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RDM: Hello, and welcome to the podcast for episode fifteen of the second season, "Scar." I'm Ronald D. Moore, executive producer and developer of the new Battlestar Galactica and this week I'm joined by the writers of this particular episode.
Weddle: I'm David Weddle.
Thompson: And I'm Bradley Thompson, and we were very happy to work on this one.
RDM: This is a good one. This is my- one of the standout episodes of the second season, I think. And I'm trying to remember how we- where this episode began in our- our- on our conversations.
Thompson: There was- well, you had come up with feeling that you wanted to get into the world of the fighter pilot.
Thompson: You wanted to see what it was like to sweat down on the deck, and what were their lives like. And David Eick came up with an idea that he wanted to see a mano a mano between Kat and- and Kara. That Kara's been out of it for a while there may be a new top gun.
Weddle: That's something that Brad and I wanted to do-
RDM: (whispers) A little closer to that.
Weddle: -in some ways Act- Act- in some ways "Act of Contrition" was a first stab at that. I know from the day we came on the show Brad and I were talking about we wanted to see the life of the Viper pilots almost from the day they get- time they get up in the morning to around the clock.
RDM: Which is really weird we started also with last year's "Act of Contrition" which you guys wrote as well, which was all about the first group of new- new "nuggets" that would come into- into basic training on Galactica after the Fleet was- was on the run. And I think I was- I- I shared their interest in this arena as well. It felt like one of the key aspects of the series, right from the beginning, was, "Ok. This is an aircraft carrier in space." And we went to great pains to try to delineate all the- the markers of what it meant to be on an aircraft carrier, how the squadrons were organized, how the ship was organized, how the pilots were treated and interacted, more or less as accurately as we could portray it. So the thought of doing a show that was all about th- the fighter pilots and all about the squadron, really getting into their lives, was always very appealing.
Weddle: I know one of the the things that Brad and I talked about, one of our favorite World War II movies is "Battleground" because it's the life- the war from the perspective of the grunts. Which in this case, Viper pilots are. And they're part of a larger mission, but they don't always know the big picture of what's going on and they're caught up in just what their tasks are.
Thompson: One of the toughest things about setting this- this up so that it would be- there was one other aspect to this which was, we needed the enemy because Ron got this idea that he wanted only one battle in space. We weren't going to do a series of battles.
RDM: Oh, right. Right.
Thompson: Or a scorekeeping thing and there was- so we had this box to work into. So the question was, "Ok. How can we set this competition up in the framework of one fight that's going to determine everything?"
RDM: Now this scene- the scene that you're seeing here in the tease of them gathering all the- the possessions of the dead pilot together into a box actually lead to a scene that ultimately we cut in editing. We shot it and cut it. Where they auctioned off the pos- the possessions of the dead pilot, which grew out of something I remember from history and fictionalized history as well where in the- in the Royal Navy back in the Napoleonic War era when members of the crew died, officers or enlisted men died, they would take all their possessions and they would take them up onto the deck after the battle and they would auction them off to the other members of the crew, and it was a way of saying goodbye and it was al- or carrying some pieces of their memory forward and also in a practical sense there was gear to be had. And there extra shirts and there were buttons and all kinds of- of things that people actually wanted.
Thompson: Especially in a- in a civilization such as we've got here in the rag tag fleet, a skin magazine or-
RDM: The skin magazines, yeah.
Thompson: That would be a very rare thing. They're probably not making a whole lot of those anymore.
RDM: And we did shoot that aspect of the- of the sce- sequence. This scene was going to then cut to Lee holding up the skin magazine from Beano and it was like, "Ok. How much do I have for this?" And there was a big rowdy scene. I think when we cut it together and put it in the show my feeling was that it f- it was too big. That the- that the- the energy was too up and it didn't quite read as a quasi-memorial Irish wake kind of an event. It was a little bit too much of a- of a balls-out party. And it felt- we were so early in the show that it pulled you out of the fact that these guys, these new guys, are stepping into a situation where people get killed all the time.
Thompson: What wasn't really obvious with that- with the scene that was cut was that these guys are really overcompensating for that loss. They're- they're really- their big partying and all of that stuff-
Thompson: -was really to hide their grief from one another. (beeping in the background)
Weddle: What I love is- is we're really focusing on those bunks are being emptied and filled on a- if not daily basis, weekly basis, and this is an ongoing atrophy that's eating at these people day in and day out and other episodes we would never normally focus on that. It's great to take the microscope down to these pilots themselves.
Thompson: One of the nice things that Michael Nankin brought to this- many nice things he brought to this show was the- the little moment you saw earlier with the- putting the tag of Beano on the new guy-
RDM: Oh, yeah.
RDM: Yeah, I love that.
Thompson: -which is... *grunt like being punched*. It's almost like that moment in- in- in- when the- whey they bring the- when the guys climb into the body bags in Apocaly- not "Apocalypse Now". The Kubrick film.
RDM: Oh, "Full Metal Jacket."
Thompson: "Full Metal Jacket."
RDM: Oh, yeah yeah yeah.
Thompson: They get there and they're in the body bag and you go, "Oh. Wait a minute. Oh. I'm in a dead guy's bunk."
RDM: Yeah. (zippo lighter) In fact there's Hotdog's- Hotdog's got the skin magazine in the background-
RDM: -that was theoretically auctioned off.
