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July 8th, 2005, 11:11 PM
From the Chicago Tribune:




(Please follow one of the above links for the complete interview.)

By Maureen Ryan
Tribune staff reporter
Published July 8, 2005, 9:28 PM CDT

David Hewlett ("Dr. Rodney McKay")

David Hewlett plays the "snarcastic" Dr. Rodney McKay on "Stargate Atlantis," and producers have found many new and interesting ways to torture the super-smart doc this season, Hewlett reports.

**snippity doo-dah**

[On the tensions of the Atlantis project in the second season] You've put your finger on what concerns McKay. The neat thing this year is the dynamic involvement of the military side of things.

Season 1 set up the characters and what they're supposed to do, like any good first season. Where were going in Season 2 completely messes with that. Rain [Rainbow Franck's character, Lt. Ford] drops off to the dark side and comes back to make our lives miserable. All of the sudden all the trust and stuff built between the characters is broken down. [Up until now] McKay could just be the guy who babbles and solves the problem and then it's solved. What's great is this year right near the beginning McKay hits a wall. All of a sudden he doesn't have all the answers. His arrogance and self confidence paid off [until now] but he hits a wall and screws up. [Various developments like that] bring back the friction between all the characters.

Once a friend said a good man does the right thing without thinking. McKay may know what the right thing is to do, but he's also very good at seeing the worst side of things. It makes it that much harder to make the right decision. Where fools rush in McKay fears to tread. That's overthinking things and it can be paralyzing if you don't have blind faith that you'll all get through it. Everyone else is rather optimistic, but he expects the worst.

[On the surprising secret of new castmate Mitch Pileggi, formerly of "The X-Files"] He mentioned to me that he had been in People's list of the Sexiest People one year, under the heading of "Surprisingly Sexy." [So now Hewlett's put a sign to that effect on Pileggi's dressing-room door.]

Mitch has this great character, this guy with a quest for power who's been overlooked for running Atlantis. He's constantly butting heads with Weir, she's a diplomat and he'd rather just blow things up. He's constantly looking for things that will be of use for his superiors, so every new weapon or alien being or ancient discovery is of potential interest to him. McKay is aware of that. He doesn't see himself as being slimy -- surprisingly slimy [laughs] -- but he's willing to play off the military and Weir and Shepherd and everyone else, because he thinks his ultimate goal is to make discoveries and prove himself right. He's been an academic for so long, he's read all the reports, he feels he can handle things better.

Rain [Rainbow Francks' character, Lt. Ford] is taking a turn for the worse because of a Wraith enzyme. When they feed, they inject stuff that bolster's the victim's immune system for a second, to keep you alive while they kill you to get the most out of you. Inject that stuff and you end up with a euphoric energy drink. It gives him a lot more physical strength, but it doesn't make you terribly bright. What's interesting is that there's now this illicit substance in the universe that, when people use it, they're given this Wraith super strength.

[On the new character, Ronon] Ronon is even just physically surprisingly, no, not surprisingly, painfully sexy. Drop-dead gorgeous.

In a way, not to make him sound like an idiot [laughs] his character is the opposite of McKay, he's just a man of action. He doesn't worry about repercussions. He has no fear of anything, he's survived so much. It's just very funny how the guy who disapproves of him can't help admiring him. It's like, how he wishes he could twirl his gun [like Ronon], but McKay's the guy who can't even pull his gun out of the holster.

[On McKay's frequent scene partner, Paul McGillion, who plays Dr. Carson Beckett] We actually have a love scene coming up. You'd have to do some factchecking, but it might be the first man on man kiss in sci fi. McKay ends up having a person transfer into his body, a female, and she ends up witih a crush on [Beckett]. Paul teased me mercilessly for weeks in advance of the shooting. On that day, we went for rehearsal it would be weird to kiss even the women on the show, I know them all so well, and more importantly they all know me so well [laughs]. So that's why it was important to do this well, in case I ever want to go near them again. For rehearsal, [Hewlett did a real kiss, which McGillion wasn't expecting]. Yeah, after that, he sent me flowers and chocolate [laughs].

Copyright 2005, Chicago Tribune