Tuesday, June 13

An Interview with Tahmoh Penikett, Part Two

Source: SciFi Brain

The love between Battlestar Galactica's Helo and Boomer is akin to Romeo and Juliet. Find out the motivations behind Helo's actor, Tahmoh Penikett, in part two of this exclusive two-part interview.

“It’s funny,” Tahmoh Penikett speaks about how his parents feel about seeing their son on the hit show, Battlestar Galactica. “I think they are both very proud and they enjoy it. But, I’m still at that point where my career is young enough so that it is strange for them to see. My father is more accepting to it, because he was an actor. But, my mother, I have been with her a couple of times where she has seen some of my projects and she is,” he pauses, looking for the right phrase. “I couldn’t really elaborate what she is thinking, but it is still a little strange for her. Especially when I am in anguish. One time she asked me, ‘why do you have to be so harsh on film?’ I had a scene where I was yelling at a girl.” Jokingly, he gives an impression of his mother, “ ‘I didn’t raise you that way, to talk to a woman like that.’ ”

Tahmoh’s father, Anthony “Tony” Penikett, was a premier of Yukon, Canada—one of the country’s northern territories. And, like father-like son, was an actor while attending university. “Of the things my father and I did when I was young, he would take me to films. My dad is a big film critic, he loves to watch films. He was an actor when he was young at the university. So, I have been going to adult, well-driven plot dramas ever since I was a really young child. [I’d] really listen to my dad critique and appreciate it. One of the first films I remember my dad taking me to was Blade Runner.”

Of all the science fiction films the Canadian-native has seen, Blade Runner has been the most influential. The 1982 cult film—directed by Ridley Scott, features Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, and fellow Battlestar alumni actor, Edward James Olmos. “I think Edward James Olmos leaving such an impression on me [made me want to act]. I was very young when that came out and I will always remember it being so great. I remember wanting to know more about him and see more of him in that film.”

At the end of season two, Penikett’s character, Helo, was promoted to executive officer aboard the poorly manned Galactica. Which, he served directly under Admiral William Adama, played by Olmos. While shooting the final scenes of Lay Down Your Burdens part 2, Helo is seen manning the DRADIS station aboard Galactica’s Command Intelligence Center—a job he normally does in the cockpit of a Raptor.

“This is funny,” he admits, laughing, “people are going to get a kick out of it, but I didn’t realize until the [third season] that a couple episodes in, that I was actually the XO! I thought I was simply put in Gaeta’s (Alessandro Juliani) station.

“I am a senior lieutenant all ready, but I thought because of the skeleton crew, and not that many people left up there with Adama, there was a small establishment. So, I sort of overlooked the XO thing. This season, I remember reading a second time and it said ‘Helo, the XO, is coordinating a mission plan’ or whatever. I though, ‘XO?’ I kinda got a kick out of that then!”

Penikett’s place as XO also has him shooting his scenes almost entirely with Edward James Olmos. “I mean, so far, I have only read the first three episodes. There is definitely more scenes with Eddie and I. Which, is great for me, a dream come true!” He also says that some of his favorite and most challenging episodes have been with his role model. “I got to do a scene with Eddie in Home part 2, that was my first big scene with him. Although it wasn’t very long, it was well written. It was an emotionally challenging scene; those are the thing I get a high off of as an actor.”

Outside of the studios and convention arena, Penikett admits that since season two has begun airing in his home country, he’s being noticed all most all the time. “I am getting stopped all the time now, it’s really [weird]. It’s happened a lot more in the last year, because of the second season. In the last eight months, it’s funny, I was taking an acting workshop a couple of months ago. There was this really big guy who was giving me a funny look. I was on my cell phone, and I was looking back and I was like, ‘who is this guy? Have I had a situation with this guy before?’ He was looking at me really strange. I am looking back and I put down my phone. I say, ‘Is there a problem?’ The guy walks away. I forgot about him.

“The next day, I am walking to class again, and I see this guy walking towards me and I am like, ‘Ok, we have a situation here!’ ” Penikett chuckles. “The guy is looking at me funny again and out of nowhere, he points and says,” the actor paused briefly, apologizing for his language, “ ‘I love the f***ing show man! Keep up the good work!’ And, he walks by and he literally screams this at me. He is so enthusiastic about it. I got a kick out of that cause, you know, it was just funny and I am just proud. I love getting into conversations with fans about it.”

Newshound: Razorback

Part one can be found in the Galactica Station archives (May 21st)

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