He has appeared as Carson Beckett in the first three season of “Stargate Atlantis”, before his character was killed off. He appeared as an actor and a female Scottish detective in the very funny film A Dog’s Breakfast. He has guest-starred on such high profiles TV series as “The X-Files”, “Smallville” and “The Commish”. He has appeared in several films and will have a role in J. J. Abrams version of Star Trek. And, due to an outpouring of fan support, he returns this year as Carson Beckett in several episodes of “Stargate Atlantis”. On top of that he’s a very friendly and kind person. I am speaking of Paul McGillion. This past week he agreed to speak with us via phone from the set of “Atlantis”. As you can imagine, shooting a television show is pretty hectic, so it took a couple of days before he had some time and he got called back to the set in the middle of the conversation. We are very grateful that he choose to use some of his free time to talk to us. This conversation began, like many others, with the answering of a phone call.
Paul McGillion: Hey, Joe, how ya doing?
PCZ: I’m great, hello sir! How are you?
PM: Good, good. I’m sorry about this, it’s been a crazy day. Tomorrow we go on hiatus so they might call me back really soon so I apologize. I really wanted to talk to you , I know you’ve been waiting. So fire away and I’ll see what I can do.
PCZ: So, you’re back on the set of “Stargate Atlantis” this week…
PCZ: …can you talk about the episode you’re filming?
PM: The episode I’m filming right now is called “Outsiders” and it’s my third episode this season of the five that I’m doing, or the minimum of five. It’s an episode written by Alan McCullough. We have Will Waring directing. It’s a lot of Wraiths and a lot of conflict. David Hewlett and I have a ton of stuff, there’s a lot of Beckett and McKay stuff in it. We’re doing a scene right now that’s hopefully pretty funny. The whole crew is laughing at our scene in a Wraith Dart so it’s really funny. We’re having some really good laughs doing it. It’s been great. David and I are pretty much throughout the episode and we have a lot of stuff together. So it’s a big Beckett and McKay episode.
PCZ: Sounds great! You mentioned the five episodes, has there been any talk about going past that or is that something for down the road…?
PM: We don’t know. I think that will be it for this season. We don’t know what’s going to happen, I mean, hopefully the show gets picked up again and we’ll see where it goes from there.
I just finished doing “Whispers” with Joe Mallozzi writing and, again Will Waring, who’s directed all the episodes I’ve done [this season]. That’s a great horror episode with myself and Sheppard and a cast of a four female SG team. Basically, no other main cast is in the episode. David Hewlett is at the start and the end, but it’s basically Sheppard, Beckett and four girls. And that’s a horror episode and was a lot of fun as you can imagine! (laughs)
PCZ: (laughs)Yeah, it sounds like it. Now, other than returning to Atlantis on the screen you’ve also recorded some Atlantis audio plays for Big Finish Productions. Or you did at least one of them, did you…?
PM: I did two of them and that was a lot of fun actually. I don’t think they’ve come out yet. The first one’s finished anyway, I know that.
PCZ: I was curious as to how different that was…
At this point Paul got called back to the set.
PCZ: Gotta go?INTERLUDE: And then he was off to shoot some more of the scene with David Hewlett in the Wraith Dart. So, remember, when watching that episode, during the scene with Beckett and McKay in the Wraith Dart, Paul is thinking of Pop Culture Zoo. Well, ok, perhaps not, but it’s kind of cool to pretend. At any rate, around fifteen minutes later, he called back.
PM: Hey, Joe, I’m back, but still could get called away at any moment.
PCZ: No problem. So, picking up where we left off, how different is it doing the audio plays as opposed to working with a camera, sets and other actors?
PM: It’s a lot different, I mean, it’s just you in a room with a mic and the ones I did had a lot of monologuing, so it’s sometimes difficult to stay in the character and the scene. But I think they turned out really well and I hope people will enjoy listening to them.
PCZ: I just recently was able to finally watch A Dog’s Breakfast, which is a great film. So, just how much cajoling did David Hewlett have to do to get you to dress up in drag?
PM: It took quite a bit, actually (laughs). I’ll tell you a funny story. One day we were filming a scene with David Hewlett laying naked in the mud, soap on his butt and me standing over him in my dress. It was pouring down rain and there was a short break as they were changing out a camera lens or repositioning the lights or something. I looked down at him and said “I hope this is funny.”(laughs) Once I put on the dress a few times I started feeling pretty good about it, but I think I wound up looking like a linebacker.
PCZ: It was fine, you looked ok.
PM: Well, thank you!
PCZ: You’re also in the new Star Trek film. Originally you went for the role of Scotty and ended up getting a different role. Can you say anything about it?
PM: I really can’t, I’m sorry. I signed a confidentiality agreement so I can’t talk about it, but I will say I am looking forward to seeing it in the theater myself. It would have been great to have been able to play Scotty, especially with my Scottish background, but Simon Pegg’s a great actor and will do a terrific job in the role. It was an honor to get to work with J. J. Abrams and this film lives up to the legacy of Star Trek.
PCZ: Ok. Well, what other projects do you currently have going on?
PM: I have a few things I’m working on, but there’s the possibility of a SAG strike in the near future so we’ll see what happens. I’m working on a project for a friend of mine that I really hope happens.
PCZ: You’re appearing at FedCon this weekend, I think…
PM: Yes, I’ll be at FedCon this weekend.
PCZ: Any plans to be at the San Diego ComiCon this year?
PM: I don’t know about San Diego yet, but if I have the opportunity to appear in support of [“Atlantis”] then I certainly will.
PCZ: What’s your favorite part of appearing at Cons?
PM: Seeing and meeting the fans. They have been so incredibly supportive of the show and of Carson Beckett. Obviously, without them Beckett wouldn’t have come back and I’m really grateful to them for that.
PCZ: I think we’ll wrap it up there and let you get back to work. Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to me. It was a pleasure.
PM: It was a pleasure for me, too. Thanks, Joe.
And then he was back to the set to finish up the episode. Thank you very much to Paul for his time!