In the second half of GateWorld's interview with Andy Mikita
, we focus on the director's episodes from the fifth season, including "The Daedalus Variations," "The Shrine"
and "Enemy at the Gate."
We talk about the challenges of shooting out-of-doors, the character of the Stargate team, and the ongoing quality of the franchise!
Part Two of GateWorld's interview with Andy runs over 20 minutes. Listen online at your leisure, download it to your MP3 player, or subscribe now to the iTunes podcast
. The interview is also transcribed below!
View Part One here
GateWorld: Atlantis had some big fifth season episodes. What scripts did you see and say to yourself -- the ones you were assigned to -- "Wow, that's going to be a genuine challenge," or "That's just a good story that I'd love to put to film."
Andy Mikita: Almost of all of them. I mean I loved "Search and Rescue." That was one that struck me as a season opener for Season Five. Just that whole situation of the guys being trapped in that rubble field offered all sorts of wonderful challenges and interesting opportunities visually.
"[The] Daedalus Variations," that was another one. That was a particularly challenging one. On the surface it seemed like it might be a little bit difficult because, "Oh boy, we're in the Daedalus for the entire show," but it turned out great. I was really happy with how that one worked out. And it was a fun one to shoot.
Again, it was one that I thought might be a little more difficult than it was but it turned out to be a good one to shoot. It was a lot of fun and very challenging, all sorts of opportunities visually.
"The Prodigal" was another one that I read and upon first reading thought, "Oh boy, this is going to be a handful but it's going to be really fun." With the demise of Michael, and "How are we going to get a jumper in the gate room?" And the big fight on the top of the tower. Some really logistical things that we had to deal with. We wanted to maintain the feel of the scope of Atlantis with that episode. We wanted to revisit that. It felt like at times we were getting away from the fact that we were in this massive city and it was another good opportunity to explore that a little bit.
"The Prodigal" featured the return -- and likely the resolution -- to an old enemy's story.
Those were the highlights from the visual perspective. Of course "The Shrine" was just chalk full.
GW: What a great script.
AM: Oh my God. Everybody that read that one, we all knew we were in for something special with "The Shrine." That was a great experience for me because Brad [Wright, writer/executive producer] spent so much time through the whole prep process. Every day he was on set, much the way he was with Continuum with Martin. He was right there. It was hand-in-hand the whole time. What a great experience. He's such an extraordinary individual, that guy. So much fun to work with. He's a very encouraging guy to be around, really a very inspirational fellow.
GW: Well you could have producers who are just jerks, and you have to live with it. There's not exactly anything you can do about it. So to have someone like Brad who is so involved in the process but keeps it, like Rick [Dean Anderson] used to. He keeps it a very family atmosphere and wants everyone to have a good time. It's got to help the end product.
AM: Absolutely. A hundred percent. We are so fortunate. The entire writing and executive staff, producer/staff were so supportive. You nailed it completely when you said that. It could be a much different situation. We're all so lucky. Robert and Martin are both incredibly talented directors as well in their own right. They understand where we're coming from. They've been there. They know what it takes. They know what we go through.
GW: It's important to have those guys be -- It's cool they've been in your shoes as well. They know what's realistic and what's not.
AM: Yep. Absolutely. And Carl Binder as well. He's been a show runner in the past. He's incredibly collaborative and supportive. I love working with Carl. I love working with all the guys. It's never a case of "Rats, I drew this card," or "I drew that card." It's never like that at Stargate. That's a great thing about it. It's always a no-lose situation. You know you're going to be in for a treat every time.
GW: You mentioned "The Daedalus Variations" and being confined to the starship set. Obviously you have greater control on a sound stage. Do you find you're more rushed when you're on location because of daylight and everything like that? What is the best situation for a director? Do you find the location shooting out in the [Greater Vancouver Regional District] more constricting or do you prefer working on the sound stages?
Though a "ship show," "The Daedalus Variations" offered a compelling story in a classic sci-fi idea -- dimensional shifting.
AM: For the most part I really enjoy going out. I think the reason I enjoy going out is because we do spend so much time on stage. I think if it was the other way around where we spent the majority of time on location I would probably enjoy going to the stage in a controlled environment more so. We usually get more done in the sound stage where we have all our fixed lighting in place and so on.
GW: Oh yeah, you could work until the late hours of the night and no one would know the difference.
AM: Yeah, for sure! And we know how everything works. We know each wall that comes out and we know the intricacies of all of it. But I do enjoy going out on location. I love when we go outside.
"Outcast" was a good opportunity for me to go outside a little bit. We had a variety of locations. And I like the Earth-based episodes, personally. Again, it brings it back home again. And I think that's important to do every now and again. And I enjoy shooting out on location very, very much so.
It's difficult if we're in a house where we can't get more windows, we can't move walls, we have to be careful not to scratch the floor, and so on. But it's just refreshing. It's always refreshing to get a different perspective on things to be in a new environment. I do enjoy very much the location shooting. It's just fun to get out.