Tag Archive | "battlestar galactica"

NEXT LEVEL: Tricia Helfer On Life, Career And Launching The ‘Battlestar Galacticast’

NEXT LEVEL: Tricia Helfer On Life, Career And Launching The ‘Battlestar Galacticast’

Tricia Helfer – Photo by Vince Trupsin

Tricia Helfer has spent the better part of two decades blazing a unique trail for herself in the wilds of Hollywood. She first exploded onto the scene as the face of the Ronald D. Moore’s iconic sci-fi series, Battlestar Galactica. Her stellar Leo Award winning lead as the humanoid Cylon ‘Number Six’ in the critically acclaimed Syfy series quickly captivated fans around the globe. 15 years after its debut, the series is still considered one of the greatest sci-fi series ever made and has left a lasting impression on fans and critics alike. A three-time Primetime Emmy Award winner, Battlestar Galactica takes place in a not-so-far-away future where the last surviving group of humans face an intergalactic challenge to save humanity and the fabled 13th colony, Earth. Helfer’s pivotal role on the groundbreaking series, coupled with her chameleon-like ability as an actress, ultimately led this creative dynamo to leading roles on a wide variety of projects.

In celebration of Battlestar Galactica’s 15 year anniversary, Tricia Helfer and acclaimed journalist Marc Bernardin have unleashed ‘Battlestar Galacticast,’ a new intergalactic podcast that gives fans an intimate insider look into the world of the celebrated series. Premiering on December 11th, just three days after the reboot’s 15th anniversary, this dynamic duo has begun an episode-by-episode rewatch of the Battlestar Galactica mini-series in its entirety — exploring, discussing, and debating the themes of the show and revealing behind-the-scenes details that only a true BSG insider would know. ‘Battlestar Galacticast’ will take a retrospective look at the first season, with each episode of the podcast dissecting a specific episode. Tricia Helfer will give first-hand accounts of her time on set, while she and Marc welcome members of the original cast and crew on board to share their memories from making the ground breaking series.

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Tricia Helfer to discuss her unique career path, the lessons learned along, the way and bringing ‘Battlestar Galacticast’ to the masses.

You’ve become a familiar face over the years in both television and film. Let’s go back to the start. How did your journey in the arts begin?

I wasn’t involved with the arts very much growing up. I grew up on a farm where we had no television, so I didn’t grow up watching TV, going to plays or anything like that. I was just kind of out in the country! [laughs] Eventually, I was scouted by a modeling agent and started modeling. I was living in New York City and after about 8 or 9 years in that field, I was ready to move on and change careers. I ended up doing it for about 10 years. I ended up getting into an acting class in New York and I just fell in love with the craft during that first class. It was one of those situations where it almost happened by chance, as opposed to something I grew up wanting to do from watching movies or wanting to become an actor. Growing up, I really had no relationship with the arts, and I was really into sports, school and being a farmhand. I was planning on going to University to go into psychology before I got sidetracked by a modeling scout! It turned my life in a totally different direction!

It certainly seems to be working out for you!

Yeah, I’m not complaining! [laughs]

What was it about that first acting class that gave you the bug?

One of the things I love about acting, and I just mentioned that I was originally planning to go into psychology, is getting into the head of these characters. I think that is what really drew me in. I grew up really shy. I’m a bit of a goof but I also have a cold, shy side to me. I guess I just always assumed that to be an actor you needed to be more of a comedian, or the type who walks into a room and commands attention. I didn’t realize early on that there are all types of different types of personalities when it comes to actors and people in the arts. I was just really drawn to the psychology of it and digging into who this character is, what makes them tick and why they react the way they do. You also bring out a little of yourself in every role. My first acting class terrified me! It was almost like a therapy session! [laughs] I had this long-time masseuse in New York who would come over because I have always had back issues. She would come over once every week or once every two weeks. It was very interesting because I had been to my first acting class the night before and the next day she came over. She said to me, “There is something different about you. Did you start therapy or something?” I was like, “Uh, no.” She said, “You are more open. Are you acting now?” I was like, “Wow! That’s really weird you would say that! I’ve only been to one class!” I think it’s that, that sort of draws me to it — digging in and working through things. I’m not saying I’m this damaged, weird soul but you can work through things and bring things out, which is a lot of fun! It’s hard. It can be very hard and challenging but there is also a very fun element to it!

You hit the ground running once you began acting. When did you come into your own?

I think I was always fairly confident in it. It wasn’t being on set that was hard for me. I say that because I modeled for 10 years prior, so I was used to being the focus of a shoot. I don’t mean that in an Oh-look-at-me way but as a model you are the center of the shoot. When I transferred to acting, it wasn’t me being nervous on set or things like that. With my first series, which was “Battlestar Galactica,” I got to work with amazing actors like Mary McDonnell and Edward James Olmos, who at that time already had a lifetime in the business but still had such a passion, energy and focus for it! They are really true artists. I got to work with them and see some of their process. Along the way, you eventually become more confident and relaxed.

At the same time, even with years of experience under your belt, you can have a great day or a shitty day. It just depends! There is such an element to acting or being on set that what could be easy one day is very difficult the next, just because you are in a different mindset or headspace. There is always a bit of an element of surprise to it. It’s also who you’re working with, so I would never say that I’ve arrived, or I have nothing left to learn. I’m confident in my abilities but it’s a day-to-day thing and it depends on what’s happening, what the scene is about or what you are experiencing in your life at the time. For instance, I remember talking to Michael Trucco in the final season of “Battlestar.” This was when Sam Anders was laid up in the hospital bed. This wasn’t long after he had a bad car accident and had broken his neck. It was really hard for him to film those episodes because he was facing the character’s possible demise and he too had also almost lost his life a few months earlier. I’m rambling but it changes day-to-day and each time you’re on set. That’s another one of the things I find so fascinating about it!

