RT traveled to Vancouver last month to visit the set of "White Noise 2: The Light," starring sci-fi faves Nathan Fillion and Katee Sackhoff. Check in daily for the four-part set visit and sit-downs with Fillion, Sackhoff, director Patrick Lussier and producer Shawn Williamson. First up, Katee Sackhoff talks action movies, "White Noise 2," and her willingness to give up her firstborn to be a part of "Indy 4." Are you reading this, Lucas?
Katee Sackhoff is known to drooling sci-fi fanboys as tough captain Kara "Starbuck" Thrace on TV’s "Battlestar Galactica," and now she’s making a temporary detour onto the big screen with the supernatural sequel, "White Noise 2: The Light." RT’s Senh Duong and Phu Bui-Quang sat down with the lovely Katee and dished about "White Noise 2," working opposite Nathan Fillion, kicking ass alongside Don "The Dragon" Wilson, and what "Battlestar" fans can look forward to with Starbuck’s love life.
Rotten Tomatoes: So Katee, how did you get involved in this project?
Katee Sackhoff: I read the script, and I loved it. I was shooting another film at the time. We were doing night shoots till 5 in the morning, so at like 4 in the morning I’m reading the script cause I had a meeting with Patrick Lussier, the director, the next day.
KS: So I’m reading the script at 4 in the morning going, "Ok, ok, ok this is really good!" and like slept for a couple hours, got up, met him at Starbucks, had a huge espresso, and then, just kind of got involved that way, and told my managers I was really interested.
RT: So are you a fan of horror films?
KS: I am. I love having the crap scared out of me as long as I’m not alone, like in my house by myself watching it and then I have to go to bed. If I’m gonna watch a scary movie by myself it’s usually during the day, ’cause then I can watch a cartoon afterwards or something before I have to go to bed.
RT: Because it’s sunny outside…
KS: Exactly. But I live kind of in the middle of nowhere, so when it’s dark out you hear the coyotes — "oh my God, I’m gonna die!"
RT: Can you tell us a little about your character in the film?
KS: My character is a nurse who ends up meeting Nathan Fillion‘s character, Abe, at the hospital under some pretty bad circumstances, and they find a common ground. They’ve become soul mates, you know, kindred spirits in a sense because they’re going through such a very similar thing. Something that he’s going through in his life right now with the loss of his wife and his son is something that she had experienced a couple years before, so she seems to latch onto him and try and help him through the process of grieving and getting over it.
RT: Have you worked with Nathan yet?
KS: No, I haven’t, but we have a common friend, and so I knew of him for many years, so as soon I found out that it was with Nathan — I’m such a big fan of his, I loved "Firefly," I loved "Serenity" — I was really kind of excited to work with, you know, Mr. Hotpants (laughs). He’s called Mr. Tightpants or something like that, so I was pretty excited about it.
I think all my scenes are with Nathan, so we’ve definitely worked together and we get along really well. We don’t take ourselves very seriously, there’s a lot of goofing around. So we basically just kind of goof around with each other and they say "action" and then we have to cry.
RT: So were there any "Battlestar Galactica"/"Firefly" duels?
KS: Like who? Like could Starbuck beat him up?
KS: (Laughs) Maybe. We’ve talked about it briefly, but I think that the fans are really excited about it just because I think that it brings in a built in audience, which is really nice. You know I know that a lot of my fans are eagerly awaiting for it to come out and we haven’t even finished shooting yet, and the fact that Nathan’s in it just, you know, an added bonus, and I think his fans are vice-versa. It’s really exciting, I think everyone’s gonna really enjoy it.
RT: We were reading on the internet and there are all these fans that just because the two of you are in it are really looking forward to the sequel.
KS: Yeah, there’s either people that are really looking forward to it, or there’s people that you just can never win over, the people that still don’t like me because I’m a woman (laughs), that are like, "no, she’ll never be Starbuck so I’m not gonna see this either," You’re always gonna have that, but I think that people are really excited about it because it is Nathan and I.
