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Feature: Stargate Atlantis

Amanda Tapping in command

After 10 years on the front line, Colonel Samantha Carter is moving from SG-1 to Stargate Atlantis to take up a command position…

Life has been anything but dull for Stargate SG-1’s Samantha Carter over the last 10 years, and the adventure is far from over. This (fourth) season on Stargate Atlantis, she leaves the Milky Way Galaxy for the far-flung Pegasus Galaxy to take up her new assignment as leader of the Atlantis expedition. It’s sure to be a year of significant change not only for the character, now a colonel, but also the actress who plays her, Amanda Tapping.

“When it was announced that I was going over to Atlantis I had some people say to me, ‘Oh, my God, you’re going to play this character for another year.’ Oddly enough, though, she isn’t the same character; she can’t be,” notes Tapping. “Sam is no longer in a position of subordination. It’s far easier to be a lemming than it is to be the leader of the lemmings. I’m not saying that the characters on Atlantis are lemmings, but in the military it’s much easier to be a subordinate and follow someone else’s orders rather than have to make up your own, knowing that any decision you make affects thousands of peoples’ lives.

“They say, ‘Heavy is the head that wears the crown.’ Sam has the mantel of looking after everyone on this base. For the first time in her career and in her life she’s in charge of a group of people, but my character isn’t focusing a great deal on the in charge part. By that I mean she’s not all like, ‘Rah, rah, rah, I’m your new leader.’ It’s more a case of, ‘OK, I’m responsible for these people’s lives, and along with having to make the right decisions, I also have to be aware of the fact that people are going to be following my orders, which means they’ve got to be the right orders.

“So that’s the challenge for Sam, and the challenge for me when playing her is to try to temper being in charge with not abusing that responsibility and not being power-hungry, which she’s not. It’s very much a case of me, Amanda, and Sam coming into this new situation and going, ‘We’re not taking over here. We’re just being aware that everyone has their areas of expertise,’ and with Sam, she’s just the facilitator of those expertise.”

Prior to starting work on the show, Tapping took a trip up North, the Arctic to be more precise, along with fellow SG-1 actors Ben Browder (Colonel Cameron Mitchell) and Richard Dean Anderson (General Jack O’Neill) as well as a camera team to shoot a handful of scenes for Stargate: Continuum, the second of two SG-1 DVD adventures scheduled for release in 2008.

“That was one of the most exciting experiences I’ve ever had,” enthuses Tapping. “Aside from giving birth and being a parent, going up to the Arctic ranks right up there in my top 10 life experiences. It was a challenge and an adventure. We were a small group of wacky and intrepid explorers and it was a total team effort. Everyone helped out with everything.”

by Stephen Eramo

Read the full interview in
TV Zone #220

Photo © The Sci-Fi Channel
Feature © Visual Imagination 2008. Not for reproduction

Taken from
TV Zone #220, see below for ordering options
TV Zone #220
October 2007
ships from Sep 19 2007
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