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Richard Dean Anderson, the man behind Jack O’Neill has reunited with Stargate SG-1 co-creator Brad Wright for his biggest career interview ever. This season finale of Brad Wright’s Conversations in Sci-Fi drops with a live online watchalong of the full video interview on Saturday, January 22nd right here on The Companion.
Rick’s last convention appearance was in 2019 so this is an incredible opportunity to hear these two Stargate veterans deep in discussion about a show – and character – that means the world to so many of us.
In this new clip from the interview, Brad and Rick recall their Arctic shoot aboard the nuclear-powered submarine USS Alexandria (SSN-757).
Brad Wright: I remember another fun experience you got to have that wasn’t through the Air Force, it was through the Navy, remember in Continuum, we got to go to the Arctic and be on a nuclear submarine?
Richard Dean Anderson: Yeah.
Brad Wright: And one of my favorite moments in dailies was because I didn’t get to go… long story, my plane couldn’t land, and then they lost my luggage and then I had to fly back. That’s why I never made it to the Arctic. But anyway, Martin Wood, the director of Continuum – that movie we did – got the Captain to say, ‘Action’ and ‘Cut’. I remember watching dailies and you were like *peers over shoulder* ‘Who’s that?’
Richard Dean Anderson: *laughs*
Brad Wright: It was the captain of the actual submarine.
Richard Dean Anderson: Kind of cramped, cramped situation down there.
Brad Wright: Well, for tall guys like you. Yeah.
Richard Dean Anderson: What an honor though. I mean, and literally, they brought that submarine up through the ice for us. And it meant… you knew this right? That it took so much underwater, under-ice, finagling with that ship the sub, to get to hit a mark. And they hit within, I’d say, a foot and a half. They came right straight up in through that ice. And I was just… ‘God.’
Brad Wright: Well, I remember asking… I remember I said, ‘God, I hope they… they have to react in character because they’re only going to be able to do this once’. I remember asking the question of Captain Bernacchi. I remember saying, ‘So can they surface the sub? Because that would be great for the movie’ – ‘Can we shoot in the sub because that would be great for the movie?’ I just kept asking for more and more and more and then they came through it was amazing.
Richard Dean Anderson: Yeah. Were they happy about all that? I mean… they must like the company. *laughs*
Brad Wright: They loved it. They absolutely loved it. They love the love everything about it because you have the company. But also, you know, when we make them look like real people, when when when we write Air Force or Navy characters that are humans, it takes away the… you know, the the the illusion of, you know, this faceless warrior that’s off fighting battles. They’re people, they’re citizens just like everybody else. And a lot of them are kids.
Richard Dean Anderson: Very young. Yeah, yeah.
Brad Wright: And they were when they when I asked the captain, or you asked the captain, why do you repeat the order for ‘dive’ so many times? Because it’s like, every order is given three times before the diving officer – the kid steering the thing actually performs the maneuver – and the captain or the XO said, ‘Because the kid driving this billion-dollar submarine was in high school six months ago. That’s why we repeat it. It’s true. It’s true.
Richard Dean Anderson: Stands to reason, I swear. Oh my God.
One of the US Navy’s fleet of 6,000-ton Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered attack submarines, USS Alexandria (SSN-757) was launched in 1990 and is still in active service. Capable of operating at 650 to 950 feet and at speeds of up to 37 knots, the Los Angeles class was designed in part to counter the USSR’s Typhoon-class ballistic-missile submarine which operated in the Arctic. Key to the design of later models was the reinforced sail (the ‘tower’ on the hull), allowing it to break through the ice as USS Alexandria (SSN-757) did in Stargate: Continuum.
At the time of filming, USS Alexandria (SSN-757) was captained by Commander Mike Bernacchi, now Rear Admiral, Bernacchi currently serves as Director Strategy, Plans and Policy, J5, U.S. Space Command. Bernacchi and his crew appeared in the movie’s bridge scenes, and are thanked in the credits.
At the time of filming, USS Alexandria (SSN-757) was in the Arctic for exercises alongside HMS Tireless (S88), a Trafalgar-class nuclear submarine of the Royal Navy. The movie’s credits also contain a sad postscript:
“The film is dedicated to the memory of Paul McCann, 32, and Anthony Huntrod, 20, of the HMS Tireless, who died in an accident during the filming of the Arctic scenes of Stargate: Continuum. The accident was an explosion of an oxygen generator and not related to the maneuvers made for the movie.”
A third member of HMS Tireless’s crew, Petty Officer Richard Holleworth, was present in the forward compartment when the oxygen processor exploded and was airlifted to hospital.