Tricia Helfer as Cylon Number Six on ‘Battlestar Galactica.’

I was fascinated to learn that the role of “Number Six” was one of your first roles. You brought such depth to the her. What did you bring to the character that wasn’t on the original written page?

From what I’ve heard from some of the powers that be in the show, there was a vulnerability that I brought to it that wasn’t on the page to begin with. Looking back, I don’t know if I would have brought some of that on purpose but who knows! Maybe some of it was me being new, a little green and nervous. I don’t know if that is the case or if it’s what I wanted to bring with it. The character had to be believable as a human but still have a little something odd about her because she was the known Cylon and she has a sentence that she says to Baltar, “You always knew there was something different about me, something that didn’t quite add up.” That line really stuck out in my head. In the first part of the mini-series, there’s definitely a little bit more of a coldness to her than there is later in the series, but the character has also progressed, right? That’s who she was at the start but, every time something happens, there is more to the story and the character because of what she has lived through. With TV shows, it’s an exploration, as opposed to shooting a movie where there is a beginning, middle and end. With a movie, you can really plan your moments and how you want to be at the beginning as compared to how you want to be at the end of the story. With TV, it’s more fluid. You don’t know how the story is going to end. I feel a lot of time in TV there is a real growth to the character, or the writers start to write to certain aspects of the character because it’s being developed as you go along.

How do you view your evolution as an actress?

I feel like I’ve certainly got a long way to go but I’m happy that I’ve been able to do many types of different roles. I would say that I am probably more confident now than I was then but, it’s a day-to-day thing. Every time you start a new character, you’re starting from scratch in a way. You learn as you go along! I think I’m a little stronger now when it comes to being able to put my foot down or ask questions. I was certainly shyer when I was first started out, of course. I’m definitely more comfortable on set now then I was in the beginning of my career. In terms of the process, I think it has stayed fairly similar throughout the years. I think each actor has their own process of what works for them and what doesn’t. I feel like my process is very similar to the way I started in terms of breaking down a script and digging into the character.

Tricia Helfer – Photo by Vince Trupsin

It’s amazing to think that “Battlestar Galactica” premiered 15 years ago and we are still talking about it today! As someone who played a huge role in the series, you have a unique perspective. What is it about this series that resonates after a decade-and-a-half?

Throughout meeting the fans at Comic Cons or just running into people on the street, one of the thing that resonates about the show for me is how it has resonated for people. It’s obviously an incredibly smart show and one you can rewatch a few times and take different things from each time. It’s a show that you can have a wonderful discussion on. The thing that has struck me the most, through meeting people, is how the show got many people through difficult times. To me, it really warms my heart that I can be part of something that has helped somebody! I’ve also heard this a few times with my Gina character. I wanted to imbue with PTSD and I thought it was very interesting to have a robot character who is suffering from PTSD. To hear some people, who might be in the military or people who are not military at all but have had something traumatic happen to them, say that watching the show or relating to some of the characters helped get them through a tough time or seek help. It’s amazing! We are talking about a TV show, right? [laughs] I’m an actor! I’m not a brain surgeon or out there curing cancer but it has helped some people. That is a nice feeling to have. It’s great to be able to say, “Ya know, something I had fun doing has really resonated with some people and helped them on some level.” That’s one of the biggest things I have taken away from meeting people.

This series impacted you personally and professionally. Tell us bit about the relationships you formed through this amazing series.

Absolutely! Going all the way back to the start, I had only been in LA for about a year. I had moved there without knowing a single person. Well, I knew one person, Bridget Moynahan, who I knew through my modeling days but she was away filming “I Robot” at the time. She wasn’t even in LA! This was my first series and what is wonderful about it is that we really became a family and we still are! [laughs] I joke about it but my closest friends, my family, is all “Battlestar” related! [laughs] I just came from one of my best girlfriend’s house, who was a producer on the show. Katee [Sackhoff] is one of my best friends. Michael Trucco and his wife are another two of my best friends, along with James and Eddie. These are the people I see all the time! To me, it wasn’t just a show! These people are going to be in my life for the rest of my life. They are the people I call on and rely on! When I moved houses, Michael Trucco was helping me pack up all my cats! [laughs] I was over the other day when he was having air conditioner issues and I was up in the ceiling with him and in the attic! [laughs] These are my friends, not just my coworkers! Career-wise, the series gave me some legitimacy because I had come from the modeling world into acting. Originally, people were like, “Oh, a model turned actor. What does she do? Walk by in a bikini role?” “Battlestar Galactica” gave me legitimacy as an actor but, on a personal note, it gave me a family in Los Angeles. I will always be grateful for that!

You just launched a new podcast with co-host Marc Bernardin. How did you and Mark cross paths and what led to bringing “Battlestar Galacticast” to life?

Marc covered the show for Entertainment Weekly during its run, so he knows the show inside and out. He’s certainly the smart one on the podcast! [laughs] He keeps it moving along while I digress and tell stories. He was a big fan, critically, of the show. He had moderated a couple of panels over the years at Comic Cons and he is a writer as well. He was on “Castle Rock” last year and this year he is on “Treadstone.” He’s extremely talented! I was on a show called “Lucifer” and he had moderated one of those panels as well. We just happened to run into each other at another show in London. He was there because he does another podcast with Kevin Smith, “Fatman on Batman.” We were all sitting backstage in the green room and I was sitting and talking with John Carroll Lynch, who is a lovely actor. He had mentioned to me that he was a fan of “Battlestar.” We chatted about the show, life, relationships and whatever. He was talking about how much he loved the show and I just happened to mention that I had watched the whole series but never as a fan. Marc was listening and I said, “Ya know, I have to sit down and rewatch the whole thing.” Marc goes, “Umm. You wanna do that as a podcast?!” I said, “Yeah! That could be good!” He said, “Yeah, an actor from ‘The West Wing’ did that … ” I asked, “Wait, can we do that?!” [laughs] He said, “Yeah! We can!” He ended up sending me a link to one of the “West Wing” episodes and then we just decided to do it! We actually taped the first couple of episodes about a year earlier, while we were discussing where we would release it. Then we started talking with SYFY and partnered with them! It just took a little while to get all of that stuff organized but now we have finally launched it! We’re really excited. We’ve been talking about it for a little while but it’s finally going now. We taped two episodes this week and have another taping next week. We are having a really fun time with it but it was literally born from us just having met each other a couple of times, him moderating a few panels and just chatting!