Weddle: Michael Nankin did just an incredible job of bringing the scenes to life and we knew we were writing a dark show when we wrote it but when we got on the set and he and the actors just made these moments come viscerally alive it was very exciting for us and that we also realized, "Wow. This is even darker than we- we knew." S-
Thompson: One- one of the things that happened especially was there was a- there was a lot of really good material and- bringing this down to something that fit within the forty-one minutes or so that we've got to tell a story was a masterful job by Ron and David and the editing people.
RDM: Yeah, this was a big editing challenge. We had actually two editors on this show. It was ver- very complicated and Annette, who's edited several of our shows, and then Mike O'Halloran who was an assistant editor who actually this was the first professional full-on editing gig that he did. And it took a lot of hours, a lot of playing around with the structure of the flashbacks, what was your transition in and out of the flashbacks. Probably the biggest change was that the fighter- the actual combat that we show, the duel between Kat and Kara and Scar had many more conv- permutations and convoluted stuff that was- that was scripted. It wasn't convoluted by accident, it was, like, we wanted a very complicated maneuvers and a lot of fighter pilot stuff back and forth. But it was hard to make it a coherent, easy to follow, narrative in this structure where you're going in and out of the- of the- the k- present day fight and going back to all these pieces. And so we winnowed it down to the bare essence of the fight against Scar.
Thompson: This- this thing that you just saw Kara do, this- this- crash landing, this carrier landing actually comes from astronauts that we interviewed for another- another project we were on where they would go to bars and literally dive across the tables.
Weddle: Do "carrier landings" and "naval shooters" of tequila, which you're seeing right now.
Thompson: Yeah, the belly-button shooter.
Weddle: Yeah, the what's interesting, Ron, about this show is this was a difficult show to make work. This- if I'm right-
RDM: Yeah. No, this wasn't-
Weddle: -It was not easy to make work, but- but and often that's a sign of a show that's in trouble, but ultimately turned out to be o- a very strong show.
RDM: And I think part of that was we all were in love with the show. We all, everybody, top to bottom, really liked this episode. And so, it was just a- such a big, complicated piece of material. We really worked overtime to make this thing work. Like that shot right there of the reflection of the Vipers in the visor of Scar is something that actually Gary Hutzel threw in. He- this- it wasn't scripted and it wasn't in most of the initial pre-vis that they showed us and it just cropped up as a shot that he wasn't even going to put in the show at one point and then we- he hi- he alluded to it. We had him show it to us in the editing bay and we fell in love with it. And now it's like this great moment.
Thompson: The visual effects on this deserve some special mention 'cause this was- when we originally called up Gary Hutzel when we were thinking about what we were going to do and how this was going to be one dogfight, Gary had said, "Ok. This is something. We gotta got to start working on now. Long before we shoot the show. We've got to start making this happen." And he had a- lined up all these people for- for the big- for the big visual effects show and this was the time to call in all of the markers.
RDM: I think, if I'm not mistaken, I think they delivered the last visual effects shots on this episode, like, this week. (chuckles)
Thompson: It was actually delivered after the mix.
Weddle: Actually even after the layback of the soundtrack going onto tape there were still shots that weren't in yet.
RDM: They were wor- They slaved on this and slaved on this. This whole thing of- of flying through the debris field, and the contrails, and the lighting scheme. All that was stuff I believe that Gary came up with.
Thompson: Yes it is.
Weddle: Yeah I remember him taking us up and showing us a preliminary sequence in his shop and we were just- with Michael Nankin-
Weddle: -We were just blown away but what it- why- what he what he wanted to do.
Thompson: Use of light in it is so great.
RDM: Mmmhmmm. And the- the thi- oh, well this is one of my favorite beats of the whole show.
Weddle: Brad scripted this. And then Gary delivered it.
Thompson: That actually comes from a- a thing that Pappy Boyington used to do in the Second World War when he was flying with the Flying Tigers. And the enemy- the bad guys were always in the sun, and he just at one point put his thumb up there and realized he could see around the sun, and he assumed that everybody else had already-
RDM: -figured that out-
Thompson: -twigged to that particular thing.
RDM: -Well that's interesting.-
Thompson: Nobody had.
RDM: Well that's great. That's a great book, too. Is that in "Black Sheep Sq-"?-
RDM: In the book?-
Thompson: "Baa Baa Black Sheep."
RDM: "Baa Baa Black Sheep", which is a great, great wor- wor- work.
Weddle: Gun camera footage. They actually has this all set up and put it out on the set.
RDM: Yeah, that was an impressive achievement. I remember talking about this and it being in the production meeting but I was- it was one of those areas that I really wasn't focused on, for whatever reason, and then I didn't see it or even really think about it again until I was catching up on dailies and saw Kat standing in front of the gun camera footage and I was really impressed, 'cause it was like, man, they had to pull that together and get it done and put it on the stage in like no time at all.
Weddle: Though, one of the great things you did in editorial, was inter- intercutting these two scenes because-
RDM: Yeah, these were separate.
Weddle: If- if they're s- if they play separately they- they have a certain lethargy to 'em but the way you cut them, they're- they- really-
RDM: -Well and then the first cut of this, because the episode was so long, the CIC scenes in the episode were cut completely. They weren't even in- in the show. And I felt that you- we needed a break from the pilot world and we needed to go up to the top a little bit and get an overview of what was really happening. And that- that gun camera scene and- and the briefing room and the ready room just kind of went on a bit. So by intercutting it with CIC you got it all. It was like you got to see what was really happening in the Fleet and you als- but you s- were still back in the room with the pilots in short order.
