Sources:Interview with Alonso Oyarzun, September 2, 2003 (Socinus)
Alonso Oyarzun: "Battlestar Fan Lives A Childhood Dream"
Battlestar Galactica 2003 - I would like to thank you Alonso, for giving Battlestar Galactica 2003 this opportunity to interview you about your experience and you expectations of the new Sci Fi Channel original miniseries "Battlestar Galactica".
Alonso, can you give us some background about your acting career and how it led to your eventual portrayal of Crewman Specialist Socinus of the Battlestar Galactica?
Alonso Oyarzun: Well let's see...........I moved to Vancouver from Edmonton with the intentions of becoming a stuntman. It didn't work out....too tough to break into the business. I had a friend who talked me into trying some acting classes, that I did for awhile, at the same time doing small theatre productions and short films. I got an agent, started reading for TV and film and booked my first real job in 97'. It's gone from there to playing Socinus and getting a chance to be a part of the new Battlestar Galactica team. It was just a really nice acting break.
BG2003: Speaking of "Battlestar Galactica", what was your knowledge of the original show prior to taking the role of Socinus?
AO: I used to watch it when I could as a kid. I was really into Star Wars and Sci-fi growing up so I knew allot about the show and what it was about. When I was a kid really liked "Muffit" allot, the cyber dog from the original series, Hahaaa!
BG2003: Did you watch the reruns or videotapes of the original "Battlestar Galactica" after learning you were playing a role in the re-imagining?
AO: Yes I did, at the boot camp for the show, we were sent to watch a couple of the original episodes. I bought the original movie on DVD just to see and compare the similarities and differences to the new script.
BG2003: What is your overall opinion of the original "Battlestar Galactica" series?
AO: Oh it was dated as hell, and I'm starting to realize as an actor that people just really love cheesy stuff. Battlestar Galactica at the time it was the best thing on TV and everyone loved it. Even now some fans are obsessed about the old show to this day. I really enjoyed it as a kid, but as an adult......eh ummm I don't know. In my opinion I see now why the story had to be changed to better suit today's audiences.
BG2003: What was your impression of the screenplay for the "Battlestar Galactica" miniseries when you read it?
AO: Honestly it's a really moving story. There's so much going on, so many interesting characters and plot twists....... It's great! I think the dog-fights are going look absolutely wicked!! The first draft of the script was still the best in my opinion. Of course that has nothing to do with the fact that I die in the later drafts. Hahaaaa
BG2003: How does the role of Socinus differ from the role of Keel on "Taken"?
AO: Socinus is a lot more laid back then Keel was. Keel was the type of guy that didn't want to be there and was put in an impossible situation. Socinus is a proud crew member of the Battlestar Galactica.
BG2003: Several cast members from "Battlestar Galactica" such as Erin Karpluk (Boxey's Aunt), Michael Soltis (Chantara's Husband), and Connor Widdows (Boxey) were fellow cast mates from "Taken". With so many familiar faces on the production of "Battlestar Galactica", did this make the experience more enjoyable?
AO: Oh yes!! I feel the cast really became our own little family. We were sent to a boot camp for 3 days which really made us bond nicely, it was so much fun!
BG2003: How would you compare the production of "Battlestar Galactica" to "Taken?
AO: Both were very intensive, BATTLESTAR was operating out of 3 different studios at one time. I know TAKEN had its studios booked all year round, which was needed for that show, with it being the longest TV mini-series in history.
BG2003: Do you feel that "Battlestar Galactica" will equal or better the lofty success of "Taken"?
AO: It's really hard to say, if the fans embrace the new Battlestar for what it is, I think it might surpass the success of TAKEN.
BG2003: With Ron Blecker onboard as Technical Military Advisor, did the cast have to go through a mini-boot camp prior to shoot? If so, what was the experience like?
AO: Yes we did and it was awesome!! I wanted more!! We were up in the mountains in the interior of British Columbia for 3 days. It was great! The cast really came together up there and we formed a bond that's really rare amongst actors & crew. TAKEN was great as well I made some really good friends on that show.
BG2003: During the shooting of "Battlestar Galactica", you shot several scenes with Nicki Clyne (Cally), Michael Eklund (Prosna), and Aaron Douglas (Tyrol). How would you describe your experience with them?
