Beware minor SPOILERS for the SG-1
series finale, "Unending,"
in the interview below!
It was just at the beginning of the Ori story arc that GateWorld last talked with Christopher Judge
. It seems fitting that we chat with him again just shortly after the Ori storyline is dealt with in the just-released DVD feature, Stargate: The Ark of Truth
The actor has kept himself particularly busy in the months since Stargate: Continuum
finished shooting. Not only is he in full pre-production of his new series Rage of Angels
, he is performing the bigger task of being a father for the fourth -- and in some ways the first -- time.
We also chat about his recent appearance in the Stargate Atlantis
poke a bit of fun in the general direction of Teal'c's gray streak, and brave the murky waters of the overall religious messages from Seasons Nine, Ten, and Ark of Truth
GateWorld: For GateWorld.net I'm David Read and we're talking again with Mr. Christopher Judge! Chris, how are you doing?
Christopher Judge: I'm very well, sir.
GW: What's been going on?
CJ: Nothing. [Laughter]
GW: Which is a nice change, probably! [Laughter]
CJ: In all seriousness though, I was just talking the other day. With the writer's strike and the series ending ... I'm on my fourth child now, but this is the first child I've actually ever -- I potty trained her, watched her learn to put sentences together. I actually spent time with one of my children! [Laughter]
It's great. My three older ones, for almost eleven years, I would leave to go to work before they woke up and I'd come home after they were in bed. So it's actually been really great.
GW: Now you're finally beginning to experience a little normalcy. What is it like, for all intents and purposes, no longer having Stargate in your life?
CJ: Early on it was weird. Even when we'd go on hiatus my down time would be reflective that we'd be back in February. I would stop dieting, I would stop working out every October. But then every January I would know that we'd be back in February and I'd start working out, stop the drinking, all that stuff.
This year is kind of weird. I was negotiating the new show, Rage of Angels -- the writer's strike hit. So this January I was lost. [Laughter]
GW: You can't act if you have nothing to act.
CJ: Right! [Laughter] It was a very different January for me.
GW: Well you know, everything that we do in our lives, it all comes back to our family, if our hearts are in the right places. So it's really cool that you can go back to those roots for a little while. And there are other projects. You and Michael are obviously working on Rage of Angels.
Teal'c makes the long journey toward Celestis in The Ark of Truth.
CJ: Yes. In fact I'm in LA right now. The deal's done. What I didn't know is when you sell a series ... As an actor what you do is your agents negotiate, the studio negotiates, you come in at the end of it and just sign the dotted line.
When you create a series, I'm down here to be fingerprinted, then we have to go to two notaries and four witnesses. I wrote the project, I control the rights. I had no idea it was that involved.
GW: Do you have a pilot at this point?
CJ: We're going to do a one-hour pilot and the two-hour movie.
GW: When can fans expect to see it?
CJ: I just got down here. Here's more lingo ... Once the contracts are "executed" -- [Laughter] -- then I have a sit-down with MGM and we talk about timeframes, when we're going to go to camera, what the prep time will be and all that. I'm assuming we'll probably go to camera in June.
GW: OK so potentially for a Fall or early Winter release?
CJ: Yes. And it's great -- to still be able to work with MGM, to still be able to be in Vancouver. I still have to talk to Brad about who I can use from the Stargate crew, but it really is fantastic just to, still, not have to go out into the real world.
GW: And Michael's still going to be in it, right?
CJ: Oh yes.
GW: Let's go back to The Ark of Truth for a couple minutes. Tell us about filming the scenes in the mountains.
CJ: It was terrifying. When I read it I thought "Oh, it'll be cool. I'll be in the green screen. They're going to have some beautiful mountains behind me." Coop [Writer/Director Robert C. Cooper] goes to my trailer and he's like "How do you feel about heights?"
My claustrophobia is very much a matter of record. Any time there's anything -- "Do you have a phobia of this?" "What do you think about heights?" I was like, "Well, Coop, I don't know. What are you talking about?"
"How would you feel about taking a helicopter up to the Sisters Mountains, filming up there and doing all this stuff practical?" I said, "Wait a minute, so do you want me alone in nature?" [Laughter]
GW: "Just walking around??" [Laughter]
CJ: Yeah! So I agreed. But we had to wait a month for a break in the weather. So finally there was a clear day forecast, and it was "Ah, cool, it will be beautiful." But what I didn't look at was the wind. It was so windy!
Helicopter rides are generally very smooth. But that day, because of the winds, not that smooth. What I never realized was when they pick you up from somewhere they don't shut the rotors down and then you go over to the helicopters. Me and my safety fella, we'd actually kneel down and they would come and land the helicopter within a foot of us. And it was windy!
""I could not believe the visual aspect of the film, how big it was.""
GW: One wrong gust and you're going to be diced!
CJ: The thing was on one of our first passes the helicopter was being blown around quite a bit. They were quite close to me. A gust came, and which probably was the safe thing for me, it blew me off the course I was on, but it also blew the helicopter into me. I didn't almost get hit by the blade, but by the runner underneath -- but fortunately I got blown to, so it didn't hit me.