You probably know Katee Sackhoff best as Starbuck from the 2004 Battlestar Galactica reimagining. Gender-swapping such an iconic and well-loved might’ve seemed blasphemous at first, but Katee made the role her own.
Her Starbuck is layered, sympathetic, and undeniably badass; she’s probably one of the most interesting characters in any sci-fi show, and it’s the kind of performance you don’t forget. (Is it obvious yet that I’m kind of a fan?)
Since BSG ended, Katee’s appeared in a ton of TV shows, including The Big Bang Theory and 24, and starred in a handful of genre movies, including Riddick. The thing we were due to talk to her about, though, was her role in horror sequel The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia, but the conversation soon got onto other topics, not least because it turns out I’m incredibly nervous about talking to someone while they’re driving…
Hi Katee! How are you?
I’m good, how are you?
Yeah, not bad. I hear you’re in your car right now?
Yeah, I’m driving in a rainstorm.
Oh God. I don’t want to be responsible for your horrible death in a car crash. I’m just gonna ask really easy questions.
Oh no, I’ve got you on speakerphone, don’t worry about it! This is how we do it in Los Angeles. I’m multitasking.
Okay, if you’re sure. So, The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia: what was it that appealed to you about that role?
I was a big fan of the documentary series when it came out, a few years before the first Haunting in Connecticut, and I loved the idea of it. I loved that they were based on true stories. It makes everything a bit more interesting when you can study a person and know who they are. Playing somebody who’s still alive is very interesting.
How much did you base your performance on the real person? Did you meet her?
We met them on set, but we met them after we finished filming. It was funny, though, a lot of the things I did were very similar to her, so it worked out very well.
It must be strange meeting someone when you’ve been pretending to be them.
It is a little. It’s like being a little kid playing an adult.
I think everyone feels a bit like that all the time! There are a lot of scary scenes in the movie where you’re being menaced by things – what was it like to film that?
I had such a great time on this movie! For me, to be able to run away from something, to be scared, is such a different thing for me that I loved every second. I’m not a big fan of watching horror movies because they scare the crap out of me, but it was a really fantastic time. And any time you have a child on set, it changes the tone and keeps everyone happy.
Don’t they say never to work with children or animals? And there were both in this film.
Yeah, I always work with children and animals! I love them.
The thing with these films, the ones that are meant to be based on a true story, is that – doesn’t it depend how much you believe in ghosts? How much do you believe in the supernatural?
Enough. I don’t think I’ve ever been haunted by a ghost but I always joke with my fiancé about the house we’re living in right now. It seems to have something in it. Both of us are constantly are like “were you just upstairs?” “No, I wasn’t, I was here the whole time.” “No, you were just upstairs.”
That’s terrifying. Are you hearing footsteps, or actually seeing someone?
We just see a man in the house every once in a while.
I think I’d move.
No! Because he’s not scary. It could just be a dream, too. But you know, there’ve been a few times when I’ve woken up in the middle of the night and woken up my fiancé and been like “he’s standing at the end of the bed!”
Wait. Did you see those news stories recently where there was a woman in Japan living in someone’s wardrobe, and only coming out when they left the house? Maybe you should check your wardrobes.
Oh my God. That’s horrific.
Yeah. Um, sorry about that. So, you’ve done a few horror movies now; the next one to come out will be Oculus. Can you tell me a bit about that?
Oculus is about a family that moves into a new house in the suburbs to get away from the crazy city life, and they furnish their home with some vintage pieces, and… I don’t want to give too much away, but they hang a mirror on the wall and craziness ensues.
That sounds terrifying again.
It’s a fantastic movie, I’m really looking forward to people seeing it.
I can’t talk to you and not talk just a little bit about Battlestar Galactica. Starbuck is such an amazing character; I just wanted to ask how you feel about her now, and what she meant to you?
I always loved her. I loved her as somebody who wore their heart on their sleeve and didn’t see it as a weakness. She was incredibly strong, and very real, and she kind of helped me grow up, in a sense. I was 21 when I started playing her, so she really did take me into adulthood, if you will.
