In order to read all the Q&A's without having to go to various pages and reading white on black text which hurts my eyes, I copied and pasted it all into Word. Then I thought, 'Hey, why not post it here to save you the grief too?' Also, I trimmed out what I considered spoilage. This means either vague references to upcoming events where you may be able to draw a conclusion (if you haven't seen any of Season 2, you may wish to skip this all together) or, in one case, something even I didn't know and I am spoiled. :p Oh, and danceswithwords, the computer networking issue was addressed by a fan. I'm not sure you'll like Ron's answer, but at least it's not just us. ;)
Capt. Lee "Apollo" Adama
Q: Is there going to be an Apollo/paramedic Ishay romance?
Bamber: Not on screen....
Q: You've been getting a lot of flak by people who say that Apollo is too whiny, but I think that yet another "self-confident action-hero male lead" would have been boring and unoriginal. Your thoughts on this? Do you see Apollo getting noticeably more confident as the show goes on?
Bamber: I have been keen from the start not to think of this character as a hero or a lead in a TV show but as a flawed young man of great potential in extraordinarily trying circumstances. So yes, maybe he does whine, but I think we definitely see him grow through our story, from an almost adolescent rebelling against everything his father and his father's military stand for, into an individual who manages establish his own sense of self in a world where meaning is hard to find. But he is a thinker, and thinkers are always challenged, so even in the latter half of Season Two, when he has attained a degree of self-assuredness, his mettle can still be rattled to the point of destruction. I would hope all this makes him more identifiable to an audience and more interesting to watch than a more predictable heroic type.
Q: When did you find out that Lee is a reservist (who apparently wants to run a bar or something eventually), and what did you think about that? Did it change your take on him at all and if so in what way?
Bamber: That whole idea of the bar thing and Lee as a disillusioned officer questioning the relevance of the military in a modern peacetime world was actually mine; just a little backstory to help with a character through-line. It seemed to fit with the whole scenario of Galactica's decommissioning in the miniseries.
The military is being down-sized; it is a relic of former times. Similarly, Lee is rejecting the old-fashioned ways his father espoused, which he has been brought up to follow unquestioningly and which cost him his parents' marriage and his brother's life. He therefore rejects the military rigidity that has, in his eyes, so scarred his family. My little idea was that after the decommissioning ceremony he was going to hand in his resignation and open a small bar or something on Caprica. It then makes what happens to him subsequently that much more of a challenge, to forget the past, to use his training and serve to the best of his ability; like many sons, despite his every intention, he finds his father when he looks in the mirror. As yet none of this backstory is actually pinned down in the writing however ... so Ron Moore might go a different direction!
Q: How do you juggle life as a working actor, husband and father of three small children? How do you keep from losing your mind? What is it like working with your wife again? Do you or her become upset when either of you have *cough* intimate scenes?
Bamber: My life is definitely a juggling act, but most of the balls are caught by my wife, Kerry. My mind is saved by that fact and that I love this part and this show, and by the occasional round of golf. So hard as it is, especially that Kerry is now successfully embarked on a recording career in Europe, there is so much enjoyment in all of it that I cannot believe our good fortune.
We have it all right now — stimulating work lives and the most amazing little family too. We are blessed!
Working with Kerry was lovely. It is so hard for an actress after having kids to get back to work, especially in a foreign country, so it gave me a huge thrill to see her on set, throwing herself back in and loving it. I am also grateful to our producers for giving her that opportunity.
Intimate scenes? Always difficult, but you get used to them. They are not real, after all!
Q: Lee Adama has been thrust into situations he is probably not ready for but has to do for the survival of the fleet. In tense situations, Lee tends to "chant." In "Hand of God" — "Lee don't do this, don't do this" and "keep it together Lee, keep it together." In "Valley of Darkness" — "headshot, reload, headshot." Are these reactions scripted or is it a nuance that you have brought to your character?
Bamber: Yeah, well-spotted. In the Viper footage, much of what happens is actually improvised. Once the director and visual-effects wiz, Gary Hutzel have detailed the bones of the three-dimensional story that the character is to go through in the cockpit, the rest is really up to the actor to really bring to life. It is all green-screen and the other ships and explosions are put in later, so it is pretty challenging to make the whole thing "life or death" and real. We are given scripted lines but they never cover the whole truth of the situation and the scripted scenes tend to be choppy and fragmented to increase the energy of the action. So we just fill them out a bit. Sometimes our stuff stays in, sometimes not.
In "Hand of God" and other tense Viper sequences, I simply found myself muttering to myself and it felt very real. When people are in trouble and scared we need something to hang on to, to concentrate on and that is what Lee does. Apparently athletes do the same; they visualize and resort to little routines to calm the mind. Lee goes a little further and tells himself not to do things. He's just terrified.
