It was the end of the day, so I thought Katee was going to be a no show. (Can I breathe yet?) But, I just got word, she’s here and she’s ready. I sit with the other reporters and wait, but not for long, cause in walks a very cheerful Katee Sackhoff, in person, with noticeable red streaks in her short blonde hair. Then, the publicist does something very unusual; she introduces each of the reporters and where they are from. They go through everyone, then get to me (last of course!) and the publicist states “This is Jason Coleman from…wait…don’t tell me….of yes, JoBlo.com!” - I think my heart literally stopped beating.
But enough about me, on with the interview you’ve been waiting for. Katee, who is very sweet in person, is playing a character in the film that Director Lussier describes as “a free spirit, who’s a little kooky and a little crazy.” Sackhoff, who is up for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work as tough woman Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica (yes, I know the show just won a Peabody as well!) and also recently finished the film THE LAST SENTINEL with Don “The Dragon” Wilson, talked about how this character differs from TV character of Starbuck, her crazy work schedule, and living in Vancouver.
KATEE SACKHOFF INTERVIEW
Can you talk a little bit about how you came into this project and your character?
My agent had called me and said that WHITE NOISE 2 is coming out and they needed a character. I had been shooting THE LAST SENTINEL at the time, so I was in the middle of the desert, you know, not sleeping and shooting from both guns and really tired. And he said, “Well you can’t audition for it because you don’t have time, so we’re gonna send the script to you and can you meet the director tomorrow morning at you know, 11 o’clock?” And I was like, “We’re doing a night shoot till like 9 o’clock tomorrow morning, so…okay?”
So I’m reading the script like you know in the car as I’m driving, okay, okay flip through it, okay, okay. And I think I was so tired that I wasn’t nervous at all and I said “Yeah, okay, cool, right on, it’s cool, great, uh-huh, totally understand the character”, which I did and I don’t know why. And then they offered it to me the next day, which is pretty awesome, I was extremely excited about it.
My character is Sherry Clarke; she’s a kind of a little eccentric nurse, who ends up being in the emergency room when Nathan’s character is brought in, in the beginning of the film. And they kind of become friends in a sense because they’re both kind of going through the pain, kind of grieving process in their lives. So she kind of latches on to him to help him through the process because it’s something she had gone through a couple of years before, so she thinks she can inevitably help him through the process, a little better then he can do it by himself.
She’s very fun, she’s a lot different then Starbuck, so I kind of get to be the damsel in distress, which is nice. I called my agent after one scene and I went “I just screamed and I cried and I actually got beat up and it was great and I couldn’t fight back!” (Laughs) And I was like “But at the same time I still wanna just like give him a roundhouse to the head!” So the character is really fun, it’s different and she changes her hair color, like everyday, every week, so it’s pretty fun.
What has been the most challenging part of doing WHITE NOISE 2 for you?
When I view myself, I think that Patrick the director’s really amazing and I think on Battlestar we run into the problem where director’s come in and it’s such a well oiled machine at this point, that they really just don’t have their hand on everything like they could or should. So I’m really not used to a director actually directing me and it’s been the most amazing experience in the world. I think some of the best moments that I think that I’ve personally have felt that I’ve had as this character, have come as a direct result of Patrick saying “Do it this way Katee”, or “remember be sweet”. Cause out of habit, as Starbuck, it’s just sometimes I’m speaking monotone and that’s just something I give out for her. But it’s very easy to fall into that because it’s comfortable and so he reminds me a couple of times…to smile! (Laughs)
Do you believe in the paranormal?
Yeah, of course I do. I think that’s what’s so scary about this film, as opposed to something like a HALLOWEEN movie, or something like that. I bring it up only because I did one (HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION), so I know how unrealistic the horror is I guess to me. I think that this is more of a psychological thriller.
Does your character believe Nathan or does she just want to help him when he starts experiencing the paranormal?
My character doesn’t know anything about that. She’s completely separate from that story line of his, that he’s going through. Until the very end, when he calls her and he says I need your help. (Laughs) He asks her…he just says he’s doing some research and she seems to know everything about the topics that he’s talking about, so that’s when she starts to kind of get clued in on something that he’s going through and that’s happening. But she really doesn’t know the depth to which he has sunk into until then.
What are you shooting tonight?
Tonight is one of those walking the line scenes, where she just decides to show up on his front door step, like there’s nothing wrong and she’s like “Hey, you wanna get drunk? Okay. Like I know your wife just died, but come on!”
So, in tonight’s scene, your go to Abe’s house to get him drunk…
(Jokingly) She just wants to get lucky! (Laughs) She’s just really horny!
Nathan Fillion, who is nearby, hears what’s going on.
(Nathan from the other room) You gotta learn to loosen up!
