'Stargate' Alums Spice Up Syfy's 'Beyond Sherwood Forest'

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The Stargate imprint is all over Beyond Sherwood Forest, a Syfy made-for movie airing Saturday night during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Hitfix.com called it the perfect cheesy dessert to wipe away that last turkey taste — and rated it a “must watch,” and it especially is for fans of Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Sanctuary(a Stargate alumni project now in its second year on the network).

Trying as always to steer clear of spoilers, I will start with some obvious connections.This Robin Hood retelling stars Sanctuary’s Robin Dunne as Robin (who says he might be the only actor ever to play Robin Hood in a movie who actually is named Robin) and Smallville’s Erica Durance as Marian. (Must add that show to my DVR list.)

Beyond Sherwood is directed by Peter DeLuise, ace pilot of many classic SG-1 episodes (among my faves: Serpent’s Song, Enemies and The Tomb). Julian Sands, who played a creepy Ori bad guy in the direct-to-DVD movie Stargate: Ark of Truth plays bad guy Malcolm, who becomes the Sheriff of Nottingham. Beyond Sherwood Forest was filmed in British Columbia.

If anyone looks forward to casting or costume surprises, the following might have some spoilers. Watch out.

The lovely Ms. Durance is married in real life to actor David Palffy, who played not one but two creepy bad guys  in SG-1: Sokar and Anubis. In Beyond Sherwood he plays a semi-creepy, semi-bad guy (a Sylvan Elder). In another synergistic move, he gets to wear a big collared costume and carry a staff very similar to the Ori, the Arthurian villains in SG-1’s last two seasons.

Lots of other alums make appearances. Bill Dow, who played a sometimes hapless scientist in many SG-1 and Atlantis episodes, is Tuck. Richard De Klerk (Will Scarlett) was in a couple of SG-1 episodes and Katharine Isabelle made appearances in Sanctuary, SG-1 and, according to imdb.com, even was in an episode of Richard Dean Anderson’s MacGyver. Brent Stait (Guy of Gisbourne) was in the SG-1 pilot, Children of the Gods, and another episode. Robert Lawrenson, who plays young Robin’s father at the start of the film, plays Declan in Sanctuary, the head of the London sanctuary.

“It’s almost like a rep company that we’ve got, and that’s great fun,” Dunne told me today in a phone call from Los Angeles. “It’s a safe environment. You get to work with your friends. We had a good time and hopefully we’ll continue this trend. This season on Sanctuary had some great crossover actors coming from Stargate [Michael Shanks] and Eureka [Christopher Gauthier]. That’s always fun when you have that kind of cross pollination within the network.”

Shooting arrows wasn’t as easy as it might appear, Dunne said, and yes that’s real fire on the end of some of them. “I definitely got the hang of it after a while,” he said, though he won’t be trying out for an Olympic archery team.

I asked if it was fun to work outside when so much of Sanctuary is shot in front of green screens. “It was rainy, it was chilly, but it didn’t take away from the fun,” Dunne said. Peter DeLuise, who worked with Dunne a couple of times on Sanctuary, “is such a passionate guy who’s totally out there as well, and wants everyone to have a good time.” “And to be able to play such an iconic character is such a blast. On top of everything it’s just one name to remember for me!”

How is the movie? Great holiday-weekend escapist fare, with real bow-and-arrow shooting (not like the computer-generated action on BBC America’s Robin Hood). I recommend it, even if you aren’t a Sanctuary-Stargate-Smallville fan.

Sanctuary, by the way, is going to go “haywire” in the second half of the season. “There’s an abnormal that comes into play that could really bring about utter destruction for the gang in Sanctuary,” Dunne said. Everyone is going to go through difficult times. And Will, his character, will have a Bollywood dancing scene in the season finale, he said. Fun but nerve wracking.

Kind of like … shooting flaming arrows.

Assuming the video I tried to embed doesn’t work, here’s a link to a preview.

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