Tiffany Vogt

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HELIX Scoop: Guest star Jeri Ryan and Executive Producer Steve Maeda Talk About the Mysterious Newcomer Constance Sutton

In * By Tiffany Vogt, * Interviews, * TV Addict, Helix on February 14, 2014 at 12:00 pm


As Syfy’s HELIX picks up steam and cranks up the action, this week’s new episode entitled “Survivor Zero” introduces mysterious newcomer Constance Sutton (Jeri Ryan).  Sutton’s role is protect the Artic Bio Systems research at all costs.  But exactly how far will she go?  What are the limits to her own humanity when it comes to her mission?

In a press conference call, special guest star Jeri Ryan and executive producer Steve Maeda talked about what kinds of trouble Sutton will be stirring up for the survivors and the CDC.

What first attracted you to the role of Constance Sutton?
JERI:  It was fun. The concept of the show to begin with was sort of intriguing to me. I hadn’t seen any of it at that point because it was just being shot. And I loved the people that were involved in it. So that was all really cool.  Then when I sort of was hearing a little bit more about the character and I was seeing how she was written, then it was fun.  This is my sort of first foray back into sci-fi in a number of years, so it was nice. It was a lot of fun to get back into it. It’s a fantastic show.

How secretive were they about what was going to happen with your character?
JERI: They were very secretive.  I was asking really direct questions about “What the hell am I and who am I?” and they were like, “Oh, I don’t know. It’s really cool. You’ll have to wait.” I was like, “Come on!”
STEVE: Yes. We played a little close to the vest.
JERI: They’re very secretive about it. They were holding their cards very close to the vest.
STEVE: And some of it was we’re just trying to kind of keep the mysteries, obviously, and we’re trying to help the actors as much as we can while still not revealing everything at the end of the day. And part of it is that it’s a work in progress. That’s the thing about a series is you don’t have everything figured out even the half-way point. We’re still working through things.  We knew where her character was going, but other things came up in the breaking of the show, so we tried to give as much direction as we possibly could.

Can you talk about playing Sutton’s more cold calculated side? How did you kind of become her?
JERI: She was just fun. This was a really fun role to play because she’s kind of out there.  She’s not subtle, which I love. So it was fun to just sort of let go and just really play and let her go to those places. That was a treat as an actor.
STEVE: Sutton, for us, was someone who put on a very sort of benign and corporate face, which is why she does a lot of corporate speak, but then underneath there’s obviously a lot more going on, and Jeri just ate it up. It was fantastic.

How would you best describe Constance and what motivates her?
JERI: She’s kind of a ball-buster.  I think that’s the best way to describe her, which I love. What motivates her? I can’t really tell you exactly what motivates her. That you sort of find out.
STEVE: Yes, she’s a company employee, and so I would say she is trying to be loyal to –  to the corporation and to the folks that she has been working with and been developing this whole plan with. And once she finds out that Hatake (Hiroyuki Sanada) has since been working on his own agenda, she gets pretty damn angry about that. It’s an interesting thing, which I though Jeri really walked that line really that line between the corporate kind of niceties and the polite things that you say versus the things that you actually do. And once the fangs came out, it’s all over. So it was a lot of fun to watch.
JERI: It was a lot of fun to play.  And I also love, as you’ll see without trying to give too much away, she’s definitely, as Steve said, in the corporate world, and very much looking out for the best interests of the company, but you find out that there’s a little more personal issue for her at stake, which I really loved as well.
STEVE: We tried to do with characters even if they seem to be, both with Hatake and with Sutton, even if they seem to be very kind of on point and you know their agenda comes first, we try to infuse them with some emotion down the road so you understand where they’re coming from and it’s not just about money. It’s not just about greed or this sci-fi illness of the show, but there’s an emotional component as well.
JERI: And I love that.