Tricia Helfer and Marc Bernardin host ‘Battlestar Galacticast.’

As a fan of the series, I couldn’t be more excited to hear both of your insights into the series! Just hearing your passion for it is inspiring. Where else do you look for inspiration these days?

Oh gosh! I feel like we have been in a low over the last couple of years with diviciness. Hopefully I take notice of inspiration. In other words, I try to stop and smell the roses a little bit more these days. I get inspiration from my friends and the projects I take part in. There are a few projects I am hoping to produce and I’m working toward that. One is a serial killer, so it’s not exactly inspiring per se! [laughs] I love the story and the character, so I want to portray it! I’m just trying to be a little more proactive as opposed to reactive in terms of the business. I’m also trying to be happy and healthy while taking care of my furry kids! I’m just trying to appreciate things a little more along the way!

What do you look for in the material you take on these days?

It’s not like I look for one specific thing. I want to play different types of roles and I’ve certainly gotten to do that, although most people probably don’t know some of the roles that I’ve done because I tend to be a little bit of a chameleon. I’ve talked to people who have literally been talking about my character and they didn’t know it was me! So, I will change hair color or you will see me with makeup or without makeup on and people won’t know who I am. In one way it’s a blessing and in another way it’s a curse! I just like playing different types of roles. I think it’d be a little boring if you only played one type of character all of the time. I played a Texas Ranger in an ABC show called “Killer Women” and I really enjoyed the character. Although the show didn’t last very long, I would love to explore that more. I’d also like to explore a character with mental illness. I feel like I’m heading into darker territory in a way. Maybe I’m releasing some stuff! [laughs] Maybe I’m using it as a therapy session! I’d also like to do more comedy. Overall, the goal is to play more different types of roles.

You do great work for charity and the causes close to your heart. What is your focus at the moment?

That’s very kind! With Katee (Sackhoff), I’ve done quite a few motorbike rides. Most of the charity work I do benefits animals. I have a huge heart when it comes to animals and my connection with them. I have a website where I sell autographed pictures and memorabilia from some shows where 100% of the profits go to animal charities. As you know, we’ve had some terrible fires here in California recently and it seems to be only getting worse as the years go along. That goes for not only the cats and dogs in our homes but the wildlife in the area. Organizations like Mercy For Animals, ASPCA and The Humane Society that work to help animals across the board are so important!

What is the best lesson we can take from your journey as an artist?

I’m just trying to keep my head above water! [laughs] Like I mentioned, I am just trying to stop and smell the roses a little bit more. Maybe it’s just because I’m getting to the age that I’m at and starting to appreciate things a little bit more. That’s where I’m at! Appreciate, work hard and improve but also take a step back and appreciate things a little bit more. I tend to be a little more A type and one who focuses on the next thing and the next thing and the next thing, so I sometimes forget to that! I had someone tell me once that they heard in their acting class I was someone who came to LA and had an immediate career. I was like, “I feel like I haven’t done anything yet!” It’s perspective! You have your ups and downs. I’m certainly at an age where there are a few less roles for females my age, so you can kind of get caught up in that. That’s why I think it’s important to take a step back and say, “You’ve worked hard. Be happy. Keep working and move forward!”

That is a great perspective! Thank you for your time today! I can’t wait to see where the journey takes you next! Most importantly, thank you for bringing the “Battlestar Galacticast” to life. I’m really enjoying it!

Thank you! I appreciate you tuning in! We’re having fun doing it! There may be one or two episodes with a little too much wine involved, so I’m just forewarning you! Maybe one or two episodes where there was a little too much wine! [laughs]

It’s been a long time since we have had any new “Battlestar” related content, so I’m sure a little extra wine will help stoke the fires! [laughs]

Well, good! [laughs] Thank you, Jason. I appreciate it!

Follow the continuing adventures of Tricia Helfer through social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Visit her official site at www.triciahelfer.com. ‘Battlestar Galacticast’ launched on Dec. 11. You can subscribe now on Apple Podcasts.

Posted in Blog, Celebrity Interviews, Featured Stories, Movies, TV and More!Comments (0)

BEING HUMAN: Sam Witwer Discusses His Career, Music And Much More!

