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Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

Sanctuary

This is an interview from April 8, 2011 with Amanda Tapping (Helen Magnus) and Robin Dunne (Will Zimmerman) about the Syfy series Sanctuary.

Question:
Of the episodes that are still to come for the rest of the third season, do you have a favorite moment?

Robin Dunne:
The great thing about the second half of season three is that all the things that the team - the Sanctuary team - Magnus and the Sanctuary team have gotten into in the first half really, really become back to the ramifications they have to deal with in the second half. And it's really quite a roller coaster ride the second half. I think if I had to pick a favorite moment, we have an episode coming up that is the biggest episode we've ever done scope-wise, story-wise, everything. And it takes place in the past, back in World War II, and it was a really special episode to shoot. It's quintessential Sanctuary thinking outside the box. When we were on set shooting those things with tanks driving around, it was really quite an experience. So I guess if I had to pick one, I love every single moment, every waking and sleeping moment that I have on Sanctuary. But if I had to pick one, I think it'd be from that episode.

Amanda Tapping:
Yes. The episode is called Normandy, and there was just something very special. There was an interesting vibe on set when we shot it. And the look is very different, but it's a really cool episode.

Question:
What would you say for each of you has been the biggest challenge for you working on Sanctuary?

Amanda Tapping:
Well, I had to direct Robin Dunne in an episode called One Night. I'm just going to stop there.

Robin Dunne:
And I think my most challenging moment was being directed by Amanda. I mean, she's just a sadist. She made me do 750 takes of something once, just out of pure...

Amanda Tapping:
Because we had the time.

Robin Dunne:
Yes. She made me sing Hot Blooded in front of the entire crew for no reason. It was just to humiliate me. It's really been a challenge.

Amanda Tapping:
Yes.

Question:
What is it about your characters that you still find interesting? That makes you want to come to work and play them you know for all these seasons of the show now?

Amanda Tapping:
For me, I still don't completely get Magnus. I find her to be such an enigma. And there's so many things about the decisions that she makes that I still can't wrap my head around, and to me that's fascinating as an actor to try to get inside somebody so complex and so kind of confusing. So, every time we start up the season, I'm like, “Oh, I've got to get back inside this woman's head.” And it's so different from the way that I think sometimes, that that's the challenge for me. And, it's scary and it's fun to be scared.

Robin Dunne:
I think for me, I really like the commitment that Will has. He's constantly terrified by what he's faced with at the Sanctuary, but is always putting that terror aside and committing to what the team has to do. And, I like that about Will. I find that a really good character trait. I also like coming to work every day and getting my share done, and also they feed me here, which is nice.

Amanda Tapping:
Yes.

Robin Dunne:
It's the only time I really get a hot meal.

Question:
I have a question specifically about the last episode we saw and then first one coming up. When you guys were hanging there dead, were you really hanging?

Amanda Tapping:
Yes.

Robin Dunne:
Yes.

Amanda Tapping:
It was really uncomfortable. No kidding. It was painful after awhile. We were in these rigs that kind of pulled up your back and stretched you out in this weird way, and then we had to have our hands out to the side holding onto these little wires that were hanging down and it really hurt. And in between takes, they would run and put apple boxes underneath us so we could take a bit of the pressure off our backs.

Robin Dunne:
It's one of those things where you think about t conception like how hard could it be? We've got harnesses on, we're hanging, but then you actually do it and you're like, “Wow. This is really tiring.”

Amanda Tapping:
Really uncomfortable. Pull me in.

Robin Dunne:
On top of that, Martin Wood was pelting us with tennis balls while it was happening.

Amanda Tapping:
Yes. That didn't help.

Robin Dunne:
Which did not add to the comfort.

Question:
What is the coolest about your job?

Amanda Tapping:
I think the coolest thing is the relationships not just between the characters, but honestly between the people that make this show. We've always been the little show that could. And this is going to sound hokie as all can be, but we've always been the show that people weren't sure we could ever get it made. It was this little web series. It's always been a struggle, and I think through that struggle, the relationships were forged even more strongly. And, there's a huge amount of trust on this set because we all kind of jumped into the fire holding hands together. And so the coolest thing is coming to work and seeing you know 70 smiling faces who all want to be here, and feeling a collective - I don't know. A sort of selective conscious to make this show really good. Everyone is committed. Like the location guys care about the script. Everyone's reading the script and everyone cares about what happens, and people help each other. It's a very special vibe here.

Robin Dunne:
Everyone is committed and everyone should be committed.

Amanda Tapping:
Yes. Definitely.

Robin Dunne:
But as an example, yesterday we had the first table read of Season 4. And we've been off for a few months, and just to get everybody back in the same room and reading together and instantly picking up where we left off; it's just such an amazing feeling to -- like Amanda says -- come to work and work with all your friends every day. But I mean, also have to put up with Martin Wood and Damien Kindler. But, you know nothing is perfect.

