Paul McGillion: Great Scot!

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Ok, it’s not a Scottish Highland pipe, its an Uillean pipe, but it’s the closest thing I have!He can be wimpy and whiney, but when it comes right down to it he will put his life on the line. He has made us laugh, and he has made us bawl our eyes out. He also deserves a medal for having Rodney McKay as his best friend! The current Carson Beckett may be a copy, but there’s only one Paul McGillion!

Paul started out by giving us a little bit of a lesson about his history with the Stargate franchise. “I was on Stargate SG-1 in ‘Torment of Tantalus’ when I was a much younger fellow [we cheer, so Paul repeats in his Scottish accent] much younger. Playing Dr. Earnest Littlefield, and he was the first person to ever do through the Stargate, from what I believe [Um, of modern man, yes!]. So that’s kind of cool. And then I also wondered, since I had a lot of friends in Vancouver cuz I’m originally from Canada and I spend a lot of time here [Canadians cheer, and Paul uses his accent again to say] Thank you. So I spend a lot of time here, so I wondered, ‘How come I can’t go back on the show? It seems like these guys go on the show, they get to come back a couple seasons later as a different character.’ I always wondered why I never had the opportunity to come back on the show. ‘Was there something wrong? What’s going on?’ And when I read for Atlantis and fortunately got the part, I talked to Martin Wood about it and he goes, ‘No no, you don’t understand the fan base that the show has’, and I’m like, ‘Really?’. He’s like, ‘You’ll see’. I think that’s what I did.

“They wanted an international flavor to the character, and the casting director at the time said to my agent, ‘what accent is Paul doing to do?’ and my agent called me and said, ‘what accent is Paul going to do?’ and I said, I read the script, especially the pilot and I thought – I was born in Scotland – ‘I feels Scottish to me. He just has a comedic sensibility, you know the chair scene and everything’. That was one of the audition scenes I had to do. I said, ‘I think he’s Scottish, I feel he’s Scottish’, and she called them and said, ‘He’s Scottish.’ The casting director said ‘No no no. Don’t do a Scottish accent. No one will understand him.’ To which I said to my agent, ‘Well there are educated Scottish people as well. They do have doctors (his fingers make quotation marks) in Scotland’. So I think he watched Train Spotting one too many times. So basically I said, ‘No, I think he’s Scottish.’ He said, ‘Tell him to do an English accent. I want him to do an English accent.’ So she called me and said, ‘Do an English accent. He wants an English accent’ and I said, ‘No, I’m doing a Scottish accent.’ So I went to the casting trailer – you guys have had the set tour. It’s that trailer when you go in, there’s two little trailers sort of stuck in the ground. That’s where everyone auditions for the show. And it’s tiny and it’s kind of weird because you can hear the actors auditioning, and it’s no bigger than this stage. Literally. The room we audition in is just about the size of this half right here (spits the stage in half with a hand motion). So went in and did the audition again in front of the casting agent – he’s a great guy, by the way – and he says to me, ‘so what are you going to do?’ I said, ‘I’m going to do an educated Scottish accent’. He’s like, ‘(shaking his head) Ok.’ He wasn’t very happy with that. So I did the first scene and he said, ‘(grudgingly) Ok that was good.’ And then I did the second scene and he goes, ‘(still a little grudgingly) Ok very good.’ And then I did the last scene and he goes, ‘ok that was good. Get out.’ And I was the first one cast, I believe, on the show.

“Then, out of the first season, I was in 17 out of the 20 episodes. And then half way through the second they said, ‘we’d really like you to be a regular on the series’, and then that happened. It was really nice. A lot of it was to the fan response, so when I say that honestly they do because as a character they didn’t even know what was going to happen, and he seemed to strike a cord with a lot of the fans, to become a regular on the series. I thank you guys for that, because without this unique fan base that Stargate has, we all wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t see a lot of the same familiar faces that I’ve seen in London and in Paris and in Australia, in Ireland, and places like that. So it’s just a great franchise and it’s a great community that you guys have here. It’s so nice to see so many people having a great time. And I come to these things and it’s – some people watch football, or soccer, hockey, (gestures towards us) scifi! That’s what you guys do! I love it!

