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Feature: Stargate SG-1

Taking a Browder

Ben Browder With Richard Dean Anderson gone, who better to take charge of SG-1 than fan favourite Farscape star Ben Browder?

The last time I spoke to Ben Browder, we ended up chatting about phones, spam e-mail and, to a lesser extent, his involvement in Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars. Now he’s enrolled in Stargate SG-1 and up in Vancouver, joining the show in its ninth year as Lt Colonel Cameron Mitchell, the new leader of team SG-1. But first: bears. “There is a bear situation here. Every time we go out in the field we ask for live ammo so we can deal with the bears. Apparently they did have a bear situation a few years ago, but you’d have to ask Chris Judge about that. Chris and his love of bears. Most of them just wanna date him.”

Ahem. So… Stargate SG-1. “Apparently someone screwed up somewhere and they hired me. Go figure, man,” deadpans Browder. “I was surprised that they chose me. Look, I’m always surprised when somebody chooses me. It’s like the eternal game of pick-up basketball, it’s a shock when you get chosen.”

Browder met, over time, several of the show’s producers, who believed he was exactly what SG-1 needed. “I said, ‘Well, I’ll look at the show and see a few eps’ and we all came to an agreement that I’ll watch the entire series and I’m here.”

Hold on: he watched the entire series? “Yes.” In how long? “Two-and-a-half weeks.” He’s joking. “No.” And he’s still sane? “I’m sane but I’m potentially brain damaged. That amount of any kind of television is potentially damaging. The family were certainly fed up with me at a certain point. I said, ‘The TV is mine for two-and-a-half weeks; go outside and play’. What a prime example of parenthood that is, huh? You spend your life trying to get your kids not to watch TV and then you spend two and a half weeks basically becoming a fungus on the couch. They’d come by occasionally and throw another bag of chips in me and a couple of sodas.

“I just felt it was necessary when you’re coming into a show that’s been going such a long time, to at least have a working hint of what it is they’ve done, so that when there’s a conversation going on, which there inevitably is, about, ‘Okay, this is blah blah blah blah blah,’ you go, ‘Oh yeah, I saw that one’. You’re able to be conversant in the story as you tell it to each other off-camera and then on-camera. I actually think the staff probably thought I was nuts when they heard I was watching all the episodes. I did hear back at one point some people were a bit worried: ‘He’s doing what? That’s… excessive.’”

Browder has mentioned in the past that he looks quite similar to one of his co-stars, Michael Shanks. The arrival of a beard on Shanks at the start of the season looks like a ploy to differentiate the pair. Browder laughs, insisting, “That hasn’t happened, getting me confused with Michael since…” he pauses, then realizes, “about three hours ago. The first AD said, ‘Get a close up on Amanda and on Michael,’ and he was pointing at me. Oh, man. It happened a couple of times early on, it hasn’t happened in a while, but it did happen three hours ago. We move differently, we sound different; actually we don’t look that much alike on camera together, I don’t think. I can still tell which one’s me. Usually.”

by Paul Spragg

Get the full interview and much, much more on Stargate in
Cult Times Special #35

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

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Stargate 2005
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