Got Carter

It's been a challenging year for Amanda Tapping - dealing with being a new mother and finding her place back in Stargate SG-1. But for Carter, the actress says, the fun's just beginning...

"I wasn't part of that gelling process that happens very early on in the season. The team had gelled, and I didn't feel a part of it. I really had to break through the crust and find my place on the team. I had a hard time at first, going, 'Do I still fit in on the show? Can I still hang with the guys? Here I am bringing my baby to work and is this still going to work?' So it took a while. But it's good now, and we revel in that, and honestly, I think that's why we're still on. Here we are shooting our last episode of nine seasons. Whatever the formula is, it's working.

"What we've gone back to with Carter this year is that very driven, very focused professional and analytical woman that I really like. The beauty of what's happened to Carter over the course of the nine years is that as a human being she's warmed up. She's come into her own. She's got a better sense of humor, and I think this year even more so, simply by virtue of the fact that that's how I've chosen to play her. We've explored her depths - we've dived into her soul and explored what she's capable of in terms of her emotions [in past seasons] and now she brings that depth of soul into what she's doing. So she's gone back to being analytical Carter, but I think there's more to her than that now.

"What I've always loved about this character is her focus and her loyalty, and we're right back on that, which is great. And the team has a whole new vigor to it. There's a whole new sense of purpose to this show and to this new team, there's a whole new cohesion that they're trying to find with each other. Carter sits very solid where she is now.

"I am 'Exposition Girl', but I think there is more of a balance in the show as to who is explaining what. There's a lot of different mythology going on - and as much as we're dealing with the technobabble aspects of the Ori, we're also dealing with the mythology, and that's Daniel's department, as it always has been. So there is a balance.

"I think it's keeping pace with what's going on - we're living, without sounding too didactic, in a darker world than we were when we started the series. Between 1997 and 2005, a lot has changed on this planet. We are reflecting that, in a way, on the show. SG-1 is dealing with what is, for all intents and purposes, a fundamentalist state that leads with fear and terror. And you and I are dealing with that politically in our society. I don't think that that's lost on anyone and I think that the writers have handled it well. It makes sense that the show is a bit darker. It's a sad fact, but we're mirroring our present society. There is escapism on Stargate SG-1 and I think that there is still a sense of fun on the show. I don't think we have mired ourselves down in the mythology and the religious aspect of it all too much. We still have a sense of humor and irreverence that we've always had, that I think carries the show. But the stories have got a little darker.

"Because of the nature of Ripple Effect, it wasn't our Dr. Frasier and Martouf. There is a clear recognition, but somewhere the lines of communication are not the same. It's not the same perspective, and we don't speak in the same vernacular because we're dealing with different experiences. So it was weird. It was like, 'But Janet, come on, it's me!' The one thing that I wished for in Ripple Effect was a scene between Carter and Janet. I think it was a matter of telling as good a story as we could in the short period of time as we had. We had a big story to tell in 44 minutes. There wasn't time to show all the interpersonal relationships. Carter had to deal with Martouf. So if we had had a Carter and Fraiser scene, then we wouldn't have dealt with the story as well. But that's the one thing with Ripple Effect that I missed. That was a scary one. I looked at that [script] and went, 'Oh, crap. No sleep for the next seven days.' Up at 4 o'clock in the morning, sitting with a breast pump trying to learn my lines...

"We have introduced a whole new dynamic to this show, not only in terms of new character like Beau [Bridges], Ben [Browder], Claudia [Black] and Lexa [Doig], but also with a whole new mythology. The Goa'uld are gone, and now we are faced with this new enemy. For the writers, it's like writing a first season show, so you don't have as much time to focus on the interpersonal relationships of your individual characters.

You're still introducing the concept of the show and elements of that. As a result, what I lost out on was personal scenes with Teal'c, with Mitchell, with Beau's character. We haven't had much exploration of that this year.

"I would liked to have had more time with Beau, and with Lexa. Beau and I had a big conversation at the beginning of the year about what sort of interaction we wanted the two characters to have. Carter had such a wonderful relationship with Hammond, so I said to Beau, 'What do you think we can do with this?' We came up with a whole relationship for them, but there hasn't been any opportunity to explore that at all. And I understand why - this season has been about establishing the Ori and pushing the story forward. It was the same with Lexa. I wanted to show a friendship building between her and Dr. Lam - not that it could in any way replace the friendship that she had with Janet, but so that she had some interaction with other women on the base. Lam isn't even Air Force.

"Grace Under Pressure was the most interpersonal stuff Carter got this year, and I love that Carter. I would like to see that Carter more. There was this great sexual tension, and I love working with David Hewlett. Both characters are on the same level, so there's this great, very quick banter.

"I don't know what the line up is going to be next year - who will be here and who won't be here. But we're looking at going to 200 episodes, and I want to be here for that! It's worked this year with Olivia and it'll be easier next year because I won't be breastfeeding."


Stargate Official Magazine Yearbook March/April 2006
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