The character of Cassandra
is of great importance to the backstory of the SG-1 team, and for the first time GateWorld is taking an interview to explore her role in the history of the show.
Actress Colleen Rennison
, now 21, was the second actress to play the role, in addition to "Ally"
in Season Two's "Bane."
We talk about both of the parts, among others in her career, and how her craft has progressed thus far. We discuss the Stargate phenomenon, living in New York, and her other talents!
GateWorld also takes time to debunk some rumors about Cassandra's lack of an appearance in the pivotal SG-1
This interview runs approximately 30 minutes and is available in audio. It's also transcribed below!
GateWorld: You were six or seven when you started acting, at least on screen. That's where your IMDb credits start. What was it that made you want to get involved in this? I am guessing parents had something to do with this.
Colleen Rennison: Well to be completely honest with you I was just a really crazy, rambunctious kid. I was really hyper and engaged and really extreme. I would go from one emotion to the next and my parents really didn't know what to do with me.
It was either therapy or they spoke to another mother that was a mother of one of the kids at my school. And her daughter was doing theater classes at this place called VYT --Vancouver Youth Theater -- that a woman called Carole Tarlington started. She suggested to my mom that I go to some acting classes just to get some energy out. And I loved it, and the woman ran an agency as well. I got into the agency.
My parents were very un-ambitious for me. They turned a lot of things down when I was younger. It was just sort of this animal that they didn't really have a lot of control of once I'd got into the agency. I would go to auditions and I just started booking parts when I was five years old.
Rennison plays Ally opposite Chris Judge in Season Two's "Bane."
GW: Wow. That's awfully young to get started. Granted a lot of people do get started at that young age but that's got to be intimidating for you. I mean, you've got a career at five!
CR: Yeah, but for me, it was just glorified playing house. [Laughter]
It was just make believe with bigger sets and more lights and adults. You know what I mean?
GW: And scripted pages.
CR: Yeah, totally. I started reading at a fairly early age, so that was good. I have fun with the scripts and reading that. And I think that had a lot to do with it. When I was five, I was sort of alert. You know what I mean? I was a pretty interested kid. So yeah, I did participate. I did understand what was going on.
GW: Speaking of understanding what's going on, and you said that your parents were pretty choosy about your projects, I just re-watched "Under the Bed" from Outer Limits.
CR: Oh really? Oh, I loved that show.
GW: You do? Man, that's a scary show.
CR: It is really scary.
GW: And they were ok with you participating in that? I'm sure they made it clear to you that ...
CR: Everything was make-believe?
CR: Well, you know what? Actually my Mom -- God bless her -- she was so good. I can't say how thankful I am that I had the kind of mother that I did at that stage in my career. Because, for instance, while I was shooting that, she saw the man -- he was all dressed up in costume -- and she said "OK, my daughter's going to freak out when she sees this. She needs to see him, she needs to meet him. She needs to watch him get all of this stuff put on so that she understands that it's fake. And they were like, "Oh yeah, yeah, sure, of course, of course. No problem."
It didn't happen, it didn't happen -- our scene was coming up, and actually the girl who was my body double saw him without seeing him get ready or anything. She completely freaked out and had to be taken off set and wouldn't work anymore.
And then my scene was coming up and he was already in costume and they wanted to do these shoots. But my mom just put her foot down and said "No, no way. You told me that you were going to allow me to present my daughter to this monster in the way that I wanted and I am not going back on my word -- and you shouldn't go back on yours." So we didn't end up shooting the scene.
I went in the next day and met the guy and met Igor, the man who was the monster designer, and it was all fine. But she really put her foot down. Early on in that stage of my career, when I was going overtime, she had to make a decision about my welfare that could have potentially affected the workday. And she did.
In "Under the Bed," Rennison plays a young girl traumatized by the literal boogey man.
She played the bad cop sometimes. I'm really glad. Because the last thing you need when you're a kid, is a stage mother that's trying to please everybody.
GW: Exactly. We hear all these stories about child actors. And we see things. We see news stories about how things can go terribly wrong. It's good that you have a beacon of light.
CR: Definitely. The mothers that don't have their kid's best interest. Whether they have their own or they're trying to forward their kid's careers. That's not the time or place to be pimping your child out. There's all different kinds of ways to do it. People have all sorts of different kinds of experiences. Mine was really great. I learned a lot.
GW: Do you re-watch any of your work from when you were that young?
CR: I haven't seen a lot of it in a long time. Sometimes I'll catch some of it on TV. If I'm over at a friend's house or someone wants to watch it or something and I'll bring something up on YouTube. But for the most part I really don't.
GW: How do you react to it?
CR: Sometimes it makes me feel a little bit uncomfortable. Because, I don't know, I'll just feel like that awkward kid again. But I like it. I mean, it's really nice to have that kind of a snapshot of you in your younger years.
It's really incredible that I got these professionally set dressed, cast and filmed little photo albums. Of these things I've done. It's really nice. It kind of blows my mind, honestly.
GW: You don't just have home movies and photo albums and things like that. These are time pieces from your life that are intact and are on Hulu. [Laughter]
CR: Totally! It's going to be neat to show them to my kids and stuff. I always thought about that when I was a kid.
GW: Yeah, just don't show them "Under the Bed."
CR: Yeah. I'll wait, I'll wait. Or I'll explain it very thoroughly.
GW: But Stargate -- that's a whole other story. You were first introduced -- your first role was in "Bane" as the character of Ally in Season Two.
CR: Yeah, that was really fun.
GW: A role all your own and spent a lot of time with the very, very charismatic Christopher Judge. I bet your mom had a good time with him.
CR: Yeah for sure. He was awesome. And his wife Peggy. I remember he has a great tattoo on his ring finger that said her name.
That was fun. Actually, that role was written for a little boy. His name was supposed to be Carlos or Alonzo or something. And they sent me in anyway to see what would happen. And I auditioned and they liked me. So, yeah, it was really fun. She was a tough little street urchin. That was good timesfor sure. I was a bit of a tomboy when I was a kid so it wasn't too much of a stretch.
GW: Get the water guns out and now we're playing war
CR: That was actually the first time I had ever eaten on camera.
" I can't say how thankful I am that I had the kind of mother that I did at that stage in my career."
CR: I think so, yeah. I just remember the spit bucket. There was a scene where we had to eat. I think they were Mr. Big bars. The props guys had made this really cool packaging that I was totally fascinated by. And yeah, the spit bucket.
GW: Well yeah, and there's that whole thing about continuity and the length of the candy bar from scene to scene.
CR: Oh yeah! It's a whole new thing. Often props guys on set -- say there is a food scene -- they end up being the caterer. They have to have cooking skills. It's funny. That was cool, actually. That actually opened up some doors for me. After I got that role, my agency sent me out for quite a few roles that were written for boys.
GW: Did you know how big Stargate was at that point?
CR: I had seen the movie and I really liked the movie. But I think it was ... What season was that?
GW: That was Season Two.
CR: Yeah, the second season. So it hadn't gained quite as much ... It was just a show at that point. It wasn't this whole Stargate universe that it is now, certainly. But it was definitely there. All of the components and everything. It was there, it was just waiting to be found, waiting to be found by the fans, and it was waiting to be turned into what it is today. It was all there at that time.
GW: Have you seen that show recently?
CR: No, but you're making me really want to watch it. [Laughter]
GW: Well, I'm glad. I just re-watched it the other day.