Last month Marcel Damen caught up again with Nicki Clyne, better known as Crewman Specialist Cally Henderson Tyrol on the Battlestar Galactica 2003 series. This interview is a follow up to the Nicki Clyne GALACTICA.TV interview we did in August 2006. In the interview she talks about her website nickiclyne.com, her character and the death of her character on Battlestar Galactica and what she's doing nowadays.
Below you can read the transcript of this interview. If you rather listen to the audio of this interview then click the "PLAY" button below to start.
First, I'd like to take the time to thank you because it's great that we could do this. Well, thank you for doing that.
My pleasure! I'm sorry it didn't work out when I was in Germany.
First off, tell us about your website, nickiclyne.com, and how has the response been?
Well, it's really evolved because I first noticed that there are fansites and websites out there which I think are amazing, and a lot of people interested in what I was doing, and speculating about my life. And I felt "Why don't I, you know, say what's really going on, and what I really think about and what I do". It's also been such a great exercise for me, because I love writing. So, I get to do that and talk about things I care about and people out there who enjoy the show, or who enjoy my character, or just like listening to the random things I think about and happen to write about on my blog. And that's kind of created this whole community, and sometimes discussion, and I think it's been really fun! I don't know where it's going really, I've been trying to think more about some sort of direction and maybe make it more professional. But, I don't have the skills ...yet. (laughs) I need to learn them to build a "real" website that's not just a blog, because there are other things I'd like to include on it, that I'm not able to with just the ...kind of cookie-cutter log setup. So, I'm still working and evolving that, but it's been so fun, and I love it when people post comments, and people send me emails, and tell me about the things they read. And that's very important to me. It's very important to stay connected with the humanity of our industry because you know, we're all people trying to do what we love. The fans are the people who allow us, and support us in doing that. So it's really just a pleasure and a fun thing. I apologize because I feel I don't write enough. Yeah, I always say that I'll write more, but I haven't. (laughs) But, I'm trying to keep up on it.
Yeah, Aaron Douglas also once kept in touch with the fans on an original series Battlestar Galactica forum, but he had to stop because of a few bad apples. Have you had any experiences in that, yet? Like some bad responses in your blog?
I haven't. I guess I've been really fortunate. I sort of remember there being something ...some drama around Aaron writing on the forum, and I don't really remember what it was. The good thing is I don't communicate necessarily directly with specific people or with specific posts. I more, just put things out there, and hopefully people will like it, or perhaps think about things they hadn't before. But I don't get too involved on any personal level, which I think is important because sometimes fans can become entitled to your attention, if you begin like that.
Yeah, Aaron was mostly attacked because he posted on an original series Battlestar Galactica forum, and they attacked him because he was in the new series. And a lot of the original series fans still can't cope with the fact that there's a new series.
Oh really? So, it wasn't even personal?
No, not that personal. Just that he was in the new series.
There's been a lot of that apparently. I try not to read too much of that sort of stuff. I know that there are a lot of so-called Cally haters out there, and maybe they just haven't found my website yet. (both laugh) So don't tell anyone who doesn't like my character that I have a website, because I know that on other forums there are things about my character or me that are not so positive, or supportive. But, I don't really spend too much time thinking about those people. If they don't have anything better do, then I feel sad for them.
actress Nicki Clyne
Yeah, that's true. I just saw you in the video "The Laws Have Changed" where you sing and really rock out dancing.
Yeah!! That was actually a long time ago that I filmed that. I filmed that, I believe right after we filmed the [Battlestar Galactica] Mini-Series, and some friends of mine are in the band, the New Pornographers, and they are awesome. I love their music and at the time I had no idea who they were. It was like a friend of a friend was recording a music video, and they'd asked if I would dance in it. ‘Cause most of my friends know that I love dancing. And I end up talking to him and hearing about his concept for the video, and I was like "Oh my God, I wanna be the singer, please!" The girl who was supposed to be the singer, or play the singer, had to just drop out because she was going to be on Canadian Idol or something. I think she wasn't allowed, and I was like "Please let me do it!" Because I've always had a secret dream, which isn't really that secret, to be a rock star. But I'm not that good at singing, so to be able to play one in a music video with someone else who has an incredible voice to be the singer, it was just like, you know, perfect!
