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TV Guide (US)
6 November 2006
Scans Contributed by LB
CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR SEASON 3
Battlestars sexy, sadistic Cylons go to extremes to survive
in this week's shocking episode
Acting on Battlestar Galactka can be torture. Case in point: Fan favorite
James Callis is lying in a beautiful, Zen-like chamber on the show's
soundstage in Vancouver, but the visual serenity of the locale is repeatedly
shattered by his head-splitting screams.
This week's episode finds Callis' character, Gaius Baltar, held prisoner by
the Cylons, who suspect he has information about a virus that could kill
them. When a full-body electro-shock—administered by the ruthless Cylon
ringleader D'Anna (Lucy Lawless)—doesn't elicit the desired confession, she
chooses a wicked-looking item that pierces the eardrum. His screaming begins
After three-plus hours of this sadism, lunch is called and Callis—shaken,
spent and seriously hoarse—retreats to his dressing room. Lawless
nonchalantly heads to the chow line. "I love this role, but I could only
play that scene by being completely and utterly detached," says the actress,
known worldwide as the warmhearted warrior Xena. "D'Anna is Dr. Mengele. You
can only do such terrible things if you're fully disconnected from people's
pain and humanity."
Even D'Anna has a soft spot, however. "Her humanity will start to grow as
the season progresses," Lawless promises. And—spoiler alert!-—she adds that
her character "will develop quite a little menage a trois" with Baltar and
the bombshell Cylon Caprica Six (Tricia Helfer).
But for now these babes mean business: Later this same day, there's a scene
in which D'Anna and Caprica grill Baltar in a more civil manner— except that
he's buck naked on a chaise lounge. Cracks Callis, "I don't know what's more
torturous, being tortured or being the only naked person in front of a crew
of people who are doing everything possible to avert their eyes."
The show's mix of steaminess and brutality is just part of Galactica's wild
appeal. The outer-space soap opera— about a duel for survival between the
cybertronic Cylons and the human race that created them—-is packed with
in-your-face politics, mind-bending spirituality and such dicey behavior
among the heroes that it's hard to know who the good guys are.
In this same episode, Mary McDonnell's character, the humans' president,
Laura Roslin, will turn pro-genocide and decide to use the aforementioned
virus to end the Cylon race, even though she owes her life to them (her
cancer miraculously vanished last season thanks to Cylon stem cells).
"Playing this part blows my progressive-liberal ideas to smithereens," notes
McDonnell, a two-time Oscar nominee. "I'm always balking at things they have
Laura do, like how she loves throwing Cylons out the air lock. But then I
calm down and see her point of view: The human race is at stake here. I love
how this show puts us in other people's shoes."
But it's hell on the nerves. Galactica execs are known for deep-sixing key
characters when the fans—and the stars—least expect it. "We have to keep
killing people to keep the audience glued—it's that whole sucky thing that
says Katee Sackhoff, who plays the tough, boozy fighter pilot Starbuck.
"Each time we get a script we're like, 'One of us is going, man!'"
And none of the humans can be sure they're really human, since we know there
are five more Cylon models yet to be revealed. "It's really quite
crazy-making," Callis says. "I asked the producers, 'There's no earthly way
Baltar could be a secret Cylon, right?' But I could not get a definitive
That's the kind of torture we love! (For more on Battlestar Galactica,
Is It Just Me, page 34.)