BEING HUMAN: Sam Witwer Discusses His Career, Music And Much More!

sam-witwer-2013-feature-alt1

Known for his solid work in a bevy of high profile roles in some of science fiction’s biggest franchises, Sam Witwer quickly established himself as a young actor on the rise in Hollywood. Following the international success of the acclaimed BBC original series “Being Human”, the US remake of the darkly humorous, provocative drama stars Sam as the heroic “Aidan”, a sensual and brooding vampire in a house full of supernatural creatures struggling to keep their dark secrets from the world. His excellent work was noticed soon after the show’s premiere, as Sam received a Gemini Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing, Leading Dramatic Role. The series has gone on to become a staple for the Syfy network and will return for a fourth season early 2014. Witwer has become a fan favorite through his extensive work in the genre. He began his career in the memorable role of “Lt. Crashdown” in SyFy’s ‘Battlestar Galactica’ and played “Davis Bloom/ Doomsday”, the man fated to kill Superman, on CW’s ‘Smallville.’ ‘Star Wars’ fans and the gaming community will also recognize Sam as Darth Vader’s vengeful apprentice, “StarKiller” in the LucasArts’ video game sensation ‘Star Wars: The Force Unleashed’ (Parts One and Two). Sam was also nominated for an Emmy for his incredible voice work on the fan-favorite ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars,’ the award-winning animated series on the Cartoon Network as the iconic sith lord Darth Maul in season four and season five. Continuing her showcase his arsenal of talents with captivating and highly emotional performances, Sam Witwer have definitely started turning the heads of critics and audiences alike. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Sam Witwer to discuss how he got his start in the entertainment industry, landing his role on “Being Human,” his evolution as an actor, his often overlooked musical side and much more!

Let’s start with your early years. What got you started on your journey into the entertainment industry?

Sam Witwer

Sam Witwer

It all started when I was a kid. I thought a few things. I thought I was going to go and make music with my older cousin in California and that I was going to be an actor. As you get older, you grow up a little bit and decide certain things aren’t very realistic, so I wasn’t going to be an actor. When I got to high school I said “I’m going to be a rock star!” [laughs] So that was my idea early on — go from one realistic goal to another! [laughs] What I really wanted to do was hang out. I had figured out a very sort of Zen way to be not very ambitious. I wonder if that was a good thing or not? I had a certain level of ambition that caused me to want me to take over the high school, which I kind of did. I always wanted to do stuff, creative stuff. I thought “Hey, I am just happy to be with my friends. I will get some sort of job and I will play with my band.” That is exactly what I did. My parents said “What a about college?” My grades were terrible, so how was anyone going to let me go to college? They said “You do all of these school plays.” I said, “It’s just for fun though.” They pointed out that they don’t look as heavily as your grades if you try to go in through the drama division of certain colleges. Fast forward to me auditioning for all of these schools. I had one audition for a school that I really didn’t want to go to and my parents had to force me to go. I thought it was a big waste of time because they only took twenty people a year. The school was Juilliard. I went through that audition having learned my Shakespeare monologue that same morning and was really not taking the whole thing very seriously. I was in ripped jeans and a t-shirt with long hair, while everyone else was dressed up and looked like serious acting students. Somehow, I got a call a week later. I got called out of class and went to the student activities office where there was a phone call for me from Juilliard inviting me to go to that school. That was a bit of a shock to me. I was like “Wait? I am going to train to become a professional actor at Julliard? I didn’t even want to be an actor! What the hell is this?” [laughs] I was thrilled yet disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to play with my band because now I had to go away and launch myself elsewhere. I did and maybe because of who I am and maybe because I wasn’t sure I wanted to be an actor or maybe because of a lot of things, I don’t think that school really worked for me. Some things worked and some things really didn’t, so they very politely asked me to leave after my second year. [laughs]

The good news is that I had some encouragement from some of the founding members of the school. Whenever they would give me encourage me, they would take me aside secretly, as if they didn’t want to be seen encouraging me! [laughs] Nobody wanted to behind the punky kid who wanted to be a musician who doesn’t do what he is told! [laughs] I had a few people come and tell me they were going to recommend and push for me being out of there but that it was for my own good. That is basically what they were saying. They were saying things like “Look, it is a wonderful school. I helped found it and completely believe in it but this particular school will take something away from you that you may never get back. You need to leave before we take that from you.” It wasn’t until years later that I understood what they were talking about. It was good that I had people saying to me on the way out, “We think you are going to have a career.” I was like After that, I was like “Really? That is news to me! Alright! I will give it a shot!” That is how I got my start; by accidentally tripping into tripping my way into Julliard, tripping my way out and then launching from there.

You have been a huge part of a terrific series on Syfy, “Being Human.” You are several seasons deep at this point. How did you get involved with the project initially?

Sam Witwer

Sam Witwer

It is an interesting story. I did a show called “Smallville.” I don’t know why they hired me for that. They decided they wanted to hire me for it and I had only read once for them. I bypassed the entire screen test process and all of the other stuff they put people through. They hired me, whichwas a very generous move on their part! I don’t know why! I don’t know what it was  they saw in my work that made them think I should play that role. The role was “Doomsday,” who is monster who didn’t want to be a monster. He was a good guy. I did what they wrote and played a conflicted guy — a good guy who had a bad condition. I think I may have temporarily burnt a bridge or two with the “Smallville” people. I don’t really know if I have or not. I am not sure how they would react if I saw them in public. These days I don’t know if I would have been as honest when people asked me “Hey, what did you think of the finale from Season 8?” I said I didn’t agree with it and I don’t’ think I went much further than saying that. At the same time, that is not supporting your own work, even just saying you didn’t agree with it. If you are in something, you should be in it. I think because of that and a couple of other things, they tried to give me another role on the show once my character died. They were going to do it in a way that made sense that he would look the same. I didn’t really want to do it. I think between those two things, I probably left a sour taste in that casting director’s mouth.