Have you done anything or planned anything else along those lines?
I don't know. I don't have any plans at the moment, but I do have some plans to hopefully collaborate with some friends on more videos of that nature. Like not music videos per se, but fun things that we write and film, and things we do ourselves. Because I think with what technology being what it is, it's just silly not to, and we've got so many fun ideas that we come up with. And I'm always thinking of things like stories and jokes, so I really need to get off my ass and making more videos with my friends. (laughs) Because I do know some very talented people. I'm very fortunate, and I want to create more and put more out there because we can.
Well that's true. There's also a YouTube clip with you singing at Australia's Supernova con. You did a duet with Nicolas Brendon.
(Laughs) That's very gracious of you to call it singing!
You did quite a good job, though you guys got a case of the giggles.
(Laughs) Right, yeah. I think that I, you know, can fool people with my stage antics, and then they don't necessarily pay attention to how I sound. And that works ...sometimes.
Because Julie Caitlin Brown sang a few tunes at FedCon, and I don't know if you heard that? So, I kind of missed you singing there too.
I didn't hear her, and I was really bummed. But I believe she's going to be at Vulkon ...as well. Which is a convention that's happening in the end of October, in Florida, and I'm going to be there.
And she'd promised me that she'd sing, and I'd promised her that I'd watch, because I really, really want to, you know, hear what she does. Also Bill Mumy is going to be there as well, and I saw him perform before, and I'm a huge fan. So, I'm really looking forward to getting to see them. We'll see, maybe I'll be able to whip something up by then. (laughs)
Yeah, since according to your blog, you've also gotten into a cappella.
I love a cappella! I think, I mean I'm a huge fan, I haven't developed my skills in that area yet. Though my friend is teaching me how to do some of the beat-boxing and mouth-drumming, which I think is really cool. I think it's such a great way to express, and a wonderful form for people to get together and just make music and express what's going on. Like you don't need any equipment, you don't need any money. People come together to sing a cappella because they love it, and it sounds awesome! If you look up on YouTube, there are all kinds of different groups singing contemporary songs, and sometimes you wouldn't even know the difference from the original. I think it's incredible.
Well, anything you can sing off the top of your head? Because we're also going to publish the audio.
That I can sing? (laughs) Well I can tell you ...let me see. (pauses) If I go to karaoke for example, I think that everyone's got to have their karaoke song to fall back on, and Joan Jett's "I Love Rock and Roll" is one of them because it's very easy. And you can do it kind of in your normal talking voice. And if I'm feeling a little more outrageous, I'll do Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer". If you can tell, there's kind of an ‘80s theme, I'm a pretty huge fan of the ‘80s. But uhm, I'm not going to sing for you. I'm gonna ...(laughs) ...do you a favor.
Too bad, too bad. (laughs) The last time we talked to you for our website, was the end of Season 2, so I'll continue with some questions from there. The Chief had just had a bad dream about being a Cylon and beat on Cally. But now we know that the Chief really is a Cylon. Did Cally never notice the glowing spine?
(Pauses for a little bit then laughs) I guess I was never in a position to see the glowing spine. (laughs) I don't know, honestly I've decided that Cally was pregnant through Immaculate Conception.
So they've never really, actually have had sex. She never got the chance to see the glowing spine.
We don't actually even know if the male Cylons have glowing spines, we never see that. (laughs)
That's a very good point. I wish I had thought of that, in answer to your question. But now I know for next time.
So baby Nicolas is born after Season 2, and before the webisodes. Was it nice to get the baby suit off and let your hair down?
Yeah, it was. It was really nice. I can't tell you like, coming into work and being able to change into sweatpants and a t-shirt, as opposed to my orange jumpsuit with precarious tools placed all over was definitely a pleasure too. Especially because we spend so much time waiting for things to be set up, and relaxed and you know, doing other things and waiting around. Like being in rubber boots and orange mechanic's outfit is not always the most comfortable. Not that I'm complaining, honestly, I have the best job ever. But, it was a welcome change to let my hair down, yeah.
