Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stargate Atlantis - Cinema Spy: Robert Picardo Interview

At Cinema Spy:

(Please follow the link for the complete three-page interview.)

Interview: Robert Picardo

On 'Atlantis' and playing a cross between Mr. Rogers and Hannibal Lecter

By Robert Falconer | Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Brilliant, neurotic, irascible, funny, brave...musical. These are all characteristics embodied in the performances of Robert Picardo. What's amazing, however, is that the actor brought each of these traits to a single character—that of Star Trek Voyager's holographic doctor (EMH), whom Picardo played every week for seven seasons between 1995 and 2001. This versatility caught the eyes of Vancouver's Stargate producers, who in 2004 hired Picardo to play the recurring role of International Oversight Advisory (IOA) member Richard Woolsey on both SG-1 and Atlantis, ultimately leading him to take command of Atlantis in the series' fifth (and now final) season.

Yet despite his extraordinary versatility, Picardo is about as relaxed and disarming on set as any journalist could hope for, in some ways belying the true range of his acting ability. During a recent press day, CinemaSpy had an opportunity to sit and chat with him about a variety of topics, from contrasting Voyager and Atlantis, to playing a rather weird cross between Mr. Rogers and Hannibal Lecter in his latest film, Sensored.

A brief excerpt:

Question: Was there any trepidation about jumping into another sci-fi show? Do you even think about that?
Robert Picardo: I've been able to do a number of different things since Star Trek ended. I've done several stage shows; Star Trek got me singing again, so I've done three musicals...and I've guest-starred on a number of kinds of shows: sitcoms, procedural dramas—CSI, Cold Case, things like that. I'm happy for the fact that I started outside genre material. China Beach and The Wonder Years were both in very different ways successful, mold-breaking shows, yet not genre shows. It helps you as an actor if you establish a certain credibility before you start working in genre. On the other hand, if it's your first job, then often that can be limiting. I personally think it's unfair that people have a prejudice against science fiction television. Patrick Stewart did a lot to change that. He's such a respected actor; he was just nominated for a Tony for his brilliant performance in MacBeth. So he did a lot to raise the bar as far as perceptions of sci-fi actors are concerned.

Having said that, a sci-fi audience is incredibly loyal. They will follow you elsewhere, wherever you are. They'll come see you on stage, or follow your website to see where you going to appear next, or watch you on other television shows ... so I think that science fiction has been very good to me, and I enjoy doing it, and the season is short enough that I still have the freedom to do other things. At the beginning of this year I did a horror movie. I haven't done a horror film since The Howling. And I just played the lead in a movie called Sensored, that I'm really excited about and that I have a very creepy role in. He's like your neighbor down the street who seems like Mr. Rogers, but who is torturing people in the basement...or maybe he's not. You don't know whether I'm a CIA deprogrammer, or whether I THINK I'm a CIA deprogrammer. Or imagine if Hannibal Lecter ran your local Jamba Juice. I'm a quirky guy who seems like just your regular old neighbor ... so it's a great role, because while I usually play the guy you love to hate, I don't usually play the guy who is going to kill you. And it's the first completed film on a brand new technology called the Red camera, which is getting huge attention, and will garner this film huge attention industry-wise...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The opening line "Brilliant, neurotic, irascible, funny, brave...musical." coupled with the first picture instantly brought to mind Neil Patrick Harris as Dr Horrible. Maybe we'll see him as the Doc's evil uncle in a future blog entry.