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Online Chat
Entertainment Asylum's Studio-i. March 7, 1998
Host: Estera Zarko


ENTERTAINMENT ASYLUM LIVE ONLINE CHAT

On Saturday, March 7th, Richard Dean Anderson visited Entertainment Asylum's Studio-i for a live Interactive Webcast in which online participants could view the chat live in streaming video, as well as submit questions for the interview. Estera Zarko acted as the hostess for the chat.

Asylum Chat Estera Zarko:
Hi, Inmates! This is Estera Zarko. We have a very special chat today with Richard Dean Anderson. Many of you got to know him as MacGyver and now you can get to know him as Colonel Jack O'Neill in Showtime's Stargate SG-1. Welcome Richard!

Richard Dean Anderson:
Hi! [Waves to the camera] He-l-lo-o-o-a-a- [Moves hands robotically]. I feel like I should be moving around like this because... well, never mind. It's my first time on camera on the Internet so it's...

Estera Zarko:
That's for everyone with very slow modems so everyone's just the same.

Richard Dean Anderson:
Right. You just kind of feel that little [moving in jerks] jerky-herky-herk-jerk... But I shouldn't be talking that way. [Dives out of the shot for an instant and then bounces back to the camera] Yeah, I just wanted to test the remote control.

Estera Zarko:
He's testing us out! How is this going? You know sci-fi fans are very very passionate. You had very passionate fans before with MacGyver. How's it transferring now with all the sci-fi fans?

Richard Dean Anderson:
Well, part of what I think when MGM and Showtime got together and I guess bought the rights to the movie to make a series, and then approached me to play the Kurt Russell role, they were counting on... banking on there being a kind of a hub of, or a nucleus of an audience that MacGyver would bring along with it, plus the movie that had a kind of a cult following and success as well. And so far it's been... It's the highest rated Showtime show that they have and we've just gotten picked up for another... We had a two year commitment and we just got picked up for two more years, so there's four years of Showtime Stargate in the future, so... To be honest with you, in the beginning I was not a science fiction fan, at all. I like Star Wars, that was as far as I could go. But I'm more of an "Indiana Jones" type of guy. So I sort of had to take a chance and see how the genre fit my mentality and my personality. It was a little rocky road last year, but this year I've been empowered with executive producer status, whatever that means, so the creative input is... that process will be embellished a little bit. I dunno, we're gonna make it as much fun as possible.

Estera Zarko:
Great! Well, the fans have a lot of questions that they're sending in...

Richard Dean Anderson:
Ask away kids! Ask me anything!

Estera Zarko:
"MacVeil1" wants to know: "Were you surprised by the birthday present you received from the MacGyver Mailing List? We love you! Thank you for doing this chat!"

Richard Dean Anderson:
You're welcome. Yes I was. I believe what she... they... she... is this gender...? [Laughs]

Estera Zarko:
It's gender-free, you know!

Richard Dean Anderson:
See, I work with a group... I have for some years now, it's a recreation center in South Central LA. We've been trying to raise... garner some finances to build a... build on, actually... It's right in the middle of the heart of the bad part of the city basically - inner city stuff, and it's a kind of a refuge for kids, basically. A recreational center. Anyway, we've been selling bricks, kind of memorial, or memento bricks for the entranceway. And a whole group of MacGyver fans, MacGyver List folks, who've been the core loyal audience that have just stuck for so... I don't know why...

'They bought a brick.' Estera Zarko:
Richard, I can't stand the suspense any more. What the heck did they get you?

Richard Dean Anderson:
Well they bought a brick.

Estera Zarko:
Oh!!

Richard Dean Anderson:
They all donated money out of pocket and bought a brick that will be a part of the recreational center. It really did shock me to be honest with you. It was one of the nicest gestures that... In fact it's one of the things where if you get real profound and reflective about it, it's one of those things that happens that makes doing what I do worth it. Because the fans kind of, like, understand what I'm about as a person, not just an actor or a quote-unquote personality - celeb-slash-celebrity. Those are things that I care about and for the fans to react to that and to respond like that, it's... I was talking to my assistant in Los Angeles, Barb Mackintosh, who sort of orchestrated all this, and she was telling me about it and I started to kind of well up a little bit. It was one of those very nice moments. [Turns to the camera] So thank you, thank you, thank you so much.

Estera Zarko:
Very sweet story. Okay. "I love NY" wants to know: "Have you ever gotten injured on the job?"

Richard Dean Anderson:
[Reading from the monitor] He says "inured." [Laughs] Kidding. Yes, I've gotten injured a lot! You may be asking a question that you already know the answer to, but... The nature of MacGyver... Back in the old days, I tended to want to do all my stunts, as many as they would legally allow me to do. So consequently I've had back surgery, I've had two foot surgeries, two knee surgeries, broken like four fingers, dislocated a shoulder, two concussions, broke my nose... Well, I broke my nose playing hockey, but...

Estera Zarko:
I've heard about something that happened to your nose with a killer whale.

