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article imagePasqualino & Cotton talk 'Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome' Special

By Earl Dittman     Mar 4, 2013 in Entertainment
The spin-off 'Blood and Chrome' adds another exciting chapter to the highly-successful 'Battlestar Galactica' franchise. Luke Pasqualino and Ben Cotten, the two actors at the center of the prequel, discuss working with 'Blood and Chrome.'
From the moment the rebooted Battlestar Galactica hit American airwaves as a three-part miniseries in 2003, it quickly became a international, cultural phenomenon and remains so to this day. A re-imagining of the original, short-lived 1978 series (starring Lorne Greene, Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict) the 21st century version of Battlestar Galactica – which starred Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber, Katee Sackhoff, Grace Park, James Callis and Tricia Helfer – would run for a successful four seasons.
The cast of  Battlestar Galactica  in the iconic last supper photo shoot
The cast of 'Battlestar Galactica' in the iconic last supper photo shoot
Universal
Battlestar Galactica (resurrected by David Eick and Ronald D. Moore) was an epic space opera which focused on a cluster of planets in a distant universe known as The Twelve Colonies. It's human inhabitants were ancestors of a home world known as Kobol. The scientists of The Twelve Colonies created a cybernetic race of robots that were dubbed Cylons. The robots eventually rebelled against their human creators and war between man and machine would drag on for years. The Cylons were determined to completely drive the humans to the point of extinction. Surprisingly, the machines called for a peace treaty that would lasts for a number of decades. However, when the Cylons had perfected the technology to appear as humanoid, they decided to attack their makers, once again.
On the colony of Caprica, a gorgeous blonde Cylon, Number Six (Helfer) would begin a romantic liaison with an arrogant genius (Callis) and trick him into giving her the secrets to the Colonies’ defense codes. When the robots launch a massive attack, they destroy most of The Twelve Colonies, almost the entire human population and the Colonial Fleet of starships that kept them from harm. The survivors escaped into space on the remaining starships. Only one Colonial battleship survived the devastating attack – the Battlestar Galactica. Commanded by Commander William Adama (Olmos), the Galactica and its team of Viper fighter pilots protected the forty-thousand-plus fleet of survivors as their journeyed to find a new home on a mythical thirteenth colony – Earth.
Esai Morales and Eic Stoltz in  Caprica
Esai Morales and Eic Stoltz in 'Caprica'
Universal
In 2010, the prequel Caprica (set 58 years before the cataclysmic Cylon attack in Battlestar Galactica) began airing on the SyFy Channel in the States, Space in Canada and Sky 1 in the UK. Starring Eric Stoltz and Esai Morales, Caprica chronicled the invention of the Cylon and introduced fans of Battlestar Galactica to Adama’s father and uncle. Although it was critically well-received, Caprica suffered from low ratings in the U.S. and ran for only one season.
However, before the untimely,hastened demise of Caprica the development of a new addition to the Battlestar Galactica saga, Blood & Chrome – another prequel to Battlestar Galactica – was announced and quickly went into production.
In a unique and bold three-tiered distribution move, Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome began playing on the premium YouTube channel Machinima Prime in ten-episode chapters in November of last year. After the webisodes reached their finale, a two-hour movie aired earlier this year on SyFy. Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome is now available on Blu-ray/DVD.
Luke Pasqualino and Ben Cotton in  Blood & Chrome
Luke Pasqualino and Ben Cotton in 'Blood & Chrome'
Universal
In the latest addition to the Battlestar Galactica canon, Blood & Chrome takes place in the midst of the first Cylon war. As the battle between humans and their creation, the sentient robotic Cylons, rages across the twelve colonial worlds, a young, talented fighter pilot, Ensign William Adama (Luke Pasqualino, The Borgias), finds himself assigned to one of the most powerful battlestars in the Colonial fleet: the Galactica. Not surprisingly, the brash and cocksure Adama quickly finds himself at odds with his co-pilot, the battle weary officer Coker (Ben Cotton, Alcatraz), but the two men must set their differences aside when a routine escort mission with an enigmatic passenger (Lili Bordán, Silent Witness) turns dangerous and becomes a pivotal one for the desperate fleet.
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Universal
Unlike its Battlestar Galactica predecessors, the prequel movie was shot almost entirely in front of a green screen, allowing director Jonas Pate (Caprica) to use cutting-edge CGI to create the visually stunning universe of Blood & Chrome (utilizing approximately 1,800 shots). While most actors would have problems not being able to perform on practical sets, the two mains stars of the latest BG installment – British-born Luke Pasqualino (Skins, The Apparition) and Canadian Ben Cotton (Stargate: Atlantis, Whistler) – quickly adapted to their hi-tech stage-set environment.