Amanda Tapping:
You know, there's not. Right. That's why they pay us.

Robin Dunne:
Yes.

Question:
20 episodes this season, 13 next season; are you guys relieved? Did it kind of kick your butts, or do you kind of wish you had 20 more?

Amanda Tapping:
Honestly, I think 13 is a good number for us. Twenty was really hard. It was a great joy because we were able to flesh things out more. And I think had we been given more lead up to starting our season, although we had a network pickup early, we are the little independent television series that needs to get its financing together. So, we really only had five weeks to prep this entire season. And if we were doing 20, I think we'd all be in an insane asylum by now. Thirteen was like, we can do 13 with five weeks. There's no way we could've been prepared for 20.

Robin Dunne:
And the classic thing with Sanctuary is that nobody says we can't do that. So, the Writing team will come up with these huge episodes and doing these things and everybody just stands together and gets it done. And we're not a huge show, so it really is an amazing experience to do these different episodes every week, but it is really tiring. So, I think 13 is...

Amanda Tapping:
Thirteen will keep us all sane.

Robin Dunne:
Yes. Ish. Ish.

Amanda Tapping:
Ish.

Question:
With Will almost dying towards the end of last year and Magnus actually facing mortality this year, I was wondering since they both have gone through that process, will that be something that we see play out for the rest of the year as well?

Amanda Tapping:
Kind of. I mean, I think the cool thing about these characters is that they move on quickly, if you know what I mean.

Robin Dunne:
Yes. They can't really - they don't have time to dwell on the fact that, “Hey. I almost died there.”

Amanda Tapping:
I almost died again.

Robin Dunne:
Okay. Well, moving on. Got to keep going on, it's like a signal.

Amanda Tapping:
Yes. I think maybe the ramifications for Magnus are a bit different because she was faced quite imminently with mortality. And I think you'll see in Season 4 especially a decision being made that might surprise people. And then for Will, I think it's like everything that happens to Will it seems to me just gets worse and worse and worse, and he's still hanging in.

Robin Dunne:
Yes.

Amanda Tapping:
So I think there must be a part of this character that just kind of goes, “Oh. Yes. Another day at the office, and today I was killed. Okay.”

Robin Dunne:
I mean it's not a caviler attitude by any stretch.

Amanda Tapping:
No.

Robin Dunne:
He certainly lives his life in - battling in - with the fear of working in the Sanctuary. But also, like Amanda says, you know we have to move on because there's always stuff for us to do here, and you know trying to barely hang on with our fingernails.

Question:
We saw Will take more of a leadership role this year, and there's even been moments where he sort of kind of questioned Helen and told her she was wrong. Is that him taking control or realizing that he can be leader? Is that something else we're going to see playing out the rest of this year too?

Robin Dunne:
Well, somebody needs to put Magnus in her place you know? She can't just go run willy-nilly doing whatever she wants. And I think certainly Will is the guy to do it. I mean in all seriousness, I really like the relationship between Will and Magnus.

Amanda Tapping:
Yes. I do too.

Robin Dunne:
I think yes; Will being able to say to Magnus, “Look. I disagree with you respectfully,” and even if it's something she doesn't want to hear. It comes out of a very deep bond between the two characters, and I think you're going to continue to see that throughout the next season.

Amanda Tapping:
I think that that's one of the reasons Magnus chose Will, right? She doesn't want a yes man.

Robin Dunne:
No.

Amanda Tapping:
She wants somebody who's going to be intelligent enough and ballsy enough to call her on what she's doing wrong. She didn't want to hire a patsy. So - and what's beautiful about the development of the relationship, and it's happened so organically; he has come into his own. He's realized what he does bring to the Sanctuary. In the first season, it was a much different relationship. And now, I think there's a really beautiful level playing field.

Robin Dunne:
You all heard that. Will is intelligent and ballsy.

Amanda Tapping:
Will is Robin. Not you; Will.

Robin Dunne:
Well you know Will and Robin are very you know...

Question:
So I saw some of the little preview clips and it looks like Amanda, you're wearing a red wig. Is that true?

Amanda Tapping:
It is true. It is true. And it's hot. In the episode called Normandy.

Robin Dunne:
She's wearing it right now actually.

Amanda Tapping:
But that's just for fun. It's sort of an homage to my grandmother, who grew up in England and lived through two World Wars. She was born in 1901 and lived to the ripe old age of 103-1/2. And, her entire life had this red bob haircut and dyed her hair red up until she was like 102 I think. And so, that was in homage to her, but I really liked it. So who knows? I mean the beauty of this character is she's old enough and has been around enough that she can kind of do whatever she wants.

Question:
Are we going to see Declan back?