Richard Dean Anderson:
Oh, yeah! Well, missed my nose, hit my forehead, thank you! But, yeah, one of my first jobs in California was working at Marineland Pacific, and I had written a show. I was hired as Entertainment Director back when they were kind of floundering, figuring out what they wanted to do. And I wrote this show for the killer whales, that had me literally... I played this old sea salt come home to see these killer whales in his home town. But I'd written myself into the behaviors, and one of them was standing on top of a ladder sixteen feet above the pool and having "Orkie", this billion-ton orca whale, come flying up and snatching a mackerel out my teeth. And I'd been taught, or told, not to move because they look at you out the side of their eye and come up and then snatch it. But when you see an animal like that coming at you, your first response is to just, you know - move! [Laughs] To put it bluntly. Which I did, and the whale saw me do that, made the adjustment, came further than he really needed to and nailed me right in the forehead, just smacked me! So from that point on, I didn't move an inch and just let him do his job.

Estera Zarko:
Head-butted by a killer whale and you're living to tell about it.

Richard Dean Anderson:
And I have a very bad taste for mackerel these days. I can't go there any more. With all due respect.

Estera Zarko:
Okay, another question [from "RUNVS123"]. They just keep coming. Aha! "Are you married? If so, to who?"

Richard Dean Anderson:
Well, it's "if so, to whom?" [Laughs] Spending valuable time on the Internet correcting grammar. I apologize for that. It's a bad habit. No, I'm not married. I do have a girlfriend and, this is a nice segue, nice moment to bring up this little ditty: having a baby, in July. Having my first kid. Turned 48, did a little bit of reflecting and realized that I think now is the time for this adventure - of fatherhood.

Estera Zarko:
Do you know how many hearts you're breaking right now?

Richard Dean Anderson:
Breaking! Hopefully that's not heart-breaking. Hopefully that's embellishing hearts. I still have the spirit that I've always had, but now I'm examining this avenue of adventure. Certainly it's going to take some adjusting - believe me, I know, but I couldn't be happier and I couldn't be more excited about... And, you know, you hear people talk about it... I know, never having kids and watching talk shows... You know, somebody on Jay Leno talking about "Oh, yeah, I'm having a kid" and it's like, "Who cares?" Until you actually have the experience, and now it's... I don't know if you have children or not, but it alters the course of your consciousness. And I've lived a very selfish lifestyle. My entire life, I've always been able to just jump, hop, go, do whatever I've felt like doing. And I still have that, referring to that spirit, still have those notions. But now my consciousness has to include this little baby that's coming along in July.

And I have a friend of mine who said, "You know, you're afraid of losing your independence. Is this going to be a weight to you?" And I said, "Well, yeah, as a matter of fact I am a little concerned about losing my freedom, always have been." Well, the friend said, "Well, just think of it as another backpack. For the first five years all you gotta do is just strap 'em on and go wherever you wanna go." After that you've got to start setting down some roots and think about education and social interaction and all those things. Which I'll learn about, I'm sure. But right now, I couldn't be happier. [Turns to the camera] Please, don't be heartbroken, be... you know, share this! This is elegantly joyful for me.

Estera Zarko:
Well, congratulations!

Richard Dean Anderson:
[Ernest Pratt voice] Thank you!

Estera Zarko:
Okay, next fan question [from"RUNVS123"]: "Do you miss doing MacGyver?"

Richard Dean Anderson:
Aah... [Laughs, then pauses] I don't even want to play with that question, but... Not so much. I mean, I don't want to break any more hearts there either, but... Actually, just last night, as I was telling you, we were honored by the Radio/Television Museum, the William Paley organization. A television festival honored MacGyver as a big contributor to the history of television, and a lot of those questions were brought up in a panel discussion. I don't really miss doing it. We did it for seven years, did two TV movies...

Estera Zarko:
Broke your back...

White Socks! Richard Dean Anderson:
Yeah, broke everything, broke me entirely. There are aspects of it I miss, because it was so much fun to do that show. It was a lot of work - totally inundating, and took me away from a real life, essentially - so consequently, those things I don't really miss. But, I dunno, it's kind of like, 7 years was long enough, it was time to move on. The character lives on in perpetuity and it's just part of an evolution, it's time to move on. I don't really miss... We watched an episode, like a third year episode, and one thing that I really did notice was that MacGyver was definitely an 80's show. It was out of the mid-80's. I mean, I had the hockey hair, and the white socks I had... [laughs as he lifts his ankle to the camera to show the white socks he's wearing] ...that actually showed!

Estera Zarko:
[Laughing] Were you cringing when you were watching it?

Richard Dean Anderson:
Well, I had screened it before, because this was in front of an audience of virtually invited guests. And I had screened it before and had to make a little speech before and said, "Well first of all, please forgive me, but also, as you watch just realize that times do change and this was the epitome of an 80's-type television show." Not typical for the TV hero, the concept itself, but... Well, in answer to your question, I've just kind of moved on and it's...

Estera Zarko:
Moved on to another mega-hit!

Richard Dean Anderson:
Yeah, I guess. We've got a four-year commitment... or three-more-year commitment doing Stargate now, but we'll see. You know what, people who watch the show, or follow my career at all, know that there's a huge difference between MacGyver, that concept, and what we're doing in Stargate. We don't need to get into it right now but most people know what I'm talking about.

'Oh my God!' Estera Zarko:
Okay. This is an interesting fan question [from "QUEEN RAH"]. I'd like to know the answer to this: "Were you a musical guest on the Dinah Shore show?"

Richard Dean Anderson:
Oh my god!! [Claps his hand over his face]

Estera Zarko:
Tell us about it.