Once I found this in these moments, yes, it became a little character quirk which I still use. In "Valley of Darkness" the writers obviously picked up on that and they did write the "headshot, reload, headshot" beat, although I chose to repeat it as a mantra. ... So I guess, once again, it's an instance of write/actor cross-fertilization.
Q: Taking a break from Season One and the, I now assume, encouragement you gave your wife to take a role in Season Two shows a great deal of family values on your part. Without prying too deeply into your private life, can you tell us about what the transition to your current stardom was like for you and your family? (Prior to, and through Band of Brothers, and including [Battlestar Galactica])
Bamber: It is the biggest change that happens to a young guy to go from the single life where every decision you make is basically about you and for you to having a family where suddenly your little ones and your wife come first. We have undergone some pretty big changes.
When I auditioned for Galactica I was unmarried and childless. So during the life of the show my life has changed utterly! I feel very fortunate that so many elements, professional and personal, have come together over the last few years. Whatever happens Galactica will always represent the most eventful years of my life!
Moving all five of us to Canada, finding a place to live, finding good childcare is a major undertaking. I am so lucky that my wife, Kerry, has totally thrown herself into our new life in Vancouver, and the kids love it here. But it is pretty tough, missing family and friends in London and missing out on other opportunities at home, especially for Kerry who, for a while, has had to put her career on hold for me to work on Galactica. We actually had a long conversation before I took the role [about] whether we were prepared for so many changes. I am very grateful for how it has all turned out.
As for the stardom thing, my life hasn't changed at all. I don't feel famous and don't think I am.
Q: Over the course of the series, there has been some backstory established between Starbuck and Apollo. My question to you is, are there any plans to flesh this out in detail? It would be fascinating to see where these two began and how they developed their friendship/repressed sexual-tension thing.
Bamber: As far as I know, there is nothing slated to deal with the Apollo/Starbuck backstory specifically, but I know the writers are thinking about backstories, so it's possible. This season Lee gets a little of his backstory addressed, but it has nothing to do with Kara. ... I remember before the miniseries, part of the rehearsal process with Michael Rymer involved Katee and I exploring our characters' history, and that work definitely fuelled the tension on screen, but we never set it in stone.
Edward James Olmos
Commander William Adama
Q: I cannot easily remember the last Latino cast member of a show set in space, and here you are as the commander of the entire ship. Do you feel that TV needs more of this kind of representation?
Olmos: Yes I do. ... I'm a total human being myself so all I can tell you is yeah, it feels really great and I think they should continue to move in that direction. Because the future really is in the hands of the culturally diverse. There's no way the European-based cultures are going to be able to replenish themselves as quickly as the non-European cultures do. So there's going to be a lot more Africans and a lot more Asians and a lot more Latinos than there will be Europeans a hundred years from today.
Q: What traits and life experiences do you bring to the role of Commander Adama? What helps you bring his character to life in such a very very real way?
Olmos: There's a performer named Deva Premal. She's an artist who's been around for a while and she performs world music. When I ran across her about four years ago, I started to listen to her music, and when I got involved in this it helped me to understand the life and times and the spirituality of the character of Adama, and I've been playing it ever since. I literally listen to her [music] all day long while I'm working, and it tunes me and gets me prepared to go into this world and it keeps me in there. Music is the key for me in working out my characters. And the things I brought from my own life into this of course are 58 years of living, which I bring to the character. I've been here for 58 years on the planet. I bring all of that to this. I just use that as my basis and go ahead and build my bible around it, which is my past story, around that.
Q: You are seen eating bowls of noodles in various episodes. An homage to your role as Gaff in Blade Runner, perhaps?
Olmos: Not really. (laughs) It's more of an homage to the style of food and the reasons for eating it. I think the Asiatic cultures have a real strong understanding of the elements of existence and living. Along with the African cultures they're the oldest cultures on the planet. They outdate by tens of thousands of years the Anglo cultures. The African and Asian mixture is what I really believe is the true basis of human existence on the planet today. So I don't see why it would be any different on the world of Kobol.
Q: Except in very rare circumstances, science fiction, no matter how good, has never been rewarded properly at the Emmys or Oscars with anything other than technical awards. Does it bother you knowing that no matter how well you write, direct, act, etc., you will probably never receive the recognition that lesser shows have received simply because they aren't in the sci-fi genre?
Olmos: It doesn't bother me. I didn't get into this business to get awards or get acclamation. I did it because I was searching for my own sense of who I was as a human being....
