A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to take part in a conference call Q&A session with Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne of Sanctuary [Syfy, Friday, 10/9C], the first regular series to shot predominantly in CG. The first season ended in a particularly lovely cliffhanger and I was among those who was allowed to screen the second season premiere – a two-part exercise in bold adventure and sacrifice – which made the Q&A session even more fun than usual [plus, Rapping and Dunne are genial and witty in and of themselves…].
Also taking part in the session were: Jamie Ruby [Media Blvd], Julia Diddy [Pop Culture Zoo], Michael Simpson [Cinema Spy], Troy Rogers [deadbolt.com], and Beth Ann Henderson [NiceGirlsTV.com].
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Amanda Tapping: Oh thank you.
Robin Dunne: No problem.
So first I guess I should say I saw the pilot and I really, really enjoyed it – or not the pilot the premier I guess I should say. Definitely different, things are changing and I’m curious how the dynamics are going to change between the characters and that and I don’t know if I should say what happened, I don’t know if everybody saw it, but how like things are going to be different this year with the characters relationships and everything?
Tapping: I think because it’s our second season you’re going to see a lot of changes in terms of the interpersonal relationships. I think Season 1 was very much about introducing everybody – introducing the Sanctuary itself, the creatures, what everyone does and where they come from.
And so now Season 2 is just – now we get to play within those parameters. And obviously we start our season with a massive – we ended Season 1 with a massive cliffhanger and start with this very highly intense two-part episode.
And not to tease anything up but it, you know, it looks like things are changing at the Sanctuary. Season – Episode 3 will be very much about trying to rectify that situation and I don’t know how much we’re allowed to say.
That’s why I said I didn’t know…
Tapping: Yeah, yeah…
…exactly how to phrase it.
Tapping: There are changes and we are bringing in new characters. You’ll see a lot more of Henry this year than you did last year. We’re bringing in a wonderful new character named Kate Freelander. The relationship between and Druitt and Magnus changes and most importantly the relationship between Magnus and Will becomes, I think, so much deeper and so much more intense.
Dunne: I think it’s because like, you know, everything is really falling apart around us. There’s going to be, you know, more of blunt relationship more of like a brutal honesty between all of the characters particularly Magnus and Will because really, you know, kind of our lives depend on it.
We can’t, like, we can’t afford to be anything but, you know, brutally honest with each other. And I think there’s going to be, you know, definite strains in the relationship over this season. But because of those strains, I think all the relationships will get stronger, you know, because of that.
So how do you guys feel about working – I know Amanda you’ve done it for awhile now but about working on the green screen and not really have a set. Does that affect a lot the way you act or?
Tapping: I think it – I actually think it makes the work a little more honest in a strange way. I think that you get so used to having stuff around you and things to play with and, you know, you hear the expression actor’s chewing scenery, we actually can’t do that on our show.
This is initially frustrating but I think what ends up happening is it becomes –and Robin and I have talked about this — it becomes about the words and the moment and the actual true, honest interaction between these two characters. You can’t – there’s nothing else to play with so it really does become a little more honest in some ways.
Dunne: Yeah, you’ve…
Tapping: A minimalist theater.
Dunne: Yeah I was just going to say you’ve used the analogy of that it’s kind of like theater and it really is. I mean because there’s no set there most of time or a lot of the time anyway, you know, we do – we just have each other to rely on. But also, the benefits that we get, I mean, this show because of the amount of green screen we use, we can go anywhere, we can do anything and the possibilities are limitless. So to have that luxury, you know, any small difficulties is – we have working with the green screen are well worth it when you see the final product.
Can both of you kind of tell us how you got the parts in the show to begin with?
Tapping: We both actually were handed these parts.
Tapping: Yeah, it was really sweet. I of course know Martin and Damian from Stargate. I’ve know Martin for 13, 14 years now and Damian for about 7 or 8 years. And Damian had written a script back in 2001 as a spec script and pulled it out, dusted it off and handed it to Martin and said “What do you think of this? Do you think would make a good series, or we should do something with this.”
And Martin said “You have to give this to Amanda.” And so, they drove it over to my house and I read the script and fell absolutely madly in love with it and with Helen and the three of us sat down. And when it came to casting the part of Will there was no choice, it – Martin talked about this wonderful young actor named Robin Dunne and how great he was as a person and how wonderful he was as an actor.
Robin and Martin worked together on a film, you can tell them about that Robin. And basically we looked him up on IMDB, he’s super cute is what I said. We must cast him.
Dunne: Stop it, stop it.
Tapping: And he flew up and met with us and it was just like instant yes.
Dunne: Yeah actually I…
Tapping: Go ahead Robin.