Richard Dean Anderson:
Oh, god, you saw that?!! [Blushing, turns to the camera] My apologies, please! [Laughs] I... There was a period in my life when I was... well, when the Dinah Shore show was on, where I was hanging out with... I was working at, I think on General Hospital, of all things... [in an old man's voice] before you were born... And I was hanging out with one of the cast member's sons who was a guitar player, and he was in a band, the leader of which was Carl Dante... I hope this is what you're referring to because it's the only band that I've... music that I've ever played... But he just asked me to, you know, said, "Yeah, you should come and sing with us some time." So I went out and hung out with them, and he was a rock 'n roller, and... I have no sense of rhythm at all, but he kind of, you know, ushered me through this whole experience, to the point where we had like four songs we could do. And I'd go see him in his clubs, clubs that they were playing... he'd get me up on stage and embarrass the hell out of me. But we finally had to go on to do something with it - I was invited onto the Dinah Shore show!

Also did a telethon, a Jerry Lewis telethon, with Carl, Doug Sheehan who was on General Hospital with me. He played the bagpipes and I had my little rock and roll band thing, and we came together, had to play in B flat because that's what a bagpipe is in, and we did some Beatles song that we produced for... But yes, I was a musical guest, [laughing] if you want to call it music! God, what a memory! This is frightening!

Estera Zarko:
We are just getting it all today - The Dinah Shore show... You're having a baby...

Richard Dean Anderson:
Yeah... Dirt!! C'mon, more! Ask more! Let's go! C'mon... [Giggles] I love this, so much!

Estera Zarko:
You know, people just keep asking about MacGyver. Are you okay with this?

Richard Dean Anderson:
Sure... why not?

Estera Zarko:
[From "PHSIndian"]: "Do you feel that MacGyver was your best show ever, or do you think that you just keep getting better?"

Richard Dean Anderson:
That's... Obviously this person doesn't know me at all because I'm very self-deprecating and I have very low self-esteem. Umm... I... In answer to the first part of the question, I don't think MacGyver was... just to put it bluntly... The most fun, and I think the best work I've ever done as an actor, was on a show called Legend. And it was on UPN, short-lived, we did 13 episodes. UPN, in my opinion, had no vision. Plus, I don't think the executives watched the show, all they were looking at were numbers, and they were just starting. So the entity of Legend basically didn't stand a chance. But it was a period western comedy/slash/adventure odd science deal. But the problem was that it was a period western... At one point one of the notes we got from the UPN brass was that, "You know, the show's just too dusty." Now there's a note you want to take to the bank, right? I think we'll start changing... But Legend was a character (and an alter-ego in Ernest Pratt, in that franchise) that I had the most fun with, and I think... and subsequently did the best work... Certainly the most fun I've ever had. It was over the top a lot. There's a lot of small... You had to watch closely to see some of the things that happened, so... I dunno, I think possibly on a real network at the time it may have done something, but over at UPN we didn't stand a chance. Unfortunately. I'd love to do... In fact we're sort of quietly, clandestinely trying to put together a presentation to see if another network or someone would be interested in doing like a TV movie or something based on the character, because it was so much fun. Ribald... misbehaving... you know, smokin', drinkin', womanizin', gamblin' guy - but shy and honest. [Laughs]

Estera Zarko:
Okay, but it answers the second part of the question, in that you do keep getting better, because that came after!

Richard Dean Anderson:
Ummm... Well I... You know, you can't ask me qualitative questions, because, you know, I get real shy about saying, [bragging voice] "Yeah, hey, I get so great as time goes on!" It's not...

Estera Zarko:
And he's modest, too.

Richard Dean Anderson:
It's not me.

Estera Zarko:
Okay. We have a fan [Enreekay1] that wants some advice: "Hi, my name is Eric and I want to start a career in acting. Could you give me some tips to get started?"

Richard Dean Anderson:
Aah, well, I won't even kid around about this one, because there's so many, like, things you can say to dissuade people from doing that. If your heart, and soul, and your every pore is trying to get you to follow through on this - if it's, like, a dream that you really think could become a reality... The first thing I always say to anyone who asks me about pursuing a career in acting is that, first and foremost, go to school and get educated. Just get a full-on education. That includes things that may be totally unrelated to the acting world. You may look at biology, or science, or math or something - which I did... and, you know, I had no use for this stuff... Well, guess what! Someday you might play a character, oh, like, say... MacGyver? And it would help to have some general knowledge of, or at least a curiosity about something unrelated. So anyway, first and foremost, educate. And it's a hard thing to hear if you're, like, young and anxious to want to get on screen or on stage and do it now, because it's part of a process that could take a long time.

'Get educated.' But the payoff... it's sort of like... The example that I make, I'd love to be able to sit down at the piano and just play music like so many people that I know can do, but I was so belligerent and impatient with the process of learning how to do that, that I never followed through on it, so consequently I can't. All I can do is kind of piddle around, whereas if I had taken the time, and been patient, and gone through the process of educating myself, I'd be able to do what I want to do now, which would be to play music. So the parallel is in there somewhere - make sure you get educated and then, beyond that point...

First of all you may find something along that road that will, like, dissuade you, or you'll find something that's far more interesting. Because there's not... and it's a cliché to say it... you know, you've all heard it, but it's no bed of roses, no day at the beach, no walk in the park - any cliché you want to throw up about the acting business. It's not what... First of all, it's not what it's cut up to be, but it's also not as easy as some people make it seem. But beyond that, specialty schools like acting schools, college, certainly you'll be able to find some things out.