That’s a pretty awesome way to grow up.
I know, right? It’s interesting, I’ve been doing this since I was 17, and it’s kind of weird to see yourself grow up on television.
I love that you’re kind of a badass in real life, too, especially with all those charity bike rides you do. Do you have more of those coming up?
Yeah! The Acting Outlaws is the company I started with Tricia Helfer, and basically we do a different charity ride every year. This year we’re being a bit courageous and doing four of them: we’ve got one in Seattle that’s for the Red Cross, one in Wyoming for Homes for Our Troops, which is an amazing charity that builds homes for injured veterans when they come back, and we’re doing a ride in Los Angeles for a homeless charity that not only finds homes for the homeless but also finds them work and helps them find their pride again. And then we’re hoping to do one in Canada for Tricia at some point, and we’ve got a ride tentatively planned in Mexico, so there are a few!
[ominous rumble in the background]
Oh my gosh, that was so funny. I just drove under an awning and massive amounts of water poured down on the car.
Um. Oh dear.
Los Angeles is not used to this weather. I grew up in Oregon, and this is Oregon weather, if that makes any sense. This is like London weather, it’s crazy for us. We needed it here in California, it’s been so dry, but I don’t know if we needed this. I actually haven’t seen an accident yet though, which is kinda nice.
Everyone always drives like a lunatic when the weather changes.
They do. It’s crazy when it’s raining, it makes no sense to me that people drive 10 miles an hour faster than they normally would, but then the other thing that makes no sense is when people drive 30 miles an hour slower than normal.
Um, are you almost where you’re going?
Almost! I’m sitting in my car, stopped at a gas station.
Okay. Good. I feel better about this.
Oh, if you knew! This is how people in Los Angeles function. We’re in our cars so much that driving and talking on the phone is totally normal, we’re just not allowed to hold them. I could actually talk on the phone and ride my motorcycle.
I would have hung up on you if you were on your motorcycle.
I have Bluetooth in my motorcycle helmet so I can talk on the phone.
You’re scaring me.
Sometimes, you’ve just gotta push the limits.
While I was preparing for this interview, I saw on your Twitter feed that you weren’t happy about the lack of kiss at the end of Pacific Rim. Do you watch a lot of sci-fi? Are you kind of a nerd underneath the badassery?
I think we’re all nerds, to be honest. I am a big fan of movies in general, and I was just being cheeky, but I was sitting there with them on the raft going “kiss her! Why are you not kissing her? Kiss her!” and then it ended and I was like “oh, come on.” But at the same time I can appreciate that they didn’t.
Well, you expect them to kiss, so it’s more striking that they don’t.
I think you do, and I think that’s why people like it. At the end of the day, movies are art and it’s subjective and everyone has a different opinion.
Yeah, of course. So finally, I need to ask you something very important. What’s your favourite Jason Statham movie?
Oh my God. I love Jason Statham.
That’s the right answer.
I have tried desperately to be in every single movie with Jason Statham and it’s never worked out. I love The Transporter, I wanted to be in The Mechanic with him but they picked someone else. I just love Jason Statham.
I think we need to start a petition for you to be in a movie with him.
Yeah! He’s really cute, I’ve always liked him. And it’s so funny, when I first started working I was in an elevator with him, and afterwards I was talking to my mom, like “He was a diver, and so was I, and it makes complete sense that we should be together.” I just wanted to love him.
But I never got the opportunity. And I’m very in love with my fiancé, so now the opportunity will never be there, and I’m just going to have to live with that.
You could be in a movie with him, though, that’s not cheating.
God, traffic is crazy, these people are insane.
Okay. I’m gonna let you go, because I’m worried about your driving again.
If you only knew! I’ve been talking on the phone, drinking coffee, and eating breakfast all while driving to an appointment. I’m very good at multitasking.
Katee Sackhoff, thank you very much.
The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia is out on DVD and Blu-ray now.
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