Paul McGillion is a Scottish actor best known for his performance as Carson Beckett on “Stargate: Atlantis.”
Kurt Manwaring: Was there ever a time when you dreamed of growing up to pursue a different profession?
Paul McGillion: I always thought I was destined to be a professional soccer player, obviously that didn’t work out!
Plus I was too small for the WWE, so here I am, an actor.
Kurt Manwaring: When did you first catch the acting bug — and what was the first production in which you had a leading role? How did the nerves of your first performance compare with your most nerve-wracking experience as a professional actor?
Paul McGillion: I’m one of seven kids so I’ve been acting all my life. When I was born, my Mum said in her Scottish brogue, “Look at the head of hair on him, he looks like a wee Beatle, we’ll call him Paul.”
Well I can’t sing or play guitar, so I guess acting’s the next best thing.
My first lead role? Grade four, I was in “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” not as Santa… the other guy.
Kurt Manwaring: You were part of the Brock University wrestling team that won a national championship. Did you ever test out your skills against fellow “Stargate: Atlantis” cast member, Jason Momoa? If so, what happened? And if not, who do you think would win a wrestling match?
Paul McGillion: Jason, myself and Joe Flanigan had a boys night out which led to much tomfoolery including a bit of grappling.
I did get my hands on Jason, and if I remember correctly he had to give me a wee tap…. but let’s be honest here, if he wanted to, he’d crush me like a grape!
Flanigan’s a different story.
I got him in a choke hold but he’s such a stubborn bugger, he almost passed out before he tapped out.
If you ask Joe he would say, ‘no way Pauly’, but that might just be pride talking! 😉
Kurt Manwaring: Your character of Carson Beckett appeared in quite a few episodes of the first season of “Stargate: Atlantis,” but you were not named a main character until season two. Was there a time when you wondered if you would be named a main character before they told you? Is there ever a temptation in a situation like that to lobby the producers and showrunner?
Paul McGillion: After about a week of shooting the pilot, our director Martin Wood asked me to go talk to writer Damian Kindler because his episode was a big Beckett story. At that point I thought, ‘wow, this is getting interesting’.
Then along came “Poisoning the Well,” which turned out to be very special. After that I think Beckett was very much seen as part of the Atlantis team.
Kurt Manwaring: What is the most bizarre thing you ever saw a fellow cast member do in between takes?
Paul McGillion: One word: ‘Duet’. 💋
Kurt Manwaring: There was a significant movement to “Save Carson Beckett” when you left the show. If “Stargate” is revived, would you be open to returning the role?
Paul McGillion: The Save Carson Beckett Campaign was phenomenal to say the least. I’ve never been so honoured in my entire life. To think a character that you play in a television series could cause such a stir, it’s something I’ll never forget.
And would I ever return as Carson?
You’re bloody right I would. Let’s do this!
Kurt Manwaring: There is a significant movement on social media to create a fourth television in-canon iteration of “Stargate.” As an actor, what does it mean to you to see fans so invested in bringing back “Stargate”?
Paul McGillion: I think the drive to revive is fantastic, and it’s a testament to how much Stargate still means to people.
I’ve been all over the world, and had the fortunate experience of meeting all kinds of people who have a real passion for the show.
And if fans can bring Carson back from the dead, then anything’s possible. #ReviveStargate
Kurt Manwaring: Television programs with family values are a big hit with Mormon audiences in Utah. In what ways is “Stargate” a family friendly program?
Paul McGillion: Thanks to “Stargate,” I’ve met and gotten to know parents and their kids who come to the conventions event each year. They love watching the show together as a family, and over the years I’ve seen those kids grow up…
Some of them are taller than me now!
I think families watching a show together these days is a rare thing, and “Stargate” really accommodates that.
There’s something for everyone, of any age.
So some families watch and support a football team together, and some watch and support their favourite shows, and I think that’s really cool.
Kurt Manwaring: Why is now the perfect time for a new sci-fi television show?
Paul McGillion: When is it not a good time for Stargate?
One of the special things about the show is it always had great stories to tell, and it was pure escapism! Each episode had great values, action, adventure, humour, and let’s be honest, the characters are always a ton of fun!
So while there’s still a big universe to explore, and plenty of stories to tell, why not bring it back?
Kurt Manwaring: Let’s say a fourth iteration of a network version of “Stargate” is greenlit and you are asked not only to reprise your role as Carson Beckett, but also write the script for how his character becomes involved. What general storyline might you choose?
Paul McGillion: It has to be something like Beckett finally finding himself a lovely wife (who doesn’t die), and making Rodney very, very, VERY jealous.
Selected quotes from this interview were used in a March 5, 2018 article in the Deseret News.