Weddle: The other thing is that when we were doing the- the fighter- the actual fighter tactics and the things that Kara says about- or that Kat says about you'll have only two seconds to actually blow this guy away so you've gotta get close. This all comes from real fighter pilot concerns.
RDM: What I remember telling you guys at the outset this- ha- I want- I just want to know what it's like to be a fighter pilot. What are the tactics? What are the things they talk about? What a- what is- what is the lifeblood of being a fighter pilot mean in this- in this world?
Weddle: And then the- the challenge was how to not make it like an industrial film, but-
RDM: Yeah- (chuckles)
Thompson: Yeah- (chuckles)
Weddle: -we found the Kat and Kara conflict in "Scar", it galvanized the whole thing and we were able to do that in a dramatic context.
RDM: It's interesting just in the- sorry- it's interesting just to see the- the- the development of Kat-
RDM: -who started as just a day player in- in "Act of Contrition." I don't know that any of us anticipated that we were ever going to really do anything with that character again. And then bit by bit over the course of the first and second seasons writers just started dropping her into shows and using her as another fighter pilot.
Thompson: That's one of the wonderful things about working on this show is that you never know who's going to step up front and- and be great.
RDM: -yeah. Oh, yeah.-
Weddle: -there would be a little bit player that would come into a scene and everybody would like them, and then we start to expand them-
RDM: -yeah, you'd want to play-
Thompson: -and they would suddenly, in a season or two, they'd be a major character.
Weddle: And we actually, like, we'll watch dailies and watch shows and when we see somebody we like we do bring 'em, purposely bring 'em back into our scripts and start to build on what we see.
RDM: Well it's nice 'cause it creates a reality of the world. It really makes it feel like a continuing story with familiar faces and the world just keeps expanding.
Thompson: One of the guys that we really enjoy in this show and when we- and when he was brought in was- was Duck-
RDM: Yeah (unintelligible)
Thompson: -the red-headed guy who's got attitude.
Weddle: Yeah. He's got a wonderful presence.
Now this is a scene that you did a final pass on, Ron, that's a great...
RDM: Yeah, I did- yeah, I did a final pass on this scene pretty late in the process.
RDM: This is one of those... they... I can't remember why I took the pass and I think the director or somebody and we were talking about taking another take on this scene and I just sat down and dove in and wrote it. And it was interesting 'cause it literally just happened on the page, what the conversation was about. It seemed like an interesting moment where we had these two in isolation and they, the other Sharon had been friends with Kara and they had shared this life together and they would have been fighting the same enemy together if things had turned out differently, and now here she is, and she's a Cylon, and that there's a strong part of Kara that still can't quite get over that notion that sh- "You're not real and you're a machine and does it matter to you that we're all out there dying? What do you think about that?"
Thompson: One things- one of the things I really love about this scene is that- that Sharon will say something and the conversation will go on and Kara's still thinking about something-
Thompson: -something from what she said before and- and they're not on the same parallel track.-
Thompson: -It's not A then B then C, it's like A, B, C and then Kara comes back to A. Well what about... this downloading thing? What a weird world.
RDM: It's a very nice piece of acting from the two of them-
Weddle: Wow, yeah.
RDM: They're- they're both really good in this scene.
Weddle: I can't say enough about Katee in this show, in general, the way she carries it. She's just a phenomenal performer.
Thompson: -or our cast-
RDM: It's a great episode for the character too.-
RDM: And- and Katee really s- steps up and just delivers an amazing performance in this- in this episode. Which is pretty standard shoot for the cast, but, in this episode it's interesting that we take Kara down a significant peg here. She's really fuckin' up in this episode. She's not on her game. She's- she's getting blinded by this competition with Kat and she doesn't know why. She's- she's confused, she gets drunk, she sleeps- she tries to sleep with Lee for all the wrong reasons. She's con- really confused, flawed character, and she's the top gun character on the show. And she's supposed to be perfect and she's supposed to have all these abilities and this is really one where we really went- put her through the ringer.
Weddle: And- and being that Brad and I are both the sons of war veterans who were very conflicted and self-destructive it's very personal for us writing for char- for a character like this.
Thompson: The- the other thing that's really nice is that flying a Viper doesn't look like fun and games the whole time. It's not like a great little video game. I mean, you can see the stress on her face and it gets even worse as the show goes on.
RDM: Yeah, I like this scene coming up where they come back from the mission and Kara's sweatin' in the cockpit and- and the other guy pukes when he gets out of the cockpit-
Weddle: -yeah. That was Michael Nankin's little touch there.-
RDM: Now talk about this scene. Where did this scene come from? This was the chair, originally, right?
Thompson: Yeah. This- this was originally a chair that I- I went to Edwards Air Force Base and I was put in their- their altitude chamber and their aerobatics chair that they have, which simulates vertigo. And you- you spin around in the chair with your eyes shut and then they say, "Point to the back wall with your finger." And your finger points to the side chair, it points to the floor, it points to anyplace. You just cannot keep that thing on target.
