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Interview With Rene Auberjonois

This interview appeared in Cult Times #60. This issue also took a look at what Stargate fans would have in store during the 4th season in their 4th season preview

Veteran Actor Rene Auberjonois has been extremely busy since completing his tour of duty as constable odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Last Autumn, he appeared in Disney's made-for-tv-movie Gepetto. The actor played a surgeon suffering from Tourettes Syndrome in an episode of Chicago Hope. "I'm quite proud of my performance in that," he says. After finishing work in January on the feature film The Patriot, Auberjonois guest-starred on Stargate SG-1 (I wonder if he talked to the creators of The Patriot, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, on their thoughts about Stargate). He played Alar, the duplicitous leader of an alien race called the Eurondans in The Other side.

How did you become involved in Stargate?
Some of the writers and producers of Stargate had worked on two other MGM shows, Poltergeist: The Legacy and The Outer Limits. I'd guest-starred on both series, so they knew my work and offered me the part of Alar. They sent me the script, I read it, said, "yes," and went up to Vancouver to do it. I thought the character was quite interesting and I liked the fact that you think he's the good guy but then you get to see his true colors.

Did you grow the beard specially for the role?
No, I actually had it prior to the start of filming. In the story, the writers wanted to draw parallels to the Third Reich and it's vision of the "perfect human being." In the first script I recieved Alar was a handsome, blonde man in his thirties. I think they wanted him to resemble a Hitler youth, but I sort of guessed when they hired me they that they had changed their minds about him. When I met Peter DeLuise for the first time he asked me, "Would you shave the beard?" I told him, "Absoloutely. I'll do whatever you want. However, may I suggest that you are going a different way with the character and making him more like, perhaps, a lion or father figure of this movement, that the beard might, in fact help make that clearer." Peter thought about it over night and when I came in the next day he said, "You're absoloutely right. We'll use the beard." So we did.

What was Peter DeLuise like as a director?
Peter is fantastic. He worked with incredible efficiency but at the same time was able to achieve a really polished look, which is often very difficult to do. Also, his temperment is perfectly suited to the rigors and stress of shooting episodic TV. He's easy going, never loses his cool and is very funny. I've woked with his father Dom a number of times and I'm a great admirer of his. Peter has the same sense of humour as his dad but just not quite as zany.

In What ways does Alar differ from Odo?
I played Odo for seven years and after a while there were changes about the alien that I just took for granted. Yes, there were challenges, but it got to a point where I could figure out how he would behave in a situation. Alar was basically a human being and his strengths, weaknesses and his traits were, of course, human. So he was more immediately accessible to me because of that, do you know what I mean? That didn't make it easier, but rather the character was more typical of what an actor is asked to play, which is a human being as opposed to a shape-shifting alien.

Steven Eramo of Cult Times

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