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Feature: Stargate Atlantis

Joe Flannigan

We sneak a peek at the person viewers are flocking to see: Sheppard. Joe Flanigan portrays the major who leads the team on its missions, but it seems he’s mislaid his brain…

It takes a brave soul to admit he’s lost his mind, but Joe Flanigan is man enough to do just that. “I don’t have a brain any more,” he sighs. “It’s gone. And I’m happier as a result. Brains are so overrated, don’t you think?” Oh, we love a man with a sense of humour. Flanigan makes this tongue-in-cheek announcement during Cult Times’ second visit to the Stargate Atlantis set, but actually we think the talented Mr F is very much in possession of all his faculties and it shows. Already a firm favourite with viewers worldwide, much of Atlantis’s critical success has been a result of the self-effacing, laconic wit displayed by leading airman Major John Sheppard, aka the brainless Flanigan.

When we first visited the fledgling show, the actor seemed so laid-back as to be almost horizontal when offering his very positive opinion on the phenomenal Stargate SG-1’s sister show. Unsurprisingly, he’s equally as chilled almost six months down the line when asked to share what’s been happening in the intervening months. “Well, what’s happened in terms of Atlantis is the show is doing well, which is really exciting and, as I anticipated, we now have our own identity. Actually, I thought it was going to take longer and it didn’t take as long as I thought. So we’ve carved out our own identity instead of coat-tailing SG-1 which is nice, and that’s the biggest change. Another big change is that the writers are getting to know the characters better and vice versa, so the material is coming a lot easier and everything just fits better than it did at the beginning of the season.”

John Sheppard started out as a bit of a renegade, irreverent sort of guy. Asked how he thinks his character has changed since day one, Flanigan playfully replies, “I don’t think anymore ‘cos I don’t have a brain.” Relenting, he goes on, “The character is going along the trajectory we wanted it to go and he isn’t altogether different than he was at the end of the first episode, but he is fulfilling his potential.” Teased about this very diplomatic-sounding answer, the actor shrugs, “It’s strange to talk about this character in the third person.”

Whilst considering further comment, Flanigan reaches over the table and picks up a black, spindly-looking contraption, which he waves about before poking the thing up his nose. Tittering at our aghast expressions, he explains, “I won this in a golf tournament. It’s what you get for coming in first place. It looks like one of those medical endoscope pieces of equipment. It’s very bizarre.” Told that it looks like one of those sex toys we understand can be bought from the Internet, Flanigan splutters his outrage and gasps, “Hey! Hey, hey, hey! This is a family network.” already.

by Thomasina Gibson

Get the full interview
and more on Stargate SG-1 in
Cult Times #113

Photo © Sci-Fi Channel
Feature © Visual Imagination 2005. Not for reproduction

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Cult Times #113
February 2005
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