Sutton is kind of rough with Hatake. Would you like to maybe explore some more action and physical roles after getting a little taste of that?
JERI: Oh, yes. It’s not my first taste of it either. I mean I did “Mortal Combat” and I’ve done some other roles with a little bit of action here and there. Yes, it’s a lot of fun. I always enjoy those scenes. But I have to tell you, I have to brag about Hiro [Sanada] for a minute. That man is unbelievable. I was in awe of him. I still am in awe of him. The man is a ninja.
STEVE: He is. Really.
JERI: The scene where I had to throw the book at his head, and I have to throw it directly at his face, and it’s on me. I can’t like pretend to throw it. I have to wail it at him and he’s standing like six feet away from me. I was a wreck shooting the scene. I was so nervous. I was like, “Dude, I have no aim. I can’t.” He was like, “Just throw it. Just do it. Just right at my face. Just go.”  And there’s cameras set up right behind him, and so he has to knock the book away, and we’re worried about hitting the lens and all this expensive equipment. He never even blinked. Never flinched. Never breathed heavy. Nothing. Every take, he just batted it out of the way like it was nothing in the exact spot that it was supposed to land so it didn’t hit any equipment. He is amazing.
STEVE: He pretty much didn’t flinch for the entire series.
JERI: Honest to God, I am such a fan girl about him. I just like follow him a round. I’m like, “Oh, my God, you’re so cool. You’re so cool.”
STEVE: I’ll tell you a little Hiro story. The first time he does that thing with the gun where he hands the gun over butt first and he does this little flip with it. The first time I saw that, because that was not scripted, he just did it, and I was like, “What did he just do?” And I went back and I liked watched it three times because it was so cool, and then sent him an email and said how bad-ass that was.
JERI: He’s so awesome.

Will the reason why Hatake’s so obsessed with Walker be fully explained this season, or is that a mystery that might carry over until the next season?
STEVE: It will be fully explained this season.

Will this also kind of shift some of the bad guy image away from Hatake? Because so far he’s sort of seemed like our villain? Will he be teaming up with Billy and things now?
STEVE: Absolutely. One of the things we wanted to do was take our characters who seemed to be villains and try to humanize them and create some kind of unlikely pairings. And also, take our characters who seem to be you know on the side of the angles and turn them a little bit and twist them and give them some unsavory motives perhaps. And so we’re trying to find those balances, and I think you’ll see them.

Is it safe to say that Sutton is not who she seems to be when she first comes on the show?
JERI: I think it’s very safe to say that.  I mean she certainly is there representing Ikaria Corporation. There’s no question about that. But being there to help is not necessarily… She’s helping herself. And she certainly wants the cure. That is very sincere.

At the end of the day, who is Constance Sutton? How would you sort of describe this character for those people who are going to see her for the first time this week?
JERI: I’m trying to tiptoe the line about not giving too much away, but she’s certainly driven, and she definitely has an agenda that she is there to do. Hatake has gone off the rails. He is supposed to be finding them a virus and a cure, and he’s screwed up. He’s messing around and doing his own thing, and that’s not okay, so she’s there to fix it, and whatever she has to do to make that happen is what has to happen.
STEVE: Yes. She’s a fixer. She comes in and she takes care of things. Under the guise of corporate benevolence, she really has this very clear agenda and if Hatake has gone off the rails a little bit, Sutton has not gone off the rails of this. Firmly on the rails and is trying to make sure that everything happens the way it’s supposed to be happening and try to figure out what Hatake’s game is.

What can you tell us about Ikaria?
STEVE: They’re a pharmaceutical giant. They do good work and they make lots of drugs and their public face is actually benevolent. But behind the scenes, there’s a lot more going on than what you might expect. I can’t tell too much more than that, but the foundation of Ikaria, the origin story and how all that happened and how the company became what it is, is something that we’re going to see over the back half of the season.

Do you kind of know where Sutton’s story is going?
STEVE: Oh, yes. We know where she’s going. We know exactly. Sutton was a character who we knew very early on that we wanted to get into the show, that we wanted to have someone come from the corporation. And then the idea of Sutton was something that we talked about very early on. Then the rest of it just sort of you know came in kind of discussing and breaking stories with her.



