INTERVIEW: Aaron Douglas comes to Lethbridge

Aaron Douglas comes to Lethbridge
By: Carey Rutherford & Rob Diaz-Marino
Date: December 2013 (Issue 122)
Source: GayCalgary and Edmonton Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

In the last decade, Aaron Douglas has been in feature films, TV movies, web movies, several different television series (both as mainstays and not), visited David Letterman more than once, and is now starting to write scripts himself.

GayCalgary Magazine had the pleasure of interviewing him for a third time as he was out for the Lethbridge Comic & Entertainment Expo, after hosting a hilarious discussion panel and signing autographs for adoring (and sometimes intimidating) fans.

While he is probably best known for his role in Battlestar Galactica, we caught him a bit off guard by bringing up the campy series Hemlock Grove as one of his credits.

“Did you like it? I liked it too. I liked working on it. They’re doing season 2 and I’m not back, so I don’t like it as much any more. …They’re going in a different direction, I’m sure it’s going to be great. …I would have liked to come back but they went another way.”

So what else has he been up to since he last spoke with us? He was able to rattle off a whole list of projects, and a few new updates:

“This year I did season 3 of The Killing. I did an episode of Falling Skies about a month ago. I did one of those Scifi movies of the week, Zodiac… I’ve been writing for the last few years, and I’ve got a feature script that I’ve been meeting with a studio in LA for the last couple of weeks and it looks like they’re going to make it! So, we’re going to be somewhere filming a movie I wrote, in the spring, which will be very cool. I got a call last night from my agent saying there’s a movie shooting in Salt Lake City that has offered me their bad guy role – you’re the first to find out about that! It’s not sealed, contract isn’t closed, but the offer’s there and I said yeah, I’d love to do it, sounds like fun. …So next year is either going to be profoundly busy or it’s all going to fall apart and I’m gonna come work for you guys!”

So dibs are called on the position for secretary. Aaron does like to tease – this was apparent for many who attended The Aaron Douglas Meet & Greet at Telegraph Tap House, where he got slightly drunk, pitted geek against geek with a trivia contest, and allowed the sexual innuendo to flow freely.

“I was a maniac… They asked me to come up early and do a meet and greet at a pub. Everybody has a couple of drinks and I get a beer…or 17. We just tell funny stories and just hang out. I really enjoyed that night, it was a lot of fun, other than the fact that the bar didn’t have the hockey game that I wanted – which is odd being in Canada. …When you’re in a pub there’s no kids, and when it’s late enough all the ‘churchies’ have gone to bed so I get to do whatever I want. That’s very exciting for me!”

It’s no secret that the man is good friends with Star Trek TNG celebrity Wil Wheaton, from the multitude of anecdotes he has about their experiences together, and the friendly behind-the-back insults.

“Will and I met at a Con in Sacramento years ago. I remember walking in and seeing him sitting there and going Geez: that’s Will Wheaton! Wow! That’s really cool! …Later, he was doing a panel, and was coming off the stage as I was going on, and as he was passing by me, we were both doing the Hey!, and then we both turned and said I’ve just gotta tell you I’m a huge fan. We both had a fanboy moment, and I started talking about his work and he started talking about my work, and was in the middle of watching Battlestar with his son, so it was a really unique moment. …Wil and I have become really good friends. He’s a wonderful man, remarkable human being, sweet guy…FRACK YOU WIL WHEATON!”

Considering how spontaneously funny he is, one has to wonder if he would be open to doing comedy instead of his increasingly frequent role as a bad guy.

“I’d love to do some comedy. Problem is…I just do dark show after dark show, so nobody sees me being funny other than my friends and people that attend cons. …Nobody sees me as the funny guy. In the industry it’s just like he’s dark, he’s big, I’m not Mike & Molly.”

We threw around some hyphoteticals, such as an appearance on Big Bang Theory where Wheaton regularly guest stars.

“Yes! Yes! I should do Big Bang Theory! Yes, somebody listen! I would love to do a little stint on that, or Modern Family. Or Archer! …Somehow I could be on Sheldon’s bowling team. If I showed up, and Wheaton’s bowling, he’s going to beat him, and then I show and he’s really going to get his ass kicked. It writes itself!”

Aaron Douglas is well aware that the bear community loves him, so we asked whether he would ever be willing to make an appearance at a gay bear event.

“Of course I would! Any excuse to hang out with fun people and have a drink, tell some stories, and just be an idiot. Life is too short to be so serious. Invite me, bears, invite me! …I love the fact that you don’t make me go to the gym. I love you for it, I really do!”

 

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NOTE: You can watch the video that accompanied this interview at http://www.aarondouglasfans.com/?p=15985

INTERVIEW: Aaron Douglas: Seriously a Funny Guy

Aaron Douglas: Seriously a Funny Guy
By: Evan Kayne
Date: May 2012 (Issue 103)
Source: GayCalgary and Edmonton Magazine

 

 

 

 

Forced to wear an L.A. Kings jersey due to the loss of a bet with Wil Wheaton, Aaron Douglas – best known for his role as Galen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica and Frank Leo on The Bridge – was in attendance at this year’s Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo.

Aaron should get a job as the poster boy for our ideal straight man. He’s easy on the eyes, funny, relaxed around gay guys, and a bit of a goof (but in a funny, good way). While he hasn’t found any big gigs at the moment, he’s still keeping busy renovating his house and doing a videogame for Ubisoft in Montreal which he says “I’m very excited about – but that’s ALL I’m allowed to say.”

Like many actors, he’s hoping to hear back on possible jobs; as well he’s developing his own projects. “I’m waiting to hear on a few things, and if I get ’em, it’ll be awesome. I’m doing a lot of writing – I’ve been pitching some shows and movies that I’ve written, and they’re starting to get a lot of traction. It’s a here’s hoping right now.” As he puts it, he’s in a nebulous zone where everything could either come crashing down, or fall exactly into place.

He is not worried that he might be pigeonholed as a genre actor. “Work is work is work…people in L.A. don’t really look at Battlestar as a sci-fi genre and you as a sci-fi actor. They loved it for the drama that it was and the great show it was. They just see you as a good actor that’s pretty versatile. The only thing they don’t see me as is funny….I have a hard time getting into auditions for sit-coms and things like that…hopefully I’ll break through that door because that’s something I’d really like to do.”

Being at conventions, I asked him if he gets star-struck meeting some of the other talent. “I don’t really go fan girl on celebrities. I fan girl on hockey players…mostly goalies,” he said. He does appreciate meeting some of the other actors and artists, but not without some reservations. “It’s really nice to meet some of the people, and people that I really, really admire and appreciate. The problem with it is, sometimes somebody who is an actor or a celebrity that you really admire and you love their work, you meet them and they’re a douchebag.”

This usually destroys any joy you might have had in the actor’s body of work, so Aaron usually inquires beforehand about the actor’s attitude, and makes sure he himself tries to stay humble and easygoing.

That easy going attitude comes naturally to him in Calgary, as he, like Erin Gray, loves the city. “There’s something about people that are from the prairies. They’re just so much more real. There’s no pretence, there’s no bullshit, there’s none of that stuff.” This is in comparison to the behaviour on the coast – which he describes as a “weird, guarded, clique-y thing.”

Hopefully, Aaron continues to spread the news about Calgary and hopefully he discovers he has fans in high places who decide “yes, let’s give this guy a go on a sit-com.”

 

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INTERVIEW: State of the Police Union

State of the Police Union
By: Megan Walsh-Boyle
Date: July 5th – 18th, 2010
Source: TV Guide Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a new cop show on the TV lineup. The Canadian dram The Bridge premiered July 10 and introduced viewers to Frank Leo, a dedicated beat officer who is fed up with the corrupt police brass. he takes action by getting elected union leader, making him some powerful new enemies who have already proven they’ll go to great lengths to bring him down.

But it’s nothing Frank can’t handle, according to the guy who plays him: Aaron Douglas, who likens the character to Tony Soprano. Says Douglas, “Frank runs the police union like a gang and rules with an iron fist. He has a sense of morality about him, although it’s a little skewed. You’re either going to love this guy or think he’s a little too far gone.”

Best known to audiences for his work on the critically adored Battlestar Galactica, on which he portrayed Chief Galen Tyrol for four seasons, Douglas sees similarities between the two roles. “Frank’s not unlike the Chief – he’s a blue-collar guy and he fights for his people and and sometimes hr has too many drinks. he’s a flawed man, but he does the best he can with what he has.” Expect to see some not-so-lawful behavior tonight when our hero is forced to play by the bad guys’ rules to solve the murder of a retired narcotics cop. Do the criminals have a chance against Frank? Fuhgeddaboudit!

 

 

 

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NOTE: A HUGE thank you to kathm13 for the above scan

INTERVIEW: What the Frack?

What the Frack?
Tahmoh Penikett and Aaron Douglas

By: Evan Kayne
Date: May 2010 (Issue 79)
Source: GayCalgary and Edmonton Magazine

 

 

 

 

In town recently for the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, Tahmoh Penikett is best known either as Karl “Helo” Agathon on the television series Battlestar Galactica or as Paul Ballard in Joss Whedon’s series Dollhouse. He has also played roles on Cold Squad, Smallville, and recently in the Syfy channel’s mini-series adaptation of Philip José Farmer’s Riverworld. A very personable actor, it was fun to see him verbally parry at a panel discussion with co-star Aaron Douglas (Chief Tyrol) and Aleks Paunovic (Sergeant Omar Fischer in BSG and the grandfather of Admiral Adama in the new series Caprica).

Admittedly, with the physique Tahmoh has from training in the martial art of Muay Thai, many straight women and several gay men enjoyed seeing him frequently shirtless in Dollhouse. Given Joss Whedon’s openness to gay characters and the following Joss has in the LGBT community, GayCalgary and Edmonton Magazine asked Tahmoh about the sexuality of the Dolls on Dollhouse. We wondered – given it was hinted the Dolls could be gay or straight — were there any long term plans to actually show this before the series was cut short?

“They alluded to it,” Tahmoh mentioned. “It’s probably because it’s network…Fox at that…so there was probably some issues there…I know with Joss if he had his choice he would have written it in, obviously.” Unfortunately, as the series was cancelled, we’ll never know if this aspect of the dolls would have been shown onscreen.

In comparison Battlestar Galactica did cover a lot of issues which probably wouldn’t have made the cut on a network show. Tahmoh admitted as much, and he felt it was a good thing they didn’t get to a network: “In the beginning there was talk we might be on NBC…and I think that would have been the death of us very quickly.”

Several fans at the Expo noticed this and asserted if Dollhouse had been on the Syfy channel it would not have been cancelled. Tahmoh agreed it was a pity; yet he’s not too worried about series creator Joss Whedon: “Joss just can’t stop working…that’s all he does, so there’s a lot of stuff coming up from him.”

What people liked about the character Helo on BSG was how honourable and even-tempered he was compared to others. While some may credit this to Tahmoh’s acting, I think these characteristics of Helo were drawn from the actor’s progressive and mixed upbringing. His father is former Yukon (and NDP) premier Tony Penikett and his mother is a member of the White River First Nation.

Seeing as Helo faced prejudice because of his mixed marriage to a Cylon, I wondered if there were any experiences of prejudice Tahmoh had in his real life. Mostly he felt his experience being of mixed heritage (and white in appearance despite his mother’s Native American heritage) impacted him growing up: “The irony is that I hated my white skin as a kid. I grew up in the Yukon…I grew up in a lot of small northern communities, the majority of times with my native cousins. So I was the funny looking one, I was the minority, and oftentimes I just hated it when I was younger, I wish I grew up with darker skin…I got ribbed and teased a lot because I was the ‘white boy’.”

With First Nations communities, some are accepting of “Two Spirited” people, others not so much. Certainly, his father’s NDP background would see sexuality and equality discussed at the dinner table, yet I wondered what was White River First Nations like in that regards. Regrettably, living in a lot of small northern communities, it wasn’t something he experienced. “I don’t remember ever hearing anything negative or any discrimination towards Two Spirited people, but I never heard it referred to…”

While nowhere near discrimination, many actors do have to worry about being typecast. While he’s not currently working on any major projects, if another cop/detective type role came his way, Tahmoh would accept it without worry. “I kind of enjoy it, and why not? I’m at the age and physicality where I might be chosen to play roles like that.”

He’d prefer these roles have some depth, and so far he’s been pleased with the ones he has received. He does want to explore and challenge himself, but he hasn’t found quite the right thing, which is why he is a bit selective at the moment. With both BSG and Dollhouse, he has been fortunate to have worked for seven years straight and is now taking the time to be particular about what he does next.

Aaron Douglas
Known for his role of Chief Galen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica, and now Frank Leo on The Bridge, Aaron appeared alongside Tahmoh Penikett at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo. With a quick wit and the soul of a great story-teller, he was one of my Expo favourites. Additionally, Aaron acknowledged many gay men admire him for his “bear-ish” qualities whether he be portraying Chief Tyrol or Frank Leo.

