Podcast:The Battlestar Roundtable
Ronald D. Moore: Hello and welcome to a very special podcast. I'm Ronald D. Moore, executive producer and developer of the new Battlestar Galactica, and tonight we're going to feature a round-table discussion of the show, with some special guests here at the apartment in Vancouver. And we'll go round the table, and introduce everyone who's here tonight.
Jamie Bamber: Hi, I'm Jamie Bamber, at Ron and Terry's house, and I'm drinking fine scotch.
Harry Wells: Hi, I'm Harry Wells, I'm completely random... friend of Jamie Bamber's from school! So, uh...
Mrs. Ron: See, he'll have great insights!
Wells: (laughs) There you go.
Mrs. Ron: Like, like... like they don't know who you guys play! You guys are modest, they're very modest. Okay!
Mark Sheppard: I'm Mark Sheppard...
Bamber: Wha... who's he? I've been wondering who you are all night...
Mrs. Ron: All these brits...
Sheppard: ...and all you have to know is it's all about me.
Bamber: That's all I do know.
Mrs. Ron: Ahh, that's very good...
RDM: Tell 'em, uh, name your role.
Shepherd: I'm playing Romo Lampkin, but you won't be seeing me for a while.
RDM: He, uh, you won't see him for quite a while. And...?
Mrs. Ron: And I'm Mrs. Ron of course.
Callis, Sheppard, Bamber: Yay Mrs. Ron. Woohoo!
RDM: And together they're Battlestar Galactica.
Mrs. Ron: And he's Mr. Terry.
RDM: Okay, so.
Mrs. Ron: So, since we left for dinner there have been 175 questions.
RDM: Yes, and we'll get to the questions, and, but we're not going to start with the questions.
Mrs. Ron: I just got shut down.
RDM: Yes, you got shut down. We're going to talk about the beginning of the season up until about episode eight or nine, generally, ah, anything is open for discussion in terms of how we felt about the season, likes, dislikes, favorite moments, problems, yes, yes dear, eventually we'll get to your questions. Ah, Tahmoh, tell me about the beginning of this season as opposed to the beginning of last season? Just in general in sort of the feeling of doing it and being on the set and sort of you know any differences between this year and last year?
Penikett: Well I mean obviously the big difference was me being in the CIC playing the XO, which was a great experience for me because I get to hang out with Eddie [ Edward James Olmos ] all the time, and Eddie's always a riot.
RDM: Now you weren't on the Galactica sets the whole first season.
Penikett: Not at all.
RDM: So you were very separate.
Penikett: -every story I'd always tell right, every time I came in to see everybody because I'd be working on location I'd have somebody ask me what I was doing, or where I was going-
Bamber: How was it in the rain on Tuesday?
Penikett: -They didn't even see the show, they'd be like extras tent, this way buddy, where are you going? Who are you? Who is this guy?
Bamber: Can I help you?
RDM: Did you come to visit like the cast on the sets?
Penikett: I came a couple times, you know it was usually just during the table read or what have you.
RDM: So did you have a sense you were like doing a completely different show some place else?
Penikett: Well, it was almost like that though, it really was right? You know, I was always joking that it was the "Helo and Boomer Show", because it was really us when you think about it. Me and Grace [Park] and imaginary Cylons.
RDM: So how was it when you saw the show complete, when you saw your part in it? Because you didn't see the - you read the scripts obviously but you didn't see the rest of it.
Penikett: I didn't see the rest of it-
RDM: -Until it was on the air.
Penikett: Yeah, I mean when I saw the finished product I was, I was happy, I thought it was great.
RDM: Was it what you imagined it to be?
Penikett: You know what, its always different, some episodes where but I think sometimes when we had a lot of the Cylon stuff, a lot of the CGI stuff that was imagined, the way I perceived it, it actually a lot of the times it ended up a lot better. I was really impressed, I remember the one episode we did, I think it was five I can't remember the title, but you know the restaurant-
RDM: -Home Again, You Can't Go Home Again.
Penikett: Okay, yeah so I'm inside and I'm making the toast or what have you when the Cylon comes in, and it's one of my favorites-
RDM: -Yeah, with the reflection on the toaster.
Penikett: Yeah, yeah that's great but I remember doing the scene and how excited I was, I was like "Oh, this is going to be awesome, I can't wait to see how its going to look," but I thought they did an incredible job with that.
Sheppard: It was amazing, truly amazing.
Callis: On the thing of just you saying you used to get taken to the extras tent, which about a week ago I was on set and I'm looking whatever, quite unkempt at the moment, but one of the extras come over to me, I wasn't in costume, walked over to me and went "Are you crewing on this buddy?" and I said "Uh... yes."
Callis: And he looks at me and went "Aw man, I don't envy you one bit," and I said "I'm glad you're keeping up with the show."
Callis: That's very nice to know, thank you.
Penikett: James and I did DragonCon and you should have seen, he was, I mean out of the two of us people were like Chief [Aaron Douglas], Helo, Chief, Helo, they weren't even recognizing him. So he had this baseball cap on and this big ass beard-
Mrs. Ron: -His disguise.
RDM: What was your favourite episode of the first season whether you were in it or not? Most enjoyed watching.
RDM: Year one.
Penikett: Off the top of my head I'm really not sure, to be honest with you the first one-
Penikett: 33 was an amazing episode.
RDM: I liked 33.
Penikett: It was so well written, we were all coming back, we were all very excited about it, and just the idea, the premise behind it you know everyone not sleeping and of course when you cut down to the planet, I really liked my stuff.
