Leah Cairns Interview
By: Marcel Damen
Date: January 12th, 2007
Note: This is a snippet of an interview with LEAH CAIRNS where she mentions AARON DOUGLAS / CHIEF TYROL. To read the full interview, click HERE.
I’d like to ask how it is to work with some colleagues of yours. What it’s like working with Jamie Bamber?
Jamie Bamber is just… He’s amazing to work with. He’s so intelligent and he’s so funny. He has an amazing family. You just have to love someone like Jamie Bamber. I love Jamie Bamber, I love working with him.
(laughing) Katee is like the class clown. She’s always trying to make everybody laugh. She’s always disruptive, in a good way. She’s always… Her and Helo… I always call Tahmoh Helo, it cracks him up. Her and Tahmoh are forever always wandering around doing their little skits, pretending they’re Russians. Just goofing off and being complete dorks. She’s hilarious to work with.
Tahmoh? Tahmoh is the gentle giant. He’s lovely, he’s calm. If ever I need someone to bounce something off that I’m not sure about, like a scene that I’m doing, I go to Tahmoh and he’s always got some great insight into it. He’s very introspective, and if you ever need to talk politics, you go talk to Tahmoh.
Okay. What about Grace Park?
Grace. Grace is the most serious of all the actors on set. She’s very, very serious and she’s always working. If they call “Cut!” and they’re relighting or something, I don’t know, Katee and Tahmoh are off doing Russian accents, Aaron Douglas will sit down and read a book, and I’ll go out and eat some chocolate with Nicki Clyne and you know, but Grace will still be in work mode. I remember, it was probably one of the first days that I worked with her and we were sitting in the raptor, and she looked over to me and goes: “Leah, how are you feeling?” and I was like: “I’m feeling great! I’m having the best day ever” I was talking about working on Battlestar Galactica for the day and she looks at me and says: “You’re feeling great? Having the best day ever? Huh? Interesting approach. I was just really thinking about invading some wreck, going in and kicking some ass! But yeah, of course, you’re having a great day where you woke up to go and kill some Cylons. We’re going to blow up the Base Ship! Yeah, let’s have a great day!” (both laughing) Then I realized she was talking work and I’m like: “Well, I’m glad that helped you, but (laughing) I wasn’t thinking about work at all.” She’s very, very serious.
So how is it to work with Edward Olmos? Do you have a lot of scenes together? You said you…
…In the beginning I used to have lots of scenes with Eddie. I worked with Eddie all the time and he is an absolute riot to work with. The man is so funny and he’s so… Maybe one of my favorite scenes with Eddie actually was… I have two! One was a scene where I was piloting the raptor and I was taking Billy (Paul Campbell) and Eddie somewhere. Paul Campbell and I are… Oh and Aaron Douglas, he was also in the ship.
That’s a good team!
Me, Aaron, Paul and Eddie. Have you ever seen Team America?
Yes, I have.
Okay. Team America had come out and it was wildly popular amongst the Battlestar Galactica crew and Aaron Douglas would just… The director would say something and he’d be like: “Okay! In this scene I want you to be like this.” and Aaron goes: “Okay durka durka durka mohammed jihad durka” and he would talk like that all day long and also got Paul going! And the two of them decided to do the entire scene in durkas and Mohammed jihad durkas. So we did the entire scene and Eddie was right there with us. The four of us were going: “Mohammed jihad durka. Durka durka Mohammed jihad.” (both laughing) It was so great. It was so funny and they were all going: “Oh man!” It was just a rehearsal or whatever and it wasn’t taped and we said: “We should actually tape that and sent it to Trey [Parker] and Matt [Stone] (writers of Team America), because they probably think it’s hilarious.” but Battlestar [Galactica] was so new so they probably don’t even know what the hell Battlestar [Galactica] is, you know, they’re not going to care. When we got nominated for a Peabody, when we won a Peabody this year, they all went to New York to accept the Award. Matt and Trey were there and did a huge speech on how much they liked Battlestar Galactica and how much they love this show. I was like: “Damn it! We should have sent it to them.” because we love them as much as they love us. So Eddie is really good. He’s like the father figure of the entire show, but he’s so young at heart as well. He’s so one of us. We just all look up to him so much, but you can still joke around with him. He has his own production company so he’s constantly producing projects. He’s constantly on his cell phone preparing projects and stuff. So we did one scene where he was talking on the phone, Michael Rymer was directing and he was like: “Okay. We’re rolling sound!” and Eddie’s like: “Just a minute. You’re going to be in a scene with me.” and he takes his cell phone and sticks it in the nose of a viper. (both laughing) He just left the person on the other end, does the scene, they call “Cut!”, picks up the phone and is like: “Oh, you were great!” (both laughing). Eddie is so lovable!
I heard that Paul, Aaron and Eddie are the biggest pranksters. Have they ever done a prank on you?
They’re definitely the biggest pranksters. They haven’t done anything to me in particular, but they’re constantly… and James Callis!
Yeah, I can imagine that.
He once did an entire scene where he pretended that he was Eddie. It was so good that the director didn’t know. Michael [Rymer] didn’t even know, because we were doing the coverage of Michelle Forbes. So they were doing a close-up of Michelle, Eddie had, you know, wandered off with his cell phone and didn’t even realize that we were still shooting, and we’re going to shoot again. Let’s see, we got Mary [McDonnell] and Eddie standing next to each other across from Michelle and Michael Rymer has no idea that Eddie is gone and he called “Action!”. So James Callis happened to be standing there and he was like: “Where the hell is Eddie? We can’t do the scene without Eddie.” So James slowly walks over, stands beside Mary and did all of Eddie’s lines. (both laughing) He remembered them probably better than Eddie did and he can imitate Eddie’s voice exactly to a tee. So Michelle, it was a close-up… Michelle, bless her heart, almost made it through the entire scene and cracked up at the very end, because we were all waiting for Michael to realize that it wasn’t Eddie, but he never did. He was really mad at all of us for laughing, but we’re like: “…but Eddie is not here.” (laughing)
So any pranks with other actors you can remember?
On the show? No, not so much. I mean Aaron Douglas is great because you can try and… In our improv stuff we’ll try and throw him off and we say a really inappropriate line and he’ll just keep going with it. He’s such a pro and he’s so great at improv, so it’s really hard for us to get him back. I know he has pranked other people, but not me, thank God. Paul Campbell and I have been friends for… I don’t even know for how long. He was one of my very first friends when I moved back to Vancouver and became an actor. We had the same agent, the same acting teacher, yeah… and that guy is one of the biggest pranksters I’ve ever met. He’s such a funny guy. You know that he’s on that Nobody’s Watching?