How do the other characters react to Sutton’s character?
STEVE: They are all sort of dismayed for their own reasons because I think very quickly very early on you discover that Sutton is you know putting on a performance for the gang. So Hatake certainly knows who she is and where she’s coming from. I think that Daniel (Meegwun Fairbrother) has an idea. And I think that Alan (Billy Campbell) and company learn very quickly what’s going on. So what appears to be  “Oh, good, help is here,” is really not help at all. I mean, she arrives with you know gun-toting soldiers too.

The themes of HELIX are very much to me a cautionary tale about where we’re going with genetic research, and medicine, and pharmaceuticals. Where do you mine the science for the show? Do you guys have science advisors?
STEVE: We do, and we’ve done a lot of research ourselves. We do have an advisor who reads all of our scripts. We have an advisor on set, but we have a CDC doctor who reads all our scripts and then comes back to us with, “You know what? It would really be this way guys and not that way,” and we try to take those cues when we can.  Dramatically, we’re always trying to tell the best story, but we also want to be as grounded as possible. And yes, sometimes we take flights of fancy.  It’s something I actually learned on THE X-FILES, which is the more you tie your science-fiction story into actual science, the easier it is to buy. So, that’s what we’re trying to do.  We may not hit it all the time, but it’s something we certainly are mindful of.

There’s a lot of genetic research in chromosomes, and the idea of this virus being a delivery system.  Does that have something to do with Hatake’s ability to heal quickly and what experiments he’s been doing on himself?
STEVE: I would say it very much has something to do with that, without giving too much away. It’s part of just who he is and what will be revealed in later episodes. But we you know delved as deeply as we could into the research and into trying to take a lot of really arcane science and make it understandable the audience, without dumbing it down too much, to get in as much real stuff as we could.

As of last week’s episode, it was revealed that Julia has the silver eyes.  Is that supposed to be a result of the cure, so does that mean that possibly she’s had the virus, is something entirely different going that has nothing to do with the cure? 
JERI: That’s part of the mystery isn’t it?
STEVE: You’re asking all the right questions and answers will be forthcoming, I promise. It’s going to be answered really quickly. But those are the questions we want you to be wondering about.

HELIX has a really dark edge. Unlike THE X-FILES, where it had at least a little humor in that show, HELIX is just relentless. Do you plan to keep up this intensity or are you going to maybe let us breathe every now and then somewhere in the series?
STEVE: No. We want to keep up the intensity. There are light moments coming, but they tend to be kind of in the service of it’s black humor, definitely, and they tend to be in service of keeping everything moving and just sometimes you find those moments you know in the worst situations. So we have 13 episodes and our mantra was to keep the show moving.  So we want to have down time, we want to have character time, but we definitely want to keep everything twisting and turning and keep you coming back for more hopefully.

What was it like to work on a series that’s sometimes kind of gory and gross?
JERI: Oh, I love the gore. Are you kidding me? Oh, God, more gore. I love it. The goo and the guts, and all of it. I love it. So much fun.  Come on. I observed autopsies when I was on BODY OF PROOF. I love this stuff. I love the science of it. I love the gore. I love all of it.

Have either of you picked up like an unnatural fear of needles as a result of working on this show?
JERI: Oh, I’ve always been needle-phobic. Hideously needle-phobic. That’s the one thing that I have a hard time with.
STEVE: No, not so much. Although the show does make you think twice about a new flu strain or anything like that. But no, not overtly I would say.  It’s not my favorite thing.

This show can be very tension-filled and the music has been really great. Can you talk a little bit about that? 
STEVE: We decided from the get go that we wanted to do some things a little bit differently and be unsettling not only in you know storytelling and how we were shooting the show, but also in post and in how we cut the show and in music. So part of that came from I think the whole “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” which started the whole thing, came from Ron when we were sitting in post on the pilot. That idea came from one of our other producers. We bought it on iTunes and watched it and just kind of temped in and it was like, “Wow. That works really well.” So it was something we had talked about. When we saw it, we thought it was great, and so that’s why we you know continued to do it. And “Fever” is the perfect one. That’s probably the best song we’re using in the entire show.