RDM: You know what, I loved 33 a lot-
Sheppard: -The every 33 minutes episode?
RDM: Yeah, every 33 minutes, first episode of the first season, and I liked it a lot because when I saw the film coming and I start seeing dailies it was really apparent within the first three or four days that basically the show had dramatically moved forward from the Miniseries, which I loved, the Miniseries was like an amazing piece of work in my opinion, I mean I really enjoyed it and was proud of it, and then I saw the dailies come in on 33 and I was really just like taken with what [Michael] Rymer was doing on the set and what the cast, it was like the cast had had time to think about the roles in between the Miniseries and the series and everybody's performance was suddenly this really interesting rich thing.
Bamber: I think what 33 did was really, what you did is create almost the perfect episode of television, structurally.
RDM: Yes, the perfect episode of television.
Callis: Should we say that in unison?
Everyone: I think it was the perfect episode of television.
RDM: You know, I think I can really, I think I'll just retire now, because what else can I do?
Bamber: Honestly because the structure of that repeating-
Bamber: -Honestly, it was so tight, you know repetitive in the sense that you're dealing with a bunch of people that are running from the common enemy the whole time and you actually nutshelled it in an episode- RDM: -It was a fun piece to write-
Bamber: -Every 33 minutes-
RDM: -I wrote that with Terri, and I, Terri and I were in Russian River-
Mrs. Ron: -Oh yeah-
RDM: -Over Christmas, because we didn't know if the show was getting picked up or not.
Penikett: What's Russian River?
Mrs. Ron: -In this little house we rented-
RDM: -Northern California, redwood trees, we're in this little cottage in the woods, and the Miniseries had aired and Sci-Fi was debating whether they were going to pick up the show or not, and over the course of that-
Mrs. Ron: -And it was raining, the whole time-
RDM: -It was raining, and there was a real possibility that UPN was going to pick up the show, Sci-Fi hesitated for just a moment and UPN almost picked up the show-
Sheppard: -Thank God, (laughs)-
Penikett: -Thank God-
RDM: They swooped in suddenly, but because suddenly there were all these balls in the air and I had pitched out like the first, they'd asked me for pitches on what the stories would be for season one and I lined out like ten episodes, ideas for episodes in various degrees of development and there was one log line that just said the Cylon, they had to jump every 33 minutes because the Cylons keep chasing them. And that was the one that caught everyone’s' attention just from the log line, and over Christmas when we were like sitting around, we didn't know whether we had a show or not-
Callis: -You didn't know that was going to be the first one?
RDM: I just decided to write it, it was like okay let's make this the first episode and I just, just, I started to write it really quickly because UPN might be picking up the show and I had to give it to them like immediately and I just wrote it-
Bamber: -And it's still the quintessential episode, it's got every element of the show-
RDM: -It's interesting
Bamber: -That you need on exactly the right day-
Callis: -Well, Rymer was saying at the time-
RDM: -Its been hard to recapture that, I've thought quite a bit in the intervening seasons "I want to do another show as good as 33" and I haven't been able to find another one.
Callis: Well, Rymer was saying at the time, and maybe you know at the time it was like "listen, this is a very important episode for all of us, because we're re-establishing something"-
RDM: -Yeah, he knew that-
Callis: -And in a way, I want to do a four hour miniseries in one hour, because we're re-establishing the beats of the people who you've met and we have to show you again who we are-
RDM: -And it was a bad situation-
Bamber: -It was a cross-section of the whole, you know, fleet-
Callis: -I just want to say to you that when we came back to do that in, like for 33, on set there was a real sense of excitement-
Callis: -Cause we, we we're like coming back again and this was the firs time that we we're all coming back again, a bit like when you're at school and you come back after the holidays, and we didn't necessarily know whether we would be coming back to see each other again, and then we like received the script and it was kind of, um, yes-
RDM: -You've got to see it, Terri's got this thing up-
Sheppard: -I've got to tell you as a viewer though, it was exhausting. It is the most exhausting hour of television.
Bamber: But it's the best way-
Mrs. Ron: (laughs)
Sheppard: -They're looking at a question.
RDM: We're looking at this thing online-
Mrs. Ron: -It's from Raymond Shaw-
RDM: -From, ah, BSGViewer it says-
Mrs. Ron: -Raymond Shaw-
RDM: -Oh, its Raymond Shaw, it's some thing of Jake saying various lines; My question for the cast would be when you fled New Caprica did you forget someone? Anyone?
RDM, imitating Ben Stein: -This is: Bueller... Bueller... Moving on-
Callis: -Its the dog-
Sheppard: -Is this poll up-side down? Is what I want to know-
RDM: -It's "will you write me back into the show Ron?"
Sheppard: -Oh dear-
RDM: -Or "Did you like the sound of scores of garbage trucks backing all the way up your street, legions of leaf blowers, barking dogs and doorbells blaring during every podcast?" Yes, there's a running-
Mrs. Ron: -Just a thought-
RDM: -Just a though-
Mrs. Ron: -"You can all go to hell" Jake says. (laughs)
RDM: We have a very strange crew, the internet crew.
Penikett: I read the build-up to that episode too, it was good, I remember Eddie concentrating when we had the table read-
Bamber: -Oh, listen-
Callis: -Eddie was pretty intense-
Bamber: -I thought I was going to fall about laughing when he said-
Penikett: -The way everybody's killing each other-
Bamber: -No he said, "listen you guys, you've got three days before you start shooting and I don't want anybody to go to sleep."