(Laughing) I do so many interviews; I kind of try to make it interesting! No I think he ends up saving her from an attacker in the beginning and that’s kind of how they meet.
So have you had a break at all, with Battlestar finishing in January, and then you did THE LAST SENTINEL and you’re doing this and then doesn’t Battlestar start again?
Battlestar started on Monday. (This interview is on Thursday)
You’re doing both?
Yeah. Yeah, I’m really, really tired (laughs), I am. I think I had a week off between when Battlestar ended and LAST SENTINEL, cause it was Christmas. So I took a week off and then just kind of dove right back in. And that wasn’t the plan, but I was sitting at my house and I was talking to my agent and I was like “You know what? I need a job.” And he was like, “You’ve been out for like a week Katee.” And I was like “Yeah, I’m a little bored.” And just kind of like sitting around at home doing nothing was great for the first three days; I mean I wasn’t really bored like you know eating burgers and stuff.
I asked Nathan this same question - a sci-fi hypothetical, if Malcolm Reynolds were to fight Starbuck, who would win?
(She sees Nathan out of the corner of her eye) Who’s Malcolm Reynolds? (She laughs and Nathan gives her a look) You like that? I’m just kidding. Probably me, yeah, yeah maybe?
(Nathan calls out from the other room) Malcolm Reynolds would sit on you!
Did you and Nathan know each other before this film?
(Jokingly) Separated at birth!
Seeing that you and Nathan have such a good rapport and your both funny, is there any room in this film for comedic interplay between the two of you?
(Jokingly) I carry him, I do, I carry him. No, there are some moments and I think just working with Nathan has been so great because we do have that, but I think it’s just little things that even if it wasn’t written in, it just kind of finds it’s way into the script in little moments like, you know, like he makes me laugh so hard right before the scene and I’m like “What’s my dialogue?” So it’s been great, it’s been really great.
How do you like shooting in Vancouver?
It’s like my second home now; I’ve been working up here so much. I think that when I started acting eight years ago, the first series I ever shot was up here, so it’s seven years ago. I think that this is my sixth job here and I think I’ve worked in Los Angeles once. So I finally just bought a house here and said screw it. Its not gonna happen, I’m not going back, it’s just crazy at this point.
What’s it like going from being an asskicker to a caregiver in this film, in the middle of a day no less?
This character is actually closer to who I am in real life. She rambles a little bit more then I do, so that’s been kind of difficult. It’s hard, I think the hardest thing for me was to go back into Starbuck, cause she’s so strong and capable and crazy. Like really, really crazy. So that’s a hard one.
With Battlestar getting a lot of critical acclaim, and the ratings are very good on Sci-Fi Channel, although it hasn’t gone through the roof, do you guys get frustrated that the show doesn’t have a broader audience?
Occasionally, it’s a little frustrating sometimes. But I think right now it’s kind of our own little personal secret, you know. It’s also kind of cool for the fans as well, the fans that are really die-hard fans kind of like the fact that people don’t really know what it is. It’s not the water cooler show you know, that everyone is sitting around talking about, but it’s really nice. I think it allows us, you know Sci-Fi especially, allows us. The network has been so great as far as the topics that we discuss, you know we push the envelope many times and I think that if we were on NBC, we wouldn’t get away with things like that. So there was talk at one point about putting it on NBC and I think everybody in the cast was like, NO. We’d be cancelled after a week, I mean there’s no way, we wouldn’t get the ratings. And we all know that, so we’re happy being on Sci-Fi right now.
Have you ever run into crazed original Battlestar fans that are negative to you because you’ve turned Starbuck into an asskicking woman?
Occasionally, yeah. There are definitely people out there that are purists and they don’t want anything to do with Starbuck being a female. And that’s fine, you can’t win them all. So they’re missing out. I mean, it’s such a well written show and if you want to sit here and compare the two characters, you can’t. Because as soon as it became female, you can’t compare the characters, it’s completely different. They may have the same name and some of the same habits, but for the most part, it’s not even the same character. So, you know, they still talk about me and that’s fine. I’m developing a very thick skin.
Anyway, I must admit, when Katee talked about having to develop a thick skin, I was very nervous. But whether she knew about my review, or didn’t know (jury’s still out!), she was a real delight in person and I wish her success with this film. As do I for everyone involved, as this is one of the nicest cast and crews I’ve ever met, all the best to WHITE NOISE 2: THE LIGHT, it was a lot of fun!
(And I’ll throw in an interesting tidbit about the new season of Battlestar Galactica for the fans I ticked off – Katee hinted that she may soon be sporting a V FOR VENDETTA, an ALIEN 3 for the new season, get my drift?)
Thanks to all involved, Director Patrick Lussier, actors Nathan Fillion (you the man!) and Katee Sackhoff and a special thanks to publicist Susan Steeno. Until next time!