The recent departure of Carson Beckett from Stargate Atlantis resulted in a flood of letters to our Post Apocalypse page, and in this month's issue , the actor responds personally. Here is an extended version of that letter:
"When I first went in [to audition for Atlantis] they wanted me to come out with an accent and I said Scottish and they wanted an English accent. But I felt he was Scottish. He had a Scottish sensibility, they didn’t want me to do that but I stuck to my guns and we got another 'Scot in the Sky'. Jimmy Doohan [Scotty] passed away last year and I thought it was nice to have another Scottish sci-fi character."
"SG1 finished after 10 seasons and they wanted to 'shake things up a bit' on Atlantis and part of that was making one of the main characters go away and unfortunately it happened to be Carson. I guess my number came up. Fans called Beckett 'The Heart of Atlantis', and in many ways I think he was. The fact they killed him for the drama was a testament to the character’s appeal. If you’re going to kill a character, it’s got to make a big impact. From all the fan response so far I guess it has. My agents in Vancouver and LA have received hundreds of letters. Absolutely amazing. It’s so flattering to see so many people supporting me and the character, and I can’t thank you all enough. Honestly, I can’t believe the response and to have a 'Save Carson Beckett' campaign. Wow. The comments that people have left there and letters I’ve received, I can’t read them - they make me cry! I'm kidding, but honestly, a lot of them do bring a tear to my eye. Its just great to know I had an opportunity to play a character that had impact on a lot of people, its makes me feel special to be part of that. Even the guys are coming forward and saying they had a little tear in their eye! You know what? It’s OK to be the 'sensitive alpha male' at the end of the day the ladies love that!"
"We finished shooting in October and everyone's gone back to work on Atlantis this year. I'll be honest with you, I miss a lot of my friends up there but it’s nice to be down here in the sun. I feel like my Scottish skin is actually getting a little bit of a tan, which is quite shocking because I'm usually red, I burn! I’m doing my best down here in LA, auditioning for CSI... CSI Miami... you know all kinds of CSIs... NCIS... whatever happened to the shows that just have names?"
"If I had the opportunity to come back on the show, would I? Absolutely. I love all my cast mates, and the people I worked with, the crew especially. It was honestly like a big family and I'll definitely miss it. But I’m down in LA now, I'm here for pilot season. If someone wants to give me a little knock to play Scotty in the new Trek Movie... THANK YOU! But it’s been three great years of playing just a fun, sweet, feisty Scot that wears his heart on his sleeve. I'm from Scotland, I was born in Paisley, having an opportunity to play a Scottish character on a regular basis was an absolute pleasure for me and so much fun. That said, Carson’s gone for now but it’s sci-fi, he could pull a 'Spock' - who knows, right?"
Paul McGillion, HOLLYWOOD (CALIFORNIA)
Issue 156 of SFX is on sale from Wednesday 11 April 2007. Thanks to Tara Jeffrey for this story.