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Robert Cooper Interview - Stargate Magazine #33

Stargate Magazine, Mar 10th, 2010

Robert Cooper Interview - Stargate Magazine #33

An interview with Robert Cooper as featured in issue #33 of The Official Stargate SG-1/Atlantis/SGU Magazine.

Dr. Nicholas Rush looks through the microscope and examines the tiny droplets of water on the specimen slide. Frowning, the scientist sits back in his chair; clearly his findings are not good. He and Lt. Tamara Johansen explain to Colonel Everett Young that the ice brought back to the Destiny from a planet they recently visited is contaminated. Everyone, including the three of them, has been infected and unless a cure is found and soon, they are all going to die.

“Cut! That was great; let’s try it one more time,” says Stargate Universe co-creator/executive producer and on this episode, director, Robert C. Cooper.

Although he loves writing and, of course, producing, it is obvious from the look on his face and enthusiasm in his voice, that Cooper equally enjoys his work behind the camera as a director.


Experience Applied

Stargate Universe is Cooper’s third outing with the Stargate franchise, having previously been one of the writers and directors, as well as executive producer, on Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, and a co-creator alongside Brad Wright of Atlantis and Universe. Even with all that combined experience, though, getting this latest dramatically different installment of the franchise off the ground was just as difficult as launching any new TV series.

With Universe being given the go-ahead, Cooper and Wright began penning its pilot episode, Air. What started out as a two-hour episode eventually became a three-hour adventure, and the show’s direction took a slightly different turn even before going in front of the cameras.

“Writing the first episode of anything is always a struggle because you’re trying very hard to come up with something that introduces your characters to the world,” explains Cooper. “It’s very easy, though, to get pilot-oriented and write something that is overly focused on the introduction. For us, what made the pilot work was its actual structure where we tell two stories that are inter-cut, one story being the present situation of the team appearing on the Destiny, and then the other story of how they got there, which is told in flashbacks. I think that helped propel us forward with regard to how we wrote the pilot.

“As far as the filming of Air, we’d talked a lot about the style of the show and what we wanted to try to do. To then actually see it happen and come to life was great. There is a certain magic that comes out of this specific type of filming, which is documentary style and having the cameras sort of hang back and just try to capture the action that’s happening on the stage. It’s much more like watching a play unfold. Right away it was clear that we were getting something we’d hoped for but weren’t sure was going to happen, which were stronger and more natural performances. That’s obviously a testament to the high quality of our cast.”

Read the full interview in issue 33 of The Official Stargate SG-1/Atlantis/SGU Magazine - on newsstands now!

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