Regarding the character of Chief Tyrol, it was an interesting parallel to the struggle many people have coming out of the closet – the suspicions, the denials, the step back into the closet and the final step out. The character Tyrol suspected he was a Cylon in season two, then had it confirmed at the end of season three. When I asked Aaron what he thought of the similarities, he said he personally had nothing in his history growing up which he could draw from. However, he did have some fans who noted the similarities his role had to people who were of a minority group: “…You get a few people talking about what it was like for them being different, growing up different, whether it was them being a minority, them being gay. They drew a little bit of a parallel.”

As well, Aaron did have to keep his knowledge of his Cylon heritage “in the closet” for several months. While the other “Final Five” found out at the end of filming for season three, Aaron snuck a peak at some script notes months earlier – then had to keep his mouth shut all that time.

Examining how LGBT individuals still have to struggle for acceptance in a paramilitary units, like police forces, would seem like a natural fit for The Bridge. “It’s an interesting thing – my character is loosely based on a real guy. I think the real guy probably really had to look at himself in the mirror when he was president of the police union when he found out some of the officers were gay or lesbian.”

Unfortunately Aaron didn’t know if they were going to tackle that issue. “What I liked about Battlestar, we didn’t make a big deal of it (homosexuality). It’s obvious we all knew who was gay on the ship and who was straight, but nobody cared. Ron Moore never wanted to make a big deal about it because it shouldn’t be a big deal….I don’t know that our new show will do that. There’s the one character – Jill – who’s bisexual, they make no bones about that. I know there’s an episode where a cop gets killed and they’re questioning whether it’s because he was gay or not.”

Aaron did admit a bisexual FEMALE character does cater to the straight male, two girls one guy fantasy, but he thinks showing two men kissing or even showing any type of intimacy shouldn’t be a big deal on network television. The men don’t even have to be kissing – “…just the intimacy of holding hands or a gentle touch, showing that two men are genuinely in love and caring for each other”. Sadly, he had to concede in some ways, our society hasn’t advanced far enough to make that not a big deal on television shows and in real life.

Whether The Bridge gets to show any LGBT characters is up in the air at the moment, as Aaron is unsure whether there will be a second season. Consequently, he’s looking around at other projects:

“I did a pilot called Betwixt for the CW, and that’s going to go into their vault of pilots and they’re going to decide if they’re going to make a series or not, and I’ve got some movies and shows knocking on the door.”

With his sense of humour and ability to reel off a story, he could always get into comedy. Audiences were entertained with his hockey stories – thrilling at his discovery of Flames Central, and laughing with him about his hockey bets with Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Wil Wheaton. He also played the role of “embarrassing parent” as he pointed out his teenaged son in the audience and then went on to tell us about how when his son was 9 years old, an on-set visit led to frustration after finding out that Vipers really don’t fly.

However, the best story was the one he tells of a costume malfunction causing him to inadvertently…um, “cold-cock” a sound tech. It was so good we got him to retell it on camera for your enjoyment. Visit this article online to watch the video – of him telling the story, that is; sadly not the original incident.

 

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NOTE: You can watch the video that accompanied this interview at http://www.aarondouglasfans.com/?p=12671

INTERVIEW: Bits + Bytes: Inner Techie: Aaron Douglas

Bits + Bytes: Inner Techie: Aaron Douglas
By: Chris Atchison
Date: October/November 2009
Source: URmagazine

 

 

 

 

 

Battlestar Galactica vet Aaron Douglas loves talking tech – just don’t ask him to Tweet about it.

There’s no easier ticket to nerd immortality than a role on a hit sci-fi show. Just ask Battlestar Galactica’s much bloggedabout star, Canadian actor Aaron Douglas. But while he appreciates the attention, things get a little too weird when fans can’t separate the actor from the role. A lead part on the new CTV police drama The Bridge should help forge a new character, but not before he patches up Raptors and Vipers in the TV movie Battlestar Galactica: The Plan, due this fall. We beamed into Douglas’ world to learn why possessive fans forced him to forego Facebook, how he hustles colleagues with a Wii and why Twitter is a waste of time.

 

Playing an engineer on BSG, you must have some favourite tech tools.

I love my Wii, which I have in my trailer to play Tiger Woods Wii Golf against my co-stars and take their money. We play skins, so every hole is worth $2 to $5. We usually play a random 18 holes so it takes us to different golf courses around the world. I think my best score was +3. But no one’s allowed to play as Tiger Woods. It would be like picking Gretzky in your hockey pool – it’s just not allowed.

 

Do fans assume you know a lot about tech?

They really do. They ask in-depth questions about how Vipers fly. I just remind them I’m an actor and have no idea.

It seems as if the fans know more about the show than you do – is this a good thing?
Sci-fi fans are the best. When I’m doing a Q+A and there are 2,000 people in the audience and someone asks about the launch sequence or something, I usually say, “That’s a really good question. Why don’t we let someone else take it?” Then I let the fans answer each other.

 

Do you interact with fans online?

At the outset I enjoyed talking to people online, and then it got a little creepy. Some people took it too far, into some really odd places, attacking each other because one thought they were more of a friend of mine than another person. That’s why I don’t interact on Facebook anymore.

 

But surely you’re on Twitter now?

I will never use Twitter. This incessant need for constant updates and information on the minutiae of people’s lives staggers me. I have no idea why people would want to know that “Aaron just walked into his trailer and he’s about to have lunch on set.”

 

The Chief’s Top 3

He may be trading in his ratchet set for a badge, but once a Cylon, always a Cylon. Here are Aaron’s all-time favourite sci-fi flicks.

1. The original three Star Wars movies
2. Time Bandits
3. Ghostbusters

 

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INTERVIEW: Profile: Aaron Douglas

Profile: Aaron Douglas
By: Joseph McCabe
Date: October 2008
Source: SFX #174

 

SPOILER WARNING: There are spoilers in the below interview about the cylons/colonies/earth. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!!

 

 

 

Galactica’s troubled everyman Chief Galen Tyrol gives away a massive spoiler – you have been warned!

So many of the characters on Ron Moore and David Eick’s reimagining of Battlestar Galactica fit our traditional notions of sci-fi screen heroism – the brash young hotshot [Starbuck], the straightlaced do-gooder [Apollo], the grizzled veteran leader [Adama] – that it’s easy to miss the unconventional nobility of the show’s quieter characters. Take Chief Galen Tyrol, as embodied by Canadian actor Aaron Douglas. Tyrol’s suffered as much as anyone, ever since his beloved Boomer was first revealed as a Cylon and killed by his-wife-to-be Cally, before being rebooted into the arms of another man.

Still, all Tyrol’s lost pales in comparison to his discovery, at the end of Battlestar’s third season, that he’s what he’s once feared of being: a Cylon.

“The four that were revealed at the end of season three,” Douglas tells SFX on set in Vancouver, “are what they are, but they’re one-offs. They’re the original Cylons. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, when there were 13 colonies on Kobol, 12 went that way and one went that way to find Earth – or create an Earth – and that colony was actually Cylons. They’re individuals, there’s no multiple models. The seven that we know are a different kind of Cylon that came much later. They’re probably ten, 20 years old, born out of the metal machines that fought back 40 years ago in the Cylon wars of the 12 colonies. So they’re essentially like the gods. And we were on the new Earth, and destroyed that and came back to the 12 colonies to rejoin humanity to find out the cycle of time.”

“Why do we create a world and destroy ourselves? Why does humanity do that? And why do we as Cylons follow that path to humanity? So we sort of turned off the Cylon part of us and went and joined the humans. They don’t know we’re Cylons, and we didn’t know until we started getting closer to Earth – that’s when we started hearing the music at the end of the last season and get woken up to the fact that we are.”

The ease with which Douglas describes his Cylon identity belies the reluctance he felt on learning Tyrol was to become his own worst nightmare.

“I found out when I accidentally saw a piece of paper at someone’s house that I wasn’t suppose to see. I just glanced at it and it talked about the chief being a Cylon. ” I went ‘What the….?!’ I spoke to that person, and they said, ‘You’re not supposed to see that. You can’t say anything, you’re not suppose to know!’ I was like ‘Okay…’ So I bit my tongue for about two months, until finally it came out. They took us into a room and said, before the read-through of the script, ‘Okay, you are in fact a Cylon.’ They had the final scripts, but then they had all these addendums that they didn’t put in the script, and we shot them secretly.”

“I really didn’t like the fact that the chief was a Cylon at all. I thought they were taking a character that the fans really like, and identify with, and making him the enemy. You take this guy that’s really likeable, even with his flaws, and make him perceived as evil, and… he really would be marginalised at that point. I told Ron, and we spent an hour and a half on the phone. And he explained it, and gave me the whys and the wherefores. At the end I was convinced. I think it’s a good turn, and I’m actually quite pleased about it at this point. We’ll see where it goes.”

We decided to pick Douglas’s brain, and find out just when it was decided that half the show’s cast would become. as their characters call them, “toasters”.

“They had no idea who the final five were gonna be,” he admits. “The writers didn’t figure that out… They’ve sort of been making it up as they go along. They liked the idea of a couple of us, and then they weren’t so sold on the rest of them. I was told that they came up with Tory because she has no backstory, and they can make her come from wherever and do whatever. The hardest one was Tigh, because he has such a history with Adama/ But the chief… Ron wanted to humanise the Cylons, and I think that the chief humanises them more than any other character possibly could.”

Despite the gloom that goes with playing a Cylon, and the precious few episodes of Battlestar that remain, Douglas – the poster child for many of the everyday joes who adore his lauded space saga – has a healthy attitude about the show’s current season. “It’s the business,” he laughs. “It’s the way it goes. I like the fact that Ron and David are going out on their own terms and they’re just gonna end the show. When shows go too long you start getting filler episodes and filler seasons. So I like the fact that we’re gonna wrap it up and end it, and hopefully when it’s ended that’s it. I have a felling they’re probably gonna want to do movies of the week or some damn thing like that, but who knows? We’ll see.”

 

 

In the first image below skip past the parts highlighted in yellow if you want to avoid the spoilers.

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INTERVIEW: A Traveler Returns

A Traveler Returns
By: Bryan Cairns
Date: May/June, 2008
Source: The Official Smallville Magazine (#26)

 

 

 

 

 

There seems to be an interesting trend happening on Smallville. First, Tahmoh Penikett appeared in season three as Vincent Davis before popping up again as killing machine Wes Keenan in last season’s Prototype. Now, his Battlestar Galactica c0-star, Aaron Douglas, is revisiting Smallville in Traveler after briefly passing through in season one’s Obscura.

“I believe that Smallville was my first guest-starring role,” recalls Douglas. “I remember having fun with Darren Klimek, the other cop, who turned out to be the bad guy, and just how nice Tom Welling and Kristin Kreuk were. They were great, and getting to do some stunt driving was fun as well.”

As Deputy Michael Birtigo, Douglas was helping to investigate Chloe’s sudden disappearance. At one point, Birtigo comes calling on Lana after hours at the Talon, and for a split second, his shady behavior fingers him as the obvious suspect. That is, until the true culprit takes him out from behind and grabs Lana.

“In the original script, it was only the one cop, and they were just going to make him the bad guy,” explains Douglas. “Then when I auditioned, apparently they said ‘That guy is a really good red herring; why don’t we make it two cops? We can pull the old switcheroo and make it look like it’s one instead of the other.'”

It had been many years since Douglas last walked onto the Smallville set, and he still had to go through the traditional process for his second outing.

“I auditioned before Christmas and almost wasn’t going to do it,” reveals Douglas. “It just didn’t feel like it was a part I would get hired to do, so I tried to blow it off a couple of times, but my agent wouldn’t let me do that. I went and auditioned and actually didn’t feel like I did a very good job. I thought it was probably one of my worst ones in the last couple of years! I drove over to my agent’s office to try for something else and while I was there, the assistant told me I was on hold Smallville. I just stood there laughing; I wasn’t expecting that at all!”

This time around, there was little doubt which side of the law his character, pierce, was on.

“The breakdown of the script described Pierce as a mean, fast, killer. Ex-Army, Special Forces hired gun,” says Douglas. “He has no conscience or remorse. He’s there to do a job and will do whatever is necessary to get it done. And Pierce absolutely hates the meteor freaks. It’s his life’s ambition to rid the world of the pestilence that is the meteor people.”

Appearing on the same series as the polar opposite of his last character wasn’t the least bit jarring for him, however.

“I enjoy playing darker, malevolent people,” notes Douglas on Pierce’s character. “He is just evil for the sake of being evil. That’s always fun to do, because then you get to pick whatever it is that’s setting you off and making you angry about the situation or person you’re attacking.”

Before the opening credits even run, Pierce had already targeted his next victim – none other than Clark Kent. Of course, the Kryptonian wasn’t about to go down without a fight!

“There are tons of stunts in this episode, unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to do any of my own,” states Douglas. “I like to do my own, but they had stunt doubles for me and Tom. There were high falls and crashing through banisters, railings, and really crazy stuff like that. Once I watched them film it, I realized it was probably best I didn’t do them! Tom and I just did the smaller stuff.”

“I do love the physical stuff,” continues Douglas. “I get to do a little bit of it on Battlestar Galactica. There’s only one stunt I wasn’t allowed to do, something about falling into a vat they wouldn’t let an actor do.”