Flash forward; they were having a really hard time casting “Being Human.” It is about this character who is a really good guy, who has this really messed up condition and doesn’t want to be a monster. Apparently, even after looking at hundreds of guys, they were really having trouble casting the role. The casting director said “I think I actually know a guy who could do this.” Then they called me in for an audition. They sent me the script, I opened it and read three pages before I saw the word “vampire” and closed it. I thought “We don’t need another one of those guys.” [laughs] Why would we need another vampire? I wasn’t going to go in to audition. Luckily, a friend of mine named Laura Kerry called me up and said “Are you passing on Being Human?” I said “Yeah.” She said “Did you read the script? No, no you didn’t because if you did, you wouldn’t be passing.” She told me to be a responsible actor and read the damn script! She shamed me into reading it! [laughs] The shame grew as I continued through those pages. They had sent the first two scripts and they were just amazing! They were fantastic. That is when I realized it wasn’t a vampire as much as it was a drug addict. I thought, “This is really cool!” I went in for the role and saw the casting director I thought was pissed at me again. I even asked him, “Hey, am I OK in this office?” I think someone said, “Yak know, for a while you weren’t but I think we are fine now.” [laughs] I went in and met with Anna Fricke, Jeremy Carver and Adam Kane.

Thankfully, that audition process was very, very easily because they made it known very plainly that they wanted me to do it. In fact, even at the screen test there would be moments where they would take people aside and make adjustments before they go in again. They talked to them for about ten minutes. Adam would take me aside and say something like “So, how was your weekend?” It took me by surprise and I said “Uhhh, ok. Do you have any adjustments?” He said “No but we have to stand here and wait ten minutes, so it seems like no one has an unfair advantage, so how was your weekend? What did ya do?” [laughs] They really made me feel like I had the role from the moment I walked in. I appreciated that because some actors don’t do well when they feel unwelcome. There can be a psychological impact there and with “Being Human,” I was made to feel very, very welcome. I couldn’t not audition well because I felt like they wanted me there. That is how the role came to be.

sam-witwer-2013-4

You have some very talented writers on the show. What do you feel you might have brought to your character that may not have been in the original scripts?

Sam Witwer

Sam Witwer

I think all of us have really brought a lot to the characters. We are at the point where we know these people very, very well. The first thing you see of my character in episode one is him murdering a girl and then in a minute and a half of screen time later, I am making jokes with Sam Huffington. We didn’t want to make a show that takes the murder of an innocent woman lightly. What we had to do was create a character who compartmentalizes. He is like the Titanic with all of these separate watertight compartments. They isolate each part from each other but they also leak and make him sink! [laughs] That is the character, right? You have to figure out a way to have him be in the depths of despair one moment and when someone walks in, he immediately hides it, smiles, is gracious and it is like nothing is wrong. I figured as long as we could create a subtext for the character where the audience is looking at him and he can be smiling and joking around but they are like “We know this is a lie. We know he is darker on the inside.” If we did that, it would allow us to get away with murder and mayhem because we know that he feels guilty about it. Even when he is acting dopey we know he feels it because we see glimpses of it. The other part of it is that you give a character and inner life like that, and then the audience tends to wonder about them. They have a tendency to wonder what is going on underneath the hood or behind the curtain. The other thing I think I brought to it was the process of figuring out how it all worked. I asked Jeremy Carver if he wanted me to give him the verbal sense, through his use of language, that he has been around for 260 years. Carver said “No. He sounds like us.” I said “Ok. If he sounds like us, then he sounds like us from different time periods as well. He should sound like us from the 50s. If he sounds like us from the 20s, he should sound like us from the 20s. He has coverage or an act he is always putting on to blend in to his surroundings.” That is something the writers and I discovered together as we were playing and talking about this stuff. The most important thing was to make sure I was playing an addict always. Even today, I am still playing an addict and still doing that. Thankfully, the writers have not gotten sick of writing that stuff because I find it fascinating! He is a guy who is constantly being challenged by this.

When it comes to the characters you play, is there a particular process you go about when you take on a new project?

Sam Witwer

Sam Witwer

The process is always different depending on the project. It requires different things. If I am doing a “Star Wars” thing, I will definitely put a little more theater into it. That is using a different part of your brain, so to speak. “Being Human” has become this interesting exercise in playing extreme stakes and letting comedy slip out as almost an afterthought or a mistake. That requires a lot of spontaneity. There is a very improv type feel on the set, which is wonderful! Some jobs require you to really think your shit out before you get in there. You have to really know what you are doing. “Being Human,” at this point, is a job where we have all certainly at this point we have all done our homework. It is now about arriving on the set and being totally open to wherever that stuff takes you and having a real sense of humor about all of it. The most fascinating thing I find about the job that it is drama and we go to some very dark places, especially this year! We go to extraordinarily dark places but we make tolerable by giving you fun characters to hang out with. They are people. They are real people. We don’t play the comedy of it in an over the top, sitcom-like or campy way. We have it come out of the situations and play it like this the crazy crap that comes out of your mouth in these situations! I really have to give credit to my co-stars for being able to pull that off as well as they have. I feel I have learned a hell of a lot from them when it comes to that skill set. Not to toot my own horn but I am a very funny guy! [laughs] I always have been. In college, everyone thought I was going to go off and be a comedian, rather than an actor. Sure, if you put me in front of people and tell me I can be as over the top as I want and make them laugh, I will do something ridiculous to make myself look like a dick to get the laugh. What I didn’t know how to do before “Being Human” is play this guy who is going through all of these grave circumstances and play it straight but make it funny anyway. That is hard to do. There is a reason why when you see like the brilliant “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” are great. They bring out the humor in so many things and exaggerate things. On “Being Human,” we are not doing that. We are trying to play it totally straight but still have it be really funny. A lot of that is the writers being hilarious people. The other half of that is our ability to pull it off. Again, I didn’t quite have that ability before the show.