[There is a noise in the background, and Richard turns to address someone off camera.] Can I help you? No. [Turning to the camera] We'll be right back after this word... No, don't go away!

Estera Zarko:
Don't go away, folks! This is a question we keep getting from the really passionate fans of Stargate SG-1. We're getting it up live, and I also got mail about it. "BelleSta2" is asking about it now, and "Brigitte" asked about it earlier in the week. She mailed me and said: "According to the BC Film Commission, filming for Stargate SG-1 started up again on March 2nd. How long will it take for us crazed fans to see the first new episode of the season?"

Richard Dean Anderson:
That is a Showtime question! To be honest with you, I'm not sure... What happened was, we filmed 22 episodes last year, wrapped, finished filming in November, have all the shows assembled from last season. Now, I thought it was a little unfair of Showtime to hold them back, but that's indeed what they did in a programming... "strategy", I guess... or "ploy" (I'll put it bluntly)... to bank a whole bunch of shows, essentially. Because we've already started production on the second season. So we'll have the tail end of last year's episodes plus the new stuff, because it takes... What happens is, it takes time to produce the shows and get them together and you start getting behind. That's why you'll see a rerun every once in awhile, because you just can't keep up with the snowball effect of production. So, I don't know what the launch date is for this.

But I think Showtime is beginning, or continuing, their Sci-Friday bank of programming, which includes our show, Stargate, and I think they're going to try and launch it with the first episode of Star Wars, I think they've acquired that. Plus, you know, Outer Limits and... It's going to be a bank of science fiction shows. I don't know, and I should, much to my discredit, don't know what the launch date is for that, so... I understand your frustration. I was a little upset about it myself, because we had rushed to get all the shows together, and then they decided, "Let's launch a great big thing at the beginning of this year." So my apologies...

Estera Zarko:
That's what happens when you get such a big following.

Richard Dean Anderson:
Well, what I'm thinking is, you know, call up Showtime, or write them and say, "What's going on here? C'mon, where's..."

Estera Zarko:
Start a campaign!

Richard Dean Anderson:
"Where's Stargate?" My mom asks the same question, so thank you. [In Mom's voice] "When am I gonna get new shows?" [Turns to the camera] Mom, you're not online right now, are you? No... okay...

Estera Zarko:
How cute would that be?

Richard Dean Anderson:
Oh, I'd be dead! Are you kidding?! [Laughs] Or at least spanked.

Estera Zarko:
Okay, in line with the last Q&A, someone [BelleSta2] wants to know: "How long does it take to finish one Stargate show?"

Richard Dean Anderson:
Many moons. The actual filming, we're... It's all a matter of... It's all budgetary. Everything is dictated by the almighty dollar, as so many things in life are. We're allowed... We allow ourselves as producers a certain amount of time to actually shoot the show, so we... anywhere between, well, seven and a half days... 7.5 days (that's Canadian numbering) to actually film. Then we have what is known as a second unit, which will shoot maybe two, two and a half more days of special effects, blue screens, anything else, any residual scenes that may need to be taken care of. When... like, say, during the MacGyver days I was in every scene, so things... They would spring me out of... as early as possible, to get on to the next episode, and finish up scenes afterwards. Same thing essentially with Stargate. But because there are so many special effects, and post production elements, it takes, you know, close to, over a month to get an episode completely finished and fine-tuned, scored and ready to be viewed. Because everybody's got to say something, first of all - you get notes, you get... from networks and studios and, you know, the guy in the street... So it takes a while.

Estera Zarko:
It's a very long time. Okay, next question: "Dear Richard, Loved you as MacGyver, and now as Jack O'Neill. Is Stargate shot in Vancouver? If so, are there studio/set tours available?"

Richard Dean Anderson:
Yeees, we are... Stargate is shot in, in fact the same studios that we shot four years of the seven of MacGyver, the Bridge Studios. Yeah, back in Vancouver. But no, there's a lot... There are several reasons why there aren't any tours. First of all we're not as big or as interesting as, say, Universal. Believe me, it's a very modest studio, you could see it in 5 minutes. But there's a policy that the studio... and this has nothing to do with Showtime, or MGM, but the studio itself, the Bridge Studios, have a legal insurance reason to keep that sort of thing from occurring. There are some special circumstances, like, I've worked for years with Make a Wish Foundation, Wish children will come up. Those are special circumstances that they work around, and there are waivers and all that. So it's not an easy process and it's not likely that, you know, you can come in off the street and walk around. First of all, you can get hurt. People wearing hard hats everywhere. Things are falling... alien things falling from everywhere.

Estera Zarko:
Okay, another fan [KrEwEdReU] wants to know: "Any chance you'll ever do a guest appearance on the X-files?? P.S. Happy Belated Birthday."

Richard Dean Anderson:
[Ernest Pratt voice] Why thank you! [Laughs] I've turned 48, thank you, thank you very much. I don't know! I met Chris Carter about 10 years... it's not that long, about 6 or 7 years ago. Didn't know who Chris Carter was at the time, but I was having lunch... But, I don't know, I haven't been asked. I don't know what... You know, I'm kinda busy so it's not easy. They are in town. I did...