Can you talk about working with Kyra Zagorsky on the show?
STEVE: Kyra very early on brought a really nice humanity to Dr. Walker, and to that character and really fleshed her out, and we just started writing toward that because we saw what we had, and it was part of our whole story-writing process.  Obviously Walker is very central to the story and maybe even more central to than we’re letting on; although, we certainly are hinting at that.  I think that by the end of the season you’ll see just how central, because she’s a very, very important character in the show.

What has been your favorite experience working on HELIX?
JERI: Again working with Hiro Sanada.  He’s incredible. The entire cast is fantastic, but he’s in another world. He’s not even human. It’s crazy.  Seriously, he is such a professional and he’s so dedicated, just so good, and so connected, and so right there with you in any kind of scene. Whatever you have to do, he’s amazing to act with. You just feel so supported as an actor to work with him.
STEVE: But so unlike the Hatake character, in person.
JERI: Yes. Exactly. He couldn’t be more the antithesis of Hatake in real life.
STEVE: Yes, he’s just charming.

How many episodes will Constance be appearing in, and will there be a chance for the character returning in future episodes or seasons?
STEVE: This is Syfy, there’s always a chance. Yes. Without giving too much away, I don’t want to say how many episodes or you know the why or the why not; all that will come to bear, but we love having Jeri and you know she’s in a number of episodes and we’ll just leave it at that.

Are you completely done with Season 1? 
STEVE: Not totally. We are locking our last episode, Episode 13, today, and then we are actually on the mix stage right now. We are watching a sound playback of Episode 8, which is the second episode that Jeri is in, and we’re working through those. So that’ll be going on a couple weeks before we air this last episode.

Are you waiting to finalize this finale until after you hear about a Season 2 pickup?
STEVE: We’re locked into our finale. We don’t have the luxury. So we are cautiously optimistic on a Season 2 pickup and 13 is going to lock today, so we’re crossing our fingers and toes.

To find out more about the mysterious and very dangerous Constance Sutton, be sure to tune in for an all new episode of HELIX on Friday, February 14th at 10:00 p.m. on Syfy.

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HELIX Scoop: Mark Ghanimé and Catherine Lemieux Talk About Their Characters Sergio Balleseros and Doreen Boyle

In * By Tiffany Vogt, * Interviews, * TV Addict, Helix on January 24, 2014 at 12:05 pm


Syfy’s virus-thriller series HELIX is pulling out all the stops as two of its primary characters look to be infected already. Safe so far are Major Sergio Balleseros (Mark Ghanimé) and Doreen Boyle (Catherine Lemieux).  But as already seen, no one is safe. The attempts to quarantine and keep segregated the infected until a cure can be found has not worked.  Thus, it is up to Balleseros and Boyle to find the source of the virus as quickly as possible, if anyone is going to be saved.  But with artic monkeys and squirrely executives making both their jobs more difficult, it remains to be seen how successful they are.  In a recent press conference call, stars Mark Ghanimé and Catherine Lemieux provided their candid perspective on the creepy virus and where the show is headed.

Are we going to learn more backstory soon? Because it seems like Major Balleseros at least knows something, or has worked with Hatake to some extent.
MARK: I really hope you do and you just have to wait and find out as far as when the episodes get released. But there’s definitely going to be some interesting stuff developing with my character. He’s multifaceted, let’s just say. So we’re going to see some surprises. And we are going to learn as far as his background and where he comes from we’re going to learn some stuff with some twists.

Are you still working on that process or do you pretty much have an idea of who Balleseros is?
MARK:  I think that’s sort of a never-ending process. It’s just like trying to discover who you are and, as a person, you go through changes your life. When you’re 20 you’re a different person than when you are when you’re 40.  There is that process. For my character for the series, so far for the season I am done. We finished filming. But I do have some designs for Season 2, if that happens.  If everyone’s fortunate and everything aligns and we’re working on Season 2 and my character is around I’ve got some ideas for him, for sure. That’s something that I’m really looking forward to working on and to develop further. Definitely.

