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Brad Dryborough GALACTICA.TV interview
Written by Marcel Damen   
Thursday, 08 March 2007

Some time ago Marcel Damen caught up with Brad Dryborough, better known as Lt. Hoshi the former communications officer on the Pegasus, now working on the Galactica, of the Battlestar Galactica 2003 series. He talked to him about his part on the series, but also about the writing, directing and producing of his own projects.

I'd like to know what got you started in acting. With many actors, they can remember a specific point in time where they got the "hook" and they knew that this was going to be their career.

When I was quite young I did a play, my first play, when I was about ten years old. I was living in a small town in Ontario, so my opportunities after that were somewhat non-existent basically.  It was a long time ago, but that was when I really... that was the first time that I really found out that this was something that I wanted to do and then you kind of get sidetracked. Then when I was 29 years old and I was living in Banff and I had... I was just living there and kind of having fun and I had to make a decision about what I was going to do with my life. And I was either going to go to England and buy a van with my best friend and drive to India...

Oh, that's nice!

Or I was going to come to Vancouver and make an attempt at an acting career. I chose to come to Vancouver, so India is still waiting.

Did you have any formalized training or education in acting?

I did a little bit of theatre at the University of Winnipeg, when I lived in Winnipeg for a few years, but I dropped out of school. I didn't really enjoy university and as soon as... when I first moved here, which is ten years ago now, I spent two years just taking classes, workshops, just any kind of training I could get. I started doing plays and I worked with some theatre companies and just started to do a lot of work on my own. And then a lot of class work and then, a couple of years after I moved here, I started to audition professionally and started to do professional work.

You did some award winning, successful short movies in which you did writing, producing and acting. Can you tell us a bit about them?

Yeah. Well the director of our first short film The Bug, the one that I wrote and we produced together, that was our first. My friend Dylan Smith who directed that, I worked with him when he was in university and film school. I was in both of his student films and I was looking for somebody to direct the script that I had written and that I wanted to be in... Dylan and I had a great working relationship when he was at school, so we decided to make that one together. That was our first one and that did quite well. Then I started working subsequently with a theatre company called "Ah-um Theatre" and all the work we did was by a local writer named Kris Elgstrand. Dylan, my director friend started to come to the plays I was doing with Kris and Kris is a fantastic writer. And subsequently we've done four shorts together, the three of us, two award winning. One of our shorts, Man Feel Pain, won the Toronto Film Festival a couple of years ago. And then last year the three of us made a feature together called The Cabin Movie, which premiered at the Toronto Festival last year.

 

Brad Dryborough in The Cabin Movie

Brad Dryborough in The Cabin Movie

 

You also did some acting in big productions like Stargate SG-1, Da Vinci's Inquest, The L-Word and Battlestar Galactica. Which has your heart? Would you rather become a regular actor on those big production television series or do you want to experiment more as a producer and actor also, in your own movies like The Cabin Movie.

Uhm, ideally I would like my career to be able to do my own work and the work I did with my friends. I've been quite lucky, especially lately to be on Battlestar Galactica, because it's nice that when you can get work that pays you, that gives you the ability to have the time to work on your own things. I've got lucky to be on one that is also a very high quality television show and I've been able to work on a lot of good shows. Stargate was a lot of fun and I just did an episode of Smallville which was really good and The L-Word, I think is a great show. So that affords me the ability to not have to also be a waiter and then my time can be devoted to working on our own stuff. I'm going to Windsor this weekend for a new short that we did this year that Kris directed, the guy who usually writes, he also directed this one. Then we're shooting another one in January that I wrote and I'm going to direct.

Okay. Many of the Battlestar Galactica cast started out in series like Stargate SG-1, like Aaron Douglas, Tahmoh Penikett and Matthew Bennett and in The L-Word: Tahmoh Penikett and Aaron Douglas starred in that. And also many appear in new series like The Whistler, such as  Kandyse McClure and Aaron Douglas. Is the pond of young, good actors to fish from so small or is it a big coincidence you all guest starred on the same series?