“You know I’m one of seven kids, six boys one girl. And ah, God bless her. She’s in the middle, too. Yeah, her boyfriends didn’t have a good time at our house. When I first started acting my dad is like, – because I had a teaching degree – ‘(in his Scottish accent, but with his voice pitched lower than usual) You’re a bloody teacher. Teach for God’s sakes. What’s with this acting gig you’re doing?’ I say, ‘Dad, I love it!’ and he goes, ‘(accented) What kind of game are you playing at? What is this? Teach! You’re a teacher! Teach!’ I said, ‘well Dad, I really like it’ and I started getting a couple jobs, moved to Vancouver, got a job on the X-Files, and he said, ‘(accented) Well that’s fantastic, that you talk to other shows. How much do you make doing that?’ and I told him and he goes, ‘well that’s fantastic, that acting! Great stuff!’”

Paul then told us about his first read through session for the Pilot episode of Atlantis. “I feel like this is whoo! This is big for me. So we’re all sitting around a table, pleasantries, shaking hands and stuff. And in the Pilot, you recall, I have one of the first lines. It’s like, ‘(accented) I’m not bloody getting into that chair’ – that sort of thing. I can’t remember the lines exactly, but to that effect. And we talked for maybe 15 minutes and then Martin Wood, the director, said, ‘ok we’re going to start the read now’. And Joe [Flanigan] is like two people down from me, and I remember I had one of the first lines and everyone’s sitting around like, ‘ok we’re going to start’, and I’m like, ‘(accented) I’m not getting intot that bloody chair, for God’s sakes!’ and I could just see everybody go like this (leans forward as if over a table and turns to look down it’s length) to look at me. Because nobody knew I was doing a Scottish accent. Ans I could see Joe just going, ‘(craning to see, and doing a pretty good imitation of Joe’s voice) Is that a Scottish accent?!’ Wait a second (Paul spikes up his hair). ‘Is that a Scottish accent?!’”

Someone asked a question about filming David Hewlett’s A Dog’s Breakfast. If you haven’t seen it, you need too. If you love seeing actor’s your familiar with do absolutely crazy things, get A Dog’s Breakfast! Paul told us about what very well may be the funniest scene in the whole piece. Note: Paul had to dress as a woman for a good portion if the film! “David Hewlett is lying on the ground, in the mud, naked. [Some women in the audience go, ‘Whoooo!’] No, trust me. . . . With soap suds all over his butt, and they have a woman there who has to keep the continuity, and every time it gets a little – with the rain, maybe the soap suds go away – she takes some and throws more on his butt. And I’m standing there looking at David, and I’m in my heels, I have an umbrella over me, and they say, ‘rolling’ and there’s something wrong with the lens so we he have to wait. I’m looking at David, David’s looking at me, and slowly my heels start sinking into the mud. And I look at him and I’m like, ‘David?’ ‘Yeah, McGillion, what?’ I’m like, ‘This better be funny’. He goes, ‘you’re telling me!’ Yeah, thanks David!”

How did you find out they were going to kill Carson? “They brought me up to the office. They said, ‘Here’s the deal’. They – the powers that be, the producers – they said, ‘listen, we’re switching things up, we’re going to mix things up a little bit. We’re going to kill that character’. I’m like, “that’sa big mix up’. It took me by surprise, to be honest with you, and I think a lot of people. But they run a television show, they do things for reasons unbeknownst to a lot of us, and then they decide to bring you back for other reasons, so they do give you notice. I had the script, I read the script. I actually shot that episode, and then shot subsequent episodes after that. Because it aired out of sequence because of the timing, so that was sort of difficult. I had to have a chat with the crew and say, ‘listen, it’s all good’, because I didn’t want them to have to walk on eggshells around me, and be that kind if actor. It’s been a great opportunity for me, and hopefully there will be other things as well, so that’s kind of how you’ve got to look at it as far as acting goes.

Do you know any of their reasons for why they killed Carson? “Not particularly, no I don’t. That’s more of a question for the producers rather than me, and I think they’ll be here tomorrow so you can throw that one at them.”

