You're standing out in the cast not just because you're a nerd and a reluctant hero, but a Canadian -- if I were Canadian I'd get a jolt out of seeing that flag on your shoulder every week.
It's so funny, because first of all you don't often see the Canadian thing addressed --
Except for Zed-P-M, Zed-P-M, Zed-P-M, yeah.
Exactly. Because one of the things we talked about when I first started the show was, I don't want to sound like -- I don't want to be doing a quote-unquote Canadian accent. Because first of all, there's no such thing. But there definitely are pronunciation things that are different. That's how we Canadians can infiltrate the entire entertainment industry, because you don't really know, unless you make us say "zeds" and "zees" and "outs" and "abouts" and that kind of stuff, you really don't know that we're not from next door.
And that's the funny thing, because everything is being made in Canada. Whenever I see you guys in those trees on location in Vancouver, I expect to see someone in the background shooting Smallville or something.
I literally just got off the phone with Sci Fi because we're developing this little series for them [Starcrossed] which is about, sort of Larry Sanders meets sci-fi, basically, a show that's behind the scenes making a sci-fi show, and one of our big notes is the whole idea that you're out shooting a scene and suddenly there's a big explosion in the background, and you're like "What the hell? Who's doing that?" and it's the next show, over the hill. Apparently if you go in space, no matter where you go in space, you always end up in Stanley Park.
Doctor Who had quarries in every episode, and you guys have that same forest.
Exactly! Only now it's Cardiff, isn't it? Don't they shoot in Cardiff now or something?
Right, Doctor Who and Torchwood are both shot in Wales.
Exactly, so there you go. Space has a different look now, it has a more Welsh look to it than before.
Have you seen the new series?
I have. And -- this is going to make me sound so old -- it's so hard for me. I'm such a purist on Doctor Who stuff. I'm an old fogy when it comes to Doctor Who. I love some of the stuff they're doing with it, I'm just such a traditionalist with the Doctor Who stuff, I still dig those Tom Baker days. It's much smarter now in many ways, but there was a sort of a naïveté to it then -- at least for me, watching it way back when. I mean, I've been watching it for -- apparently I was three or four years old, watching it from behind the sofa when Jon Pertwee was on.
I knew you were a Doctor Who fan when you mentioned watching sci-fi from behind the sofa as a kid in another interview, because "behind the sofa" is like code for Doctor Who.
I was a fanatic about Doctor Who. And that's one of the things that I love about this job I have now, is that I was a fan. I had every single Doctor Who book in print. I wrote out timelines of all the things that happened to try to work out what the connections were. My dream was to be in the TARDIS. I refer to my little Echo, the car that I drive, as "the TARDIS" because I think these Echos are larger on the inside than they are on the outside. So I'm afraid it's very hard for me -- and it's also just pure jealousy. Because I wanted to be Doctor Who.
Well, in a way, Rodney is the Doctor. His title when he was with UNIT was "chief scientific advisor," and that's Rodney's title at Atlantis. You are the Doctor!
It's my own version of Doctor Who.
So let's talk about the season finale.
"The Last Man," yes.
It's one of those episodes where a lot happens in the course of 45 minutes.
Everything. Basically, in the last 45 minutes of this season, everything happens.
And here's another example of things happening to Rodney, now he's a 40,000-year-old hologram.
That is fun, let me tell you.
How did you approach being Old Rodney?
It was great, I just got to be more grumpy. I just projected a thousand years of bitterness and disappointment. It's kind of a lot like being an actor over 40. I didn't have to reach much for that. Let's face it, being unlikable and ornery, evidently the cast was noticing that I was having just a little too much fun with it.
And very competitive, because in the first season we had a 10,000-year-old Elizabeth Weir [1x15, “Before I Sleep”], and you had to beat that and be 40,000.
And eventually they're going to do an episode where we have to fight. I tell you though, they did a fantastic job with me with the make-up effects on that. But I'm afraid it's just not that pleasant. Because you have to be in very early in the morning, which I'm not very good at anyways -- though I'm getting better, thanks to Sebastian, my son. And then basically you're in rubber-face for the whole day.
And, not to mention the fact that, good lord, not only does everything happen in the last 45 minutes, but I have to say it.
Right. You have all the dialog, and then Joe gets to go around and actually fix everything.
Exactly. I'm basically the chorus in this. It's definitely an amazing episode, and what was amazing was, we were waiting -- my son was born the day after we finished shooting that. And so we were in the last week of the pregnancy and I was terrified that I was going to be racing across the border to the hospital as a 10,000-year-old man. I wasn't sure the passport was going to work, you know, you show the passport -- "Ten Thousand Year Old Man Arrested at Canadian Border!"
The border guards -- I live in this weird little area, where -- I live in the States but go to work in Canada. And I keep forgetting to remove the make-up that I have on, when I hop in the car, so the other day I got to the border and the guy was like, "Are you okay?" and I was like, "Uh, I'm fine, how are you?" And I got home and I realized I still had all these scars and cuts all over my face from the shoot we were doing.