Callis: -I remember that-
RDM: -But you guys did that, didn't you guys do that?
Callis: -No, well like we tried-
Bamber: -Oh, we told Eddie we-
RDM: You didn't really do it?
Bamber: I've got kids, I don't need to be depriving myself of sleep.
RDM: Did nobody do it?
Mrs. Ron: Do you remember that, how everybody was trying to get ready to do that?
RDM: I do remember that.
Bamber: Eddie brought in a sleep expert as well.
Callis: Now Eddie was, I think the first thing that was said was, and it was like at the round table and Eddie was like "If we're gonna go and do this thing and you're talking about people being seriously sleep deprived I think that we need to have shots of people, you know, committing suicide"-
Callis: -And then like there was these looks at the end of the table from Harvey [Frand, Line Producer] and from Michael and these guys were like "If we're not going to see them committing suicide then we've got to hear them, hear about them-"
RDM: -And then I had to cut the line where he said it, because it was like, you know-
Callis: -It's too much?-
Callis: -15 people have just committed-
Callis, RDM: -suicide-
Callis: Ah, yes!
RDM: And I had to cut it, it was one of those battle you fight and you lose, and that was like, it was too much, it was just like "Oh my God, you know what I'm saying, people are committing suicide!" First episode and they're committing suicide!
Bamber: The other great comment at the end of the read through when Eddie had done this pitch and he had brought in a sleep depravation expert to tell us what it was all going to be about, who had very little to say what I would actually be about, but everybody would be really grumpy is that he had to say-
Callis: -And Eddie was like "what about the suicides?" Well not so much on the suicides-
Bamber: -Yeah, it undermined what he was saying entirely-
Bamber: -But Eddie was really like "But we really have to like not sleep and understand what that means" and then Rymer said "Well, you know that's all well and good Eddie, but if everyone's really sleepy its going to be piss poor tedious".
Bamber, imitating Michael Rymer: -Maybe play against the tiredness-
Bamber, imitating Michael Rymer: You got that, play against it now.
Bamber: -Lose your temper!
Callis: That final note is true because, like, there's all this stuff about, when you do the thing that is like, you know, as you would be, I've seen these thing like people with hypothermia and like they're waiting for the rescue, apparently what happens in, like, [unintelligible] is like you slow down-
Mrs. Ron: Yeah… It makes for very bad television.
RDM: It takes a long time to film
Callis: ...So whenever you're watching [unintelligible] you're like "Get the thing! Get the thing!" it's like "God, you're speaking quickly for someone who's about to drop dead."
Mrs. Ron: (laughs) - As your heart is slowing down-
RDM: - And it's hard to tell a story in that moment, it's like-
Callis: -The tragedy of verisimilitude.
Bamber: But that is very much the-
Sheppard: Ooo, oh, very good one-
RDM: The tragedy-
Sheppard: -of verisimilitude-
Callis: -Somebody said that after watching me do something like a take of something and they went "You see, it looks dreadful, you were trying to be natural, you're trying to look like a normal human being and it looks like the worst acting that's ever been seen!"
RDM: Who said that to you?
Callis: One actor, I can't remember, he's like "that is called the tragedy of verisimilitude."
Bamber: That's very true, that's very true, there's nothing worse than an actor crying because you look stupid-
Bamber: -It's like, oh it doesn't matter.
RDM: So James.
RDM: Baltar. Okay, three seasons now.
RDM: You've done, and we're finished, we are in the, almost done with shooting the finale of Season Three at this point.
RDM: Of the three seasons on Battlestar, or the four including the Miniseries if you want to think of it that way, at what point do you think the character really, that's who he is?
Callis: Well took off or something?
RDM: For you, what's, even if subsequent seasons didn't like up to it, what's like the time when you think you really hit the stride of something-
Callis: - Okay, well on the truthful aspect of Baltar is like, you know, I think coming back to 33, Michael again was directing using us and he was like, you know-
RDM: - But that's one episode, for like the season-
Callis: -I know, but it was, this was the thing where he was like "listen, we're gonna have quite a bit of you guys in this episode, because you guys in this thing, it's something that not a lot of other shows are doing, and you can be," in the sense of me and Tricia [Helfer], "you can be dark, but at the same time amusing, and like like on vibe with this thing," and I remember being kind of slightly… At least at that time I was thinking, yeah basically I'd been lucky enough to be twinned with (laughs) beautiful Tricia, so you know, and there's the director going "people are interested in this thing" and I'm like "yeah, I wonder why?"
Callis: You know, I can see that, so I don't really have, you ask me like about favourites, or when like-
RDM: -Just in general-
Callis: -The thing like sunk in, I remember there were like, there was a conf- okay, yes it was 33. Okay viewers, here it comes: basically there's a lot of stuff that we film doesn't necessarily end up in the show-
Callis: -One of these things was a scene where, it happens in every season, when you finally make the DVDs of like, whatever, the whole unexposed version, and people actually have a lifetime to watch it, or through-
Callis: - There was a scene that we shot, or basically Number Six and Baltar are making love-
Bamber: Yeah, remind us all again, what do you get to do?
Mrs. Ron: Kind of like the last story-
Callis: (laughs)-I haven't finished!
RDM: I see-
Callis: There was a scene of us making love-
Bamber: - Simple actor, simple pleasures-
Sheppard: -Got any girls?
