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Feature: Battlestar Galactica 2004
Captain Apollo never thought he would be fighting the Cylons alongside his father. The captain’s alter ego, actor Jamie Bamber, tells us about life on the front lines…
After the disaster comes the ordeal of survival for the survivors of the twelve colonies, notes Jamie Bamber, star of the new version of Battlestar Galactica. “Week-in-and-week-out, the situation doesn’t improve all that much in the Galactica universe,” says the actor who plays chief pilot Lee ‘Apollo’ Adama. “In fact, it tends to get worse, and in order to cope, Apollo must tap into certain traits that he shares with his dad, Commander Adama. My character’s relationship with his father is one that he never really wanted to confront again but was forced to by circumstances that led to the destruction of their world. Apollo is now, for want of a better word, stranded aboard the Battlestar Galactica and for the good of his race has to fight the Cylons. The best way to do that is to serve under Adama as a Viper pilot.
“What happens and, I think, surprises Apollo, is that with most of the crises that occur, there is an element to his relationship with his father that comes to the forefront. They find themselves instinctively having the same reaction to different situations. There are still disagreements and their relationship it not an easy one. When push comes to shove, though, they’ll support each other. For instance, in one episode, Starbuck goes missing. It’s Apollo and his dad who end up defying military protocol and hang on as long as they can in the hope that she’s alive. It’s not anything they even had to think about, but rather an unspoken gut feeling that they reacted to.
“My favourite scene involving Apollo and Adama basically has no dialogue. I haven’t actually watched it yet, but the two are boxing and it’s non-verbal communication between father and son. It’s combative as well as playful, and at times there’s real venom to it. Essentially, it’s an understanding without words, and something that both characters grow into throughout the series.”
The series opener, 33, picked up only a few days after the end of the mini-series, with Apollo, Starbuck and the rest of the Galactica crew facing draining physical and mental fatigue as their fleet faces Cylon attacks every 33 minutes. “I really like this episode,” enthuses Bamber. “It’s very tightly written and edited and gives you a real sense of the atmosphere aboard the Galactica. I couldn’t imagine a better starting point.
“Another story I’m especially fond of is number nine [Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down], which was directed by Eddie Olmos. It’s kind of a farce and not at all the type of story I imagined Eddie would direct,” Bamber says of his co-star-turned director. “I don’t think even he imagined himself directing it. The episode is quite amusing and introduces a new character. Apollo doesn’t have much to do in it, but nonetheless I like it because it’s so different in tone when compared to the rest of our stories this season. It just emphasizes the willingness of our producers to experiment with the art of storytelling.
“When it comes to my character, my favourite episodes are the last two [Kobol’s Last Gleaming, 1 and 2]. Apollo has a tremendous amount to cope with both on and off the job and he loses his temper a couple of times. He also finds himself jealous of not one but two characters.”
by Steven Eramo
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