Did Cally think about becoming that dentist as a civilian on New Caprica?
Did she think about becoming a dentist? I had toyed with the idea. The thing of it is, I think, you know that Cally did join up to pay for dental school, but I think that throughout the experiences that the experiences she had running from her life as she did. I don't know that becoming a dentist was necessarily still her dream. I think that, especially becoming a mother that really became what her life was about, and raising a child, and trying to help humanity survive and evolve. And though dentists are important, I don't know that they're the most important at that stage that everyone on the Galactica was that.
There's a BIG deal made over the fact that Helo and Boomer's baby was a half Cylon, half human child and had the entire Cylon fleet looking for her, and the child had supernatural abilities, including curing the Presidents cancer. Now most people don't know Chief is a Cylon, but wouldn't that mean that Hera isn't all that unique? Did you ever think about that?
Yeah we, I mean, I didn't have a lot of opportunity to explore that because of what inevitably happens after Cally finds out about everyone and that Tyrol is a Cylon. And I think that's a good point, and that's what's very interesting about Season 4. Getting to explore that.
Nicki Clyne as Cally Henderson-Tyrol in Battlestar Galactica 2003
Let's talk about the webisodes. You said it was like film school, in that you had a limited time and budget and under great pressure so you had to band together to make it happen. Were different directors used? Was different crew used? What specifically was different in how you shot these webisodes?
Yeah. Pretty much everything was different. Umm, we had a different crew, they sent someone from the network to kind of oversee and produce them. The director of these particular webisodes was actually Wayne Rose who is normally one of the assistant directors. The first assistant director. Or no. (pauses) Yeah ...the first AD, on the normal episodes. So it was really great to have him, because he knows the show inside and out, and really knows how to run a set and make things move. And I think has a really great filmmaking ability and vision. So, it was everyone else was a different crew. Literally if I remember correctly, there were no more than 10 people kind of helping to make these happen, asides from the actors. And we just start off like, you know, set things up and then roll, and change positions and keep rolling, and do things over and over. And try to get it done as fast and fun as we could because they were long days, and people were mostly there out of the goodness of their heart. So, I actually had a lot of fun and at that point hadn't explored many of those aspects of Cally's character. So it was a nice testing ground to think about different things that were going in her life, and that we'd skipped over in the main series.
How much did Cally know about the Chief running the resistance? Did she suspect it, or just think maybe he was having an affair by sneaking off in the middle of the night?
You mean later on?
No, I mean leading the resistance on New Caprica.
Oh, she knew, she knew that what was he was doing ...I think. (both laugh) I'm just trying to remember! (laughs) So much has happened, and you know a lot of the storylines I find delve into similar issues. So sometimes I'm not sure what point people are referring to, but I think at that point she was so involved in what she was doing and raising the baby, that was her main concern, and him not being there was awful. Though I don't think she suspected him of having an affair. I think she knew that he was "taking care of business".
So, then Cally gets picked up by the New Caprica Police after suicide attacks by the insurgency. When Jammer asks Boomer to save her life, she says she really can't doing anything since internal security isn't under her authority. Cally gets mad and tells Boomer to go away and leave her alone if she can't help her. When we asked you before Season 3 if a resurrected Boomer was going to hold a grudge against Cally for killing her, I expected more of a confrontation than this, didn't you?
I think that events that occurred on a personal level for all the characters, I imagine brought a lot of things into perspective, and I don't know that everyone ...you know, people were concerned more about survival and keeping humanity alive. Sometimes grudges don't seem as important at those times. Yeah, I don't know, I think because there was only that scene it was kind of hard to bring all of that we tried our best, but it's hard to bring all of that history into that one scene.
Grace Park as Sharon 'Boomer' Valerii and Nicki Clyne as Cally Henderson-Tyrol
in Battlestar Galactica 2003
Yeah, I expected more of ...yeah, bit more of a confrontation than like you know, her saying just leave me alone.
She should have pulled her hair or something? (both laugh)
Maybe at least hit her, you know?