Once Clark is under lock and key, Pierce is hardly an accommodating host, evidently getting a kick out of dishing out some serious pain instead.

In some warped way, Lionel Luthor originally believed he was keeping Clark safe from another threat until Pierce turned the tables on them, opting for a more fatal destiny for their captivated guest.

“From my understanding, Pierce had that in mind all along and maybe misinterpreted what Lionel really intended for him to do, that he was just supposed to capture and hold Clark,” offers Douglas. “I think it was probably Pierce’s intention all along to do away with Clark.”

There were a few confrontations between Pierce and Clark, but Douglas’ meatiest dialogue occurred with actor John Glover.

“That was great,” enthuses Douglas about his co-star. “John is just the nicest guy. The first day [of filming] he wasn’t feeling very well, but he sucked it up and went on for the 15 hours or so required. He’s a great actor, kind to everybody on set, and always in a good mood. There are no real egos on that set.”

Understandably for Douglas the main highlight of the episode involves the interaction between Pierce and Lionel Luthor.

“There’s a scene between Pierce and Lionel where I reveal my true intentions and knock him out,” Douglas says.

Eventually the cavalry arrived, yet by his own twisted sense of logic, Pierce had the best intentions at heart. After all, meteor freaks have frequently terrorized Smallville and Metropolis, but his judge, jury, and executioner style left little doubt that he was a villain.

“I would say he’s one, too,” agrees Douglas when asked how he sees his role. “Pierce had his own agenda. Villainous people don’t see themselves as villains, and crazy people don’t think they are crazy. From his point of view, I genuinely think Pierce believed he was saving the world and doing a good thing. For the rest of us, he’s a bad guy doing bad things. Maybe he was just misunderstood.”

No matter how many credits Douglas racks up, in an impressive list that includes blockbuster movies such as X2, Catwoman, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Reaper, Dead Zone, as well as the upcoming Keanu Reeves feature film remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still, there is little doubt this Vancouver native will always be best remembered for his standout performance as the intense, fiercely dependable Chief Petty Officer Tyrol in the critically acclaimed Sci Fi series Battlestar Galactica.

“It’s been one hell of a ride, that’s for sure!” says Douglas of his role on the show. “[Acting in] Battlestar Galactica has been some of the most challenging work of my career, both professionally and personally. I’ve loved it, met some wonderful people, and made some long-lasting friendships on the set.”

And did he always believe he was destined for success?

“I was thinking about this last night. There were a bunch of bumps in the road professionally and I could have gone either way. I could have done this movie or gone to do Battlestar Galactica or some other TV show. My career would have been considerably different had I taken those other parts. I’m pretty proud of Battlestar Galactica and my work as the Chief. It’s a great piece of television that will stand up for a long time, something we can look back on fondly, and share with fans for years and years to come. It’s a lot like Star Wars on TV, where people will look back on 30 years from now and go ‘Boy, that was really fun!'”

 


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INTERVIEW: Chief Ingredients: Aaron Douglas Plugs in his Inner Toaster

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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INTERVIEW: Cylon-Apalooza!

CYLON-APALOOZA!
By: Michael Logan
Date: March 24, 2008
Source: TV Guide

 

 

 

 

 

BATTLESTAR’s back, and the new Cylons are getting in touch with their inner robots

Prepare for the big Cylon freak-out. In last spring’s season finale of Sci Fi Channel’s Battlestar Galactica, four of the human colonists came to the rocking, shocking realization that they’re members of the cybernetic Cylon race. In other words, they are their own worst enemies! So when BSG returns for its fourth and final season, viewers will find this quartet of undercover “Toasters” — Col. Saul Tigh (Michael Hogan), “Chief” Tyrol (Aaron Douglas), Ensign Sam Anders (Michael Trucco) and presidential aide Tory Foster (Rekha Sharma) — struggling to make sense of their new identities while staying deep in the closet.

“They’re all in this together, but there’s going to be a lot of dissension and distrust among them,” executive producer Ronald D. Moore says. “These are four people who’ve never had close relationships with one another, and now they’re trying to figure out how the hell this happened. Are they sleeper agents? What are their real backstories? And how do they handle this going forward? It results in a lot of acrimony.”

Each of the four reacts differently to this twist of fate. Tigh, the ultimate Cylon hater, “will be in big denial,” says Hogan. “This hits him so hard he goes into a whole other zone, where he buries the situation like he buries his drinking and his other vices.” Good ol’ boy Tyrol “tries not to go off the deep end by being practical about it,” Douglas notes. “He tries to make it make sense.”

Tory looks for the silver lining. The character will become more politically prominent in Season 4, while her boss, Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell), fights a relapse of cancer. “Everything has been so crappy for the humans that Tory tries to embrace being a Cylon in some way,” Sharma says. “I think she hopes [the foursome] are the evolutionary bridge between the humans and the Cylons and that they can fix everything.”

Anders has no such lofty thoughts. “For him, this is just a big pain in the ass,” says Trucco with a laugh. “Anders is a hard-core loyalist and resistance fighter, so being a Cylon goes against everything he stands for. He’s a staunch hero, but this brings out his darker side.” And it’s not the only ton o’ bricks to hit Anders. His wife, Kara “Starbuck” Thrace (Katee Sackhoff), will return to him from the “dead” this season, and there’s widespread suspicion that she, too, is a Cylon. “Anders tries to assess her without giving away his own secret,” Trucco says. “If she’s a Cylon, it’s be great to have her as his ally. But if he admits he’s a Cylon and she isn’t onem then he’s screwed.”

Eleven Cylons now have been revealed, so who is the 12th and final Cylon? Contrary to fan speculation, Moore swears it isn’t one of the show’s primary humans. Not Starbuck or President Roslin. Not Admiral Adama (Edward James Olmos) or his son, Lee (Jamie Bamber). Or even the ever-dubious, Cylon-shagging Gaius Baltar (James Callis). “Even if you guess correctly, it’s still just a guess,” Moore says. “There’s no way anyone can figure it out without knowing exactly where we’re going with the final season.”

Since much of that remains to be filmed, the cast is clueless. “We’re going along for the ride, just like the fans,” Trucco says. “We don’t even know where the four new Cylons fall in Cylon chronology. Are we predecessors? Or did we come afterward? Are we divine?”

Adds Douglas: “So far, in scripts, there are no multiple copies of us, unlike with the other Cylons, so maybe we’re one-offs. Does that mean we can die?”

And what about the humans’ quest for Earth? Moore promises that they will arrive there — uh, here — before the series wraps up. But what will they find? Dinosaurs? Ancient Greeks? George W. Bush? “We’ve never revealed our time frame, and that’s been one of the key questions from the beginning,” Moore says. “What is the connection between us and the humans of BSG?”

Douglas concludes, “All I know is that everything better track when all is finally revealed, because there’s nothing like a sci-fi fan scorned!”

 

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INTERVIEW: Sci-Fi Scene: Celebrity Interviews from Shore Leave 29

Sci-Fi Scene: Celebrity Interviews from Shore Leave 29
By: Mark J. Gross
Date: October/November 2007
Source: Autograph Magazine

 

 

 

 

A native of British Columbia, Aaron Douglas had bit parts in films like I, Robot (2004) and Catwoman (2004) before landing the role of Chief Tyrol on the new Battlestar Galactica. I caught up with Aaron as he was walking with his liaison to prepare for a table signing with Nichelle Nichols. I stopped him and asked if I could sneak into one of the empty panel rooms for a quick interview. He said, “Sure, as long as I can bring my beer.” We laughed and prepared for the interview.

 

So, how did you get into acting?

I always wanted to be a lawyer, then after seeing And Justice for All (1979) on screen, I wanted to be a lawyer, but only on TV or film [laughs]. I also did community theater, Shakespeare, and really got into acting around age 28. And now I’m the chief on good old Battlestar Galactica.

 

Did you ever watch the original series?

Oh yes, I was a fan.

 

How exactly did you land the part of Chief Tyrol on the new series?

Well, I actually tried out for the role of Apollo, but Jamie Bamber got it. I was glad ’cause I didn’t have to always go to the gym [laughs]. Jamie’s all buff, and while he goes to the gym, I go to the bar.

 

How difficult is your role to portray for you?

It’s easy to remember stuff, the only hard part is all that tech talk stuff, but my character doesn’t have to use it that much, and if I read a line that I think is bulls–t, I usually change it anyway.

 

Can you get away with that?

Well, these writers are really great about us understanding our characters, so they give us leeway when we think a line doesn’t come across right.

 

What’s on the horizon for you?

Battlestar shoots till March, so we can’t really make any plans until around January or February. I’d really love to do a World War II movie…I’d kill to get a role in something like Band of Brothers.

 

Well you already have the look for it….

Yeah, just give me a gun and a role and let me shoot somebody. No, but really, I’d love to do a war movie, or, um, a sitcom.

 

Personally what do you like to do?

Well, I’m just hanging out waiting for Hockey season to start again and…going to the bar.

 

Anything else you would like to add to end the interview?

Edward James Olmos is a bastard. Okay, no, I’m just kidding.

 

After the interview, I asked Aaron to sign a few things I had stowed away in my camera bag and his liaison gave me a photo from Aaron’s table for him to autograph to me as well. We did a few photo ops and then took Aaron back to his table. What a great and fun guy he is!

 

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INTERVIEW: Frakkin’ Sweet

Frakkin’ Sweet: The ‘Battlestar’ cast speaks out on having their own toys
By: Andy Livingston
Date: June 2007
Source: ToyFare Magazine (Issue #118)

 

 

 

 

 

JAMIE BAMBER (Lee “Apollo”Adama): “It’s really exciting. When I was a kid I had those kinds of toys—the Star Wars ones in particular I was crazy about. So it’s kind of a trip. They’re not genuine toys. I think they’re toys for adults that should know better, because our show’s a bit adult.”

 

 

GRACE PARK (Sharon “Boomer”Valerii): “I’m thrilled. I had a friend who always collected action figures and toys and stuff like that. So I always thought, When I get an action figure made I’m gonna send one to him. But it’s really strange when you experience something as a kid, and one day you step into that going, ‘Wow, I’m gonna have this soon.'”

 

 

TRICIA HELFER (Number Six): “I’ve seen pictures of the MiniMates (right), which are very funny because they don’t really look like you. I think it’ll be kind of cool.”

 

 

EDWARD JAMES OLMOS (Commander William Adama): “It’s great. I mean we don’t partake in any of the luxuries of having toys made about us, but I’m glad that people are finding them to be worthy of toys and stuff like that. It says something about the show.”

 

 

JAMES CALLIS (Gaius Baltar): “I’m very excited as long as I can get some commission on the merchandising. And I hope you buy lots of them.”

 

 

 

AARON DOUGLAS (Chief Tyrol): “When you’re an actor, you kind of have a few things that you’re like, ‘All right, I know I’ve made it.’ There are certain awards you want to win. But an action figure is really the deal, and I’m very, very excited. One of my closest friends in the world is Donna Soldano, who owns Art Asylum, and Donna is making the Chief doll, so I’ve got a picture of my action figure on my phone. And I’m showing everyone. And they hate me.”

 

 

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INTERVIEW: New Year Salute

New Year Salute
By: Steven Eramo
Date: October 2006
Source: Starburst Special #77

 

 

 

 

 

Battlestar Galactica actor Aaron Douglas lets us in on the current production status of the show’s third season.

Like the Everly Brothers song says, “Love hurts.” It can also sometimes drive you a little “crazy”. Battlestar Galactica’s Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol knows that all too well. He felt angry and betrayed when he discovered that his lover, Lt Sharon ‘Boomer’ Valerii, was a humanoid Cylon sleeper agent. However, when she was murdered, Tyrol realized that he never really stopped loving her. His emotions were further toyed with when another Cylon Boomer – who was pregnant by and in love with Lt Helo – returned to the Galactica from Caprica. Given everything he’d been through, it’s no surprise that by Galactica’s second season finale. Lay Down Your Burdens, the chief began to suspect that he, too, was a Cylon sleeper agent, and contemplated suicide in order to protect those around him. It was a terrifying time for him, but an exciting one for actor Aaron Douglas, who plays Tyrol.

“That [suicide] nightmare scene was a great deal of fun to shoot,” recalls Douglas. “It was done as a second unit piece with me, Wayne Rose, who is one of the show’s regular ADs [assistant director], and a very small camera crew on the hangar deck set. Because it was a dream sequence, we filmed a lot of it in slow motion using some weird lighting and camera angles. Also, I didn’t have any lines and had to remain completely expressionless. All I had to do is calmly walk up the steps, across the catwalk, climb up onto the railing and jump off.”

“Unfortunately, they wouldn’t let me jump, and I really wanted to,” smiles the actor. “There was a big air bag on the floor below, but for safety reasons they had a stunt guy do it. I was, however, all cabled up, and when I leaned forward into a fall, the cable would catch me when I was about 45 degrees out over the railing. You wouldn’t believe how tough it was to hop onto that railing and stand there without wobbling or looking awkward. I couldn’t even use my hands to help balance myself. How the heck can gymnasts do that? So all the emotional beats aside, climbing onto that railing was the most challenging part of the entire season.”