I haven't even met Duchovny yet, but he called me - I just love name dropping, it's so "me"! Duchovny called me because he had said something negative about the weather in Vancouver, so he's getting, like, tortured by the press up there. And he called, and we finally connected, and he said, "What do I do, Richard, what do I do?" And I said... Well, he didn't say it like that, he asked, [flat Duchovny monotone] "Richard, what do I do?" And I said, well, first of all you've got to consider what they're talking about, it's the weather, okay? You can't say anything negative about the weather or their hockey, in Canada. And, I said you're not tearing apart their culture or any other aspect of their general personality, you're not undermining the nationalism that is so prevalent up here, which is something to be celebrated. I said, you're talking about the weather and they're taking you to task on that. And I said, but first of all I want to thank you for taking the weight off my shoulders, because I said the same thing. I said, "It rains a lot in Vancouver and it can get a little uncomfortable occasionally," and with that all hell has broken loose. But, so in answer to your question, I don't know about the X-Files, I haven't even met any of the people involved.

The X-Files Estera Zarko:
But Duchovny helped you out.

Richard Dean Anderson:
No, I helped him...

Estera Zarko:
Oh, you helped him out.

Richard Dean Anderson:
Thank you. Oh no, no, he helped me out too because I was trying to find a dog sitter up there for... to take care of my puppy, and he recommended some.

Estera Zarko:
Perfect segue to our next fan question.

Richard Dean Anderson:
Oh, good!

Estera Zarko:
[From "IluvRDA"]: "I think it's great that you love dogs..."

Richard Dean Anderson:
LOVE dogs! They're my favorite people!

Estera Zarko:
"How is Zoë's training coming?"

Richard Dean Anderson:
Ummm... Well, she's got me heeling now and I don't chase cars anymore. She's great, she's, like, the love of my life. I had to leave her for almost three months. I had to, during hiatus, I kind of came back to the States and disappeared into the mountains and skied my little fanny off, but... So consequently she was at doggy camp, and... I don't know if you want to hear all this stuff, because I get all mushy about dogs. I mean, I am... birds of a feather, basically.

Estera Zarko:
What kind of a breed is she?

Richard Dean Anderson:
She's an Australian Shepherd. I discovered Australians about 20 years ago and knew that it was my breed, that we just communicate - there's something going on. People who know me real well know that it's kind of... I've an odd dynamic with dogs in general, but any one that I take into my life... They usually choose me. I've had three Australian Shepherds, and they've all come out of the litter and just... just jumped on me and said "Look, I'm taking you," basically. It sounds a little odd... But she's doing well, she's a free spirit, she's about a year and a half old and just, you know, the joy of my life.

Estera Zarko:
We've got a question [from "PinkPlan"] from Germany...

Richard Dean Anderson:
Guten Abend, wie geht's?
["Good evening, how are you?"]

Estera Zarko:
"Hello from Germany..."

Richard Dean Anderson:
Willst du ihn kennenlernen?
["Would you like to meet him?"]

Ich muß etwas inder Zeitung lesen, ja? Danke!
["I have to read something in the newspaper, yes? Thank you!"]

I have no idea what I just said!

Estera Zarko:
[Laughing] I was going to ask you, was this like maybe a subject in college?

Richard Dean Anderson:
Never you mind!

Estera Zarko:
Okay... [Still laughing, pauses] ...Maybe we'll go there later.

Richard Dean Anderson:
"Hello from Germany..."

'I'll try to translate.' Estera Zarko:
"Hello from Germany! Was it difficult for 'MacGyver' to play the military guy? :-)"

Richard Dean Anderson:
Was it difficult... Okay, I'll try to translate, here...

Estera Zarko:
With a smiley face at the end... Maybe there's something lost in the translation.

Richard Dean Anderson:
And I'm thinking, because MacGyver wasn't a... Oh, maybe he's talking about Richard Dean and not... "MacGeever". Umm... was it difficult...? No, it's... The difference between MacGyver and Jack O'Neill... I'll just interpret as I go, here. All it is, is an acting exercise, it's a different character. That's all, it's that simple. It's my job.

Estera Zarko:
Okay...

Richard Dean Anderson:
However, Legend was my life! [Laughs]

[There is silence.]

Richard Dean Anderson:
This is what is known as a pregnant pause!

Estera Zarko:
Moving right along now, let's get rid of that pregnant pause!

Richard Dean Anderson:
Did I mention that I'm having a baby?!

Estera Zarko:
[From "Jacof Sim"]: "Now that you have established your character in Stargate, do you think you will have an episode where you make fun of your old MacGyver persona? Like with the gum and building bombs? :)"

Richard Dean Anderson:
Aha! Someone who didn't see the pilot for SG-1. We actually already have. We referenced it very quickly and very... not subliminally, because... The scene was, Captain Carter is looking at some piece of machinery and saying, "Well, how're we gonna fix this? I think maybe if we do this and we do that, then I could MacGyverize this." We cut to Jack O'Neill kind of doing a small little reaction, so there's a little tiny little gesture towards sending the MacGyver thing up a little bit.

But, you know what I'm more apt to do - and keep an eye out for these sorts of things - and Showtime, to their credit has allowed, let them get through, that occasionally Jack O'Neill will say something like, "It's Showtime!" And they'll let it get through, so... Just so you know, it's not breaking character! I like throwing little ditties in there like that occasionally, and referencing. So, yeah, we'll make fun of MacGyver. I mean, I do all the time.