I think because all those shows are shot in Vancouver. So there's definitely a smaller pool of actors than say in LA or New York or even Toronto, because we're a smaller city. So yeah, there's kind of a smaller pool of actors. You tend to see the good ones like Tahmoh and Aaron and Matthew Bennett, who I think is fantastic. He and Tahmoh used to be on another together called Cold Squad that was a really good Canadian show. And so because there's less actors you see them kind of pop up more. I think there was a time they used to bring more people up from Los Angeles, but now the American shows are starting to realize that there's a good pool of Canadian acting talent here and people are starting to get bigger roles now. I think that people realize that talent is [available] here and Battlestar [Galactica] has been one of the best shows for that. I mean a lot of the main cast are Vancouver actors and it has been a great show for them.

Did you work with any of them in the other series?

I have. The only person I have worked with specifically is Ryan Robbins, who on Battlestar Galactica is [Charlie] Connor. He's also on Stargate Atlantis, but I can't remember the name of his character. But he and I haven't worked together in Battlestar [Galactica], we have been in the same episodes, but we haven't worked together, but we've done all of our independent stuff. Ryan was in The Cabin Movie, he was in The Bug, he was in Man Feel Pain and he was in Imetacanine. We've been working together for years and years and years. And I've worked with a lot of them outside of network shows. I've worked with them on smaller shorts, we have been taking acting classes together, I've done theatre with some of them.

Okay. Something different: Did you watch the original Battlestar Galactica?

I did.

What did you think of it?

What year did it start? '78?

'78 yeah, a long time ago.

I was eleven when it started, so I remember quite well. I remember going to see the movie at the theatre of Battlestar Galactica before the TV show.

 

Brad Dryborough as Lt. Hoshi in Battlestar Galactica 2003

Brad Dryborough as Lt. Hoshi in Battlestar Galactica 2003

 

So what was your feeling when you were asked for the new Battlestar Galactica?

Oh, I was really excited! I was really excited. I had known a bunch of people who had worked on the Mini-Series and I had seen the Mini-Series and knew how good it was going to be. It just looked, I mean... It is fun to be on, to get a chance to be on those shows that have kind of been in your [mind] for your whole life. You know, it has always been there and you get a chance to sit on the bridge of the Galactica and talk to Adama. (both laughing)   

How where you approached for Battlestar Galactica? Did you do a screentest for this particular part?

Actually when I auditioned for Battlestar Galactica, I auditioned originally for the role of... I auditioned for two roles in that same episode. One, it was the first episode of the Pegasus, I auditioned for the somebody who, the guy that Tahmoh's character kills because he's going to rape Grace... and I can't remember...

Yeah, Fulvio Cecere [played that, the part of Lt. Alastair Thorne...]

...Yeah Fulvio. I auditioned for [Thorne] and then they called me back for Stinger, who was the Captain, John Pyper-Ferguson played him. So I came back for that... So I wasn't really right for them, but had auditioned very well and then started playing Hoshi, then they offered me Hoshi. Before I got Hoshi I tried for Stinger and Spear that year and I auditioned for the cameraman, that was with Lucy Lawless in Season Two, who's actually my friend Pat. Pat was the cameraman who filmed all the auditions.

Yeah?

Yeah, he was our cameraman

Some time ago we spoke to Dan Bacon, who's a reader for the show. He also played a Gate Technician on Stargate and said he usually tries out for parts like Hoshi, but this one happened to go to you.

Yeah, I used to be a reader for the show as well. I used to read a lot for the show like Dan did. Dan Bacon is a very good friend of mine.

Okay.

And Pat got that [part], because he was the best cameraman.

So there you got crew from behind the scenes that is now getting imported into the series itself.

Yeah, a little bit.

 

Brad Dryborough as Lt. Hoshi in Battlestar Galactica 2003

Brad Dryborough as Lt. Hoshi in Battlestar Galactica 2003

 

You didn't get a lot of screen time on the series, but were you given any background information on your character? 

No, not really, and again this year I guess I did about five or six episodes, but the scenes were smaller like in Season 2. So I'm hoping that at some point that I get to find out a little bit more about Hoshi.

Did you create a backstory yourself?

Not, uhm... I did for the first episodes on the Pegasus and why Hoshi became... why he is in the military and why he's a little bit older. I made him have a crush on Admiral [Cain]... Michelle Forbes (laughing), because I think she's fantastic. I was a big fan of hers, so that was fun to be able to work with her. But I haven't had a chance to really, you know... other than that he really wants to be a viper pilot. I know that! (laughing) Because I think everybody wants to be a viper pilot.