In part one of Lay Down Your Burdens, Crewman Specialist Cally (Nicki Clyne) finds Chief Tyrol lying asleep on the floor of the hangar bay and having one of his suicide nightmares. When she wakes him, the chief brutally attacks her. That scene was another tricky one for Douglas to film. “The biggest challenge there was not to actually hit Nikki, and I failed miserably,” he explains. “She either sat up too quickly or I misjudged it, and I accidentally smacked her. I think I may have hit Nicki’s hand, which in turn struck her face. Of course, I was mortified, but fortunately she forgave me.”

“These scenes were also tough to shoot because you had the rage of the nightmare and suddenly being awoken. They really wanted that explosive sort of waking up and me coming at her, but at the beginning we weren’t quite getting it. I wasn’t sure exactly what [director] Michael Rymer wanted, so we talked about it, and as a result I changed position so I was able to physically sit up when Nicki ‘wakes’ me up and then flip right over on top of her. It’s pretty gruesome stuff and very hard to watch, but I thought it turned out quite well.”

A repentant Tyrol subsequently goes to the infirmary to apologize to Cally for what he’s done. In fact, this unfortunate incident makes them realize how much they’ve always cared about one another, and not long after the two begin a romance and eventually marry. “That came as a bit of a surprise to me,” says Douglas, “Off-screen, Nicki and I are like little sister/big brother, and we’d even discussed how during Season One and at the beginning of Season Two, both our characters were like that as well.”

“When Tyrol and Cally got together I wasn’t sure at first whether or not I liked it. Honestly, I thought it was a little creepy,” he chuckles. “It works, though, and it makes sense, especially from Cally’s point of view because she’s been fighting for Tyrol all along, not to mention having been secretly in love with him all this time. It’ll be interesting to see where their relationship goes this [third] season, especially if my character is still dealing with his guilt over what he did to Cally, or if they’ve gotten past that and are now truly just a happy couple.”

While on a rescue mission in Lay Down Your Burdens, a military team aboard a Raptor accidentally discovers a planet that would make a suitable new home for Humankind. Most of the personnel aboard the Battlestar Galactica and Pegasus together with the majority of civilians decide to relocate to the planet, and a year later the colonists are still building New Caprica City. Life is far from easy, however, and in one scene Tyrol, now President of the Workers’ Union, is leading a rally, with a pregnant Cally by his side. This scene was based on real-life political activist Mario Savio and the “gears of the machine” address he gave on 2nd December, 1964 at the University of California at Berkeley.

Prior to filming that episode David Eick [Galactica executive producer] had his assistant send me a documentary about Mario Savio, which included this wonderful speech he gave at Berkeley,” notes Douglas. “After watching it, I phones David and asked him if I could copy some of Savio’s moves. David said that would be great, so I watched the documentary several more times to make sure I got Savio’s mannerisms down pat. Since Tyrol is no longer in the military, I was able to grow a beard and let me hair grow out as well, the latter of which gave me more of a Savio look. He was such an amazing speaker and person, so that was our little homage to him. David had wanted for a long time to incorporate bits of Savio’s speech into Galactica and he finally found a place to do so.”

During the hiatus between Season Two and Three of Galactica, Douglas shot a guest spot on the Canadian-made TV drama Whistler, starring Nick Lea of The X-Files fame. He also had a small role in the feature film Butterfly on a Wheel, and soon after that, production on Year Three of Galactica began. At the time of this interview, Douglas, along with most of the show’s cast and crew, were on location in Richmond Sand Dunes filming scenes for the upcoming third season episode Unfinished Business.

We shot the first two stories for year Three [Occupation and Precipice] as one, and we’re doing some second unit filming on them next week,” says the actor. “Work on episode three [Exodus] begins next week as well, and everything we’ve been doing for the past three days will be shown as flashbacks in a future story. I had to shave my beard off for these scenes, so that means on Monday I’ll have to sit in the makeup chair while they put a fake beard on me. Ah, the sacrifices I make for this show,” jokes Douglas.

 

SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE

Tyrol’s fears of being a Cylon, coupled with his attack on Cally, prompt him in the episode Lay Down Your Burdens to seek spiritual advice from Brother Cavill, played by veteran stage, film and tv actor Dean Stockwell. “Dean is just an incredible person,” enthuses Douglas. “We spent six hours together in a room shooting all the scenes with our two characters in sequence, and then they were sprinkled throughout the story.”

“It was a thrill for me to be sitting across the table from such an acting legend. At one point I asked Dean how long he’d been doing this [acting], and he told me it was something like 62 years. Dean said, ‘There are three other people on this planet who have been in this business as long as I have – Robert Blake, Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney.’ Wow!”

“In this episode, Tyrol exposes Cavil as a Cylon and he tackles him. Don’t worry, it wasn’t Dean, it was a French-Canadian stuntman. For the first take, I ran up and tackled him. He said to me, ‘You can hit me harder.’ So the next time I hit him harder, and again he said, ‘Come on, harder’. In the final take I really decked him and he loved it.”

 


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INTERVIEW: Battle Stars

Battle Stars
By: Paul Spragg
Date: October 2006
Source: Cult Times (Special #41)

 

 

 

 

 

A Galactica interview in which we learn the valuable lesson ‘Don’t put four hyper actors in one room and expect to discover much about their show’

Perhaps it’s the weather, perhaps a side-effect of jet lag, perhaps they’re always like this, but four of the stars of Battlestar Galactica (three current, one former) are extremely hyper. Therefore it’s suggested that they could chat amongst themselves and see if questions are even required.

“You don’t want that,” warns Kandyse McClure, who plays Petty Officer Dualla. “It just gets dirtier and dirtier,” agrees Aaron ‘Engineer Tyrol’ Douglas. Nicki Clyne, who plays felloe engineer Cally, says the article will wind up reading, “And then he blank and we blank blank blank.” “My answer to that is f**kity f**c f**k,” confirms Paul Campbell, also known as President Roslin’s now deceased aide Billy. The conversation then becomes a re-enactment by Campbell and Douglas of the South Park movie. “Let’s just start, okay?” sighs McClure.

When we last left the characters, the crew of the Battlestar Galactica had been forced from its homeworld by the Cylons (Human-created robots who’ve rebelled) and had discovered a new place to live. Then the Cylons arrived there too. As Douglas explains, “The show gets darker and darker; Season Three is certainly that way, as Season Two was over Season One, and One over the mini-series. It’s darker, it’s very contemporary, it’s very topical: an analysis of the world today and what’s going on.”

“They’ve blended even more the notion of ‘Who are the bad guys?’ in Season Three. Some people only see black and white. The Colonialists, the Humans, are the US, the Cylons are everybody else, but it’s not even close to being the case. The lines blur back and forth and in Season Three the Humans do some horrifying things. For me the challenge has been to keep [Tyrol] likeable because it’s really, really awful, awful stuff – and Cally goes through a bunch of shite. It’s been great to see Nicki – who I’ve worked with more than anyone else for the last three years and I know how good she is – finally get a lot of stuff where she gets to show her chops, not just be another pretty face.”

With a lot of the show now being filmed on location at Vancouver’s Richmond Sand Dunes, do any of the cast miss being on the soundstages? “well, that’s the thing,” replies Clyne. “It’s always nice to venture outside the studio and go somewhere new and different, but it doesn’t take long to look back and appreciate what you had, which is warmth and [it’s] slightly cleaner and the grease on the hangar deck doesn’t compare to the dust and filth that is on the planet.”

“Going to the bathroom is a challenge,” admits McClure. “‘I have to pee.’ ‘That’s, like, 20 minutes, man. Can you hold it?'” “Or there’s a line of 73 extras waiting to go,” observes Douglas. “And teamsters after lunch. And you’re wearing a pregnancy suit,” says Clyne, shaking her head sadly.

Considering all of the actors have appeared in multiple Vancouver-based Sci-Fi shows, it seems reasonable to assume they’re all fans of the genre. “I’m not. I’m truly not,” says Campbell. “I enjoy Battlestar, but…” “You like Star Wars,” points out Douglas. “I like it, but as a kid. I don’t rewatch it now and love it. As a kid, it appealed to me on a level of ‘Cool lightsabres’ but now I’m not, like, ‘Cool lightsabres’. It doesn’t have the same appeal. But I wouldn’t compare Battlestar to Star Wars at all. I like Battlestar because I think the acting’s phenomenal, it’s not campy. I don’t dig campy stuff, I don’t buy it. It just looks cheap to me. Stargate, Andromeda, just have no appeal to me.”

“Andromeda’s a little campy. Everyone knows that,” agrees McClure, having a flashback and bursting into laughter. “Oh my God, I said some crazy lines on that show. It was hysterical. I had to bite my lip to stop from laughing just to get through the take!”

It’s become a joke around the office that there’s a casting pool of about 20 Vancouver actors, hence so many cropping up repeatedly in all the shows filmed up there. But apparently it’s not that far-fetched. “Basically, it’s that,” nods McClure. “Kandyse is one of four beautiful black women in her age group,” continues Douglas. “Seriously. In LA there’s 5,000 guys who look like me; in Vancouver, there’s, of the guys that work all the time, 20? I go to an audition, it’s the same guys all the time.”

“You can almost pick out who’s gonna get it,” Campbell agrees. “because you just know they’re usually cast for a certain look and you know what people’s strengths are and you go, ‘It’s between those three guys’ and you know if you don’t have a chance.”

“Unless you show up and there’s a black guy, a white guy, a Chinese guy, a red-headed guy, an Asian guy,” grins Douglas. “Then you just know that they don’t have a clue. They’re bringing in the United Colours of Benetton.”

“A lot of the time the casting directors just have the go-to people,” explains McClure. “The shows come in, they go, ‘We need somebody to do this’ and it can work for or against you, because if a casting director has a certain idea of you, then it’s hard to break out of that and try to do different things.” “They don’t really need to see other people; they have reliable actors,” says Douglas, before McClure continues, “They have a track record, they know they do a good job, they know that you can look good in dirt.”

“You both look good in dirt,” Douglas tells the girls. “You know,” muses McClure, “of all the pictures that I’ve seen of Nicki, it’s amazing how awesome she looks in a burlap sack and some dirt on her face. Sweat her up and she’s even more gorgeous.” “It brings out my eyes,” Clyne grins.

On the positive side, all four actors have kept in work but it’s not been easy. Clyne: “I think you always have options. You can move to LA. I think we’re fortunate that we live in Vancouver and that we have gotten the work that we have.”

“If you want a lead in a show in Vancouver you have to go to Los Angeles, book the show, then fly back and shoot it,” explains Campbell. “You pretty much can’t get those big parts in Vancouver.”

“On Smallville,” reveals McClure, “I auditioned for that show countless times. But I got on that show because I was in Los Angeles. I was in LA and they called me and they’re like, ‘We have this part and will fly you back out to do it?’ ‘I’ve been auditioning for you for four years and it’s never come to anything!’ It’s very strange.” A taxi arrives and she has to dash off. Luckily, the others are happy to stick around.

From an outside perspective, Galactica seems to have been renewed for further seasons effortlessly, but Douglas insists that’s not the case. “Oh, that’s not true at all. Not even close. The renewal process for this show is so difficult. Talking to David [Eick, executive producer], it’s a really, really expensive show to do and there just aren’t enough people watching it. They’re putting a huge effort into Season Three to try to improve the ratings because it’s really hard to justify how much we spend to have a rating of 1.92 or 2. The only thing [in our favour] is that we’re so close to syndication numbers and if they stop it’s basically throwing money away. If they can get the syndication numbers, which is the end of Season Four, it’s a much more saleable show.” So how long will the series continue? “My opinion is possibly the end of Four but no more than Five.” “I think it’s wise to quit while you’re ahead and maintain an integrity to the story,” believes Clyne.

That’s Battlestar taken care of: is there another question the stars would like to be asked? “I would like everybody to visit the websites of two people,” jumps in Douglas. “My sister, Joey Daniels, who’s a country singer, joeydaniels.com, [and] my friends The Town Pants at thetownpants.com. And give generously to your local cancer foundation.”

There’s sudden silence. “Wow!” Paul breaks in. “What was the question: ‘What foundation should I give generously to’? I’ve been asked every question ever,” he adds, but Clyne has a suggestion: “What colour is your underwear?” “What underwear?” he replies. “Lunch with anyone,” asks Douglas. Campbell thinks for a moment. “I said at a conference, lunch with Christopher Walken. But I’d say lunch with Paul Newman and just order salads so I could use all his dressings.”

“They’re really good!” enthuses Clyne. “I use his dressing all the time! When I grow up I wanna have a salad dressing!” “I wanna wear a straw hat and hold a pitchfork,” says Campbell, possibly more realistically.

Before this gets weirder, is there any other show they’d like to appear on? Deadwood,” responds Douglas with lightning pace, but he’ll be out of luck as it’s over. Family Guy or The Simpsons,” he reconsiders. Or American Dad. The rest of TV is shite. Everybody Loves Raymond is gone, Seinfeld is gone.” “Arrested Development’s gone,” Campbell chips in. “I’d like to do Paul’s show,” says Douglas, setting up a plug.

