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A Lawless Unto Herself
Lucy Lawless Makes Life Hard For The Crew of Galactica

Cult Times Magazine

January 2007

Scanned by Sue / Transcribed by MaryD

No stranger to these pages, Lucy Lawless is once again making a big impression in the third season of Galactica as Cylon D'Anna Biers

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 Cylons."

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 Roslin].

"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 so fast-paced."

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."

Steven Eramo

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