One of the most critically acclaimed sci-fi series of the noughties, Battlestar Galactica rebooted the classic ‘70s series and made it a dark, complex, and often morally ambiguous piece that captivated audiences. Jamie Bamber played Lee “Apollo” Adama, one of the lead characters. As he is on his way here for Supanova, X-Press caught up with him before he climbed into the cockpit.
Bamber was initially unsure as to how to react to the reboot. When the script was first presented to him, the title from the ‘70s sci-fi show did make him a little wary. “First reaction, I couldn’t find who the character was. One script had the name Lee Adama, and of course Apollo is his call sign. So it took me a while to work out that this Lee guy was the character I was reading for, and that was a good thing. It allowed me to see him through completely fresh eyes and not as the character from the original show I had seen as a kid. It was a completely fresh page. I loved the relationship between him and his father. At that point I didn’t know Edward James Olmos was playing my dad. When I found out I thought I’d get fired because we look nothing alike, but we made it work.”
Olmos’ (Commander William Adama) commitment to the project helped set the tone for the new cast. “It was a dream. Working with Eddie changed a lot. He at the beginning set the bar high, and he was there to convince us it was a serious bit of work, that we weren’t making any old sci-fi show. He wasn’t initially warm, he was quite formidable. I think that was on purpose as the father/ son relationship was strained. He was a hard taskmaster on me as well as the others. He played the austere teacher role perfectly and dragged us into his confidence and trust. Eddie and I are very close friends. He’s my dad in LA (as well as godfather to Bamber’s children). He and Mary (BSG co-star Mary McDonnell) were basically the parent figures on set, to a very young cast.”
It was that serious tonal change that made Galactica compelling drama in it’s own right. “TV had totally changed in the intervening 30 years and our series reflected that. Battlestar was a great piece of ‘70s television, and will always be remembered, but ours reflected the times we were in. That’s why Ron (showrunner Ronald D. Moore) took the project on, because of the 9/11 parallels, because of the wars, and the fighting, and the threat from a different kind of enemy that we haven’t faced before. Those were Ron’s inspiration and he remained committed to them. Following current affairs, echoing them, posing questions, not answering them, and examining where we are going as a nation…a race. It really surprised people, and the intelligent media got behind it. It was quiet a thing to be that culturally relevant. The respect that the show has is unparalleled.”
Jamie Bamber is a guest at Supanova Pop Culture Expo at the Perth Convention And Exhibition Centre from June 20 – 22. Head here for more info.