Dunne: I’d worked with Martin about 10 years ago on a movie we shot in Romania that shall not be named. But, you know, I’d kept in touch with Marty over the years and he – yeah he just – same kind of thing. He called me up and said “Look we’re doing this thing, can I send you the script?” I read it and was blown away by it. And…
Tapping: And he said I promise you it’s not anything like Teenage Space Vampires.
Dunne: Yes, or the movie that should not be named, as I said. So yeah I came over to Vancouver and I think the chemistry was instantaneous, I just felt immediately at home and, you know, meeting Amanda and meeting Damian Kindler and the whole crew it just felt like yeah this is – like this is the job that I want to do and the feeling has really sustained over the entire time. And it’s just been such a great job to have and a lot of fun and, you know, a challenge at the same time.
For each of you, what lessons or experiences from Season 1 particularly shaped how you approached Season 2?
Tapping: I think…
Dunne: I think, I mean – sorry go ahead Amanda.
Tapping: No, no you go ahead.
Dunne: I mean I think my approach to Will, I mean, you know, Season 1 for Will was a lot about sort of coming into this world and not really being sure about it and having one foot in his old life and one foot in his new life and not really sure which way he was going to go.
And I think definitely Season 2 for Will is he’s let go of his old life and he’s really resigned himself to the fact that he’s – he lives in this world and, you know, he just has to own it because this is where he lives. And I think, you know, definitely the approach to this job for myself was much the same.
I mean there was – I’d never had a job that’s this size before, being on a series like this, particularly this type of series with the green screen and everything that comes along with it. And I think certainly Season 1 it was a lot about me, you know, trying to get used to being in this world and working on this show.
And I think Season 2 from an acting standpoint was more about being comfortable with it and trying to take the character to a deeper place.
Tapping: Yeah, I think for both of us there was a lot of confidence going into Season 2. Season 1 I mean for me Magnus is such an enigma, she’s such an eccentric, different character that I have.
She’s really like – I mean there’s so many things that she does that I go, “What?” And it’s like I have to wrap my head around her and go, okay, okay I can figure this out, it has to make sense to me. And Season 1 was a lot of trying to figure out what makes this woman tick. And also just the physicality of her, she’s a far more sexual character than I’ve ever played and going literally from Army boots to stilettos was a transition. There’s a lot of things about her that I have to get used to. And I think that…
Dunne: So you call those Friday nights?
Dunne: I’m sorry I shouldn’t be (unintelligible).
Tapping: Oh, we just have so little fun doing this show.
Dunne: Yeah, we don’t have any fun.
Tapping: It’s a drag. But Season 2 I felt more confident. And I think I felt more confident. There was a really beautiful, organic relationship development between Will and Magnus and between Robin and I. And I’m so comfortable with him; and I think that that was part of, you know, you start with a new cast and it’s getting used to each other. And with Robin and I it happened so quickly and it just felt so natural and organic.
And I mean we’ve traveled around the world together and I think that that informed so much of what you’re seeing on screen in Season 2 is this level of comfort and this level of confidence with each other. I’m not afraid to try anything and I don’t think Robin is either and so Season 2, what I’ve learned is just it’s safe, it’s totally safe.
Dunne: Yeah. I definitely think like, you know, every day we work that the environment gets safer, it feels safer and out of that, you know, you’re able to do your best work when you feel totally at ease with everybody around you and totally trusting in them and that’s certainly how I feel as well.
Tapping: Yeah, it’s a huge part of it.
Out of the batch of new, upcoming episodes for each of you which one has been your personal favorite so far?
Dunne: Oh yeah there’s a couple.
Tapping: Next Tuesday is an episode that’s very, just all about Will and Magnus. It’s a Damian and Martin would figure out how to torture Robin and Amanda episode. It’s like Requiem was for Season 1.
We end up in the bore well of an abandoned oil rig in a helicopter that’s crashed and that’s how it starts. So… that was five days in a wet suit in the water.
Dunne: Yeah bobbing around in like, you know…
Dunne: …water for 15 hours a day.
Tapping: It was a play. I mean, you know, Martin shoots up stuff like that as a play. He shoots them in sequence and so from an acting perspective the challenge, it’s a physical challenge, but also the emotional challenge of doing 12 pages of a play every day. As hard as it is, it’s also one of the most rewarding. So I think next Tuesday’s stands out just as an amazing challenge.
Okay, excellent, Robin?
Dunne: I think yeah, definitely next Tuesday but also we did an episode this season called “Pavor Nocturnus” which really, you know, you’re going to see the Sanctuary like you’ve never seen it before. It kind of has – it gives you a glimpse into the future or the possible future I guess you could say.
