Amanda Tapping is an extremely busy actress and full-time mum, instead of having some down time after her 10 year stint on Stargate SG1, Amanda moved on to her next project ‘Sanctuary’.
Clique Clack have an exclusive interview with Amanda Tapping regarding all things sanctuary which you can read below
Ruby T.: With the death of Ashley, are you playing Helen differently? How has Ashley’s death changed her?
Amanda Tapping: It’s changed her drastically. I think you’re not going to see a huge outward change because that’s not Helen, but you’ll see moments where it’s revealed just how deeply she’s hurting about this. But she’s such a tightly wound character, and she plays her cards so close to the chest that it’s very rare, except in the first three episodes, where you’ll actually see her struggle. And then, of course, in episode five, which has already aired, she talks about trying to find a cure for her longevity because she just doesn’t see the point of being around any longer now that she’s lost Ashley. So it’s moments like that are revealed. And then she just sinks back down and gets back to business. And then in “Next Tuesdayâ€ she talks about the fact that Ashley’s birthday is coming up and she can’t handle it. And then she sinks back down to business. So it comes in waves for the audience. For Helen, it’s a constant, but for the audience, you’ll just see it revealed in little moments. Definitely, I mean, it’s a massive impact because she decided to have this child in the first place and bring her into this environment, and of course the consequential guilt that she feels is huge.
RT: So with the loss of Ashley we have a new character in Kate Freelander. What do you think that she brings to the show, and what does Helen see in her —why does Helen ask her to be a part of the team?
AT: It’s what she does. Like she collects these abnormals, and she brings them into the Sanctuary, protects them and nurtures them. And then, in a lot of ways, in Kate she sees a wounded bird who, given the chance, can just blossom beautifully. She doesn’t trust her off the top, … but I think that after a while Helen goes, “Wait a second, there’s huge potential with this girl,â€ and decides to take her under her wing. And the thing with Kate that I love is that you don’t like her off the top. We wanted her to be revealed to the audience organically. We wanted her to slowly become something that the audience could trust —to go on the journey with us, essentially. Nobody in the Sanctuary network likes her off the top. They’re like, she’s —there’s something wrong with her, and she’s wily, she’s up to something, and then slowly we start to trust her and then start to like her, and then genuinely embrace her. So we’re hoping that that’s the journey that the audience goes on too.
And in terms of casting her, we did a huge search for her, and we saw hundreds of actresses. And Agam came in, and right off the top I said, “She’s Kate.â€ And the guys were like, “Well, we got a lot of people to look at,â€ and she was shortlisted and shortlisted. There was just something about Agam’s energy for me that I knew would fit in beautifully with the Sanctuary cast. Not that she —you know, she’s a phenomenal actress, and I think she did a great job with the audition. She nailed it. But there was also something about her energy as a human being that just jelled so beautifully with the rest of the cast and with the show. So, as much as I know there’s a lot of derision on the Internet about whether or not she’s the right character for the show, I think she’s absolutely perfect.
RT: You mentioned “Next Tuesday,â€ which is one of my favorite episodes because it shows a different side to Helen and also to Will. How would you describe the relationship that’s grown between Will and Helen?
AT: I love this relationship because it’s so much more honest this year than last year. And you know, it has to be. Will was still trying to find his feet last year, and he didn’t have the confidence that he has now. … That’s how it feels like everything has rolled out with this show in terms of the relationships, so organically. He’s now really comfortable, and now he’s calling Helen out, and he’s not gonna let her get away with stuff. … So it’s actually interesting for me though because Helen’s so uptight and knowing that she’s dealing with this and she’s not dealing with it well because she doesn’t deal with emotions well. She comes across almost —when I read it I was like, uh, it seems like Helen’s jealous that Will might have this booty call! [Laughs] And I don’t think it’s that so much as she just didn’t know how to say, “I need your help.â€ And that’s because he’s the closest thing to her. It’s even harder. So he says, “I don’t know why you’re acting this way. This is weird!â€ But I think it’s a really interesting dynamic, and the two of us really enjoyed playing it, but there were moments where we would call Damian and go, “What did you mean by this? Why would she say it like this?â€ Cause you read it, and it’s weird. It’s a weird dynamic between the two of them, but ultimately what it shows is how comfortable they are with each other.
RT: In “Next Tuesday,â€ we met a guy named Olaf. Will we be seeing more of him?