Amanda Tapping:
Of course. Absolutely. He's a huge part of the family. In the second half, we see him in Pax, don't we? And he's in One Night, the episode I directed.

Robin Dunne:
The great thing about Robert is he's really become that solid.

Amanda Tapping:
He's in Carentan in a big way.

Robin Dunne:
He's always a member of the team.

Amanda Tapping:
Yes. He's a big part of the show.

Question:
Robin, are you ever going to direct?

Robin Dunne:
Funny you should say that. I believe I will be directing this season coming up. The Episode 6 of Season 4 I will direct, and I think that completely terrifies everyone involved in the show. But yes, it's going to be exciting. I plan to show up every day to work in a bathrobe and use a megaphone to shout out my directions. But I think that'll just be a good way to get everyone's attention.

Question:
Are you looking forward to getting back at everyone?

Robin Dunne:
Yes. Oh, I have a list. The list. So, it's like a phone book, and I am just going to - you know, Martin Wood and Damien Kindler are right at the top. So yes, it's going to be exciting. No. But in all seriousness; it's something that is scary, obviously since I've never done it before. But, I'm really thankful for the opportunity and you know I probably won't sleep the first couple nights before, but it's going to be a lot of fun.

Amanda Tapping:
He's going to do a great job. One of the things when Martin, Damien, and I formed our company was we really wanted to foster young talent and mentor people into positions where they might not have had the opportunity before. So, we've had a lot of first time directors on our show. Our camera operator Steve Adelson, Lee Wilson directed for the first time. I've been given you know three different shots now.

Robin Dunne:
Damien.

Amanda Tapping:
Damien directing last year. And so when Robin asked it was like of course. This is what we do. And there's a massive support network, but I think he'll totally rock it.

Question:
Is there anything that really surprised you coming up about your character that you weren't expecting or that happened earlier in the season?

Amanda Tapping:
We had a cool episode towards the end of Season 3 that shows you a different side of our characters, and it's a rather unexpected view of these two people. Magnus much more vulnerable and kind of freaked out than you've ever seen her, and...

Robin Dunne:
It's like many episodes of Sanctuary; kind of unrecognizable but in a very different way. I think you could even say that the characters themselves -- Will and Magnus -- don't even recognize themselves. And it was a really interesting episode to shoot. Completely different location. The lighting. Everything looked like a totally different show and it was very interesting to shoot. Odd in a way because you're playing the same character but in a completely different realm. And yes; it was exciting. That's coming up - what number is that?

Amanda Tapping:
19.

Robin Dunne:
Yes. That was a really cool episode too. I just did the DVD commentary yesterday with the director, Andy Mikita.

Amanda Tapping:
Robin was amazing in this episode Metamorphosis, because he was - also acted as the camera man. He wore a helmet cam, so a lot of the show is his POV. So not only was there a physical transformation in terms of prosthetics, but also Robin worked the camera. He was exhausted. I was so worried about him when we were shooting that episode because he was just doing everything. And, it's an amazing performance.

Robin Dunne:
The one good thing about that was that I wear a helmet cam in my private life, just shooting my own life, so I was really used to using one of those things. So, yes; the learning curve wasn't so crazy for me on that one.

Amanda Tapping:
That's why you have such a strong neck. Okay.

Question:
In this upcoming season will Helen have a chance for some romance? Past? Present?

Amanda Tapping:
Yes. Well at the end of season - the second half of Season 3 - it's sort of weird, because we're about to start Season 4, so that's where our heads are at. In the second half of Season 3, not so much. So when we were going through - you see a little bit of it in Normandy, but no. Not a lot of love for Helen. So when we were talking about Season 4 and playing out ideas, one of the things that I insisted on was that Magnus at least gets some love interest in Season 4. And, we're working on that. I think it's going to be really interesting.

Question:
And how will she be celebrating her 164th birthday?

Amanda Tapping:
Well, God. I can't even say, can I?

Robin Dunne:
No.

Amanda Tapping:
No. I can't tell you. It's - again, it deals with the beginning - the end of Season 3 and the beginning of Season 4. Something unbelievable happens and I'm not sure that Helen actually really celebrates her 164th birthday.

Robin Dunne:
One hint, just one little bone I can throw you is that Bigfoot will be jumping out of a cake.

Amanda Tapping:
That was just on set Robin. That wasn't going to be in the show.

Robin Dunne:
Wasn't that part of the show?

Amanda Tapping:
No we didn't film that.

Robin Dunne:
Oh, God. So fun.

Question:
Could you describe the Helen/Will relationship?