“Paul has a new show,” explains Clyne. “It’s called Nobody’s Watching,” says Douglas, Campbell continuing, “It was a pilot that we shot a year and a half ago, right before the start of Season Two, and it just was picked up by NBC for six episodes. I’d love to have Douglas and Clyne on the show.” “That’d be so cool,” smiles Clyne.

 

CONVERSION

When the new Battlestar Galactica started, it got a lot of flak. Old fans were horrified by the revamped elements and those who hated the original saw no point in a new version. “I don’t get the people that are pissed off Starbuck’s a woman any more,” offers Campbell, when asked how people’s attitudes have changed. “Or even comparisons to the old show at all,” considers McClure.

“It’s so drastically different,” believes Douglas. “I would say the old one was great; it was part of my childhood, I love it, I have the DVD set and this one does not take away from that and that one will not take away from this one. They stand alone. It’s like Lord of the Rings the book, Lord of the Rings the movie. The movie is phenomenal but it’s not the book. You cannot compare the two, they’re the same in name only and a couple of characters.”

“Other than that, it’s been embraced by people who didn’t want to give it a chance in the beginning. Now they’re, ‘Okay, some co-workers badgered me into watching this,’ and they sit down and they watch it and it’s four o’clock in the morning and they’re rubbing their eyes going, ‘One more episode, one more episode!’ And then they get back to the office and say, ‘Do you have Season Two? I have to watch it! What happens?'”

 

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INTERVIEW: Battle Stars

Battle Stars
By: David Richardson
Date: October 2006
Source: Starburst Special #77

 

 

 

 

 

The young stars of Galactica – Aaron Douglas, Kandyse McClure, Nicki Clyne and Paul Campbell – get together to talk about Season Two on DVD … with hilarious results!

They play it deadly serious on screen, but in real life the actors from Battlestar Galactica laugh a lot. I’m sitting in the boardroom of a PR firm in Central London, at a table surrounded by Aaron Douglas (Chief Petty Officer Tyrol), Kandyse McClure (Dualla), Nicki Clyne (Cally) and Paul Campbell (Billy Keikeya). These actors have spent the weekend in Daventry at a convention, and today they’re lined up to promote the show’s second season, which is now available on DVD. They’re in a riotous mood: even the opening of a coffee pot, which releases a quiet ‘pfffft’ noise, is enough to send Aaron and Paul into uncontrollable fits of giggles for several minutes. Stop it now, you lot, I’ve got serious questions …

You’ve just flown in from a Sci-Fi convention. Do you enjoy doing them?

Nicki: What’s really cool is it’s important for actors to get out there and meet the audience they’re playing for. You can get a different perspective on the show, on your character, and you can learn a lot.

Kandyse: The fans have really good insights.

Nicki: Our world can get a little insular on the set with our peers, and the producers and the writers. We all talk about the show, but we are very much inside our own characters. It’s good to have a different perspective.

Why do you think the series is so successful?

Kandyse: Tricia Helfer. Scantily clad! [laughs] You know, it’s real Human experiences. The writers try to create a form that discusses unpleasant, difficult things that happen in the world. I think people need those questions.

Paul: It reaches a broad audience too. It’s not the typical Sci-Fi genre, it’s not camp in any way.

Kandyse: There are no aliens!

Paul: It could be The West Wing in Space. Even the visual effects, which are phenomenal, don’t make you suspend your disbelief. If you are willing to accept some of the Sci-Fi stuff then it’s accessible for anyone.

Nicki: I don’t know how many people I’ve met who have resisted it because it’s Science Fiction… Once they give it a chance, they are blown away. I think every person who has watched at least one episode has been hooked and never looked back. They’re like, ‘I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to check it out’.

Kandyse: The number one thing people say to me is ‘I was never a Sci-Fi fan, but I bought the box set of your show the other day’.

Paul: It’s kind of like crystal meth. ‘I never wanted to try it, but I tried it once at a party…’

You mention The West Wing – I’ve heard that comparison a few times before…

Paul: That was always the aim of Mary McDonnell, who plays President Roslin. She wanted the highest standard, and always said, ‘This has got to be The West Wing’. She would fight for the political plotline to be as big as the military stuff. People love to see action, but she fought for every inch of that thing. She’s done a great job with it – she’s such a damned good actor.

Paul, your character was killed off in Season Two’s Sacrifice. Did you know that was coming?

Paul: I did know it was coming eventually because it was my choice. I didn’t know exactly when but they gave me a few episodes warning for it.

It must have been a hard choice to make, especially as the show was really hitting its stride…

Paul: Absolutely. But [that success] didn’t really affect what I was doing on the show so much. There were a lot of attempts over the course of the first season and the beginning of the second to write bigger and better stuff for the character, but I don’t think it was ever designed that way. I absolutely loved the show, but Billy wasn’t going to become the President and take over. he was always going to be somebody’s sidekick – which is fine, that was a lot of fun but I figured that in five or six years down the road if I hadn’t taken a real shot at permanent unemployment, I’d be real angry with myself…

Kandyse: Isn’t that what an actor is?

Paul: It’s what this actor is, now!

Kandyse: Not true. And we were sad to see him go.

Aaron, you got some really heavy stuff in the second series… especially as Tyrol began to slip into dark depression.

Aaron: The chief is one of David Eick’s favourite characters, and he likes to put me into the most difficult situations he possibly can and see what I do with it. I’m very blessed that they recognize they can give me something to do and I can pull it off. Season Two had a lot more of stuff for the Chief, it took that big heavy turn at the end there and I got to work with Dean Stockwell which was an amazing experience. In Season Three it has just kept going – in the first four or five episodes he’s really dark, it’s really heavy stuff. they actually phoned me and warned me there was some really dark stuff coming up. I read the script and thought they were amazing, but the challenge for me was doing it and keeping him as likeable character. The fans seem to like him.

Do you find it easy to tune in and out of that kind of mood on set?

Aaron: I’m a dark grumpy person to begin with. I like bossing people around. It comes easily to me.

The show is so intense on screen…

Aaron: it is a very dark show. It’s shot darkly, the scripts are dealing with stuff that is very analogous to all the horrible things that are going on in the world today. There are a few in Season Three, a little sweet family stuff…

Nicki: You get to see a different side to our characters.

I have to say I thought the last episode of Season Two was phenomenal. Can Season Three match that?

Aaron: When people ask me about Season Two I’d say, ‘If you liked Season One, then Season Two is better’. Now I tell people, ‘Season Three is even better than Season Two’. It’s absolutely remarkable: the first four or five episodes are the best the show has ever done. I’ve seen rough cuts of the first five and they are stupendous.

Where are you up to in terms of shooting?

Aaron: We’re about to go on our mid-season break.

Nicki: We’ve shot 11 episodes.

Aaron: Which is actually 12, because three episodes have been split up into two. We then go back for eight episodes.

I’ve been watching the DVDs, and it’s amazing how many deleted scenes are on there. Sometimes there’s about 12 minutes for an episode, far more than any other series…

Aaron: The ensemble cast is so huge, and the writers are trying to keep up so many storylines. the scripts need to be about 42 pages and then they write them and they are about 65. They then take out 15 pages, but there are still 50. It’s about a page a minute when they shoot it, so when they edit it they have to take off another 13 minutes, which is very difficult for these guys to do. A lot of scenes get chopped in half, and some scenes go away completely. They are huge ambitious scripts and they have to just waste some of it.

It must be really frustrating if you love a scene but it doesn’t make it to the episode?

Nicki: We have to trust the writers and editors that they have a better grasp of the bigger picture and what’s necessary and what’s not. Another reason is sometimes we get to set and things happen and we come up with new stuff that works better. If they feel that that helps the story along better, then they will use that. It’s tough sometimes if you really are attached to a scene but at least you can always take comfort that people will get to see it eventually on the DVD.

Paul: At the same time, there are a lot of scenes that you love that get cut. But there really aren’t any scenes that you didn’t love. The good stuff gets on the air.

Kandyse: And at least you got to do the scene…

Nicki: That’s the part we care about!

Do you own the DVDs yourselves?

Aaron: The studio sends us the box sets.

Kandyse: Some of us watch more than others.

Paul: I don’t have a box set.

Aaron: That’s because you’re dead!

Do you watch them?

Nicki: It’s really important for actors to see what everybody else does too. Things can change so much from what’s on the page to what’s on the screen, so you get your information just from the last revisions of the script you might not understand what’s really happening in the storyline.

Kandyse: Sometimes I watch the show and almost forget that I’m in it. I just get caught up in how it looks. I know I was there when a scene was shot, but I can see how much depth it has, the beautiful work that the camera and sound guys do.

Nicki: I think part of what makes our show so unique is you can tell that everyone who works on it, from the crew that’s there every day to people in the editing room and actors, everyone loves it.

Aaron: I have to watch the DVDs because I never read the scripts and I have no idea what’s going on.

Nicki: ‘So that’s what she was talking about when I was saying those lines!’

Aaron: So that’s Apollo, huh? Actually, Nicki just reads the lines to me, and then I say them back to her.

Nicki: When he’s talking you can see my lips moving too.

There are so many Sci-Fi series shot in Vancouver – do you end up bumping into the actors from other shows?

Aaron: Yes. We see the Stargate guys. then we walk back to our set and go, ‘Stargate is poo!’

Kandyse: In the words of Jamie Bamber.

Aaron: Paul McGillion, who plays Carson Beckett on Atlantis, is a good friend of mine, I know Rainbow Sun Francks very well. Chris Judge and I are good buddies.

Nicki: Vancouver is such a small city, especially within the acting community, almost every actor I know has been on our show in some capacity. I’ll go into the make-up trailer and sometimes and see a friend and I’ll be like, ‘Oh they’re on our show, then!’

A lot of you have done guest spots on…

Nicki: on everything!

So who’s been on Smallville?

[Everyone raises a hand]

Nicki: We’ve all done it. Once a show has been on a number of years, they go through the talent list.

Kandyse: I had a great time on Smallville. They actually called me and I was in Los Angeles, and they flew me up. I felt really special because that never happens – I’d auditioned for them so many times and it had never gone through. I was on the plane reading the script going ‘Wow, this is surreal’. I had so much fun. Tom Welling was very gracious on set. The girls were just so level headed. I know Kristen Kreuk and Allison Mack socially and they are just such great people to work with. The show works like clockwork, it runs very smoothly… and that never happens on our show!

Who’s been on The Dead Zone?

[Everyone raises a hand, except Kandyse]

Kandyse: Damn! Can’t get on that show!

Paul: That was my first show. It was just phenomenal because I grew up watching Anthony Michael Hall in Sixteen Candles, Weird Science… I was like, ‘That’s Anthony Michael Hall!!’ It was surreal, I was like, ‘Am I really on set? Am I really doing this?’ I trained in theatre and it was my first time ever in front of a camera and it was such a cool experience to sit down in front of someone I grew up watching, read a few lines, have some fun and go to the craft service table and fill my face. having someone take care of me and lead me to my trailer was amazing. And to be honest I still get that feeling when I go on set. I’m still, ‘This is my trailer!’ then the pay cheque came, and it was awesome!

Nicki: I remember my first pay cheque. I figured they overpaid me and I had the moral dilemma of whether I should call… I ended up calling my agent and saying, ‘I think this is out’. And she said, ‘No, that’s right’. But I do have one complaint about working on the shows I’ve done in Vancouver. I’m always dirty. I’ve worked on Dark Angel as a character called Fixit where I was dirty. Even on Dead Zone I was in a mine when there was an explosion and I was dirty and burned. I’m afraid I’m going to get typecast.

Kandyse: You’re the dirty girl!

Paul: She’s dirty!!

Kandyse: I’m always stealing somebody’s boyfriend.

Aaron: And what about on the shows?

Kandyse: I love you guys.

Nicki: It’s one of the downsides of living in a small town. Kandyse is always stealing your boyfriend.

Kandyse: I’m sorry. I can’t help myself.

Who’s been on Dark Angel then?

[That’s everyone but Paul]

Paul: That was before I started acting.

Kandyse: I worked with James Cameron on that on the last two episodes. He was great. He definitely had control on the set. He definitely had a mind as to what he wanted done. He worked that crew, he challenged all the departments to put their best foot forward and accomplished something. Also that script was monumental – they were shooting a feature film. He came over and said, ‘Hi’, he seemed really excited to be there, but he demanded the best. It was the end of the season, everyone was just petered out, but they were all just so excited and honoured to work with him.

How do you feel about the Battlestar Galactica spin-off series, Caprica?

Aaron: We know very little about it. All we know is that there is a spin-off series and the basic premise, but past that we don’t know anything. We’re not going to see scripts, we’re not going to be in it. It’s set 40 years before us.

Paul: Speak for yourself about not being in it!

Aaron: Yeah, this is William Senior… I think the show is a great idea. Ronald and David are very excited about it. They have a writer who they gave the storyline to, who has apparently written an amazing script. I know that Ron Moore will make another amazing show. That’s what he does, he puts out gold.

