1997 Articles and Interviews

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Amanda Tapping: What's it like to work with Richard Dean Anderson? It's great.
Amanda Tapping about Richard Dean Anderson: He sets the tone on we all came here we didn't know. We didn't know what he would be like. You know, is he gonna be this egomaniacal bastard or... what... no, he's lovely. He really is. So I think we're all very lucky.

Narrator: Amanda Tapping originates the role of Air Force captain and scientist Samantha Carter.

Jonathan Glassner: She couldn't be more perfect for the part.

Clip from "Children of the Gods": Sam: Captain Samantha Carter, reporting, sir.

Jonathan Glassner: We needed a woman who could be very strong, who you could buy as a soldier, who has, you know, had combat training and actually been in wars, and who is a brilliant scientist, and who is a beautiful woman.

Amanda Tapping: It is testosterone fest, I'm your happy estrogen bubble. That's me.

Clip from "Children of the Gods": Sam: And just because my reproductive organs are on the inside instead of the outside doesn't mean I can't handle whatever you can handle.

Jack: Oh, this has nothing to do with you being a woman. I like women. I've just got a little problem with scientists.

Amanda Tapping: When I saw the film, before I knew I had gotten this part, the scientific aspect really turned me on. Clip from "Children of the Gods": Sam: I knew I'd like you.

Daniel: You mean I'm right?

Sam: According to the expanding universe model all bodies in the universe are constantly moving further apart.

: If there were a Stargate, would you be brave or curious or crazy enough to go through it?
Amanda Tapping: If they found this, I think... anyone of us would. Wouldn't you? I mean, just out of curiosity sake. I would wanna know.


Amanda Tapping, who originates the role of theoretical astrophysicist and Pentagon expert Captain Samantha Carter on the new sci-fi series Stargate SG-1, recalls a recent guest shot on The X-Files with a mixture of glee and dread.

"I was mostly dead on The X-Files," Tapping says cheerfully. "And apparently I give good 'dead.' " Tapping played a character who seduces FBI assistant director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), "and ends up sleeping with -- boy, I'm really proud of this -- sleeping with him. And then when he wakes up in the morning, I'm dead and the whole show is about whether or not he killed me.

"I had two scenes with David [Duchovny] and Gillian [Anderson] where I was dead in a morgue drawer and on an autopsy table. Thanks for bringing it up."

Born in England and raised in Toronto, Tapping graduated from the University of Windsor's school of dramatic art. She also appeared in Due South, Flash Forwardand the TV movies Forever Knight and Lessons in Love before her stint in The X-Files and now a featured role in Stargate. "I am 'everywoman' on the show," Tapping says. "The great thing about this character is she one of the guys, in as much as a female character can be one of the guys. She's an equal -- which may be the science-fiction part of the show, I'm not sure.

"Whoops! Quoted on that one."


VANCOUVER - Many Canadian TV viewers choose to click past Stargate SG-1, the weekly TV series filmed in Vancouver and based on MGM's 1994 science fiction movie.

But watching any episode (on Channel 11, Thursdays at 10 p.m. and on other WIC stations across the country), they will see a blossoming, talented Toronto actor. Honey-blond Amanda Tapping, who's got a peaches-and-cream complexion, plays an intelligent character - for a welcome change - as the lone female co-star of an action-adventure show.

Though it stars American Richard Dean Anderson, Tapping has been noticed most. After the first two episodes aired in the U.S. in August, a casting director called her Toronto agent, Debbie Peck, asking about Tapping's availability for Bruce Willis' next movie. "It was just an inquiry, not an offer," says Peck. "But she is committed to Stargate (for 44 episodes now filming and an option for three more seasons)."

"'Are you sure she had the right person?'" a delighted Tapping recalls asking Peck. "She did, and I did a little happy dance. I sent her a thank-you card. That still gives me a little boost." Until Stargate SG-1, Tapping, who graduated from the University of Windsor in 1988, had small parts in American movies filmed in Toronto, an infrequent role o¬n TV's Flash Forward series and was on one episode of CBC's The Newsroom.

She is 31, the same age as her Stargate character - astrophysicist Samantha (called Sam) Carter, who with the other regulars walks through the circular stargate into worlds of the future to rout baddies and make scientific discoveries.

It's typical TV hokum with special effects. But, notes Tapping, the producers allowed her character to be "average-looking, like I am." ''Some of the show's 'higher-ups,'" she learned, "wanted to go the babe-alicious route and find someone who was the tall blonde(Tapping is 5-foot-8 1/2) with the beautiful long hair and the great figure. I'm pleased they didn't. I've never considered myself a bodacious, ravishing woman."

After auditioning in Toronto, Tapping wowed MGM personnel in Los Angeles with her off-hand sense of humour, says co-executive producer Brad Wright, who calls her terrific.

"I had nothing to lose," she says about bantering through auditions. "It was important to be true to myself and with the character. She could be played a number of ways. But it was really important to me that she have a sense of humour. That also helped Tapping bond quickly with Anderson, who owns a piece of the series and could have vetoed her casting. "He read a line (at her final audition) and asked me, 'What do ya think, babe? You don't mind if I call you babe?' I said, 'No, if you don't mind if I call you Dick.' "I thought either I'd blow it with him big time, or he'd appreciate the witticism. But that was it; we became fast friends.

Given the role just two weeks before filming began, she plunged into research producers did not require - consulting military experts, some of them ex-U.S. Navy SEALs, reading Stephen Hawking's book A Brief History Of Time and prowling the Internet for information about astrophysics.

Two characters, including Anderson's, are separated from their wives and children, while another is searching for his lost wife. Tapping's character is unmarried, tough and determined - a relief, she says, because "I was afraid they would give me stories where I would cry." The show's writers, including Wright, are giving her emotional scenes that show her character's need for and her ability to love. And she's receiving fan mail, like the letter from a 26-year-old female science-fiction fan in Dusseldorf, Germany, who thanked her for playing one of the few women on TV "who I feel represents me."

She has only one regret: the inevitable months away from her husband, Alan Kovacs, who runs a Toronto landscape construction company. The series is also seen in Australia and several other countries, currently has good ratings o¬n U.S. cable channel Showtime and is slated for Fox stations next year. For the first time, Canadian producers are sending her scripts for movies she doesn't have time to do.

"That's a good position ton be in." Tonight's Prime Time TV grid.


Don't expect to see Richard Dean Anderson getting lucky o¬n the next season of Showtime's Stargate: SG-1 (Mondays, 8 p.m./ET). That's what we hear from costar Amanda Tapping, who plays Capt. Samantha Carter on the sci-fi show.

"When we first started the series, there was talk of starting up something between Jack [Anderson's character] andSam, or Sam and Daniel [Michael Shanks's character], and we all mixed that," Tapping says.

"Richard and I right away said, 'Never.' A, it could never happen because he's her superior officer, and B, we don't want it to kill the show. I think the beauty of the relationship between the four of us on the team is this great friendship that we have, and this wonderful respectand admiration for each other. Adding anything into that mix would be silly, because I think right now it works as a team of really good friends."

Will there be any new directions o¬n the show's second season? "In terms of outside of the group, I don't know where the show is going," says Tapping. "But they are going to explore a little more of our pasts, to show what's happened to us that's brought us to this happy place."