I recently had an opportunity to talk with Jamil Walker Smith about his new show, “Stargate Universe,” which premiers on Friday, Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. on SyFy.
One of the first things you get from speaking to him is he has a great sense of humor and he has a lot of insight into the current state of Hollywood and TV. Of course, this comes from a long history in working in the medium (he was 9 when he worked on the animated series “Hey Arnold!”), and a keen intellect.
We talked about why this “Stargate” spin-off was “must see” TV and what generally excites him as an actor looking to stretch his talent. You can learn more about the show and its cast at http://stargate.mgm.com
Here’s a sample of some of the topics we covered in our discussion. Be sure to pick up Wednesday’s edition of the Michigan Chronicle.
Michigan Chronicle: How important is it to have diversity in science fiction TV and films?
Jamil Walker Smith: I think it’s very important because we live in a culturally diverse world; the new slogan is citizens of the world. It’s only fitting that people that reflect the world, get the opportunity to see the universe.
I’m talking to one of my sisters (she likes Tyler Perry), I said I’m on a ship called the Destiny and I’m trying to get home, and she said, “I know all about that.” The themes that we’re touching on are universal themes that we’re touching on in this show I say are universal themes. Themes that extend beyond science fiction and deal with matters of the human condition and spirit.
Working on this show I often think of and draw from the experience of the Black church because there is something very spiritual and very grounding about the idea of trying to get home.
MC: Are you a fan of science fiction movies, TV or books?
JWS: I used to pick up sticks and shoot monsters that were trees in my backyard. I’m not a fan. But what I am a fan of is stories form the heart. I am a fan of stories that deal with the human condition and I can tell you on this show, even though it’s in space, I’d say it’s fundamentally about people understanding and dealing with the human condition. When I watch the pilot there’s a parallel that comes up for me between Katrina and what’s going on, on this ship. Because in the same way people were thrown into the Superdome as the result of something tragic, we’re all thrown into one place and we can’t leave and we have no communication with the outside world. So that’s something that I was able to draw upon, from the experience of something that our people went through.