Can you talk about some of the like preparation you did for the role?
CATHERINE: I did a lot of computer work. Thank goodness for computers and the Information Age. I’m also very familiar with animals, as well. I’ve seen a lot of veterinarians with the various pets I’ve had in my life. So I think some of the research was actually just life experience I think in that sense. But I don’t know if a lot can prepare you for that kind of line of work of just going into nowhere and dealing with deadly diseases and fear and stuff.  We also had a vet on set. And she was great. She’s somebody that I could use a total resource. I considered that such a gift from production to be able to speak to somebody who actually is a veterinarian and who deals with that on a day to day basis. So that was really, really a great help.
MARK: For myself, it’s funny because just last year I finished a role on a project — kind of a passion project that I helped produce as well as acting — it was a soldier role. And my character in that show was sort of a slightly stripped-down version of Sergio Balleseros, so it was kind of neat because I did a lot of work previous going into that other project and it sort of helped carry on into this project so I was a bit more informed due to my previous work. And I just enjoy it. I mean, as a kid growing up playing with G.I. Joes and all that kind of stuff you always wanted to do these kind of roles or play these kind of characters in your play time. And then when I got into acting I thought it would be a blast to do this and play a doctor and play all these kind of different types of roles. But for Balleseros, in particular, there’s a bit of a darkness that I took on a bit more than my previous roles in any other stuff I’ve done so as far as the dialogue and the jargon goes from the military. I did some reading as far as ranking and how it goes and how you would pronounce certain words.  Then as we got into the show all the technical mumbo jumbo, all the science stuff, it was definitely something that myself and Catherine and everybody else had to really look at.

As far as developing Doreen’s personality, was that all in the scrip, or did you bring something to that?
CATHERINE:  It’s definitely a combination of those two things. I think what came from the script and what most of the writers gave to Doreen was definitely a kind of attitude.  The idea of someone having the character to just deal with working with disease and being able to relocate places like the Arctic takes a particular kind of personality trait, I think. So, for me, I kind of tapped into Doreen being kind of a hard lady — a kind of no-nonsense kind of lady — so that’s how I reached that.

How effective do you think that using fear and the element of hope with your characters in making them sympathetic to viewers?
CATHERINE: I think that that’s just a reflection of life.  Like life is a balance of those two things in a sense of fear and hope through that and of conquering the fears that we get. So I think that’s kind of like a true reflection, the show kind of reflects the balance of life that we all try to achieve. And we all have fears and we all have to face them in that sense. So it’s a very, very human experience in that. It also being a sci-fi experience and having this disease be completely unknown and completely from out of this world maybe, who knows.
MARK:  Exactly what Catherine says, and also the fact that if you look at some of the characters as we develop the story in the season, the people that get infected in the base, there is the fear and the hope that these people from the CDC can help them. It’s a very important storyline on the secondary and the guest star characters in the show. A lot of times you don’t see too much of the fear and the hope on the surface of the hero characters. But we have that support from the guest stars on our show. You really get to see what the true feelings are of these people in the space. And I think it is exactly human nature.

With a real world issue treated in a sci-fi manner, how do you retain the true gravity of that world?
MARK: The fact that what we’re doing in this show is not fantastical, is not supernatural, is not beyond the reach of the real world, I think that in itself lends a built-in fear in that it can happen.  You look outside your door and those things can occur; and I think that itself is enough to put the fear of God into people.
CATHERINE: The possibility of any situation that’s on television or on film or what have you is definitely the link with the audience in that sense. If an audience member can identify and see themselves in this problem that these characters are having then you really do have a connection.

It feels at times that there is a tiny bit of humor in Dorren and Balleseros odd-couple relationship. Was it always meant to be?
MARK: I think, obviously, part of it is due to the writing. They paired us up.  Dialogue-wise, they paired us up like that. But I had never met Catherine going into this project. But I was sort of met with open-arms and she’s a lovely woman. We had a lot of fun together. And I think just our comfortable behavior with each other just lent itself to what we put on film afterwards. It’s just a blast for myself. She’s got a wonderful background in theater and I had a blast learning from her so.
CATHERINE: I couldn’t have gotten through this project without the complicity that I had with Mark who, again, we didn’t know each other before this project. He’s just a really generous scene partner. I’m very new to working in television and so Mark was always just very, very, very helpful with that. As he said, I think we just developed a kind of relationship. I think Doreen is a bit like me and I’m a bit Doreen. So definitely that is a reflection of our actual relationship off-screen.

