For an actress whose Sci-Fi credits equates to 22 hours of Battlestar Galactica, Tricia Helfer sure can fill up a room. After every other star scheduled on “Galactica New and Old” was either called back to the set or had a scheduling conflict, it became an unofficial “Hour with Trisha Helfer”
While this might have spelled disaster for a supporting actor who had appeared in less than 30 episodes, Helfer pulled it off with grace and aplomb. It becomes all the more stunning when one realizes the girl does not know a lot of science fiction and is originally a self-described tomboy.
“I grew up on a farm in western Canada, and it was my father’s decision not to have a television in the house,” she told the crowd. “I was allowed to go to my Grandmother’s, who lived across the street, and watch a few hours of television a week. I had a few hours that I could choose what to watch, and I normally choose to watch hockey, and my beloved Edmonton Oilers.”
While her childhood in Donald Canada was simple, it wasn’t totally devoid of all sci-fi.
“The closest movie theater was 45 minutes away, so we didn’t go very often, but my Dad was a science fiction fan and liked Star Wars and Star Trek, so when we would go to see a movie, very often it would be one of those,” she said.
It was during one of those rare trips to a movie theater that a modeling agent discovered Helfer.
“After high school I began modeling and I would be in places like Paris, Milan, Rome, Africa where there wasn’t television, or television in English, and so I never watched it,” she said. “It just wasn’t part of something I did so it was hard to. Even now it’s something that I don’t do a lot of. I watch my own show, but I need to get better.”
She said her lack of viewing has caused a few problems on set.
“After so many times of a director or Ron [Moore, the show’s creator and main writer] seeing me stare at them blankly when they say, “Okay I want this to be like that scene in that movie,” they know they can’t say that without getting the DVD for me to watch, or explain it in some other way,” she said.
Helfer did say she has bought the complete original series and has watched both shows with her family a number of times.
“One of the reasons why I wanted to do this was because I knew I could do something my father could enjoy,” she said.
Even family ties, however, are not enough to win over fans for her character, “Six,” the human-appearing Cylon who is bent upon destroying humanity.
“My sister hates me, not me Tricia, but my character,” she said with a laugh. “She’s a mother and has hated me since the baby, because she’s a mother . . .It was written in the script that Six just snaps the infant’s neck,” she said. “I talked with Michael [Rymer, the director] and we thought there were two ways to go about it. Either it was an accident or a mercy killing. Either she picked up the baby and just didn’t know her strength and killed it, or killed it out of compassion.
“What we went with was that it was a mercy killing. She saw this baby and was touched by its innocence; you can’t just hold a baby and not be touched by its innocence… So she was touched by its innocence and didn’t want it to die this horrible death with the bombs, but she’s not going to stop the bombs because she’s a Cylon, so she saves it from a much more painful death. I really wanted to put some emotion into her as she walks away, and I hope it comes off on screen that way.”
More information about Helfer can be found at her official website: triciahelfer.com.