Luke Pasqualino as Ensign William Adama in  Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome
Luke Pasqualino as Ensign William Adama in 'Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome'
Universal
"I didn't find working in front of the green screen to be too much of a challenge," Pasqualino said in an interview last month. "There were little markers you could pick where there would be an imaginary spaceship, but after watching some of the dailies I realized that I wasn't taking in the environment as much as I would if I was actually in some kind of a Cylon facility. But, once you figure that out I didn't find it too challenging at all."
Ben Cotton as Officer Coker in  Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome
Ben Cotton as Officer Coker in 'Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome'
Universal
"It became a little bit like doing a black box theater type of situation," Cotton interjected. "It quickly became a situation where you just had to use your imagination through it."
Ensign Adama (Pasqualino) in  Blood & Chrome
Ensign Adama (Pasqualino) in 'Blood & Chrome'
Universal
"I can say I was a little bit daunted by the whole thing when I first realized the scale of how much green screen we would be using," Pasqualino added. "With that environment you kind of would think it would've caused problems with a lot of people who actually don't have any physical set to touch or work with. But, a lot of the foreground stuff and our sets were actually props that we could actually physically touch and move around and stuff. I think the hardest thing for me was really just the stuff in the spaceships. Being in the Raptor was the hardest, because when something hits the wind screen or makes a blast you actually don't have any of that to play to. All we had was a tennis ball on the end of a stick that you have to follow. That was really the kind of the hardest for me. But, I think to speak for Ben as well, I think we kind of adapted to it a lot quicker than we thought we would."
A Few Minutes with Luke Pasqualino and Ben Cotton on Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome:
How you guys feel about the unique release model for Battle & Chrome – online first, television then Blu-ray/DVD?
Ben Cotton: "I think it's great. It's new to me. I had never heard of anybody doing that before."
As actors, do you like getting some extra exposure online first before television? Were you a little nervous about that?
Ben Cotton: "No, I wasn't nervous."
Luke Pasqualino: "I think so many people actually are using the Internet now to watch movies and series, and kind of tuning in on iPlayer – all these different kind of means of watching their favorite TV shows online. A few weeks ago, a guy said to me that the Internet is the new TV. I think being able to kind of take a laptop with you wherever you go – it's so mobile – you can just watch things anywhere. I think it's great. I think people being able to watch it online first is fantastic. Especially for people over on my side of the pond, over in England. I think it's brilliant. We don't have the Syfy Channel over in the UK. Machinima is quite a news channel. So, being able to watch it online first, I think, is fantastic."
Luke Pasqualino as Adama in  Blood & Chrome
Luke Pasqualino as Adama in 'Blood & Chrome'
Universal
How did you both become involved in Blood & Chrome? Were you fans of Battlestar Galactica before being cast in the show?
BC: "I went to an audition just like anything else, I guess. I went to an audition, had a couple callbacks and then went down to LA to screen test for it, and that's where I met Luke. We read together in the room with a group of execs and producers and that was basically it – that's the short version."
LP: "I was kind of the complete opposite of Ben. I didn't audition from America, I was sent the script by my agent. I wasn't a fan of Battlestar Galactica before. I only heard of the franchise and the kind of phenomenon that it was. I was never really a fan. I knew how well-received it was. So, when I was sent the script I loved it. I thought it was great and brilliant. Two days later, I got a call from Jonas Pate, the director, and then a couple weeks after that I got phoned out to test. Like Ben said, that's where we met and kind of our journey started there really."
Luke, did you have any contact with Edward James Olmos, since he played the older version of Adama in Battlestar Galactica? Did you get any words of encouragement for him or anything about how he had played the role?
LP: "I was given Eddie's email address and we were kind of sending emails backwards and forward, but none of it was really about the work – in terms of material and script and performances. More about just what's expected. Kind of the head to go into this whole thing with and just what to expect really. I didn't really want anything else – not that I don't think Eddie's great, I think Eddie's fantastic. He did an amazing job and he's got such a huge fan base. I feel like he really did help make Battlestar what it is today. I didn't really want any advice in terms of performance-wise from Eddie, because I think seeing Adama at the age that I portray him compared to the age that Eddie portrays him, they are two completely different stages of anyone's life. I didn't want anything that Eddie said to me to kind of really affect my interpretation of the material in a way. I wanted to go into it with a clear head and really just kind of get my own stamp on it."
Ben Cotton is Coker in  Blood & Chrome
Ben Cotton is Coker in 'Blood & Chrome''
Universal
In Blood & Chrome, the filmmakers have really taken the effects to a whole other level. However, what's really important is your relationship in the series. How, as actors, did the two of you develop that relationship? Was that on the page or did the two of you work it out as you were working on the scenes together?