Amanda Tapping:
I was saying this earlier that I love how this relationship has developed. It's been a really organic transformation of Will's character and Magnus. To actually bring somebody on board who initially it's all about teaching him the ropes. And then as the seasons have gone on, he's come into his own. He's come into his own as a scientist. He's come into his own in terms of his relationship with the people in the Sanctuary. And, it's now a very level playing field between these two characters. It can be combative. It's hugely respectful. But, it feels now like it's a much more interesting relationship to play because they're two equals. I mean Helen outweighs him in experience and that's just a matter of course, but he's actually - he sacrificed so much for the Sanctuary and there's a huge amount of trust between the two of them. I think he's one of the few people who can call her on her stuff.

Robin Dunne:
Yes. There's a nice synchronicity that has formed between the two characters. And really, they're two people that depend on each other for survival. And therefore, you know that's where the respect comes out of. And yes; it's a really nice thing...

Amanda Tapping:
It's a fun relationship to play now.

Robin Dunne:
Yes.

Amanda Tapping:
It really is.

Robin Dunne:
Yes.

Question:
What would you two like to see happen for your character, like character development-wise?

Robin Dunne:
I'd love to do a musical. I think just to be on stage and sing, and I'd love Will to sort of get into more dance routines. I mean, we did a little bit of the Bollywood. I think it would be lovely to just show off some of my other skills that I have. I mean, I'm a juggler. I do magic. And I just think there's so many wasted opportunities that they haven't brought these things into the show. I can do many things and I think I would just wish that the creative team...

Amanda Tapping:
We're wasting some of that precious talent. We'll take that under advisement.

Robin Dunne:
Yes. I wish they would just take some of the wealth of talent that I bring to the table. I wish just some of those - more would be - it would be used. It's sad really.

Amanda Tapping:
Wow. I was just going to say I hope Magnus gets a really cool love interest this year. I know what's beautiful is sometimes we're allowed to sit in with the writers, and I've been here for the last months sort of sitting while they've been developing the series. The stuff they come up with is beyond what we could even imagine happening. So they come up with stuff that's always so much better and so much cooler than what we think of. The only thing I asked for was that I hope Helen gets like a really interesting love interest. Not that I want it to be about Helen having a love interest; I just want to show that there's a very evolved, loving - you know sexual, interesting woman in there besides just this sort of analytic scientist that we've sort of been seeing for the last (few seasons).

Robin Dunne:
And we've all kind of gotten a little bit of romance.

Amanda Tapping:
Except for Magnus.

Robin Dunne:
And Magnus is a little left out I think.

Amanda Tapping:
Yes.

Robin Dunne:
She's feeling a little left out.

Amanda Tapping:
You're wasting good Stilettos.

Question:
Who would be your ultimate guest stars to have on the show?

Amanda Tapping:
Wow. We've had our ultimate guest stars.

Robin Dunne:
We've had some great, great people on the show.

Amanda Tapping:
We've been so lucky. I mean, I sort of jokingly said this once that I think it would be really cool if Helen Mirren came in a flashback as my mom. But, that's thinking so far outside the box that it'll never happen. But we've been very lucky in that every guest star we've brought on has sort of been somebody for the most part who's not that well known and who has ended up becoming a massive fan favorite. And you know I speak of Jonathan Young, and Ian Tracy, and Peter Wingfield, and Vince Gail; like all these incredible actors have come on our show - and actresses. We had Polly Walker and she was great. We've been really lucky. Besides Helen Mirren, I'm not sure who to suggest.

Robin Dunne:
I'd like to see Bill Clinton on the show. I think President Clinton should be in the Sanctuary.

Question:
Amanda, can you talk a little bit about Riese? And then Robin, can you talk about working on NCIS?

Amanda Tapping:
Riese for me was sort of a gift that feel from the sky. I knew the guys who were doing Riese. I had met them - of course, we know almost all of the actors on the show. And, they had put together this really cool web series, and I had seen some of the Webisodes and I just was blown away by how well they had done it on such a small budget. And the production value was great and the story was cool.

And then I got asked by Syfy if I would be willing to do the voice over - sort of narration. And so yes - I said, “Yes. Are you sure the Riese guys are okay with that?” And they seemed pretty cool, and that's how I got involved. It was really, really very simple. And I was able to sit for about four hours one night in our sound booth in our sound stages at Shark Sound, and with a Network Executive and the producers of Riese and we just went through everything and narrated it. It was really for me a very small commitment, but a really great opportunity.

Robin Dunne:
Thanks for asking about NCIS. I'm a child of the ‘80s. I grew up watching all those great ‘80s movies and you know, Summer School. And I was a big fan of Mark Harmon, so I kind of hounded the Casting Director of that show. I go, “Let's go and do an episode of NCIS. I got to do an episode of NCIS.” And that was a truly amazing experience. I can't say enough about this guy. He is the classiest, most gentlemanly person that I've experienced in the business. He's just a truly amazing guy, and it was really a wonderful experience working with him. I think every young actor should do an episode - should work with Mark Harmon just to have a lesson in how to comport yourself. A wonderful guy and it was such a lot of fun. And again, I'm a big fan and I got to talk to him about Summer School, which was cool. Not going to summer school, which I did, the movie Summer School. So yes, it was a lot of fun and I can't say enough about that guy. What a great guy.

