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Colin Lawrence GALACTICA.TV interview
Written by Marcel Damen   
Monday, 18 August 2008

Colin Lawrence, better known as Hamish "Skulls" McCall on Battlestar Galactica 2003 was kind enough to answer some of our questions by e-mail. He talked about how he got in the business, his part as Major Warren on Stargate SG1 and of course his part on the Battlestar Galactica 2003 series and working with Leah Cairns (Margaret "Racetrack" Edmondson).

You were born in London and raised in Vancouver. What brought you and your family to Canada?

Well, I was only 3 or 4 when my family moved from London to Canada so I didn't have much of a say! I think my parents decided to move because of work opportunities.

After high school you became a operations manager for a retail store, but pursuing a dream in modeling you got an agent. You were then approached for a movie audition you first didn't want to attend, but in the end still did. What made you decide to pursue it, even though you had no acting experience at all?

This is a funny story because even though I had no interest in acting, it was my roommate (the aspiring actor) who convinced me to go to the audition with him, mostly because he needed a ride. I ended up auditioning because I had nothing to lose and then somehow booked the job.

 

actor Colin Lawrence

actor Colin Lawrence

 

You gave up your day job, rolled into acting classes, but also found yourself waiting tables now instead of being a manager. Did you ever had second thoughts to give it all up again?

Really, I had so much fun and learned so much from the first film experience that I didn't look back for quite some time, however, I do recall a dry spell one year that had me contemplating a career in Law Enforcement.

What was it in this new profession that made you hold on so strongly?

Other than the great, free, catered food I got on set, I really enjoyed the new venture into a profession that allowed me to be free and creative.

You then got the role of Major Warren on Stargate SG1. Can you tell us about your experience on that? In one of the episodes ("The Sentinal") you're credited as Major Lawrence. Did you ever notice that and was it done deliberately or by accident?

Playing Major Warren on Stargate provided me with an awesome opportunity to participate in a TV series that was adapted from a very successful feature. It was also really exciting to be able to work with Richard Dean Anderson. Ya, I have wondered about the character Major Lawrence and to this day I am not sure how the name originated.

How was it to work with Arnold Schwarzenegger on The 6th Day?

To date, working with Arnold (the governor!!) has been the only time I was ever starstruck. I mean this is ARNOLD!! The Terminator, Mr. Olympia and the dude from Predator. I loved that movie!! What a thrill to work with such a notorious entertainer.

You travelled to Beijing to film Charging Out Amazon. How was that experience for you? Can you tell us a bit about that?

Whoa, Beijing was out of this world! What an experience I will never forget! Each day on set was like being in the harshest boot camp till we wrapped and went back to our 5 star resort. I am thankful for the time I spent there and the friendships that I developed. The way that the film was shot was completely different from the way we film in North America. Let's just say getting the shot was the top priority, not safety! There were some memorable mishaps but somehow I managed to escape unscathed with only a moderate heat rash.

I've read you really enjoyed working on Blade since you like comic book heroes. Blade's father is already a pretty nice role to play. You had a really small part in Fantastic Four 2. If you could pick any comic book hero, which should they ask you for? If you could have any super hero power which would you like to have?

I think for a comic book hero I would like to be Cyborg because I grew up reading the New Teen Titans and I just always thought his character was really cool. He would be a really stellar character to play on a show. The superhero power I would love to possess would be the ability to fly.

How where you approached for Battlestar Galactica? Had you seen the series and what did you think about it? Was this the only part you read for or did you also read for other parts?

As with many shows, I had to audition for this part. It was the first time I read for this show. I grew up watching the original series and loved it.

 

Colin Lawrence as Hamish 'Skulls' McCall and Leah Cairns as Margaret 'Racetrack' Edmondson on Battlestar Galactica 2003

Colin Lawrence as Hamish 'Skulls' McCall and Leah Cairns as Margaret 'Racetrack' Edmondson
on Battlestar Galactica 2003

 

You portray the raptor pilot Hamish "Skulls" McCall on the series. How did you prepare for the role as a raptor pilot? Did they, the writers or producers ever tell you where the nickname "Skulls" comes from?

No one ever told me how the nickname of "Skulls" originated. As for preparing for the raptor pilot, I have played pilots on other shows, just never flown in space before...so I figure, ya fly one ship you've flown them all!!

Skulls and Racetrack discover a habitable planet by accident, later dubbed as New Caprica. Taking the events in account. Do you think Skulls ever felt sorry later, for finding the damn planet?