And, again it was a very – it was mostly Amanda and myself working in this episode and, you know, a very, very challenging episode to do, very tiring and a lot of work and…
Tapping: It’s very creepy, it’s a creepy episode.
Tapping: And I can just say that when Robin walks on the set as this messed up version of Will Zimmerman, I freaked out. I could not talk to him. I was like, you freak me out, (unintelligible) for one. But he’s…
Dunne: Yeah, it was definitely like a very weird episode to shoot and just the way, you know, I’ve said this before but like the sanctuary really is our home and particularly Magnus’ office is really an anchor for us. Like a lot of our missions start there and that’s really, you know, a lot of the episodes, a lot of major scenes particularly between Magnus and Will take place in Magnus’ office.
So – and it’s such a nice setting. To walk on to the set and see what the set deck people were able to do is to make it look so messed up. It was very jarring and I think the entire crew and everybody just kind of felt off shooting that episode.
Tapping: Yes, yes.
Tapping: Yeah, it’s pretty cool.
I actually think “Veritas”, which I’m not just saying this because I directed the episode but – and I’m not just saying this because Robin’s on the phone, although it will sound like Robin and Amanda (unintelligible).
Dunne: I can hold the phone away if you want, you want to hold the phone away?
Tapping: His work in this…
Dunne: I’m not listening.
Tapping: …is so good, I was really proud of him in “Veritas” which is I think our seventh episode.
Oh, cool it sounds like there’s a lot to… a lot to look to look forward to, thanks so much.
Tapping: Thank you.
Dunne: Thank you.
Tapping: We have to stop being so nice to each other Robin.
Dunne: Yeah why don’t we do that.
Coming back at the beginning of the second season, how was it to just like, I mean you jump right into it and not only take your characters to the breaking point but past that, both of them. How was it just to, you know, get into that meaty of a part for each of you coming back?
Tapping: It was scary. It felt like trial by fire in a lot of ways. We were I think – for all of us we were exhausted by the end of the third episode because it was this emotional, insane rollercoaster that we went on. But it was also…
Dunne: It started instantly.
Tapping: …trouble because that’s that way to start a season right? Because you just start it full on.
There was no, it was a true test of how comfortable we all were, everyone. I mean Henry and Druitt, everyone, Ashley, how everyone had settled into their characters, it was a true test.
Dunne: Yeah there was really no kind of ramp – like slow easing into it, it’s basically just, you know, push you off the cliff and away we go. But I – like there was also kind of a – it was weird there was a duality to it – I don’t know Amanda if you felt this way but it felt like shocking and a little guilting to be sort of into this intensity right away.
But at the same time it felt completely normal and like we never had a break between two seasons. It was like we were just, you know, we never left almost. You know, I can’t describe it except to say there was both feelings at the same time.
Well I think it’s safe to say that on this show that things are dire when Druitt is being the reasonable one, so.
Tapping: …that’s the case.
So is story line with the Cabal and the consequences of the premier – does that play out over the course of the next 11 episodes?
We – it’s – we didn’t want it to become the Cabal versus Sanctuary show. They’re an interesting adversary and it’s not to say that they’ve gone away completely but because we didn’t want it to always be that dynamic. So we sort of take care of them.
Or think we have, think we have.
Is there a (dun dun dun) in there?
Dunne: The lurk…
Tapping: There is.
Dunne: …the lurking factor is definitely in there.
And so how was it you guys did, you know, the first season all of you together and then this season you add a new character and a new full-time actress. What – how does that play into the dynamic of the, not only the cast but the characters as well?
Tapping: I think anytime you bring a new character into a show it shines a light on all the relationships. It forces the other characters to look at themselves and the relationships they have with each other in a different way because you’re looking at it from somebody else’s perspective. Somebody else, you know, this Kate Freelander character comes in and doesn’t mock us so much but she points a lot of things out to everyone.
It’s like – it starts off quite abrasive and I think that that’s always a cool dynamic to bring in because everyone to reevluate themselves and reevaluate how strongly they feel about what they’re doing.
Tapping: Bringing in a new actress…
Trying to take the…
Tapping: …was interesting but I have to say with Agam, she’s so sweet and she has such a wonderful energy about her that, you know, she just slid right into this cast. There was absolutely no ripple, she’s really lovely. And just to walk into the makeup trailer and have that kind of energy in the morning it’s really nice. I mean it makes a difference, it makes a huge difference.
Dunne: Yeah, like we’re a pretty tight knit group and, you know…
Dunne: …it’s was not a huge group here and, you know, we’re all very, very close. And I think that’s, you know, one of the great things about the show is – one of the many great things about the show is that, you know, because we all get along so well, I think it makes the product that much better.
And when you have someone new come in who just is able to fit perfectly right into the mix and, you know, be one of us immediately was – it was really, really nice and really, again, a testament to Agam how, you know, talented she is and also what a nice person she is as well.