Does the epidemic expand into more of a conspiracy thriller mode with just cast we see now? Or does anyone else come in to make it more of an international conspiracy?
MARK:  If you remember in one of the first episodes when we’re coming down the elevator with Hatake, he describes how many scientists and doctors work in the Arctic Biosystem space, which lends up a lot of different types of people, ethnicities and backgrounds to bring the story to. And you will see through the guest stars throughout the show that there is a very good variety of people coming and going in any shape and form.

Does that mean that we won’t have seen them, but they will have been there or do they actually come in from the outside?
MARK:  No, they are people that already occur in the base; that already live in the base and work in the base. And then there’s other stuff, other factors that we can’t quite reveal just yet.

How much were you told at the beginning about what was going to happen? Some of the other actors said they were surprised as things came up.
CATHERINE: I felt like I knew nothing. I felt like I knew nothing and I felt like I was honestly just really learning every time I would get a script. And I think the math was that we get the script on halfway through the episode as we’re shooting it and we get the next script. So we got a chance to talk with Cameron and the director previous to filming the pilot.  Then I don’t know if was intentional on their part, but I felt that for me and my case, I felt like I was kind of left in some kind of mystery which helped to portray that in actual shooting the show because I really didn’t know what the heck was going on so that helped with my acting.
MARK: I think with the show when we were given the roles we were told what our character was like and what the basic idea of the show was, but we weren’t given a full season arc, which was kind of nice actually. It keeps a bit of the mystery and it kept us all on our toes when we’d get a script every other week.  We’d get the new script and we’d get to see what we’re doing, and it was just a lot of fun. I mean, that’s life; an event happens in your life and you learn how to adapt or get around it and you proceed on. It’s the way we’re filming is very much in that way which kept it pretty real and didn’t look stale in terms of the dialogue delivery.
CATHERINE: It helps you to relate to the audience too, not know what’s coming. You kind of get the impression of what the audience is going to feel as well as they see the shows.

It was cool the way you guys interacted in the beginning. It was almost adversarial, and yet there was a respect between the two of you that started to develop.
MARK: For my character, obviously, he’s got his own agenda.  He’s got his own side story and his own motivation for a lot of the things. But I think at first when you get together with a group of people and you’re supposed to work with them, you’re thrown into this situation, you don’t really know who they are, you’re trying to feel them out.  My character started to respect Doreen as the one finding out a lot of the information in the first couple of episodes, like how the virus was not airborne and that gave me a bit of relief. As the character I was able to sink into a bit more with a little less fear. And I think it was just a mutual respect that built throughout the episodes.
CATHERINE:  Respect is earned and not necessarily just given in that sense. And I think that’s a character trait of both Balleseros and Doreen.

Assuming that this storyline is a one-season arc.  Did you find that this is this the kind of show that each week you get a script and you check to see if you’re character is still alive?
MARK:  For fear of spoiling things I know that I was a little bit I would check the first page to make sure my name was on the top of every episode to see that I got to go on another day. It is one of those things. I mean, as we’ve seen with shows like with GAME OF THRONES where they’ve done some pretty drastic things to their cast in that series. Now a days it’s the W-T-F era of television where it’s just a lot of shock and awe sometimes.
CATHERINE: Anything can happen, yeah. Anything can happen really.

HELIX airs Friday nights at 10:00 p.m. on Syfy.

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HELIX Scoop: Billy Campbell and Jordan Hayes Talk The Challenges of Fighting an Unseen Killer

In * By Tiffany Vogt, * Interviews, * TV Addict, Helix on January 24, 2014 at 12:00 pm


Three episodes into the HELIX story and it seems like everyone is getting infected faster than they can come up with a cure.  But because a mutating virus cannot be seen readily by the human eye, they can strike anywhere, any time and anyone.  It is even more scary when one is found in a remote area without ready access to help and escape.  Syfy’s new drama series HELIX offers a fine-tuned virus thriller set a research facility in the Arctic.   In a recent press conference call, stars Billy Campbell and Jordan Hayes talked about the mysterious nature of the virus and how it effects in the infected and other challenges of this type of silent-killer thriller.

