|Beware SPOILERS for Season Four of
Stargate Atlantis in the report below!
's "The Brotherhood"
to the latest episodes of Season Four
, Chuck Campbell
has played the role of the Gate Technician with push-button diligence and a boy-from-next-door smile.
In last season's finale, "First Strike,"
the actor finally got a name for his character -- his own! A coincidence? Not really. Chuck gives GateWorld the inside scoop on this and multiple other issues, from the cast changes in Season Four to what's in store for Atlantis
viewers in the weeks and months to come.
GateWorld's interview with Chuck is available in MP3 audio format for easy listening, and is about 30 minutes long. It is also transcribed below. You can also download the interview to your MP3 player and take GateWorld with you!
GateWorld: For GateWorld.net I'm David Read and I'm on the telephone with Chuck Campbell --
Chuck Campbell: -- That's me --
GW: -- Yes, that's him! The technician on Stargate Atlantis, or as I prefer to call him, Chucknician. [Laughter] Have you heard that term before?
CC: Are you kidding?! I will give you the inside scoop. One of the buddies I work with gave me a shirt with "Chucknician" on the back. [Laughter] I swear! Yeah, it's written right on the back of the shirt.
GW: Too bad you can't wear that during shooting.
CC: Yeah, wouldn't that be something? Just drop the coat. "Oh by the way, let me show you this!"
GW: What about the uniform? Do you find that uncomfortable, or is it comfortable to wear? The two-piece ...
CC: Absolutely not. I love actually having the jacket and get to flash the old [Canadian] flag if I can. I like doing that.
GW: Yes, exactly.
CC: And I like the old coats better than the new coats.
Campbell still sports the traditional Atlantis outfit from Season One.
GW: Oh really?
CC: That's just me. I don't wear one of the new coats. You see McKay and I think even Zelenka still wears the old coat.
GW: Oh that's right, they changed the stripes on them and everything.
CC: Yeah, and in the back it kind of opens. I think it's better. They seem to like it. It's just my own personal opinion.
GW: Any idea why they changed it?
CC: Oh, I think they're just trying to mix it up a little bit. They went other routes before when they go off world and they wear all the black. I think they're just trying to mix it up a bit. Atlantis is moving on and the seasons are going. I think it was more eye-candy than anything else.
GW: Right. You get a little bit flashier than usual.
CC: I think so, maybe. They're saving the world a couple of times so give them new jackets!
GW: Alright, great. I think the question on the top of everyone's lists, at least anyone who hasn't had a chance to see you at a convention and ask you this themselves, was it an accident that you got named Chuck on screen or do the writers really think that you look like a Chuck?
CC: It was kind of in the script in the sense that sometimes when they have stage directions, and it'll say "McKay walks over to the terminal," and duh-duh-duh, one of these stage directions was "Chuck walks over to his duh-duh and hits a button," or something like that. So where everybody kind of knew me as Chuck, we didn't really know if the writer was just "Oh, that's just Chuck," so he just types that in. And then Torri, in the scene, when I come into her office, at the end of it says, "Thank you, Chuck."
GW: OK, so that was just a spur-of-the-moment happening.
CC: I think it was kind of, yeah. Martin [Wood] was there and he was like, "Yeah, it's there and there, and ... Yeah! Keep it!" And it just kind of stuck. The big guys upstairs, they didn't really seem to mind, and they had written it into the stage directions already, so, yeah.
GW: Well you know, if the day players stick around long enough, they really deserve to get named.
CC: Hey! I'll take it. I'm just glad it wasn't Clarence ...
As one of her last acts before departing the show, Torri Higginson gave the technician a name.
GW: ... or Walter!
CC: Yes! [Laughter] If they start making me wear glasses, yep. I'm out. That's it. I'm just going to call up Gary and say "Come on over, man." [Laughter] Go into the other studio. You're needed.
GW: That's right. Did you have any expectations that the role would be as recurring as it has been?
CC: To be honest with you, no. No I didn't. I'm so glad that it was, but as you know it's one of those characters that is used for just announcing the incoming wormholes and that kind of stuff.
GW: Right. Yeah, you don't have a "Chevron one encoded," that sort of thing, on Atlantis.
CC: Yeah. You have a couple of taglines that you're known for. So to be honest with you I'm just glad I fit that jacket, man. That's all. Gotta watch the donuts.
GW: Are you a fan of science fiction?
CC: Sort of. I'll be honest with you, I became more of a fan of it since working on the show.
GW: Is it just the Stargates that you look into or have you checked out other genres?
CC: I think, especially with episodic television, where I was there so much getting to watch and see how it was done, effects-wise and the whole bit. So now when I watch television in the science fiction genre I guess I just look at it with a different eye. "I wonder how they did that, and I wonder if that was CGI." And that got me hooked in that sense.
GW: OK. What got you hooked into acting?
CC: I started off working on the stage and doing theater and such, and kind of fell ass backwards into doing the film and television by just branching out and going that route. Hey, like anybody will tell you, want to work one day or work a week? It's the same money. "Oh, OK." So it changes in that way.
So yeah. That's how it kind of happened and it just snowballed from there on. Just got hooked and kept getting hooked and that was it.
"... If Gary was doing it for ten years, Gary was doing something right. And there was a reason that he was there for that long in that chair doing it."
GW: You said you've done some theater. What are some of your favorite roles that you've done?
CC: It sounds cliché for an actor to say, but I did like doing Shakespeare. It was fun. That guy can write. And if you do it right, which I think I did it twice right, it just flows. It works. You know when you're on a first date and it's just clicking? Sometimes that happens with Shakespeare. And then the other 98% of it? "Ugh, I wish I knew how to do this properly."
So I got an appreciation for good text, and it survives so long. "That comma's there for a reason," and et cetera et cetera.
GW: I've read a lot of his work in school, but I've never had a chance to perform it, and once you get accustomed to the way he communicates, you're just in it.
CC: You ever watch Kenneth Branagh do it and how you just see him do it and you're like, "Yeah. It just works." So I guess I appreciate it more than I can do it. Then of course someday I really hope I get the chance to do "Glengarry Glen Ross." Because I'm a big [David] Mamet fan. I love his writing. I would love to do that.
I did some Sam Shepard plays, and that was good. That guy, he's a poet. He knows how to put a pen to paper. Great with characters.