Estera Zarko:
Well, you know which show keeps referencing MacGyver? Do you ever watch The Simpsons?

Richard Dean Anderson:
Oh! Are you kidding me?! My career... my life is complete because of The Simpsons! First of all, The Simpsons is my favorite television show on... well, television ...and of course Larry Sanders is second, but... I swear to you that to have the sisters idolizing MacGyver, and of course being made fun of, is... it's a lot of fun. I thought my career was complete, my life was complete when my middle name was a clue in the TV Guide crossword puzzle. I have since set higher standards, but... Mad magazine sent MacGyver up a lot, but The Simpsons... It being my favorite show, and even being, you know, alluded to, it's an absolute honor.

Estera Zarko:
For those of you who don't know, Homer Simpson's sisters-in-law, Patty and Selma...

Richard Dean Anderson:
Patty and Selma!

Estera Zarko:
...They will not go anywhere if there's a rerun of MacGyver on. Nowhere.

Richard Dean Anderson:
I love that. I really do. And it's a nice gesture. I know they're making fun, but it's.. you know, that's part of the joy of it. So thank you, all of you, Mr. Brooks and Groening and all you guys, I love that.

Estera Zarko:
Okay, next fan question: "Hi, Richard! I'm from MTL, Canada...?"

Richard Dean Anderson:
Montreal!

Estera Zarko:
Montreal!

Richard Dean Anderson:
...or [exaggerated French accent] "Montreal"...

Estera Zarko:
"...and I hear that one time you used to play hockey. True? Do you still play, and who is your favorite team? I'm a true Montreal fan."

Richard Dean Anderson:
My condolences! Hah. I used to... I have to actually admit this... Yes, I do still play hockey. I just played two nights ago and... Yeah! [Turning to the camera] ...almost broke something else! But yeah, I still play, not as often as I used to. Ski season is just kind of floating away now, and I got a lot of skiing in this year, but... My favorite team... I have to be really diplomatic about saying what my favorite team is. I'm from Minnesota, so I... When they had the North Stars I was a North Stars fan, but then the owner undermined... Part of the problem with being from Minnesota and getting a pro team in Minneapolis is that Minnesotans are so supportive of their amateur ranks. I mean kids. It's all... a lot of family stuff, so all the families kind of support the amateur ranks, which I do appreciate. But consequently it's hard to keep a pro team in Minnesota. But, in answer to your question, I live in Vancouver half the year, I live in Los Angeles another half the year, the Dallas Stars used to be in Minnesota... Understand, I'm developing this diplomacy thing... I like New York Ranger uniforms and the Chicago Blackhawk uniforms. As a kid, that was how I determined. And, ah, let's see, who else...? Oh, Joey Sakic is a very good friend of mine and he plays for the Colorado Avalanche. He's a buddy, so I've been a fan of Colorado since they were... oh, ever since they were in Quebec. And, umm... [giggles] ...who else? Ohhh, Mr. Esposito is a good friend of mine, down in Tampa, and he gave me a really nice shirt and a hat... So I could list them all off and find a reason I have a favorite team in every city, but... Umm, you know... I like the University of Minnesota Gophers, how's that? Whew! [Laughing]

Estera Zarko:
Well you know what Steve wants to know: "How is it that you scheduled this chat during a Kings-Red Wings game?"

Richard Dean Anderson:
Here's the answer to that question, and thank you: I didn't schedule this! We'll be right back after this... No, I had to do this when I could do this, 'cause I'm just, this is in... We're in Los Angeles - can I say that?

Estera Zarko:
Yes.

'Who is winning?' Richard Dean Anderson:
And I'm shooting... I came down last night from Vancouver and I have to get on a plane from here and go back up there. So I... Believe me, I didn't schedule it, I...

Estera Zarko:
He's a busy man...

Richard Dean Anderson:
Who is winning? Can they... Can somebody...?

Estera Zarko:
Someone type in who's winning! He needs to know!

Richard Dean Anderson:
Is there a score? Are there any scores going on here?

Estera Zarko:
Oh, someone wants to know...

Richard Dean Anderson:
I love this Internet thing! Who invented this?

Estera Zarko:
"Gooch" wants to know: "Do you have a computer, and if so have you ever checked any of the Stargate sites out or participated in some of the chat rooms that you have?"

Richard Dean Anderson:
I do have a computer but I'm an idiot when it comes to running it. My brother has recently started... I've hired him sort of as my assistant, to come to Vancouver. He's been able to play with my computer and he's, like, just wandering aimlessly through it and has had the time to do so. But I'm fascinated by it and have that kind of naïveté. I mean, the setup they have in here makes my head spin. I mean, it's like... what is available and what goes on now... I have the same attitude about computers and all of this that I do about skis. I'm not going to buy skis for two years until the technology settles down a little bit. All of this stuff is so... It's fascinating to me and I just love the potential, but... So consequently I'm not real adept at... adept?... adept at accessing chat rooms and things like that. I have an e-mail address, and I'm, you know, I'm sheepish about using that. But I'll get there! In fact, somehow I want my assistant, Barb, to help me find a way to talk to, you know, just to jump in and say hi and do that. Which I was trying to do earlier and didn't know how to identify myself.

Estera Zarko:
Oh, we've got to get you a little chat name.