Paul: He just can’t help it!

Aaron: As hard as he tries to make a pile of shite, he just can’t do it.

You’re not tempted to feel a bit protective of your own series?

Nicki: It’s totally different.

Aaron: If it was ‘Jamie Bamber takes a ship and goes to find Earth on his own’, and it was a show out of that… why Bamber and not me?!!

Nicki: I just feel like maybe it’s the end of an era. We were the kids that grew up and were on our own, and we can do it on our own now. We love having the producers on the set, and during the first season you’d always see Ron Moore writing very quietly on set. And then there was David Eick filling his plate at the refreshments table…

Aaron: David warned her not to say anything about that…

Nicki: I like Edward James Olmos’s idea for a spin-off show, called ‘Cally and the Commander’.

Aaron: It’s 55 minutes of Cally and the Commander making out…

I think we’re back to ‘dirty girl’…

Nicki: I’m sorry I brought that up.

Back to Battlestar Galactica: do you think the show should have a definite end point?

Aaron: They should make a finite number of episodes of Battlestar Galactica and they shouldn’t drag it on. And I don’t think Ron Moore will do it anyway – he said he did one year too many of Star Trek: The Next Generation and he won’t do that with this show. He wants to pick and end spot. He has an idea of what he wants the last few episodes to be. He wants to find the end, and that’s it/ So, at the outside, it’s my guess that it will last for five years. Three more to go!

 


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INTERVIEW: Battle Briefing

Battle Briefing
By: Steven Eramo
Date: September 2006
Source: TV Zone #205

 

 

 

 

 

We hear about Season Three from the cast members, including James Callis, Jamie Bamber, Nicki Clyne and Aaron Douglas, who drop a few hints about the missing year, the terrors of Cylon occupation, and the trials of ‘fat suits’…

Along with Baltar, another Galactica character who has had plenty of dealings with the Cylons, albeit completely unknowingly, is Chief Tyrol. He fell in love with Lt. Sharon ‘Boomer’ Valerii, who turned out to be one of several Boomer / Cylon models. The chief also confided in a priest, Brother Cavil, who is later exposed as a Cylon. Working with Dean Stockwell during Cavil’s scenes has been a treat, explains Aaron Douglas, who plays Tyrol.

“First of all, Dean Stockwell is unbelievable”, smiles Douglas. “What an amazing actor and just a really neat and congenial guy. I remember the two of us were halfway through the day’s work on the second season finale and Dean said to me. ‘I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying myself. I really like the writing as well as being up here in Vancouver and working with this cast and crew. Too bad I get killed.’ I was like, ‘What do you mean you get killed?’ and Dean said, ‘They shoot my character out of an airlock in episode 20.’

“I said to him, ‘You’re a Cylon,’ but he didn’t know what that meant. So I went on to explain to Dean that there are 12 Human Cylon models and an infinite number of each model. I told him, ‘That means they just keep making more, so if you want, I’m sure they’d be happy to bring you back.’ Dean said ‘Jeez, I’d love that.’ Not long after, I was talking with David Eick [Galactica’s executive producer] and I happened to mention to him what Dean had said to me. I’m pleased to report that Dean returned at the start of this year and he had a ball. Hopefully, we’ll see more of Brother Cavil later in Season Three.”

 


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INTERVIEW: Taking Charge Of Tyrol

Hail to the Chief
By: Sharon Gosling
Date: April/May 2006
Source: Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine (#4) Yearbook

 

 

 

 

 

Actor AARON DOUGLAS looks back on a year full of pain, darkness and small triumphs for Chief Tyrol.

Chief Tyrol started and finished his second year of fleeing from the Cylons stranded on a planet – but in between, the mechanic has travelled light years, emotionally as well as physically. Dealing with the revelation that his former lover Sharon ‘Boomer’ Valerii was a Cylon, to having her die in his arms after being shot, would have been enough to push anyone over the edge, and after being sentenced to death by Admiral Cain and rescued by Commander Adama, the Chief spiralled into depression and anxiety. Aaron Douglas takes a look back at a year in the life of Battlestar Galactica’s resident mechanic.

 

It’s been a highly emotional year for the Chief – not least with the death in his arms of his former lover, Sharon Valerii. Was that difficult to film?

It was a tough experience all year because in the first five episodes, I think three people die in the Chief’s arms! And then Boomer dies. So I found myself being in the headspace of every time I come to work, somebody has just died, is dying right now, or is about to die, so dealing with that was tough. That scene was difficult to shoot. It was a little loose on set that day – some of the crew and the background were goofing off, so I had to ask them politely to shut the hell up! But we reeled it in and it turned out well. I think it worked.

 

One of the most explosive aspects of this year for Chief Tyrol was meeting up with Helo again, played by Tahmoh Penikett. Did you enjoy that storyline?

Everything with Helo has been building for a long time, because he’s been on the planet, and they didn’t even know that he was alive until half way through this season. And Galactica Boomer was dead – for Tyrol to find another one was very surreal and also bizarre for Helo. It’s funny, you’re on the same show with a guy for a year and a half and you never see him except for when we go to cast parties, and you realize, ‘Oh yeah, that’s right, you’re on the show aren’t you?’ [Laughs] So it’s nice to finally get to work with Tahmoh, because he and I are good friends, but we never get to hang out on set. So it was good. We’ve had some one-on-one scenes which are always good, when there’s nobody else around, just sort of play with the other person. It’s very cool.

 

As you mentioned, with the return of Helo came a second ‘Boomer’. That must have been very confusing for the Chief, who had seen the Sharon he knew die just a few days previously.

I didn’t realize they were going to get her pregnant. There’s that scene with Adama in episode five where Adama says to him, ‘Did you lover her?’ And Tyrol says ‘I’m not really sure.’ ‘Either you did or you didn’t, regardless of anything.’ ‘Yeah, I thought I did.’ And Adama says ‘Well, you can’t love a machine, can you?’ So, I think that the Chief, the fact that she’s pregnant and going to have a baby makes him see her in a new light and not just as this machine. There are aspects of humanity to her, and that’s very confusing. The Chief’s a very religious guy, and he’s sort of street-smart bright, but I don’t think he’s analytically intelligent. He goes by his gut, and is a heart-on-his-sleeve type of person. So it’s all difficult for him. The whole world just come crashing down, and Flight of the Phoenix really deals with the Chief having a freak out.

 

Flight of the Phoenix is a great episode for the Chief, which sees the differences between Tyrol and Helo finally coming to a head. What did you think when you first read the script?

I remember I got home from work, and we were shooting episode six or seven at the time. I got home and there was a script waiting at my door. It was late, but I sat down and thought, ‘Oh, I’m just going to have a look at it anyway.’ So I started to read it and I was dumbfounded, absolutely blown away. I wrote a quick email to Bradley Thompson and David Weddle who wrote that one and thanked them for it. They’ve written lots of great stuff for me. I was absolutely moved and honored to have so much stuff given to me to do. it went through different rewrites and some strange permutations, but I think it came out really well, and it was great working with Michael Nankin, I think he just tells such an amazing story. He’s a great storyteller. So I was very proud of that episode, I thought it turned out quite well. It’s one of those ‘stand-alones’, where you could just watch it [on it’s own]. It has the beginning, the middle and the end, and wraps up nicely. A story of hope and sweetness – it was great.

 

There’s also a fantastic fight scene in Flight of the Phoenix, between Tyrol and Helo. How was that for you as an actor?

It was fun – very abusive to the body [laughs]! We were black and blue for days. It was a six-hour shoot, doing it again and again and again. They only used the stunt man for one thing for him, when the Chief picks Helo up and dumps him on his back. We did it once or twice [with the stunt double] and the rest of the time Tahmoh did everything. He even tried that one a bunch of times too, but they just didn’t want him falling on his back. So that fight scene was a lot of fun, but it was very exhausting!

 

Did the episode teach you anything new about the character?

I think I realized that the Chief is a little bit less forgiving than I thought he might be at the beginning. It’s interesting, he’s very much like me: I’ll trust you and you’ll be my friend, but if you screw me once, you’re gone. My friends use the term, ‘You’re dead to me.’ [laughs]. It’s like that – cross him, and you’re dead to him, that’s it, you’re out. I think, particularly with Cally, it really took a lot for him to come round. Understandably, too, because she shot Boomer. But even with the others, there’s no begging or pleading or cajoling, it’s just, ‘OK, that’s it, you’re out and don’t come back later when you suddenly want to be back on board again, because it’s not going to happen.’ So that would be the thing that I learned about the Chief.

 

The other thing that was surprising about that episode was the Chief’s decision to name the stealth ship Laura, for President Roslin. Where did that come from?

There was no connection between the Chief and the President, and Mary and I had been bugging them for a year and a half now that we wanted to do a scene together, because we never see each other. They had never met up until where she walks up and says, ‘Are you the Chief?’ It’s not in the script anywhere, we don’t know who came up with the idea, so I’ve taken credit for it. [laughs] I think it’s the idea of doing something sweet for Laura and it’s [about] hope. the audience knows that she’s dying and she doesn’t have much time left. We just thought it would be something sweet and I think it’s totally appropriate. I think it’s the best thing they could have done, better than making up some abstract, random name. And there’s the history [between them] now so it’ll be interesting to see if the writers do anything with it.

 

You mentioned the Chief’s relationship with Specialist Cally (Nicki Clyne). What to you think about the connection between those two characters – does the Chief feel responsible for her because she’s so young?

The Chief feels responsible for everybody on the deck. He knows that the buck stops with him, and if someone’s lost, if someone is killed, he absolutely bears the brunt of it. He takes it on completely. She’s young but she’s also inexperienced, but it wouldn’t mater if somebody’s older. Cally and the Chief do have this big brother-little sister thing going. It’s funny, because it’s just like Nicki and me in real life! He feels really betrayed that she shot Boomer. But there was probably a point where he thought that he’d shoot her himself. He’s embarrassed because she’s a Cylon and she fooled him, and there are multiple deaths she’s possibly responsible for. But ultimately, I don’t think he wanted her dead. So for Cally to come out and do that … the guy’s been betrayed by two people in his life that he thought were the closest people to him. And he just doesn’t know how to reconcile that.

 

Despite that feeling of betrayal, the Chief still intercedes with Adama on Cally’s behalf.

Well, she could have been put to death, or she could have been locked up forever, stuck in a prison ship with all those dirtbags. He doesn’t know what Adama’s going to do with her. She walked up and shot a member of the crew, and the fact that she was Cylon maybe lessened it a bit, but still you can’t have people running around shooting people on the suspicion that they are Cylon – even though we knew for sure she was. So he went to Adama to plead his case. Ultimately, he’s still responsible for Cally. Cally’s got nobody else. Her family’s gone; she’s only got the people on the flight deck, and none of them can go up and talk to Adama.

 

The second half of the season sees the Chief in some ways having to deal with what he’s gone through, because it begins to eat him up, doesn’t it?

Well, it’s interesting because I told David [Eick], ‘The only thing that we’re missing so far, particularly in the first ten episodes, are those quiet moments’. He’s someone who has just gone through a world of shit for two or three months, is with people and is trying to move through it and be upbeat. But there’s still times where you just sit at home alone, and turn off all the lights. What happens then? What does the Chief do? Some people cry, some people but on music, some people get really drunk, some people go to bed, some people just sit silently and stare for hours at the darkness. So what does the Chief do? Because he’s really internalized. I think Flight of the Phoenix reflected that. That was the Chief going, ‘This is all I’ve got, and I’ve got to keep going.’ And then it’s just taken to the next thing [in the second half]. In the first half he’s just down on the deck, plugging away. It’s a lot to ask a head mechanic, to pick up a gun and start running around shooting and killing, and saving lives. I like the idea of him not reaching out to people, but finally finding that one person that he feels somewhat safe with, that he can talk to. Chief has a bit of a nervous breakdown and thinks he’s a Cylon. So he goes and sees a priest, and the priest says, ‘No, you’re not a Cylon, just trust me,’ and it’s revealed that the priest is actually a Cylon. And now I’m stuck on a planet again. Every cliffhanger, Chief’s on a planet! [Laughs].

 

GALEN TYROL
NAME: Chief Galen Tyrol
RANK/DESIGNATION: Chief Petty Officer, Galactica flight deck

CAREER HISTORY: The son of a priest and an oracle, Tyrol has served on battlestars since he was 18, and can take apart and put together almost any craft. he served for many years under Adama, to whom he is intensely loyal, and even restored Adama’s old Viper as a gift to the “old man”.

When his illicit affair with Sharon led to a crewman perjuring himself to protect the Chief, Tyrol broke up with her out of guilt and a sense of duty. He joined the recon mission to Kobol and as a survivor stranded on the planet, did his best to guide his superior, the inexperienced Crashdown, on how to keep the party alive. He personally euthanized one wounded man rather than let him die slowly; and when Crashdown threatened to shoot the terrified Cally, Tyrol mutinied and drew on Crashdown.

Returning to Galactica, he was arrested as a Cylon collaborator because of his relationship with Sharon, until her death and Adama’s recovery put him back on the duty roster.

