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Jewel Staite

Jewel Staite - "Stargate Atlantis" Tv Series - David Hewlett Gateworld.net Interview

Friday 27 July 2007, by Webmaster


GW: Share how you feel about some of the major cast changes this year. You’re gaining Amanda and Jewel, but at the same time you’re also losing both Paul and Torri as [regulars].

DH: Yeah, it’s a big upheaval. There’s a whole different feel to the scenes now. There’s definitely been a hole where Paul was.

Jewel’s not replacing Paul. I should make that very clear. It’s not like she’s come in and taken his place. They didn’t recast Paul. They obviously felt that it was a smart move from the series standpoint to shake things up a bit. Frankly, given the hooting and hollering that’s going on, they’ve succeeded in that.

[There is] press attention, there is fan attention. This is the kind of stuff that I’m assuming producers want, because people are talking about the show. I think that’s a good way to mix it up.

But Jewel is a completely different character. She comes into it with a very different sense of humor, but still a sense of humor. She’s a very smart lady, and she plays the character really well. It’s fun to have scenes with her because she’s doing some really neat stuff. And to me, she’s a television icon because of Firefly. Jane and I watched Firefly religiously, and she was one of our favorite characters. It really is a breath of fresh air. She’s definitely brought this great, light sense to her character, which I’m really enjoying.

And she’s just a pleasure to be around. And I tease her mercilessly, and she reacts to it. Generally that’s always a good thing for me. If I can make someone’s life a misery in the first few episodes, it’s always fun to do that.

And Amanda — I feel like I owe all of this to Amanda. Had she not given me the freedom to play the way I did in SG-1 when I came in ... There’s not a lot of actors who will give you that much leeway to be so offensive, and just so obnoxious. And she did. And effectively that’s what got me on this show. If that chemistry hadn’t worked I don’t think I’d be back. I was surprised to be back anyway, given the jerk I was playing.

Again, having her around is fantastic. And again, in the same way that Stargate Atlantis is not replacing SG-1 by any way, it’s just the way it changes. The way it grows. Different little offshoots of characters come out of it. I think Amanda as a controlling force to Atlantis makes sense. Even in the world that we live in, the sci-fi, Stargate Atlantis / SG-1 world, it makes sense. If anyone is going to know what’s going on, it’s Sam Carter. So why not put her in charge? [As] much as McKay hates it.

Again, I love it from my standpoint because I’ve got Jewel to work with, playing Keller. Keller, [a] very smart doctor. Very pretty. Very quick-witted. Someone to bounce off.

McKay is never good with women, so I say the more women characters who come in the better. He doesn’t know what to do. Especially if they’re smart. And Carter, of course — I love that dynamic. It’s fun to find. We’re doing scenes where we’re in peril and there’s all sorts of techno stuff going back and forth, and it’s just fun finding those little moments of conflict, where you get to butt heads.

That’s what it’s all about. If all the characters got along it’s not much fun to watch on television. This is just more characters to mix it up. It’s a very welcome addition. And again, I talk of it as an addition, not as a replacement. As we’ve seen on SG-1, the favorites come back. They’re very good about that, and I hope to see that happen as well.


GW: You don’t have to hang upside-down when you do it this time.

DH: That’s true. The physical peril may make a difference. I think the biggest challenge is always when we’re all in the scene together. I think we have too much fun. It’s always hard. You remember halfway through the scene: "Oh, God, that’s right, we’re all about to die. We need to stop laughing and giggling about these things."

Again, this year was really strange. Last year when we came in I felt the hiatus was gone in a second. I felt like we ended the season and started the new one and I don’t even remember anything in between it. It was so quick. We felt like we were right back at work and such.

And this year it’s just been incredibly fun. I think maybe it is partially because of Amanda and Jewel that maybe we’re all on our best behavior. We’ve got David Ogden Stiers as well in the first couple of episodes. It’s almost too much fun.

I feel guilty getting paid ... Not that guilty, really. Actually, not guilty at all. But a nice turn of phrase.

It’s definitely felt much more relaxed this year, for some reason. [A train passes] I don’t know why ... the trains are just as loud, and they still shake the trailer as much! It’s nice, when you’re actually eating you can watch your food move across the table back and forth. For some reason every studio I’ve worked in has always been located right beside a train track. I’m not sure why they do that. You think with sound it’d be an issue, but no.