Friday, September 08, 2006

2004 Interview with Tahmoh

Here's an older interview with Tahmoh from The Globe and Mail during the filming of the first season of BSG.

"Rookie bares all, well almost, for Cold Squad"

He wanted to get naked but they made him wear a nude-coloured sock, says actor Tahmoh Penikett about a scene from Cold Squad

by Mary Nersessian (2 October 2004)
It was not long ago that Tahmoh Penikett remembers struggling to pay for his acting classes and wondering whether he would ever make it as an actor. “You question yourself,” he says, “We face so much rejection.”

He quotes the words of Mike Myers as aptly capturing every actor's worst nightmare, “I still believe that at any time the no-talent police will come and arrest me.”
Penikett, 29, plays Officer Ray Chase in the seventh and final season of CTV's Cold Squad. This is his first lead supporting role.

The son of former Yukon premier Tony Penikett, he has been working as an actor for three years. His luck took a turn for the better when he was giving an actor friend a ride. His friend received a call from his agent about an audition and, despite tight competition even among friends in the same industry, told Penikett about it. Three tryouts later, Penikett had the part in Cold Squad. His character is a rookie who quit law school.

He says he's grateful to have work because “everyone knows in the last couple of years work has slowed down . . . obviously as an actor, our careers are so volatile, one day you've got work, the next you don't.”

And he's not against moving to the United States. “I'm definitely open to it. If you have any aspirations, you have to be open to the possibility.”

In Toronto to promote the final season of the acclaimed series, Penikett is wearing a black buttoned-down shirt and blue jeans and smells faintly of soap, as if he just stepped out of the shower.

Asked to explain what his first name signifies, he declines. He promised his grandmother he would not reveal its meaning. “I don't like telling people. I have to know them a little bit,” he says, but he does reveal that his name has Upper Tanana origins (the Upper Tanana people live in the region of the Yukon/Alaska border).

He was born and raised in Yukon, which he calls “a magical place.”

“Northerners in general have a lot more respect for the outdoors, for wildlife, for Mother Earth, because they are such a small presence in a huge vast land,” he says.

Just two days before the interview, he lost his voice after a 13-hour, “emotionally exhausting” shoot for Battlestar Galactica, when his character learned that his lover “was not who she said she was.”

He speaks in hushed tones to preserve his voice. His delivery is rhythmic, almost as if he is reading a script and timing his punchlines.

Penikett says on his first day on the set of Cold Squad he had to perform a three-page monologue. He was terrified, but he was put at ease by the camaraderie on the set.

He recounts one scene that took several takes. His character is taking a shower when Sergeant Ali McCormick walks into the shower room.

But actress Julie Stewart promptly forgot her lines upon the sight of Penikett's bare behind.

“I am pretty much naked, bare-assed,” he remembers and laughs. “She was so red, she was more embarrassed than I was.” He was naked, but for a sock.

“They had me wearing a nude-coloured sock, I'll tell you, it's a funny looking thing. I should have been naked but they wouldn't let me do that.”

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