I – an observation is I – even though the two hour premier – or two-part premier is very intense and a lot going on, I appreciated the little things you put in there like referencing one of the characters as Martin would. And then when you’re locking down the Sanctuary, the little nod to the 60’s Batman TV series was pretty funny. But yeah, other than that thank you very much and looking forward to the rest of Season 2.
Tapping: Thank you.
Dunne: Thank you, great talking to you thanks.
First of all I wanted to say congratulations to both of you on your Gemini nominations for Sanctuary up here in Canada, that’s fabulous and very well deserved.
Tapping: Thank you.
Dunne: Oh, thank you.
I watched the first few minutes of the new season last night and I must say it looks fabulous. And I’m very excited to see more of it. What particularly struck me was even in that brief period it shows how much the series has evolved and expanded from when it first began.
So when you were originally doing the original Webisodes, did you have a vision of how the story and your characters would evolve that stretched as far as the series has reached now; and if so, was it similar or different to the way things – the way that things have turned out?
Tapping: I don’t think we could’ve ever predicted that it would be this big in scope, if that makes sense? I mean we were doing the Webisodes and we were so blown away by how cool it was and look what you can do with green screen and look what you can do with, you know, look how far we can push these characters just in those eight Webisodes.
But I don’t think any of us had any idea the scope that the show would take on and how far we could take it. And, you know, working now with Anthem and being able to go literally anywhere around the world and seeing things that we weren’t even aware was possible to do virtually. And just in the last, you know, the last few seasons what’s happened to our characters.
I could never, I think that’s the beauty of doing series too. It’s like when I started Stargate I had no idea that it could go that far, you just don’t know. So it’s always a surprise.
Dunne: Particularly with Sanctuary too is, you know, it’s an anomaly in many ways and, you know, just to have been there as an actor from the grass roots very beginning where we were doing the Webisodes and then to see how it grew in scope from the Webisodes to Season 1 and then to have seen the same thing happen again from Season 1 to Season 2.
It’s really been a thrill to just see, you know, how far that this show can go and all the things we’re able to do. And, you know, I keep using this word limitless but it really is. The possibilities for Sanctuary are limitless and it’s just been amazing to see that progression through the, you know, through the Webisodes to Season 2.
Tapping: It sounds goofy as hell because it’s – we are so definitely excited by it. But, you know, Martin, Damian and I were in a sound mix for the first episode a couple of weeks ago and we were freaking out. Like we were like “Oh my god, it really does look amazing!” You know, to have that level of childlike excitement when you’re watching your own show and to be really blown away by what you already thought was pretty cool and then it’s even cooler than you thought. I know…
I’m a complete geek and I’m…
Dunne: We’re total dorks. We are total dorks. There’s just no way around it; we can’t even pretend to be cool. We’re just not.
Tapping: Can’t even try to be cool. It doesn’t happen.
Dunne: It doesn’t happen.
From an actor’s perspective then, I guess in way you kind of answered this question already, but slight variation on the question about your favorite episode. From an actor’s perspective can you pick out one or two instances from Sanctuary where you’ve looked that the script that you’ve been given and you’ve had a really strong sort of wow moment where you’ve thought this could be really cool and I just can’t wait to try this?
Tapping: Definitely with “Requiem.”
Tapping: This season for me definitely “Eulogy.” We’ve had some really good episodes this season. And next Tuesday we knew was going to be an insane trip for Robin and I. But I don’t know what about you Robin?
Dunne: Oh yeah, I think, yeah definitely every script you pick and you go “Wow this is like its great stuff” in the entire show. But certainly there are some episodes that stand out. Like Amanda said, “Requiem” certainly was a lot of fun and, you know, something that it’s a style of shooting that I’d never done before, something in sequence with just two actors in it.
And I think certainly we repeat that this season, maybe even, you know, I’d say a couple of times. And the interesting thing about those episodes is that I think now that we’ve done two seasons there’s kind of a precedent like you know that there’s going to be one or two of those kind of two hander episodes coming so you’re kind of anticipating them the whole time.
And, you know, what Damian and the writing crew are able to do every time is just, you know, when you pick up that script it’s just leaves you really blown away.
Robin I was wondering what new creatures or myths will we see this season.
Dunne: I’m sorry?
What new creatures or myths will we see this season?
Dunne: Hmm, creatures, yeah we kind of ran out. We – there’s no more creatures here.
Tapping: There’s no more creatures here.
Dunne: No creatures, yeah. Kind of yeah, we kind of like just spent the creature bank.
No I mean I think this season is going to be, you know, we’re going to have major fights between two creatures that, you know, Amanda and Magnus and Will will get in the middle of. I think we have a vampire squid this season.
