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James Spader played Daniel Jackson in the original movie. In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Spader stated he was intrigued by Stargate film's "awful" script and accepted the role, in part, for the money. He has expressed interest in starring in the proposed movie sequels.

Spader has been known to play yuppies in various other films. He starred as "Alan Shore" on the TV drama Boston Legal alongside Star Trek’s William Shatner and Rene Auberjonois. His other credits include Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron. He currently plays Red Reddington on The Blacklist.

Michael Shanks, who plays Daniel Jackson in Stargate SG-1, bears an uncanny physical resemblance to Spader and his portrayal of the character is often considered very similar. Shanks has stated, on more than one occasion, that he started his role of Daniel as a kind of James Spader impersonation. However, when he realized the show would be a success, he realized the impersonation wouldn't last long. So he cut his hair short and began to address Daniel as his own character.

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