Q: It seems that the character of Commander Adama is an onion, in the respect that he has very many layers to be examined. Every time I think I understand the nature of his character, an episode comes along to shake me out of my assumptions. "Pegasus" is a great example. Is this similar to how you view Galactica Actual, or have you seen him as an "onion" all along and have been actually trying to steer him in that direction?
Olmos: Yeah, I mean, it's the only way to work on characters. If I'm going to do this character for the next 10 years or 20 years of my life, I better find ways of enriching the character, as well as myself, to be able to keep it fresh and in the moment. So yeah, an onion would be a good way of understanding it and what's going on. The deeper you go, the richer the taste is and the more nutrients you find.
Q: One of my favorite episodes was "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down." The directing style had an elegance that I thoroughly enjoyed. The subtle visuals of Six's leg in Baltar's lab and the way the facial shots of Six and Baltar were done when they met Tigh's wife for the first time was very stylish and elegant. Will you be directing again? I, for one, certainly hope so.
Olmos: Yes I will be. I was going to direct this year, but I couldn't do it because I'm directing a feature film for HBO. I'm right now editing the HBO film. I just couldn't do directorial on both.
Q: Have you been given a "canon" backstory of your character? If not, have you created one, and can you tell us more about it? Was Commander Adama an absentee father for his sons? How young were they when the divorce with their mother happened? Was he closer to Zak than to Lee, and, if so, why, since Lee seemed to be better as a military officer than Zak would have been?
Olmos: Yes, I go back to birth and Adama's first memories all the way through to his marriage and ultimate divorce and the fact that he does have a strong love for both of his children even though he wasn't around them that much. I think he was very happy when he did bring them forth and they became part of his world and became Viper pilots.
Zak, of course, wasn't able to really handle it but was pushed forward because of Starbuck, and it killed him because he wasn't able to handle the aircraft. It's not so much that I loved one over the other as it was that Zak was the younger of the two, and he was the one who passed away so from the moment the miniseries starts it's been two years since I've seen my son Lee and that was when we buried Zak, so it hasn't been a very strong relationship for the last couple years, and it's gotten even more intense as the episodes have gone on.
President Laura Roslin
Q: What was the biggest surprise you had about working on BSG? What was the nicest (unexpected) benefit of being on this show?
McDonnell: Biggest surprise is how hard I have to work memorizing lines (ha ha ha).
Q: Are there formal political parties or are they just "Roslins" and "Zareks?"
McDonnell: I love that — the Roslins and the Zareks!
Dr. Gaius Baltar
Q: I really, really enjoy your portrayal of Baltar. Are you at all fond of the character? In the end, how would you personally like to see him turn out? Good guy or bad?
Callis: Yes. The character keeps me thinking. As to how he turns out — I really have no idea — a bit like Baltar and his own fate ... good guy, bad guy? He's both, and, as both, there's no knowing where he's going — he lives in the moment, sometimes for the moment.
Q: Last season, Baltar's moments provided some great comic relief. This year he's quite a bit darker. How do you account for the change in him? And do you miss last season's more light-hearted moments?
Callis: Remorse and compassion, Baltar does have weaknesses after all. So he is less inclined to sidestep and more likely to meet flak head-on. Light moments? Even the inky blackness of space is perpetually studded with millions of stars ... that is to say, I'm sure there will be some more (light moments) — so unlike Doc G. — no regrets ici.
Q: Baltar doesn't seem to argue with Six as much. Why not?
Callis: I wish I could tell you, but I promised Six I wouldn't talk about it anymore.
Q: What kind of interaction do you think would occur between Baltar and Helo if the two of them where put in a room together? I mean, it has to be a little unsettling for Baltar to see a guy who's "risen from the grave," so to speak?
Callis: Well, Baltar's seen some crazy shit in his time; he may not really bat an eyelid, but once recognizing Helo as the man who saved his life, I'm sure Baltar would want to be quite friendly.
Q: What are your thoughts on the development of your character over the past two seasons, and in what directions would you like to see your character go?
Callis: Intense. Whatever avenue brings the most challenges and the most fun.
Q: How do you like working and living in Vancouver? What are your favorite things about it? Is it at all strange to go back and forth between home and Vancouver? Do you (and your family/friends) go through a transition period each time you return and resume shooting, or is it effortless?
Callis: Working in Vancouver is wonderful. The people of B.C. are very friendly. And it is a beautiful place by the sea. We always manage to pick up where we left off and after the hiatus and the hassle of moving lock, stock and two smoking barrels of everything, from family to furniture, across the Atlantic — it's always great to see everyone again.
Did I pass?
Lt. Sharon "Boomer" Valerii
Q: What elements of "you" do you bring to Boomer(s)? We've seen the emotional arcs and attitudes from naïve and innocent to hard and gusty. Where are you and the character the same; where are you different?
