Lou Diamond Phillips says he’s happy to be called a “working actor.”
“I take it as a compliment,” says Phillips, 47, whose current project is Stargate Universe, the latest spinoff of the popular sci-fi institution.
“I see myself as an employable actor who’s comfortable working in every facet of the industry. That said, I also have four kids who continue to eat every day.”
Phillips — whose recent credits include the movie Che, a touring stage production of Camelot, and the reality series I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here — says Stargate Universe offered him the opportunity to work with a great ensemble cast including Robert Carlyle and Louis Ferreira.
The series is about a group of soldiers and scientists who find themselves lost in space on board an alien ship. Phillips plays Colonel Telford, a no-nonsense soldier who will prove a nemesis for the rest of the cast.
But don’t blink: Phillips appears only briefly in the pilot.
“I think they call it a recurring guest-star role. I kind of work my way into the show slowly over time,” he says. “But I really love working with an ensemble like this. You can do great work in smaller doses.”
Phillips says his experience on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, for which he camped in a Costa Rican jungle with a group that included actor Stephen Baldwin and fashion fixture Janice Dickinson, was “as uncomfortable as it appeared on TV.”
“Some people assumed we’d go back to the hotel every night, but it wasn’t true,” he says. “It was jungle, 24-7. I still have the scars from the bug bites I got.”
Diamond cherished the chance to work with the late Patrick Swayze on his final series, The Beast.
Swayze died last month of cancer.
“He was a real accomplished actor and a real man among men,” says Phillips. “I remember thinking at the time that if anyone is going to beat (cancer), it would be Patrick.”
• Stargate premieres tonight at 9 on Space