Saturday, January 13

Not Just Another Viper Jockey

Source: Battlestar Blog

Continuing our tradition of BSG excellence, I give you: Our community's 3rd exclusive actor interview! Leo Chiang is a self-described background performer in BSG, often seen hanging out in Galactica's rec room with the other pilots. Over the past few seasons he's become a fan favorite, and last month he was kind enough to take questions from members of our community!

What sort of direction are you given in regards to your character's motivation in scenes?

Lol, I'm an overfeatured background performer. The only direction I get is to be quiet.

How did you prepare for you role, did you talk to any military people or pilots?

I did a few months as an air cadet in the Canadian Air Force many years ago, until they wanted me to cut my hair (yes, I used to have long hair). Also, I come from a long line of career military men. I am the first generation that has not done any military service. When you grow up with your dad polishing guns in the kitchen some of that rubs off on you. The agency I am with ( also specializes in police and military roles.

Dude! We love you in the background scenes. Are they ever going to GIVE YOU ANY LINES? :)

I yell out "Chromedome" in season 3 episode 6 (Torn) in response to giving Sharon a new call sign. That's about it, otherwise I do a lot of cool nodding and grunting and stuff. I'd love to get an opportunity to develop my character further.

What's the most challenging part of playing this role? Is it a rewarding challenge?

Believe it or not it's actually pretty tough to be in a scene where I'm the only one NOT talking and yet I have to respond to the conversations around me in a convincing manner. You guys see a short cut but some of those scenes takes hours and many, many takes to complete. I hope I'm pulling it off alright. Sometimes I wish I could talk just to make things easier and more natural. It's pretty rewarding to be able to work on your favorite show and be part of a pretty old legacy.

What's an average day on the BSG set like for you?

If it's an early call-time I grab breakfast (great caterers on the show!) then I grab my wardrobe. Then I grab a coffee from crafty and wait to be called to set where we do take after take of me doing the aforementioned head nodding and grunting. Then we grab lunch and I try to squeeze back into my costume and try to look like I'm not sucking in my gut. Wednesdays are Hamburger Day where they break out the grill a couple of hours after lunch. Mmm, my stomach rules my world. Do you realize how much I save on groceries working in this industry?

Was that you betting on Hotdog in the Starbuck vs Hotdog boxing match? If so, why Hotdog and not Starbuck?

Actually no, I'm not too sure why I didn't get the call for that episode. Maybe I was attached to another show at the time. I know the other guy though, he's a buddy of mine, he's a buff guy but quite a bit shorter than me. I'd probably still be cheering for Hotdog to get back at Starbuck for being with Anders, lol. Plus, I like to root for the underdog.

Which BSG actor do you enjoy being on set with the most?

Man, tough question. They're all great, and I'm not just saying that. Although I was closest to Grace Park because we had already known each other from another show. During season 1 I chatted a lot with Grace and Sam Witwer (Crashdown), he's a real comedian that guy. Leah Cairns (Racetrack) is really sweet and supportive and always has time for a friendly chat. Also, I'm in a lot of scenes with Bodi Olmos (Hotdog) and Sebastian Spence (Narcho), great guys both! Otherwise, I'm pretty separate and stay in the background tent.

Do you hang out with any of the other actors when you're not filming? You seem like a party guy, are you a big party guy?

Hehe, I really try to keep my professional and personal life separate. I'm also at the age where partying is pretty low on my list of priorities. Coming up on my 3rd annual 29th birthday now. I like to entertain at home a lot though.

Are your tattoos real?

Over 40 hours of painful realism.

What do your tattoos mean? They look wicked. >:-)

The left side is dedicated to my family. If you look real close my family name (Chinese character) is on my upper arm and is being protected by a tiger. The koi on my chest means my family's success and perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds. The band in mid-bicep is the ancient Chinese character for Longevity/long-life. The right side is for my culture/heritage. Typical Chinese dragon on the chest with his body curled around my arm and a dragon band to finish it off. I purposely cut the sleeves at mid-bicep so that I can wear a t-shirt and no one would know I was tattooed. The back are various symbols for joy, bliss and good luck . . . protective symbols. My abdomen is actually 5 characters drawn to look like one, it's part of an ancient Chinese idiom that says time "Tells A Person's Heart." The whole idiom is "Like a long journey tests a horse's stamina, so does time tell a person's heart".

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