We LOVE to hear about pranks, don’t we? “There was one between me and the guy right up there (points out Joe Flanigan’s banner on the wall, and then imitates Joe, saying) ‘Hey Pauly! What’s up, man?’ We were doing a scene so we went to the [a word or words I couldn’t catch] forest. It’s it’s one of the set tour things. The Forest. Up there. Where a lot of the planets are. I don’t know if you know that or not, but they’re up there. Joe Flanigan thought he’d be really funny. David Hewlett and I are doing this scene, I forget which episode it was. [Someone shouts ‘Duet’, but I didn’t think that was right] Was it ‘Duet’? We were carrying these guys in these stretchers, and we’re going through the forest. I don’t think it was ‘Duet’, I’m not sure. Was it ‘Duet’? [Someone shouts ‘Phantoms’] ‘Phantoms’! That was the episode! Yes, you’re right. ‘Phantoms’. Good one. (Pointing at the woman who shouted ‘Phantoms’) Ok, you’re going to win one of these things over here for that. And I’ll sign it for you too. And I’ll see if I can get Joe to sign it too. That will be up to him. It’s my call sheet for the episode ‘Instinct’.” Yep, that’s what can happen when you know your episodes and the actors don’t!

“Ok, so we’ve got these stretchers that they made out of wood. The prop department make them out of wood. The handles on the stretchers are huge so you can’t really grab them. And of course it’s David Hewlett and myself carrying, – and I think Joe set this up because once it’s set up you need to keep with continuity – the biggest extra possible on the stretcher. It’s a really hot day. I have a backpack on as Beckett always does, all my gear on, the flak vest, and David is crying, whining like he does. I am too, but maybe not as much as him. And I made sure that David got the part of the wood that was a little thicker than mine, so we can barely pick this guy up, and David is like, ‘(doing a passable imitation of David) Do we have to get the biggest guy?’ This guy was a big fellow, and he was like, ‘I’m sorry!’ Joe is laughing because we’re whining and we have to walk down this hill. And then Joe though it would be funny if throughout the day, as we keep on doing this scene, every time the props guys would take my bag off after every take – we’d take it off right away – Joe would add a rock into my bag. By the end of the day the bag probably has 35, 40 pounds of rocks in it. Which I don’t know, I just thing I’m getting tired. And Joe would walk by and go, ‘(he does a good imitation of Joe!) Paul, you got a little sweat there, buddy? You look like you’re working up a sweat, buddy!’ I’m like, ‘Thanks, Joe, it’s cuz we’ve got this huge guy.’ ‘(imitating Joe) Yeah!’ Nice! So then Joe leaves and tells the props guy after he leaves – because I have another scene – ‘(imitating Joe) Tell Pauly to look in his bag after he finishes’. And he says, ‘Joe wants you to look in your nap sack, there’s something in there for you’. There was. But it ain’t over. Ask him about that. (In his accent, mutters) Cheeky prick.”

Got any funny set stories?“Off the top of my head, one funny one that we did, the episodes called ‘Irresistible’. Joe Flanigan and I – you can ask him about this. It got cut out, by the way. I thought it was very funny. The scene where I’m in the puddle jumper with Joe and I’m crying because Lucius has the drug on me, and Joe punches me and says, ‘buck up, Carson!’ One of the takes, I’m handcuffed and my nose was running, and I went on so much that I said to Joe, ‘(In accent) Could you get my nose for me?’ and Joe blows my nose! And I’m like, ‘Thank you!’ and he’s like, ‘ok.’ But they didn’t keep it in, and I thought it was really funny.

“One other little quick one was Rachel Luttrell was up in a tree in that same episode, and Jason Momoa, myself, David, Joe, are all underneath the tree. She thought it would be good, ‘maybe I’ll just get up in the tree and kinda hang out here’. That’s what Teyla does, she climes trees. So between every single take, just before the camera starts rolling, we’re throwing rocks and twigs at her the entire time. She was so mad at us. She was like,’ Stop it! I’m trying to act here!’ and I’m like, ‘(in accent) I’m Teyla. I climb trees.’ It was awesome. She’s fun to tease.” Hmmm, we’ll have to ask her about this, Chicago Con attendees!

Phew! Paul spent more time talking than some of the previous guest, and I had a hard time keeping up so sadly I don’t have as much for Paul as some of the other guest. But never fear! Paul with be attending the Chicago Convention as well as DragonCon, both of which will be covered live by the Wormhole Riders Team!

Next, he’s the kind of guy that just gets in the team’s way, and he thinks he knows a lot more than you do. In other words, he’s a pain in the mikta. Yet Robert Picardo has a pretty large fan following, and you’ll soon see why. The guy rocks!

Alyssa

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