Park: Funny, that's a pretty good description of me. But in real life I'm far brattier. At least, I like to think so. Way too much serious stuff happens to Sharon; she used to have a lot more fun before. But I guess because of the situations she's in, we see her more traumatized, conflicted, extreme. As for Boomer (Galactica Sharon) she was definitely more victimy than me. At least I like to think so.
Q: Is H-Sharon sorry about the genocide of the human race, like it seemed she was in "Colonial Day"? Sharon was acting pretty guilty then, but since then she has acted like she has nothing to apologize for. Are we going to find out, anytime soon, to what extent she was responsible for it? And if she's responsible and unrepentant, how can Helo not take it personally?
Park: Sharon does not feel guilty about the genocide. In "Colonial Day" she was actually trying to ease her confession to Helo of her true nature. You know how it is so easy to lie, then when you may have to tell the truth there's that tidal wave of guilt. Yeah. I don't think that the Sharon model was particularly responsible for the attack, yet she absolutely supported it. And besides, how could Helo stay mad at her for long? She just bats her eyelashes and wipes his hard drive clean.
Q: H-Sharon used to resemble T-Sharon more in Season One, though they always had differences. In Season Two they have become very different people — H-Sharon has done and said some things I could never see T-Sharon doing, like reminding Helo that he's not as smart as her, pulling off a fairly ruthless double-cross, etc. She's less diplomatic than in Season One, when she had a pretty good sense of what Helo was ready to hear from her, and when. Why have you taken the character in this direction? Are you interested in exploring the T-Sharon character further, or do you feel like she's reached a dead end?
Park: "Reached a dead end"? That's pretty funny. Actually, "T-Sharon" is remarkably animated and active now; she's gotten quite creative writing and performing musicals, yachting and bullfighting, but we never see any of it cuz it all happens on her refrigerated slab in the morgue.
As for Season One, the two Sharons were almost identical because it was H-Sharon's job to exactly duplicate the Sharon that Helo always knew. But H-Sharon was always different, she was just holding herself back, always acting. Threats to her life, racism, physical and sexual attacks, imprisonment, isolation and her pregnancy have pushed H-Sharon to the edge, revealing extreme dimensions of her character.
Q: Caprica-Sharon is kind of stuck in the brig indefinitely at this point. Do you think this affects your character's flexibility? I mean it's not like they're going to ever let you out, are they?
Park: Battlestar has an uncanny way of turning events around.
Q: What specific challenges do your characters present you with? Who are you most honored to be working with?
Park: What challenges do my characters not present me with? Virtually every scene contains a challenge for me. I am most honored to work with absolutely everyone. Every single person in the cast and crew brings such artistic expertise, experience, passion, heart and love. There is no comparison to that.
Lt. Kara "Starbuck" Thrace
Q: In what ways has Starbuck changed this season from last? Do you see her as more mature, as having "grown?" Or just the opposite?
Sackhoff: So much has happened to Starbuck. She's lost so much. How can she not be growing up? She's losing faith, not in the gods but in the people. Everything that has happened to her has been a test, some sort of a lesson, and heartbreaking. If something good doesn't happen to her soon she's going to completely lose the farm.
Q: Once someone complained in RDM's blog that Starbuck does an improbably large number of things: She was a Pyramid player, became an ace fighter pilot, and on Caprica has lots of guns in her humvee which she wields dual-handed like an action-movie star. RDM said that people wouldn't complain that it was unrealistic if it was a man doing the exact same things, because we're used to James Bond-types being skilled in dozens of things. Do you agree?
Sackhoff: I completely agree. Why can't a woman be good at everything she does. Not that I'm saying Starbuck is but, why not? She grew up with an abusive mother who, I assume Kara was always trying to get approval from. She probably worked twice as hard at everything just to get her mother's love and make her proud. So naturally she would most likely excel at many things.
Q: What is the biggest challenge of playing Starbuck? What (if anything) has prepared you to meet the daily challenges of this job?
Sackhoff: The biggest challenge? Being away from my friends in Los Angeles. That's hard, but it's all part of this business. I don't really do anything to prepare for the daily challenges. I love my job. So it's all fun. Well, maybe not all, but I'm not one to bitch and moan.
Q: Do you have a boyfriend? (If she answers no ... then make sure to slyly slip her my number.)
Sackhoff: I'm dating a great guy. It's hard though 'cause John plays football in Kansas City so he's there about half the year. There's a lot of big phone bills and traveling. Did I mention that it's hard? Very hard.
