and the true fans of Twitter are going to look at me and go, 'you're a bonehead'. [Laughs]

Well, your official website twitters...

Yes, they do a lot of that kind of stuff. I'm trying to take a step back from my direct involvement in online kind of stuff. I find it to be a dark and murky place where there are a lot of drive by opinion makers [Laughs] who escape into the night without being accountable for their words and I'm not a big fan of that. So I attempt to keep my distance from the direct online interaction.

I totally understand...I've has some issues...

Yeah, that's the thing. I guess if you put it in proper perspective it really doesn't matter, but in terms of, I've got young kids and stuff like that. My daughter is getting into the internet aspect of things, and is online on a regular basis, and does read some certain things. She will poke around and look at certain things. And I don't want her to see that kind of crap. It's going to be there anyway, so I'm not going to worry about it. That's what happens when you're a little bit in the public eye, or stick your neck out there, but it's the aspect of sticking your neck out there and placing myself in those situations. I'm just not terribly interested in doing that at this juncture. I've got better things to do. [Laughs]


  1. Good blog. Really enjoyed it. Didn't like Shanks when he was first on SG-1 because I felt he was trying to hard to emulate Spader. But saw some later eps where he seemed to find his own take an dug him.

    Excited to see him as Hawkman and what Smallville does to create that character.

    Well done Jenna. I'm going to repost this to me facebook and de twitter.

    That's right, ;)

  2. Thanks Chuck!!! He was super cool. The Hawkman stuff should be up tomorrow. And I appreciate you spreading the word!

  3. Hey, Jenna
    It appears to had been an amazing interview. Thanks for sharing it earlier.
    He seems to be a nice guy. A little bit afraid of the "dark side" of online exposure, but who knows someday he'll realize the goodies of it. There's a lot of people who'd appreciate to say to him how much he's adored! It's a kind of interaction that eliminates geographic barriers and may be gratifying as well.
    I hope he loses the bet and becomes a Twitter addicted! One can dream, right?
    Anyway, tks a lot.
    A huge hug from Brazil. @Lele_Cordeiro

  4. I agree Lele. I get a lot of crazy comments on some of my pieces, but over all, it's been amazing to meet so many cool people I never would have learned about otherwise.

    I know he's going to read the Huffington Post article at least. He said his wife is a big fan! :) So you can definitely leave him comments there. I'll also be happy to pass them on to his publicist for ya!

    :) Jenna

  5. Wicked interview, thank you Jenna! He's dreamy hehe

  6. Oh my gosh, kudos to Michael for being so honest about his views of SGU, rather than just gushing over every aspect. He's never been a company man, and I really respect him for that. Also, too bad his daughter has to read bad things about him. :( The main interview and this one are just incredible! Thanks so much! Love Huffington Post for all my political needs. About to follow you on twitter!

  7. Thanks for the blog and the article, I enjoyed them immensely. Just want to point out to Chuck P. that the producers wanted that early characterization, and actors don't have a lot of choice about following their directions. He made the character his own as soon as he was able to do so, and did it very well.

    I agree with him about the internet. For all the good things about it, there are an equal number of things that are pretty vile. I really feel for actors whose children are eventually going to see some of the stuff that's out there.

  8. Hey, thanks! Great interview.

    (So Michael wants to be on shows that start with "S"? Someone tell him Supernatural! *g*)

  9. Throughout the years of watching Stargate, I always thought of Shanks as my favorite. It's tough for me to watch him in any other production because when I see him I think "Daniel Jackson." I suppose that just comes with the territory when you are one of the lead roles on the longest airing Sci-Fi show, next to Dr. Who. I am just glad to see a fellow Vancouverite isn't held back by people like me who can't imagine him anywhere else except for on SG-1. I have often wondered what Michael is like in real life, and just hearing his views on twitter convinced me that we'd get along just fine. If he likes Bridges, down in Granville, maybe we can get a bite and talk about how much we hate twitter?

  10. I'm so glad you guys enjoyed the interview. He really was lovely to talk to. Fingers crossed that I get another one before it airs in January. :) And thanks for passing it on and commenting!!

  11. Two great interviews, thank you. He's such an honest and interesting man, and his views on SGU were quite insightful. His views of the internet are not surprising. He's been bitten badly a few times in the past. But I'm glad we can keep up with his career through interviews such as this.

    I'm looking forward to his next appearances on Universe and to Smallville. I can tell you, his fans are hopping with excitement over those wings.

  12. Great interview! And Michael: There's always Supernatural. Great 'S' show and right in Vancouver. (His wife would know. She was on a few weeks ago.)

  13. Great interview with my favorite actor! I don't care if Michael Shanks does good guys or bad, he is guaranteed to raise the bar for everyone in an episode. (I think that is why SG-1 lasted 10 years, and still left me and many others wanting to see more.) Michael's love of his family and effort to be the caring person they need him to be may make his acting job hectic, at times, but it also seems to be what makes him an actor who is respected, even adored by those in his craft.

  14. There is a side that wants to say you chose to be actor, online has become part of fan/actor contact. But seeing how irreponsibly some treat them, you begin to understand his view. I do wish though he would do SOME participation with his official web site if only Q&A or note. Heck RDA does at least that. Those ladies work their butts off promoting him and his career but they have to get "news" from other sources. I think that is an embarassment to them.

  15. This was great to read! Thanks! I am so happy that someone from the one of the past shows gave a really honest "review" of SGU. I have felt many of the same things things regarding the character interactions. I understand concerns about the internet and how it doesn't really mix well with young children. I am looking forward to the Sanctuary episode.

  16. Very cool interview - I can definitely sympathize with him on the technology stuff, not my favorite thing either. The net doesn't have any filters and people can really trash you and say things you don't want your family to hear . . . Very excited about the Sanctuary episode with him coming up. Hoping I can catch the Smallville Episodes online as I don't have a TV?:( Hoping to see much more of him on different Science Fiction and Fantasy shows. Legend of the Seeker maybe. He is a really terrific talent. Jenna if you could just drop off a note to Lexa to say THANK you for being so good for Michael. From what I can see, they are just an amazing team!

  17. Thanks for sharing-it was a great interview!
    And I agree with what Michael says in the interview regarding SGU.I think it is hard to find a focus yet-maybe its getting better..
    And all my respect for Michael in wanting to protect his children from reading bad things on internet,I think I would react in the same way.
    Supernatural is a good choice when it comes to a title starting with an "S",I think Michael would do a great job in that one whatever character he d play!I have a swedish title in "S" too but I dont think swedish is that easy to learn..
    Why not dare to try another letter Michael,"F" as in Fringe,maybe?
    Looking forward to the Sanctuary and Smallville-eps!Thanks for all!