What did you guys like about this particular series and what exactly attracted you to it?
BILLY:  I was extremely attracted to the genre. I’m a big fan of both “The Thing” movies, the Howard Hawks one and the John Carpenter one, and “Andromeda Strain” is one of my big favorite films.  So I was very attracted to the situation, and of course attracted to the fact that Ron Moore was attached, and not least of which was that we were shooting in Montreal.
JORDAN: I loved the characters. They were obviously very smartly written and very intelligent characters.  It really felt, despite being a science fiction show there was a huge emphasis on the dramatic nature of the writing, and that really attracted me as an actor.

Your characters kind of like a mentor/student relationship, but there are hints that it’s also a little more. Can you comment on that relationship?
JORDAN:  I think it is exactly what you just said, “It’s a mentor/student relationship” and I think that Sarah has a lot of admiration for Alan. She really holds his opinion in high esteem, and she really wants to make him proud and improve her worth and impress him.

How about we describe each other’s characters in three words?
BILLY:  For Sarah, intelligent, of course. I would say there’s just a little, there’s just a spark of defiance.  So I would say:  intelligent, defiant and sexy.
JORDAN:  Alan Farragut is:  commendable, standup guy — I know that’s not one word, but yes, standup guy — and sensitive.

How did you approach portraying Alan Farragut? He seems to have stepped into something he has never encountered before.
BILLY: I’m not sure that I thought about it very deeply. It’s a very black-and-white situation.  There’s an outbreak and they have to contain it. Then things start getting confusing because they are being misdirected by Hatake, and there are all these sort of variables.

There’s so much right now on the news obviously, about the CDC and the flu and everything going around. When you guys first started working on this, reading the script and everything, did any of it every freak you out a bit because some of it could actually happen?
JORDAN: Yes, absolutely. I mean that’s one of the greatest things about this show is that it’s dealing with something that is very real. Throughout history we’ve seen huge epidemics wipe out hundreds of millions of people. And although now thankfully we have the invention of antibiotics and we can treat things much better, it’s still very real and it’s still very scary, and can possibly wipe out thousands of people.
BILLY:  I think it goes to like sort of our most primal fears, the thing which you cannot see that will come in the night and kill you from the inside out. I can’t imagine much of anything creepier than that.

How much were you told about your characters and what was going to happen to them?
JORDAN:  I knew Sarah had the hand tremors before we even started shooting. So in that regard I was made aware of that particular plot point. But there were several things that will surface throughout the season that you’ll see that we just weren’t aware of. I think that that worked in our favor because then we were discovering things in the moment, which was nice because then we weren’t telegraphing things from early on in some of the earlier episodes.
BILLY:  I would have to agree with that. I prefer honestly not to know what’s going on for the very reason that Jordan brings up.

While you were filming did you speculate who was going to be the next to be infected?
BILLY: There was plenty of speculation I think. I think there was a lot of fun speculation as to who might be next in all of that.

<i>Which were your favorite one or two episodes of this season and what did you find the most challenging?
BILLY: That’s hard to say honestly. I think the one upcoming might be my favorite.  The whole thing was a great deal of fun. I don’t know what really was challenging.  I mean it’s always a bit of a challenge to imagine yourself into the circumstances. But even that was relatively easy because of stellar cast-mates and kind of a wonderfully, creepy set and situation.
JORDAN:  I think I just loved the team involved on the project in general. The cast and the crew really made it just such an enjoyable experience.  In terms of difficulty I think for me the most challenging part was necessarily memorizing the dialogue and understanding exactly what we were saying. It was very important for me to have a clear understanding, or as clear as possible as I could, of the science that we were referring to. So that was a little bit like going back to school, and looking at old textbooks and learning about the science all over again.

