During Baltimore Comic-Con, we stopped by actress Tricia Helfer’s booth for an interview. She talked about Battlestar Galactica, the initial response to the reboot, technical challenges while filming, and what she liked and disliked about her character. She also shared what she liked about the convention, upcoming appearances, and what she’s working on next.
Scoop: Are you having a good time this weekend?
Tricia Helfer (TH): I am, so far, yes.
Scoop: What do you like about Baltimore Comic-Con?
TH: Everybody has been really friendly. I haven’t seen much of the city, because I came in with a cold, so I’ve been chilling in the evening, trying to get some sleep. Everybody’s been really friendly. It’s been busy, but a nice simple flow. It’s not crazy, it’s not exhausting.
Scoop: Battlestar Galactica was a reboot, so obviously there’s history. Did you feel extra pressure for the project?
TH: It was my first show, I had just started acting the year before, so it was my first series. So everything was new to me. I didn’t feel the pressure because my character wasn’t in the original. But, there was a huge fan backlash to the reboot – initially. Especially against Starbuck becoming a woman and certain things that had changed. But, things changed once people watched the show and gave it a shot. It was a different time. You couldn’t have done that type of show back then. The show back then was a more Star Wars-type, a little bit lighter humor and things like that, but I think Ron Moore did a wonderful job with keeping the ideals of the show, the themes of the show, but making it more relevant to our times and harder edged and a darker look at humanity.
Scoop: Was it weird for you being in scenes where other people don’t see you but you’re obviously talking to Gaius?
TH: Once you get used to the initial way of filming it, no. I think it was harder for other people in the scene. If somebody speaks, your natural inclination is to look at them or at least be aware of their presence. So, the other actors, once they got used to that, it was fine. For me it was technically challenging sometimes, because of the way we’d try and do a lot of it without editing or cutting. So, I’d be hiding under desks and popping up and trying to pretend I’ve been sitting there the whole time. There were some technical challenges.
Scoop: Those must’ve been some really weird cues if you had to pop out from under a desk looking coifed and fine.
TH: Yeah, and you have a split second to do it or you’re following behind the camera and the second the camera pans slightly one way, then it pans back and you’re there. A lot of that was done on the day with us in the room as opposed to cutting, because it takes a lot of time when you cut, then you have to get everything moving again and going. Sometimes, obviously, it was edited. But, a lot of the time it was just practical on the day, in the scene.
Scoop: I always think learning about that kind of technical stuff in TV and movies is very interesting. What did you like about the character?
TH: I like the multiple aspects of the character. I got a little tired of playing Number Six after a while because she didn’t really have a storyline of her own. And of course, bringing her in and out of scenes like that gets a little monotonous, so once I started getting the other characters like Gina, Natalie, Sonja, and Lida, it opened up a lot for me to play as an actor.
Scoop: It’s interesting the way they brought them and how in some circumstances it showed the negative side of humans and what they were willing to do to these Cylons and be okay with it. That’s what gave me a gut check on rooting for humanity.
TH: Yeah, well you know that’s one of the elements of the show, it was trying to show humanity from all sides and maybe the good guys aren’t always on the right side, so to speak. Or, maybe they are, but they have to do some pretty horrible things. It’s about balancing that fine line between who’s right and who isn’t right, and are they right only because they are looking at it from their perspective and not the other side’s perspective. That’s what the show was brilliant at and the writing was brilliant at was opening eyes to what goes on not only in human eyes but from the other perspective as well.
Scoop: What other conventions do you have coming up?
TH: I’ve actually done quite a few this year. I finished Lucifer this spring, so I had more time. I don’t like to sign on to too many if I’m filming because it’s hard and you quite often have to cancel. I’ve got one more in Halifax in about a month at the end of October. Then for Lucifer fans, at least in England, I have one coming up in London in January called Starfury. Most of the cast of Lucifer is going to be there. Although, I might be doing an independent film at that time, so we will see. It was supposed to shoot in November-December, but now it’s been pushed to January-February and that’s a little ways to travel if you’re filming. But you never know. And I’m supposed to be going to Pensacon in Florida in February, so hopefully I get to make those two.
Scoop: You brought up an independent film, my last question is what are you working on now?
TH: Right now I have this independent film kind of a neo-Western that I’m excited to do, I really like the script, I really like the character. But, with independent films, until you’re actually shooting it, you never know. It looks likely that it’ll be happening in January, so I’m excited to do that. I won’t say too much about it until we’re filming it, but it’s a pretty harrowing tale. Then looking for the next gig. I want to make sure I’m getting into the right thing.