Yeah, smack her! So, Cally escapes on the trail to her execution by Chief's sniper team, and they ended up hiding in the resistance underground bunker. They later get evacuated to the Galactica and escape. Cally and Chief then return to active service, but who babysits Nicolas when they're working?
You're not supposed to ask questions like that! (both laugh) (replies sarcastically) That's not, you know, not what the show is about. But we decided that Felix was our main baby sitter, and that we had other people on standby looking after him.
Oh, that's cool.
I mean he's a pretty self-sufficient baby. We were pretty good at teaching him to change his own diapers and things, so I think he was fine.
We don't see much of Cally afterwards. She is seen attending the ship-wide boxing match, but do you have any idea why they scaled back Cally's appearances in Season 3? Except for the end...
I was wondering the same thing. I wonder if I had offended one of the writers, or... (pauses) No. I don't know. There were so many characters on the show and so many amazing stories to explore. I just think that it's a practical thing that you can't delve into each of them to the depth that we try to at every moment. So, you know, Cally was not at the forefront for awhile, but then she came back!
Yeah, there was a fantastic episode where Chief and Cally get into an argument over Chief volunteering both of them for extra duty and Cally wanting to spend more time with the family. And the two get locked in an airlock that is losing atmosphere due to a damaged patch. Adama decides the best way to rescue them is to blow the main hatch, and as they get sucked into space, catch them in a waiting Raptor. I was wondering what special effects were used in the scene where you two are blown out the airlock and into space?
Most of that was done on computers after the fact if I'm correct. I filmed basically just up to the moment where we get sucked out, and then we had stunt people I think actually get sucked out, so there was that image. And then us in space is beyond me. I don't know, Playmobil people perhaps? (both laugh) But you know, all the freezing cold, shivering, all that believable stuff was pure acting.
Okay, but you were in the pressure chamber, right?
Yes. Honestly, I had wished that they had actually made it cold or something so that you could like see our breath and we had the general feeling. Because it was really tough to maintain the believability of it being freezing cold, and then also between thinking between all these things like my maybe not surviving, what's going to happen to my son, what's happening in my relationship. Like the acting was very dense, and I had to keep reminding myself "Oh yeah, you're freezing. Oh yeah, you're freezing, shiver!"
Aaron Douglas as Chief Galen Tyrol and Nicki Clyne as Cally Henderson-Tyrol
in Battlestar Galactica 2003
There was a great scene where Seelix brings Nicolas to the chamber window makes Chief realize the importance of his family.
Yeah, that was beautiful.
So, Chief ends up as a human Chief again, when he organizes a strike to discuss the working conditions at the tylium refinery, and Admiral Adama threatens to shoot Cally, causing Chief to back down. How do you go as an actor to play someone so scared of getting killed?
You know, I don't know that she was so scared of getting killed at that point. I think ...I mean she didn't know what the threat was. She knew that she was being sent to jail, but she didn't know that she had been ordered to be potentially executed. I think she was a little cocky about she was doing in standing up for what she believed in, and not necessarily completely aware of the consequences of that. In at least that situation. But overall, Cally does have several close calls, I mean it's pretty exhausting to be honest, to be considering what it would be like to be that close to not living anymore, and generating that fear.
So then Cally gets suspicious that Chief is having an affair with Tory Foster, and she follows him, and she learns that he really is a Cylon. Cally knocks him out when he returns and she takes Nicolas to an airlock with the intention of committing murder/suicide. Tory suspected they were overheard and follows her and it ends with her knocking Cally down, and ejects Cally out of the airlock. So you've been beat up twice and ejected into space twice. How about something new, huh? How did you feel about the end of Cally's character?
The fact that she died was not a good feeling for me as you can imagine. But, I thought the writers did a really good job in supporting that ending for the character, and I was excited to get to dive into this ...I don't know what you'd call it. I mean she was struggling, and it's always interesting to explore this dynamic of the character, and the two different sides: wanting to be a good mother and wanting to be supportive, and be all these things that she ...I think expects one should be as a mother and a wife. But when nothing else around you is supporting that role, you know, how do you manage? You know, how do you stand up when nothing else is solid, and what it is what you think it to be. And so I had a really good time playing with that and really trying my best to go for it, because you know that was my last chance.
