Posts Tagged ‘Joe Flanigan’
Actress,Rachel Luttrell has been leading a distinguished, multi talented career as an actress,singer and dancer. Luttrell experienced a strong musical upbringing which included a great deal of inspiration from her father, who was a former member of the acclaimed Mendelsohn Choir as well as her piano studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music.Luttrell’s strong background within the television industry is evident from her many past television credits,which include shows such as ER,Charmed and Touched by an Angel.
Rachel’s more recent and most prominent television role was on Syfy’s original series,Stargate Atlantis where she portrayed the Athosian leader and warrior,Teyla Emmagan.Rachel portrayed the character over the course of the show’s five seasons, which aired from July 2004-January 2009.
With the Stargate franchise having drawn to an end earlier this year after the cancellation of Atlantis’ spin off series,Stargate Universe and Rachel being kind enough to participate in an interview with me, we discuss the actress’ initial experience in playing the role. Particularly,we discuss some of the challenges involved in portraying the character of Teyla and how Rachel related to the character.
The actress also shares her perspective on Teyla’s development over the course of the show’s five seasons, her experience on having her real life pregnancy incorporated into the show’s fourth season and Teyla’s conflicted feelings between the father of her child, Kannan[Patrick Sabongui] and Lt. Colonel John Sheppard[ Joe Flanigan].Luttrell also comments on her perspective on the recent announcement that Stargate Extinction ,the follow-up movie to the series has been cancelled as well as her thoughts on the future of the Stargate franchise.
The actress also discusses the recent projects which she has been working on since Atlantis ended, including her musical CD which is scheduled for release this September!
Abbas Karimjee:Were you contacted for the role of Teyla or did you audition? Could you please describe the initial experience and any challenges which were involved in the process?
Rachel Luttrell : Oh! I had to audition, and audition and audition.It was a long process.But I always felt connected to Teyla.I initially found the fight choreography challenging but soon grew to enjoy it. Another challenge was to preserve the “other worldly” quality of Teyla.Human but not of Earth.
AK: How did you relate to the character of Teyla ?
RL:Yes. Very much.She resonated with the side of me that is from Africa.I really drew on aspects of my mother’s life and my grand parent’s influence on me as a young child.
AK:The role of Teyla is that of a warrior,which in turn deal of physical activity and action.What challenges did this present to you and how did you learn to cope with this?
RL:I had never fought on camera before. I was a dancer.So, initially the fight sequences were daunting. But I soon began to see them as a type of dance choreography and could break them down that way.I began to enjoy them and certainly thought they were a vital part of bringing Teyla to life.
AK: How do you think Teyla evolved over the course of the show’s five seasons and was there any aspect of the character’s background or personality which you would have preferred to see further explored?
RL:Teyla grew up over the course of the series.She had to make some pretty challenging decisions, including leaving her people in order to further the greater cause of getting rid of The Wraith. She became a mother (which changes everything). If the series had continued I would have loved to have explored her heritage more. The mythology, the history…. I also would have enjoyed seeing Teyla truly in love.
AK:.In season 5 , Teyla pursued a relationship with Kannan, who is the father of her child, Torren.Though the two have a strong connection from Teyla’s time with her people, what are your thoughts on the inner nature of her relationship with Colonel Sheppard, in terms of the possibility of romantic interests between the two? Who would you prefer to see Teyla with and why? What challenges may be associated with your choice?
RL:I believe that Kannan was someone Teyla dearly loved.I believe that he would have been the choice that her parents would have made for her had they been alive.He represented her connection to her people and Teyla desperately wanted to keep that strong.There was already a great deal of guilt for having joined Atlantis and “leaving” them in a manner of speaking.But I think that she did love Sheppard.In a way he was forbidden but longed for.
AK:On the show’s fourth season, Teyla’s pregnancy was incorporated into the show, in order to coincide with your pregnancy. What were your thoughts on the direction which the writers took Teyla’s storyline as a result of the pregnancy and how do you think it further developed the character’s personality?
RL:I thought that the writers did a great job and I will forever be grateful to them for running with my own pregnancy without judgment and with great imagination and care.I think it acted as a way to fully showcase Teyla’s strength and determination. You don’t mess with a mamma bear.
AK:In retrospect,how suitable of an ending do you think Enemy at the Gate was to SGA and how do you feel about the Stargate franchise ending?
RL:Well, I think that everyone involved at the time really did hope and indeed expect a film. So the session/series finale was not meant to fully satisfy. And it didn’t. But all good things come to an end making way for new good. The franchise was an immensely successful one.Unprecedented success, really.And I am very happy to have been a part of it.
AK:Brad Wright recently announced at a Vancouver convention that the Atlantis movie, Stargate Extinction ,as well as other Stargate productions ,including the pending Stargate SG1 film,Stargate Revolution and a pending Stargate Universe movie, has been cancelled.
What is your reaction to the cancellation of the Atlantis film and how did you hope it would tie up both the overall story arc of Stargate Atlantis as well as Teyla’s journey, in terms of her relationship with her people, her role as a mother and a member of Atlantis?
RL:I am not at all surprised by the announcement.Although the movie would have been fun and deeply satisfying.It would have been nice to see that Teyla had managed to find some marriage between her people and her love of her Atlantis team.There was such a huge “dot, dot, dot” at the end of the final episode and so many questions could have been answered.
AK;How has being a cast member of SGA, impacted your career as well as your personal life, in terms of the various friendships you formed?
RL:I made some life long friends. And it never hurts to say that you were on a successful series for five seasons in terms of my career.