Question:
I read that Edge is going to be in the season finale. What was he like to work with?

Amanda Tapping:
He's a great guy actually. We were all kind of like, “Uh-oh. God. A wrestler. What's going to happen?”

Robin Dunne:
He's going to beat me up.

Amanda Tapping:
Yes. He did, which we paid extra for. But he's a really sweet guy. He's a good Canadian boy. He came up and I didn't get to work with him in the episode, but I got to do some promo shoots with him. And he's just a real sweetheart; down to Earth, and interesting, and intelligent, and yes - I don't know what we expected. I have no idea. We just expected this big chest-something wrestler to come raging through our set and he was just a very gentle footprint.

Robin Dunne:
He's a mountain of a guy.

Amanda Tapping:
Yes. He's huge.

Robin Dunne:
He's enormous. But he gets to the set and he's just the most soft spoken, you know nice, quiet guy. It was quite a lot of fun. I had an entire day of just having the crap beaten out of me by him. And after every take, and you've got this big imposing guy on camera. He's like throwing me around and punching me and clothes-lining me and all kinds of stuff, and then Damien, who was directing that episode, would call cut and then he'd come over and be like, “Oh, man. I'm sorry.” You could tell that he almost kind of felt bad about it. And yes; it was a lot of fun working with - he was a sweet guy.

Question:
You mentioned the evolution of your characters. How much input does Damien take from you?

Amanda Tapping:
He's very amenable to any suggestions we have. I think the beauty of our writers is that everyone's voice is heard and they all understand that maybe we're coming at it from a different perspective, having crawled inside these characters. They all listen. Any one of them we can walk in and just say, “Hey. What do you think about this?” And, “I don't know if Magnus would say it like that, or I don't know if Will would say it like that.” I mean yes; they're absolutely open.

Robin Dunne:
The other nice thing about it too is that having done three seasons of the show, going into the fourth, and the fact that we all know each other that much better, you find things of your own character being worked - your own personality being worked into the character. I'm a huge baseball fan and it was really nice to have that worked into Will's character or some you know goofy voice that I do on a weekend or something kind of find its way into the script. And that's always a lot of fun just to see the way the writers are really listening and creating these characters from what they see.

Question:
You have pretty much visited the whole planet. Is there anywhere that you guys still want to go that we haven't seen yet?

Robin Dunne:
Bali.

Amanda Tapping:
For personal reasons.

Robin Dunne:
For personal reasons, yes.

Amanda Tapping:
Yes. I don't think we've really explored China. I mean, that's on my Bucket List, but I think it would be fun if they went to China.

Robin Dunne:
Yes. I think that would be cool.

Amanda Tapping:
And I would love for the Sanctuary to go to Nepal. Having been there, I just think that would be cool if we actually did some exploration in Nepal.

Robin Dunne:
I'm really, really pressing for an episode that takes place at the Dublin Sanctuary, just for the Guinness you know.

Amanda Tapping:
You know, we can pretty much list every country in the world that we've never been to, because it would be fun.

Robin Dunne:
Yes.

Amanda Tapping:
Like what kind of abnormal would be in the Outback in Australia? You know what I mean? It's just the possibilities, so yes. We'd like to go everywhere really.

Robin Dunne:
Just for legal, we're not suggesting that people who live in the Outback in Australia are abnormal.

Amanda Tapping:
No. Not at all.

Robin Dunne:
Not at all. Not at all. Just a legal disclaimer there. I don't want to find myself in Perth getting the crap kicked out of me because of something Amanda said you know, which happens often.

Question:
What kind of a journey would you say that your characters are on as the season progresses?

Amanda Tapping:
It's a bit of survival -- parts of the season feel really hand-to-mouth. After what happens when we come back in Episode 311, the show that will air on April 15th, it's sort of blown Sanctuary world wide open, and so there's a massive amount of hand-to-mouth survival. And we do a couple of really small, sweet singular episodes within that, but then we just kind of keep getting hit. It's not like there's a huge progression or an arc that we're following in the second half of the season. We revisit at the very end of the season what we're dealing with in Episode 311, and certainly there's evidence of it throughout some of the episodes. But there's a lot of kind of singular - just getting whacked in the side of the head with a 2x4 episodes. So it feels sort of very instinctual and survival.

Robin Dunne:
Yes. It's a crazy ride, and you're going to see us in different times and in different dimensions and sort of how the impact that Magnus has had on history.

Amanda Tapping:
Yes.

Robin Dunne:
And it is really quite a wild ride. And it's interesting too to be at this point talking about it, because the first half is really the lead up and the second half of Season 3 really is where things get crazy with Kate.