Richard Dean Anderson:
[Pretending to type] "Hi, RDA here, RDA here!"... "Oh yeah, sure, right. When's RDA gonna be on?" That kind of stuff.

Estera Zarko:
Hey that's funny. A lot of times we have the celebs go in and they say "No, it's really, really me," and the fans say they can't believe it!

Richard Dean Anderson:
Yeah. Well, I want to do that and eventually I will, once I'm shown how to do it. I think it would be fun just to jump in and say hi and chat away. [Noticing the monitor] Oh! We got scores!

Estera Zarko:
We got the scores!

'Unbelieveable!' Richard Dean Anderson:
[Reading from the monitor] "No score in the first period, 6 minutes and 32 seconds left." How do you do that!!? Unbelievable!

Estera Zarko:
Technology, man!

Richard Dean Anderson:
[Laughing] Hey, what took you so long? Seems like, what, 12 seconds ago I asked for that! You're amazing!

Estera Zarko:
Okay, next fan question [from Anglspoet]: "Will there be a tech manual for all of SG-1 equipment and worlds ?"

Richard Dean Anderson:
[As he speaks, picks up his baseball cap and places it on his knee] A tech manual? Uh, yeah. You know, what I've been seeing on screen here are the names Jonathan Glassner and Brad Wright. They are the nucleus from which all our stories come. They are the head writers and executive producers for Stargate. They... You're more apt to have run into them, or at least Jonathan 'cause he's a computer guy as well. But as far as what's gonna become available as far as merchandising and such, I honestly don't know. Any one of you knows more about it than I do. I have a hard time understanding a lot of it. That's sort of why the partnership of Glassner, Wright, Anderson and Greenburg together make a good partnership, because I'm not a science fiction fanatic and they are. So I ask the real naïve questions, like, "Well, how does this zat gun work? Why? What's the technology?" And that will cause them to pay a little more attention to maybe explaining or writing something that is a little more explanatory to... so it makes sense for the general public. But as far as a manual, a tech manual and such, I'm sure down the line that that's being thought about or drawn up, because these guys chronicle everything. So yeah, be patient.

Estera Zarko:
"SJenson" had an interesting question. She wanted to know if you are really clumsy in real life.

Richard Dean Anderson:
[Laughs] Very good question. Ummm... Well, now you're asking one of those other... It's kind of a qualitative question. I... Alright, I'm gonna get some semblance of modesty out of the way: I'm very athletic. I've done everything, you know, that I... Anything that I've wanted to do I've been able to at least attempt and be proficient at. I'm a fairly okay skier, and I can skate okay and I race cars - all those things I feel very confident at. Anything else... The clumsy factor is... Part of it I... For those of you who've seen part... One element of MacGyver was he'd fall down a lot or slip or... these are all very human behavioral things... Part of what I've been told that made MacGyver as charming or as interesting as he was, was the fact that he had very human reactions to inordinate situations, not the least of which was being a little clumsy and being afraid of heights and, you know, falling and such. Legend, I was... I used my comic... my physical comedy awareness and appreciation. I built that into the character. It takes a fairly coordinated human being to appear clumsy. So, I have my run-ins with idiocy and just, you know, I'll space out and run into stuff, but yeah... My mind tends to wander, [to the camera] as is apparent during this interview, so I'll kind of lose track of maybe what I'm doing, but I've also... One quality I'd like to perpetuate within myself is an awareness, a general keen awareness of what's going on, so I can react. It's part of, you know, the joy or the spirit of life is being able to interact and react to what's going on, so it means listening and hearing, listening and watching. But as far as being clumsy, I... Kinda! [Laughs]

Estera Zarko:
Okay.

Richard Dean Anderson:
Now you watch what the editors do with that answer! "Are you clumsy in real life?" "Yes!" That's all you'll see. That's all you're gonna see. [Turns to the camera] Thank God for you live people!

Estera Zarko:
"Gooch" wants to know: "Do you plan on directing any episodes?"

Richard Dean Anderson:
I have no plans to direct. Again, I've been empowered with, or blessed, with executive producer status, and... because I was doing the work last year, and... You know, directing is, especially the nature of Stargate, is such that there are so many elements involved in it. And directing episodic television is no piece of cake, it's all those clichés, walk in the park and beach and all that stuff. It's... You have to get pre-production, you know, the prep process is endless, and I'm on camera a lot, so there's no time for me really to do that. I could do the first episode or one that comes, you know, when we come back from hiatus. We get a two-week hiatus in mid-stream. But I really don't have any burning desire to do it because where episodic television really gets made is in the editing room. I mean, you can have all your shots and stuff, but if you're not telling the story properly, which means cutting it so it makes sense... You know, so... I don't have any burning desire to do so, right now.

'How do I explain that?' Estera Zarko:
Getting back to something that you were talking about before, where you were saying you ski a lot, you play hockey, you race cars even, and then you're this guy that goes to his, like, lakefront little cabin and hangs out with his dog and sows grass. How do you explain that dichotomy there?

Richard Dean Anderson:
Umm, how do I explain that...? [Laughs] I don't have any explanation.

Estera Zarko:
They seem like two extremes.

