One Of BSG’s Final Five Cylons, Aaron Douglas
By: Tony Peregrin
Date: August 17, 2010
Cylons – cybernetic forms that perfectly resemble humans, a.k.a “skin-jobs” – are touching-down in Chicago this weekend. In fact, Chicago’s Comic-Con marks the first time the Final Five Cylons of Battlestar Galactica (BSG) have ever appeared together at a convention. Frak, yeah.
Chicago Comic-Con (also known as Wizard World Chicago) boasts over 500 celebrities and industry professionals to celebrate the best in pop culture, including the original Batman (Adam West) and Captain James Tiberius Kirk (William Shatner) – live long and prosper, indeed. But it’s the BSG gang that has us pumped for the weekend event.
Chicagoist spooled up our FTL drives and caught up with BSG’s Aaron Douglas (“Chief Galen Tyrol”) in Vancouver where he talked about strange fan requests, his “bear” status in the gay community, and why he considers BSG the most important sci-fi show of the last decade.
What’s your favorite memory of playing Chief Galen Tyrol?
I have lots of ’em. Actually, my favorite times were on the weekends, when we would get together for dinner at Jamie Bamber’s (“Lee ‘Apollo’ Adama”) house and drink until 5 o’clock in the morning, and listen to [James] Callis (“Gaius Baltar”) pontificate about the world. I miss that more than anything. I worked with the sweetest, most lovely and talented people in the business.
You’ve said that when you first found out you were a Cylon, you hated it, because you thought the writers were taking a character that the fans really loved, and making him into someone they would really detest.
On that show, dude, we didn’t have a clue where the writers were going! But they demonstrated, early on, that you could trust them, and that they would write extraordinary things for you. They put the Chief through the ringer! I didn’t like that I was a Cylon at first, but as the story went along, and seeing where they went with it, I really liked it. I liked the fact that the Chief really humanizes the Cylons more than anyone else, because he is such a blue-collar guy, he is so real, and ultimately, the most human. What you see, is what you get, with Chief Tyrol. He is a grunt that makes the world go ‘round. He was the one that basically told the others in the Final Five, ‘stop yer bitchin’ and get on board.’
You’ll be in Chicago for Comic-Con. Have you visited the Windy City before?
I’ve actually never been to Chicago – and that actually might not change. This will be breaking news for everybody, but I am scheduled to film a new episode of a series I am working on this Sunday, the Sunday of Chicago Comic-Con.
And that is breaking news because Chicago’s Comic-Con would mark the first time the Final Five would appear together live at a convention – which is epic for hard-core fans of the show.
[Ed’s Note: per his Twitter page, it looks like Aaron is going to make it after all.]
Yes, this would be the first AND last time (laughs).
Why is that?
Well, because a lot of us have moved on in a sense, and we have other things going on, and it’s getting harder and harder for us to get to these conventions in the same city, on the same weekend. When’s the last time you’ve ever seen five Star Trek Next Gen together in the same city, at the same con? It never happens (laughs). So, I’m filming Hellcats on Saturday, and they are working to fly me in from Vancouver overnight, for Sunday. I really hope we can make it happen.
In the event the Final Five are not all together for this historic gathering at Chicago Comic-Con, tell me a little something about your fellow Final Five actors. What’s the first thing that pops into your head when I mention these names?
Michael Hogan (Colonel Sol Tigh).
He is the one most unlike his character.
Rekha Sharma (Tory Foster).
Rekha? Juuuust tiny. (Pauses for moment). Juuuuuust little. She is the loveliest woman you will ever want to meet.
Michael Trucco (Samuel Anders).
Too good-looking for his own good!
Kate Vernon (Ellen Tigh).
She melts your heart when she smiles…
Which one of these actors are you most likely to hang out with after the Con one night and grab a beer?
Hogan and Trucco. Hogan and I are notorious for shutting down bars when we are at cons.
What’s the strangest fan request that you’ve ever had?
Oh, pretty run of the mill stuff. A lot of girls ask the actors and celebrities to sign their boobs, actually. I have to say, the weirdest of the bunch was this girl in England. She was asking everyone to sign her breasts, and then she would run to the tattoo parlor and have these actors’ signatures permanently tattooed all over her boobs and abs. I told her ‘no.’ (Laughs). I did not want to be a member of that club!
Speaking about crazy fans—it got pretty intense at the San Diego Comic-Con earlier this year, when an attendee stabbed another in the face with a pen. You were at the San Diego Con, right?
Yes, I was there. I was actually at dinner with James Olmos (“Admiral Adama”), James Callis and David Eick (executive producer of Battlestar Galactica) when we heard about it. We were all stunned, and Callis was literally almost in tears over it. It was so horrible.
Do you ever get geeked-out at Comic-Cons, Aaron, when you come across other celebrities or comic-con royalty like a Stan Lee, for example?
Yeah, I’ve seen Stan Lee at the shows and he is so lovely, and down to earth, which is really refreshing. He is such a great guy. You know, I don’t get star struck. I’m a hockey guy more than anything. I get weirded-out when I see an NHL goalie, but actors and musicians, not so much.
Your new show has a pretty saucy name – Hellcats. I first heard you were on the show when I saw your tweet, something about how you’re on a new show “playing the old guy.”
Hellcats is a new show for the CW that centers around the world of competitive college cheerleading. It is Tom Welling’s (he played “Clark Kent” on Smallville) first foray as executive producer for his own show. I play “Bill Curran,” head of athletics for a university. It’s fun. It’s a small, recurring role, but it’s shot in Vancouver, and I get to be home, and I get to pursue other things, so it’s cool. It’s a lot of fun because a lot of the crew are former Battlestar Galactica crew.
So, why would a fan of Battlestar Galactica want to check out Hellcats?
All the hot young things, which is what the CW is about, right? Everyone is hot and young and fit and sexy, well, except for me. I’m the old and fat one.
Hey, Aaron, there are a lot of people out there, and more than a few gay men, that do not think of you as old or fat. Just throwin’ that out there.
Yeah, I’m a bear! And I have absolutely no problem with that at all.
You recently said in an interview that you think Battlestar Galactica is likely the most important sci-fi show of the decade because it’s made the genre a little more accessible to the mainstream. I think the storylines, which are very relevant in terms of what is going on around the globe today, are a big factor of the show’s success.
I think Battlestar Galactica is relevant anytime, at any point in history. The show took place billions of miles away, 150,000 years ago, or whatever the number is, but the message is timeless. It’s about human interaction, how to deal with different belief systems, and how to survive the unknown. It’s not about spaceships and monsters and aliens. For people who have never seen Battlestar Galactica, I say give it try, and if you don’t like it, tell all your friends that have been buggin’ you to watch this to go f*ck themselves! But I can tell you that, most likely, you will be spending the next 92 hours of your life watching DVD after DVD.
Chicago Comic-Con runs August 19-22, 2010, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (Rosemont).