Q: It's been revealed that Starbuck had an abusive childhood (and this may have led to her self-destructive personality traits). Which of her parents was abusing her? In the original series, I've heard that they had an episode where Starbuck meets his no-good father, and we find out that that was one of the reasons that Starbuck was a wildcard. Would you like to have an episode where Starbuck's abusive mother/father turns out to be alive in the fleet?
Sackhoff: Her mom. I would love to find out she's alive. Just another level to her. More drama, more drama. I love it. That's the reason I want Anders to come back. Add to the drama.
Q: As you learn more of your character's backstory, does it conflict with your own thoughts on where your character came from? Do you have any input on your character's backstory? Does having an extensive backstory make it easier or harder to deliver your performance and why?
Sackhoff: The writers have always been very open with us as far as our characters are concerned. I've never really had any concrete ideas about Kara that the writers didn't already plant there. I do however get the occasional idea and I always let David or Ron know about it. I think every actor is different. But I love to have an extensive backstory, even if it's all something I've made up just to tap emotion from for one scene. I do believe it helps. It allows you to know the character better than anyone and give accurate and spontaneous reactions.
Q: Over the course of the series, there has been some backstory established between Starbuck and Apollo. My question to you is, are there any plans to flesh this out in detail? It would be fascinating to see where these two began and how they developed their friendship/repressed sexual tension thing.
Sackhoff: I have no idea if the audience will ever find out he truth about Starbuck and Apollo. I hope so, there's so much there to write about. I'd think it a waste to not dive into that a little. They've known each other for so long and been through so much. There's a lot of pain there and if I could be so bold as to say secrets? Maybe. But then again, that's up to the writers.
Q: Do you read the messageboards? It's usually constructive criticism.
Sackhoff: No, I do not. I read and answer all my fan mail. That's all I have the time for.
Q: Do you ever think about returning to the soap opera, All My Children, as Phil Brent?
Hatch: Soap operas are great training ground for young actors and provide a possible life-long job for many in a business that tends to think short term. I loved being on All My Children — it was one of the best things that ever happened to me and some of my most fond memories are of playing Phil Brent on that show. It's always possible that one could go back to such a series and I would never rule that out.
Q: Would you be unhappy if your bloopers found their way onto the DVD releases?
Hatch: I love bloopers! Once you learn to not take yourself so seriously, and sooner or later you come to the realization, it's quite a hoot watching bloopers of yourself! So yes, I would love to see my bloopers on a DVD release someday.
Q: How do you feel about Ronald D. Moore's policy of "not talking down to the audience," that is, not restating everything again five times like on Star Trek, and not explaining things that can be understood visually, but just assuming that the audience will be smart enough to keep pace? I think a big reason why Star Trek failed in the end was that the later series "dumbed themselves down" for the audience.
Hatch: Talking down to a audience has always been a problem on television for the vast majority of the audience, but one has to understand that there's enough people out there who may need more clarification on what is happening from episode to episode, that it's sometimes necessary. But studios sometimes forget that the science-fiction genre tends to have quite an intelligent fanbase and rarely need such a helping hand.
Q: What is your favorite science-fiction robot? Gort? Replicants? Cybermen? Terminators?
Hatch: My favorite robot is the replicant in Blade Runner, but I also like the Terminator for the sheer terror of it. There's something sexy and provocative about an almost human robot who is struggling with its humanity.
Q: Assuming that Gina (Pegasus-Six) dies by the conclusion of the second half of the cliffhanger, are there any other variants of Number Six that might be introduced as recurring characters?
Helfer: Well, seeing that I can't really tell you yet if, in fact, Gina does die at the end of the cliffhanger, what I can tell you is that there may always be different variants. Last season we saw Shelly Godfrey, and now there is Gina, so I wouldn't be surprised if we see more pop up from time to time.
Q: For Gina, have you done any research into the psychology of real rape victims? (In terms of altered body language, heightened paranoia, physical symptoms of her psychological trauma, as well as how this affects her character?)
Helfer: Yes, I did research — not only for rape victims but also torture, stress, war, disasters, etc. Basically I looked into Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and was fascinated with the idea that the human Cylons were made so similar [to humans] that they could also suffer from a psychological illness as well, and wanted to bring that into how Gina reacts physically, emotionally and intellectually.
Q: Your character(s) are heavily intertwined with religion; how religious would you say you are?
Helfer: I wouldn't say that I am a religious person — I am a spiritual person. I am open to many ideas and thoughts, and I respect other people's beliefs. I am still learning and experiencing and look forward to continued spiritual growth.
Q: I would like to see Six become more the "leader of the Cylon pack" and to see her as more of the architect of the holocaust than just another other Cylon. What's your take on this?
Helfer: At this point we don't have any sort of hierarchy within the Cylons that we have seen. That's not to say that there won't be, but I don't know that yet. There is an episode coming up toward the end of the season where this issue (among other Cylon issues) is dealt with. I do kind of like the idea that, with no hierarchy with the Cylons, there is a difference than with the humans and their power structure.
