10 questions with David Hewlett

David Hewlett is a prolific actor best known for his performance as Rodney McKay in the Stargate franchise.

Welcome! Before we begin would you tell us what role you played in Stargate: Atlantis and what you are up to now?

Wait! What?! You don’t know?!  Only the best character ever. . .  Doctor Rodney McKay… and when I’m not doing the acting thing, I spend my time trying to convince the next generation of geniuses into being just him… but for real… and nicer!

McKay grew from an irritating character to an all-around fan favorite. What kind of feedback did you have in the development of the character?

Irritating?  Whatever are you talking about?! 😉

I remember when it was first announced that Rodney would be joining the new series… I went online and people were horrified . . . Why him?

I couldn’t blame them. . .

I was on the Gateworld forums chatting with people about how there were so many nicer, tougher, more leading-man leads that they could have chosen from for the series.

I didn’t use my real name!  What was great for me though, was that we had this guy established—as a crazy smart jerk—so now it was all about unravelling who he was and what made him that way—how to make him a leading role without losing that wonderful snarkastic Rodney edge of the guest starring SG-1 episodes!

What are a couple of your most vivid memories of working with Jewel Staite? What did she bring to the show when she came aboard as Dr. Keller? 

I was a huge fan of Firefly and I arrived on set so excited to meet her.

But what I was met with—this poor woman in full lizard makeup?!

Jewel Staite’s first appearance on ‘Stargate: Atlantis’ was as the makeup-heavy wraith, Ellia. Credit: Gateworld.

I was devastated! I thought she’d be miserable and that we’d blown our chance of having her on the show and that we’d never see her again.

Luckily, she was so much better than the situation and she came back—and what a treat it was!

She’s the most ridiculously funny, charming and intelligent actress to work with. Love her!

What do you think about the efforts to bring back a fourth in-canon version of Stargate? Would you be willing to reprise your role as Dr. McKay?

Name the day and I’m there!

Of course!

McKay is still my favourite role. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of character for an actor to be lucky enough to get to play.

Would you have done the (in)famous kiss with Paul McGillion in Duet if Martin Gero hadn’t tricked the two of you into thinking the other had agreed to it first? What was that scene like behind the scenes?

Ha! Is that what he told you!?  I don’t remember any trickery being required—just a great script and lips like sugar! 

I kissed Paul in the rehearsals as he was looking a bit worried.

He was a lot more worried after that!

David Hewlett and Paul McGillion just before a bizarre out-of-body kiss on ‘Stargate: Atlantis.’ Credit: Gateworld.

I keep telling him it was all just acting, but he still sends me flowers. 😉

What would it look like for Dr. McKay to use a Pegasus galaxy iteration of Twitter (with the same character limit)?

“Leadership: Tweet #20050. . .”

Irena asks, “I’d like to know what it felt like to work with some familiar faces from Stargate on Dark Matter, especially with the now grown-up Jodelle Ferland.”

Jodelle didn’t just know her lines on Stargate—she knew my lines and everyone else’s. She never missed her mark or screwed up a take and was the most professional actor I’d ever worked with.

Then she grew up…

Now she’s added brilliant, beautiful and fascinating to her “most-professional-actor-I’ve-ever-worked-with” status.

She outshines us all!

Jodelle Ferland and David Hewlett getting ready to film a scene for ‘Harmony.’ Credit: Joe Mallozzi.

GapStargate wants to know about the scene in Stargate: Atlantis where you got shot. In particular, “How many takes did it take to get it right without laughing?”

There’s nothing funny about getting shot… it’s serious business…and a serious injury!? 😉  

Actually I tend to goof around right up until the last second when I’m shooting a scene.

Usually.

It makes me less self-and-camera-conscious and it frees me up to let things go where they will in a scene.

So I don’t usually find it that hard to not laugh—unless I’m working with Robert Picardo, Mitch Pileggi or Jewel Staite.

Then I’m screwed!

Hadel S. Ma’ayeh says, “I loved your movie, Debug. Any future plans to write and direct a new movie?”

Thanks!  I’m afraid from my perspective Debug was a nightmare. So many things were wrong with how that beast of a film got made. . . Nearly killed me!

I prefer YouTube now! 😉  Actually in all seriousness I find YouTube or Twitch far more interesting than filmmaking right now.

I know I’ll come back to film at some point. I love every aspect of the process—except the business side. That drives me mad. I’m so jealous of painters who can just create their art without giant crews and budgets.

But I’ve always loved films and I will come back to them again, at some point. But no plans just yet!

10 questions with Jewel Staite

The whole Twitch/YouTube thing is a much more direct and interesting way to find an audience. And it’s not one way like film and TV which puts a wall up between the makers and the audience. My kid has to be convinced to watch anything other than Twitch or Youtube.

I don’t want to be too much of a dinosaur. I want to push the limits of where this whole crazy business is going or being usurped by.

It’s exciting uncharted territories—more documenting than creating. It’s a refreshing change!

Susan of Ellipses wants to know more about your emotional performance in The Shrine. “David, both in real life and as Rodney, is such a fast talker. Was it difficult to play against that tendency in The Shrine? No matter how many times I watch it, that episode brings me to tears…”

I do love The Shrine. Only in sci-fi can you be dying of a terminal illness one episode and cured the next. 

It was also one of the best scripts ever. It’s easy to act well when it’s all there on the page!

David Hewlett, Rachel Luttrell, Joe Flanigan, and Brad Wright on the set of ‘Stargate: Atlantis’ preparing to film the character-driven episode, ‘The Shrine.’ Hewlett calls the episode written by Wright “one of the best scripts ever!” Credit; MGM Television / Joe Mallozzi.

It’s not so much that it’s difficult to do. It’s difficult to do well in the rush of a television schedule.

I shot the video stuff with Brad reading the off-camera lines.

During lunch, we both cried.

Me, because I was missing lunch.

Not sure what Brad’s excuse was… He’s such a softie! 😉

Joe Flanigan and David Hewlett filming a heartwarming scene in ‘The Shrine.’ Credit: MGM Television / Joe Mallozzi.

If you wrote a Groundhog Day-style episode of Stargate: Atlantis in which Paul McGillion’s character died over and over, what are a few creative ways you would send the good doctor to his death?

Well I kind of already did just that with our A Dog’s Breakfast film.

Death by Cricket Bat.

Death by Karate.

Death by Vaseline in bathtub.

Death by electrocution.

Death by fall from ladder. . . Yep. A Dog’s Breakfast pretty much covered it!

Next time I think I’d like to get more sea creature involved. Maybe a pod of squid.

Then again, maybe just a deadly kiss would do it? 😉

Special thanks to Joe Mallozzi and Tom Gardiner for multimedia contributions.

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