RT: How did your character in "Battlestar Galactica" prepare you for the role for this?
KS: The characters are very different. You know, Starbuck is extremely capable, and she’s very quick with the tongue and even faster with the fist, so she’s a very tough person. Sherry, my character in "White Noise," she’s just as capable, just in different ways. She’s kind of the damsel in distress, which is very interesting for me.
There’s a scene where I get in a struggle with a gentleman, and it was really hard for me because I’m so used to playing Starbuck who would give him a dropkick to the face. So it was really hard for me to be the victim and scream like I didn’t know what to do and be like, "Oh my God, a knife!" You know, that was pretty hard.
So it’s been very different for me. The director’s been amazingly approachable and he’s helped me so much because I’m so used to playing that tough character that it’s nice to have someone sit there and go "Cut. Katee, don’t look like you’re gonna beat Nathan up. You’re supposed to be kissing him right now." So little things like that have helped.
RT: Have you seen the first "White Noise?"
KS: I did. I was a big fan of the first "White Noise." I love Michael Keaton, and I was terrified, absolutely terrified the whole time I was watching that movie. And in the very end when he gets beat up by the ghost, I couldn’t figure out quite what was happening for like the first two seconds, and then all of a sudden I went, "Oh my God, they’re breaking his bones!" I was freaking out like, "That’s so gross! That’s horrible!" Oh God, it was so scary. So I was really excited to do this next one.
RT: So in this one, the emphasis is less on EVP, and more on premonitions.
KS: Yeah, it’s more on premonitions and I guess death’s design and [what happens] if you interfere with that. It’s got a little twist of Final Destination in there, but it’s definitely got a lot of the original in it as well, as far as the EVP is concerned, but there’s definitely that whole "if you interfere with death’s design you’ve got to equal things out a little bit," which is kind of eerie.
I think that’s what’s so interesting about this type of horror film as opposed to the last one I did, "Halloween: Resurrection," which is totally different because it’s some guy chasing after you with a butcher knife that’s died 50 times and keeps coming back. How realistic is that? But this is so realistic that it is more terrifying. Because there are people that do believe in EVP, and that’s really kind of freaky. I think this is a little bit more of a psychological thriller as opposed to a campy, gory, blood-all-over-the-place thriller. A different kind of scary on the seat of your pants.
RT: It’s probably easier on you.
KS: It’s the first job I’ve done where I’ve actually been clean with no blood and bruises and cuts, and like, gunshots wounds. So I’m really excited about that, that I actually get to look normal for at least the beginning of the movie.
RT: I was looking at your filmography and you did a movie with Don "The Dragon" Wilson.
KS: I did. Are you a Don "The Dragon" Wilson fan?
RT: Well I’m a huge martial arts fan so I’ve seen some of his films.
KS: Right. This was called "The Last Sentinel" and it’s the film I did right before this. It’s a very, very low budget independent film where I think myself and Bokeem Woodbine are the only ones that really talk in the movie. It’s me doing long monologues with Don "The Dragon" Wilson fighting in the background. Jesse Johnson was the director of that film, and Jesse Johnson did "Pit Fighter" which was his first film. He is a stunt coordinator that’s done all the "Mission Impossibles;" he’s a brilliant stunt coordinator.
We had a million dollar budget with 50 million dollar stunts, and I got to do all my own stunts. And that was my big thing and that’s why I did the film. I was so excited to do my own stunts and work with Jesse because he is such an amazing stunt coordinator and I loved "Pit Fighter." So it should be good. I have no idea what it’s going to look like, but I know the fighting’s going to be great because I had to learn to knife fight for it. So it was pretty interesting.
RT: So are you more interested in the action-type movies?
KS: Action comes easier for me. It’s a lot easier for me to scare somebody and hit them than it is for me to make them cry or make them laugh. But it’s definitely more challenging for me to do roles like Sherry in "White Noise" that are more just normal people, because then that’s just selling the reality of the situation as opposed to the fantasy of it. It’s different, but I’m a mixture. I keep saying my next movie’s gonna be a nice little romantic comedy with no blood, no death, no guns, no killing, no ghosts, no robots that are gonna kill you.