AO: We were the engineering geeks! Lots of goofing around in between shots and catching shit from First Assistant Director Peter Dashkewytch every now and then.
BG2003: Did you get a chance to get to know Katee Sackhoff (Starbuk) and Jamie Bamber (Apollo) during the production? If so, what was your impression of your fellow cast mates?
AO: Yes I did. Most of it happened during boot camp. Katee is a sweetheart; she was so much fun. Jamie as well, really down to earth; there couldn't be a better Apollo.
BG2003: What was it like to work with Edward James Olmos (Adama) and Mary McDonnell (Roslin)? Did they play a positive influence on your performance as Socinus?
AO: I didn't have any scenes with Mary, but she was around and I did get a chance to talk to her. I only had a couple of scenes with Eddy, but he was great, very motivating as a leader.
BG2003: Since Ronald D. Moore was in Los Angeles working on "Carnivale", did you get a chance to ever meet him during the production?
AO: No I didn't
BG2003: How involved were the producers in the everyday filming? Did producers David Eick, Harvey Frank, and Michael R. Joyce play an active role in filming?
AO: Oh yes! They were there every step of the way, on set and in the office. We couldn't get away from them. Hahaaa!
BG2003: What was it like to work with Director Michael Rymer? How would you describe his style of directing?
AO: Hands down the best director I've worked with in a long time, such an actor's director. He is open to letting us play around with the scenes, it was a dream. He has a very visual style with him using lots of big sweeping shots. Battlestar is shot like a movie. Michael Rymer very, very picky with how things were done. The way it should be, right? Just ask Harvey.
BG2003: What was your impression of the sets by Richard Hudolin?
AO: Awesome! It is the only word that comes to mind. We were given a tour of the sets after the first cast reading. I was blown away by the detail on these sets; absolutely amazing!
BG2003: What was your impression of the costumes by Deborah Everton?
AO: The wardrobe was awesome! I wanted to acquire some of my costumes for my collection of souvenirs of the show so badly!
BG2003: What do you think of the designs of the ships by Ray Lai, Eric Chu, and Charles Ratteray? Which one is your favourite?
AO: The designs of the ships were great, the new Viper really caught my eye when I first saw it. Personally, I really liked the RAPTOR the reconnaissance ship. It looked more "bad-ass" than the rest with its unique design.
BG2003: What was your most memorable moment during the production of "Battlestar Galactica"?
AO: That's an easy one... THE BOOT CAMP bar none.
BG2003: What was worst moment during the production of "Battlestar Galactica"?
AO: I wouldn't go so far as saying there was a worst moment; not while I was there. I remembered this one day that we were trying to get this one really long scene in one shot. I think it took most of the day to get it. The shooting was getting pretty frustrating because we'd get right to the end of this long scene and something would go wrong; either a technical thing or someone was late hitting a mark or an actor flubbed a line, but we finally did get it. The scene is going to blow your mind!!
BG2003: How would you describe the morale of the cast during the production?
AO: Very excited, there was allot of buzz in the air. You could tell that people were excited to be working on the show especially with all the controversy about the project.
BG2003: How do you and your fellow cast members feel about how your work will be looked upon when viewers finally see it on December 7, 2003?
AO: We knew going into the show that it was going to be scrutinized so all we could do was to give the best performances that we could and have fun doit. We feel its going be a great show, but whether the die-hard fans will give the new version of Battlestar Galactica a chance.... I guess time will tell.
BG2003: If the miniseries becomes a weekly series, will you continue to play the role of Socinus?
AO: Unfortunately no, I die in the show but with all the plot twists in the story, you never know....... I COULD BE BACK.
BG2003: Edward James Olmos was quoted recently at the TV Critics Association Tour with a message for fans of the original show to "Buy yourself the new DVD they're putting out of the old episodes, and when we come on, just put that one in. Don't watch because it will hurt." What is your message to fans?
AO: Just to watch the show with an open mind, its a new body of work and shouldn't be compared to harshly with the old one. Whatever the new show lacks in regards to the original show has been compensated for with new ideas and technologies that weren't available at the time. All in all its a solid show with tons of room for growth for a weekly series, if it gets picked up which I think it will.