Yeah, it was.
Yeah, to do that on the show.
So, did they call you at first that this would be your last episode, or did they just send you the script, and you had to read it then?
No, the producers both phoned me personally. So when their assistant calls to set up the phone call, I pretty much knew that was probably the news I was going to hear. Either that, or they wanted to create a spin-off series with my character, and I knew that probably wasn't very likely. (laughs) But I, you know delusion is a good thing sometimes. So, for a few moments I had my delusional idea, and then they told me, and I, you know joked with them about how I'd be writing on the message boards the next day. But no, honestly it was, I believe in the integrity of the show, and I know that Ron and all the writers are most concerned with telling an honest and thoughtful, thought-provoking story. And I think that what happened with my character supports that. So, so it was fine.
So we spoke to Lucianna Carro and she said that she didn't even know that they were ending the character.
Yeah, I think that's really sad when you just get the script, and then it, you read it right there. I think it's nice to get at least a courtesy phone call. Maybe because I've been on the series since the beginning they thought that they didn't extend the courtesy to her. I don't know.
Well she actually had a roommate that read the script, and she said "Oh, this script is all about you." And then Luciana said "Oh, can you turn to the last page?" and her roommate read "...and then they hang your picture up on the memorial wall."
And she was at the airport, and she was crying and saying, "Oh my God, I'm gonna die! I'm gonna die!" and everybody at the airport thought she was really going to die and had her doctor on the phone or something. (laughs)
Oh, that's sad! You know what's funny? I actually had a sense that would happen, and I don't know why. It may be that we actors always knew in the back of our mind, especially on a science fiction show like ours. I had a feeling, because the time to start filming was coming closer and closer, and they hadn't called to renegotiate my contract. So, I kind of like pushed it in the back of my mind, but I did have a sense that maybe that Cally wasn't going to last too much longer.
But I mean it's the last season, it's been such a good run. Like I'm so happy to have been a part of it and have formed all the relationships that I have, and have those memories. But I'm just happy that I got to, you know, do what I did with the show and everybody on it.
Nicki Clyne as Cally Henderson-Tyrol in Battlestar Galactica 2003
So Battlestar Galactica has already ended for you long ago, because the episode was filmed a long time ago. So, how's life been for you after Battlestar Galactica?
It's been great. I definitely went through ...uhm, well to be honest it was hard to kind of have a lot of closure until the episode aired, which was almost a year after we filmed it, because I wasn't allowed to tell anyone. And of course people close to me knew, and the people who are around me would, you know, suspect because I wasn't going to work, and I've been like in different places and things. So, maybe other people were suspicious, but I really, I really didn't feel that I could share that information ...and I couldn't. You know, I had to sign a confidentiality agreement. And so I think in some ways that there was a part of me that was still pretending that I was on the show, and just making up excuses like: "Oh, I'm not in this episode" or "We're not filming right now." The writer's strike was actually very convenient for an excuse as to why I wasn't at work anymore. But I've been pursuing other things and spending time with friends, and just doing all kinds of stuff. So, although I miss the show, and I miss the consistency, I miss the people, I miss the character. It wasn't too difficult to move on. That's been good. I mean, I've been on it for five years! That's a long time for me. It's a big part of my life.
Yeah, a big part of your life.
So, do you have any new projects lined up? Or new work, new plans?
Yeah, not acting wise, yet. I just starting working with a new agent and manager in the US, and I'm taking meetings and looking for projects I might want to do. But I'm also developing a business with a few of my friends, that will be uhm ... we have very big ideas, and sometimes I find it hard to put it into concise words. But basically we want to create an online community for college students that, that invokes and inspires critical thoughts, and connecting with people who share values. As well as a commerce portion that business, that will partner with different businesses, and provide discounts for students on whatever they might need. From travel to books, to you know food, and things like that. Because I think that I'm a big believer in education and learning about yourself in that process. But sometimes I think that is lost because some students are so focused on just surviving and getting what they need to get done for their tests, that they lose that introspection that I think is so important at that time of your life, to really think about what one wants to do, and be in the world. So, we just want to provide a forum and a way for people to network, and increase their resources so they can focus on more visionary type things. And I'm really excited about that.