Sam Huffington & Sam Witwer

Sam Huffington & Sam Witwer

Here is an interesting thing which is almost a little bit of a spoiler. We do, for brief moments, spend time with Josh and Aidan around Season One time, for brief moments. Maybe not so brief moments, I don’t know. I’m trying not to spoil you here! [Sam] Huntington and I had to wrap our brains around what we were doing in Season One. I was very, very internal and very subtle. That really worked to create a mystique for the character. Huffington was huge! He was just all over the place with giant performances. As time has gone on, I have become a little bit bigger and more external and he has become a little bit smaller and more internal. While are both on our sides of the fence, we have come together and learned a lot from each other. Going back and playing Season One Aiden felt like I was putting on really comfortable jeans. I was like “Awesome! I know exactly how to play this guy! I remember this guy! I love this version of the character. At the same time, there would be something going on with Sammy and Megan on set and they would be doing their thing, as we have a lot of improv on our set, and here would be these comedic targeted opportunities floating right past me! I feel like I have a sniper rifle now and I was letting them go one by one! In Season One, I didn’t know how to do that yet! I wasn’t as quick as I am now comedically and I don’t know how to slip those things in. Obviously, none of us were as good at these characters as we are now but it was interesting to limit myself to re-create the Season One character. There were points where I had to say “No, no, no! Season One Aiden doesn’t do that!” In fact, what is funny about Season One Aidan is how annoyed he is with his roommates. He walks into a scene; he constantly has a headache and really doesn’t want to deal with Josh. He is straight man to josh in Season One. That is how we do it. Yeah, it was fascinating to go and revisit a place you grew up in a way.

Evolution is a big part of what you do as an actor, as you hinted about there. What do you consider your biggest evolution as an actor has been from the beginning of your career up until this point?

Saw Witwer

Saw Witwer

Probably the fact I have ended up being able to make a living! [laughs] I am still pretty shocked and amazed that happened! It is a very rare thing. What has been my biggest evolution as an actor? I don’t know? I can do things I couldn’t do before. Whenever I run into old work of mine on TV, I will watch something I am doing and say “Interesting. I see what I am trying to do and now I know how to do that. I was just a kid then.” Then there are other times when I wonder if I can still do some of the things I used to do. There are times I see myself do things in my old work where I say “Whoa. What the hell did I just do there? I am really good at that but I haven’t done that in a while.” It is an interesting thing. There is a shift you find in your work.

You also have a musical side which, as you mentioned, was a big part of your life. Any plans of revisiting that aspect of your career?

Yes. I am very excited to finish my second album. In fact, I have been doing some writing this past weekend. That is the first time in a long time that I have written any music. I have a half finished album just sitting there. I have been so busy with everything else that I haven’t been able to get to it. There will be at least one Crashtones’ song that will be in “Being Human” this season. I am really happy about that! It just had never occurred to me before to present it to the production. “Hey guys! I have some music!” [laughs] That is all it took, so that is kind of cool.

What are some of the musical influences that inspired you early on?

There was music constantly when I was growing up. My Dad is real deal musical talent. He really is quite brilliant. He has managed to teach himself all kinds of instruments and plays them with an extreme amount if precision. My cousin Michael and his father are both extremely talented as well. Music was always present. I listened to a lot of music as a baby and then as a young kid. I think that is where my love of music comes from, due in no small part to my father’s encouragement. When I showed any interest towards music, he helped facilitate my development by buying me an instrument. If I wanted drums, I got them. If it was a bass, I got a bass. That was an awesome thing for a parent to do.

What can you tell us about your songwriting process?

I always record while I am writing. I am always record because I don’t know proper musical notation because I am self taught. My way of keeping it together is to record it, listen to it and construct it from there. The recording process is literally a building process for me. It always has been. Even back in high school, before all the digital stuff, I had a Tascam 388 recorder, which is the same machine Primus’ “Frizzle Fry” was recorded on. It is a wonder old, reel to reel, 8 track tape recorder. It was 8 channels with a mixer built in. I would mic up the drums and go into the other room and play the drums in a certain pattern. Then I would return to the other room and start laying down bass. I would then play guitar over that. You would build it as you go. Sometimes you have an idea in your head and are hearing it already but sometimes you are just winging it. There are a few instances where I had a song pretty much fully formed. I knew how it went and I knew some of the lyrics already, so I started laying it down. That is the process.

Sam Witwer

Sam Witwer

For those who haven’t heard the band, how would you describe your music sonically?

I would say it is James Brown meets Peter Gabriel meets Mike Patton meets Red Hot Chili Peppers meets Incubus. You name it; it is all over the place! [laughs] Every song is kind of a different story with a different character telling the story. The sonic principles are always different, as are the drums, guitars and the voice. It is a very challenging thing to manage. Usually when you are doing an album you have a predetermined sound you stick with and I had to be ambitious and create a different sound each time with greater degrees of success or failure depending on what song you are listening to. All of the songs are very, very different. That is what it is. The Crashtones “Colorful In The Stereo” is what it is called.

What is the best piece of advice piece of advice you can pass along to young creatives who look to you as an inspiration?

Here is a really good piece of advice given to by Sir Patrick Stewart of all people! He says, “Do what you do. Do your work. Do the best that you can and then don’t give a damn.”

Are there any charities you are involved with at the moment that we can help spread the word on?

Yeah. The International Advocate For Glycoprotein Storage Diseases is a great organization. The website is www.ismrd.org. They focus on muscular degenerative diseases that affect adults and a lot of children. I am hoping I can raise a little bit of awareness on them.

Thanks for your time today, Sam. I appreciate it and look forward to seeing what you have in store for us in the years to come.

Thank you so much Jason!

Check out Sam Witwer’s music and latest happening at his official website, www.samwitwer.com. Connect with Sam on Twitter at twitter.com/SamWitwer. Make your calendars as ‘Being Human’ kicks off it’s exciting fourth season in January 2014!

