Michael Rymer Interview
By: Marcel Damen
Date: August 2, 2008
Note: This is a snippet of an interview with MICHAEL RYMER where he mentions AARON DOUGLAS / CHIEF TYROL. To read the full interview, click HERE.
You named some examples of actors like James Callis and Michael Hogan who are great at improv. Can you remember one particular scene that made you lean back and say “Wow, I never imagined it like that, but it looks awesome?”
I’ll give you a little moment that I always remember in “33.” The scene in the hangar bay, standing by one of the vipers, and Lee is haranguing Kara about taking her meds. The pilots are being given speed to keep them awake, and Kara has a little hissy fit. They are playing the scene and I think take 5, I just said “Okay, fine, we got that, let’s just try something different. She’s pretty worked up, why not just laugh?” And they liked that idea and cracked up on the next take. It was just a little bit of unexpected, spontaneous human behavior that you wouldn’t write. It was too sort of illogical. That’s the great thing about improvisation. You listen back to what they are saying and go “God, I’m a writer. I would never have thought of that person responding in that way.”
I could give you more examples, but there are so many. Pretty much most of what Aaron Douglas says is improvised. Even in that moment actually, when the two [of them] are yelling by the viper, Lee leaves; and Kara turns around and sees Aaron looking at them. And she goes, “What’s your problem?” And, he just shrugs and raises his shoulders and goes, “Hey, leave me out of it.” It was so funny, and human, and real. You just got this sense of this family on this ship, and their relationships, and the shorthand that they have. That, for me, is the whole substance of what we are doing.
Essentially, television is about bringing people’s faces in your living room. You come home, and who do you want to spend time with? Do you want to spend time with Bill Shatner and James Spader? Do you want to spend time with Eddie [Olmos] and Mary [McDonnell]? Do you want to spend time with Tony Soprano? It’s sort of the last bastion of character. Look, I’m also very proud of the action and the visual effects, and I think Gary Hutzel and Mike Gibson are amazing. And when the shows are finished, by the time Bear [McCreary]’s done his music and the sound design is in, it’s an amazing thing. It’s a very exciting show. But if those little human gestures weren’t there, that to me is what makes it. We are being inundated with comic book movies, waves and waves of them coming at us. And every time I see one, I am looking for that little human moment that’s going to make me connect. Okay, it’s a guy in a suit; but he is just like me in this moment. I get that. I don’t have to save the world; but I get what he is going through with his friend, or that girl, or his boss, or whatever.