RDM: - But no, there's something really-
Callis: -So, basically we shot this scene and it totally didn't work, there was all of this dialog over it and there was the way that it was happening and stylistically it was funny, and there were things that I can't, whatever, say on like a podcast-
Callis: -which is terribly, terribly funny-
RDM: - It's good you got them in really early before he's had more scotch.
Callis: So it's terribly funny, and okay I can say one terr-
RDM: Well no, wait! The poin- the point of this-
Callis: (laughs) - Say dreadful things on the podcast?
RDM: The point of this was-
Callis: -This was to say that we shot this scene again, and we shot the scene on Colonial One, and it was the same dialog and it was basically a bit where Number Six say to Gaius, she's like "Do you want children Gaius?" -
RDM: -Oh yeah! Did we cut that?
Callis: -No, that's in it-
RDM: -That's in-
Callis: Yeah, but we shot the scene twice, that's what I'm saying, we shot this dialog once like, having making love, and then one on Colonial One because we weren’t sure whether we were going to come into one, and it was at that moment then that I kind of, in the sense of finding Baltar, or finding this person, was like, because I have kids and I kind of, I, you know I love children, like my kids, whatever, so this man who certainly DIDN'T want children on any level and certainly not with this lady who might be some message in his head, it kind of galvanized me in this strange way, and ah she was like "Darling don't you want children?" I remember the answer like "…no."
RDM: I wrote that very well, "...no!"
Callis: -And I felt "My God, I know!"-
RDM: -He gave an immediate answer, he didn't think about it-
Callis: -Let me think about it for a minute-
RDM: -He just went -
Callis, RDM: -"No!"
Bamber: That's right.
Callis: And, in that one moment there was something about, yes-
RDM: -That defined the character-
Callis: -It was so real, and it took away, or at least it grounded or galvanized me away from the explosions, from being in love with a robot, from being, you know, in an alter-reality where spaceships run and you're on board one, this thing, a basic thing about a man who was like "I love playing around and the women, everything, do I want children? Forget it already!" and was like, that, that took me somewhere, it was a great line to kind of, to go on I think in that sense I think I found it pretty quickly, and I think that I found it-
RDM: -Moreso than the Minisereis?
Callis: Miniseries, I genuinely had a bit of a problem with-
RDM: Yeah, really?
Callis: -I gen-, well, but my problem with it, my only problem-
RDM: -Was it a difficult shoot?
Callis: No. My problem with it was that Number Six didn't have a name, on a realistic level.
RDM: Oh, I remember this.
Callis: And I was like forgot I'm a scientist and I've like been going out with this woman for two years and I don't know here name?
RDM: Well I was working on Carnivale, but this question got back to me-
Callis: Okay, so like my question is-
RDM: -got back to me and I quickly said "he doesn't need to know what the name of Number Six is," (laughs)
Mrs. Ron: Thank you, thank you very much.
Callis: -There was a great [unintelligible] where Rymer was like "actually James, the whole thing is, it's one of those things that you're this guy, you've got this beautiful lady, she likes you and like at the introduction you just missed her name, " (laughs) "and you've never asked her."
Bamber: And I've never been able to get it!
Callis: -It's so awful, that you don't know! (laughs)
RDM: It was a Seinfeild moment, and that's why I really liked it, I had the same, it essentially the same-
Callis: It's like you never over two years-
Bamber: -And you never found a credit card, you never found anything lying around-
RDM: -Because he didn't care enough!
Peniket: -Because he didn't care enough!
RDM: -He'd have known at some point, my take, here, seriously, my take is Gaius Baltar at some point realised, at some point Gaius Baltar realised that he did not know the name of Number Six-
RDM: And at that point he was so tickled by that knowledge, and so loved the joke of it that he never bothered to find out, and then wanted to see how long he could do it without ever revealing that he didn't know-
Mrs. Ron: -Did you think of that at the time? Or are you saying it now?
RDM: -It was a challenge to extend-
Callis: Gaius had a big journey to go on in the Miniseries-
RDM: Yes, he did-
Callis: -And, ah, he was the person who it was revealed to first of all that the Cylons look like human beings-
Callis: -And I imagine that for any person sitting in a room like we are now, somebody in the group turns around and goes "heh, guess what, you know? You thought that I was from Orange County, BUT!"-
Sheppard: -My friends-
Callis: -"But!" Wait a minute, "I've actually been manufactured!"
Callis: It's so-
Bamber: -That I would believe. Hasn't everyone? You have no problem with that?
RDM: That's a big question.
Callis: There were things, there were things to get over and surmount, and I remember one of the things at the end was this thing about looking at the, looking at the screens as the world blew up and it went breserk-
RDM: Yeah, yeah-
Callis: -And there was this thing about, the line was written about "what am I going to do, what am I going to do?" and I remember thinking, I was like "before you say what are you going to do, you've got to say what have I done?" If it's hit you, and I remember saying that bit and then David coming up onto set, maybe it was in 33 going "you know, we actually really needed that moment of culpability."
RDM: Oh, really?
Callis: Yeah, because of, like- you're gonna say what you're gonna do, but if you hadn't said, "What have I done?" then we can't-
Mrs. Ron: -Well, it kind of defined him.
Sheppard: As a viewer that created-
Mrs. Ron: It defined who he was.
Sheppard: That created Baltar for me-
Mrs. Ron: Yeah.
Sheppard: As a viewer. And that- the sense of guilt has carried-
Mrs. Ron: -That's his motivation.-
Sheppard: -and endured-
Mrs. Ron: -He's- that he's not just this evil one-note character.
Sheppard: -through every single beat.