Posted in Blog, Celebrity Interviews, Featured Stories, Movies, TV and More!, MusicComments (0)

RIDDICK: Vin Diesel Unveils First Teaser Trailer For His Highly Anticipated Film

RIDDICK: Vin Diesel Unveils First Teaser Trailer For His Highly Anticipated Film

riddickthrone-sm

Everyone’s favorite chrome-domed action hero, Vin Diesel, has just released the first teaser trailer for his long awaited flick, ‘Riddick’!Riddick’ is slated for a September 6th, 2013 release date and Vin Diesel has been keeping fans informed along the way via his official Facebook page.

The film also stars Karl Urban (Star Trek), Jordi Molla, Matt Nable (Killer Elite), Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica),  Bokeem Woodbine (Total Recall), Dave Bautista (The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption), Conrad Pla (Immortals), Raoul Trujillo (Apocalypto), and Nolan Funk (Aliens in America).

Synopsis: “Betrayed by his own kind and left for dead on a desolate planet, Riddick (Diesel) fights for survival against alien predators and becomes more powerful and dangerous than ever before. Soon bounty hunters from throughout the galaxy descend on Riddick only to find themselves pawns in his greater scheme for revenge. With his enemies right where he wants them, Riddick unleashes a vicious attack of vengeance before returning to his home planet of Furya to save it from destruction.”

Posted in Blog, Movies, TV and More!Comments (0)

Vin Diesel Offers Up Another New Still From Upcoming ‘Riddick’ Flick

Vin Diesel Offers Up Another New Still From Upcoming ‘Riddick’ Flick

riddickthrone-sm

Everyone’s favorite chrome-domed action hero, Vin Diesel, has just released a new photo of his character in action!Riddick’ is slated for a September 6th, 2013 release date and Vin Diesel has been keeping fans informed along the way via his official Facebook page.

The film also stars Karl Urban (Star Trek), Jordi Molla, Matt Nable (Killer Elite), Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica),  Bokeem Woodbine (Total Recall), Dave Bautista (The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption), Conrad Pla (Immortals), Raoul Trujillo (Apocalypto), and Nolan Funk (Aliens in America).

This is the statement that coupled the photo:

“September 6th 2013! It has been 9 years since the Chronicles of Riddick was released… all along I knew I would eventually have to return to that dark place, the mind of an Alpha Furyan…”

Synopsis: “Betrayed by his own kind and left for dead on a desolate planet, Riddick (Diesel) fights for survival against alien predators and becomes more powerful and dangerous than ever before. Soon bounty hunters from throughout the galaxy descend on Riddick only to find themselves pawns in his greater scheme for revenge. With his enemies right where he wants them, Riddick unleashes a vicious attack of vengeance before returning to his home planet of Furya to save it from destruction.”

Posted in Blog, Movies, TV and More!Comments (0)

Vin Diesel Offers Up Badass New Still From Upcoming ‘Riddick’ Flick

Vin Diesel Offers Up Badass New Still From Upcoming ‘Riddick’ Flick

Riddick-diesel-knife-2013

Everyone’s favorite chrome-domed action hero, Vin Diesel, has just released a new photo of his character in action!Riddick’ is slated for a September 6th, 2013 release date and Vin Diesel has been keeping fans informed along the way via his official Facebook page.

The film also stars Karl Urban (Star Trek), Jordi Molla, Matt Nable (Killer Elite), Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica),  Bokeem Woodbine (Total Recall), Dave Bautista (The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption), Conrad Pla (Immortals), Raoul Trujillo (Apocalypto), and Nolan Funk (Aliens in America).

Official Synopsis: “Diesel reprises his role as the antihero Riddick, a dangerous, escaped convict wanted by every bounty hunter in the known galaxy. The infamous Riddick has been left for dead on a sun-scorched planet that appears to be lifeless. Soon, however, he finds himself fighting for survival against alien predators more lethal than any human he’s encountered. The only way off is for Riddick to activate an emergency beacon and alert mercenaries who rapidly descend to the planet in search of their bounty.

The first ship to arrive carries a new breed of merc, more lethal and violent, while the second is captained by a man whose pursuit of Riddick is more personal. With time running out and a storm on the horizon that no one could survive, his hunters won’t leave the planet without Riddick’s head as their trophy.”

Posted in Blog, Movies, TV and More!Comments (0)

Universal’s ‘The Thing’ Prequel Get A Release Date!

Universal’s ‘The Thing’ Prequel Get A Release Date!

thingpostUniversal’s The Thing prequel now has an official release date. According  Box Office Mojo, the film is slated for a April 29th, 2011 release. Matthijs van Heijningen, Jr. is directing from a screenplay by Eric Heisserer and Ronald D. Moore.

The cast for the flick includes Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Jonathan Walker, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Dennis Storhøi, Trond Espen Seim, Jørgen Langhelle, Eric Christian Olsen, Stig Henrik Hoff, Jan Gunnar Røise, Kristofer Hivju, and Jo Adrian Haavind.

Synopsis: A Ph.D. candidate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) joins a Norwegian research team in Antarctica after it discovers an alien ship in the ice. When a trapped organism is freed and begins a series of attacks, she is forced to team with a blue-collar mercenary helicopter pilot (Joel Edgerton) to stop the rampage.

Posted in Blog, MusicComments (0)

Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton Join The Cast of ‘The Thing’

Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton Join The Cast of ‘The Thing’

The first bit of casting for the prequel to Jon Carpenter’s classic, The Thing, has hit the web via THR’s Heat Vision.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Grindhouse, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World) and Joel Edgerton (The Secret Life of Us, Kinky Boots) will star in “The Thing.” The film is inspired by the events at the beginning of the 1982 version where remaining members of the Norweigan team are trying desperately to kill a runaway dog that has been infected with the organism.

Winstead will play a Ph.D. candidate who joins a Norwegian research team in Antarctica after it discovers an alien ship in the ice. When a trapped organism is freed and begins a series of attacks, she is forced to team with a blue-collar mercenary helicopter pilot (Edgerton) to stop the rampage.

