IN THE SEASON Two Battlestar Galactica episode Final Cut, then-Commander
Adama invites a Fleet News Service reporter named D'Anna Biers aboard the
Galactica to shoot a documentary about the military. During her visit, the
reporter accidentally learns that the Cylon prisoner, Sharon Valerii, is
pregnant. It's the show's audience, however, which gets an even bigger scoop
at the very end of the story when D'Anna's true identity is revealed. She
is, in fact, a Cylon, one of the copies of Number Three to be exact, but the
actress who plays her, Lucy Lawless, was already privy to that secret.
"I knew who D'Anna really was going into the role and was delighted," notes
Lawless. "I love layers upon layers of intrigue and duality in my
characters. As a person you can be incredibly dangerous but can't look it,
and to be a good spy you have to have complete confidence in what you're
talking about when you're telling your lies, do you know what I mean? You've
got to believe 100% in those words and admit to yourself only on some deeper
level that you're actually working for the other side, in D'Anna's case the
LAWLESS GUEST STARRED for a second time last year on Galactica in the
episode Downloaded, a great deal of which takes place on the Cylon-occupied
world of Caprica. In it, another copy of Number Three is ultimately killed
by her own people after a terrorist attack by a group of Human resistance
fighters leaves her, along with Caprica Number Six (Tricia Helfer) and a
newly reborn version of Sharon (Grace Park), trapped underground.
"That episode was terrific to do because I got to know Tricia and Grace
better, as well as Michael Trucco [Sam
Anders], who is just a scream and a really sweet man, and James Callis
[Gaius Baltar], everyone's favourite person to work with," says the actress.
"It was a treat being part of that little team. The only thing I didn't care
for with this story was being down in the car park and D'Anna getting
whacked over the head with a rock. It was all too-familiar territory
[referring to her days starring in Xena: Warrior Princess]! "Fortunately,
all the directors on Galactica are top-notch - for this story it was Jeff
Woolnough - and as an actress it's a pleasure to work with people who always
manage to take you to new places creatively."
AT THE END of Galactica's second year, the Cylons arrive unexpectedly at New
Caprica and proceed to disrupt the lives of the Human colonists living
there. Four months have elapsed when the show's third season opens with
Occupation and Precipice, and during that time a group of underground Human
insurgents has been battling the enemy occupation. The humanoid Cylons are
in disagreement over how to quell this uprising, but only until one of the
models speaks out.
"I loved it when the Cylons have taken over the president's ship, Colonial
One, and Number Three suddenly decides that everyone else's brains are made
of mush," jokes Lawless, "so she steps into the breach and takes control.
That's kind of where she emerged as a real power player as opposed to just a
little spy, and I felt it was only fitting that it should be a female Cylon
in Colonial One taking over from Mary McDonnell's character [President Laura
"These two episodes have composite scenes where you're playing lots of
different versions of your character. I enjoy those because you can make up
little stories. By that I mean I'll sit and look at what another actor is
doing in a take and think, 'Okay, when the dialogue hits a certain point I'm
going to laugh, frown or react in some other way to whatever that person
happens to be saying'. I use that to keep me busy because these scenes are
so time-consuming to film, so I'll think up ways to make my character look
like she's interacting with the person next to her. Naturally, when you're
filming in each position you're alone, but in the final edit it looks like
you're sitting there having a conversation with someone."
IN THE TWO-PART Exodus, the Battlestars Galactica and Pegasus arrive back at
New Caprica to liberate the colonists. When one of the Number Threes tries
to interfere, she gets her kneecaps shot out. "It was a bit scary having
--squibs on my knees as I had never done that type of stunt before," says
Lawless. "That scene with Sharon was fun to do because D'Anna got to be
creepy and menacing but in a very understanding way."
"One of the things I love about D'Anna is that it seems as if she's telling
the truth much of the time. The thing is though, there are now such shifting
alliances among the Cylons and my character is a dissembler, so you just
don't know who to believe any more on that Cylon Baseship."
When the Cylons abandon New Caprica they take ex-President and Cylon
collaborator Gaius Baltar with them. "Poor old Baltar is a complete football
on the Cylon ship," explains Lawless. 'The only way I can justify his
longevity is that in Space it's extremely difficult to come by organic
material, so you don't want to waste it because one day you might finally
need to consume it. That's especially true of a Human being, which unlike a
Cylon consciousness can't be downloaded into a new body. You should hold on
to raw material like that because you don't know what props you're going to
need later on.
"FOR NOW, THE Cylons seem to be keeping Baltar around as a sex toy and an
information source," continues the actress. "As far as he and D'Anna are
concerned, she's somewhat of a fairweather friend. In one episode she wants
to make out with him, and in the next she's ready to drill his brains out.
Every time I get a new script I read it and think, 'Whoa, are you kidding?
This doesn't jive with anything D'Anna has done or said before or with any
of the conversations we've had regarding my character. However, because I'm
number 13 on the call sheet I realize that the writers and producers have
other fish to fry. They have a reason for what they're doing, and as an
actress it's my job to take the material I'm given and try to figure out
what would motivate D'Anna to behave like this.
"So I'm often quite shocked at what she gets up to, but that's just the
nature of the show. Galactica is very much rock 'n' roll on every level.
Someone once described it to me as controlled chaos, which is so true, but
the end product is also so wonderful that you don't want to mess with the
formula. It's an exciting way to work, too. if you're the type of actor who
needs to be spoon-fed your lines or given material a week in advance - and
there are certain actors who like to know exactly what needs to be said and
need a lot of time to prepare - then you would probably be at a loss on a TV
series like this. I enjoy going with the flow though, especially one that's
Lawless is pleased with how D'Anna's story arc has unfolded so far this year
on Galactica and promises there are more surprises ahead. "I think you get
to understand my character a bit better," she says. "You might even feel for
her. I wouldn't go as far as to say you might like her, but you will feel
for D'Anna. There is a search for redemption in her that I'm hoping viewers
will relate to."
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