Picardo's Politics Parallel His 'Stargate' Character'sBy Michelle
February 4, 2006 - 7:16 PM
Robert Picardo (The Doctor) discussed his Stargate SG-1 recurring character Richard Woolsey, saying he believes that he got the role in part because of Star Trek: Voyager, because the producers "very much like having actors who are identifiable to their predominantly science fiction audience."
In an interview with GateWorld, Picardo said that for him, the seven years he spent on Voyager were very enjoyable and he appreciates having a regular guest spot on Stargate. "I'm a pretty middle-class kind of actor. I like to go to work every day and I enjoy the routine of series television - assuming that you work on a show like Voyager where it was a great crew and a great cast," he said. "So it was a very pleasant experience...over the course of the seven years I have nothing but appreciation for my character's great arc."
The actor said he believed he had the best role on his Star Trek series because his character experienced so much growth, comparing The Doctor to Data on The Next Generation. "I started as such a blank slate and a reasonably two-dimensional character who was not even human, but aspired to certain things," he explained. "Those characters that are outside of humanity but aspire to be part of it or understand it, dating back to Spock as the first outsider. Those are the classic Star Trek roles and they have the best writing." He appreciated that the Doctor did not have to be a hero or a skilled soldier and could display a sense of humour.
Woolsey has appeared in four episodes of SG-1 and when he read the first script, Picardo felt that he "seemed like, kind of, a bad guy - but he seemed to be at least an honorably-intentioned bad guy." Fortunately, he noted, the cast members were very welcoming "and so happy to have me on the show that they didn't confuse my character with me the person. Everyone was very gracious." In the upcoming episode "The Scourge", his character is part of the A-plot, which the actor said he found preferable to "just the sitting-on-a-couch-in-the-President's-office B plot."
Asked about the politics of the series, where his character has insisted that the Stargate program should not be secret but should have civilian oversight, Picardo said, "I think that, in principle, that the military has to be responsive to the populace. There's always the chance that certain rogue elements in the military can really encourage us to pursue a course of action that may not be in the benefit of our population at large, may not even be legal in the eyes of the world or the United Nations." Though he joked that of course he was not making reference to any contemporary events, he added, "We have to question, seriously, any time we choose to use military force...it does not mean in the least that I don't completely support our troops and our military, because I admire and respect their passion to protect their country and the sacrifices that they make.
The full interview is at GateWorld.