interview andromeda Taken from TV Zone #139

Lisa Ryder: Be My Valentine
She may not be quite a saint, but if you find yourself in a bind you’ll want this Valentine on your side

Lisa Ryder as Andromeda's Beka Valentine

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Becoming a police officer, lawyer, model and, of course, one of Charlie’s Angels were just some of the dreams Lisa Ryder had as a child. She also had a passion for dancing and performing, but it wasn’t until college that the acting bug bit her. “That’s when I discovered my love of theatre,” says Ryder. “Since then, there hasn’t been anything I’ve wanted to do more than act.”

Currently, she is busy helping to bring peace to a war-torn universe as Beka Valentine on Andromeda. However, this is not the first tv show from Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry (or Tribune television) on which the actress has made an appearance. Back in 1997, Ryder guest-starred on the first season of Earth: Final Conflict.

“I played Kevin Kilner’s [William Boone] wife,” she says. “I only did two episodes of Earth [Decision and Truth] and, in fact, my character was murdered at the end of the first one. My role was supposed to be a recurring one, but that never happened. I guess the producers decided not to pursue that part of the storyline, so poor Kate Boone was no more.”

Dyeing for the Part

The director of both episodes in which Ryder appeared was Allan Eastman, who, coincidentally, went on to become an executive producer on Andromeda. While she still had to audition for her role of Beka Valentine, it certainly did not hurt that Eastman knew her. “Allan introduced me to Robert Hewitt Wolfe [co-executive producer] prior to my audition in Toronto, which I actually thought I blew. Much to my surprise, I was called down to Los Angeles to read again.

"There were five of us up for the part of Beka and that’s when we met Kevin Sorbo [Captain Dylan Hunt] and some of the Tribune executives. Honestly, I had no clue who most of them were because I was so nervous,” she laughs. “After that, I did one more audition, for which I had to dye my hair blonde, and then I finally got the job.”

“Beka and I have a lot in common,” notes Ryder. “When she arrives on Andromeda with her merry band, she’s a newcomer to the ship and how things work. She’s also new to the whole idea of being a first officer, not a captain, and having to work under a new commander, Dylan Hunt. In a way, it’s like me. I walked onto this set knowing some of the people, but I was still an outsider. However, over the past year, I think Beka and I have found our ‘space legs’ if you will. We’ve come to feel a bit more confident and a little more comfortable in our respective positions, you know?

Conflict of Methods

“As for Beka and Dylan, they’ve developed a friendship but it’s not without its problems and tensions. There are always these little flare-ups between them and I like that. I want to keep some kind of edge there. In fact, I’d like to see Beka challenge Dylan a bit more. Yes, she believes that restoring the Commonwealth is a noble and worthwhile pursuit, but at the same time feels it’s an absolutely ridiculous and unfounded one. How can Dylan think that the seven of them can go down to a planet, introduce themselves and say, ‘Oh, by the way, we’re starting up the Commonwealth again, want to join?’.."

Steven Eramo


Also in this issue: Kevin Sorbo talks about his leading roles in Andromeda and
his character's relationship with Beka

Lisa Ryder talks more about Andromeda in TV Zone #139

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