AT: I don’t know. I don’t know whether we will or not. [Laughing] I think he’s just so —he was so great, the actor was wonderful —but he was just so schmarmy. Initially we were trying to get … Chris Sarandon, which was our original thought. Wouldn’t that be funny? You know, from The Princess Bride, but I don’t know … I mean, I can never see [Olaf and Helen] together. He’s just too —you know, he might be fun for a weekend, but for the long haul I think he’d drive her crazy.
RT: Are we going to see more of Helen’s relationships with John Druitt and Tesla?
AT: Oh definitely. Definitely. That’s something that has to be explained. I don’t know if “Hauntedâ€ has aired yet in the States, but it’s an episode that reveals a lot about John Druitt, and you see why in some ways Helen fell in love with him in the first place. Because he wasn’t Jack the Ripper when she fell in love with him. So that relationship is the quintessential relationship in Helen’s life. He is her paramour. It’s just incredibly screwed up. [Laughs] Because of what he does subsequent to their [relationship] —because you see why she would fall in love with this man … with his intelligence and his passion … Also, you know, I talked to the guys about doing more history with Helen. I mean, what informs this woman? …. Wouldn’t it be great if we actually showed what the Sanctuary was all about in the early days?
RT: “Sleepersâ€ was a really fun episode. At the end, it looked like Helen was softening toward Tesla. How would you describe her feelings for Tesla, especially after what happened to him in that episode?
AT: It’s again, you know, it’s this 100-year-old friendship. So there’s such a history there that, I mean —it’s the same with friends that we’ve had for a long time. It’s just that, when you know so much about them, there’s a level of comfort there. Inasmuch as he drives her crazy, she absolutely adores him. And so the softening is sadness really, that this incredible pain-in-the-ass guy that had this crazy gift is suddenly forced to face his own mortality and his own normalcy, if you will, and I think that there’s a real sadness for her. It’s like, wow, I knew I had to deal with the thorn in my side, and now he’s not gonna be one at all. And it’s also that one of the Five has gone down again —although at the end, of course, we find out that he has other powers which could be quite fun to play with. But I think that there’s a massive amount of —she absolutely adores him and loves him; he just drives her nuts. You know, that crazy guy from college that everyone still knows, but he’s like —ugh, that crazy guy from college. [Laughs]
RT: And we’ll see more of Tesla this season and next season?
AT: Oh, definitely. Definitely. Jonathan’s a huge part of the family, so we want to bring him back as often as possible. He’s such a wonderful actor, and the character —he’s such a great antagonist. So, definitely.
RT: We have a few more episodes of season two ahead, so what are you really excited about for the last few episodes of the season?
AT: I have to say that our final two-parter, I think, is some of the best television that we’ve ever done. It’s phenomenal. It looks like a movie. Martin Wood directed it, and there are scenes that —oh my God, I mean, I’ve seen the show through every stage and through editing, and to actually see it put together —I was blown away. And I’m in it, so I’m pretty critical, but I was like “Wow! This is what they did!â€ It is epic, and this two-parter takes you around the world. Literally. To Egypt, and we spend a lot of time in Mumbai and the Mumbai Sanctuary —we’ve got a Bollywood dance number, for goodness’ sake. And it works, it actually works in the show. [Laughs] It’s insane! And it ends with —honestly, I don’t know how we’re going to get out of the cliffhanger that we’ve put ourselves into. I went, “Seriously?â€ and I turned to Damian when I finished the script and I went, “So how do we get out of this?â€ and he’s like, “I don’t know. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.â€ [Laughs] Oh! Okay. Yeah, the last two parter is the best two hours of television that I think the team has ever done.
RT: Oh, wow —that’s exciting! I have a few questions that our readers submitted for you, so I’ll go to those next.
AT: Oh, fantastic!
RT: The first one is from Annie. She wants to know if there will be an overall story arc for season three or if there will be mostly stand-alone episodes.
AT: I think the beauty of getting a third season and getting 20 episodes is that we get to play with a huge story arc. I think it’s in our best interest to build the mythology of the show, to do exactly that. I mean, that was part of the thing that made shows like Stargate so interesting to me was there was this massive, woven mythology. So it’s definitely —I mean, we do stand alone episodes because they’re fun and they’re exciting little pops throughout the season, but I think there definitely has to be an arc that carries us through. We haven’t figured out what that is yet. [Laughs] But we’ll have to pretty darn quick!