Weddle: It also grew out of the challenge of the story because we had to have a competition between Kat and Kara, but we can only have one dogfight.-
Weddle: -So what are the venues of competition between them? So it became the briefing room, it became this, it became-
Thompson: -And it's really nice in- what- while we may hate it because there are limitations by budget and what we can actually do or- it does force us to think outside of the box. We-
Weddle: -Yeah. First we start out with the sitting alone in our office going, "God damnit. Why can't we have more than one dogfight?" (Chuckling in the background.) "This is impossible what they're asking us to do."
Thompson: "What kind of people are we dealing with?"
Weddle: Then we- then we suck it up and start coming up with ideas like this.
Thompson: Which is, like, totally insane. Who gives somebody a loaded gun that cannot keep their hands still-
RDM: - I know. It's such a wacky idea.
Thompson: Don't try this at home, folks.-
RDM: -Yeah. (laughs)
All this stuff in the cockpit was- was done sp- we built this cockpit for this show. We didn't really have a full blown Mark VII cockpit that was easy to shoot in. The- The cockpits were always very difficult on the stage to manage. Very confined. It was hard to get the cameras in and out of them, just to shoot stuff on the dash and this episode required a lot of interior cockpit stuff and when they were doing "Flight of the Phoenix", right? Was when- when we were doing the stealth fighter w- laid the groundwork for building this cockpit-
RDM: -in some way that is, I don't even understand and missed, but somehow the produce- the line producers and the production designers figure out ways to move money around that basically bought us this cockpit because we had built the stealth fighter. I think they did it at the same time, or something.
Weddle: I can remember going down to the- to the shop where they were building it and looking at the preliminary and the fun thing is like everybody even when you go to see the guys building the cockpit how devote-
RDM: -It's ok.-
Weddle: -devoted everybody is to the show.
RDM: -Oh, is that right?-
Weddle: -or something like that. They were explaining that to me and I was all excited because I like cockpits and they had it- they were showing us the drawings of where the- "This is the throttle components and here are the- your navigation instruments," and so on.
RDM: I like this runner a lot between Helo and Kara. There's something very nice about it and it is born out of a throwaway line in f- back from "Kobol's Last Gleaming" because, you know, Helo was separated from the entire cast for the- for the whole first season and when he and Kara hooked up back in "Kobol," or maybe it was in "Scattered." I take that back. It may have been in "Scattered." Essentially I was working on the script and I just had a line where Kara said, "Helo- Helo you and I go back a long ways." Blah, blah, blah, the scene kinda went on. But it was nice to say that there was a history between the two of them, and it's interesting that in the show she's revealing herself or is in an intimate way with Helo instead of Lee. That there's this other person who is more of a friend and that there's a camaraderie between the two. That- that's really kinda nice.
Weddle: And there-
Thompson: That's one-
Weddle: -there is a great chemistry between those two actors-
Weddle: -and it really made those scenes alive.
Thompson: That's one of the things I- I really enjoy about this show, as well, is that Ron will come up with- he'll come up with the little line like that, which is, "Ok. There's- there's some backstory between these people. They've been friends." Then you just run with it. It's like-
RDM: -Yeah, you just go with it. And it all just keeps building the- weaving the tapestry of- of who these people are and their lives. And it's intere- this is a very interesting scene. It's just- it's so interesting to see how Kat responds here. I mean, yes there's a competition going on between the two of them, but Kat's genuine concern for the pilots and Kara's more jaded approach to how she deals with them. The fact that Kar- Kat is listening in and then pulls this guy aside. I mean, it's a really interesting dynamic.
Thompson: The thing is that Kara really cares too, but she's also lost so many it's like,-
Thompson: "Oh god, don't be another casualty."
Weddle: Well I think also, like the underlying anger is just that people are dying and they can't stop it and Kat is picking Kara as a target because who else is she gonna get mad at.
RDM: It's a nice bit of staging, too, they way he used the mirror very nicely. The-
Weddle: Ditto. Wonderful staging on this.
RDM: These two play really well off of each other. And it's an interesting show when that- the gender roles are so completely-
Thompson: Well all the men are, "I can't go on. Try to stop this." (laughs)
RDM: I know, all the men are afraid and all the women are strong. It's like a really-
Thompson: (deep voice) "Be a man."
RDM: It's just- you just- and you just acce- at this point in the show I just- accept the way that this world works. That there is not even like the hint of there being any real differences between the genders, and if anything the roles are completely reversed. And this is a mano a mano show, between two women.-
RDM: And there's a lot of heavy-duty competition, and there's a lot of animosity and complicated feelings and- and Lee is the- the softer one in this- in this particular epsiode. The one whose feelings are little bit more in jeopardy. It's just a really interesting the way the show approaches the- these sorts of traditional gender roles.
Weddle: And this is how we cheated the "only one dogfight" rule. We put it on the radio.
RDM: Yeah- yeah, we cheated here.
Weddle: Which was all very difficult wha- when you were putting the show together-
RDM: -It was very hard.-
Weddle: -how do we not make them think that the- the- the future- the shots of the dogfight with Kara and Kat and Scar are not related to scenes where we see them suiting up and-
RDM: -Yeah, we put- we slid this scene around quite a bit. It lived on in different ang- places. When they came back we kept changing, and how do you explai- how do you explain that very issue, that you're not- they're not coming back from the mission you saw at the top of the show.
Thompson: In a lot of cases in- I've- that I've read, I haven't personally experienced it, but, that going through this kind of trauma and the- the fear and all this other stuff means those cockpits are often very unpleasant to clean up.