The film is set for a March 15, 2010 start date in Toronto, Canada. Matthijs Van Heijningen is directing the film, which was written by Ronald D. Moore and Eric Heisserer.

Posted in Blog, Movies, TV and More!Comments (0)

Spike TV’s “Scream 2009!” Award Winners Announced

Spike TV’s “Scream 2009!” Award Winners Announced

scream_awards_2009

The stars aligned last night (October 17th, 2009) for Spike TV’s “SCREAM 2009!” The 4th annual event commemorating all things sci-fi, fantasy, horror and comic book will feature the hottest films, TV shows, comics, actors, creators, and icons who have influenced and shaped these genres.

The will premiere on Spike TV on Tuesday, October 27 (10:00 PM-Midnight, ET/PT). “SCREAM 2009” will also feature World Premieres from some of the most anticipated theatrical and television releases. Read on for the winners…

Most Anticipated Fantasy Film – Alice in Wonderland

Best Sci-Fi Actress – Megan Fox — Transformers 2

Break-out Performance Female – Isabelle Lucas — Transformers 2

Best Villain – Alexander Skarsgård — True Blood

Break-out Performance Male – Taylor Lautner – Twilight

Best Comic Book Writer – Jeff Jones

Best Comic Book Movie – Watchmen

Rock Immortal Award – Keith Richards

Best Horror Movie – Drag Me to Hell

Best Horror Actor Male – Stephen Moyer – True Blood

Best Horror Actor Female – Anna Paquin – True Blood

Best Director – JJ Abrams – Star Trek

Best TV Show – True Blood

Best Fantasy Movie – Twilight

Scream Mastermind Lifetime Achievement Award – George A. Romero

Comic-Con Icon Lifetime Achievement Award – Stan Lee

Ultimate Scream – Star Trek

Posted in Blog, Movies, TV and More!Comments (0)

Spike TV Prepares For Star-Studded “Scream 2009!” Awards!

Spike TV Prepares For Star-Studded “Scream 2009!” Awards!

scream_awards_2009

The stars are aligned for Spike TV’s “SCREAM 2009!” The 4th annual event commemorating all things sci-fi, fantasy, horror and comic book will feature the hottest films, TV shows, comics, actors, creators, and icons who have influenced and shaped these genres. “SCREAM 2009” will also feature World Premieres from some of the most anticipated theatrical and television releases. The show tapes on Saturday, October 17 at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, CA and will premiere on Spike TV on Tuesday, October 27 (10:00 PM-Midnight, ET/PT).

Continuing its tradition of presenting World Premiere footage, “SCREAM 2009” will feature “Twilight” star Taylor Lautner as he unveils exclusive footage from “The Twilight Saga: New Moon.” The show will also feature never-before-seen content from the upcoming “Star Trek” DVD release. “SCREAM 2009” will debut exclusive content from Martin Scorsese’s upcoming thriller “Shutter Island” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. “SCREAM 2009” will also show a sneak peek of the highly-anticipated new television series “V” with Elizabeth Mitchell.

As previously announced, “SCREAM 2009” will honor the godfather of the modern horror film, George Romero with this year’s Scream Mastermind Award. Quentin Tarantino has been tapped to present Romero with this prestigious honor. In addition, the cast of “The Big Bang Theory” including Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar will be on hand to present the “Battlestar Galactica” cast reunion farewell tribute.

Fan favorites added to this year’s star-studded talent roster include Megan Fox, Tobey Maguire, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Carpenter, Eliza Dushku, Jackie Earle Haley, Jaime King, Sam Raimi, Eli Roth, Liv Tyler, Karl Urban, Elijah Wood, cast members from “The Vampire Diaries” including Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley, stars of the upcoming “Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant” featuring Josh Hutcherson, Chris Massoglia and John C. Reilly, “Drag Me To Hell” cast members Reggie Lee, David Paymer, Dileep Rao and Lorna Raver, along with previously announced talent featuring Stan Lee and the cast and creators of “Battlestar Galactica” and “True Blood.” Additional guest appearances will be announced shortly.

JJ Abrams’ sci-fi action-adventure “Star Trek” tops the “SCREAM 2009” list with 17 nominations including the categories of The Ultimate Scream, Best Science Fiction Movie, Best Director, Best Ensemble, Holy Sh*t Scene-of-the-Year and a nod in the all-new Fight-Scene-of-the-Year category. Comic book-inspired blockbusters “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and “Watchmen” each nabbed 13 nominations, big screen adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s best selling novel “Twilight” received 10 nominations, while HBO’s vampire-themed television series “True Blood” garnered nine nominations. Fans can log onto scream.spike.com until Saturday, October 17 to vote for their favorites.

Posted in Blog, Movies, TV and More!Comments (0)

Bryan Singer To Helm Big Screen Version of ‘Battlestar Galactica’

Bryan Singer To Helm Big Screen Version of ‘Battlestar Galactica’

battlestarclassicUniversal Pictures has brought director Bryan Singer on board to direct and produce a big screen adaptation of Battlestar Galactica. The original series producer, Glen Larson, is also aboard the project.

The story of Battlestar Galactica followed a band of humans who were the only survivors of a devastating attack on their colonial homeworld by the vicious cybernetic race known as the Cylons. The survivors, led by Commander Adama, embark on a journey through space aboard the military vessel Battlestar Galactica to find refuge on a distant planet called Earth.

The new film we would be another reboot with no connection to the original series or the recent Sci Fi Channel Series (helmed by executive producer Ronald Moore). However, staples such as the characters Adama, Starbuck, and Baltar will remain intact.

“Gossip Girl” creator Josh Schwartz wrote the first draft of that script.

Posted in Blog, Movies, TV and More!Comments (1)