How did Amanda Tapping produce, direct and act in Sanctuary?

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Amanda Tapping directed one episode of Stargate SG-1 and always told us she wanted to helm another but never got the chance. So it helps that she's the executive producer of her own show now—Syfy's Sanctuary—and can finally step behind the camera again for an upcoming episode.

Besides producing, Tapping also stars as the creature-loving immortal scientist Dr. Helen Magnus, and she'll direct the seventh episode of the new second season, called "Veritas."

"It was an appropriate episode for me to direct; I think that they must have planned it that way," Tapping said in an exclusive interview. "It was perhaps [director and executive producer] Martin's [Wood] way of torturing me."

"Veritas" was written by Alan McCullough, who scripted three of last year's 13 Sanctuary episodes and also wrote for Stargate Atlantis and Stargate SG-1. In the show, Tapping's normally stable and aloof character seems to slowly slip into insanity and becomes more and more crazy.

"I guess I felt like I was going a little crazy," Tapping said with a laugh. "I kept thinking, 'Am I nuts wanting to direct this?' I didn't want to mess it up. It's about Magnus going crazy, going completely off the rail."

Tapping's first directing gig was SG-1's "Resurrection." "I learned a lot on Stargate," she said. "I had a great experience directing that show, and I've been shadowing Martin for so long."

Wood said he would let her direct every other episode if he could. "She does some incredible work, and I find that her style is very close to mine," he said.

The original plan was for Tapping to helm a Magnus-light storyline, but as the filming grew closer, the focus on her character grew. "We forced her to do perhaps one of the hardest things to do, because if she was just playing her character regularly, it would have been easy, but this time she had to lose it, and she was doing it without supervision," Wood said. "No one was telling her if it was far enough or too far, or how much she should push it."

Wood was prepping the next episode and dropped in when he could, and the show's co-creator and executive producer Damian Kindler watched when he could, too. But when they asked Tapping if she needed help, she'd say, "No, I'm good."

"She just turned in her episode after editing it herself, too, and it just blew us away. It was magnificent," Kindler said. "She did an absolutely first-class job and proved she is a skillful shot-maker, a good director and editor and a clever and intuitive person. If she every wanted to do a career shift, she would make a great director."

Like one of the creatures the Sanctuary houses, Kindler added, "If we could clone Amanda, we would need four of her."

Co-star, Robin Dunne, who plays Dr. Will Zimmerman, said, "Amanda continually surprises me. As an actor she's someone to look up to, but as a director she was equally passionate and generous."

Dunne and Tapping are known for cracking each other up during their most intimate scenes together, but for her Sanctuary directorial debut, Dunne was on his best behavior. "There was no goofing off on that one, I believe," Dunne said.

After all, she is the boss.

Sanctuary returns Oct. 9 and airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET/PT.