Thompson: I mean, people bleed in them and they get sick in them.
RDM: Yeah, I mean, Kara re- you- I really believe that she just got back from some very physically tr- taxing-
Weddle: Look how weighted she looks. She's just really emotionally weighted down.
Thompson: I remember when I flew a dogfight. It wasn't a real dogfight, but was a simulated dogfight with these guys in Fullerton. When I was finished, I was literally drenched in sweat and exhausted.
Thompson: It's a- it's not an easy thing to do.
RDM: I mean you've got- your body gets pushed around by the G-forces and you're stuggling to control this craft and it's tense- it's gotta be tense as all hell. It's becuase you, hey, you could kill yourself at any moment here. So...
Weddle: The incredible thing about Katee Sackhoff is you can write a subtext line and it's there, right on her face.
Weddle: Without a- crystal clear.
Thompson: This was a wonderful scene to watch it shoot.
RDM: This is a great scene.
RDM: This whole- this whole little bit coming up with her spinning the- spinning the Scotch. I don't know whose idea that was, if that was hers on the set-
Weddle: -I think she-
Thompson: -She may have just done it.-
RDM: -Or she might have just done it-
Weddle: -She did it on the set.
RDM: She just did it?
Weddle: But the other thing that's great about Nankin is he did several takes with different moods.
RDM: Oh. Yeah, yeah yeah.
Weddle: They did a sad one. They did this one. And- s- and so they have the freedom to try stuff like this.
RDM: And look at Jamie. I mean, Jamie is re- this is- the interesting thing about- about Lee and Jamie in this episode is he doesn't have a lot of scenes, but he's so spot on in every single scene.-
RDM: I mean, this is- I mean, she's more right now you're sort of charmed by her and sh- she is the showier part in this particular moment, but watch him-
RDM: -and his reaction to her. It's very true and very honest and he- he's like going there with her, he's- he's involved in the talk about losing all the pilots.
Weddle: Well he know- he kind of senses what's going on with her-
RDM: -That look on his face.-
Thompson: And he's-
Weddle: -But he won't co- he won't- y'know. He's not going to confront her about it. It's-
Thompson: And he's also off of his own future, I mean, and he's just dealt with the idea- he's lost his- the woman he's been with for the- for the-
Weddle: This is like a battleground scene, where they're talking about the present, talks about the bright and shiny future, but what are we doing, we just keep going on, y'know.
RDM: You're just gonna get blown aw- I love that- that whole little speech she gives about they're all- y'know, "We're never gonna see that bright ship future. We're just gonna b-" I also like that little bit where he tips over the bottle. That's like somebody who's experienced pouring bottles. (Weddle & Thompson laugh) If you ever try to do that it's, like, kinda hard, actually, to make that little move. And this look- this angle on Jamie- I love this when she says, "Why don't we?"
RDM: And the look on his face, the dawning awareness.-
RDM: Like right up in here.
Weddle: And on a lesser's act, we- that was scripted, but it takes a real actor to pull it off and make it work.
RDM: Yeah. "So why don't we?" And then, right here. (Weddle & Thompson laugh) That's so great. He's so, like, caught. And this scene. This is a real- this is a really weird- the energy in this- it's like, you can kinda feel right away the energy in this scene is all wrong if this- if this is really the time when Apollo and Starbuck are gonna finally get it on. Which, of course, has been- something we've talked about since the miniseries. Well, ok. When are these two gonna finally get in bed? When's it gonna happen? And I always wanted it to happen for all the wrong reasons, and in a very screwed up way.
Thompson: Actually back in "Act of Contrition" there was a draft where these two had just finished going to bed to one- with one another and part of one of the things that was going on in "Act of Contrition" is they were just trying to deal with that-
RDM: Oh you're right! I forgot all about that. That's right. We were just gonna come in after the fact.
RDM: And really just piss off the audience because they had missed it (Weddle & Thompson laugh) and she's, like, post-coital and What?
Weddle: This is a tremendously uncomfortable scene to watch. It reminds me of many dates I w- wish I could forget. You did a pass on the scene, Ron, and it was really well-written and then the actors just-
RDM: Yeah, they took it and ran.
Weddle: If you didn't- if you didn't have great actors this scene coulda been a disaster and they just bring a visceral reality to it.
Thompson: And the- and the director had a- a large part in how this was staged and how they ma- how he managed to free them up to do this-
Thompson: -with each other. And I'm really glad we waited and didn't do it in "Contrition"-
RDM: -I know. 'Cause they- I think they're- they're really settled in their characters and their characters have much richer backstories at this point. It's a confused, angry, emotional scene. And-
Thompson: -And it's all carrying baggage from so much that we've experienced with these people.-
Weddle: -Ju- Just look at her face. It's, like, sh- it's really there.
Thompson: I love that hair-flipping when he does the "p" and pops-
RDM: -and she hits him.
Thompson: And Lee's looking for something more-
RDM: I love this. He raises his hands like, "I. I hug you? Yeah, touch? What!?" And out she goes.
Weddle: Now this-
Thompson: -Oh, yeah. Go ahead and tell the story on this one.
Weddle: This next scene is what it's like to be a writer for Ron Moore, because we got a- (Thompson chuckles) we got a note on the draft. He goes, "I don't know. I just feel..." It originally ended. The act ended w- that scene. Where she walks out.
