He's a filmmaker, a writer, a rapper and — oh, yeah — David Hewlett plays arrogant scientist Rodney McKay on Stargate Atlantis. We talked to the droll Canadian about A Dog's Breakfast, the indie he wrote and stars in that just arrived on DVD, as well as the fourth season of Atlantis, premiering tonight at 10 pm/ET on Sci Fi Channel.
TVGuide.com: You're all over YouTube rapping and mock-apologizing. What's up with that?
David Hewlett: The thing I love about YouTube is it's almost like having an instant audience for improv. But sometimes you tend to be a little silly.
TVGuide.com: It has probably increased your popularity.
Hewlett: I'm afraid that people do seem to like it. [Laughs] MGM wanted to do some promotions for the show and they said, "We have this great idea. You can do, like, a rap thing!" I said, "That's a bad idea."
TVGuide.com: Sounds like you have video regret.
Hewlett: The reality is almost everything I do I cringe about later.
TVGuide.com: Probably not about A Dog's Breakfast. Did you pay friends to write nice reviews on movie sites?
Hewlett: It's the Stargate fans. They've just been so incredibly supportive about it. We have this website, ADogsBreakfastMovie.com, that's had more than 700,000 visitors and they love the trailer. It's like they're this giant marketing department. Honestly, I think that was why MGM picked it up. We could walk in and say, "Guys, there's a website that lots of people are interested in. They're making posters, printing T-shirts.... " When the DVD first was available for preorder on Amazon, it was on the top 10 for a week. We're now available on iTunes and Amazon for download.
TVGuide.com: Why make a movie?
Hewlett: I wanted to try directing. And then I dragged in Jane Loughman [Hewlett's fiancée], who is not only producing the movie but is also producing my first child. We're a month away from baby No. 1.
TVGuide.com: Congratulations! So what is A Dog's Breakfast?
Hewlett: It's a Fish Called Wanda-style comedy with an old Cary Grant kind of silliness. It's about a very lonely, sad little man. His only friend is a dog — played, incidentally, by my dog, Mars.
TVGuide.com: Is it true you share a toothbrush with the pooch?
Hewlett: In the movie we do share a toothbrush. Now Jane won't kiss me anymore. Paul McGillion (Atlantis' now-dead Dr. Beckett) plays my sister's fiancé, a cheesy sci-fi star whom my character instantly loathes. I decide the only way to save my sister from this terrible fate is to get rid of the guy. My dad calls it a nice family-friendly murder movie.
TVGuide.com: Don't we see a lot of you in this family-friendly flick?
Hewlett: I always thought there were two kinds of males in the world: the ones who look good naked and the ones who look funny naked. I can think of nothing funnier than someone who would be mortified to see himself naked being naked. Of course, I'm that idiot.
TVGuide.com: Besides McGillion, which Stargate buddies have you dragooned?
Hewlett: Rachel Luttrell, and the unbelievable talent of Chris Judge.
Hewlett: Chris plays an Internet-dating loser who just can't close the deal on a date. He seemed so incredibly inappropriate for the part that I thought it would be very funny to have him play it. He's hilarious. I'm in the process of writing another film with him specifically in mind for one of the leads.
TVGuide.com: And Rachel's role?
Hewlett: She's a space princess on the cheesy show. In fact, we are now talking to Sci Fi about spinning off that part of the movie into a Larry Sanders-type show about making science fiction. We might do some webisodes that could lead up to a series.
TVGuide.com: Let's talk about Atlantis. What's up this season in the Pegasus galaxy?
Hewlett: It's an odd season. It's very much like life, where we got hit by these unfortunate disappearances of certain characters. All of a sudden, boom! Your best friend's gone. But selfishly, because we've got new characters, there's a great new dynamic happening. With Amanda [Tapping] here now, it's amazing.
TVGuide.com: So you're happy about your fellow techno-babbler joining the cast?
Hewlett: She's such a giving actor. I really credit her for me getting Atlantis. Had she been less receptive to my absolute obnoxiousness when I was on SG-1, it wouldn't have worked.
TVGuide.com: Are you saying that McKay's hubris is seeping into David Hewlett?
Hewlett: The scary thing is, the more I play him, the more like him I become. Because of this character, I have sort of a confidence now where I fall back on my inner McKay. When you're pitching shows to networks, McKay is very useful. You go in there and sound like you know what you're talking about.
TVGuide.com: McGillion is back for two episodes. How? Isn't he dead?
Hewlett: Let's say that he becomes a product of his own medical genius. Paul looks very L.A.-fit. I told him maybe he should start doing more work and less exercise.
TVGuide.com: The fans boast he's back because of them. True?
Hewlett: Definitely. There was a huge response on the Internet, we had bagpipers show up at Bridge Studios where we film.... I wouldn't be surprised if he shows up more. He's always a popular character. We have Serenity's Jewel Staite playing a doctor this season. No offense to Paul, but Jewel is a lot easier to look at.
TVGuide.com: What's the relationship between McKay and Staite's Dr. Keller?
Hewlett: McKay's never been terribly good with women. So when Keller comes in, she's beautiful, she's very smart and she's very quickly annoyed with McKay, because he's her patient. He's the guy at the party who says, "Does this look infected to you?"
TVGuide.com: No romance with the new girl?
Hewlett: There's definitely something romantic happening with Keller... but not with McKay. McKay's season, from a romantic standpoint, is an absolute disaster. There are a few episodes that pretty well kill most dreams of McKay settling down happily. Dr. Katie Brown, whom he dated, is back, which leads to a sad episode.
TVGuide.com: Judge's Teal'c shows up, too.
Hewlett: Yep. There's some fight choreography that's going to knock the Stargate fans' socks off. A little tidbit — Ronan and Teal'c are fighting side by side.
TVGuide.com: The two bodies beautiful together at last.
Hewlett: No kidding. I should have sold tickets for people to watch the rehearsals. You can't get Jason [Momoa] to keep his damned shirt on! I spend the whole time running around with a towel just to cover the man up.
TVGuide.com: What's this season's major storyline?
Hewlett: The Replicator/Wraith war plays a huge part — it's a season of alliances and broken promises, double-agent kind of stuff. It also has some of the biggest effects. They've got episodes where they're spending more on one hour than they did on the first half of a season before.
TVGuide.com: Rachel's pregnant in the story as well as in life. Will we know who the father is?
Hewlett: Part of the mystery of the season is tracking down "Daddy." Teyla does some minor butt-kicking, but we're all so protective of Rachel. We're like, "There's gunfire. All right, Rachel's out of here."
TVGuide.com: Finally, with all this, you also made time to appear in Tapping's Web series Sanctuary. As...?
Hewlett: I did this fun little serial-killer role in the first episode. I'm more of a giant red herring than anything else, but hey, it's fun to play a red herring.
Explore the world of Stargate Atlantis in our Online Video Guide.
The Oct. 1 issue of TV Guide features an in-depth preview of Heroes, featuring Hayden Panettiere, Ali Larter and the newest hero, Kristen Bell. Plus: Inside Jerry Seinfeld's return to television on 30 Rock. Try four risk-free issues now!
Send your comments on this Q&A to firstname.lastname@example.org.