It’s not 100% confirmed until my test results are in, but I may be a Cylon. At the very least, I’m a Cylon sympathizer. You could imagine my excitement then, when a comline was established with my favourite character from the series: Chief Galen Tyrol, played by the charming and hilarious Aaron Douglas. Lucky for us, Aaron was kind enough to take time out of watching the Olympic games on television to answer a few questions for SFX.
You’ll be in Nova Scotia this next October for HAL-CON. Have you visited the Maritimes before?
“I’ve been to every single province. When I was 14 years old our family drove all the way from Vancouver to Newfoundland and back. I’ve been all across the great land of Canada. I absolutely love the Maritimes and I’m very excited to go back, particularly in the fall when it’s one of the most beautiful places on Earth.”
Because you’re a sci-fi cult favourite, do you attend a lot of conventions internationally?
“I go to as many as I can, but sometimes it’s hard with my schedule. I love going to conventions and I love spending time with the fans, and going to parts of the world where I wouldn’t normally go. It’s fun doing the conventions and meeting people who love the show; just being able to hang out at the bar and have a beer with a fan and talk to them about football, and about Battlestar, and about life. That’s the really great part about being a sci-fi actor.”
What’s the strangest fan request that you’ve ever had?
“Signing boobs is always up there. I’ve also had, ‘Hold this teddy bear and let me take a picture.’ You know, you get some fans who try to go out of their way to do something silly so that it’s memorable… but for the most part people are just interested in talking about the show with me. 99.99% of them are very sweet. Although I do know that the female actors get it much worse than I do. [Laugh] Yeah, no one wants to see my boobs.”
BSG has really resonated with science fiction fans. Do you think it’s fair to say that Galactica is the most important sci-fi show of the decade?
“Wow, of the decade?! I really don’t like to compare one show to another but yes. Yes it is. Star Trek put sci-fi on the map and changed television, and Battlestar has changed it in another direction by making it a little more mainstream and acceptable to people who wouldn’t normally watch sci-fi.”
In the show there’s really no good guy or bad guy, but how did you feel when you found out that your character was a Cylon?
“I hated it at first because I thought that they were taking a character that the fans really loved, and making him someone that fans would really detest. I fought Ron Moore on it at first, but I love it now and I could not be more proud because it was a great story idea. The thing that ultimately made a lot of sense for that character is how he went on in his life with the world never quite making any sense, until he suddenly found out that he was a Cylon.”
The show did take a lot of risks with its characters, but I think that’s what made it so interesting…
“I completely agree. I don’t like shows that are predictable. I like it when you’re shocked and you have no idea who’s about to die.”
What’s your favourite memory of playing Chief Galen Tyrol?
“I have a couple favourite memories. I really like the scene in the bar when Adama bumps the Chief down to Private. But the greatest shooting day that I’ll never forget is at the end of the ‘Dirty Hands’ episode, and there’s a scene with the Chief and the President – that was about six hours of Mary McDonnell and I just sitting and talking. She is just the loveliest person on the planet, and by far the greatest actor who I’ve ever worked with. That’s a memory that will stick out for a very, very long time.”
You’ll be starring as police union head Frank Leo in the Canadian drama series The Bridge, which will premiere on CTV/CBS on 5 March. Can you tell us a little about your move from sci-fi to a drama series?
“Well, I wear a suit instead of jumpsuit. [Laugh] And I’m in a car instead of in a big giant spaceship. [Laughing] It’s interesting because The Bridge still deals with human drama and the struggle between people and relationships. I think it should be really good. I think people are going to enjoy it. It’s definitely a different thing because we shoot seven days a week, and five or six of those days are on location. We’re constantly moving around – we’re inside and also outside – whereas on Battlestar I was 95% filmed on the stage. It’s easier when you’re on a stage because you can control the weather. While filming in Toronto last year I got rained on a lot. Everyone told me it wouldn’t rain in Toronto! They obviously lied. Those liars. [Laugh]”
Thanks Aaron! It’ll be great to meet you in person at HAL-CON. in October.
“Oh wait! I forgot that I wanted to say, GO CANADA GO!”
Stand alert! Here’s some great questions submitted by SFX readers: