Shanks Loves the Heat on 'Burn Notice'

Calling from atop the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada, where he's on a family vacation with wife Lexa Doig and their children, "Stargate SG-1" star Michael Shanks is happy to take time to talk about his latest TV venture.

On Thursday, Aug. 14, he launches a recurring role on the USA Network espionage dramedy "Burn Notice."

He's playing Victor, a blacklisted spy sent to Miami by Carla (Tricia Helfer), the new handler of also-blacklisted spy Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan), to wrangle Michael into supplying technical assistance for a new operation.

"It's one of those roles where I get to chew every bit of scenery in town," Shanks says, "which is always fun to play. When you have that kind of artistic license to go big or go home, it can be a bit of a romp."

In addition, it afforded Shanks a chance to leave Canada and warm up in the Florida sunshine.

"It's Miami," he says, "so it's hard to be in a bad mood there. At night, it was 95, 96, but listen, I was coming from the coldest June in Vancouver since 1937. I had a lot of days off in the Miami sunshine.

"From the point of view of having spent the last 10 months in less than ideal weather conditions, I was happy to be outside filming in South Beach, for example, on my first day.

"I'd been to Tampa, and I'd been to Orlando, but I hadn't been to Miami, so to go there to work, to see the city that way, to have your first day be right down on Ocean Drive and to be filming in the sand of South Beach for a scene, I don't think you can beat that."

As a bonus, Shanks says, "I'm coming back in September for about a month. I'm doing the last three episodes of the season. I'm not entirely sure what the storyline is. Matt [executive producer Matt Nix] teased me with a few tidbits, which I can't really reveal."

Unfortunately, Shanks didn't get to do any scenes with Bruce Campbell, who plays Michael's spy buddy Sam Axe.

"Bruce is a personal hero of mine," Shanks says. "Guys of my generation, after watching 'Army of Darkness' or the 'Evil Dead' movies -- Bruce becomes a type of superhero to you."

Most recently, Shanks could be seen in the DVD release of "Stargate: Continuum," a stand-alone movie featuring the "SG-1" characters.

Last month, at Comic-Con International in San Diego, Calif., "Continuum" writer and executive producer Brad Wright said he's been asked to write a script for another "SG-1" movie, but, as Shanks says, "That's, of course, far off from us getting in front of the camera to do it."

If it happens, Shanks says, "I can't always guarantee -- we have to live our lives regardless -- but if I'm free, I'll jump at the opportunity to do it. I love working with my 'Stargate' family.

"It was my first big job, and it's been going on for a dozen years now, and it still goes on."

According to Shanks, development continues on "Rage of Angels," a TV-series project he's working on with "SG-1" co-star Christopher Judge. The fantasy pilot casts Judge as the angel Gabriel, with Shanks as Lucifer.

"It looks like a great, well-respected show-runner has come on board and is working on a seven-year plan for it," Shanks says. "I get all of my information from Christopher, so I have to take everything with a boulder of salt."

He has no plans to appear on "Sanctuary," the new Sci Fi Channel series from "SG-1" and "Stargate Atlantis" star Amanda Tapping, premiering Oct. 3.

"It's Amanda's show," Shanks says, "and she wants to make it very clear it's not 'Stargate.' As much as she'd like to have friends over there, at the same time, she has her own mark to make with that show."

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