RDM: Uh huh.
Weddle: And you sent a note saying, "I need something to connect that Scar is become the focal point for Kara's whole fucked up life, and if she could just take out Scar it will somehow give her a focus. I don't know. I get an image of Kara naked, somewhere in the bowels of the ship, with a revolver." (RDM laughs) "Feel free to ignore this note." (RDM continues laughing.) And we're like reading and we're like, "Okay." Now like, first impulse was, "Okay. We'll ignore it." And then we realized, "No. Ron put that there for a reason. What- he's asking- he's asking us to reach further. To push somehow further." And this is what-
Thompson: -And David came up with this. I was sitting there going, "How the hell are we going to find her there?" And David said, he just came up with this scene.
Weddle: It was like 10:30 at night and I knew I had to have that scene ready for you in the morning and I suddenly got this idea for that- (everyone chuckles)
Thompson: Originally that scene, with the bottle and the- and Scar on the screen ended with her shooting it with a gun.
RDM: Oh, that's right.
Thompson: And... they were- there were talk of production, "Well if we show it on a screen then we can't break the screen with the gun. What's more important?" And I'm ultimately very happy with the way that came out.
RDM: It's such a great moment, too. They way he shot it, with the back of her head y'know as the- as the predominant image-
RDM: -and the bottle coming up.
Weddle: We actually scripted it that way.
RDM: Did you?
RDM: Oh, wow.
Weddle: But y'know what is brave is that you guys used that- that for the act-out. I was- when I saw it-
Weddle: -I couldn't believe that you did that.
RDM: It's a really- it's a really interesting way to go out of the show.
Thompson: This was- this scene here where she gets up three hours ago was another unscripted scene that- that Nankin felt that he needed.
RDM: And thank God.
Weddle: Thank God, yes!
RDM: 'Cause really- I really... in fact I was in editing and y'know there's- there's days when you don't watch all the dailies and some- some shows where you barely watch any of them because of the press of work. And I hadn't seen all the dailies on this show. And I was in editing and we were working on the cut and I was saying, "God, I wish I had a shot of Kara just waking up." And the editor was like, "Oh, yeah. We got that." "What!? You're kidding! We didn't even shoot..." "Oh, yeah. They sh- you shot it." And I couldn't believe it. It was just like suddenly there was footage that I needed.
RDM: -Oh, really?!-
Thompson: -and the- the production designer brought it in and we shot it.
RDM: -Oh that's...-
Weddle: -Oh, wow.-
Weddle: The diagrams of- that you'll see on the wall of the dogfight-
Weddle: -and the crossblock and all that stuff comes from a book called "Fighter Tactics"-
Weddle: -by a US Navy pilot. Which is one of the textbooks you l- use learning to dogfight.
Thompson: 'Course he didn't show Cylon Raiders in them.
Weddle: This was- this was- the- the- the underpinnings of this scene were all your idea, Ron. I can remember... a conference call in which you kind of spun out the- this conflict. It's almost frightening. (chuckles)
Weddle: Yeah. It was a- it was a- the whole idea of what they were gonna challenge each other with and the fact that she was gonna talk about her being hung over and then-
Weddle: -and then Kara saying to her, "You're just afraid."
RDM: It's so funny. It's like, I when I- when I watch the shows, the completed shows, it's all vague about where any of this stuff come- came from and how it developed and what I said or what I might have written or what notes. It's always like, "Oh really? Where did- who said that? Do they make it s-" I watch it sometimes and I feel like, well they're just kinda making it up on the stage, aren't they? I mean, this is- none of this is written.-
Thompson: What's really interesting about, also, again, working on this show, is that we start with such large scripts-
Thompson: -compared to what actually ends up on the screen. So it's almost as if we've taken documentary cameramen to go out and shoot this entire event.-
Thompson: -All of these things that happen. And each scene is informed by the one that's- that's previous to it, and when you finally get into the editing room it's like we saw this whole battle, now what do we show in the 42 minutes or 40 minutes that we've got of program time? And, what's interesting is that the actors and everybody has this stuff that's already in them that we may never show it.
RDM: Yeah. It's like you can cu- it's almost like the y'know the- the phantom limb that you can kinda feel even when it's gone, 'cause it-
RDM: It's like they really are informed by all these other pieces and you wouldn't write it like this. It's like, the characters are moved-
RDM: -to certain positions in the middle of these other scenes, and then you pull out these little nuggets to create this particular show.
Weddle: Yeah. K- you have to write the scenes how they got in the room even if that's not going to be in the-
Weddle: -show. What led up to this moment? And then you end up pulling a lot of the- that connective tissue out.
Thompson: And you pull out lines, too, that suddenly it's like it's all carried in the actor's face. You don't need to explain it with this line-
Thompson: -this line, and this line. And that's- that's another one of those things I really love about the cast.
RDM: I love this beat.-
RDM: -It's just so great. And when do you see two women playing this scene?-
RDM: Or two women that aren't in like leather catsuits, y'know-
Weddle: -Well, yeah. It doesn't go to the Dallas thing-
Weddle: -where they're fighting in a fountain and-
Weddle: -it's not campy.
RDM: There's a certain honesty to this- to this conflict and to the emotions that they're dealing with.
Thompson: The interesting thing also is that Kara was Kat's training-
Thompson: -training officer. And she's built another Starbuck.
