Rachel Luttrell ('Stargate: Atlantis')
'The Re-Birth of Teyla'
From the longest consecutively running sci-fi series ever, “Stargate SG-1”, comes its thrilling spin-off, “Stargate: Atlantis: Season 3," splashing onto DVD on September 18th from MGM Home Entertainment.
Indeed, for the first time MGM is releasing the complete previous season of “Stargate: Atlantis” on DVD before the premiere of the next season allowing fans to catch up on their favorite episodes.
Set in the lost city of Atlantis in the Pegasus Galaxy built millions of years ago by the most advanced race in the Stargate Universe, an adventurous expedition ensues, overflowing with intense battles, out-of-this-world visuals, amazing special effects, endearing characters and a two-time Emmy-nominated score by Joel Goldsmith.
“Stargate: Atlantis: Season 3' is anchored with a compelling ensemble cast including Joe Flanigan (The Other Sister), Torri Higginson (The English Patient), Rachel Luttrell (Imposter) David Hewlett (“The Triangle”), and Mitch Pileggi (“The X-Files”).
Chatting recently with an eight-and-a-half months pregnant Rachel Luttrell (Teyla Emmagan), and knowing that “Stargate: Atlantis” originated from the longest consecutively running sci-fi series ever, “Stargate SG-1”, we first wondered when she had first been approached to do the show if she had ever considered the fact that it might just have been a touch too much of a good thing for the fans to expand on an already known series?
Rachel Luttrell "You know what, no, none of that went through my head whatsoever. Because I was a complete novice to it all, with respect to the Stargate franchise. I knew that it was successful but I didn’t know to what extent. So, I came up here to Vancouver thinking that I would be here for possibly two months and then head back to Los Angeles. So, I did not have a clue at the beginning and it took quite a while for it to sink in that the franchise is so well supported by its fan base; even on an international level."
Being that the show is set in the lost city of Atlantis in the Pegasus Galaxy, just how much of your acting is done with blue screens and hostile entities that aren’t even there? Perhaps with tennis balls on the end of poles also?! "That's exactly right, we have done that," she laughs. "There have been tennis balls at the end of cranes to stare at as 'x' marks the spot and something horrific is happening. But I started in theatre so it wasn't that much of a leap for me. Because in theatre often times you're creating things that don't exist for the audience. So, if you believe it then hopefully they'll see it."
"The wonderful thing about this show is, of course when we're actually performing it we're not actually seeing it! But when it's aired it looks terrific. I've had an opportunity to watch some of this seasons episodes now that they're finally cut, and the visual effects artists have put their stamp on it. And they are amazing! But, I will think back and think, 'My God, we were sitting there with just this green screen there and now there's this magnificent city that's spreading out. And it's always kinda fun to see. But yes, it is challenging. It requires a pretty good imagination and a sense of humor."
So, knowing that you were - and are still - pregnant at the time of shooting this 4th season, how was the news of your 'condition' accepted by the producers ... and what did it do for your storyline? "At the end of season three there was a lot of talk about how season four was going to be finally a really strong season for 'Teyla' and of course, for myself. So, they were busy hashing out a lot of storylines when I came to them [the Producers] about a month before we started the season with the news. They actually found out I was pregnant before many of my dear friends," she laughs. "And I just told them what was going on and they embraced it. And I'm so happy with how they incorporated into the storyline. I'm very happy with what that meant for 'Teyla' and her journey this season."
So, please tell us more about what we shall be seeing Teyla encounter in this 4th season "This season was very much about the Yin and the Yang for 'Teyla.' As while she's embracing this what should be joyous news, and wrapping her mind around being a mother, she's contending with a very, very difficult challenge. Oh gosh, it's always difficult when you try to explain something without being completely blatant. But she's dealing with a great challenge happening in amongst her people."
"Something that actually threatens her entire civilization. Which all points to the fact that this child may in fact be the last of her kind. So, there's a dark element to her journey this season in addition to the flipside of her trying to be protective of what may very well be, historically quite a significant human being that she's carrying."
And just which character on 'Stargate: Atlantis' was it that got Teyla in this 'motherly way'?! "Well, you haven't met him. I will say though that he's part of her childhood. He's a part of how she was raised and reflective of her principles and how she grew up."
Stop beating about the bush ... what's this character's name?! "The character's name is 'Kanan,' how's that," she laughs. "That is the father-to-be. There you go, that tidbit's for free," she laughs heartily again.
Come on now, just throw me one other small bone of exclusive insider knowledge! "OK, I will also say that the actor also has a rather pivotal role in '300'," she laughs.
Being that you do most all your fight scenes yourself, I'm imagining that the Producers toned that down for you this season? "Well, you know what ... they didn't! I am not even joking ... this was the most physical season for me to date! It truly was. I mean up until the time when I was really, really popping, I couldn't get away with it. This was an incredibly physical season for me. There were lots of fights. In fact there were fights that were the biggest I've ever done with like five villains at a time," she laughs. "And just some really intense choreography to go with it. And given the nature of Teyla's journey some of the fights were the most brutal."
"Very early on in the season after one very incredibly physical episode for me called 'Missing,' I actually ended up losing about six pounds," she laughs. "So, the next time I went back to my doctor, who's been watching me throughout the pregnancy, he was a little bit concerned! But, that's kinda been the nature of this season. There was absolutely no slowing down. So, I hope the fans will be happy with that. It's not like the pregnancy took the edge off Teyla. She's still very much a warrior and has a lot to defend."
Away from 'Stargate: Atlantis' do you have any upcoming movie projects, perhaps? "Yeah, that is definitely something that I want to do. I've always loved movies quite passionately, but this hiatus is gonna be about something else. But yes, I will say that hopefully soon you will be seeing me in movies. It's also something that I actually want to have a creative input in. You know, writing and such."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
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