Amanda Tapping:
It's like at the end of the first half we have this massive explosion, and the rest of the season are the pieces falling out of the sky from that explosion.

Question:
What would you say as you're going forth here has been your biggest surprise this season?

Amanda Tapping:
That's a good question. I think Normandy was a big revelation for us. It was something that sounded cool on paper, but we really weren't sure whether we could execute it in a respectful and also in an interesting way, because it was something we were going to try that was totally different. And I think that - when we finally got on set -- and I know we've said this before -- but it was something about being on that set, and I don't know if it's because we were playing a period that is very real and has a lot of lasting and a very tragic memory for people, but there was a reverence on set when we were shooting that episode to being true to the period. To being true to the story. In our own Sanctuary way into it, but to just really honor that time.

And it was for me, we were shooting nights. We were up in the mountains. It was pouring rain. And there wasn't a single complaint. There wasn't a single bad feeling. Everyone felt really lucky to be there. And I don't know. I guess when you're up there and you can have a warming tent, which the men and women fighting in World War II didn't have, you feel like a bit of a loser when - you know. It pays to say it was interesting.

Robin Dunne:
It's no secret that we're all kind of a bunch of goofballs over here and we like to joke around and laugh, and we do have a great time and play silly jokes on each other and we're constantly laughing. But it was really interesting - there's a behind the scenes of Normandy where we're all kind of talking about what it was like to shoot that episode and I watched it - I actually watched it with Damien.

And as soon as it was over I said, “You know what? What's really interesting about that is none of us in that behind the scenes footage are goofing around or making silly faces or laughing. It was really kind of a different feeling.” And I think it was just a reverence for the material, and just recognizing what a huge accomplishment that episode was. And when you're sitting - I remember sitting on set, which was - like Amanda said, we were up in the mountains and it was just absolutely pouring down rain in the middle of the night, and I remember Marty Wood said, “Okay. Let's bring in the tank,” and this tank - this actual working period tank pulled around the corner. You could hear it coming for you know miles. And just to sort of be in the middle of that and witness the scope of the show was amazing. And also, the way Will was worked into that show.

Amanda Tapping:
Yes. Will was worked in a really cool way.

Robin Dunne:
Really cool way. Yes. I was.

Amanda Tapping:
It was just one of those where it kind of snuck up on us, and that's kind of the revelation. When the emotion sneaks up on you and you go, “Oh. Oh wow. Okay. It's beautiful when that happens, and we're very lucky that we were open to that, or that we're allowed to experience that.

Question:
Robin, you said you loved going on set to get your hair done. Is it your fault that Will went from slightly nerdy to coated in hair gel?

Robin Dunne:
Everything's my fault I think. I just say it as there's a blanket thing. Yes. The hair has gone through many versions.

Amanda Tapping:
There's been quite an evolution.

Robin Dunne:
Evolution of Will's hair.

Amanda Tapping:
It started sticking up so much that the Vis Effects team said, “Don't put him in front of a green screen with that hair.”

Robin Dunne:
Yes.

Amanda Tapping:
Then we knew we had to do something about it. That's when we knew a hair gel intervention was needed.

Robin Dunne:
When Lee Wilson, our Visual Effects guy and also one of our Executive Producers and Directors, kind of cornered me and just said in his voice, “You know, listen. We really got to do something about your hair.” I realized - okay. You know, maybe a change needs to come. But, I think Kate was exaggerating. I don't know that I really was covered in hair gel. Maybe a little bit. I mean we all need some product. I don't know. But yes. Yes. The hair is interesting. I don't mind what it looks like as long as I manage to keep it on my head, you know, which is a daily struggle.

Question:
Dr. Helen Magnus basically has eternal youth. What gets her out of bed in the morning?

Robin Dunne:
Coffee. No, tea.

Amanda Tapping:
It's the need to go to the loo. That's a terrible answer. I think that this is a woman who is driven by her passion for what she does and it manifests itself in so many ways. But heavy is the head that wears the crown comes to mind. She shoulders the burden of responsibility for looking after not only the abnormal creatures but the population of humans within the Sanctuary itself and also beyond its walls. And, I think she holds that responsibility and carries it very seriously. And in some ways, it's a massive burden; and in other ways it's a great joy because it is what she's the most passionate about.

Robin Dunne:
There's absolutely nothing of the victim in Magnus.

Amanda Tapping:
No.

Robin Dunne:
Magnus takes responsibility for absolutely everything, even things that are not her fault. And I think she's a character who's driven by that. It's like there's something I need to fix, and I'm not going to stop until I do. And if I had to guess, I would say that that's the thing that gets her out of bed. Also, in her bed there's this spring that just...

Amanda Tapping:
It propels me out.