RDM: And this is another beat that I love Jamie in.
RDM: He comes in and the look on his face throughout this whole scene is really informed by the last time that he was with-
RDM: -Starbuck. And you just read it on his face.-
RDM: -Right there.
Weddle: Love that.
RDM: "Well, it's been lively." I love that beat.
RDM: And the way he looks at Ka- and this beat coming up when Kat starts to object and he just gives her a look.
RDM: That's one of those things that you script a lot. Somebody's about to say something and he cuts her off with a look. And then it- sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But this time I really believe that he cut her off with that look.-
Thompson: -In this case we had-
Weddle: -Yeah well we actually had dialogue in there.-
RDM: -Missing more dialogue?-
Thompson: -Yeah, we had the line then he cuts her off, and there are shots of him doing that.-
RDM: -Oh, really?-
Thompson: -Of him cutting her off at-
Thompson: -the line, but this one just "did it".
RDM: (mutters to himself) I was gonna say, I didn't remember all of that-
Thompson: It was much more powerful.
Weddle: All the say- same here when he asks her if she's ok, she- Starbuck originally had a line and because of the way she tries to snap up and pull herself together you don't need the line.
Thompson: But behavior's always, y'know, more powerful than the line. That right, here.
Weddle: Don't need the dialogue. Now we know.
RDM: This is actually- now this was meant to be at the end of the show,-
RDM: -as I recall. Alright this was like around the tag-
RDM: And I think when we were cutting it together, I felt that I wanted to put it here because it was- I felt a lack of Kat's emotional through-line as we went into the final battle and we had shots of Kara getting into the cockpit-
Weddle: -It's great here.-
RDM: -getting reading to go. But we didn't have anything for Kat's and I just, I don't know, I just moved it up.
Weddle: It's great.
RDM: It's a disconuity in terms of she's in her blues, and she's not in her flight suit, but you also like not even paying attention to that, 'cause you're involve- and I love the fact of putting the photo up on the wall before we go back to the bo- battle-
Thompson: And you can also- in a- this is one of those things when I saw the thing in blues, and I was going, "Well, ok. Maybe if I needed an explanation for that, she wanted to do this formally."-
Thompson: -She didn't want to be in her-
RDM: -Yeah. You can justify this.-
Weddle: Well you think that's what- look, where you just cut it there. She's- she's on a deck. I felt like she's- it's her thinking about her own mortality-
RDM: -Or thinking back.-
Weddle: -and that moment occured, y'know, that moment occured somewhere.
RDM: Yeah, that's completely plausible.
Weddle: The other interesting thing is the whole thing about Riley's girlfriend started out as just a color, when we first put it in the script I thought, "It's probably gonna get cut. It's just a color thing." But as we continued to do the rewrite, it became a central thematic through-line for the characters, 'cause that's what Kara says, when she confronts Kat. "You're afraid you'll end up like that." We never intended it, in the beginning, that it would ha- have that function.
Thompson: That's one of the- another one of those wonderful things that grows as we do draft after draft. Certain things fall away and certain things take on much more meaning.
Weddle: I love this the- these flash cuts that you guys did in the final dogfight.
RDM: Well it's nice, too, 'cause we had to restart the battle a little bit-
RDM: -and take you through familiar footage and I think the flash cuts were Mikie O's idea as I recall.
Weddle: They're wonderfully done.
RDM: And I like- it- this is a really- an exhibition, too of how we treat spaceships. That they actually fly like spaceships, more than they fly like fl- like air-
RDM: -in atmosphere in planes.
Weddle: Tour de force, Gary Hutzel and company-
RDM: The game of chicken. This was cut and recut endlessly.
RDM: We kept playing around with the sequence of, "When do you cut to Scar? When do you cut to Kara? How big are they? How small are they? What's the rhythm and when do you go to Kat?" It took forever.
RDM: And this- this shot coming up is when Kara suddenly- time literally stops here.
RDM: It's really nice and I think that this is all Nankin.
Weddle: It is.
Thompson: Yes, it is.
RDM: This is Michael Nankin came up with. It's a total break with style.-
RDM: The style of this show is very hand-held, very "you are there", very cinéma vérité. This is a complete cinematic moment that just he dropped into the show suddenly. But it really works like gangbusters.
Weddle: (Unintelligible agreement). Yeah. You know, we ha- the show is evolving as we go along. We started out cinéma vérité, but now we do a lot of the interior psychological experience-
Weddle: -of the characters. I think that's a great thing.-
RDM: -It is.-
Weddle: I mean, it's just the show evolving and growing richer.
RDM: The doc- the documentary form has given it a certain foundation and a reality and you kinda build slowly up from that.
Thompson: I remember like the first ten shows of last season we d-, I mean first season, we didn't use any slow motion at all.-
Weddle: -We never, never, would have done any-
RDM: -Never would have done this. We didn't use any steadicams. We were very- trying to be very pure about it year one.
Weddle: This is just a brilliant insight on Nankin's part to do that.
RDM: Yeah, it's very smart.
Thompson: We've never seen space like this. This is what Gary was looking for when he was doing it.
This shot. Look at this shot.
RDM: I know. Look at that shot.
Thompson: That's incredible.
RDM: A big, overhead shot.
Weddle: I mean, when do you actually see space that is white?