Can you tell us a bit what it was like to be working with Michelle Forbes? Did you get a lot of scenes together?

We spent, I guess three days. We were filming that stuff on the Pegasus and she was great. She was... Michael Rymer was directing that episode and we did a lot of adding of dialogue, a lot of stuff on the day. She was really fun and she was always around. She was really open to working on stuff together and helping each other out. Yeah, she was great, lots of fun! It seems like everybody on the show was having fun, which is nice.

You also liked working with Graham Beckel?

Yeah, I really loved him from LA Confidential. I thought he was just fantastic in that. Of course he's been in Mississippi Burning and he's been in lots of great stuff. So it was nice to work with him, because I really respect him for the actor he is. And also John Heard. My days with John... I had two days with John as well and he was fantastic.

Yeah, great.

I love him from the Home Alone movies and Big and all that stuff that he does. He was a lot of fun and he was a cook.

What about directors? Did they give you any direction?

Uhm... Other than, you know... I worked with Sergio [Mimica-Gezzan] on one of the episodes and he gave me a bunch of stuff and that wasn't supposed to be shot and we did it very quickly. He was really good about just letting me, you know, make my decisions and just kind of give me a bunch of options, which was nice. That was one of the things that sort of was mostly on me. But for the most part, I know, once you get the feel of... especially because Hoshi has sort of a specific task. Everything I do is generally focused in the same sort of direction. So once you get a sense of how you behave in those types of situations, you don't need a lot of direction because you sort of know what you're doing. It mostly comes naturally, yeah.

 

Brad Dryborough as Lt. Hoshi in Battlestar Galactica 2003

Brad Dryborough as Lt. Hoshi in Battlestar Galactica 2003

 

Did someone work with you to explain how you were supposed to work with the props to utilize the Pegasus controls? 

On Pegasus it was just about, you know... You ask those questions, but you really. It's funny I talk to you, because this season it's nice to spend some time on the Galactica and I talk to Kandyse McClure, because I sit sometimes where Dualla sits.

Yeah, you're the same counterpart only she's on the Galactica and you were on the Pegasus.

Right. I asked her, what does she do when it's a call coming in and when it's this or does she pick up, you know... So there's some consistency there. So you get a sense of what you should be doing and then on the Pegasus I just vary. The first day I was there, in my own head, I figured out what it was to me. So I had for me, specific things that I pushed when I did specific things. When I talked I always pushed the same button and when I had to change something, I pushed the same button. So when you...keep that alive, you keep that fun when you're doing it.

And Hoshi, that's a call sign, right? Do you also have an actual first and last name?

No, all I know right now is that Hoshi is my last name. That's all I know.

So it's not even a call sign?

No, I think that's my name. Kind of like Dualla.

Okay. Hoshi means star in Japanese, but it was also the name of the communications officer in Star Trek Enterprise played by Linda Park.  Did you know where it came from?

Yeah. Well they tried...

Do you know if it came from somewhere else or if it's just a tribute since Ronald Moore also worked on Star Trek?

I think there might be a... I haven't talked to any of the writers about that, but I think that's where it got... that's what I assumed where it came from, because I know my history of Star Trek.

Oh, it must have been great work with Michelle Forbes [in that sense], because she's also a Star Trek actress.

Yeah and I really... I liked her since I saw her in California, swimming with sharks, she was great in those movies. And then I saw her on... because in Star Trek she was a Vulcan... [editor's note: she was actually a Bajoran]. In Star Trek The Next Generation, yes?

Yes, that's right.

And I... Yes, she was...

She played Ensign Ro in that.

Yes, that's right. Yes, she's great. She was very fun [to work with]. She's really good too. I just watched some episodes of 24 she was in. She's really good in that.

 

Brad Dryborough as Lt. Hoshi in Battlestar Galactica 2003

Brad Dryborough as Lt. Hoshi in Battlestar Galactica 2003

 

Yes, that's true. I saw those as well. In a deleted scene in "The Captain's Hand", Hoshi is relieved of duty.  Can you describe the scene and what you thought about that?

That was... John and I talked about that a little bit and that was in... subsequently hearing why that was cut out, it didn't really make sense and where they were going with his character, but it was... That scene sort of gave me my first chance to really have a moment on the show and was a moment that wasn't about saying coordinates or stuff about vipers or raptors or whatever. And it just allowed me to kind of have a moment and it was fun to be able to do that again with John Hurt. To be able to play a little bit of what the shot means to Hoshi, get a little bit of that into it and kind of give him a little bit of a character, I guess...

