Sunday, March 27, 2005

Quotes from Tahmoh's Interview on S2D

Ok, so I’ve been a bit slow to post this, but life intervened… and transcribing, I learned, takes approximately forever. But for your reading pleasure, here are selections from Shaun O’Mac Daily’s (SM) interview with Tahmoh Penikett (TP) on Subject to Discussion last week (March 23, 2005) on

You can download an MP3 of the whole interview here (or use this direct download link). I’ve mainly concentrated on his remarks about Galactica. I’ve abbreviated and clarified in several places. If anyone wants to type up more of the interview, I’d be happy to post it…

SM: Where are you? You up in Canada?

TP: Yeah, I’m in Vancouver, actually just got back last week from LA.

SM: I’m surprised at the strength of the show and the fan base. Are you surprised as well?

TP: Yeah, I’m absolutely surprised. I think one of the main things… there was a lot of talk right after we did the pilot. People were talking about the purists, the original fan base from the original series and how they weren’t very happy about the show being redone, what have you. But I think anyone can testify that the new series is great. It’s not absolutely faithful to the original series, but new and better.

SM: You, yourself you’re kind of on a spin off show on the show itself. You’re down on the planet and everything else. How does that feel? You’re part of the show but really off on your own show.

TP: I love it. I love it. I remember last year when I got the call from Ron Moore and he told me his idea for the storyline and that he wanted to bring me back and what have you. As far as I knew I wasn’t sure if I was coming back, I had other plans. I was basically looking for work in other places. He called me back and said we’d love to have you back on the show, see what’s happening with your character. He’s still on the planet. He survived--post-nuclear holocaust. These are the ideas I have. I was really excited. I kind of liked the storyline. The audience must appreciate it too because it takes you out of the ship. I remember when he first told me about it, it kind of made me think of Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back. You’d be going up to the space ships and then cutting back to the planet. It gives it a little bit of diversity in the storyline.


SM: You’ve done a lot of location shooting for the show. How’s that been?

TP: It’s great man. Vancouver is such a beautiful place. Picturesque--ocean, tons of rainforest. As you can see, Caprica, the planet on the show, has been through a holocaust. They’ve been pretty consistent with the rain. I’m usually wet pretty much every episode. I’m going on location every time. Not stuck in the studio. It’s been fun.


SM: How is it to work with [Grace Park]? She’s basically doing two different roles.

TP: Grace’s character is awesome. Grace as a person; the girl’s fantastic. I love working with her. I’m always joking around because this whole last season we did, the first season, it’s the Grace and Tahmoh show. Pretty much we’re acting together every time. I haven’t even worked with the rest of the cast since the pilot so that’s who I look forward to going back to, every time I do shoot. Grace is awesome. She’s a very talented actress. She’s very generous. And we have a great time. The first time we met was when we went to the boot camp, right before we started filming for the pilot. We clicked right away. We knew we were supposed to be partners. None of us had actually read the script, I don’t think at that point, but we caught wind of what was going on and we had a loose idea of the storyline. We bought it from that point and we’ve been good friends ever since.

[his acting background, schooling]

TP: I’m a Taurus. I have twin sisters: they’re May 18th. I’m May 20th… My father was a politician when I was younger, pretty much through most of my youth…. My dad was also an actor and my grandfather was an actor. They gave me an appreciation for good drama from a young age…. One of the first films I ever saw with my dad. I’m not sure how old I was. When did Bladerunner come out? [1981] So I was five or six at the time. I saw that film and it made a huge impression on me….

[early career: Dark Angel, Stargate SG-1, The L Word, Smallville; working with directors]

SM: What’s the origin of your first name?

TP: I’m named after my great-uncle. My mother is First Nation; I guess you guys would call Native American down there. I was born and raised outside of Yukon, right beside Alaska, lived there until I was 19. Lived in BC the last 8 or 9 years…. My father is British. Hence my lovely white skin and the last name, Penikett.


Question from the chat room: Will you be returning next season?

TP: Absolutely. Yeah, just recently taken care of. I’m coming back. I’m really excited about it.

Question from the chat room: Who’s a better kisser, Trisha [Helfer] or Grace [Park]?

TP: How dare you guys ask me that? [laughing] I’m a lucky man to have kissed either or both of those women.

SM: Do you watch your own work?

TP: Absolutely, whenever I can…. I think you can learn a lot from it. I’m going to make a point of this year, especially if I do get back to the studio, just to watch the dailies and stuff.

[…family’s reaction to his deciding to be an actor…really supportive]

Question from the chat room: What do you like most and like least about working on Galactica?

TP: I’m loving the action sequences. It’s great, man. I did most of my own stunts this year and that was a lot of fun…. The least… would probably be not getting to work with the rest of the cast. Everyone in the cast is awesome and super-talented. That’s one thing about the show; it was cast so well. Someone like Aaron Douglas; he is that role. He is the chief. I’m really looking forward to sharing a scene with some of the heavy-weights. Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Michael Hogan; they’ve been in the business for tons of years and are so talented, I can’t wait to get into it with them.

[playful speculation about what might happen with Helo’s storyline]

SM: You going to be comfortable if Galactica runs seven years. You okay with being identified as Helo?

TP: You know the show’s doing great and I take it as a huge compliment…. I’m not looking too far into the future. What I’m doing right now I’m doing this series and apparently it’s doing really well and people are happy with it. I’m really happy doing the character right now. We’re going to go with it as long as we can. I’ll tell you this, I read the first two episodes of the new season and I couldn’t put them down. They are killer, they are so good.

SM: You have any ideas why they gave the character the name “Helo”?

TP: I think it means “ice” in Spanish. It’s like “ice man.” [Anyone know… does Helo really mean ice in Spanish?]

[toaster scene… connection back to the old series]

SM: Where do you see your career going five years down the road? Do you want to act, do you want to direct?

TP: ….I look forward to directing…. If I ever had the opportunity to [direct] one of the episodes, I’d jump on it. But it’s one of those things, you really need to know what you’re doing. I’d need a lot more experience before I take a crack at it. But five years down the road, I hope to be doing the same thing. I really love to act. It’s a dream come true. I’m living the dream….

[James Bond… Star Wars]

[impressed, ecstatic about being on show with Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell]

Question from the chat room: What was your favorite scene from season one?

TP: Hard question, man. Action-wise, I’m loving shooting at cylons and diving over counters and having pots dropped on my head and stuff like that. It was great.

[will be attending Gatecon 2005]

SM: Any words for the fans?

TP: …The first two episodes are killer. I’m so excited. Be prepared to get caught up with some the characters and get some real back story happening with some of the senior characters…. We’re going to have an awesome series and an awesome season. Everybody stay tuned. Thanks for being supportive. I’m looking forward to it.


  1. does mean ice...but it's pronounced like the dessert Jello. My husband's from El Salvador.

  2. Hey congrats on your mention during the S2D interview! I believe they were talking about your site and how it is the only Tahmoh Penikett site out there right now!!

    Maybe Tahmoh can hire you to run his official site! :)

  3. Thanks for taking the time to transcribe as much as you did. That's awesome!

  4. Well..."hielo" means ice in spanish and it's pronounced somewhere in between JAY-lo and YAY-lo. anyway, helo, hielo.... they're close. Thanks for the transcription.