'Stargate' direct-to-vid missions set


MGM is teaming with the U.S. Navy and heading for the North Pole for one of two direct-to-video movies based on the "Stargate SG-1" TV series.

Cast members of "Stargate: Continuum" will travel to the Arctic March 23 for a weeklong shoot at the Navy's Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station.

Martin Wood, who directed more than 70 "Stargate SG-1" and "Stargate Atlantis" TV episodes, will helm the film, which stars Ben Browder and Amanda Tapping, both of whom will reprise their roles as Lt. Col. Cameron Mitchell and Lt. Col. Samantha Clark from the original "Stargate SG-1" series.

"Stargate: Continuum," cofinanced by MGM and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, will shoot a variety of scenes in the ice station, located about 200 nautical miles north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Filming also will involve the Navy submarine USS Alexandria. In one scene, the sub bursts through the ice and into the cold Arctic air, where temperatures hover around 50 degrees below zero.

"We are excited to be working with the U.S. Navy on filming these epic scenes in the arduous conditions of the Arctic," said Charles Cohen, senior executive vp of finance and corporate development. "SG-1 fans will certainly enjoy these action-packed sequences, as the Stargate franchise has a rich history of unique and compelling action adventures."

"Stargate SG-1" is the longest-running science-fiction series in U.S. television history. "Stargate: Continuum" is one of two direct-to-videos, based on the series, that MGM greenlighted in January. The other, "Stargate: The Arc of Truth," also cofinanced by MGM and 20th Century Fox, begins production April 15. It will actually be released on DVD prior to "Stargate: Continuum," which after a week in the Arctic will resume filming May 22.

MGM DVDs are distributed by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. No release dates for the two "Stargate" movies have been set.

The two "Stargate" DTV movies were greenlighted a month before the studio announced a new direct-to-video production branch. The nascent DTV unit is run by Jason Weiss, who reports to Cohen, and is charged with developing and producing 12 or more films a year. The "Stargate" movies are not part of that initiative.

Weiss' DTV unit will focus on direct-to-video sequels to popular MGM franchises; upcoming releases include "War Games 2: The Dead Code," "Species 4" and "Legally Blonde 3," with more titles to be announced shortly.