RDM: Yeah. I know. Oh, and then she comes right-
Thompson: -Beautifully orchestrated.-
Thompson: I love the blood-
RDM: -The blood's a nice touch-
Thompson: -and stuff coming out. I also really love that we do the- that you set up the thing with the thumb and then he comes out of the sun-
RDM: -Then he comes out of the sun, yeah-
Thompson: -and then they k- Kara sets that up-
RDM: -Sets it up.-
Thompson: -for Kat to blow her away.-
RDM: -Yeah, that's nice.-
Weddle: -But created in the editing room, right?
RDM: Created completely in the editing room.
Weddle: And it was a- really hard to get there.
Thompson: Oh and this- this scene. There was a final party scene that was written in there, and then Michael Nankin came to us up in- up in Canada when we were in prep and said, "Y'know, I would- I would think it would be nice to do the names here."-
RDM: -Yeah, that is great.-
Weddle: -Well he had the whole concept of Kara pretending not to remember the names in the- in the rec room with Lee (unintelligible)-
RDM: -Yeah, she was hiding behind it. She covering, like.
Weddle: And I can remember when he brought the note and we were like, "Who? No! That- no! We're not going to do that. It's too sentimental. I- I really- I mean, who's this director coming in with these notes." And then we, y'know, think about for a couple- an hour y'go, "Y'know, maybe he's right." Then you start to do it and you realize, "God, this is good. This is really good." So, he- this is a- he brought the whole show up with this idea.
RDM: It was a gr- and I remember you guys call- I had- it was a conference call I think-
RDM: -where you guys pitched this to me and it was a great concept. And I love the notion of going through a laundry list of the names and- tell me, remind me, how did this work? I don't remember if it was scripted, or if it's a Nankin thing that she falters and kinda can't remember-
Weddle: -No, that's her.-
Thompson: -That's her.-
RDM: -That's scripted?-
Weddle: There were- there were several- there were several takes on this and places she faltered, places she didn't-
RDM: 'Cause it's inter- it's- it's great 'cause she- she doesn't run down the list and they don't complete the list, she literally gets to a point where she just honestly can't remember and the whole scene is about to just collapse because you feel like, "Oh my God. She's made this great moment and then Lee steps in and- and saves it." And it's just- it's about their relationship.-
Weddle: -Yeah, we did- that was in the script.-
RDM: -It's about all kinds of things.
Thompson: And all of these names.
RDM: All these names.
Weddle: This takes a real actress to pull this off. And she does.
RDM: And I like the pace-
Thompson: -Yes. Look at the look on his face. He's realizing-
Thompson: He's playing the whole realization.
RDM: One by one.-
Weddle: -You'll see one of Tigh in this shot-
Weddle: -that is. He comes in for this one little-
Weddle: -scene in- and-
Weddle: -doesn't say a word, and...
RDM: It's almost like each name is- is like- she's hitting them with every name.
RDM: She has to remember. She's pulling it out and they're all like- yeah-
Weddle: They're all so- every actor is so much into the moment. It's just...
Duck's great. That's Duck.
RDM: Yeah, look at Tigh.
Weddle: Look at...
What a great- just a little closeup that brings a dimension to- to his character.
RDM: And then she can't do it.
RDM: That's just so...
Weddle: The- the actress played that- played it that way, definitely.
RDM: And then Jamie-
RDM: -is great. It's one of the most heroic moments he has in the whole series. Is this little thing he does. I mean it's- it's such a bigger heroic moment than a lot of other things.
Weddle: These are the kind of moments where you- this family that's always at each other's throats and you feel them coming together like this, it's a...
Thompson: You also feel the cost of what they've been doing and what Lee's given up, what they've given up.
RDM: And this is a great beat, too. The music is actually from "The Deerhunter".
Weddle: Yes. David Eick's inspiration-
RDM: -David Eick.-
Weddle: -and it was a brilliant idea.
RDM: We were going- there was actually two more scenes after that. There was the Kat goes to the memorial wall and then Kara was gonna pray-
RDM: -and when I saw this scene, though, this just felt like the end of the show. Particularly because the scene kept going past the point where it's supposed to end, and the actors started-
RDM: -adlibbing and playing around with each other doing the wrestling move at the end and him tapping himself out. I mean it was just so charming and it was- there was something warm about it and life was gonna go on and-
RDM: (Unintellible) cross-
Thompson: -It's human.-
RDM: -It's human.
Weddle: Not precious, it took the whole, y'know, the irreverence of it. But that's all the actors bringing that to it.
Thompson: And keeping the camera rolling.
RDM: -And keep that- yeah, keep that camera rolling.
Thompson: That's the wonderfullness of shooting on high-def tape.
RDM: It's surpr-
Weddle: Great chemistry between the two of them.
RDM: -Very nice.
It's amazing how many little pieces we pick up from before they call action and after they call cut. There, yeah, this is all just them goofing around on the set and just- it has such a truth to it and- (laughs)
RDM: -fun and they're actually having fun and-
RDM: Tapping himself out. (chuckles) It was a good episode. I'm very proud of this episode. It- it really came through and just- it was- it was a great experience doing it, all the way around.
Weddle: Yeah, well amen to that. I (unintelligible)-
Thompson: So say we all.
RDM: So say we all.
Weddle: Yeah, so say we all. I just love working on this series.
RDM: It's a good show. It's good having you guys on the- on the show.
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