Robin Dunne:
Just right out.

Amanda Tapping:
The alarm goes off and bam!

Robin Dunne:
Yes.

Amanda Tapping:
Yes.

Robin Dunne:
Kind of like something you'd see on a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Amanda Tapping:
Or Wallace and Gromit.

Robin Dunne:
There you go.

Amanda Tapping:
Oh, there you are.

Robin Dunne:
Nice.

Amanda Tapping:
That makes more sense to me.

Question:
Will Zimmerman is in a world he's familiar with, but it's a new world to him. What gets him going?

Robin Dunne:
Abject terror. Just the fleeting notion that he might want to hold on to his life. Yes. No. I mean all seriousness aside; I do think he's a guy who is really terrified by many of the things that he encounters in the Sanctuary and on this team. But at the same time, I think also he's a guy who really believes in what the Sanctuary is about, what Magnus wants to do, what her beliefs are, and he's fully committed. He's a guy who's in for a penny, in for a pound. You know, he's a guy who's just fully on the team and is Magnus' number two, and is going to do his best.

Amanda Tapping:
I think he's sort of been getting more excited by what he's seeing. Imagine joining something like the Sanctuary and your whole world - the esoteric of your entire world is opened up. How fascinating that would be, just the possibility - the learning curve is huge.

Robin Dunne:
Just kind of like when you met me.

Amanda Tapping:
Kind of like when I met you Robin. Exactly. My whole world opened up.

Robin Dunne:
Her whole world opened up. And I'm so glad to have given that to you.

Amanda Tapping:
Thank you very much my dear friend.

Question:
So you've just gone through a 20 episode season with much more extended story arcs than we've been used to in the previous season. How does that compare for you as actors with this sort of more short-term arcs or standalone episodes that we were used to from Seasons 1 and 2?

Amanda Tapping:
I think it gives you a much richer canvass, if that makes any sense when you're dealing with an arc where everything is layered on top of each other, and it also forces you to remember. So we have to write stuff down now, which we didn't used to have to do.

Robin Dunne:
Yes.

Amanda Tapping:
But, you have to sort of go, “Oh, yes. And that references that, which happened in Episode 2. And oh my gosh; yes.” Now we have to remember how that made us feel. And we often find ourselves sort of going back and looking at raw footage of older episodes just so we can kind of tee up. Keep the threads clear in the through lines happening. So it's good. Very interesting. It's a much more nuanced and layered performance from us, I think. Or that's what's required, and whether we deliver it is entirely up to how kind you guys feel like being when you write your reviews. It requires a bit more intellect let's say.

Robin Dunne:
And, it's kind of nice to see things -- as you say -- arcing through the season. Things that we deal with early that sort of come back to haunt the characters and you know have to deal with more difficult situations. It really is an interesting thing. I mean, it's also nice to do one-off episodes as well, but just to have that unity of the season was really a lot of fun.

Question:
Is the plan for Season 4 to continue the same sort of longer-term arcs, or would it go back to morewhat you were doing in the 13 episode seasons?

Amanda Tapping:
It's hard to say at this point. And definitely, we're still dealing with a major story line, the Hollow Earth issue. That sounds terrible. But, the Hollow Earth story line is still being dealt with in Season 4. And, I think there are always - the arcs are now more prevalent because we have more draw on from our past. We now have 46 episodes of stories, and it's impossible not to find them interweaving. So, there will be arcs in our 13 episode Season 4, but it's more tied into what we've done in previous episodes that keep sort of coming back and hunts us, or relates back to - you know what I mean?

Robin Dunne:
Yes. I think there certainly will be arcs. Not the Arc though.

Amanda Tapping:
No.

Robin Dunne:
Right? I mean, not as of yet. Magnus wasn't on the Arc.

Amanda Tapping:
She was not. Cheeky monkey.

Robin Dunne:
Oh, you know.

Question:
You're coming back for a fourth season now. You've had a break. What are some of the things that you do to get back into your characters?

Amanda Tapping:
It's a really good question, because for me it's really hard, because I don't - I find her very confusing and besides just going and getting my hair cut and dyed dark brown and getting rid of my blonde roots and learning how to walk in Stilettos again. There's sort of a physical transformation for Magnus. I kind of have to wrap my head around a different head space with her. And for me I always get very nervous at the beginning of the season as to whether or not I'll find her again. And the writing is there, and so you know as long as I know all of the scripts I'm pretty safe. But it is a bit of a panic at the beginning of every season.

Robin Dunne:
For me it's the exact opposite. I have to learn how to not walk in Stilettos and wear regular - which is awkward. And sit ups I guess. I try to do at least 4 sit ups a day, and I haven't seen any results yet, but I'm sticking to it. But yes. I think also there is - you know, this is Friday. We're starting Season 4 on Monday, and every season, I have the same feeling of like, “Okay. Here we go. Back into the jungle for you know, more insanity.”