Yeah. I thought it was bad that it got cut out, because it was a good scene.

Yes, it was and... but it did make sense when I heard, I guess Ron talking about it on his podcast and he said that it just took... It took him in a direction that they didn't want to go. That it didn't make sense further on, so it kind of made sense they took it out storywise..   

We've seen Hoshi in the episodes Pegasus, "Resurrection Ship Part 1 and 2", "The Captain's Hand", and "Occupation". Did he die when the Pegasus was destroyed, or might we still see him in future episodes?

Uhm... You may see him in future episodes. I don't know if I'm allowed to tell you that. (laughing) It doesn't really give anything away.

But what you're saying actually is that you already did shoot some episodes.

Yeah.

Okay. Any interesting stories tell?

No. It's just that Season 3 is going to be really good. There is a... It's one thing about this show that I've always found that was fantastic, that is the writing and storytelling ability and they're doing some really neat stuff with Season 3, I think.

Any interesting things you saw on the show? Anything you screwed up on, any practical jokes on the work floor?

No. I've just really enjoyed watching people who have been working together this long, every day, long days. Some very intense times and some really fun times and just... This is the first opportunity that I have had to spend this many days on a set and watch how people work together like that and it's really... It's like I always have such a good time when I'm there and it seems for the most part like everybody else is having a really good time when they're there. And all of the other actors are so generous and so welcoming and friendly. They really do a great job of making you feel like it is something that they all enjoy doing. It has a real family sort of feeling. It's the same people you know, it's been for the most part it's all the same people every season, so...

That's true.

Yeah.

 

Brad Dryborough

Brad Dryborough

 

Can you tell about any future work that you have planned? How about work as a producer for instance? Or as a writer?

Yeah, we are just doing a short in January that I wrote and am going to direct and we'll produce with Kris and Dylan, my producing partners. And then Dylan, our director, is just finishing up with the Canadian Film Centre and will be back and then we're getting going on developing our next feature project which we hope to shoot in the spring.

Can you tell us a bit about the project, what it is about?

Right now, it's sort of a... it's a relationship story about a couple. It's a dark comedy and it involves a... not necessarily a cult, but a wellness centre and it explores the need in society that we sort of see right now for everybody to try and get well and go to, you know, spas and wellness centres and places out in the country. It sort of explores that, the mania that is going on right now.

Have you already tried to get a shot at writing, producing or directing something on Battlestar [Galactica]?

No, I thought about maybe I would like to try and just write an episode. Just to unexpectedly kind of give them [one]. I did a little bit of writing last year for television, but just... It was for a PBS children's series, so [it was] very different from Battlestar [Galactica]. But I think that... I would like to try that. As far as directing goes, I still have a long way to go before I'll be directing network television. But I thought about trying to write something. 

Okay. Last question then. What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any interesting hobbies or anything else you want to share with us?

I'm playing hockey still. I've been playing hockey for my entire life, pretty much.

Okay.

And I really enjoy golfing. I read a lot. I am a very enthusiastic sort of novice to guitar playing, so I spend a lot of time doing music. I still do a lot of work as a... I play at theatre centre here in Vancouver, which is a development centre for plays. I do lots of work there as an actor, work shopping new Canadian plays with the writers and directors as they work on the scripts. I do a lot of that kind of work which I really enjoy.

Do you also like travelling, because you were talking about going to India?

Yeah, I've been to Europe a couple of times. Once mostly just France and once the British isles and Greece, through Italy and France and Germany, Belgium and all those kind of places. I've been to Thailand and Malaysia and Mexico and Hawaii and all over the United States. Yeah, I like got around quite a bit. I've lived all over Canada, so I've seen lots of my own country as well.

I also used to travel a lot and I've met a lot of Canadians.  They're a travelling kind of...

...Yeah, Canadians and Australians. Lots of travelling. It's because we have to. When we go somewhere, especially when we're younger, it's so far to get there, we figure we might as well see as much as we can while we're there. So we stay for long.

 

Brad Dryborough

Brad Dryborough

 

I'd like to thank you for doing the interview.

Oh, you were very welcome. Thank you and take care.

 
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