Callis: So- and at the end of it. That that that little arc of, like, the whole house exploding. When you do these things it felt, basically, there's a guy at the side, just like chucking little bits of stuff at you.
RDM: I know.
Callis: And you're like-
RDM: It's rather underwhelming to be on the set during a nuclear explosion.
Callis: Underwhelming is the word, right.
Sheppard: This is really gonna look like-
RDM: They're setting off- Hey, tomorrow they're setting of the nuke.
RDM: Really? They're settin' off the nuke tomorrow?
Sheppard: It's a guy in the back going, "Bang!"
RDM: The windows are breakin' and the clouds and smoke, no. It's a guy doin' this.
Callis: That was the thing about watching the show afterwards, in the same way that Tahmoh had said about looking at the CGI when he was with the Cylon. The show looked so much more amazing than I could ever have conceived in my mind.
RDM: It came together really well.
Callis: And we were- we were, as characters, elevated and built up by that setting. So that- when I looked at her and I said- There's different things coming about, like I'd never really done that before, like this thing about, "I don't want to die." And trying to find that thing about "I really don't want- my God, I don't want."
Callis: And then there was this explosion. And the way that that's handled and then filmed and edited. It's a terribly exciting moment. In fact, in looking back to it-
Callis: -I had no idea that this was going to look that-
Mrs. Ron: When you guys went to series, did the experience of watching the mini then make it easier for you to- Did you have a better sense because you saw a completed thing as opposed to-
Callis: Yeah, totally, and every time that you come back-
Sheppard: The world existed.
Mrs. Ron: Yeah, a world existed. A whole world.
Bamber: Yeah, it's alive. It's a life. You get- and I think that's the real strength of our show, is that you get the sense of what this life tastes, and smells, and feels like.
RDM: And when you saw the mini you understood it differently than when you were doing it?
Bamber: Yeah, because the single most striking thing for me about the mini is the amount of time, of television time, and script time, that was spent setting up this world before the story kicked in.
RDM: So you felt like you were- stepping into a completed world.
Bamber: And it was because of the first forty minutes, forty-five minutes. I think it's about that long-
Sheppard: The universe.
Bamber: -before anything happens.
RDM: Before anything happened.
Bamber: And I think that's really rare.
Unknown: Well, that was the thing. That was the wall
RDM: That was the argument I had from the very beginning.
Bamber: It's a very ballsy- 'cause you have a lever here, with a pivot.
RDM: I s- I was like, "No, we're gonna take this time and we're gonna do this. We're gonna set up this world, and then we're gonna have the attack."
Bamber: Well you ha- I'm so grateful and-
RDM: I wasn't gonna open with an attack. It was like-
Bamber: It must have been a hard-
Bamber: It must have been a hard push because-
Bamber: -what you've then got, three or four seasons worth-
RDM: But to their credit, the network and the studio broke back.
Bamber: -of after the attack and forty-five minutes before. And you need that leverage space.
RDM: You need it.
Bamber: To establish the calm before any storm.
RDM: I feel like you knew- I just felt like anyone who realistically is tuning on- tuning in this miniseries knows that this is a miniseries about an apocalyptic attack.
RDM: I don't believe that there's anybod- or that- or let me put it this way, the percentage of viewership that was going to watch the miniseries and not know that it was about an apocalyptic attack-
RDM: -Like less than 10%. And I felt like "you know what, okay fine," those people will be in for a big fucking shock [unintelligible]-
RDM: -But most people who watch the show are going to know that there's an apocalyptic attack coming, so let that dread kind of like inform the beginning. You know it's going to happen, you know, you set up the pieces; she's deadly, something bad is coming-
Sheppard: -It permeates-
RDM: -You feel this sense of doom impinging on the characters and eventually there's a payoff to that, and I just felt that, that's a really, that's how you structure it-
Bamber: -But it's [unintelligible] very useful, because my mind is always thrown back to those first 45 minutes, because in everything that we do, every character on the show is always remembering what life was like-
Callis: -Going back to that-
Bamber: -And all we've got as actors is that first 45 minutes-
RDM: -Well, and I agree with you, yeah-
Bamber: -And every time that-
RDM: -I want to know who-
Bamber: -If I ever watch the show, that's what I-
RDM: -I wanted to know who Lee was before the attack, and I want to know who Baltar was before the attack, I want to know who each person was before the moment-
Callis: -Totally different people-
RDM: -When life completely changed irrevocably, that okay, who were they for that one second?
Bamber: Yeah, I think [unintelligible].
Callis: But, can I just say the shot that really sold the whole that, and it's a strange, the shot that sold the whole miniseries to me was Mary [McDonnell] finding out that she, Laura has the cancer, and in that room in this glass room in the day time, suddenly I looked up-
RDM: -The glass window-
Callis: -And saw the shuttles like going overhead-
RDM: -Yeah, oh yeah, yeah-
Callis: -And I was like in every other space show I've ever seen, I only see spaceships at night-
Unknown: -And it was bright!-
Callis: -And this was part of, I so believed-
Mrs. Ron: -Like how we see police helicopters!-
Callis: -[unintelligible] disaster that happened to her person, you know I was so involved in that and the last thing I was looking for were like beautiful things rolling through the sky, and there was this thing about in that way it was kind of like, it's all so beautiful, the glass and the electricity and everything... It's going to be a disaster-
RDM: -That is all-
Callis: -It's, it's waiting to happen for you-
RDM: -It's great-
Callis: -You've made it so, so pretty and so lovely, what-
RDM: -That is entirely Michael Rymer, that, that's re-, that's not in the script and it wasn't the way I visualised it, they told me about it, is Michael wanted to do this and I was like intrigued by it and I, but again I was producing Carneval, and I said "oh yeah, sounds, sounds great, okay."
