On Friday, I managed to snag an interview with Jamie. I broached the subject with him while getting autographs that afternoon and he was willing to make some time for me. I left it to him to determine when to do the interview and the plan was to meet him back at the Walk of Fame at 6. Fortunately, I had the forethought to print out the questions that you all had submitted back in April. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to prepare and that combined with doing the interview at the Walk of Fame meant I missed some questions I would have liked to have asked. Maybe next time.
One cool thing about doing the interview at the Walk of Fame though was being on the other side of table, seeing how the autograph process operates, and witnessing Jamie being incredibly gracious with each and every person whether they were there to get an autograph or just to say hello and tell him how much they enjoy the show. My hope is to post the audio at some point in the near future, but I want to see if I can edit out some of me sounding like a dork. ;) And I didn’t get this on the recording, but Jamie kept repeating to me before the interview began how much he hates talking about himself which may help to explain some of my comments that may sound like ‘moving along’.
And I couldn’t resist asking about Lee Adama in the upcoming season. He was pretty tight lipped, but I did bring up something I had seen in a previous interview and he did, briefly, talk about Lee’s future and his relationships with various characters. I’ll mark the sections so you can skip over them if you choose. Now, on to....
Battlestar Galactica is wrapping up and you’ve expressed interest in writing and directing and you’ve also done theatre work, what do you see yourself maybe doing after Galactica? Any plans at all?
No, I hope I continue working on my writing and on my development of ideas and I’d love to start producing material for films or TV, I’m not sure which, or both. I just want to learn, you know, keep on learning. I’ve been working with some very talented people and I’ve learned a lot from them and I just want to keep being resourceful and doing as much different stuff as I can. I this, uh, I love the creative aspect of this industry and it’s nice and exciting to think that I’m finally getting the confidence and understanding to maybe, to know, create from the beginning rather than, just as an actor, to try and come in and report half way through.
Any chances, I know you were working on a script for Galactica, any chances that any of the story idea will see the light of day this season since the series is coming to an end?
It’s, uh, not going to happen. I thought it was for awhile. I pitched an idea which the writers really liked and Ron really liked. And we were gonna make it, but the season is always in flux and it’s just drifted away. So, it’s not going to happen unfortunately. I was devastated, I just found out the other day.
Oh, I’m sorry.
For the last three months I was told it was going to happen then suddenly it’s not.
I would have loved to see your writing on screen.
Well, there is a script out there which I wrote, we’ll see. Maybe I’ll adapt it into something else.
Well, there are a lot of TV Shows out there.
You’re most often asked about Battlestar Galactica and Hornblower. Of all your other work, whether it’s stage or radio or television what role do you wish you had the opportunity to talk about?
I don’t wish to talk about any of them (we both laugh) any more than I already do is the honest answer. I mean I…uh…there’s a kind of thing where everything in the past you’ve done is kind of stale and I, I’ve there’s never been anything I’ve done that I continued to be proud of long after I’ve done it so I’m always happy to move on.
Is there any question you’ve ever wished somebody would ask you?
Not at all. Never.
Not a chance.
These were submitted by people from the board.
Yeah, sure, no that would imply that I want t to talk about myself a bit more which I don’t.
We’ll get back to the character stuff. With both Lee Adama and Archie Kennedy, you’ve played characters who’ve suffered a lot both physically, emotionally and psychologically and you seem like a pretty happy person from what I can see. So, do you draw from any experiences or insights to play these characters?
If you have experiences, you definitely draw on them. Normally, in my situation, I’ve never been through anything quite as dramatic as most of the characters I’ve played so you draw on the experience that is similar and you just try and expand on that. Intensity or, but, yes, it’s half imagination and half experience. And, uh, sometimes it works for you and sometimes it doesn’t.
(Jamie’s distracted by someone at Aaron’s table)
Um, but, yeah, that’s, you know, that’s what acting is it’s a combination of using you and trying to imagine what it would be like.
The character of Archie Kennedy had all of a paragraph or two in the novels. So the character really wasn’t developed at all in the books. Did define the character, did you bring anything to it?
Yeah, obviously, what happened was I went to the read through and I was only meant to be in one episode, uh, I did the read through and they obviously were thinking about this Hornblower character needs a buddy, a confidant, someone, a kindred spirit or a friend and he’s not really there in the books until Bush comes along, this other character, and, uh, I was told that the producers really liked what I did in the read, just in the read through, the table read, and they started working on expanding the character then. So, no, it’s not really me it’s more, obviously I brought something and they liked what it was, but then they created the character, you know, I was, very…that was my first ever job, you know, I think now I bring a lot more and I do get involved with the writers and I talk with them and we do (OK, it sounds like the word devil to me, but I’m not sure that’s right) out things. You know there is a togetherness on that, then, no, I was just following their lead and trying to make sense of it as we went. It’s like all collaborative media; the result is a combination of everyone, yeah.
