|Rekha Sharma GALACTICA.TV interview|
|Written by Marcel Damen|
|Friday, 08 February 2008|
Recently Marcel Damen spoke to Rekha Sharma, better known as Tory Foster, presidential aide and one of the final five Cylons on the Battlestar Galactica 2003 series. She talked to him about how she got into the business and her part on the show.
Let's set up some background first. Your ancestors were from India during British rule, then moved to the Fiji Islands. Your family moved to Canada and you were born in Vancouver. Why did your parents decide to move to Canada?
More opportunities. My mother is quite an amazing woman. She was very authored, very ambitious for her time and her culture. She went to Australia and studied. Not many girls did that. She wanted to become a secretary, which was a big deal in those days and yeah, she wanted to get out of the Fiji Islands, out of the small town to go and explore the world.
...but Canada, of all places; the other side of the world...
I think part of it was that someone had already come [to Canada]. It was easy to get into, especially at that time. It seemed like a place where it was quite easy to have opportunities, coming from her country. The dollar wasn't too terribly expensive either, I'm sure that helped. (laughing)
actress Rekha Sharma
You said you decided to become an actor at age five when you spied on some of your classmates auditioning for a school play and thought you could do a better job than them.
Was that confidence or arrogance?
I actually think it was confidence. I think there's this something in me that could see... There's just some part of me that somehow knew the art form on some level. Because I did do a better job! (both laughing) I'm glad I had the confidence. It's harder now. I think when you're younger that life is a bit simpler. You're not aware of so much. It's easier. I wish I had more confidence now. I find it harder.
Do you remember the role and the play?
Yeah, I was the mother and it was a play like the teachers had written or something (laughing) and it was about Vancouver. It was about the history of Vancouver.
Then at age 12, you fell in love with the arts and music, reportedly thanks to your big brother.
How did he influence you?
He was my big brother. He was nine years older than me. He was super cool. He broke with tradition in a lot of ways. There are a lot of cultural stereotypes about Indians that are not brought up in India. The Indians in America or in Canada sort of followed for the most part... this is generalization... for the most part seem to follow the black culture. So a lot of young Indian men and women growing up were listening to hip-hop and had posters of Martin Luther King up in their rooms and stuff like that. My brother was not like that at all. He listened to alternative, underground music. He was into painters. He was into foreign film. I just thought he was the coolest thing ever, so naturally... He was very smart. He saw that I had an interest in things and he wanted to take care of me. We were really close. So he would encourage me to come hang out with him and his friends. I remember he would go like: "No, don't go drinking with your friends." I was like twelve. "Don't go drinking with them. They don't know the cool spots. They might just leave you in a field somewhere. It happens. Really! So you should just come drinking with me and my friends." (both laughing) Yeah, he was smart.
actress Rekha Sharma
When you got your first theatre part and got to act 5 days a week, you said that's what caused you to quit your day job. Why did it cause to quit your day job?
Because I felt what it was like to just be focused on the art form and to make your living from doing your art form. Very satisfying feeling. I had done... I had a pretty good day job. It was pretty satisfying too, but it had no comparison to how it felt to perform, to do work that I love and pay my rent that way. I just didn't want to pay my rent any other way.
Okay. Your first tv/movie role was an episode in The Lone Gunman, right?
Could have been.
Were you nervous about television, or did all of the theatre prepare you for this?
No! (big laugh) It didn't! (both laughing) It was such a different medium to work in. I have to say, I had a lot of... and I still struggle with... camera fright. Much less stage fright than camera fright. Something about the proximity of having the camera so close to you and the people are right there. I find it hard to maintain concentration. I wasn't prepared, I think I have gotten better, but boy, was I... I can't believe they even hired me. I was so nervous. (both laughing)
Rekha Sharma as Tory Foster on Battlastar Galactica 2003
You said you initially auditioned for a couple of smaller recurring roles for BSG before getting the role of Tory. What other roles did you audition for?
One of them was Showboat. I can't remember this woman's name. It was a gorgeous blond woman, who plays Showboat now. And... some other kind of nugget character. I don't even know who it was it ended up being. I just remember I was pretending that I was talking to Starbuck in that audition. I think there may have been one more, but that's all I can remember.
The background of Tory is that she was a precinct captain for the Federalist Party in Delphi for five years. She took over for Billy as President Roslin's aide after his death. Do you think Tory would have found it difficult to work with an ex-teacher, or do you think by the time Tory came around that Roslin has established herself as a politician?
I think she was very well established. I think the fact that I went from working... I? Tory went from working (both laughing) for a mayor to the president of the universe as I like to call her. (laughing) It was a good step up for Tory. I think that was evidence to the way she presented herself and how hard she worked for Laura Roslin, right of the bat. She was really excited to have the job, I think, and especially when, I can imagine, in that kind of war torn state. Whatever job or ambitions you have would probably for the most part be set aside. There were probably a lot of people that loved their jobs and their lives and were not able to continue doing them. So I think the character of Tory was quite happy to be able to do what she loves to do.
Rekha Sharma as Tory Foster on Battlastar Galactica 2003
When Roslin decides to hide the cylon/human baby of Helo and Boomer, she has Tory make a list of civilians who could be trusted with the baby. How do you think Tory found Maya and why do you think she chose her?
I really don't know. It's not something I honestly thought about. I thought about what would be the qualities in someone and I guess that they would have to be people that are willing to be discrete. People who would be maybe a little naïve, I would think as well, to not suspect something. Yeah, I don't know why Maya in particular.
Later on, Tory works with Tigh and Dualla to rig the presidential election. Did she feel guilty at all about doing this? Or did she see this as the best way to save humanity?
Yeah, definitely I think she thought: "Okay..." I think she always believed really strongly in Laura Roslin and agreed with her policies and what she's going for and definitely wanted to save humanity. I mean, that's what we're all trying to do. I think she felt guilty afterwards when it backfired. You know, you always regret things when they don't work, especially when it means now that the person you were trying to avoid is now in control of you. The atrocity that happened on New Caprica. I'm sure she was kicking herself the whole time. (both laughing) "Why did I let that happen?"
During the occupation on New Caprica, Tory still works with Roslin. We see Tory in the school. Was she now a teachers aide, or just a covert place to work with Roslin about making a list of humans who are in collusion with the Cylons?
Yes, I think it was more like a place to work out of. We did not lose sight of the goal. I think Laura Roslin was really strong and didn't lose sight of the goal to get back on the ship and to save humanity for sure. But of course we lived a life there and we went through a lot, I imagine on that planet. A lot of hardship together.
What brought about the sexual relationship between Tory and Samuel Anders? Did they have this Cylon vibe thing going on?
I think that is what it was. I think in the midst of when we entered that nebula and something sort of happened that we didn't understand. I think with all the fear and emotion, you know, because he had lost his wife... hearing this strange music. Tory couldn't get her head on straight and then there's this strange connection. Sort of a disintegration almost of what I think her reality was and it was like magnets. That's how I felt about it. We just couldn't keep away from each other.
Michael Trucco as Sam Anders and Rekha Sharma as Tory Foster on Battlastar Galactica 2003
So what happens to Tory in Season 4? Will she become bitter now that she knows she's a Cylon? Will she tell the President? Will she try to distance herself because she doesn't want to hurt anybody?
Well, I really... How can I really answer that question? I can't entirely, but I will say she goes through a lot of those things. Whether or not that's what we're going to see. Whether we'll see all of those things is anther story, because we only catch glimpses of these people. It's all the days between the episodes that we don't see, right? So I think she goes through all of it. Yeah.
Okay. Thank you so much for doing the interview.
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