You both have done a lot of genre work throughout your careers. Do you tend to gravitate toward science fiction and horror personally or is that just sort of how things have turned out in your career?
BILLY:  I dig science fiction. It’s one of my favorite things.  I don’t know why exactly. I mean, since I was quite young, science fiction and fantasy — I went to military school for six years when I was quite young — so it was a big sort of escape for me. I’ve loved it ever since.
JORDAN: It kind of just happened for me.  I have done a fair amount of my work has been in the horror and sci-fi genre, and I guess I’m just fortunate in that regard. It wasn’t a particular choice on my part, it just kind of worked out like that.

What can we expect from your character Sarah moving forward?
JORDAN:  This is true for all of the characters, that when you’re put in a situation like we are, where the stakes are so high, where the stakes are literally revealing them to be life and death, your character gets challenged and you end up doing things that you don’t think that you are capable of doing. I can’t say too much, but I will say that Sarah encounters some very challenging situations where she is forced to do things that she never thought that she would be capable of doing.

Will Alan be trying to save them or will Artic Bio be trying to recruit him, or a little of both?
BILLY: It would be pretty safe to say, I think, that he would be trying to save them. Whether he’s successful and whether they are willing to be saved is another question.  The act of saving them of course is inherently dangerous and who knows what perils lie ahead for Alan and the whole team.

Was there anything memorable or an especially challenging scene that you can recall from working on the HELIX pilot?
BILLY: For me I think it harkens back to the outside stuff before we had a cold room. I mean in the very first couple or few days we were swaddled in our extreme cold weather gear on a stage with fake snow blowing around and in the middle of summer. It was horrible. In fact I remember I got sick because I ingested so much crud into my lungs I got quite sick for a couple of weeks.  So that’s the thing that sticks out to me from the pilot, other than just being so insanely happy to be in Montreal again.
JORDAN: I think the experience that standing out the most for me was the first time that I walked into the BSL4 Lab, onto that set, was kind of great. It was just so wonderful to see all of the scientific paraphernalia and kind of get to play around with it. We had an actual scientist on set who was showing us exactly what every instrument did. I think that was the funnest part for me.

The hazmat suits, how were they to work in?
JORDAN: They were very real.
BILLY:  They were very real. I mean they weren’t built for the show, they were real hazmat suits. And I would have this to say about them; they weren’t as uncomfortable as you might think, because they were ventilated. We had a pack on the back that actually ventilated the helmet. So they were pretty cool to work in. They were a pain to put on. And unless you looked like Jordan or Kyra, they’re not terribly flattering.
JORDAN:  Like Billy said, there’s these ventilation packs. So the helmets were sealed off so we actually had oxygen being pumped into our helmets. And I can remember at least once, maybe twice Billy, you pulled my hose out of the pack.  So they were fun. But like Billy said, they were difficult to get into. But I really liked them and I think they look really cool on screen. So I think it worked out well.
BILLY: That’s because you look the way you do.

Did you guys have a favorite part of the set to work with, or was there something on the set that you found particular creepy?
JORDAN:  The sets were really great, particularly creepy.
BILLY: I really loved was when we did the episode with Jeremiah directing and we go off base, Kyra and I, and we go off to an abandoned listening station. I can’t tell you what happens, but it was dreadfully, dreadfully creepy. The set folks, the set designers and decorators, did an amazing, amazing job with this place. And what happens there is intensely, intensely creepy. I think that was one of my favorite sets.

What can you share about what is upcoming?
BILLY:  This will be more along the lines of uncovering uncovering a mythology and a sort of a deeper story. The story does open up. We are not confined to the base the entire time, and that other characters do make an entrance into the story and they change things up in a very big way.
JORDAN:  Jeri Ryan comes into the show and she’s great. She’s awesome. That just kind of reinforces the notion of how we get to this base and we think we’re dealing with one thing and it’s actually dealing with several other things. So as those several other things begin to surface you’ll see more and more characters come out as well.

To see how the killer virus continues to morph and challenge their efforts to contain it, be sure to tune in Friday nights at 10:00 p.m. for all new episodes of HELIX on Syfy.

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