Immediately upon meeting Amanda, I was taken back by her charm. I could not believe that anyone could be that charismatic. Charm oozed from her as if it was a force all of its own that knew no bounds. Combined with mesmerizing deep blue eyes, that were way too easy to get lost in, made the following interview a little hard to conduct but an experience of a lifetime.
Wasting no time, Amanda jumps right into the thick of it, before even being seated, by asking me how I was doing and noticing my press badge said…
Amanda Tapping: Whedonopolis.com? Ah…, Bit of a Joss Whedon fan?
::Sheepishly:: Whedonopolis: Yes, a little bit.
AT: I like him too. I actually met him back stage and I was like ‘I am a big fan!’
W: We actually have something called Six Degrees of Joss Whedon, where everything on the site has to be within Six Degrees of Joss.
AT: OK, I can do that. Ready?
Yes, go for it.
AT: I work on Atlantis with Jewel Staite. Jewel Staite, Firefly, Joss Whedon, there you GO!
W: Which is…?:
AT: Not even six degrees of separation. Six degrees of Joss Whedon, I believe it is only four, no three. Me->Jewel->Joss.
W: Actually it’s only two.
AT: I am so close to him I could practically touch him. ::Joint Laughter::
Seeing as we hit it off quite well, knowing she was as big of a Joss fan as the rest of us and getting to talk a little bit about the RED camera (a real life connection you will read about further down) made this feel a lot like two friends meeting at a ‘tea house’ to share a pot and made for some of the most interesting conversation I have had in a long time.
W: So what has been the most enjoyable thing about working on Sanctuary?
AT: A bit of new. It is a character that I have never played before, everything about it. After spending ten years in a very comfortable and safe and enjoyable place, this is a very big leap of faith. To enter this new realm is completely different. I am playing someone… she is a completely new animal to me. And that is exciting to reinvent myself, to invent a new character. As an actor that is revitalizing. The other thing, I am producing the show, not by myself, thank god, but that is a whole new ball of wax; learning how that whole works. How network structure works, how corporate structure works, not all of it has been fun, but it has been a great education.
W: So what has been the hardest or less enjoyable thing working on Sanctuary?
AT: Corporate! I hate the corporate side of things. I am fairly good at business. As it turns out, I was able to bring the money to the table to make the show. I actually went out and cold called, gave PowerPoint presentations, which is a crazy thing, to get private funding. Because we do not have a studio backing us, we are the studio, so that whole side of it I hate. There I said it! It sucks, because it is not creative, it is very cut and dry and I think I was naive enough to go to everyone ‘I am as good as my word.’ My handshake really does mean something and that is not necessarily always the case.
W: That is really sad, but true.
AT: Yeah, so it has been the school of hard knocks in that sense. But, blah, blah, blah, the rest of it has been fantastic. :: joint laughter ::
W: I am a little confused on the differences between the webisode and what you are going to bring to Sci Fi.
W: Is it a reboot?
AT: Yes it is. It is a retooling of the webisodes, so we are not taking the webisodes and sticking them on television. What we have done is 2 hours of webisodes; the first hour has been fleshed out into a two hour premiere. We have completely rewritten it and reshot the whole thing, save for a complete scene we have salvaged. The second hour of the webisodes about the Witches and Organa have now been fleshed out into a full episode, which will be our third episode. So the premise is the same, the characters are the same, the look and feel is pretty much the same, but we are starting from scratch. So, if you have never seen the webisodes you are not missing anything, but if you have seen the webisodes this is a whole new animal, but it still stays true to the same ideology.
W: So, you are basically restarting the timeline?
AT: Absolutely yes. Bringing Will into the Sanctuary for the first time. Yes, all of that, it is a fresh start.
W: In the panel you mentioned the ‘red’ camera, is that from Red Digital?
AT: Yes, brand new, we are the only television show that I know of that is using it. It’s from the guy that developed Oakley.
W: I know. In my real job, I am an application engineer for a company that sells parts for the camera.
AT: Wow, no way! We need you up in Vancouver. It’s…
W: A small world.
AT: Yes it is, Six degrees! :: joint laughter ::
It is an amazing piece of technology. We love it. We love the look it is giving us, especially for the virtual show. The speed in which we can take the chip, essentially, and start rendering. It is not without it problems in terms of its learning curve, but the fact that we can get the look that we want out of it, has be amazing. It has been the perfect camera for our show.
W: That’s going to be a nice story for when I go back; I will make sure I let everyone know.
AT: Absolutely, everyone has embraced it. We did test the look, the fact we can do so much with the look, with all these different lens and filters it has been amazing.
W: What if anything of your self do you feel you put into your charter?
AT: In the term of Helen Magnus there is a lot less of me in there, for example, then with Sam Carter. Sam Carter after 10 years was pretty much a symbiotic relationship: I put on the boots and become her. And over the course of time, a lot more of Amanda went into Sam and a lot of Sam went into Amanda. With Helen, she is a totally different beast.
It’s a big leap from when we started filming the series. I wanted to make sure that I nailed her. I found Sam Carter over the course of time, just like any character you supply more and more as you go. She is a lot more, she is unapologetic and I am very apologetic. The quintessential British Canadian girl that said sorry about everything. And Helen doesn’t. It’s liberating to play someone who doesn’t suffer fools and I don’t care. I am not socially inept or without social conscious, but she is who she is. And she has lived 157 years and it is a very lonely existence, really. Having lived that long, you do not want to get that close to people, you end up seeing everyone you know die. But, in that same token there is this sense of reverence about her that I just do not have. She is fun, she scares me just a little bit. ::chucking::
W: How difficult was the accent or was it more organic with you?
AT: It is actual fairly organic, interestingly enough, because I was born in England. I grew up in a very British household. The difficultly with the accent was finding how to temper it with the fact that she has lived in the world without making it sound Atlantic. She has spent years in Borneo, she spent years in China; she has been everywhere. Part of her eccentricity is that she clings to the very Victorian accent and this very colonial way of saying things. So, when we go back in the flashbacks she sounds a bit different, a little more of her time. I have an aunt like that who emigrated from England and still sounds the way she did the day she left. She refuses to drop it. It’s difficult only in the fact that I had to find the right temperance for it. But, thankfully, the British people who have heard it have liked it so far.
W: Do you think that Sci Fi is going to, or is willing to, do anything like NBC’s streaming of episodes with limited commercials?
AT: Yes! They will! [Note: Sci Fi has not confirmed this]
W: Do you know any type of timeline?
AT: No, that would need to be a Sci Fi question. It makes absolute sense to do it. I think SciFi.com has already started to discuss the idea of streaming. And it is certainly part of our digital platform when we broadcast and to figure out how to make that work. It just makes so much sense to try to put together a show where you have limited commercials if you are able to. They do it in other countries around the world already, so it makes sense. That is definitely a network question that I can’t answer to, but if I had my druthers? Yeah, absolutely.
And with that it was time to return to the real world as Amanda was being whisked away to talk with other eagerly awaiting reporters, but not before posting for a picture with yours truly.
I would like to thank Thomas Dima from Sci Fi Channel and Whedonopolis for giving me the opportunity to partake in the madness that is Comic-Con.