Tapping: A giant mutated vampire squid.
Dunne: Oh, a giant mutated vampire squid.
Tapping: And a sea scorpion.
Dunne: We’re going to like, we’re going to get a glimpse into the not so happy future or possible future this season.
Dunne: We’re going to have, yeah I mean I think certainly…
Tapping: We have a super hero.
Dunne: We have a – yes we have a super hero this season that is very funny and kind of cool. I think, you know, the great thing about this show is that this thinking inside the box is just not something that happens here. So every script you pick up, you know, you expect the rollercoaster ride to take you away. And I think certainly that’s what – that precedent continues in Season 2 maybe even more so than Season 1.
Tapping: I think we have zombies too this season.
Dunne: We have zombies.
Nice. So Amanda what can you tell me about directing the episode “Veritas?”
Tapping: I actually had a blast. I did not want to do it. In between the seasons we sat down with the network and it was – and we were talking about directors and my name came up. And they said “Oh yeah, yeah you’ve got to direct an episode.” And so I got all excited and said “Yeah that would be great!”
And then as we launched into this season it was intense for Magnus and so intense as a producer so many things were happening that I literally turned to Martin and Damian and said “I’m not doing it. I can’t, this is ridiculous.” I’m also a mother of a four year old. And I just – there’s just not enough time in the day. And both of them said “No, you’re directing.” And so it worked out that it was an episode that even though I’m in it, Magnus starts to go insane…
Tapping: …because I was directing and very stressed out there was very little acting required for that which was good. So it was in some ways easier but it was a very much a Will story, it was a “who done it” essentially. Magnus is accused of murder and it’s Will’s job to try to prove her innocent. And so, it was – I had a great time.
It was me working with Robin and I’m really proud of it. I’m not – I don’t usually, you know, toot my own horn very loudly because I always can find fault but this episode looks really cool. There’s some great shots and the performances are wonderful and it’s a really interesting succinct little story. Alan McCullough wrote it and it’s a nice little bottle show. It’s a really great story.
I rather enjoyed it, I’m rather proud of it.
Dunne: And Amanda Tapping rocks as a director by the way, absolutely rocks it.
What were your thoughts when Christopher was cast in New Moon? And how do you think that will help the show?
Tapping: I think anything that has the twilight thing attached to it, it is an awesome thing. Chris is like one of those actors who works all the time. He’s always in demand. So for us it was “I’ve been asked to do New Moon, can we make it work? And figure out the schedule, and?” Yeah, okay, it’s great. I mean his profile is going to go up and that can only help the show. But I’d like to say that we had him first.
Dunne: Yeah, he’s ours, he’s ours.
Tapping: He’s ours, we have first dibs.
Dunne: They can have him on loan but he’s ours.
Tapping: Yeah it was very cool, very exciting when something that big sort of breaks for somebody.
Amanda, what are your duties as a producer and how does it work when you have to be producer, director and performer? How do the three facets play against each other or with each other?
Tapping: Well when I…
Dunne: She beats us.
Tapping: Beats who?
Dunne: She beats us.
Tapping: When I was wearing all three hats, my biggest concern beside — I mean it was interesting because as a producer now I’m concerned about budgets. As an actor on, you know, on other shows you don’t care about the budget because it’s not your job to care about the budget. But I care about the budget. So I, you know, bring in my own shoes and I’m like we have to finish early today because Martin Wood went over on his episode and we’re $200,000 over budget for the season so far.
And so I have to, you know, think about things like that and it’s quite comical because I finished early almost every day when I was directing. I kept going up to Martin and going, saved you another $20,000, saved you money. So it’s – I’ve become – it’s all about money. When you become a producer that’s all you care about, it’s sad, a sad little existence.
I don’t know how it – how I got into this position but I also find that I’m – I’ve always been the kind of person on a set who’s very aware of everyone else around me and making sure everyone’s okay. I do it with my own family. I’m sort of the peacekeeper kind of character. And so, I find that as a producer I’m even more aware of just checking in with the crew all the time, checking in with the cast, making sure everyone’s okay.
But my biggest responsibility besides obviously, you know, what we’re dealing with now in postproduction and prep and blah, blah, blah, the regular producer things is my job is to make sure everyone’s happy, like people skills. And when I realized that Martin, Damian and I have very different ways of doing what we do and we each have strengths and weaknesses.
And I think the three of us are actually a great combination. We each take on different facets of the show.
Dunne: And just on that subject as well, when Amanda says she’s wearing three hats, that’s not a metaphor she actually like – and it’s quite com – they’re big sombrero size hats and she wears all three of them and it’s, you know, we have to tell…
Tapping: Just so people know what I’m doing there.
