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From About.com

Joe Flanigan & Stargate Atlantis

By Julia Houston

Friday 9 July 2004, by xanderbnd

Stargate Atlantis should premiere on the Sci-Fi Channel this July.

Joe Flanigan, the male lead for Stargate Atlantis, took a break from filming the pilot episode in Vancouver to talk about the show and his vital statistics. Even over the hiss of the cell phone, I could hear the crew working. The cameras only started rolling last week, and though it’s hard to discuss a show that hasn’t been made yet, but we gave it a shot.

JF: The differences in this show from SG-1 are going to be apparent quickly when people get to watch, though it’s definitely still going to be a Stargate show. The changes will be refreshing.

ME: Sounds great. But, I have to confess, I don’t know you, and I’m usually pretty good at that.

JF: I don’t know you, either.

ME: True. (I didn’t tell him about my night-vision goggles or that thick shrub by his trailer.) So, how about some life history here?

JF: Okay. I grew up near Reno, NV on a very small ranch, where my parents still live.

ME: Grew up riding horses?

JF: Oh yes. Lots of shoveling horse manure. Then at fourteen I went to boarding school in Ojai, CA, then to college at the University of Colorado.

ME: Major?

JF: History. I went off to Paris for a year — Junior Year Abroad program. Then it was a few summer stints — Wells Fargo Bank, and so on. When I graduated, I had decided to be a writer and found a job at Interview Magazine in New York. It didn’t last long. I finally tried acting on the advice of some of my friends, and suddenly I was very busy.

ME: So you tried all these things and then stuck with acting. What’s the attraction?

JF: I’d like to tell you something else, but I think I’m primarily and actor by default. It’s creative, and now I’ve discovered how much fun it is. I like working as part of a collaboration. Writing...it ends up being an intensely lonely sport. But with acting, you’re really working as a team. Then, if you can sink your teeth into a good role, and the end result is anything like what you hope it’s going to be, it’s really satisfying.

ME: What draws you to a part?

JF: Anytime there’s some sincerity or integrity to the character, it’s easy.

ME: Easy, huh? I notice you’ve been an actor for a while, but now you’re going to be sci-fi actor. Are you prepared?

JF: Filming the pilot, we’re working with Robert Patrick, and he’s told me sci-fi fans are intensely loyal and very astute. Once they’ve been introduced to you, they are very observant. And so, the same people saw him in T2 followed him into other shows. Sci-fi fans seem a more united block than fans in other genres.

ME: So, will you be buying your own action figure when it comes out?

JF: Well, hopefully, you’ll be buying it, and I’ll get the royalties.

I’ve talked with Richard Dean Anderson as well, and he agrees that sci-fi fans are Intensely loyal and sophisticated. I think that’s what nice about this show: it respects the intelligence of its audience. In particular there’s a self-deprecating humor about the show that is appreciated. I certainly don’t want to watch characters that take themselves too seriously.

In fact, before I really agreed to do the role, I was adamant that [Major John Sheppard] be self-deprecating. I didn’t know then about Anderson’s take on his own character. It’s really refreshing to know he’s paved the way for other characters to benefit from that.

ME: So you didn’t come to this as a Stargate fan?

JF: I didn’t know anything about it, actually. After we met with MGM they gave me some box sets, and now I can honestly say I’m a fan.

ME: Are you more Jonas or Jackson fan?

JF: Argh! Don’t ask me questions like that!