To distract himself from personal troubles, Tyrol decided to build a fighter out of salvaged parts, a project which became a morale booster for the entire crew. The prototype ‘Blackbird’ fighter became an invaluable tactical weapon because it’s carbon sheathing made it into a stealth craft.

When Tyrol learned that Admiral Cain’s officers routinely abused their Cylon prisoners, he and Helo attacked Cain’s “interrogator” accidentally killing him to protect Sharon from rape. Both men were court martialled and sentenced to death by Cain, but after her murder they were released and returned to Galactica. Tyrol visited the brig to make sure Sharon was all right, then turned away, leaving her to Helo.

PERSONAL DETAILS: Tyrol’s only lapse from military protocol has proven to be his heartbreak: his illicit affair with his immediate superior, Lt. Sharon Valerii. Though he broke off the affair because others were disciplined for covering for them, he never stopped having feelings for Sharon, even when she was exposed as a Cylon who tried to kill “the old man.” Enraged at first, he mourned her murder and shared his grief with Adama. The arrival of the second Sharon was especially painful and confusing.

 

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INTERVIEW: Hail to the Chief

Hail to the Chief
By: Steven Eramo
Date: March 2006
Source: Starburst Special #74

 

 

 

 

 

Battlestar Galactica star Aaron Douglas, who plays Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol, takes time out to discuss the character’s turbulent past two years.

Aaron Douglas is all smiles as he walks into Battlestar Galactica’s Vancouver production office, and for good reason. In a couple of days the actor, who plays Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol, is getting on a plane and heading to Britain to attend a Sci-Fi convention and do a bit of sightseeing. “My ancestors are Scottish, so when I fly into the UK I tend to get a little giddy,” says Douglas. “I just love being there. This time around I’m staying an extra week and taking my brother, who’s never been, with me. He’s the proudest Scotsman you’d ever want to meet. We’re going to have a few beers and run naked around the ramparts of the nearest castle,” he jokes. “Well, maybe not naked.” The actor’s alter ego of Chief Tyrol could probably also use a drink and some R&R given all that he’s been through this season on Galactica. the show ended last year with him and some of his crewmates stuck on Kobol after their Raptor was shot down by Cylons. They spent the early part of this season on the planet’s surface where they were constantly on the run from the Cylons, and not everyone survived. When he finally made it back to Galactica, Tyrol discovered his ex-lover Lt Sharon ‘Boomer’ Valerii (Grace Park) was, in fact, a Human Cylon sleeper agent who attempted to assassinate Commander Adama (Edward James Olmos). The chief was then suspected of being a Cylon, and soon after his name was cleared, one of his deck hands, Cally (Nicki Clyne), shot Boomer.

“Poor Tyrol has been having a hell of a time this year,” notes Douglas “I mean, in the span of five or six days, four people died in front of his eyes, three of them pretty much in his arms. Not surprisingly, he’s kind of closed himself off and, I think, it’s internalizing a lot. Tyrol is responsible for the hangar deck as well as all his crew and he really takes that to heart. It’s important to him that he does well and watches out for those working for him. That means he has to be available for them, but the thing is there’s no one there for him. The chief doesn’t have any family left. it’s just the people he works with. Obviously he can’t talk with Boomer, and he certainly can’t sit down with Adama for a heart-to-heart. Tyrol is very religious, spiritual sort of guy but there’s not even a neighbourhood priest that he can turn to for guidance.”

“So he’s been holding quite a lot in and as a result has been having a bit of an internal meltdown. Funnily enough, around the time we were shooting Episode Seven or Eight this year, I said to David Eick [executive producer], ‘The one thing we haven’t seen is what happens with Tyrol when he’s alone’. People who are going through a rough time will tend to put on a brave face when they’re around others. However, when they’re by themselves, some people get drunk, others sit quietly, etc. In Episode Nine, Flight of the Phoenix, we get to see what Tyrol does to help him cope and I really liked that. The chief slowly starts to get himself back on track, but he’s definitely not the same person we first met in the [Galactica] mini-series. He’s a little gruffer and slightly more unforgiving than I ever thought he’d become. Tyrol is also more distrusting of people, but it’s his way of protecting himself.”

In the two-part Home, Lt Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff) returns from her mission to Caprica with two surprise passengers; Lt Helo (Tahmoh Penikett), who had been marooned on the planet since the mini-series, and another Human Cylon duplicate of Sharon, who’s pregnant with Helo’s child. Her presence on board the Galactica initially evokes strong feelings of resentment in Tyrol, and also sparks some tension between him and Helo. The chief puts all that aside, though, to help Helo save Sharon when Lt Thorne (Fulvio Cecere) of the Battlestar Pegasus attempts to rape her in the Season Two episode Pegasus.

“What we shot was profoundly more graphic than what finally aired on TV,” explains Douglas. “Looking back now, I realize how difficult it must have been for Grace Park to film that scene, but she’s a consummate professional. She is always willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Fulvio Cecere, who played Thorne, is also a wonderful actor. We’ve known each other for years and it was great to finally have the chance to work with him. I thought he did a fantastic job in the role.”

“As for the [attempted rape] scene itself, I was surprised at the reaction it garnered from certain fans. Some people even went so far as to ban any further discussion about the re-imagined Galactica series from on-line chat groups. They were like ‘OK, that’s it. We’re only going to talk about the old Galactica show from now on.’ That just amazes me. I remember a Star Trek episode where there was an insinuation of a rape and no one freaked out. Another Sci-Fi series did the same thing and it didn’t get the reaction that Galactica did. Sadly, rape is something that happens in the real world and it’s a credit to our show’s producers and writers for tackling such an issue.”

While fighting with Lt. Thorne, Tyrol throws the lieutenant into a bulkhead and accidentally kills him when Thorne’s head slams into an exposed bolt. Tyrol and Helo are, subsequently, arrested and taken aboard the Pegasus where they are put on trial by Admiral Cain (Michelle Forbes) and convicted of murder. In the following two-part story, Resurrection Ship, Commander Adama is willing to go to war with the Pegasus in order to save his two officers from being executed. The original script for this episode had a scene involving his character that Douglas felt slightly uncomfortable with.

“I thought, ‘The chief wouldn’t do this. It’s just not him,’ and I voiced my concerns to [director] Michael Rymer,” recalls the actor. “He agreed with me, so we changed it to focus less on Tyrol and more on the other people in the scene, and it worked out much better.”

“There’s another scene in this episode where Helo and Tyrol are in the Pegasus brig and one of the Galactica officers come by to brief them on what’s going on. It was written one way, but we then played it in a completely different way. Basically, I did something and Tahmoh, as well as the other actor, picked up on it and we just ran with it. I thought it turned out good, and Mike Rymer like it, too, which I was happy about.”

Helo and Tyrol are eventually released from custody and are soon back on board the Galactica. Since then, life has been pretty much status quo for the chief, but Douglas isn’t complaining. “I had my big episode this season [Flight of the Phoenix],” he says, smiling. “Every so often I’ll get a good Tyrol story or a cool Tyrol scene and that’s all I need. With such a big cast, the writers have to spread the material around, which I totally understand. Tyrol has a fair bit to do in this season finale, and, of course, there’s always next year to look forward to.”

 

PHOENIX RISING

In Flight of the Phoenix, Chief Tyrol decides the best way to deal with the recent upsets in his personal and professional lives is to focus all his pent up emotions on something positive. So he starts to build a new stealth fighter, the Blackbird.

“This was a fun episode to do,” says Douglas. “The director, Michael Nankin, is a gifted storyteller. We actually shot the story in chronological order, which is rare for episodic TV. However, Michael wanted to do it that way so that we’d have a clear vision of what was really going on. Most times you’ll be doing a scene where, for example, your character kills someone, and then the next scene you film is one that takes place before he killed the person. That’s when you often end up thinking, ‘I might have done things differently in the previous scene had I known this one was going to play out the way it did.'”

“This story also gave me the opportunity to finally work with Mary McDonnell [President Laura Roslin]. She and I had been asking the writers for a scene with Tyrol and President Roslin, so they came up with this neat exchange at the end of the episode that sort of tugs at your heartstrings.”

 

STAMP OF APPROVAL

Since he first began playing Tyrol back in the 2003 Galactica mini-series, Douglas has tried to make his character as believable as possible to viewers. His efforts have paid off, especially with a certain group of fans. “Men and woman serving in the military will come up to me and say, ‘Tyrol is just like a chief I work with or worked with,’ and that’s really nice to hear,” says the actor.

“People have commented to me about how certain Sci-Fi programmes and even military ones will almost always focus on the officers and those at the higher levels. It’s not often that these shows talk about the guys down in the trenches or in the lower decks who get the job done.”

“I think everyone in Star Trek: The Next Generation was an officer of some kind, and then you’d have let’s say, Ensign Ricky, who would beam down to a planet with the Away Team, but never come back. Tyrol is the same type of guy, but somehow he’s managed to stick around.”

 

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INTERVIEW: Hail to the Chief

Hail to the Chief
By: Sharon Gosling
Date: December 2005 / January 2006
Source: Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine (#2)

 

 

 

 

 

He’s managed to keep the Galactica and her complement of Vipers space-worthy through the very harshest of circumstances … AARON DOUGLAS talks Chief with Battlestar Galactica Magazine.

For a character that was originally planned merely as a background face aboard the Battlestar Galactica, Chief Galen Tyrol has certainly exceeded his bounds. Firstly embroiled in a torrid affair with a fellow officer, viewers watched anxiously as his lover, Sharon Valleri, was initially revealed as a Cylon operative and then assassinated. Now, as Tyrol adjusts to the change aboard Galactica with a second – pregnant – Boomer aboard, life just got so much more complicated.

 

Chief Tyrol went through a massive arc from the beginning of the mini-series to the end of season one. Were you expecting that when you signed on?

No, not at all, actually. When you read the first script for the mini-series, the one that I actually auditioned from, Chief only had about 15 lines. He was a really small character. But I’m a big ad-libber so if I see that I can get away with it I ad-lib stuff in! And a couple of days in, Mike Rymer (director) and David Eick (producer) talked about it and started adding me to scenes. So the Chief has grown exponentially. In the mini-series I think I ended up with five extra days of shooting because I had so many more scenes. They liked the character and gave me more to do in season one. And they’ve given me much more in season two!

 

Season two means filming 20 episodes instead of the 13 that made up season one. How has that been for you?

It’s nice this year, in that last year I was just contacted as the series went on. I didn’t know where the Chief was going, I wasn’t locked in long-term for the show, and I didn’t really have as much feedback last year as I’m getting this year. So I didn’t know if he was going to be killed off, or if he was going to have stuff to do. But I had a really good talk with David Eick in the off-season, and they made a really strong commitment to me, and to the character, and I’ve reciprocated and made a really strong commitment to the show, so I’m thrilled. Unless something happens, I’m here for five years like everybody else. And now I get lots to do, so it’s very cool.

 

Committing to five years is always a big decision for any actor. Did you hesitate at all?

It is a long time. I think most people would prefer to do just two years at a time. It’s funny, because I sort of relate it to sports. Athletes want the long term deal, [which is] guaranteed money. But [acting], even if they sign you for five years, they may not pick you up. So they always have an out, but you don’t really have any control over it. It was really tough to know – “Do I really want to do this for five more years?” But it’s a good show, and it’s great writing. It’s so weird. You work so hard for so many years to be regular on show, and then when you finally get the opportunity to be a regular on a show, you go, “I don’t know, maybe I’ll wait for the next thing…” [laughs] You really just have to smack yourself for a while and go. “What are you doing? This is the thing that you’ve been wanting for so long and finally it’s here and you’re going to screw it up?” Once I’d made the decision, everything started falling into place. The network and the studio and everybody have been excited, and there have been great accolades from so many magazines. So it’s really clearly the right decision.

The advantage that I have is the Tyrol wasn’t in the original series, so he doesn’t have that hatred from the original series fans! And he’s just enough of a peripheral character that I can go do other things and not be labeled as, “Oh, that’s that Apollo guy from Battlestar Galactica,” for example. So I have a little bit of anonymity – people don’t recognize me, so I can walk around anywhere, Rarely do people come up and ask, “Are you on that show?” So I go into auditions, and directors and producers have sort of heard of the show but they’ve never seen it and they don’t really care. Which is odd, but nice!

 

Chief Tyrol started season two on Kobol. How was that for you?

It’s interesting being on location, because it’s a space show and so much of the time [we’re in space]. Last year, I went on location once for one day for episodes 12 and 13 and the rest of the time we were in the studio, so I never got to go outside! So it’s nice to go out and run around through the forests. It was long days, but it was a lot of fun. It was difficult only because of all the emotional stuff that goes on in those episodes – they’ve started calling me the Angel of Death because people keep dying around me! But it was a lot of fun to do. And it was nice to have Michael Rymer back, he’s my favorite director.

 

Tyrol has had to deal with a lot of conflict, in particular in dealing with Sharon Valleri. How do you prepare for those scenes, as an actor?