Q: Rick Berman recently explained away the cancellation of Star Trek by saying that people don't want to watch sci-fi anymore. BSG has proved him wrong. Why do you feel that the new BSG has succeeded while the Star Trek franchise has recently failed?
Helfer: I can't really say without having watched much Star Trek, aside from the films when I was a kid, in how they compare. My idea is simply that Star Trek was around for a long time and everything in life goes through cycles. BSG has a different take on sci-fi, so there was an opening. That's not to say that Star Trek won't have a cycle again.
Q: If you could steal one item from the set, what would it be?
Helfer: I'd want a Viper, man. I love planes — my parents were both single-engine pilots, and I grew up with a grass airstrip on the farm. I used to go to airshows and such, and my goal is to somehow get up for a ride in a fighter plane; that would be the ultimate.
Col. Saul Tigh
Q: I noticed you in Monk's first episode. Your character should've been forgettable, but you did little things — a bemused/puzzled expression, or holding your body like a politician might — and somehow your performance stuck with me. I even pointed it out to someone and felt I was just imagining things. You do these unexplainable things again as Tigh, like the way your face hardened after a press conference as despot — and suddenly you looked like an emperor straight out of old Rome. Is there anything you'd like to share about what you do?
Hogan: I'm fortunate to be a character actor, a very physical character actor. I get to discover another human being every time out. My favorite part of this business is the research. A character's "walk of life" — how they make a living, how they eat. Everything manifests itself physically. Powerful men ... financially, physically, politically, sexually, whatever their power. Warren Sinclair in Monk is very confident, comfortable in his power. Any challenges to his power, he sees as annoyances, curiosities, even amusing.
Col. Saul Tigh is just a man in a position of power. This position fell on him. He can't wait to get out from underneath. Warren Sinclair loves the game, Saul Tigh does not want to play. Tigh has to "put it on." All these things manifest themselves physically.
We almost always use two cameras shooting Battlestar Galactica. The operators are extreme athletes. They don't miss a thing. While one is catching the main action, the other one is "fishing." So it is quite exhilarating for the actors. We can just fly. It keeps it very natural.
Q: It seems as the story progresses that Col. Tigh more and more serves as a foil for Commander Adama, both in his personal life and in his capacities as an officer on the Galactica. Would you agree or disagree with this assessment of the character that you play, and why?
Hogan: For an actor, a television series is a fascinating beast. Actors always create backstories for their characters, character histories. On a series, more and new "backstory" is created every week. You learn something about your character with every new script. And scripts that have flashbacks can be a goldmine. I learned a mint from Season Two, episode one, "Scattered."
The episode ran long, so the public doesn't get to see all the scenes we shot. The scene in the bar where Adama and Tigh first meet was probably my favorite to shoot. I wish it could have been aired in its completion. Tigh, happily drunk, is provoked by some fellow workers for drinking alone. A former Viper pilot too good to drink with the rest. Tigh suckers this big mouth and is about to be crowned with a bottle by another when Bill Adama stops in with a shotgun, cocks it, we all freeze. "You flew Vipers?" "Yeah." He asks me what my plan is. I say I don't really have one. "Personally, I tend to go with what you know," etc., etc.
All the flashbacks were fun. For Eddie and I to hang out, work together for a couple years, and then play out the scene where we first meet, was a unique and wonderful experience. Besides Ellen Tigh, and that is another matter, Bill Adama is the only person alive that Tigh cares about. If Adama hadn't brought Tigh back into the fleet all those years ago, Tigh would be dead by now — if not through alcohol, he certainly would have died along with everyone else in the Cylon attack. Seeing Adama shot, having to take over for him, watching him recover, and observing the effect the near-death experience has had on his friend, this is quite the backstory so far.
Ronald D. Moore
executive producer, writer
Q: Are there any plans to further develop the secondary characters (e.g., Dualla, Tyrol, Helo, Cally, etc.)? It seems like the emphasis thus far has been on the big seven, and it would be nice to have a change in that regard.
Ronald D. Moore: We are doing more with all of the characters you've mentioned in the second half of the season and I think you'll find they're all going in some interesting (and unexpected) directions.
Q: Will more research go into how computer networks "actually" work and how computers are susceptible to viruses? There were a few "questionable" instances in a couple of episodes regarding how viruses managed to get into the Galactica's computers, taking away from the "realism" of the show.
