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Feature: Stargate SG-1

Ben Browder

You followed his adventures on Farscape, now join Ben Browder on his travels through the universe as the new leader of SG-1. We recently met up with the actor for a chat on set in Vancouver.

He hung out with the Party of Five, played Farrah Fawcett’s ex-hubby Lee Majors in Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Charlie’s Angels, and spent a few years lost among the stars as astronaut John Crichton in Farscape. Nowadays, actor Ben Browder is back exploring Outer Space as Air Force Lt Colonel Cameron Mitchell on Stargate SG-1.

When Daniel Jackson died, his place on SG-1 was filled with almost indecent haste by Jonas Quinn. But the team’s been one man short since Colonel Jack O’Neill was promoted at the start of the show’s eighth year. Now, as the series begins its ninth season, the gap at the top of the team has finally been filled by the USAF’s Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Mitchell, an offscreen hero of past encounters with Earth’s alien enemies. After four years as Farscape’s astronaut John Crichton, dealing with aliens is nothing new for Ben Browder, the actor who plays Mitchell, but when sitting in his Bridge Studios trailer on a Friday afternoon in May, he still smiles when asked about his first day of work on SG-1 back in March.

“It was a real shocker because Chris Judge did a lot of the talking, and having watched every episode of Stargate I actually think the guy crammed a whole year’s worth of dialogue into that one day. It was unbelievable,” jokes the actor of his co-star’s generally taciturn role as Teal’c. “So that morning it was Chris and I doing a walk and talk scene as our two characters on Dakara,” the home of the new Free Jaffa Nation. “I was thrilled that he had most of the lines because I was fighting off a cold, so it meant I didn’t have to say very much.

“In the early afternoon we moved over to another soundstage to begin filming on the Prometheus spaceship set, and by the end of the afternoon I was completely lost – physically not professionally. That’s happens to all actors when they first arrive on a new set. You’re like, ‘Excuse me, where’s the bathroom? Which way to craft services?’ Just getting out of the building becomes a critical issue,” laughs Browder.

“On a more serious note, we’re filming on HDV, high definition video, instead of 35mm, which is technically a shift for me. Also, every film set has its own culture, and learning the names of the people who you’re directly working with as well as those who are making everything possible – and then putting names to faces – is a challenge at first. At the same time, you’re trying to figure out your character. Another thing, everyone here has been doing this for eight years, and while I may know some of the details, the actual methodology by which they make a scene happen is often radically different from one set to another. Yes, you’re still lighting the lights, pointing the cameras, hitting your marks and all that stuff, but it’s nonetheless a headspin coming onto an existing show. Fortunately for me, the cast and crew of Stargate have made that as easy as possible.”

by Steven Eramo

Get the full interview in
TV Zone #192

Image © Visual Imagination Ltd, Stargate © Sci-Fi Channel
Feature © Visual Imagination 2005. Not for reproduction

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TV Zone #192, see below for ordering options
TV Zone #192
August 2005
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