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Nicki Clyne GALACTICA.TV interview
Thursday, 12 October 2006

At the Galactica Two Convention in England, held August 4-6 2006, Martine Voppen spoke to Nicki Clyne, better known as Crewman Specialist Cally Henderson on Battlestar Galactica 2003. She talked about how she grew from a background character to a main member of the cast.

What got you started into acting?

I don’t know if there is one thing that got me started. I always liked performing. I used to put on dance performances in my backyard and then my friend and I would go around and invite the neighbours and tell them about. It would cost five dollars, and no one ever came but (giggles), but we always put the show on anyway. The show must go on and we’d make mixed tapes and put on this whole show. I think the only time someone really watched was when the creepy neighbour watched from his balcony next door. (laughs) We did it because we loved it, and I still do as you probably might have noticed last night on the dance floor. That’s one of my favourite things - and acting is just another way to express yourself in that way -- and growing up I took different acting classes, but I never pursued it professionally. I just liked doing it. And then after high school I finally got an agent and started auditioning for things, and started off in smaller roles and gradually grew into larger ones, and Battlestar Galactica has probably been by far the most in depth character and the most fun so far.

You did a movie with Paul Campbell before you started [on Battlestar Galactica]. Did you know any of the other actors before you started on the show?

Well… by now, there has been so many guest star actors on the show I can’t even keep track sometimes. I don’t know how the audiences do, because there is always a new character, a new pilot, someone on the hangar deck... Where have they been this whole time? But there are so many stories and there’s so much going on that they have to find the people to have them along. So there are so many people I know in Vancouver either as close friends or acquaintances that have come on and off the show at one point or another, but as far as the original cast that were in the Mini-Series, I really didn’t know that many people. I knew Grace Park, I definitely knew Grace… but not that well. We’ve become a lot closer and same with Kandyse McClure. We’ve met before, but now we’re all really good friends.

 

Nicki Clyne at the Galactica Two convention in England 

Nicki Clyne at the Galactica Two convention in England

 

So, in the Mini-Series you’re basically a bit of a background character. Did you have any say in your development to almost being a main member of the cast?

I wouldn’t say I have a say in a direct way, but I think from what I have gathered from the conversations with the producers and the writers and just from where I’ve seen my character go. I think they pay close attention to what you do on screen as well as getting to know you as a person and take that into account when they’re writing storylines. And thinking about what you’re character would or wouldn’t do. So I never got up to the writers and said: “I think she should this or…” you know. The line about dental school came out of left field for me too, I had no idea. So, thank goodness I hadn’t done anything up until then to counteract that! So, I think we do have a very powerful position just in our work and they always pay close attention to that.

About dental school… Is Cally actually pulling teeth on New Caprica or what? What is she doing?

(laughs) No, she never made it to dental school so I hope she’s not pulling anyone’s teeth or I would feel really badly for them if she was. (giggles) I think the purpose of that line was just to show that while we’re all just people, we didn’t sign up to be in a war. From the beginning everyone thought that the battlestar Galactica was going to become a museum so this is a shock for everyone. We hadn’t had training since we signed up and had basic training. It was mostly to shut Baltar up and say: “Look, get with the program, pick up the sticks and let’s do this, stick together and we’ll all have to work.” It’s not just the people who happened to be in a uniform. As for Cally’s future -- if she will ever pursue that dream or -- I’m not sure, because a lot of things have changed and her priorities and values have changed also.

Of course with the baby. Did you wear a lot of prosthetics, like a babysuit?

Yeah, I had a thing what they call a pregnant suit that goes on. Kind of like a leotard and it has this foamy stuff. It’s a really interesting feeling. I don’t have kids -- not yet -- and yeah, just the people’s reaction to me on set was really interesting. You could tell that people who had kids were really gentle like: “Oh, you look so cute!” and other people who hadn’t would come over and punch me in the stomach. (laughs) There’s something really wrong about that! Even though we all knew it was just foam and padding and I couldn’t feel it, it was just the idea of what it could have meant. It was really interesting. Actually, a lot of people when I came to set were like: “Oh. you really look good pregnant. You have this glow about you. ” I don’t really know what that means, but it was really funny.

Chief also beats on Cally pretty badly in the Season 2 finale, because of his nightmares and I understood that Aaron Douglas even punched you in the face by accident.

(giggles) Oh you’ve heard that story, have you?

 

Nicki Clyne as Crewman Specialist Cally Henderson on Battlestar Galactica 2003 

Nicki Clyne as Crewman Specialist Cally Henderson on Battlestar Galactica 2003

 

He told us about it. He said you had to laugh and cry at the same time. Aaron had people dying or really hurting in his arms throughout the entire series. He said that it demands a lot from an actor because it’s emotionally draining. Do you feel the same way or...?

I don’t find it emotionally draining as an actor. I find those types of scenes the most exciting and exhilarating. For example this scene where Aaron finally sees me after he’s beat me up and he sees what he has done to me. That scene to me was so much fun because there was so much depth and so much information to work with. I got to really explore as an actor and be challenged. I find it the hardest when I have to just to pretend to be fixing something in the background. That to me is draining, you know, the clock is going backwards. But when I actually get to use my skills as an actor, that’s the most energizing to me.

Alright, something else a lot of fans are dying to know…. Is Cally finally getting a last name in Season 3?

Yes! Well... I’m trying to think if her name is actually used in the dialogue. I’m not sure, but on all the new scripts that I’m reading now. When it has the characters at the beginning of the script and it tells you which characters are in it, she has a last name. And it’s two names now with Tyrol at the end and... uhm… Okay, I’ll tell you. Her name is Cally Henderson…and it’s so an all American kind of…Henderson Tyrol.

Where you surprised when you found out yourself that you were a Henderson?

Yeah! Well, it changes things a little bit, especially since there was a lot of debate and wondering whether if Cally was even my first name. Because in the military, when you’re title is Specialist something, they go by your last name. So, to be perfectly honest, it doesn’t make the most sense that Cally is my first name, due to that fact, but I like it as a first name. I think it’s really cool and it suits me. Everyone on set calls me Cally…by accident. And they’re: “Ah, Nicki, Nicki!” Of course they know my first name since I’ve been working with them for four years but they just slip up and call me Cally all the time, so it is…Henderson. The first time I found out was on the gag reel. I think Aaron [Douglas] showed it at the convention (Galactica 2, UK). It had the segment that had the many faces of Cally and it said "Cally Henderson". And I thought maybe the editors just had made it up and whether they did or did not, it seems the writers have picked up on it.

What does Season 3 have in store for Cally? There was a preview footage and it looked like Boomer was going to face off with Cally at some point (Nicki giggles). Could you tell us anything about that without giving too much away?

Well, I think you’ve just said it then! (laughs) We pretty much do face off. It was a really exciting scene, because Grace [Park] is such a great actress and we have a lot of history. And just knowing that Grace was playing Boomer at that time I had all these memories flood back to me about our time on Battlestar Galactica together. And also, obviously, what has happened since then. It was a very powerful and emotional and fun to do.

Okay, thank you very much…

Thank you! It was a pleasure…

We’ll all pray for Cally.

Yeah! There’s lots of good stuff coming up!

 

Also read: Nicki Clyne Fan Site interview and a follow up on this interview with Nicki Clyne we did in 2008: Nicki Clyne GALACTICA.TV interview 2

 
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