Moore: We strive to keep things realistic without getting bogged down in too much technobabble or detail about it. We do have a very good, very knowledgeable technical advisor, who usually flags down errors of this sort, but in the end, it's my call when to stay with the dramatic beat or change things around to keep it scientifically accurate. It's a very subjective call and basically I listen to my own instincts as a writer, so if we're doing something that pulls you out of the show because you know better, it's probably a result of me taking the dramatic rather than the accurate path.
Q: The show is understandably biased towards Roslin and Adama's "regime," as if we had an embedded reporter filming them. Are there any plans to portray others in the fleet who are strongly affected by this regime's political tradeoffs and mistakes? We got to see glimpses with Tom Zarek's critiques and Tigh's disastrous despotism. But we usually miss the "little lives" of the average survivors, who have to contend with their flawed representatives and journalists, not to mention Roslin/Adama's intrigues. Certainly, even a perfectly honest Zarek couldn't speak for all of them.
Moore: We are going to see some of the other factions and people in the fleet in the second half of this season — we're going to see groups forming in opposition to what Laura and Adama have wrought, as well as religious groups and splinter groups of militants.
Q: Was the decision to make the Cylons monotheistic and the Colonials polytheistic a conscious choice? If so, was it done to challenge the audience's (at least subconscious) bias in favor of monotheist (Christian/Jewish) faiths by making the "bad guys" have a religion that more closely resembles our own?
Moore: It was a conscious choice I made during the development of the miniseries. I had included a line from Number Six where she said, "God is love," and that became the jumping off point for this entire aspect of the series. The fact that the Colonials already had Greco/Roman names and nomenclature made it a natural for saying that they were polytheistic. I think I realized that the clash of two civilizations with these beliefs would echo our own history as well as be an interesting inversion of the usual Pagan=Bad, Christian=Good dynamic and I thought that would be interesting to play around with.
Q: Are we going to continuing development of civilian government infrastructure, such as civilian police and schools?
Moore: We're starting to talk about these things more, but haven't shown them yet, which is ironic since I thought that these very structures would be a key component of the show and indeed, they were featured prominently in my initial pitch. But, as I said earlier, I prefer to let things evolve naturally, and this show seems to live most comfortably in the military world and not so much in the police or school worlds.
Q: You're throwing a lot of hard subjects out there (drug abuse, rape, military rule vs. civilian rule, religion, etc.). What do you hope is the water cooler talk the next day? Your series isn't just there to entertain, but to provoke thinking, debating ideals ... you've thrown so much out there, what would you like to see discussed?
Moore: I'm interested in having people argue about whether what the characters did in a given episode was understandable in a human way as well as have them argue whether the actions they took were right or wrong. Yes, I want people to argue about the rightness of their heroes torturing a prisoner for information, but I also want them to argue about what a human being does in that situation and what it does to him or her as a result of their choice. I've been gratified to see that people are willing to take up the arguments about liberty versus security and freedom versus safety because I believe those to be the most vital conversation we are having today.
Q: While the bulk of your TV work was with Star Trek, you also worked on Carnivàle and Roswell. What were the most valuable lessons you learned in terms of creating characters and storytelling techniques while working on these shows, and what have been the most difficult challenges you've faced while working on BSG? Do you find it easier to deal with the various obstacles created while working on a show of this kind given your background, or do you still find yourself faced with challenges unique to this show? If so, can you give an example?
Moore: I can say that working on a show that I created is the most gratifying experience I've had, hands down. There is a freedom to my work that wasn't there in any of the other shows I worked on, for the simple reason that my primary task before now was always to emulate someone else's voice and execute someone else's vision. My experience at Roswell taught me a lot about editing, which I learned from Jason Katims, and that experience has proven invaluable ever since. Carnivàle was a bit of a trial by fire and the most valuable thing I learned was the discovery of my own ability to withstand pressure and be able to operate in a difficult environment, with the experience of having virtually no limits in terms of content and the tremendous freedom that entailed being a close second.
Q: I need more continuity with the characters and storylines; in my humble opinion, there is too much choppiness and things unsaid and unsettled and it's driving me frackin' nuts. I need answers, dangit! Right when I really start getting interested in a storyline it changes and we never know how they settle what they were talking about, fighting about ... whatever it is. I can't stand it. Please work on this, I need more structure — I'm begging.
Moore: Sorry to disappoint you, but I like the ambiguity and the jagged edges of the show, in all honesty. So much of TV is wrapped up in neat little packages with everything explained and over-explained to the audience. I like not knowing certain things, I like not knowing why and how something may have happened, I like the mystery of what happens just outside the frame of our show.
Q: Over the course of the series, there has been some backstory established between Starbuck and Apollo. My question to you is: Are there any plans to flesh this out in detail? It would be fascinating to see where these two began and how they developed their friendship/repressed sexual-tension thing.