AK:What do you think is in store for the future of the Stargate franchise? Do you think it will be revived at some point?
RL erhaps.Anything is possible.
AK:What message would you like to convey to fans ,as the Stargate franchise draws to a close?
RL:Just know how grateful each and every one of us who were lucky enough to be involved in the franchise are to each and everyone of you for your support.It was a pleasure serving you!
AK:What recent projects have you been involved ,which you would like to /share with viewers and what future plans or aspirations do you have for your career, both as an actress and as a singer?
RL:I have been working on a CD for over a year and a half now and it will FINALLY be available September 2011!Yeah!I am still auditioning for shows and movies.Any number of those may bare fruit soon.And I am writing some pretty fun screenplays at the moment that I hope to see produced soon.I would like to be involved in all aspects of this industry from acting to directing.
AK:What activities do you enjoy during your spare time?
RL:Being with my son doing, anything!Writing.Singing.Going to the movies.Going to the stables to watch my boy ride.Hiking.Hanging out with dear friends and family….
Indeed the Stargate franchise is approaching its new era and with drastic changes to its face, we feel that its time to reflect on the past and look ahead to the future.
ITS TIME TO LOOK BACK AT THE PAST TO UNDERSTAND THE FUTURE
With Stargate Atlantis’cancellation announced by Science Fiction Channel on August 22 2008, many fans of the show were outraged.Many have expressed frustration with respects to their viewpoint which is that Team Atlantis was left in isolation for the new upcoming Stargate series,Stargate Universe.While others believe that ratings were a factor.Staff of the Atlantis production indicated that they had expected to the program to complete its anticipated six year run as per the contracts.Indeed , it is our interpretation that Stargate Atlantis was cancelled for a reinvention of the franchise to being viewers new exciting sorts of stories.This need was based on the lower ratings which were scored during the final half of the show.While ratings were generally lower during the second half of the show,the fifth season scored considerably better than the final half of third and the entire fourth season.Stargate Atlantis was also awarded with the People”s Choice Award for its fourth season.Indeed the show still entertained it viewers and therefore it was unanimously agreeed that Stargate Atlantis will continue nthe form of movies .A two hour stand alone direct to DVD movie will be set for release in spring 2010.The film will first appear on Sci Fi Channel for USA residents before being released into a DVD format.The reasoning behind Atlantis’ cancellation was to transfer the series to a more exciting movie format[with better graphics] now than in a few years when the demand and ratings for the show further declines.
We look forward to joining team Atlantis in more of their exciting adventures and keeping them alive in our lives for hopefully years to come.Although movies will not fully replace the enjoyment of a weekly 45 ,minute episode, we are appreciative for this opportunity.
Meanwhile Stargate productions is preparing for its next series, Stargate Universe.Universe stares Robert Carlyle as David Rush.The show will be geared towards a slightly younger audience that of its two sister series, Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis.This new target is apart of the initiative to reinvent Stargate to provide new forms of entertaintment while still maintaining the continuity of adventure and humour which have made Stargate what it is.In order to establish this initiative the setting of this new exciting series will take place on an ancient ship destiny where a new group of explorers accidentally end up.The actors are also slightly younger than that of the previous series .Being trapped on the ship with no wayhome they must all work together to survive.All ofthese new characters are indeed un experienced and thus we can expect some amusing moments.Stargate Universe is expected to be more story arc based with a central focus on character relationships.Sci Fi mythology will also play a much less important role in Universe than in its previous series.Universe will be designed to welcome both long time Stargate Fans back to the screens while also attracting a large new audience community to the table.
Fan reaction to this new series as briefly outlined further above has been generally negative.Many fans have assumed that the series will be more of teenage soap opera .However, creators of the show Brad Wright and Robert C Cooper, who also sered as creators for the previous two series have assured the online fan community that this is not the case.There has also been concern with regards to the maintenance of the intellectuality which Stargate brings to its fanbase.Indeed fans have no desire to let a younger audience dominate the intellectual complexity of Stargate.Certain fans have communicated that their frustration is with respects t0 what they believe is a replacement of series-from Atlantis to Universe!
We shall have to wait and see the show on October 2 2009 when its first episode, Air Part 1 debuts on the Sci Fi Channel.
Meanwhile a third Stargate SG1 film is being scripted .The film was recently approved by MGM and is for a spring 2010 release.It is expected to be Jack O’Neil centric.Michael Shanks[Daniel Jackson],[Amanda Tapping][Samantha Carter] and of course Richard Dean Anderson have all confirmed their involvememt in the film.Actor Christopher Jude[Tealc] has not yet issued any official statement on his involvement in the film, however based on previous general indications his involvementis expected.Although the involvement of Beau Bridges and Ben Browder is unknown for the film, we have received acknowledgement that Claudia Black will not appear in the film as Vala Maldurin.Black’s future in subsequent SG1 movies has not been communicated, however we are taking a moment to wish best of luck to the address as she continues to move forward in her career.The writer of the film is none ther than SG1′s creater and executive producer, Brad Wright.Indeed this film was only possible because of the success of the previous two SG1 films, Stargate Ark of Truth and Stargate Continuum.
The much anticipated Stargate Worlds video game where Stargate gamers could partake in missions previously practiced by teams including SG1 faced financial trouble last December.It seems that the Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment studious was suffering through severe financial difficulties which resulted in lack of employee payment.Further developments have not been provided since December and we are consequemtly assuming that the video game will berelased later this year as scheduled.Lets keep our hopes up!