LP: "I think a lot of it was on the page. But, a lot of it come to the rehearsals. We had kind of a good week of rehearsals. I think we both knew what to expect in terms of character and what we wanted to do with our characters. I think being able to explore every realm, being able to take these characters and my character's relationship, with Ben's character, I think to be able to take it anywhere. For me, I think it came from me and Ben becoming such quite friends. We didn't feel that we have to hold back on any kind of performance. If I wanted to shout at him, I could've shouted at him. If I wanted to laugh at him, I could've laughed at him. If I wanted to scream in his face, I could've screamed in his face. It was one of those things that we just had so much confidence in performances and Jonas gave us a lot of free reigns to kind of take it wherever we wanted in terms of improvisation. So, it was team effort really. It was brilliant."
BC: "I found there was a real freedom on this to just sort of let it go and just play with each other. Like Luke said, I felt like you could yell at each other and you could shout at each other. You could laugh – you could do all of those things. You just kind of keep rolling and you would go at each other a little bit. So it was really fun because you just work with an actor who's going to hand it back to you and you hand it to them. It just kind of rises and it keeps going, keeps going. Then, there's this chemistry happens and I thought we were lucky, because it was cool. It was really cool."
Is Blood & Chrome a film that a viewer who hasn't watched a single Battlestar Galactica or Caprica episode could pick up on and maybe start from?
BC: "I think you could jump in on this. It introduces the Adama character and if you weren't aware of him before I think you'd get a pretty good picture of this person. I'm always a big fan of doing things in order, but then again with this show you'd have to start with Caprica. But, feel like this is a contained story. You could jump in and just watch this and get a really good feeling for who these people are and what the world is and what's going on."
A Cylon from  Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome
A Cylon from 'Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome'
Universal
Do either of you have hopes or any inclininations whether Blood & Chrome will lead to future Battlestar Galactica films or possibly a series?
LP: "I think hopeful is probably the best word you could've used there – because with Ben and I – it's entirely out of our hands now. We really we just need to see how well it's received. We'd both love get to carry on working on the show. We had a great time working on it for the four weeks that we shot the pilot – to carry that on would be absolutely fantastic. All we can do now is just sit with our fingers crossed and just hope for the best."
Were you guys expecting such a huge fan base or following with Blood & Chrome?
LP: "I was just grateful for followers. I was just grateful for our family, no matter what the size. I think we're very lucky to have so many fans and so many people that like it. But with making a show, any project that you're a part of be it film, TV or play, if you've got one person who appreciates it, then you've done your job – in my opinion. I'm very, very happy that we've kind of managed to kind of keep everybody entertained and kind of keep it at that level that the Battlestar Galactica franchise is set."
Lili Bordán with Luke Pasqualino in  Blood & Chrome
Lili Bordán with Luke Pasqualino in 'Blood & Chrome'
Universal
Why do you think that a show like Battlestar Galactica continues to get resurrected? It's on for four or five years and it's gone. Then, suddenly, Caprica comes along and then it disappears after on season. It's like a show that nobody can kill – it just keeps coming back. Why do you think that is?
BC: "Because, it's a great show. I think the writing has always been really good and people love it. And, fans are the best fans that you're going to find. They'll stick with you. People want to embrace this story or so it seems anyway. People are excited."
LP: "I think aside from that, even someone like me – who wasn't a Battlestar Galactica fan before I was involved in it – will love it. People like to see action. People like to see relationships. People like to see real life stories, drama and comedy – they like to be humored. They like all these different things and Battlestar Galactica can offer that. The only difference is between Battlestar and any other show is that it's set in a place. But, I think we're dealing with real life situations here – whether it's love, it's hate and whatever's been going on there. Battlestar Galactica is set in space, so it just looks cool. People like what the Battlestar Galactica franchise does for them. I think I speak for Ben as well, we're just eternally grateful."
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Universal
Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome Unrated Edition
From the Peabody Award-winning producing team of the critically acclaimed series Battlestar Galactica comes the all-new Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome Unrated Edition. A special, never-before-seen unrated version of this explosive broadcast event is now available on disc and digital download. Blu-Ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Download + Ultraviolet) Bonus Features: Seven additional, exclusive Deleted Scenes and "Blood & Chrome Visual Effects" - discover how the groundbreaking use of visual effects brought the world of Blood & Chrome alive.
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ALSO AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY AND/OR DVD:
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Warner Bros
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Anchor Bay/TWC
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Universal
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Universal
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Lionsgate
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Sony
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Fox
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TELEVISION/CABLE
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Lionsgate
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Warner Bros
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Lionsgate
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BBC
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CBS/Paramount
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Lionsgate
Storage Wars: Volume 4
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Lionsgate
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BBC
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Warner Bros
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