Moore: We aren't planning to get into their backstories this season, but we've talked about it for future seasons.
Q: Will we in later seasons see just how the Cylons are hierarchically organized?
Moore: We're going to see hints of that this season.
Q: Will we ever see if and how the different Cylon factions vie for power and supremacy among the rest of the Cylons?
Moore: Again, you'll see some hints of this before the end of the second season.
Q: What are you doing about getting BSG to countries other than the U.K. and the U.S.? You have a huge fanbase outside of the U.S. Are you waiting for networks to approach you, or is there a distinct push to get the show into other countries? I speak from Australia but can see the pining on the boards from countries all over the world.
Eick: Excellent question, although the answer is outside my zone of control as executive producer. The studio — Universal Television — handles all foreign distribution for Battlestar Galactica, just as virtually all major studios do with their U.S. television product. My friend Michael Rymer, who directed the Battlestar miniseries and several of its most noteworthy episodes, is from Melbourne and is constantly reminding Ron Moore and me of the international appeal the show seems to have, which is a great thrill.
Q: Would you consider reverting back to the 13-episode season format at some point? Many feel that that particular number is superior, and allows for a tighter narrative over the course of a season.
Eick: I would tend to agree, although they say such a dilemma in show business is "the right problem to have." One of the benefits of the 13-episode season is simply the ability to make use of the longer down time in between seasons to charge batteries, regroup and hatch wilder ideas than you might have the wherewithal to do otherwise. As I write this, it is Oct. 20, 2005, and we are in the middle of shooting episode 16 of the 20-episode season. We won't complete principal photography of episode 20 until Dec. 2. However, in order to premiere season three in July '06 (which is not yet ordered, but we're hoping is imminent), we'll need to begin breaking new stories with the writing staff by this Nov. 1 — a full month before we've even completed shooting Season Two.
It is times like these that the schizophrenia comes in mighty handy.
But it is, as they say, a marathon, not a sprint. And, of course, the advantage of the 20-episode season is that we're on the air for most of the year, which will hopefully help the audience for Battlestar Galactica continue to grow and expand.
Q: With viewer comments readily available, will the fans' feedback from the first episodes of the second season have any impact on the second half of the season?
Eick: Yes and no. This is the broadband age and it's harder and harder to find any time or place where you don't have immediate access to the world's information and opinions — which may not necessarily be a good thing. Having a little time and distance away from something before judging it is often a much closer barometer of the thing's value (or non-value) than knee-jerk reactions, and so I tend to take most of what I hear and read with a grain of salt. If I'm told there is a definite trend — a great number of bulletin boarders loving something or hating something — then I might check in to see what all the fuss is about.
But I'm reminded of the early days of the Internet craze. We were doing Hercules and Xena at Renaissance Pictures, and reading fan opinions on bulletin boards was a big novelty. But then we all freaked out — the fans seemed to love certain things that surprised us, hated things we thought they'd love ... and so we began correcting. Adjusting. Allowing the boards to influence how the shows were written and produced.
About a month later, the fans seemed to be in ecstasy — they loved everything, they felt heard, they felt a part of the process. In the meantime, our ratings were nose-diving — I remember drop-offs in our Nielsen numbers that were unparalleled. To this day, I wonder if those shows might've lasted another season or two had we not overcorrected and in the process marginalized their appeal. We often forget that the vastly larger percentage of "the fans" never bother to offer their opinions on the Internet, and so as showmakers we're wise to be careful how much, or little, we allow ourselves to be influenced by vox populi.
Q: I enjoyed the appearance of Michelle Forbes as Admiral Cain. Any chance that we might get some other former Trek stars in guest appearances? Avery Brooks as a Cylon perhaps?
Eick: That's, of course, a better question for my partner Ron, who has the black belt in Star Trek, but I'd certainly be thrilled to have some of those alumni guest-star. Those shows often had outstanding casting, and we should be so lucky to get someone like Brooks or (dare I dream?) Patrick Stewart to stop by....
I'd ask William Shatner to guest-star, but I'm too ashamed — after all, Ron killed him.
Q: Now that Firefly has jumped from the small screen to the big as Serenity, would you ever consider doing a theatrical feature of the new BSG? (This ought to stir-up the original series' fan nest.)
Eick: Ultimately, I would think any appetite for a Battlestar feature film will be in part driven by how Serenity performs at the box office. However, Glen Larson, the producer of the original Battlestar, in a strange, unusual twist of contractual dexterity, was able to carve out the theatrical film rights back in the '70s when he made his initial deal for the television series. He holds those rights to this day, so any pursuit of a feature film would have to involve Mr. Larson. Given his purported disdain for the new series, that would seem an unlikely scenario — but you never know....