Exclusive Interview: Mark Sheppard, from 'Battlestar Galactica' (Part 3)
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
I can’t comprehend. Because I can’t imagine missing it.

What are your other shows that you like?

What are the other shows that I like?

Yeah, what’s your taste?

What’s my taste…I’m a big Lost fan.

Yeah. I loved the first season. The first season was great.

Now listen to you. See, I’m one of those die hard, from the beginning to end type people. And also I’m…well, you know I know Javi, and I know other people involved in it.

I auditioned for Sawyer.

Did you really?

Of course I did. Absolutely. It was great.

Wow.

It was at the Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica. I auditioned for J.J. [Abrams]. He looked at me and goes, “You’re really good, aren’t you?” I said, “Thank you.”

“You’re really good?” “Well, thank you!” And then he just gave you the shaft.

Well, it’s a lot of fun. No, he just didn’t see it as me. I think, what’s his name, Josh is incredible! Great cast. Fabulous cast.

You were actually looking at doing series work? Cause most of the work you do is the character actor, guest star role type of stuff. Would you have signed on for five years, let’s go?

I’m sorry. Have you ever lived or worked with an actor in your life? What actor is not willing to sign on for five years of his life on a television show? Unless he’s a massive movie star. That’s what we do. I guest star on a lot of stuff, but I also am given choices in certain TV series, and I’ve been very close on a lot of big shows that I haven’t ended up doing. I just haven’t – I mean, as you know, I just finished doing the pilot for Bionic Woman, and we’ll see what my position is in that when that comes through. But that’s my life – my life is constantly going to network and finding out what show I’m going to be signed on to for the next five years. And in the interim, one guest stars and one does the rest of that stuff. It’s the nature of being a character lead is that you tend to do this kind of thing while looking for series. It is what it is. But I kind of like where I’m at. I’m the kind of guy – I don’t tend to do one episode anymore, which is nice. You know? Does that make sense?

Yeah. Well, it gives you more of a chance to give your character an arc, as opposed to just being there for the dressing. For the show.

They’re picking them for me. I mean, what’s been really weird is the last four, five jobs that I’ve done have been all written for me.

I’d take that.

Yeah, they’ve all been written for me. 24 was written by Evan Katz for me and I’d work with him before. They’ve seen me for some other roles and other seasons and they went “no, no, no, no – we’ve got something, we’ve got an idea and we’ll run with this.” And they created the Yellow Tie Man, the Ivan Erwich character, and I remember getting it. “Great they’ve written me something!” Then I get the script and it says “Yellow Tie Man” – I’m like, “what are you doing to me?” And I don’t have any dialog in the first episode. They’re like, “Don’t worry, it’s gonna be great.” I love Evan, he’s a great man. I did Special Unit 2 for him. I played The Chameleon in Special Unit 2, which was his show. It was a good show. There’s a lot of that. The Without a Trace was a consolation role – I was supposed to go play it again. Medium was a, you know, I’ve now been on three –

You’ve done three of them.

I’ve done three seasons, yeah absolutely. It was funny, somebody said, “you coming back?” Absolutely, of course I’m coming back. I’m Glenn’s favorite sociopath, I think. Glenn Gordon Caron’s gotta write me a new episode. It’s hard to bring me back. It’s hard to work it out in those situations.

And Romo – it was a wonderful thing. There was talk a year or so ago of playing a cylon – there was a cylon role for me and we just couldn’t do it. I was doing Medium and I couldn’t get out of doing the Medium episode. And Rene and Ron spent two weeks trying to jockey the schedules to have me do it, and I felt my chance had come and went at Battlestar. I thought…it was terrible. I was miserable. And I’m in Ron’s kitchen, a year later, and I just finished another Medium, and I was talking about something and I said, “I have something for you.” And he said, “Oh, I have something for you.” I said, “What?” He said, “Three episodes of Battlestar.” I said “What? What the hell are you talking about?” My phone rings and it’s my agent, and he’s like, “Hey Mark” and I’m like “I’m in Ron Moore’s kitchen. I’ll call you back.” He’s like, “Oh, so you know.” I’m like, “Okay yes. Ron you can’t do this. You have to do this over the phone. You can’t do this in person.” I nearly burst into tears. He’s just so wonderful. You know, he’s just such a wonderful guy. He and David had decided what they thought they wanted me to do and put it together and made it happen.

And that’s a fantastic way to do stuff. You know? A fantastic way to work. Now I just have to parlay that into something else. If we could just get people to watch it, it would be great.

Well, I wish I could answer that great mystery, because it still stumps me.

Well like Eddie says, it’s gonna be on DVD forever. I’m sure it’ll end up on HD-DVD or Blu-Ray. It’ll be there forever and people will go “this is the greatest series that nobody watched the first time out.” You know?

I can’t wait for my kids to get old enough to watch it. I remember introducing them to, I mean, I’ve introduced them to Star Wars and so many other things – yeah because of DVDs. They’ll still be able to – they’ll get to watch these things that I enjoyed 20 years ago, whatever, and it’s fantastic. And they’ll definitely be watching Battlestar one day.