RT: Rocky89 says, “I loved ‘Pavor Nocturnus.’ It was one of the most intense episodes of any show I’ve ever seen you do. How did you physically and emotionally prepare yourself for that intense hose scene?â€
AT: Rocky89 is a big fan and has been very generous in praise to me, so thank you, Rocky89! That was the hardest filming I’ve ever done in my career —in terms of vulnerability, in terms of fear —and right up until the moment we shot it, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do it. But part of what I love about Sanctuary has been that I’m constantly afraid, in a good way. I mean, creatively, I’m scared, and I think it’s important that you scare yourself creatively.
And I also surrounded myself with people who I really trusted, and the two guys who were doing the ripping up the clothes and the hosing down —I had worked with those stunt guys on Stargate for 10 years and had known them for 13 years, so it was people I absolutely trusted. So that’s important. And the crew is —I think the only reason I was able to do it, honestly, is because I was surrounded by people who I trusted and that I loved, and I knew I was really well protected. Yeah, to open yourself up and to be that vulnerable and then afterwards you just can’t look anyone in the eye —it was a very strange experience for me. We finally finished shooting that part of the scene late at night. Damian and Martin were down set, and a lot of the crew walked off the stage because they just didn’t want to be there —and I couldn’t look at anyone. It was very strange. And now I look at it, and I still find it uncomfortable to watch. But it was —yeah, it was scary, and I think again it’s important to scare yourself, but I don’t know that I want to be that scared again.
RT: Majorsal wants to know, besides the circumstances surrounding Ashley, what has been Helen’s darkest hour?
AT: Besides the Ashley thing? Hmm. I think probably back in history, it would be discovering that John Druitt is Jack the Ripper and realizing that she had potentially created that (which we find out later may or may not be the case). At that time, it’s the realization that she has created this monster when her job has always been to protect abnormals and to protect creatures and to protect humanity from them, and suddenly … she’s unleashed this monster. I think that would probably be her darkest hour and informed a great deal of how she deals with abnormals and with everything —with her science, with her medicine. I think it informed a huge amount of how she dealt with the rest of her life thus far. (Other than, of course, Ashley —Ashley’s the big one always.)
RT: Chelle wants to know what you would most like to see happen with Helen as a character.
AT: After the season that we’ve just had, I would like to see Helen have a bit of fun! I know that sounds really lame, but honestly, the woman needs to relax just a little.
RT: Maybe go to that villa…
AT: Yeah! Go to the villa. I’d like to see her there, having some wine and laughing. I’d like to see her have, you know, some love. I’d like to see what Helen’s expression of love in the purest sense is. Yeah, but I —honestly, at this stage, with the season we just did, I just want to see her lighten up, even if it’s just for an episode.
RT: I have one more question for you, and it’s from Spaceboy. He wants to know what’s the most embarrassing thing that an actor has done on the set of Sanctuary.
AT: Oh my gosh, well, Robin Dunne —and this is legendary, so I hope I’m not repeating myself too much —but he likes to drop his pants. It’s a very strange phenomenon. And nobody —I’m serious —nobody can figure out quite why, but every once in a while, he’ll just undo his belt and unzip his pants and drop it. And we’ve both gotten used to it … But he’s done it when there have been people visiting the set who aren’t used to it, and it’s this massive explanation that’s required. We talk about his mental health issues [laughs], but I think seeing visitors’ faces when Robin has just dropped trou and having to go over and explain it! Robin’s our most embarrassing cast member. For sure.
I mean, I’ve been embarrassed by stupid things I’ve done —like saying bang! when I fired a gun on camera. Now, you’ve gotta remember, I spent 13 years with the Stargate franchise, carrying a gun, and never once did I go bang! Yeah, you do it in rehearsals so people know when you’re shooting, but you never actually do it on camera, but I actually walked onto camera at one point in a scene, turned to the camera, and went bang! I thought, “Oh my God! Oh my God, 13 years on Stargate —you’d think I’d know better!â€ But I finally did it. And that was very embarrassing —and that, I think, has made it onto a blooper reel somewhere. I think it’s made it onto our first season blooper reel. That was probably my most embarrassing moment.
RT: Oh great! [Laughs] Well, Amanda, thanks so much for your time.