RDM: But in the script, it was written as just a doctor's office, because to me it was just about Laura sitting there in the empty doctor's office-
Shappard: -It is beautiful-
Penikett: -It's almost always how something like that is shot-
RDM: -And he comes in and sits down-
Penikett: -A dark room, the doctor giving you bad news-
RDM: -Ah, yeah. And Rymer wanted to open it up, and have this location and-
Callis: -That, for me, just made our universe in such a way like I haven't really seen in others-
RDM: -It's one of the defining images of our back story, when I think about Caprica-
Penikett: -Beautiful [unintelligible]-
RDM: -Or anything about these people before the attack, the image of Laura sitting in that big space with the ships going over is the one thing that I think of.
RDM: Before I think of Baltar's house, before I think of-
RDM: -Of anything else, I always think of [unintelligible]-
Sheppard: -I remember it vividly, it's a very poignant piece- Caprica-
RDM: Yeah it is. Jamie?
RDM: -What would you change about the show?
RDM: Any category, in any category, just what would you change about the show?
Mrs. Ron: -Being fat-
Bamber: -No, I love being fat, that was-
Bamber: I wouldn't change that. I would keep the Cylons a bit more mysterious, not know as much about them.
RDM: That's, I think that's an inter-, I think that's a valid criticism, I'm not sure, I think the-
Bamber: -I think that why 33 was amazing, and we keep on going back to 33, but there are many other great episodes and I think a lot of our other great episodes are joint episodes like the season finales are always twos-
Bamber: -And they've always been exceptional, so 33 always gets my attention because it's such a great stand alone episode-
RDM: -Yeah, it's a stand alone-
Bamber: -But, the thing about 33 is you never see the shark. It just finds you-
RDM: -The Cylons are off-camera-
Bamber: -It's the perfect nightmare, you know, every, you just know that when everything calms down, they're going to get you again, and then you're off on again, and then they get you again, and when the Cylons were in that mode they could have, the human mind is racing to work out how the hell they're doing this, how the hell they operate, how the hell they work, for me, if we'd stayed more in that area, because the show's about humanity and our show's fundamentally about humanity and each, you know, I keep on complementing you but that's not new. This, the turning the Cylons into humans was the single greatest decision that you ever made for the show. Because you-
RDM: -Now I think that's right up there with Starbuck as a woman-
Bamber: -Right! And you put the emphasis right on humanity, this is about people and even the episode that we just shot an episode which people have seen last week which is, is wiping out your enemy genocide if they're all mechanical things?
Callis: Is that acceptable?
Bamber: -And I think, you know, by turning them into humans really made a problem of the fact that these Cylons are interesting enemies and they're like us, they look like us and we created them and maybe they are the future and all this stuff, but I think when you-
RDM: -When you strip away that mystery-
Bamber: -When you strip away the mystery and you get inside and you see very many versions of the same thing, wearing the same clothes-
RDM: -I know exactly what you're saying-
Bamber: -It's a kind of can of worms, and you sort of, you can't fundamentally resolve that.
RDM: I think that, that's a really interesting and probably correct choice as the number one thing that you could criticize about the show, because I'm not sure, I'm not sure that I've taken the right fork in that road, but I know that as a writer there was a part of me that I, at a certain level, and you can see this all the way through the series from 33-onward, there's an irresistibility to the idea of telling the story of who the Cylons are and you just keep looking over here and you keep wanting to sort of do another little de-mystification of who they are that opens another mystery-
Bamber: -But listen-
RDM: -You start like, it's seductive as a writer, is all I'm saying that as you're writing the show-
Bamber: -There's such latent potential energy there-
Bamber: That you want to look-
RDM: -And I found this in the series over all, when you're doing a series that has antagonists-
Callis: I think that-
RDM: -When you're doing Star Trek’s and you're doing these whole space operas, when you're doing shows that have, or an Alias or something that has an outside sort of organization that you're struggling against and there's a conflict-
Bamber: -Don't you think that-
RDM: -There's just a need on behalf of the writer that at some point you want to do the episode that shows you another point of view from the other side, the show that opens the door and says the other's a little more familiar than you think they are, and then you close that door again.
RDM: But you can't resist going back to that cookie jar. And eventually what happens is, the further you get into an episodic television series like this -- now we're in the third -- 3 seasons under our belt, plus the miniseries; that's a lot of hours -- now -- at a certain level you just start going, well, I just want to know more about the Cylons at this point. I mean J---s, how much more am I going to write about, you know, Laura and Tori and Tigh, without doing something about, well, J---s, who's Cavil? There's a character that comes aboard the Galactica, and suddenly I'm fascinated with who Cavil is. As a writer and as a viewer, I want to know, the atheist Cylon? Tell me more about that. And we start just opening up that world-- but to your point, I don't know if ultimately, if that doesn't undercut the series and demystify what drew you to it initially.
Callis: I think it's a gutsy move. And reading some people who, like, who, whatever on the internet, people who are writing in -- that -- what is to be said of, like, you know, hey, listen, this is the gimmick: we never meet them. That's going to get old as well.
RDM: That's the fear, I don't know.
Callis: ...in the sense of--there's this thing about making these Cylons, the human Cylons or the human-looking Cylons, you know, have their own personality that is almost to the detriment of the Cylon cause. And in exploring it and going in that direction...