How do you view the relationship between Horatio and Archie? Obviously, they were very, very close friends. But a lot of the fans of the films saw more than a friendship…
(Jamie smiles, sensing where I’m going.)
…between the two. And I was just wondering what your personal feeling were on that?
Um, you know…I almost don’t like to comment because the relationship is there and people make out of it what they want to. Uh, but that not withstanding, no, we were never playing a gay thing, not at all. It was very much two emotional people in a world where, you know, you can’t express too much going on around you, who are going through things together, and who sort of rely on each other at different times. And the relationship for Archie was, he’s in awe of this natural born seaman, and this captain, leader, and he wishes, he’s everything that he wishes he was but isn’t so it was that, that’s what I was playing, it’s, uh, you know, it’s a kind of hero worship.
Is there anything in particular you’d like to see explored about Lee that has not been touched upon yet? And you can tell me spoilers. (Yes, I said that.)
To be honest, it gets hard after four seasons to really get excited about a character. It becomes so much just a broad - it’s almost like a real person, he’s been to hurt so many different places, you know, the relationships that define him, he’s been as far as you can go with, really. I’m glad the show is ending. I, I wouldn’t want to do another season cause there is no where else I really want to go apart from, I just want to be really involved with this season and at the moment we’re half way through and I’m a bit frustrated, I’ll be honest, at where the character’s, not where he’s going, but at where the story is going for him. He’s not really at the center of it which is fine, but I have no idea what is around the corner.
***** SPOILER ALERT *****
I did see some brief film footage when you were interviewed on the set and they showed filming and there was a scene of you with and Mary and Richard and Eddie and you were in Lee was in civilian clothing.
And I got the impression that Lee did, in fact, leave the military.
Will Lee be going back?
Yeah, I don’t know, I don’t think so. I honestly don’t know. I, I love it, I love where he’s going. He’s going somewhere completely different. You know, whatever, I have no opinion…I, I want the stuff of the writers and I want to be challenged and working hard and that’s all I want. Is there a specific direction, no, not really.
***** END SPOILER *****
***** MINOR SPOILERS – Jamie discusses Lee's relationships with Roslin, Adama, and Kara *****
OK. Any significant changes in the relationships with Adama and Roslin and Kara?
Yes. Um, with Roslin in particular. That relationship.
For the better?
You know there is a lot of resentment and bitterness from Roslin towards Lee. And he’s finding that hard to deal with. With Adama, there’s a kind of maturity to their relationship now. They’re accepting their differences. And with Kara, uh, we haven’t had very many scenes together, but the relationship has definitely changed.
Are they, you probably don’t know, are they going the predictable route?
I have no idea.
***** END of WARNING *****
Throughout your career you have done a lot of period work prior to Galactica and now you are predominately, or you came to fame in this country at least, through Battlestar Galactica and you’ve also, in both People magazine and TV Guide, been called one of the sexiest men on television. All of this, do you find it all limiting or are you worried about being typecast at all once Galactica is over?
Not because of all that.
What was the question?
No, no, I mean, you know I’m always hoping that I get to play all sorts of crazy, different roles, but that’s more about me getting out of there and getting better as an actor that’s not really about the roles that I’m playing.
In what ways do you think the character of Lee is misunderstood?
I think people think that he is slightly cold and reserved, but I don’t think he is at all. I just think, he thinks before he speaks normally. He’s, you know, he’s a thinker. And I think he is misunderstood by a lot of people in the fleet because he has different ideas. He thinks outside the usual parameters, an officer that has to obey orders, and they interpret that as insubordination or arrogance and he’s just aware that the situation calls for a different approach then a regular position.
(Jamie gets distracted by talk of action figures at Aaron's table and comments “That’s not true, I got one. I had a prototype two years ago but they never released it.” Then there is some joking about a Fat Lee figure like Fat Elvis.)
Ok, you use to play rugby and somebody was curious to know what position you played?
Scrum Half, Number 9
What people, whether you’ve actually met them or not, have had the greatest influence on you both professionally and personally and why?
My wife, my kids, my parents, the usual family, my brothers and sisters, um Eddie, Eddie Olmos has been a huge influence. The people I’m working with now probably more than anybody have been a huge influence. Michael Rymer, Eddie Olmos, I would say.
