Battlestar's Kate Vernon on Caprica, The Plan

Kate Vernon, who played Ellen Tigh on SCI FI's Battlestar Galactica, told SCI FI Wire that she would love to explore her character in episodes of the prequel series Caprica and also talked about her role in the upcoming telefilm Battlestar Galactica: The Plan.

"I'd love to see where Ellen is at emotionally during the Caprica era," Vernon said in an exclusive interview last week in Pasadena, Calif. "That would be fascinating to see where she's at with Saul [Michael Hogan] and where their lives are at. Is she happy, is she unhappy, is she causing trouble, what is she up to, and what is she really doing with her life at that time?"

Caprica takes place more than 50 years before the beginning of Battlestar Galactica and examines the origins of both characters and storylines later explored in the acclaimed series.

Vernon said she would also be interested in seeing what happens to her character following the series finale of Battlestar. "I'd be very curious to see how they're doing two years after they landed on that continent at the end of the season," she said. "Cut to two years later. How are they holding up? What's happening in their lives? Who are they at this point? That would be fascinating."

Vernon spoke exclusively to SCI FI Wire about her future with the franchise, including the forthcoming prequel film The Plan, at the site of an ongoing charity auction in which paraphernalia and props from Battlestar Galactica are on sale. The following is an edited version of that interview. The two-hour pilot of Caprica is now available on DVD and the Web; Caprica kicks off on SCI FI next year. Battlestar Galactica: The Plan is due in November.

Was there anything in the Battlestar auction you were surprised or would be excited about seeing someone take home?

Vernon: The Viper! Oh, my God. I looked through the book, so I saw everything that was going to be auctioned, but there's Baltar's beautiful glass and silver water decanter—with his pills! I mean, the pills are there; the prescription is written on the package of pills. I have to say, as an actor walking onto a set, there is nothing make-believe about it. If you pick up a piece of paper on the set, it actually said something in reference to Battlestar Galactica. It wasn't pretend, it was real, so it really informed you as an actor on the set. These guys were amazing.

Is there a different appeal to working on episodic television as opposed to in a feature film?

Vernon: I think both have their value. It's interesting being a guest, stepping into a well-oiled production team, and there are the leads, and you show up and you do your work and you create your relationships, and you go home. That's fun—it keeps you on your toes, because you have be on your toes when you're guesting, because it's your one shot. When it's your show, you should be on your toes anyway, but you're part of this system, your body is integrated, your being is integrated, your character is just a part of who you are, and you just play script by script by script. That has its own beauty, because you get into a zone. And then a movie, that's a whole different thing, where you slow it right down to a few pages a day, and I'm looking forward to that. It's much more indulgent.

What sort of challenge was The Plan, since you're essentially taking away some of the experiences that your character has in the series in order to play a younger version of her?

Vernon: For me it wasn't difficult as much as it was a real fascination and curiosity, and then what you do is you take the circumstances written by the writers and ask yourself, "Based on this truth, where am I? What do I want? What's going on? How do I feel?" You're expanding on your character; that's what was so great about coming back as the fifth Cylon. Because I knew Ellen, and as an actress I can't make a wrong choice, because every choice I make is Ellen when I play Ellen. But now they've written me with more heart and more compassion, and this intention to bring some enlightenment and peace, and I got to expand a character, just show a deeper side of myself. So you take the core of your character and you just play those circumstances. I loved it.

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