‘Battlestar Galactica’: Chat with Rekha (Tory)
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Since the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ cast is scattering to the winds, we decided to talk to one of the most controversial figures of this past season, Tory Foster the Cylon, aka Rekha Sharma. We did a quick, or not so quick, Q&A about the season and the show a few weeks ago.
I watched video from the New York Comic-Con, Was that your first experience with the kind of fervor that surrounds the show?
And what was your reaction to that?
It was pretty mind-boggling. I had done one convention before that, which was in London. It was to a really small group of people and none of my stuff had really aired yet -- the crowd just knew about the end of the third season -- so people were pretty chill around me. They were like, ‘Wow, you’re cool.’ But this time I got so many strong reactions from people.
Strong good, strong bad ... ?
A bit of both. ... The convention I did in London was very small and intimate. I found in a way that the energy was really contagious. I felt that there was a lot of real positivity in the room. Everybody just loves the show and so it was really fun and exciting in that way. But then there’s the weirdness of people sort of freaking out over you and you’re like ‘Hey, I’m just a chick,’ you know?
I’ve done a bunch of TV and smaller roles in film. I do come from theater. I didn’t spend a lot of time there cause once I started in television I just kind of stayed there. I’m actually dying to do a play now -- I’ll probably do one this year. I feel like what we do as actors prepares you for the work, but it doesn’t prepare you for having your mug on television and being in front of gazillions of people. ... I never did a theater as big as the crowd we had at [the New York] Comic-Con. I never had an audience that big.
Do you think you’ll go to the San Diego Comic-Con?
Yeah, if someone invites me. I’m curious -- I’ve heard how insane it is ... It was pretty cool going down on the floor and seeing all of the booths where people were [at the New York convention]. Well, first of all there’s this show, and then there’s all of the creativity that has sort of spawned off of the show. I guess I never really thought of it before quite in that way. I’ve always thought of all the dolls and paraphernalia as sort of like, ‘Oh that’s the marketing and that’s exploitation of something that’s happening.’
But this time, because I could see that there were people attached to those creative ideas, I actually had a newfound respect for that kind of thing. I was like ‘Hey, you love the show and then you got inspired to then design these action figures.’ And that’s kind of cool.
There aren’t a whole lot of sci-fi actresses out there that are Indian, or even minority in general. Has that ever come up?
One of the questions from the fans [at the New York Comic Con] was do you ever think about the fact that this is a sci-fi genre. Michael Hogan answered first saying no, he just thinks of it as a drama. ... I had to pipe up and say, ‘Yeah, I do think about that because when was the last time you saw ... I mean, how many Indian women are out there on television.’ [A reporter] brought up that I may very well be the first Indian actor in space.
How did you feel after you found out that 1) you were a Cylon, and 2) you were going to kill Cally?
I loved the whole question of who’s Cylon and who’s human, and does that then afford us the right to kill the other species, and just the whole concept of war. ... In an egotistical point of view, you’re like ‘Oh everybody’s gonna hate me!’ ... But you have to put that aside and go ‘OK, this is the world. This is war. This is survival. We’re running from death and have been running from death for years.’ I can’t imagine what that would do to your mind.
Tory is the only one of the new Cylons who seemingly embraced her newfound status. Why do you think that is, and how would you describe the character’s mind-set now?
I think Tory’s willingness to embrace her Cylon nature began with the use of her intelligence. She knew she had better find out what she was ... and then I think she was shocked and delighted by all the sensations she discovered. I think when you deny a part of yourself for so long and rediscover it, there is a release of feeling and a deeper awareness, a newfound energy. Tory is in a place now, that awkward place of evolution, where you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. The truth of her feels right and good, and yet everyone around her would KILL her if they knew who she really was! And because of this she has made choices that aren’t sound. She is both internally liberated and externally oppressed. What a conundrum.
Do you have any idea what you’re going to do between now and the series’ return? What would you like to be doing, ideally?
Well, there is some talk about a prequel going around ... so who knows? Hopefully it won’t conflict with the play I’m planning to do in the fall. We’ll see what else comes around the bend. I’m pretty open to whatever ... but, honestly, all I’m thinking about right now is finding a place to dig my feet in the sand and lay around for a while.
Do you believe in life on other planets, and if you do, do you think they’ve contacted us? How would they?
Sure, I believe there’s other forms of intelligence in the universe. I’ve seen and heard some pretty convincing UFO stuff. Besides, if we’re the most intelligent things in the universe ... well, that’s just depressing. (Ha !)
What do you do to relax?
Shortly [after killing Cally] we had a great party at my house! I think having a good social life, and people you love and leading a balanced life is really essential when you’re doing something like that. To a degree, you have to let yourself go there, but you need something to pull you back.
Opinions on ...
Is ‘Deadwood’ still being made? I love Paula Malcolmson and Ian McShane. ... What I’ve really been enjoying lately is ‘Flight of the Conchords’ and umm ... ‘Family Guy.’ I think Seth McFarlane is brilliant and I think ‘Family Guy’ should get an Emmy for sure.
SAG studio trouble
I think this whole business of the Internet is tricky and I know plenty of people who continue to download things illegally and don’t have any intention of stopping. I like to buy DVD box sets, myself.
Post ‘Battlestar’ plans
I’m hoping to do a play and hoping to book a theater for fall. I am working on a series, just playing a guest-starring role. But, I don’t know what else is happening in the world of my television and film career. But I know that Ron Moore’s new project, ‘Virtuality,’ is being cast right now for the pilot. And I’m really excited about that idea, though I don’t know if he wants anyone from the ‘Battlestar’ cast.
-- Jevon Phillips