Richard Dean Anderson:
Umm, I... I don't... You know, I haven't really tried to track it back to its source too much, although, you know, I've been through my fair share of therapy to find these things out, but, I don't know, it's... I'm from Minnesota, and I don't want to blame or credit my personality on that alone, but... I've always been intrigued and interested... I'm most stimulated by new life experiences and the ones that catch my attention along the way happen to have been things like driving a car real fast down a, on a racetrack, or skiing too fast down a mountain, or playing hockey, jumping out of airplanes, or scuba-diving. At one point it sounded like I had a death wish. I was being accused of having, you know, not all my marbles, and... but it's not, you know... And when people say that you have a death wish because you do all this kind of stuff... Because I've crashed, had two major crashes racing, not to mention the multiple surgeries to piece me back together from hockey and skiing..... But it's just all a matter of doing what, you know, that kept my interest. Yeah I'm fumbling because I've never really given it that much thought, I've always liked to do things. But on the other hand, I still have... There's a passivity about... There's an internal passivity that I have to tap into occasionally. You're smiling at me. Why? What's going on?

Estera Zarko:
Ah, because of the next fan question. "Ratty" wants to know: "You're known for your daring hobbies, but are you afraid of anything?"

Richard Dean Anderson:
Aaahhhh... There's... You know, I... These are very personal questions and it's not that I don't appreciate them, but I don't know how to react to them, because if I... I've thought about it and I have very close friends that, well, one really close friend that has asked that same question. Because it appears on the outside that I'm fearless. But if I'm really honest with myself and do the examining and get inside and, you know, probe that question, there are things that... [Pauses] I guess I have some innate fears that, um... You know, like I'm having a baby in July and I'm afraid for its safety and it's, you know, that kind of... But then that's a fear of something for someone else. I myself have thought about what I'm really afraid of and I haven't been really... And I don't want to sound like this superman kinda guy because that's not true, I don't have that self image, but...

Estera Zarko:
You can't think of anything that you're afraid of.

Richard Dean Anderson:
I really can't. I mean, I'm afraid of the, you know, like, the world exploding or disease and pestilence and all that business, but that's, I don't think, the question you're asking. I... yeah, I can't think of... The things that... I mean, at first I was a little reluctant to... For a split second I was reluctant to jump out of an airplane the first time, but it only lasted a split second. It was, like, "What am I doing? Oh, of course, I've never done it before." And that's the thought process that I literally have about things that might be, you know, testing my mettle one way, but it's just...

It's all out of curiosity that I've done things. And racing cars, skiing, racing, and playing hockey and that sort of stuff, have been the things that have been consistently exciting to me. Because they're, you know, ever changing, there are elements about them that... First of all they involve speed, thought and, you know, a certain amount of intelligence. But the problem that I've had is that I've... Not because I'm fearless but because I like to explore beyond the line sometimes that I should be exploring, then I'll get hurt. That's why I've, you know, had two knees blow out two years ago and had to be pieced back together again. Because I was going 59 miles an hour through a speed gun, training for a downhill race that I run every year, and I was trying to get over 60. So the second time through the speed gun it registered 60 miles an hour. But I also had forgotten that there was a compression bump, you know, past the point of the gun, and blew out of my skis at 60 miles an hour and wrapped my knee around my neck and who knows what happened after that, but... But it was just going a little further than I should've, that's all. It was curiosity.

Estera Zarko:
Okay, so the answer to that is no, you're not afraid of anything.

Richard Dean Anderson:
Oh, don't edit that! C'mon, let me ramble like this!

Estera Zarko:
Okay, bringing up the baby again, the fans are already sending in their well wishes: "Parenting is the best adventure. Believe me, it enhances your life so much. Congratulations! From LadyK." You're just going to be getting so much mail now, I think.

Richard Dean Anderson:
Listen, I... It's not... You know I'm not, like, publicly soliciting that, but I'm... It's a curiosity thing, too. I mean, I'm excited, genuinely excited by what's happening to my emotions and feelings, you know my... whatever happens spiritually through this experience. It's another adventure, that's what it's all about. And believe me I'm not doing it just because of that. I had to take some pause and really assess where I am in life, in my head and my heart, to seriously decide whether now was the right time to do this. And I took a week in the desert and got all centered and cleaned out and just, yeah, now's the time! And I'm ready! Everyone I know, to a man woman and child, knows that I will be a great father. I'm convinced I'll be a better grandfather because I've all these little dirty old man stories I could tell. [In a whining voice] "Mom, he's telling that story again! Make him stop!" I'm sure that's what I'll be dealing with at some point. But thank you for that response because I need all the reinforcement I can get. It's a massive change for me, but I'm ready for that. You know, let's get on with the next stage of life, basically.

'Seriously, I love this.' Estera Zarko:
Well, we're glad to see that you're doing so well. Congratulations again.

Richard Dean Anderson:
Tha-anks.

Estera Zarko:
Will you come back and visit us again and take more fan questions?

Richard Dean Anderson:
Seriously, I love this, this is like... Again, this is new to me, all this aspect of it, but it seems there's an intimacy involved in this that I really appreciate and like. So yeah, any time! And somehow I'll figure out how to jump in and chat to everybody. I'll have somebody here teach me.

Estera Zarko:
Thank you. Bye, Inmates!

____________________
Online chat held at Entertainment Asylum's Studio-i. March 7, 1998.
Transcript contributed by Jenn. Pictures contributed by SamuelFrog and Yukiko. German translation contributed by Corinna Baust.

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