Dunne: …her to take them off. It’s distracting for the other actors – like she’s walking around with these – yeah it’s goofy.
Tapping: Yes, at least you know, you know where my heads at.
Dunne: Yep, you know, oh there’s the big, okay.
So Robin in the first season finale, Watson literally passed the torch to Will. And Will is now, I guess possessed of even more responsibility than he ever dreamed he would have. What does that mean for the character in Season 2? How will that be developed?
Dunne: Well, you know, I think Season 1 was definitely about, you know, trepidation about coming into this world. And since that’s all gone in Season 2 and I think you’re going to see more of a weight, not physically, I don’t think – I don’t think I’ve put on weight, have I put on weight Amanda?
Tapping: Maybe a little bit.
Dunne: Maybe a little bit yeah, a cookie here and there, Oreos now and again. But no, I think you’re going to see more of the responsibility of Will needing to step up to the plate. That’s going to wear on – you’re going to see that wearing on him a little bit I think. You’re going to see a darker side of Will this season. You’re going to see a more blunt side of Will particularly in relation to Magnus because I think, you know, everything’s heightened in Season 2.
And basically we’re depending on each other to be honest, brutally honest with each other in order for all of us to survive. And I think, so yeah, definitely you’re going to see Will is now resigned to the fact that he lives – this is the Sanctuary, it’s him home and he needs to be, you know, do his part to pro – do anything he can do to protect it even if that means, you know, saying something to Magnus that maybe she doesn’t want to hear but she needs to hear.
Yeah, definitely it’s a bit more of a rocky road for Will particularly early in Season 2. And you’re going to see it kind of, you know, wear on him a little bit.
Would you say then that he is going to live up to Watson’s expectations although maybe not in the way one might expect?
Dunne: I think so yes. I mean I think he definitely he’s going to live up to those expectations but it’s not going to come easy and it’s – you’re going to see it’s going to cost him, it’s definitely going to cost him a little bit.
I was curious as to…
…I mean with a show like Sanctuary obviously and what you’ve already said, pretty much just about do anything with it, go anywhere. But I’d like to know what if you could think about where your characters would like to go or what you’d like to deal with that you haven’t done already.
Dunne: The circus.
Tapping: The circus.
Dunne: You know, I want to be – I want Will to be in a trapeze maybe, you know, jumping through that like hoop of fire, you know?
Tapping: That can be arranged.
Dunne: That’s not what I mean okay.
Tapping: In tights.
Dunne: Awkward! In tights, yes, definitely tights, now that goes without saying.
Tapping: Well on a more serious note.
Dunne: Well they’ll get over it.
Tapping: Get over it yes. No, I have always wanted to go back in time with Magnus a bit because she has such an incredible history. I’d like to see just, you know, pop into certain decades and see what informed her in the 30’s or the 40’s or the 50’s. You know, I think there’s – she’s met some of the most forward -thinking people in our history.
She’s seen the best of the human condition and the worst of the human condition. And she’s been around the – some of the greatest politicians and writers and artists and I would like to just explore that a bit more. I’d like to explore her early relationship with Druitt and Watson and the, you know, go back to the five and what made them tick at that time.
I mean I know that the show is not a historical show. But I think that there’s opportunity to sort of plug in even it’s just a scene here and there to inform how she got to where she is. How the Sanctuary developed to where it is.
Well on that note, how many of characters in the first season can we expect to see in the second season?
Tapping: You definitely see Tesla. You see Clara Griffin; you don’t see Watson in the second season although we’re thinking of a story to bring him back. Who else do we see from the…
Dunne: I think we see pretty every – pretty much…
Dunne: …most of them except for Watson.
Tapping: I mean you see a lot more of Henry, you see a lot of Druitt, the Cabal obviously.
Dunne: We also have a new character in Season 2.
Tapping: Yes of course with Kate Freelander, she’s a whole new character.
Yeah I think that’s it. We see a lot more of Tesla. We see Tesla at the beginning and Tesla towards the end of our season. We see Declan, our head of the UK Sanctuary.
Tapping: And he figures pretty big in the Season. So yeah, there’s quite a few characters that come back.
Some of these abnormals have some cool powers like invisibility and teleportation. So I’ve got to ask if you guys could, you know, chose some kind of special power what would it be?
Tapping: Yeah invisible would be fun.
Dunne: Invisible would be cool.
Tapping: Yeah but you’d be creepy if you were invisible Robin, to be honest.
Dunne: I would just do creepy weird things.
Tapping: He would do creepy weird things.
Dunne: For you.
Tapping: I’d like to teleport, I think that would be fun. I’d like to be able without any of the bad, you know, physiological side effects. But I think it would be great to grab my family and just boom we’re in Fiji.