RDM: We keep wanting to write...
Callis: ...what you get is this thing about, "my g-d, how do they..." You set up lots of questions to be answered again [to Terri: "yes, please"] for later on.
Terri: We don't have any ice, everybody...
Bamber or Callis: I'll go get some snow. <laughter>
Bamber: ...one thing, Ron, having said that as a thing I would question... my single favorite episodes this year, and actually my favorite four episodes as a group are the first four episodes of Season Three...
Bamber: ...which exist purely because of how you humanized and introduced the Cylons. Because we got to see civilisation. And I think our show is about civilisation. It's like how civilisation asserts itself. It's like fungi in a -- you know, like microbiologic tiny life forms in a vacuum and how it takes form and how it establishes itself. And what you've done is stripped civilisation down to very few people and then you put them on this planet. You gave them the question. Now deal. Now make life happen. And when the Cylons land, you open the show up to so much political, social, fascinating territory, and I, you know, those aren't particularly episodes that I was massively involved with because I was busy being fat in space...
Bamber: ...which I loved,
<crosstalk> ???: Being fat in space! The year I was fat!
???: Did you know I had no idea it was a fat suit? I was like, wow...
Bamber: I know, you told me!
RDM: That was one of the best jobs I've ever seen done with that.
Bamber: People in L.A., people in the industry, they'd ring my manager up and they'd say, "Listen, we thought Jamie would be right for this, but we couldn't ... he's put on so much weight!"
RDM: So that's like your nightmare as an actor, right?
???: I actually had to tell him, I said, I am so embarrassed. I had no idea. I had no idea it was a fat suit.
Penikett: The few scenes I had with him in the beginning, every time he was eating something in the scene? I could not keep a straight face!
RDM: Everybody was talking about the one shot, of the towel-wearing fat Lee walking away...
Bamber: We had to stand there, me and my double, my gut double. We had to mirror each other, with no mirror. It was two sinks, it was a parallel universe for the mirror with two bars of soap, two everything, me and him.
???: I had no idea!
Bamber: Moving at the same time so that they would pan off his belly, round onto my face, and then as I walked away, they'd be back onto him.
Bamber: It was in and out of the mirror. And it was me and him, just being Marcel Marceau. Anyway, while I was doing all that, you were making this great socio-political drama.
???: "While I was in space being fat!"
Bamber: Which honestly, I think are my favorite episodes, ever, that we've ever done.
RDM: Really! That's interesting.
Bamber: Yeah, absolutely. And I have to sort of say that the Cylons -- this is my point about the Cylons, really, that I think they work really well when they're in a human context. Like Grace discovering that she's a Cylon in the dormant... But going to them?
Bamber: ...and destroying your picture... do you know how you started the show with an idea of fixed camera positions and all that kind of stuff?
Bamber: That's ... I don't think...
RDM: It crosses the line.
Bamber: But it begs the question.
Bamber: I am hugely invested in the Cylon...
RDM: That's... I'm not sure I'm invested.
Bamber: Like I didn't buy that episode, what was it, "Downloaded".
RDM: Oh, I loved "Downloaded".
Bamber: You see, I didn't.
RDM: Really?! Why?
Bamber: Oh, Cylons in coffee shops.
<general laughter> <crosstalk>
Terri: You've been reading the board too much.
RDM: No, that's fair.
Penikett: I think that was one of those episodes, though. A lot of people were reading...
RDM: You know what, though, that was a deliberate choice.
Bamber: Of course...
RDM: I want them to be so hu... what they want to do is, I thought this is basically a statement about humanity. These are beings, created beings that are so intelligent that they have created like a theology, a belief in a monotheistic God, and they believe with all their souls that they have souls. But what they want to do really is they want to go to, like, a Starbucks.
RDM: And they want to, like, have baristas and stuff. That's humanity, basically. It's basically that profound and that completely, like trivial, on some level.
Bamber: I guess. I just can't get over... and I get evangelistic about our show to people who don't like science fiction, and that's my...
???: You've heard the premise that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
RDM: Well, I really like "Downloaded" because I really like Head Baltar.
Bamber: Head Baltar is great.
RDM: You know, the Baltar who's in Caprica's -- Caprica Six's imagination.
Callis: When we did -- you know, when we did that episode initially, I must say-- I was kind of like, um, how is this going to run? How is this going to work itself out? And I think that there were things that were hinted at in the script that needed to be, um, brought to the fore. And one of those things -- I remember being in a room with like, you know, these beautiful women -- Lucy Lawless, Grace Park, and Tricia Helfer.
RDM: I know, it was you and like, babes...
Callis: And I was like, looking at all of them and I was like -- Yes, that was the moment. It was like, "D'Anna's about to kill you". It's not about her being, like, your buddy and her -- your -- friend. This is about, like, you know, double espionage. This is about thought crime. Say the wrong thing, think the wrong thing, and you're going to be boxed and that will be you forever. And, um, I suppose once -- when you've thought about the scary elements in between all of these, kind of, as I say, beautiful looking women, there was something that really kind of hinged... One of the lines I remember from that one is Grace throwing that thing across the room and going "lying, fracking machine".
<crosstalk>: I love that scene.
Callis: And that's kind of so -- I keep on bringing that up when we're doing this thing, I'm like, are the Cylons allowed to partake in our society on some level? Or is this thing about, we've already heard it from one of the Cylons themselves. They're a lying fracking machine. Can they ever be trusted to say, like the real thing or the thing that might help?