You’ve moved to LA now. How are you adjusting to that and how do you find it different than living in London?
There is no society in LA. European cities have a genuine communal feel about them. You share space, open spaces, parks, you know, on every street corner. I find North American cities to be very individualistic, and, apart from New York, apart from the big old-fashion east coast cities, and LA is the worst of that. You know, everyone lives in their cars and their homes. They don’t bump into each other, you go to the, you know, just like taking your kids to the swings you have to get in a car and drive ten minutes rather than walk two blocks. It’s that really. That’s the downside. There are many upsides to LA. I adore the geographical situation, the desert, and the ocean, and being near Mexico, I love being in that exciting Hollywood sort of vibe, it’s amazing. And I like the energy of the people, but you don’t get too meet many people in LA unless you are well connected which, thankfully, I am. But when visitors come they are always slightly disappointed by it and I think the city has to work on that, develop a transport system, develop a central communication system.
But you see yourself staying for awhile?
For a bit, I don’t know, I don’t have any plan.
I guess Hugh Laurie had said this in an interview, but do you find when you are acting with another Brit, like James Callis, is it more difficult for you to maintain your American accent?
No, no. No, I don’t find that at all, I think it’s as difficult as it is everyday with everyone, um, no.
You have a large gay following, by your appearance in Out magazine, you don’t have a problem with this, obviously. Do you think it's the man or the message of the work that attracts the attention? With so many shows playing up those elements to appeal to that segment of the audience, as well as the large internet proponents of that message, is there any pressure to encourage that on Battlestar Galactica or in your career?
I really don’t think about it. No, not at all. I’m, you know, I’m flattered that gay men are interested in me. But, I, it’s not something that I think about. It’s irrelevant to my life. And, I’m glad if it makes a difference and is fun to theirs. What they see, I don’t know. A lot of American’s have said that my British accent is a (I can’t hear what he says here very well, it sounds like fait accompli), but or whatever, maybe it is, maybe that’s the appeal, I have no idea. It’s not something that I think about.
If it’s not too personal. Have any of your girls expressed any interest yet in acting or performing in any way?
No, because they are not really sure what that is. But there’s definitely an aptitude there, from my eldest at least.
Would you have a problem with that if they said they want to become an actress?
You know, again, I don’t really have an opinion about that. I just want them to be happy and fulfilled in their lives. I could care two hoots whether it’s acting, or as a lawyer, or making ice cream, it doesn’t bother me as long as they are happy and fulfilled and healthy. It doesn’t bother me.
Do you use music as part of the process to look deeper into the character. For example, are there any songs you associate with Lee or Archie? Does music help you set the mood?
Occasionally, I use music as a mood thing, it’s not really associated with a character, but if there is a piece of music that effects me in a certain way and I’m aware that a scene is, you know, angry or mournful then there is definitely, there have been times where I’ve used an ipod to get my head in the right place. But, no, Lee doesn’t have a tune like ‘Peter and the Wolf’ or anything like that. The oboe is not Lee. No, I don’t, I’m not a very musical person is the honest answer. But I have been known, I love music, I love it in movies. The greatest thing about watching an edited episode is seeing how the music affects it, it really changes it.
(At this point I mentioned a friend who vids and it’s really incredible when you see certain images with the music.)
Yeah. Actually, Eddie Olmos’s episode, ‘Taking a Break from All Your Worries’, the final scene he had music, the music that is playing, playing live for us in the final scene in the bar and it really, really helped. And it’s very rare that that happens cause normally if you are recording dialogue you can’t record it over music, but he let us do it a couple times and it made a big difference.
One final question here. Somebody noticed you seem to be sporting a scar on your right forearm, how did that happen?
Sking. In Italy when I was a student there. Uh, we were in the Dolomites for the weekend and it was the last run of the day and we were doing stupid jumps and stuff and I’m a pretty decent skier, but obviously not good enough and I took a jump that I hadn’t checked out and as soon as I was in the air there was a rock where I was going to land and I smacked my elbow, broke my elbow. It’s a surgical scar, I had a couple of operations on it.
I thanked him for the interview.
We talked for another minute, I told him how much everyone would appreciate him taking the time to do this, and he sent his love to everyone. Then I decided I wanted to snap a picture to go with the interview and tapped him on the shoulder before he could run off. He obliged me and as I was focusing the camera asked him to smile which he informed me he was. I think I may be the only person who got a shot of him in the baseball cap.
ETA: Not that he'll see this, but I wanted to thank Jamie's handler, Bill, who I chatted with quite a bit while I waited for Jamie to get freed up and who made sure Jamie didn't forget about me. He's also a fellow LJer.