Save on airfare.
Tapping: Yeah. Totally would, and time it would be great…
…being as busy as we are to just teleport from the sets home.
Tapping: Without having to deal with traffic.
Dunne: It’d be cool to be able to stop time too, you know. Like just stop time, take a rest, everyone else is frozen, you can move. You know, it’d be nice and quiet.
Tapping: Take a nap.
Dunne: Take a nap, yeah.
Tapping: I’d like the abnormal ability of napping, that’d be good.
You touched on it a little bit before about watching the special effects that they use. Do you often watch, you know, yourself acting in the show? Do you watch the episodes when they’re done and is that hard for you to do?
Tapping: I’m so incredibly self critical that I – for me now as a producer on the show to have to watch episodes, like have to be in on it, and have to be there for the sound mixes and the color corrects and all the, you know, stuff that happens after you’ve actually filmed it.
Torturous for me, so now I found a – I think I found a balance in my head anyway where I can step back and ignore myself on camera and actually watch the show as opposed to being in it. Because I think what happens with a lot of actors and it’s a dangerous thing is you become self aware.
You know, that’s a bad angle for me or oh I didn’t like the way I did that. And then you start censoring yourself as you’re acting. And then the process becomes muddy because you’re more concerned with what you look like or how that’s coming across. And I think it’s a dangerous thing, you know.
I’ve never enjoyed watching myself of camera and I know that going into it. So now I just have to step back a producer, as a director and just okay, pretend it’s somebody else.
Tapping: But he’s not nearly as good looking as I am. I’m just kidding.
Dunne: Amanda again, you’ve put – you’ve said the loud part – the quiet part loud again.
Tapping: I don’t know who that woman on Sanctuary is but she’s not nearly as cute as me. I’m terrible.
So, what about you Robin?
Dunne: I’m not much of a watcher either. I agree with Amanda if I see stuff that’s, you know, I focus on but I don’t like and then again, you do start to alter your performance because you’re, you know, you’re trying not to do something that you saw that you didn’t like. And again, that can be dangerous. I mean I see a lot of the show and I watch particularly when there’s big shots where, you know, Anthem, our visual effects team have put in some cool stuff in replacing the green screen.
I certainly love to see all that kind of stuff. But, you know, I am a bit strange about watching myself. I don’t like it. And so I don’t do it too much. I’m not – I mean I will see the finished product but I’m not one of those actors who’s watching dailies every day and really, you know, seeing every single frame of my performance.
Because I just find – I mean I admire actors who can do that and pick out stuff and use it to their benefit. But I find that it can be – it just gets – it’s just detrimental to me, I just get into my head too much. So I try not to do it very much.
I can understand that. So lastly, is there like something that happened this season, some funny moment that maybe we’ll see on the blooper reel?
Tapping: Besides the…
Dunne: Oh god. Yeah, you know…
Robin Dunne: …the thing about our blooper reels that is unfortunate and maybe I’m – I shouldn’t be saying these things. But it’s unfortunate because some – a lot of the stuff that happens that should be on the blooper reel we could never really put on because they’re – they might be a little bit too…
Dunne: What’s the word? Racy that’s the word I’m looking for, racy.
Just a little part?
Tapping: On other channels, yes. We’re a very polite cast…
Dunne: Just a little bit.
Tapping: …but we’re also a very naughty cast.
Dunne: Yes, there is a – I think definitely there needs to be a leak uncensored blooper reel that, you know, hits YouTube or something. But I think we still do manage to have a few of them. I mean all day long we’re laughing and having a great time and, you know…
Tapping: You try and not laugh on camera. It’s ridiculous.
Dunne: There is someone on the phone, who’s not me, who is a insane giggler, who like from morning to night. I’ll let you guess who that is. Her first name starts with Amanda.
Yeah, I kind of figured that.
Dunne: Yes. So yeah, no we do have a great time. And I lot of that stuff, you know, hopefully ends up somewhere seeing – someone seeing it.
Oh sure. But yes I remember the giggling from Gatecon very well.
Tapping: Yes, I can’t help myself; I’m bubbling below the surface all the time.
Oh, but it’s great.
Tapping: It’s probably a pretty good state of being.
Dunne: It’s just so easy too. Like it’s just, you know, to make Amanda giggle is like I mean…
Tapping: You just crack me up.
Tapping: …which now becomes a blood sport on the show with the other cast. It’s like, you know, how quickly can we make Amanda lose it? Easy.
Dunne: The answer is quickly.
Well it sounds like a lot of fun.
Tapping: It is, it really is.
