Sci-Fi Storm

Sanctuary Digital Press panel

by on Oct.14, 2010, under Television

Our second panel of the day was for Sanctuary (Season 3 starts tomorrow night, October 15th, at 10pm ET). Amanda Tapping was scheduled to appear but had a family illness, so actor Robin Dunne (Dr. Will Zimmerman) was joined on stage by Erika Kennair, Vice President for Original Programming and Development for Syfy. Syfy’s Mark Stern mentioned that there will be more abnormals along with Caprica‘s Polly Walker guest starring, and asked Robin, “What would you say is kind of the most exciting thing for you this year?”

“A lot…Sanctuary is continuing on the path of being very innovative, the writing is amazing as always…I think the change from 13 episodes to 20 episodes is really amazing because…beautiful story arcs that go in and out of the series and you are going to see things that happen to the characters that sort of have impact throughout the entire series. 20 episodes is kind of like, it feels more of a puzzle this year, a jigsaw puzzle.

“There’s a new abnormal this year, and it’s not the type of abnormal you are expecting, it’s more of a place…it’s really, really a cool thing.”

We’ll be seeing some familiar faces, new characters, romance – “break ups and hookups – it’s not going to be Melrose Place or anything…”

Robin talked about the visual effects, and how “rightfully so” it gets a lot of talk. “You saw last season, turning our tiny little parking lot at our studio into the slums of Mumbai…what they can do to turn a small little parking lot into different places is amazing.” And then there is the fun of them expanding the virtual sets, when they are used to where things were – in a green screen environment where none of it actually exists.

There was a question about words of encouragement for people working on web based projects, which Sanctuary started out as originally. “If you think this is a quality script, if you think the story is compelling, it is a great character to play…then yeah, go for it. No matter where it’s shown, you are gonna have that. The wonderful thing about the Internet…instead of going into a room and…describing a show, saying this is what it is going to look like…a network is able to actually see the potential here.”

The next question related to the “bottle” episode “Requiem”, which featured just Will and Helen, and whether there would be more stories like that.

“We talk a lot about the visual effects on the show, and rightfully so, they’re amazing, but you’re absolutely right, I think without the coupling of really good storytelling you don’t really have a lot, it’s just kind of pretty pictures, and certainly Sanctuary, the scripts are amazing. This year there are some one-on-one episodes, there is one coming up…[episode 19] is sort of a two-hander, Magnus and Will, in a very different way. There also is a two-hander that Magnus is involved with another villain – there is a new villain this year, that I can’t really say too much about, played by Ian Tracey, and it’s just one of those iconic, classic Sanctuary, right, it’s a character out of history and literature. An iconic character that sort of gets an abnormal twist. I think it’s going to be a character you are going to love to hate.”

When asked about their favorite abnormals, Robin said, “My favorite abnormal has been from the beginning Two-Faced Chuck, just ’cause it’s, he’s funny, Chuck Campbell plays him, and its very funny character, he’s the guy with sort of two faces, that’s probably why he’s called Two-Faced Chuck…just kind of hit it on the head there.”

“Bigfoot, hands down,” said Erika. “And this has been a big season for Bigfoot. There are some great episodes about his backstory, and he becomes a bit of a vigilante in one of our episodes, and it really broadens the character, Chris [Heyerdahl] is an amazing actor, and he plays two roles, which is pretty impressive, and Bigfoot’s got a lot of heart and a lot of angst going into this season.”

Christopher Heyerdahl should be no stranger to SF TV fans, although you may not always recognize him – he has shown up in guest and recurring roles with and without prosthetic makeup. In Sanctuary, he’s appeared as Bigfoot and John Druitt, but also on Stargate Atlantis he was in early episodes as Teyla’s friend Halling and later as Todd the Wraith, as well as appearances on Stargate SG-1, Jeremiah, Supernatural, Smallville and more.

“It’s really cool to see. Like Erika mentioned, Chris Heyerdahl plays two characters on the show,” Robin added. “It’s just crazy to see…he goes through this makeup process – hours and hours – I’ve experienced it a little bit this year going through prosthetics where you get a 4am call, and that was only a few days for me. Chris does that a lot, he gets these like, you know, 2:48 he’s got to be at work to go through the prosthetic process. But it’s just amazing to see the way his character changes between the two characters that he plays. When he’s Biggie he’s Biggie. And it sounds kind of corny, but he’s not Chris – you’re talking to Bigfoot. And I can’t really describe it…and when he’s Druitt, he’s completely transformed and becomes this guy…both characters, I’m kind of scared of both of those guys. When I see Chris, you know, outside of the show, I’m like ‘Hey, what’s up man?’, but when he’s on set I’m just kind of, neither of this characters make me feel entirely comfortable. And I guess that’s the idea.”

Robin then talked about Amanda’s charity, Sanctuary For Kids, a not for profit foundation that serves to provide sanctuary for children who do not live with the right of safety in their lives. They recently sold stuff at a convention in Vancouver to raise money, expecting around $25,000, and getting around $95,000.

Robin then also mentioned a different type of crossover, that he would appear on WWE Smackdown to fight Edge, although I’m not entirely sure how serious he was…

Below you can see some images from the first two episodes of the new season and a preview clip of the first episode, which airs tomorrow, Friday, October 15th, at 10pm ET.

[Video is no longer available]


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