But there was something amazing about going to the Cineramadome and watching it projected. I mean it was huge – you know the Cineramadome is one of the biggest cinemas there is. The last film I saw there was The Wild Bunch – you know, 65 or 70 millimeter print of The Wild Bunch. Incredible movie theater. Massive dome in the middle of Hollywood. And “Crossroads 2” up on that screen. And Eddie’s right, he said, “This is the way it was supposed to be seen.” I said, “You know what, you’re absolutely right.” It really is incredibly cinematic. It’s kind of moving to sit in a room and watch something that big. I shan’t forget it. It’s an amazing thing to watch in a cinema – in a giant cinema like that.

I’m a lucky man. I’ve played a lot of interesting characters. But “Third Cop From the Left” -- I don’t think is going to happen for me. “Good Guy”? Who knows now. Like Ron said, “You know, we’ve seen you play bad guys, and I think this is a little different for you.” I think this is Ron’s idea of a good guy. Romo. And you know the argument about the name, right? The Romo Lampkin name.

Yes.

You got that on the podcast.

I heard Michael Angeli say it. How he satisfied the two – Ron and David.

He’s ridden that fence for as long as he could. Eick is a huge Cowboys fan – I mean HUGE Cowboys fan. But he was actually certain it was for Tony Romo and he won’t hear anything else. That’s it. He doesn’t care about what anybody else says about it. That’s what it is. So I’m like “yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever.” So it’s kind of fun.

Have you got any other questions for me?

The only thing I have left is asking if you are working on anything right now or do you have anything else down the pipe?

Well, as we say – I’m not sure what my position will be with Bionic, but I have an extraordinary character in Bionic Woman, which David was kind enough to write for me. A lovely, lovely piece, and I want to see how that emerges a little…

Pans out?

How that shows up. I mean there’s been some sneak – people have released some sneak news about it, so people have an idea of who or what I’m playing. They’ve all got the name wrong, which is great, but – not my name, the character’s name. But it’s interesting. Have you seen the pilot?

No. I haven’t.

You haven’t?

I have not. I’m not one of those privileged people.

No, no – I’m just curious with regards to the proliferation on the internet. I’m sure there’s stuff out there. Have you seen any of the clips? You should check it out. It’s an extraordinary piece.

I’ve seen the stuff on NBC yeah. NBC has little blips for the Fall Preview shows, and that’s all I’ve seen.

Well there’s some stuff out there that’s pretty amazing. I just think it is a really interesting reimagining. I mean David was a very smart man when it comes to that. He put a very different voice to this, and a very different look to this. And Michelle Ryan is amazing. She’s a great girl. I remember watching her on the English show Eastenders – you know, this little girl, 15-years old. I always remember her being slightly different than everybody else – she was slightly more interesting and slightly different. It wasn’t really her job being in a soap. And then to see her in this, you’re like “Oh okay, she’s great.” She’s really good.

There you go.

Quite a surprise, you know what I mean? I have a few other bits and pieces being talked about.

None of which you can talk about.

That’s the nature of – I’m Mr. Event Programming, I guess. I appear in events. So I have to be very careful about what I announce.

I could see that. That’s not too bad of a place to be in though.

I’m going to go to a bunch of conventions this year. Which is going to be fun.

I know. You’re going to go to Dragon*Con and I will see you there.

First time ever going to Dragon*Con. You’re going to be there?

Dragon*Con will amaze you. I was there last year. I was there with Aaron [Douglas], Tahmoh, and James [Callis] – and oh we had so much fun.

Oh that’s going to be great.

So much fun.

Tahmoh is most definitely the master of ceremonies in Vancouver. My God, he can’t go anywhere. Everybody knows him. Everybody.

That’s fun. I love it. I truly love it. The fans are the greatest. I mean, really the greatest. I’ve been lucky with Firefly and all the other stuff I’ve done over the years, and X-Files and everything else. I’ve had some lovely, lovely encounters with fans. I’ve been very lucky in that manner. And I love seeing the people. I’m going to do Dragon*Con. I’m going to go to ComicCon next month and Jav will be there so…

But we’ll take a troll around ComicCon and Verheiden will be there and it will be nice to see some people, having done Romo, it will be nice to walk around and see. And I’ve a little charity work to do for some Browncoats. They have a little charity thing going on. So if anybody’s listening to this or reading this, come and say hi if you see us at any of the conventions. You have to say hello and introduce yourself, and we’ll have a good time. I’m doing GenCon – I’m going with my dad to GenCon. You know my dad is a well known character actor [W. Morgan Sheppard]?

He’s an actor. Yeah. That’s fantastic.

Everything from Babylon 5 to Star Trek 6 to…my God, Elvira. He was the star in an Elvira movie. Fabulous, fabulous actor.

That’s awesome.

He’s never done a convention, so I was, “That’s great, let’s go do one.” So we’re going to go do a signing together.

Oh that will be fun.

So, we’ll be doing that and floating around a few others. I’m going to see plenty of fans this year. So if I never work again, as you know some actors never do, and if I never get to play Romo or if I never get to do Bionic Woman again, and I end up, you know, destitiute – I’ll always have conventions and the fans to have something to talk about.

You most definitely will.

Absolutely.

Alright.

My pleasure.

Thank you so much. I don’t want to keep you any longer.

Are you telling me to shut up now? Is that your way of getting rid of me?

No…I’m trying to let you get back to your life and your family. I’m being nice and considerate.

There you go – it’s better than me being smarmy. I appreciate that.

You’ll always be smarmy to me.

It’s been a pleasure.

Thank you very much Mark and I look forward to seeing you soon.

All the best.



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(Interview conducted by Amy J. Johnston)

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