Interview in the latest Starburst magazine
It’s not the whole thing…. I copied this from another forum, cleaned it up, but it’s not complete so that means you gotta buy the magazine and support ‘em ;)
And it contains some spoilers to “Vengeance” and “Irresponsible.”
It's early Friday evening on the Vancouver set of SGA and actor Joe Flanigan is looking forward to the weekend. He and the rest of the show's cast and crew have had quite a busy week not only finishing up shooting year three's penultimate episode “Vengeance,” but also starting work on the season finale 'First Strike'. At the moment, Flanigan is sitting on the steps leading up to the Atlantis gate room and waiting patiently for the lighting crew to set up for the next shot in Dr Weir's office.
'I don't want to give anything away, but what I think is the most brilliant thing we've done on Atlantis during the past three years will happen at the end of this episode' says the actor. 'Basically, it will be like a 'soft' reset on a ton of issues. It's so tough to talk about it without going into specifics, but essentially it opens up so may other avenues in terms of storytelling. The writers have found a clever way to take Atlantis down an entirely new creative path as well as bring a fresh tone to the programme, while at the same time keeping true to the classic elements already established. How's that for being totally ambiguous?' chuckles Flanigan. 'Let's just say that it sparks off a big adventure. It's all under the guise of what's happened before, which is Atlantis is being attacked, but in fact that will prove not to be the essence of this story'.
In the aforementioned “Vengeance,” Sheppard and his off-world team cross paths once again with the Wraith-turned-Human-turned-Wraith, Michael whose experiments with iratus bugs lead to life-threatening problems for our heroes. 'I just love working with Connor' enthuses Flanigan. 'He's a talented actor and a great guy. As for this story itself, I made a point of going up to Brad Wright's office earlier today, as well as phoning writer Carl Binder yesterday and told them what a good episode I think “Vengeance” is going to turn out to be. Sometimes we [actors] will call the producers with notes about things we feel might be wrong about a script, so they were probably surprised to hear that in this case I thought all the elements came together. I'm a pretty tough critic when it comes to my work and the series, and I like this episode a lot because it enters into the psychological arena. It becomes very much an X-Files-ish sort of thriller, and, honestly, if, like our characters, you're exploring space and running into weird and spooky creatures, then things are going to turn deeply psychological, do you know what I mean?' This is a direction that I've been trying to get Atlantis to go in for a while, but for one reason or another it just hasn't been possible. Then this script came along. I'm a big fan of Carl Binder. He's a very strong writer and the dialogue in “Vengeanc”e is wonderful. It was a fun episode to work on, but the actual location wasn't so hot. We shot in the hollowed out tunnels underneath an abandoned mental institution, which were dark, dank and had this 'stuff' on the walls. After a week, most people's eyes were red and I got sick, so as cool as the story looks, hopefully now audiences will know that there were 'sacrifices' involved in making it look that way!' jokes Flanigan
In an early season three episode '”Irresistible,” an alien named Lucius Lavin uses a secret herbal potion on an unsuspecting Dr Weir and her people in order to charm his way into the city and ultimately steal a puddlejumper. He returns later this year in “Irresponsible” and the Atlantis team is caught in the middle of a showdown between him and an old adversary Commander Acastus Kolya. Flanigan is on the fence when asked about this episode. 'Of all the stories we've done this season, this is the one I have the most conflicted thoughts on' he explains. ' I really enjoyed Irresistible. It's nice to do a lighter episode every now and then, although as I just talked about, I tend to lean towards a somewhat darker tone for the series while still maintaining it's sense of fun. That story was more outright humor and a blast to do. With “Irresponsible,” I have to watch it again. The thing is I keep getting different cuts of the episode. Every time I'm about to watch one version of it, a new one comes along. There were certain challenges to shooting this story because we had Robert Davi, who's a dramatic actor, as well as Richard Kind, who's a comedy actor, and there was supposed to be friction between their two characters. I have to look at the final cut, though, before deciding where I stand. Once again, I'm honest about things like this. I don't really say I like an episode if I don't. I've been wrong about a lot of stories that I've questioned and didn't think were going to work, but they ended up turning out just fine. So for now I'll have to reserve judgment on this one,' smiles the actor.
… 'Last season it was about my character becoming a team player rather than a solo player' he says. 'I think this year for me as an actor, the scripts are that little bit stronger, and that manifests itself in meatier scenes. So more about Sheppard is revealed because there are, in fact, more character beats. For a while there the writers were trying to craft scenes involving all the characters and gave them each one or two lines, but the truth is you don't really accomplish much that way. Not only do those types of scenes take longer to shoot, but it also leaves the actors feeling slightly shortchanged because they can't reveal anything of real significance about the characters. This year has been somewhat different in that we've had more individual vehicle stories and I think everyone - the fans, the actors, the writers etc. - are much more satisfied. I'm curious to hear what viewers have to say about this entire season and I can tell them now that they have some pretty awesome story arcs to look forward to in year 4'.
Despite his character being held hostage by the Genii and having the life sucked right out of him by a Wraith, Flanigan thoroughly enjoyed working on the season 3 Atlantis episode “Common Ground” 'That was a great time from beginning to end' says the actor. 'Will Waring is one of my favorite directors on the show, it was a strong script and Sheppard got to go toe-to-toe with a Wraith. It's what I said before about us having more individual stories this year and more character development, the latter of which really comes out in this episode. “Common Ground” was mainly Sheppard and a Wraith and we had some neat scenes that are both funny and dramatic. Even if the episode hadn't turned out as good as it did, I still would have said it was a positive experience and I'm thankful to the writers for putting it together. Luckily, the final cut was great, and hopefully they'll decide to do more of these mano-e-mano type stories. The only thing I didn't like, though, were the prosthetics. They take forever and I can't stand them. I'm just praying I look a heck of a lot better than Sheppard did when I get older' laughs Flanigan!
All that everyone on Atlantis wanted was a little R & R, and they got that and much more in season three episode “Sunday”. 'That's going to be an awfully good episode and one that every fan needs to watch' says Flanigan. 'I don't think I should say much more than that. Part of me likes this story a great deal, while part of me was challenged significantly by it because essentially it's a day off for our people, and the truth is, drama is driven by everyday things we have to do. It's that urgency that drives drama, but when you have a day off, by its definition there is literally no urgency. For Sunday we shot these scenes that felt a little bizarre because Sheppard and the others are dressed in their civilian clothes and hanging out, making small talk, drinking beer, playing golf etc. and generally goofing off. So that's the basic set-up. They have no deadlines, they're kicking back, it's Sunday, time to chill out, or is it? Oops, guess not. The action obviously then picks up, but filming those off-duty moments was an unusual challenge to say the least'!