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Feature: Battlestar Galactica (2000s)

Lee's Way

Jamie Bamber as Lee Adama Last season Lee Adama was given his own command. This season, explains Jamie Bamber, he has to demonstrate why…

What a long, strange frakkin’ trip it’s been. Nearly four years ago Jamie Bamber arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia, a stack of UK film and television credits to his name – most notably several Hornblower specials – and set about filming Battlestar Galactica, a mini-series for The Sci-Fi Channel. No one expected anything much, frankly. After all, it was purported to be a dark, dark spin on a classically bad, supremely cheesy show from the 1970s, and that ‘re-imagining’ of the source material infuriated old-time fans who were hoping to see a continuation of the original series. Cut to the present. Battlestar Galactica is widely considered one of the finest shows on television, Sci-Fi or otherwise, and Bamber is deep into his third full season playing Lee Adama, arguably the show’s heart and soul character.

“It is crazy,” Bamber acknowledges. “Every now and then we get nostalgic and we think back to when we first landed in Vancouver. When I first got here I’d never seen the place before. Now it seems so long ago and so much has changed, and we’ve come so far and made all these little stories. At the beginning I remember thinking, ‘How do we do this week in and week out? How do we make this story of Galactica? What’s going to be interesting?’ We’re still finding things and it’s still surprising me, and I think I’ve been prouder this season of the things we’ve done than anything else. That’s amazing in itself, to make a TV show that’s constantly stimulating us – and hopefully the audience too.”

When first introduced back in the mini-series, Lee Adama was presented as a Galactica fighter pilot and captain living under the shadow of his father, then-Commander William Adama (Edward James Olmos), who’s trying to lead some 50,000 Humans on a frightfully bumpy ride through Space to a mythical promised land called Earth. Lee routinely clashed with his father, danced around a romance with Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff) and tried to kick Cylon butt, and he did it all fuelled by a combination of adolescent rage, desire, jealousy and fearlessness. As Season Three begins, however, a year has passed since the events of Season Two. Starbuck is married to Anders (Michael Trucco), Lee, now commander of the Pegasus, is married to Dualla (Kandyse McClure), and he’s put on lots of weight, the result of being stuck – in more ways than one – on his ship.

“At point A, he was pretty mixed up about who he is and the life that he’s been brought up to lead,” Bamber notes. “He was a bit lost, to be honest, as to what he wants to do and who he wants to become. And now, as I speak, he’s a man who knows who he is. He knows what he’s got to offer. He understands his dad. He still has issues, but he sees his dad as another man and can relate to where he’s been. And now he’s a man who’s deciding what he’s going to spend his life doing and what his legacy is going to be and where he should exert his energies. So he’s at another cusp, another turning point, another junction. He’s commanded a battlestar and he needs to decide what ambitions he has and where he wants to put all of his energies.

by Ian Spelling

Read the full interview in
Cult Times #134

Photo © The Sci-Fi Channel
Feature © Visual Imagination 2006. Not for reproduction

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Cult Times #134
November 2006
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