This is a question for Amanda actually. I spoke to you a couple of weeks ago Robin and I asked this question so I’m interested to see what Amanda says. You know, one thing I’ve noticed from interviewing people involved with Sanctuary and Stargate. It – that they seem to be a very open, sort of down to earth and as you’ve said here way too serious all the time, rambunctious people.
I want to know if this is a result of the show being based in Vancouver which tends to be that kind of city. Or if this is – if you think this is a Canadian thing or if it’s just something associated with this particular group of people because they’ve worked together on one of the other series for so long?
Tapping: I think it’s a combination. It’s interesting I’m going to name drop for a nanosecond but I had lunch yesterday with Ming-Na from Stargate Universe – with all the women from Stargate Universe yesterday we did a ladies lunch. And Ming was saying the same thing, is it a Canadian thing that you just don’t get caught up in the sort of crap of the industry, you know, the – all the ancillary stuff that gets in the way of the actual work.
That, you know, we’re not up here going to premiers and we’re not – we all don’t have huge publicists and big machines behind us and it’s not about celebrity, it’s about the work. And is that what it is? And I think that that’s partly true, we have the luxury of working in this beautiful city that’s, you know, nobody cares what you do for a living and you just – it’s about the work.
And we’re all lucky to be in this industry doing what we love to do and we don’t have to worry about all the other stuff which tends to, you know, mess with your head as an actress. Like what you got invited to that movie premier and I didn’t? And oh, what are you wearing and whose shoes are you wearing. And all that crap.
We don’t necessarily deal with it so much up here, so I think that that’s part of it. But I think we had it on Stargate most definitely and Martin, Damian and I have vowed that Sanctuary would be the show that is not us and them but we. It’s a, you know, there’s no hierarchy, there’s no above the line, below the line mentality on our show.
Everyone across the board should feel like they are being treated with respect and being admired for what they’re doing regardless of what your position is and we are very conscious of fostering that. So when somebody, crew or cast or whomever comes onto the show and is not playing with the team they don’t last very long and we’re actually very proud of that.
We’re proud of the fact that we want to be known as the nice show, as the show that people want to come and work on. You know, we have a lot of fun but we make a great product that we’re really proud of. But at the end of the day it’s a nice group of people to hang out with.
Dunne: It’s really nice to be out, you know, and be talking to other actors and have it coming – like hear it back that people are saying “Hey, you know, I did a guest spot on Sanctuary and what an amazing experience. And, you know, I had such a great time.” When I hear people saying that about our show I feel very proud because that’s definitely, you know, certainly and it starts with Amanda, Martin and Damian.
It always starts at the top these kinds of feelings. And, you know, only when you have that kind of environment do you feel, you know, secure enough to do your best work. And so it’s really nice to hear, you know, from other actors what a great time they had working on the show.
Going back to Sanctuary specifically, the show attracted a dedicated following even before the Webisodes debuted. Why do you think it struck such a cord with people even sort of way back then?
Tapping: I think it’s a lot of things. There definitely was a cool factor about it which was wow; they’re doing this green screen show. It’s going to virtual. It’s going to have a different look. It’s brewing with mythology and monsters and things that go bump in the night.
Like there was so many sort of cool factors about the show. I think part of it was the team that was bringing it together. Syfy fans, bless them, are so incredibly stalwart in their support. And, you know, if you have – a lot of Stargate fans came over. A lot of Sam Carter fans came over at least to check out Sanctuary. A lot of Martin Wood fans and Damian Kindler fans came over to check it out.
So we were very lucky that the fan base, you know, followed us and supported us off the top. And that, you know, you can’t say enough about how important that is. But I think initially it was the cool factor.
And then once people realized, once the show actually hit the Web and people realized that the stories themselves stood out and the characters were people you cared about, and all that cool factor was great, but it wasn’t the most important thing. But we sort of grabbed them with look what we’re about to do and then held them with, and you care about these people, hopefully.
Does that make sense?
Yes absolutely, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Tapping: Was my English good?
Yeah, no that was good. I mean and I guess too once it debuted then people got a real sense of the very high quality of product which was probably much higher than another Web series that preceded it. And so not only was it innovative and different, but the quality was also there and they were the characters that people could relate to.
Tapping: And I think now, I mean I look at the Webisodes and I go “Oh my gosh, we’ve come so far, technically.”
Tapping: We’re shooting it differently. We’re shooting it on a different camera. You know, this television series technically is so much better than the Webisodes and we were really proud of what we were able to pull together in the Webisodes considering the very little amount of time that we had to actually render the vis effects.
And now, you know, what we were rending in two weeks we’re now rendering in five months and we have more money and, you know. So I’m proud of the little engine that could and from where it started and where it’s come.
Sure, thank you.
Tapping: Thank you.
Dunne: Thank you, very much.