In all fairness, the planet was found accidentally due to "someone" (Racetrack) giving me the wrong coordinates. As for the turn of events, who knew??

In the episode "Dirty Hands" Racetrack and Skulls' raptor had a close call with the Colonial One by almost flying into it due to impurities in the tylium fuel. Did you ever thank the writer for that since it meant you could at least stay on another couple of episodes?

Being a Raptor or Viper pilot, ya never knew when your number was up, so ya, I was thrilled when the writers kept me alive. I am very thankful to them. They've written a fantastic show.

As the Fleet approaches the Ionian Nebula, Edmondson and McCall are tasked to stay one jump behind the fleet to keep watch for possible Cylon pursuers. They pass time by playing Triad and Edmondson calls McCall "a ladies man" who masturbates in his bunk. Had you at that time already built a back story in your mind for your character and did this fit to that? What can you tell us about McCall from your own back story that we don't know yet?

My back story for McCall goes like this: Pilots get chicks... become a pilot! That's Skull's story. He's really simple man, what you see is what he is. What you don't know is that he has a soft spot for animals and keeps a picture of his fluffy, black Multipoo in his locker.

McCall then has another two close calls: a bombing in his raptor that kills Alan Hughes and an emergency landing with the raptor due to a failed repair job made by Galen Tyrol. His luck will run out some day, right?

LOL, I know what you're getting at, and only time will tell!

How is it to work with Leah Cairns (Racetrack)? Who else did you enjoy working with on the series? Who did you hope working with but never got the opportunity? What's your favorite episode or your favorite scene on the series? Do you follow the show or any of your work for that matter on television?

Working with Leah Cairns was an absolute blast! She is a great actor and we've spent lots of time together in those hot, steamy flight suits. I really enjoyed working with Edward James Olmos. He directed the episode "Escape Velocity". He is a real "actor's director", because he‘s also a veteran actor. He has a way of communicating that takes the actor comfortable and at ease. My favorite scene was in the same episode, "Escape Velocity", where I tear a strip off of Chief Tyrol. This was actually the second time I've worked with Aaron Douglas, we both played Striker Soldiers on X-Men 2. I didn't follow the show until I became part of it then really got caught up in the storylines. I now watch the show, every opportunity I have.

 

Colin Lawrence as Hamish 'Skulls' McCall and Leah Cairns as Margaret 'Racetrack' Edmondson on Battlestar Galactica 2003

Colin Lawrence as Hamish 'Skulls' McCall and Leah Cairns as Margaret 'Racetrack' Edmondson
on Battlestar Galactica 2003

 

You said you enjoyed working with Pam Grier, since she was Foxy Brown. Did you enjoy watching these so called blaxploitation movies when you where growing up? Who else do you admire as an actor or person?

Ya, I loved working with Pam. She's a legendary, sexy mama who keeps it real. I didn't watch any Blaxploitation movies growing up, I think I was too young, LOL and my mama wouldn't allow it!! Where do I start?? As for actors that I admire: Denzel Washington, Don Cheatle, Johnny Depp, and Kate Blancett. I mean, these people can do it all. As for people in my life, I would have to say I admire my Mom.

In The 4400 you and your wife starred as husband and wife. Was this easier, since you were husband and wife in real life or harder since you probably had to act a completely different couple then yourselves and it was difficult to forget about the usual habits you have?

What was so fun about the role I played with my wife on "The 4400" was that I got to be a complete ass, which of course I am the furthest thing from in reality!! That made it all the more entertaining for us. It wasn't difficult at all.

I've read you enjoy cooking and you aspire to turn back to the restaurant business, but not as a waiter this time, but as an owner. If you had to choose between this and a career in acting would you take the gamble again, leave it all and make another career change as sudden as you did last time? I read on your message board that in 2006 you were actually working on it. How far are your plans now / What's the latest?

If I had to do it all again, I would make the exact same choices. I am meant to be an actor, and this life provides me with opportunities to reach other goals. So in essence, I can have my steak and eat it too!!

What are you currently doing and what are your future plans?

Currently I've just wrapped production on a TV movie titled, Past Lies starring Nicole Eggert (Baywatch). I am currently working on producing a competitive based reality show. Keep your fingers crossed for me! It's an exciting venture!

I've read you are doing some conventions again this year?

YES!!! Just check in at colinlawrence.com for updated info on convention appearances. Thanks so much for the interview, and all the best to you.

 
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