RT: You’ve said that you want to work on the prequel for "Indiana Jones."
KS: I would give up my firstborn to be in the next "Indiana Jones." I grew up watching "Indiana Jones" and was such a huge fan of that trilogy and Harrison Ford. Yeah, I would literally give up my firstborn — granted, I don’t have one yet so I don’t really know if that’s an option, but I would love to do that.
I love action films. I love movies where things blow up, I don’t know why. I was born in the 80’s, and so I think that my generation is very over-stimulated so if something doesn’t blow up or if it’s black and white I don’t want to see it.
RT: When you started acting eight years ago did you ever imagine that you would be in one of the most popular sci-fi TV series and now a big budget sequel to a popular film?
KS: Isn’t it weird? It’s so weird how life works out. I got into this business because it was the only other career I could find that I didn’t need a college education for, other than being an athlete which is what I had done and I had gotten injured so I had to figure out something else to do really quick.
RT: What did you do before?
KS: I was a swimmer. So I had planned on going to Stanford and swimming and going to the Olympics and doing the whole thing, and then I got hurt and it was like," Ok, what do I do now?" In the back of my mind I guess it was always like," It’s never going to happen." Because you never really hear of anyone that makes it. You always hear horror stories of people moving to Los Angeles and coming home a year later. So I always knew I had the drive and ambition for it, but I think that this business has so many other things that go into success that you have no control over, so you never know. I wake up every day and pinch myself, and I’m so lucky to be where I am. Then again, I’m extremely ambitious and my goals and my ambitions are so huge at this point that, you know, we’ll see where it leads.
RT: What was your first major break?
KS: It was in Portland, Oregon where I’m from. I went down to be an extra in a movie that my mom had seen in the newspaper. And one of the girls that they had cast in Los Angeles didn’t show up, or they forgot to cast the role, or something like that, but they had to shoot the scene that day, or the next day, or something crazy. So they decided to just start auditioning extras and I called my mom and was like, "you’ve gotta get down here right now because I’m only 17 and I’ve got to sign a contract." So my mom got down and I got the part. And so that was my first job and it was with Kirsten Dunst.
RT: Which movie was it?
KS: It was for Lifetime, called "Fifteen and Pregnant." Everyone thinks it’s a documentary. Other than that, I’d have a firstborn to give to Harrison Ford for the part. So I did that role and the director of that film, Sam Pillsbury, and his wife really took an interest in me and convinced my mom to let me move to Los Angeles. I moved to L.A. 3 months later and they introduced me to an agent and a manager. That was the next job and I got a series like 6 months later, so it was so quick. I’m glad I didn’t go to college.
RT: What upcoming projects can we look forward to seeing from you?
KS: If you’re an action fan, or a fan of Don "The Dragon" Wilson, "The Last Sentinel" is gonna be a huge film. I think that fans of "Firefly" and "Battlestar" and fans of the original "White Noise" are gonna love this film. It’s well written, the direction by Patrick Lussier is amazing, so this is gonna be a great film. And we’re getting ready to start the third season of "Battlestar," we start in a week. But that’s what I have going on right now and we’re working on other things for my next hiatus which isn’t for 9 months, but, you know, we’re working things out, things are in the can.
RT: What kind of stuff can we look forward to on "Battlestar Galactica?"
KS: Well, Kara Starbuck has an unlikely love affair with a gentleman who everyone is aware of, but whom no one would ever think of as the person that she would end up with, even if it’s just for a little bit. As we know, Starbuck moves on very quickly from man to man. People should also look for a nice little haircut that’s gonna take everybody back to what she looked like in the original, which I’m not too proud of or happy about, but you know, I’m gonna look like a boy again and that’s ok. And again lots of special effects, guns, and fights, and I’m sure Starbuck will not disappoint. She will beat up a few people at least in the next season, so we’ll see. I’m sure they’ll be happy about it.