Chief Ingredients: Aaron Douglas Plugs in his Inner Toaster
By: Jeff Renaud
Date: May 2008
Source: Geek Monthly
Canadian-born actor Aaron Douglas was raised on healthy portions of Buck Rogers and the original Battlestar Galactica growing up as a kid in New Westminster, British Columbia (just minutes outside of Vancouver where the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica is filmed). So when his BSG character Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol was outed as a Cylon in last year’s season finale, he would think that was pretty cool, right?
“No, I didn’t want to be a Cylon at all,” asserts Douglas. “I thought that they would be taking a character that the fans really love and really marginalizing him. I didn’t think the fans would like it. Suddenly, you have this character that everybody likes and then you don’t like him because he’s a Cylon. And it’s worse for people who don’t really get te whole notion of who is really the bad guy here. Is it the Cylons or is it the humans?”
Discouraged, Douglas did the same thing Chief would do if presented with a problem like checking the servos on Airlock 12. He headed to the source in search for answers.
“I got Ron (BSG executive producer Ronald D. Moore) on the phone after I found out, and he talked to me for like an hour and a half and he explained to me why he was doing this and his beliefs and why he thinks it’s a good thing, and by the end of the conversation, he had me convinced,” says Douglas, who originally auditioned for the role of Apollo and was called back to read for Felix Gaeta before landing the part of Chief.
“I have always trusted the writers and I think they are the best writers on TV. And after having shot 13 episodes of Season 4, I am not wrong,” he continues. “They’re remarkable, and I buy into what they’re doing one hundred percent. It’s very, very cool. If you liked Seasons 2 and 3, Season 4 is even better.”
As for his belief that the lines in the sand, which divide humans and Cylons, should be further examined by fans of the show, Douglas maintains that life in the Twelve Colonies is no different than here on Earth.
“There is no good guy or bad guy,” explains Douglas. “Those are names that we call each other to justify our own position and justify our own actions. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, and every culture has a different way of expressing their distaste for what’s going on.”
“And as abhorrent as some things may be to some, they are not necessarily abhorrent to others. And I think it’s the same in the Galactica universe. The Cylons have done some horrible things, but I think the humans have done some pretty damn horrible things too. So I don’t think it’s a good guy/bad guy thing. I think if they can move on together and take the best from each other and learn from each other’s mistakes as well as their own, it could become a remarkable society.”
“Whether that’s going to happen or not, I have no idea. We have only shot 13 and we, the actors, don’t get told what’s going to happen at the end until we’re actually on the set shooting it.”
While Season 4 is scheduled to be the final season for BSG, Douglas admits he would love to do more Chief.
“Maybe to explore some stuff from before or during these four years , but I would have a whole bunch of caveats to put myself in that position and one of them would be that Ron would have to be involved. And that he would have final say,” says Douglas.
“I think Ron has determined that it’s time to finish this tale or at least, this part of the tale. Whether we come back and do something that carries on, or do something that’s a prequel, or do something like Razor where they have a movie that’s sort of clipped out of time about something that was eluded to but not actually shown. There are rumors about stuff like that but I don’t know if it’s just fans making rumors or the network or whatever, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”
But if this turns out to be Douglas’ final tour of duty as Chief, he’s going to enjoy it while it lasts.
“I have friends who are laboring on other shows that have been going for years or they are just sort of in their mid-run and they are just tired of it. And they all hate me for being on Battlestar when they are stuck on their [pauses and laughs] wonderful shows.”
“That’s quality television over there on Stargate, isn’t it? Oh, did I say that out loud? I am kidding, of course.”
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