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Feature: Battlestar Galactica 2000s
What Katee Did
Katee Sackhoff, aka Starbuck, chats about how fans of the series have gradually come to accept her in the role – and spills the beans on her feud with the original Starbuck…
The hate mail has slowed to a trickle, but there was a time when Katee Sackhoff was the most hated woman in Sci-Fi. When Starbuck was re-imagined as a woman for the new version of Battlestar Galactica the actress soon realized there were a lot of fans who were going to take the sex change very personally.
The angry reaction was already pouring in before she even flew her first Viper, but over the course of the year the hate mail has begun to die out. “I did get it for a while, people were just really mad,” Sackhoff comments. “There was a side of me that wanted to get on the Internet and slam back and say ‘Kiss my ass’. But if they remade Indiana Jones with a woman I’d be mad, so I have to put myself in their shoes, and go, ‘I guess I get it’.
“I actually think it would have been worse if they’d cast a guy,” she adds, “because at least by casting a woman you can’t compare the two characters, there’s such a difference. But I can’t imagine what a male actor would have gone through in this role, they’d have just got beaten.
“But now people come up to me and say they prefer my Starbuck.”
After all the flak Sackhoff has a right to sound triumphant, with the show having proved a huge hit, winning fans outside the usual Sci-Fi audience in the US. In particular, many of the doubters have been won over to the new look Battlestar.
“If you add up the amount of time Dirk Benedict spent playing the character, not the years obviously but the number of episodes, I’m more Starbuck than he is, so put that in your pipe and smoke it.”
It’s the kind of fighting talk that Starbuck’s famous for, and Sackhoff certainly shares her character’s feisty tendencies. She’s not afraid to say what she thinks, which is something Dirk Benedict should have known before he decided to lay into the new version of his famous character. While Richard Hatch, who played Apollo in the original series, has become a regular in the cast, Benedict has been openly critical of Battlestar’s new incarnation, and Sackhoff positively bristles when she talks about her predecessor.
“If Dirk pitched up to work on the show I’d probably quit,” she says. “I met him in Los Angeles and I thought we’d really hit it off, he was a great guy, he was very complimentary and very un-Hollywood. Then he turned around a month later and talked complete crap about the show and the actors on it. He wrote an article saying the network sold out and my character was more brash than his character.
“I felt like he’d stabbed me in the back. I know that sounds like me being very sensitive but I felt very befriended by him, then I read that about a month later.”
But maybe the actress should have been more suspicious about the old Sci-Fi rogue when they met up to do an interview in a certain LA coffee shop…
by Jenny Eden
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