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The Man to Call

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GW: What similarities would you say Ladon Radim and your character Charlie on Battlestar share?

RR: Boy, Ladon and Charlie. I think that there was an unflinching level of commitment. I think that they were both very committed to whatever it was they were ... They made a decision to do something and they were going to see it through regardless. And I think that's something that they definitely both share. I think that there's definite commitment, no hesitation. "If I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this."

GW: They both had family with troubled lives. I mean Charlie obviously his son was killed on New Caprica.

RR: Yeah, Charlie had the death of his son to deal with and Ladon had his sister almost dying. Plus you know, in my mind, if he's got a sister that he loves dearly, I'm sure he's got other family out there so I'm sure there was a lot at stake for him.

GW: A lot of drive.

RR: Yeah. And you know, we never talked about Charlie's wife. His son died, so I had just always assumed that his wife didn't make it.

GW: She died in the attack?

RR: Yeah. He probably had this really great relationship with his son. And that wasn't hard for me because I have a daughter. So when we started shooting the first scene when it was revealed that he killed ... he was blaming Jammer for the death of his son. That wasn't too hard to imagine that. That was a heavy scene, man. Shooting that was the heaviest, darkest, weighty day I've ever worked. And everybody brought it. It was a really weird day when we shot that scene.

GW: Killing Jammer?

Charlie tries to goad Gaius Baltar into pleading for his life in the Season Four opener of Battlestar Galactica.
RR: Yeah, it was a weird day. And [Dominic] Zamprogna who played Jammer, he just brought it. Everybody was so bumped that they were killing Jammer. Because Dom's such a cool cat and everybody was just so bumped they were like, "Oh my God." Every time someone of any relative consequence to the show is killed, it was just, "Oh no."

GW: Dee [Anastasia Dualla] was a shock. That was a total shock. And what a sweetheart that actress is.

RR: Yeah, yeah. Even Kat [Louanne Katraine].

GW: Kandyse [ McClure].

RR: Kandyse. But even when Kat got killed Luciana [Carro]. I wasn't there but, every time you feel like you're not going to be on the show, it's devastating. Every actor that I know that got killed or written out, was just so bummed.

There were tears shed. some actors. It's a tough call. Everybody loves that show so much, even working on it. It's just so weird that it's over. Weird.

GW: Could you compare the working environments at all between the two series between Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica? And Sanctuary also. Was there one series that was easier to work on than another?

RR: Well, definitely Sanctuary is by far the easiest to work on. I think it's very much a family environment, we have zero ego. I mean the people are amazing. It's one of the rules on the show. No one's allowed to be a diva on Sanctuary. It's very fun and really encouraging. Everybody collaborates and participates and it's a really great feeling.

It is like shooting an indie film you're really passionate about. It feels like that every day, I love going to work there. When I have the 5 AM call. On most shows I'm like, "5 AM ... that's crazy." But on Sanctuary I'm up and ready to go, "Let's go to work." And then also because I've been on this show since the Web series, I think that I've got a lot invested. But you know, Atlantis was always fun. "Oh you're going to go and have a good time." But it always felt temporary, I just never knew.

With Battlestar Galactica, I was such a huge fan of the show. It was so exciting and the thing about Battlestar Galactica, everyday was so different because there's such huge cast and everybody is so into the show and really interested in what's going on. We'd be shooting scenes and there'd be other cast members come by just to watch. And that rarely happens.

That'll happen on Sanctuary from time to time. Last season when there were scenes with Christopher Heyerdahl and Peter Wingfield and Jonathon Young. Robin Dunne and I would go and sit and watch. Because for me, those guys are heavyweights. Those guys are unbelievable actors. There was scene between ... A Druitt [John] and [James] Watson scene -- Peter Wingfield and Christopher Heyerdahl -- Robin and I were just watching and we were saying "Man, these guys are awesome, so good."

Robbins reveals his name will be in the opening credits in Season Two of Sanctuary.
GW: When they're outside of their test?

RR: The particular scene was a scene in Magnus' office.

GW: Oh, OK.

RR: And they were discussing: "I can't believe it was you, the whole time it was you." "Sorry about that, old friend." You know it was just ... and Jonathon Young -- who is back in Season Two -- is just so awesome, he's just so good as Tesla. I just love him.

GW: I'm glad they didn't kill him.

RR: Yeah, he's great. We just shot some stuff yesterday, he's awesome. Ironically I don't know if people know this about Jonathon. He actually toured and has a play where he actually plays Nikola Tesla in this play that he's been doing off and on for years.

He actually toured with it, won festivals with it. He has a theater company that was founded on the back of this production. This theater company's called The Electric Company. He actually toured as Nikola Tesla, so he's just a fountain of Tesla knowledge. He always jokes with his theater friends saying ,"Well, you think that Tesla died, he didn't. He actually went underground and became a vampire." [laughter]

GW: Since the Web series -- the show is obviously moving to its second season now. Does it still feel like an experiment in progress? Or is it much more ... [the show] found its footing?

RR: No, not this year. This year it's definitely found its footing. I think there were lots of moments last year. There was lots of moments of discovery.

GW: Not that it hadn't found its footing last year but, not being afraid to try something.

RR: I know exactly what you're saying. Last year it was a lot of, "Oh, yeah. It's not that simple because we have to do this and this." It was never fear-based or anything, it was just never a concern but it was a lot of moments of, "Oh yeah, right we've got to do this." But this year ... You know what? That's what it is. I've been trying to figure out what feels so good this year. The scripts are amazing, everything is good. There is a level of confidence this year because the show ...

GW: It's done well.

RR: It did very well. I think it definitely exceeded expectations and then some. Internationally it's off the charts, it's doing so well. In the U.S. it's doing, I think, better than expected.

"I've been trying to figure out what feels so good [with Sanctuary] this year. The scripts are amazing, everything is good. There is a level of confidence this year."
There's this level of confidence and fun. "Yeah let's do it." I think there's a willingness to take some risks. It's action-packed this year, it's going to be great. I love it, reading the scripts.

GW: The first season of any show is usually ... there's some potential missteps. There's a lot of feeling your way through the new world that's been created, the new characters that you're inhabiting.

We go back and watch old episodes of Stargate SG1 and some of them just feel a little foreign to what the show becomes. What are your thoughts on the first season of Sanctuary? From that perspective, looking back on it now, with a year's worth of distance. What did it accomplish creatively?

RR: I know what you're saying. Hopefully we go a few more seasons to look back on Season One and see it. I know at the beginning of Season One it's definitely finding your feet, finding your rhythm and making discoveries. You're literally making discoveries about your character and your scene partner.

You're making these new discoveries on the go. It's right there. That's what's kind of cool about the first season of a show is that you can actually watch people make discoveries in a scene. There's just something cool about that. But it does feel a little bit uncertain at times.

I think creatively we're a lot more comfortable with the choices we make. I think as an actor, say you get a new director, historically I probably wouldn't do that. And you can say that now, because you do have a history. Before you would go, "I'm not sure my character would do that."

"Well, has your character ever been in this situation before? Hasn't been with mine." Now you can make some really informed decisions and we have some really great dialogues, really great conversations.
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