I don’t know, it’s an odd thing. I don’t do anything. It used to drive me crazy, because I’d see everyone around me going through these great pains to prepare for scenes and studying the night before and breaking down their scripts and all that – and I don’t. I show up for work, I get my sides, I learn my lines in rehearsal and then I just do it! So I can’t explain. I still have a hard time trying to articulate what I do to prepare. I just follow my gut, and I give what I get. So the look of the other person, what they’re saying – I respond to that. So I don’t really have any tremendous insights [laughs]! It can be very, very emotional. The difficulty I find sometimes is having to do the exact same thing take after take after take. because I just go with where I’m at. If my body’s not really feeling like crying at that moment, it just won’t cry! And so I don’t manufacture it, I just go with what’s there. Some directors really like that, but some are like, “Well, we need to match what you did before”.

 

Chief Tyrol had a rocky ride with Sharon ‘Boomer’ Valleri, but her death still seemed to hit him hard. Were you expecting that, or was her death a surprise?

I thought that they were going to have to do something with one of the Boomers, because you can’t have two or three Boomers on the ship at one time. I was kind of hoping, actually, that something would go terribly awry and the Chief has to kill her. I thought that would be pretty cool, as an actor, to play euthanizing the woman you love. That would be just crazy. But that’s obviously not to be. I think I’ve killed enough people in the first half of the season already!

I had a scene in episode five, right at the end, where I’m talking to Adama. At the end they’re talking about what I liked about Boomer and about love and stuff, and he says, “You know you’ll see her again, because there are many copies.” And he leaves the Chief there thinking “Holy shit, I’d never thought of that.” So it’s going to be interesting. The next Boomer has all the memories of the Chief and the relationship, but doesn’t have any first hand experience with it. That would be really weird, to see a loved one come back from the dead a couple of weeks after she died in your arms, right?

 

There’s also the inevitable conflict between the Chief and Helo.

Helo is in love with that Boomer and that Boomer is carrying his child. The Chief isn’t going to like that too much, and Helo’s not going to like the fact that the Chief and Boomer were once an item and now he’s back. So yeah, that will be interesting for sure.

 

What would you like to see happen for your character?

I would like to have a scene eventually at some point with Mary. I think it would be interesting if she, looking for a voice of the people, goes down to the blue-collar workers. The President goes to the auto-body shop and starts talking to those guys instead of just talking to management, just to get a sense of what’s really going on. That would be kin of fun. Although I just trust the writers to take him where they go, because they always write good stuff to do.

 

Do you feel that you can talk to the writers if you have something specific you want to contribute?

Oh yeah, they are tremendous guys, with open doors. We have the email addresses of the writers – David (Eick) and I are good friends, and every once in a while we sit around and talk. I think David lives vicariously through Tyrol! I think the Chief is like his swashbuckling sort of gun-toting superhero guy, who he loves! And he’ll go, “And then the Chief beats someone up, and the Chief has sex with this girl…l” he just loves this stuff! So he’ll call me or he finds me on set or emails me and he’ll go, “Oh, oh, oh, in this episode, you’re going to be doing that, I can’t wait to see you do it!” Then he likes to watch me film it. He gets really excited, it’s really funny. So yeah, I can go talk to him and give him ideas and spout things off – and they listen.

We see an episode or two ahead, but they have the entire arc of the story. And you can sort of find out where they’re going by giving them thoughts, and they’ll say, “No, that’s not the direction we’re going in”. [laughs]. So you pick your spots! The less you say, the more they listen.

 

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INTERVIEW: Look who’s Stalking ….

Look who’s Stalking ….
Date: Christmas 2005
Source: SFX #138

 

 

 

 

 

The SFX Stalker asks the questions that really make the stars go … “Freak!”

AARON DOUGLAS

The 34 year-old Canadian actor plays Chief Tyrol in the excellent Battlestar Galactica TV series, and we cornered him at the Memorabilia event to uncover the truth about his secret history in Canadian logging and illegal egg-throwing.

 

What’s the most illegal thing you’ve ever done?

That I got caught for? I threw an egg when I was in my teens. Well, a couple of eggs. One after the other, in rapid succession. And they seemed to find their way to an officer of the law. I got in a lot of trouble for that, deservedly so.

 

What makes you angry day-to-day?

Rude people. Bad refereeing. Slow drivers. My putter. My three-iron. My four-iron. My five-iron. Sometimes my nine-iron – actually I broke my nine iron so it’s dead to me now.

 

If you were invisible for a day what would you do?

I would go sit in on meetings held in and around the white house and see just what is really going on there, and just who really is running that place.

 

And if you could have another superpower too?

I’d want the ability to change into anything. And change other things into anything. Like a shape-shifter. But also to turn a chair into a rock or something.

 

What sort of thing do you get sent by fans?

There’s a woman, probably my biggest fan – she’s absolutely delightful. She posts all over the web, talks about me incessantly. She sent me this massive, massive scrapbook that must have taken her literally months to make. It’s clippings and pictures and poems and it’s absolutely fantastic, and I’m stunned by the effort that went into this thing.

 

What’s the dumbest job you ever had to do?

Everything I did before this was dumb! Nothing I’d want to go back to. There was a braindead job, working for a guy who built docks, you know, for boats. I had to go and pick up the logs for the wood.

 

You were a lumberjack!

Basically I was a log mover.

 

What’s the most difficult line you’ve had to say on tv?

Probably the lines where it’s written in the script that Tyrol turns and see his man slipping away and has to yell “Noooooooooooo!” Those lines are the worst, I hate that stuff.

 

What are you most hoping will happen to your character?

That he’ll have an affair with every girl on the show! And I want Tyrol to save the universe and have his own spin-off show. Yeah, Adama gets killed and Tyrol now runs the Battlestar. He turns it into a giant floating bar! They call it The Tyrol Show.

 

Where do you hide your pornography?

I don’t hide it.

 

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INTERVIEW: Hail to the Chief

Hail to the Chief
By: Steven Eramo
Date: December 2005
Source: TV Zone #196

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a tough year so far for his character of crew chief Galen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica, but as actor Aaron Douglas tells Steven Eramo, he’s having the time of his life on the hit Sci-Fi series.

Whoever coined the phrase ‘Good things come to those who wait’ must have been thinking about Aaron Douglas. Having taken the minor role of Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol in 200’s re-imagined Battlestar Galactica mini-series, the Canadian actor reprised his role in the 13-part weekly series the following year. As the show’s first season unfolded, the character of Tyrol became a more integral part of the story. When he wasn’t busy keeping Galactica’s Vipers ready for battle, the chief carried on a secret romance with Lt Sharon ‘Boomer’ Valerii, who was, unbeknownst to him, an unwitting Cylon sleeper. By the end of the first season, Tyrol and the crew of his Raptor were stranded on the planet Kobol and fighting for their survival against the Cylons.

“Tyrol is a very strong, realistic kind of guy,” says Douglas. “There are a few things about him that are a little bit funky and quirky, but that can be said about almost anyone. You can really identify with the character, which is what a lot of viewers tell me. Most people say that they like Tyrol because he’s sort of an everyman. He’s the one who gets dumped on all the time and yet you can always count on and trust him.”

“This season I’ve taken a bit more of an active role insofar as talking with David Eick and Ron Moore,” he explains, referring to the series’s executive producers, “about my character as well as to our show’s military technical advisors because I want to get it right. We get so many comments from people in the various armed services that our show does a great job of mirroring military life, despite it being set in the future and in Outer Space. I want to make sure I maintain that sense of realism in my performance.”

As Galactica’s second season begins, Tyrol and the other Raptor survivors are trying to stay one step ahead of their enemy. At one point, Tyrol, Cally and Tarn must return to the crashed Raptor to get medical supplies to save Socinus, but are ambushed by a Cylon patrol.

“Scattered and the second episode, Valley of Darkness, were shot as one story and directed by Michael Rymer,” explains Douglas. “It was exciting to come back to work after hiatus and head out on location to Widget Park and Clevland Dam, a rainforest just outside of Vancouver, both of which play as Kobol. We had a mix of all types of weather and it felt good to be out of the studio as we didn’t get to do much of that last year – at least I didn’t.”

“Two of the most challenging scenes to film were when the Cylons find us and Warren Christie’s character, Tarn, is shot and killed. We did both in a single afternoon, which was tough for me, physically. I picked Warren up and fireman carried him probably 35 times that day and by the time we wrapped I was wiped out. We actually shot Warren’s death scene last that day. Time was running out and we had about a half-hour to do it. So it was a matter of, OK, this spot looks good. Pick Warren up, run around this tree and put him down over there. To be honest, I didn’t think we were going to finish in time, but we did. Although it was a bit of a rush, when I watched the producers’ cut it looked really good.”

Tyrol and Cally manage to destroy the Cylon patrol and return with the medical supplies, but Socinus’s injuries are too severe and he dies – the medications were needed to ease his passing. As the story continues, a rescue party is dispatched from the Galactica, but Kobol’s Cylon garrison has set up a missile battery to shoot down any ships. Crashdown has a plan to take out the Cylon weapon, but Tyrol has his doubts, and Baltar takes matters into his own hands.

“That episode, Fragged, was directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan, who was Steven Spielberg’s AD [assistant director] for his last eight films , excluding, I think, War of the Worlds,” says Douglas. “So when you watch this episode it has that sort of Saving Private Ryan feel to it. One of my dreams as an actor is to do a Thin Red Line or Saving Private Ryan type of project. I’ve mentioned this to several people and someone must have told David Eick, because during our last hiatus he said to me, ‘Wait until you read the script for episode three; it’s your Saving Private Ryan.'”

“We had such a blast filming Fragged and running through the forest and being shot at. The Crashdown scene happens so quickly onscreen but it took us a day to film because of all the different camera angles. Initially, we all thought it was going to be Tyrol who shoots Crashdown, but it ended up being Baltar. Once again this season, someone dies in Tyrol’s arms. First it was Tarn, then Socinus, and in this story, Crashdown. Acting-wise, it’s difficult emotionally to have to get to that place day after day. Ironically, while we were filming the first two episodes of this season, I was dealing with someone in my real life as well as Tyrol’s dying. Fortunately, Michael Rymer is a great director and great friend and he helped me get through that period.”

As if Tyrol hasn’t been through enough, when he and the others get back to the Galactica in Resistance, the chief is accused of collaborating with a Cylon – Lt Boomer – and being a Cylon as well. He’s thrown in the brig and interrogated by Colonel Tigh.

“That scene with Tyrol and Tigh was the first time Michael Hogan and I had been left in a room to yell at each other,” jokes Douglas. “Seriously, I think Michael is an amazing actor and it was my pleasure to finally do a scene with him, and a tough one, too. I threw myself out of that chair at least 30 times when Tigh supposedly hit Tyrol, so I was pretty bruised by the end of the day.”

“In the same episode there’s a scene where Baltar injects Tyrol with a drug that almost kill him in an effort to force Boomer to tell him how many other Cylon sleeper agents are in the fleet. From episode 12 of last year right through the first half of this season, my character has had the crap beat out of him. So in this case it was nice for a change to lie on the floor and watch everyone else do their thing,” chuckles the actor.

Douglas didn’t get much if a chance to relax, though; a chance comment to the series’ producer led to his role in episode nine, Flight of the Phoenix, being expanded considerably.

“I happened to remark one day to David Eick that when people go through horrific experiences in their lives, there comes a point where they have to find a way to deal with it,” says the actor. “They might cry, go sit in a room by themselves, or immerse themselves in their work or a hobby. David said, ‘That’s absolutely true,’ and we both agreed that was one thing we hadn’t seen Tyrol do yet.”

“In episode nine, the fleet starts to run out of ships, including Vipers; Tyrol is doing what he can to resolve this problem and is getting yelled at by the people from above, while those working for him are only half-listening to him. So he goes off, collects a bunch of scrap parts, and starts to build a ship of his own.”

“We were still filming episode seven when I got home one night to find a script revision for number nine waiting for me. I read it and it was wall-to-wall me. I immediately fired off an e-mail to the writers, David Weddle and Bradley Thompson, as well as David thanking them for giving me such a wonderful opportunity.”

Along with Galactica, Douglas recently appeared in the feature film The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and can be seen in the upcoming Mike Binder movie, Man about Town. In late August, the actor was back on the Galactica set with the rest of the show’s cast and crew to start work on the latter half of the second season. “It’s all good,” he says. “I’m looking forward to seeing what they have planned for Tyrol in these upcoming 10 episodes.”

 

Love and Loss

After being roughed up by Colonel Tigh and suspected of being a Cylon in Resistance, Tyrol is once again put through the emotional wringer at the end of the episode when Boomer is shot by Cally and dies in his arms. “That was a tough moment for both me as an actor and my character,” says Douglas. “With Tyrol, here’s this woman that he loved, albeit she was a Cylon and deceived him, and he has to watch her die.”

“For me, the hardest part of filming a scene like that is maintaining the shock of the initial gunshot. By that I mean your brain knows exactly when that shot is coming as well as what’s going to happen next. So as an actor you have to try your best to appear completely unaware that this person is about to be shot and die. That’s the only way to convince viewers that your character never saw it coming.”

 


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