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End of a Reign
Cliff Simon has had an incredible journey as the Goa'uld System Lord Baal. Introduced as one of many System Lords in the SG-1 Season Five two-parter, "Summit" and "Last Stand," he stood out above the rest and returned the following season to repeatedly torture Jack O'Neill to death.

After six seasons and one DVD movie, it appears the journey may be over. But who knows what the future holds! Cliff talks with GateWorld about Baal's journey, the quality of the Stargate: Continuum script, his future projects and charity work.

GateWorld's interview with Cliff runs almost 28 minutes, and is available in video, audio, and transcript form! The video version below requires QuickTime, but it is is also available in Flash format at GateWorld Play.

For the audio version you can listen online at your leisure, or download it to your MP3 player.

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GateWorld: For Iím David Read, once again here with my buddy, Cliff Simon. Cliff, a pleasure to be back with you, in California. Little chillier than usual though.

Cliff Simon: Oh yeah, much chillier, man, this is like freezing. I just took off my outs a few minutes ago and I should have kept them on because my little slip socks are freezing.

GW: Now how long have you been in this area, now?

CS: Iíve lived in Culver City for nearly ten years.

GW: Wow. And you got only your American citizenship just a few years ago, though.

CS: Yeah, 2005.

GW: And you were over here working [with a] green card, I guess?

CS: I was on a green card until 2005, yep.

GW: How are your CDs doing, like particularly, the American Affirmations one, where that is a very important part and also "Renewing Your Mind?" I'm sorry, the other title.

The cover of Cliff Simon's American Affirmations CD.
CS: "Stress, Itís All In The Mind."

GW: That's right.

CS: They are doing good. American affirmations is doing very well. Actually, they're playing it on the Iraqi troop radio station every day.

GW: Really?

CS: Yeah, weíve had a really amazing feedback from the troops [regarding] how much they love it, and they're trying to organize that I go on an ISO tour to Iraq, which I would love to do. Even locally, San Diego down to the naval stations.

Itís been received really well because the troops have felt, "At least somebody's recognizing we're doing our job. Thatís what we do." So we're saying thanks to them because they're just doing their job. They're told what to do. The stress CD is not doing as well as Iíd thought. It does well if I take CDs [with me] to a convention, myself, and speak to people about it.

Everybody wants the CD. They donít just want to order it on-line. And also they want me to sign it, which I do at all the conventions. It's doing well. I think now I might have given it the wrong kind of name because it should have been pushed more as a meditation CD and as a relaxation CD. A lot of people say, "Well, I donít have stress. I donít need it."

GW: Yeah, you've learned to live with it.

CS: Yeah, and itís more about deep breathing exercises for fitness and for health and to stay focused on things like that. So, it might have been the wrong name, but itís doing OK. I mean, Iím not making a fortune of money out of it, but I didnít do it for the money at all, I just did it as a project.

The people that have heard it and some teams of youngsters, like fencing teams, they love it. And they have found that it has helped them. So itís all thru word of mouth. And people who listen to it and practice it every day will tell their friends and their friends will get it, which is the way that I prefer to do it.

Iím not a salesman. I donít want to just sell CDs like a singer. People must know and be referred to get it, and thatís fine. So, itís gradually getting better. It didnít explode onto the scene.

GW: Well you know, a lot of the bigger things kind of just percolate and all of a sudden get bigger and bigger and itís important that you talk about things that you are passionate about, you know? Centering your mind, centering your body, getting everything in sync.

The cover to Cliff Simon's Stress: It's All in the Mind CD.
Where did that stem from for you? Did you find yourself at a point in life where you were really stressed and say, "I have to change something thatís going on in my life." How did that come about?

CS: Coming from my swimming days, I was always taught to be positive and focus on my sport and focus on what Iím doing. I was very stressed out, especially with competition. I was taught to a certain degree with martial arts, deep breathing exercises, chi exercises, but for competition I realized I have to focus that energy on what I thought at that time was negative energy and turn it into positive energy to give me strength in the water.

And I did that. I would sit there and I would visualize my competitions. I would visualize the actual race a thousand times before I actually swam it so when I came to swim the race, my mind already believed I was the winner.

GW: Because you'd already done it in your head.

CS: Right, right. And people need to do that every day of their life, with whatever. As an actor you visualize yourself working, you go to an audition, you visualize yourself already having that job, or you want to be on a certain show. Visualize yourself on that show, everyday, everyday. Eventually it will come.

Itís just believing in yourself.

GW: And itís also taking good care of yourself, too. Iím a runner. My record was three miles in thirty minutes, nonstop, until the other day when I decided to stretch before running, I went to four in one attempt only because I decided to stretch. There are certain things that, not everyone, especially me, just doesnít think of doing that really increases your stamina and how far you can go.

CS: Oh, yeah, itís preparing your body. You prepare your body and your mind. Itís like anything. You get in your car in the morning when its freezing cold you let it warm up a little bit. The engine's got to warm up, the oil has got to lubricate and then it goes.

GW: You canít necessarily cold start it.

CS: Yeah, I did yesterday. I cold-started and picked up a table and today my back is sore. [Laughter]

GW: Cause and effect. [Laughter]

CS: Thatís what happens. I didnít stretch or warm up.

" I love the fact that the human is now alive. The host body is alive."
GW: Stargate Continuum, obviously, came out late July. I didnít want to really talk with you about it until we could really sit down and discuss it. We were really careful about not revealing too much about the spoilers and everything. I had me thinking there was going to be an intimate love scene between Baal and Qetesh . Intimate in one sense, stab right thru the ...

CS: Very intimate.

GW: Yes. Tell us about what you thought of the script when you first read it. What potential you saw, how it was executed, what were your feelings about this?

CS: First of all, I thought it was a very well-written script. When I first sat down and read the script I liked it, except for the fact that I felt there was a huge gap in the script where nothing was happening.

GW: Yeah, we were following the team.

CS: Right, we were following them with what's happened with them. And I felt thatís where it lost momentum for me. And then when I saw the movie I felt thatís where it lost momentum, once again. But I loved the script. And, obviously, in the end, I read I die and I die and I die, but right in the end, I love the fact that the human is now alive. The host body is alive.

And that for me was very interesting because this is a 2000 year old host. Maybe he was a really evil guy, we donít know. But he has a lot of knowledge. And I think he has a lot of knowledge that the SG team would want to know.

So that leaves a story open. Anything can happen. But I was very happy that, yeah, maybe Baal is dead. We donít even know. Maybe that was the real Baal. I think it was the real Baal. I think the host is actually more of an interesting character, now that he is human than Baal, and the way that people could relate to the host because heís a human. It'd be interesting.
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