Okay, that's something completely different.
Yeah, it's very different, but it's also not if you consider the values behind it. I think reaching out to people, and connecting and trying to touch people's lives in some way that's positive is consistent with acting. And I think a big part of the reason why I'm drawn to it.
You also said you'd like to write or direct, anything planned in that direction?
Yeah, I like to keep writing and learning to write better maybe. I have a lot of opinions and ideas about the world that I'd like to explore more, but be able to write it in a more professional way and maybe do articles, or write stories. I don't know. I think it seems so cliché for actors to start writing scripts and things, but I love film and I love the medium, so in a lot of ways it makes sense. So, we'll see.
So anything you love to write about? Any particular genre?
Yeah, I like unique and in some ways absurd points of view on everyday life. I started reading for example, someone like David Sedaris, or people who have an appreciation for how absurd we are as human beings. And that can be in fiction or in non-fiction as well, and appreciating all the little things that make us unique, and who we are. I enjoy exploring those ideas.
How about songwriting?
Songwriting? You know, like I said, I'm not super musical. But recently (laughs) I'm going to now defy everything I've said about myself being a singer and being into music, because a friend and I have been recently getting together and writing funny songs about this fake relationship that we have. (both laugh) And writing songs about like, stalkers and funny things people do in relationships, and he plays the guitar, he's really good, and I pick up random instruments and play them poorly and sing. (laughs) So shoot, I don't think that'll ever get outside, you know, his studio basement. But I've been having fun playing around with that.
Oh, I should definitely teach you how to add an audio element to your blog. (laughs) We're missing a lot here.
Riiight. (laughs) Shoot! You know, I might, because to be honest I just think it's fun, and I want to promote everyone doing and going after things that they like. Even if they're not good, because you can get better, and putting stuff out there is really great. I think if you have something to say, then you'll never really learn about what that means, or what it is for you unless you express it, and get something back from the world. Even if no one hears it, I think it's just important to do those things, and explore those parts of yourself and see how it feels. Like if you get scared, you know think about why. "Why does this scare me?" Because it's just fun, and it's part of being human to be able to express.
actress Nicki Clyne
Yeah, it's also good for an actor as well.
Yeah, I actually ...recently someone sent me a link, Scarlett Johansson just recorded an album, have you heard it?
No, not yet.
She recorded a live studio album of all Tom Waits songs, which I'm also a huge fan of. And, I mean like I say with my background, I'm not one to talk. I don't find it very good, I don't think that she's a particularly skilled or engaging singer. But I think the fact that she's doing something different and she's paying tribute to Tom Waits, who's someone that she really loves, I think is cool. And love it or hate it, she's doing her thing, and I appreciate that.
That's true. Alright, I'd like to thank you for doing the interview.
You're very welcome! It's been fun. It's been nice like recapping the entire series, and getting to reflect on things that I don't think about every day. So, it's nice.
Yeah, fans can ask the strangest questions, right?
I don't find that you asked any strange questions. Well, I don't know what would constitute a strange question. Sometimes very personal things are strange.
Yeah, so what's the strangest thing you were ever asked at a convention?
Let me guess, "Have you ever seen Jamie Bamber naked?" (both laugh) [Note: This was a much asked question by the Bamber Bunnies during Q&A's of the Battlestar Galactica actors at FedCon]
That's right! I had deleted that from my memory. (laughs) Uhm, well that I can understand. I mean people want to see that or something. But sometimes there are questions where I think "Really? Why do you care? Why do you want to know that?"
Like who babysits Nicholas while you're at work?
(laughs) Right, but that was actually a valid concern while we're on set. It was a question that a lot of us asked ourselves, and had to make up different stories on different shooting days. Like "Okay, where's the baby again? What happened?" So it shows me that you are acute in your viewing, so that's good.
Thank you so much.
You're so welcome!
This interview is a follow up of the Galactica Two interview we did with Nicki Clyne in 2006: Nicki Clyne GALACTICA.TV interview