RDM: Here's a question from online from...
Terri: From midshift brig.
RDM: This is probably for Tahmoh and Lee. Did any of you have a particular military man or woman (well, probably a man)...
Terri: Not necessarily.
RDM: ... to model from when you developed your character.
???: G.I. Jane!
RDM: Other than G.I. Jane! Any historical people, or any filmic performances, such as "Patton".
RDM: Were you a war movie fan?
Penikett: Not a huge one, but yeah, I've always gone to see them. I've always been quite interested. My grandfather.
Penikett: You know what? I never considered the military, but I know when I was young, like you said, I think I was very curious about the Second World War and war in general. You know, what motivates peoples and countries to do this and everything like I said, my grandfather and grandmother's generation went through. I did consider being a police officer when I was younger. You know, I'm sort of fascinated by the RCMP, and being a Mountie... but it didn't last for very long. Almost every interview I've done, it's like, how much of a soldier is Helo, and it means everything to him, it really does.
Sheppard?: ...sense of stoicism...
Penikett: ...compromise the safety of his wife or child, you know...
<crosstalk>: It's a beautiful dilemma.
Terry: Do you want to do this... This is from Malcolm12, who is a wonderful poster, very <unintelligible>.
RDM: Assuming you are Baltar, what's it's going to take...
Terry: Let's go at it this way first. Assuming you're *not* Baltar, you've got Baltar trussed up in an unused airlock and five minutes to kill. What do you do? Either one of you. You've got him trapped...
Callis: This totally depends in some fashion on whether you're a female fan or a male fan.
<general laughter and crosstalk>
Bamber: Wait, James has a script idea! "I think there should be six girls trying to kiss me..."
RDM: And they all sort of look like Six, yeah.
RDM: This leads directly to another question, which is what's the Cylon goo feel like?
Terry: So assuming you've got Baltar trussed up in an unused airlock and five minutes to kill, what would you do?
Terry: And assuming you're Baltar, what's it going to take to get out of that airlock and untrussed?
Callis: One of the things when you're in this thing, and the show is about being specific to the moment. I have no idea in this sense about what somebody's personal beef is that they want to keep you there or...
Terry: Here's another one.
Penikett: Can I answer that one for a second? For me personally I'd have an issue with it, because I'm fully conscious of the fact that one of the main reasons my baby wasn't aborted was because Baltar came up with this brilliant idea of stem cell research...
Sheppard or Bamber: See, you love the machines, you love the bad guys...
Terry: You're a Cylon lover!
Callis: I have a big stumbling block... I want it to be credible, or at least in my mind, whatever that might mean to me, to be credible. And there was all this stuff in "Epiphanies" about the man, like, finding a way to cure this disease with the stem cell of a baby. And something about this particular idea really appealed to me on every single level. I so loved it. I loved it because looking at the political spectrum at the moment, I realized the money from the government is *not* going into stem cell research. It galls me and in a way that's like, what's the word, anti-being a human being, if you're not into this thing, I'm so disappointed. And the fact that it paid off, and that there was this kind of courageous jump, what I loved about it was essentially the narcissism of Gaius Baltar is something -- "I've had the most brilliant idea! Unless I put it into action, noboody's going to know how brilliant I am!"
RDM: That's what I love about Baltar!
Callis: So Laura's kind of a by-product.
Penikett: You remember this scene, though. I was having this stand-off with Adama, and James has this classic moment -- this is the first time we've *seen* each other since I've given up my seat to this man, OK, I'm sitting in the hallway having this Mexican standoff, I've got my hand on the gun, what-have-you, and he's yelling at me. James just came in and... I had a really hard time not cracking up, man.
Penikett: He comes running in to tell Adama this idea, and he stops and he just looks at me, like, who? It's you?
???: You saved my life!
Penikett: You saved my life! But here's my idea... And he literally almost just steps in front of me. OK, I don't know what you guys are doing, but I have something really important to say right here. He's sitting between us suddenly telling Adama.
Bamber: ...when Lucy Lawless first turns up as D'Anna Biers doing the interview with James as she walks by...
Terry: Oh, yeah.
Bamber: Do you remember? And she first meets you in the corridor. And you realize the interview is not going to happen...
<crosstalk>: That's classic! I love that...
Callis: That was Bob. I was like, what the hell am I doing here? and Bob went, <in an American accent> "Well, James, you really want an interview!"
Bamber or Sheppard?: But that's the other great decision of this show, that Baltar really isn't a bad guy. He's the bad guy in the show because he carries the name, and ...
Bamber?: When I read the script,
RDM: He's not a villain. From the very beginning...
Terry: It's self-preservation
RDM: ...when I was looking at translating the original show. The traitor was fundamental to the idea of what that show was. And when I was developing "Galactica", I was saying, OK, take this show and develop it. Not just throw everything out. OK, fundamental to that show was the idea that the human race was betrayed by someone from within. It wasn't just, you know, a bolt from the blue. There was somebody within mankind that actually helped this to happen. And why would you do that? Why would you ever do that? And I couldn't imagine any reason why he would ever do that. And it had to be something that he didn't realize he was doing, but he did, and he's still culpable for it, that basically he is responsible for the things that happened in some way, without him ever realizing it but because of an outgrowth of his own weaknesses as a human being, because he is the most human of all the characters in the show. And it was through this kind of like "oh my G-d, what have I f_king done? Really? Oh! I'd better call my lawyer!" There's an instinctive pullback...