Amanda Tapping:
Yes.

Robin Dunne:
So, there's a little bit of talking yourself off the ledge at this point.

Amanda Tapping:
Yes. A bit of a panic.

Robin Dunne:
And then once you're into it and you've got a few days under your belt, it'll be back on the...

Amanda Tapping:
Yes. I've been taking kick boxing this hiatus. And I think - and I loved it for a lot of different reasons. But, I think now it's sort of become more technical for me, so I think - and that's been in preparation for some of the fight sequences coming up, and I've talked to our stunt coordinator. So stuff like that when your real life actually ends up leading into your work life in a positive way, that's been really fun. So, I've sort of been ramping up my kick boxing workout.

Robin Dunne:
Purely just so she can beat me up.

Amanda Tapping:
Yes.

Robin Dunne:
Please Ms. Amanda. Don't hurt me again. I'll get my lines right. I promise.

Question:
Going from the little computer show to going onto the big screen, what are your views as to the future of where things are going with Web series?

Amanda Tapping:
We were I think a bit ahead of our time in terms of how to monetize on the Web,social networking even has changed since Sanctuary first came out. I mean Twitter and Facebook and all that has blown up way bigger than what it was when we started. So, I think the possibilities on the Web are far greater now than they were. And, I think it's an amazing tool. Riese is another prime example of a Web series done with good production value.

Robin Dunne:
I just to interject. Amanda just spilled some water all over the place, she's just so excited about answering the question. Now, do I have to clean that up darling?

Amanda Tapping:
Yes, you do please, because I'm answering a question.

Robin Dunne:
You spilled the water and I got to clean it up?

Amanda Tapping:
Yes, you do.

Robin Dunne:
See. This is what it's like working at Sanctuary.

Amanda Tapping:
Thank you, darling. Riese is a prime example of this. They've got amazing production values and they were able to utilize the Web as an advertising tool. And it brought them the notoriety of the networks, which is much the same as what happened with Sanctuary. And I think it's just going to happen more and more. It's an amazing tool. But what I think is going to happen - I think the paradigm really is starting to shift, where shows will live and breathe and stay on the Web. That they don't necessary have to transition to television. That there will be a whole contingent of not just you know, the squirrel riding a skateboard on You Tube kind of shows, but real production value on the Web in ongoing series.

Question:
It was a big blow to the series when Ashley died. Is she ever going to come back in some form?

Amanda Tapping:
We tried to get Emilie back this last season, in Season 3, actually, in an episode towards the end of our season, and she wasn't available. And so it's sort of the opportunities are getting smaller and smaller. We wanted to bring her back in an organic and interesting way that didn't feel like we were just trying to placate you know a contingent of fandom that were pissed off that she had - she wasn't on the show anymore. We wanted it to be reverent to her character, to her as an actress, and to the story arc of the show. And so we found a great way to do it and then she wasn't available. And now I'm loathed to stick a square peg in a round hole just to appease a small contingent of the fans, when I think that her character and her as an actress deserve more than that. So yes. Of course there's always a possibility that she will be brought back, but it will be in a way that honors her and isn't just trying to you know fill a gap.

Question:
A lot of the fan base has finally fully warmed up to Kate and she's become a really great member of the team.

Amanda Tapping:
She has. She really has, and it wasn't like we were trying to replace Ashley with Kate. I mean, Kate - we really wanted her to be a very different character, and we wanted her not to be liked at the beginning. We wanted the audience to go on the same ride that the Sanctuary team members were going on with Kate. Mistrustful. Not even liking her. You know, at times finding her annoying. And certainly, it's taking the time to build trust. And that's how the Sanctuary team saw here, and that's what we wanted the audience to go on the exact same ride. So to hear the negative comments at the beginning, it was almost like, “Great. We're doing our job because we're doing exactly what we set out to do and people are on board.”

And then to see the comments shift as the story lines were shifting and the characters were shifting, it made total sense to us. So I think we brought her in the right way. It would've been you know easy and boring to bring in a character that was instantly likable and you know, had a lot of the same characteristics as Ashley. But, it would've been a completely bogus way to do it. And again, it would've been disrespectful to the character of Ashley, and disrespectful to the new actor coming in.

Robin Dunne:
and also just to have seen the evolution of the character of Kate, coming from that place where she wasn't trusted by anybody in the Sanctuary. Her allegiances were unclear as to you know, whose side she was on. And to see where that character has come now, and the fact that she really is part of the team and really has a deep caring for the Sanctuary and the connection to the team, it is really nice.

Amanda Tapping:
Sort of bridging that gap. Like in you know, coming from one side of it into the other, and it's happened really in a really nice way. We're really thrilled. We're thrilled at the way things have worked out.

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