For those who missed Michael Shanks battling a ginormous man-eating serpent last weekend in MegaSnake, Sci Fi's latest cheese-filled movie, not to worry. The actor who played Stargate SG-1's hunky brainiac Daniel Jackson for a decade is now paying a visit to the genius town Eureka on Sept. 25 (Tuesdays at 9 pm/ET, Sci Fi). TVGuide.com caught the Canadian actor at the tail end of his vacation "playing dad” to his three kids, and invited him to share with us tidbits about that gig, the upcoming SG-1 DVD movies, and more.
TVGuide.com: Both you and your wife, SG-1 colleague Lexa Doig, have Eureka gigs. Hers is the week before. How did that come about?
Michael Shanks: She auditioned first. She knew the director from Andromeda — Michael Robison — so it was a bit of a shoo-in for her. She came back from a couple days' work and was raving about the experience and the cast. Then we flew off to Toronto for a vacation and while I was there, they offered me a role for the following episode. It just worked out bang-bang, in that kind of way.
TVGuide.com: Who does Lexa play?
Shanks: She plays a professor who's teaching about sexual-harassment awareness in the workplace. As luck would have it, bacteria gets released that makes the women in Eureka very attracted to Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson), so sexual harassment becomes a problem — including with her character! Much hilarity ensues.
TVGuide.com: Carter thinks he's being sexually harassed?
Shanks: Yeah. And he can't believe it's just from the way he's been working out lately.
TVGuide.com: On your episode, you're playing the intriguingly named Christopher Dactylos. Who is he?
Shanks: He's an artist who works in metals, who got fired from Global Dynamics because he and [the former boss] Nathan didn't see eye to eye. He sculpted a statue of Pythagoras that mysteriously one day turns to gold from bronze. Then other things start turning to gold and they rust, and the town starts falling apart. Finally people get infected in a way that deconstructs them as well, and they die. He's the chief suspect.
TVGuide.com: Is he a bad guy or just misunderstood?
Shanks: Christopher's got issues. He's very smug and self-assured and thinks he's the only one who's right.
TVGuide.com: Is there a possibility that you'll return in this role? Or does he die in some ironic way?
Shanks: Actually, he's one of my few bad guys — along with my 24 character — who doesn't end up dead, so there's an open door there for the character to be Ed Quinn's nemesis in the future.
TVGuide.com: Are you a Eureka fan?
Shanks: I'd only seen it a couple of times until Lexa worked on it, but it's a quirky, fun show. I think the off-screen fun that the cast has translates to the screen, so it was really an enjoyable experience for me.
TVGuide.com: Are you sorry you didn't work the same episode as Lexa?
Shanks: We enjoy working with each other very much, and we'll usually jump on the opportunity, but it's hard for our family. We have three kids — ages 9, 3 and 1 — and because we don't want a nanny to raise our children, we like to trade off , so that one is home when the other's working.
TVGuide.com: Share some tidbits about both upcoming SG-1 movies.
Shanks: We had a way bigger budget than we ever did for the series, so the action scenes will be that much better. And the fans will definitely be happy with the way we wrap up the series in The Ark of Truth. It reintroduces our villains that we created during the last two years, and we deal with them in a very climactic way. It's a good payoff.
TVGuide.com: How about Continuum?
Shanks: It's an alternate-timeline story. One of our remaining villains goes back in time and changes our future so the Stargate program is out of the equation. It's up to Mitchell (Ben Browder), Carter (Amanda Tapping) and Daniel Jackson to try to put the timeline right. But the people existing in that other time don't want to change and won't let us do it.
TVGuide.com: Were you in the Arctic where some scenes were shot?
Shanks: I wasn't because I was filming 24. We did end up building a frozen ship and part of an Arctic flow in a frozen soundstage in Vancouver. The temperatures in there were minus 7 (19 Fahrenheit) so we didn't have to act that much because it was cold! As much as everybody raved about their Arctic experience, I was happy not to go, and happy that they brought the Arctic to me!
TVGuide.com: Can you give fans some hope? Will there be more Stargate movies?
Shanks: The impression we got from Charlie Cohen, who's the head of MGM Television, was that he wanted more right away. We definitely got the feeling that this was not the end of the road, which is a very positive thing for those of us who enjoy that environment so much and enjoy the company so much.
TVGuide.com: Your buddy Christopher Judge is bringing Teal'c to Atlantis this season. Any chance for you?
Shanks: I talked to the producer, Joe Mallozzi, who said they haven't heard about a pickup for a sixth season, but if they do, they're definitely interested in having Daniel visit for a bit. That's exciting for me.
TVGuide.com: What's happening with the Rage of Angels pilot you and Judge were developing?
Shanks: We have a verbal greenlight from MGM, but we're waiting for Brad Turner, who worked with us for years on SG-1, and who's now a supervising producer on 24, to have a window of opportunity to direct. That may not be until next year.
TVGuide.com: So which angels do you play?
Shanks: He's Gabriel, the archangel, and I will be playing Lucifer.
TVGuide.com: Lucifer. That's juicy. How do you prep for that evildoer?
Shanks: You know, that's the $10,000 question. I think Lucifer is just a guy with daddy issues.
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