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Feature: Battlestar Galactica (2000s)

Article opener

Starbuck’s been to Earth and cheated death, but can her crewmates trust her to guide them to their goal? Actress Katee Sackhoff considers the future…

It was back in 2003 that Katee Sackhoff put on a flight suit and climbed into the cockpit of a Viper for the very first time as the-then Lieutenant Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace in the Battlestar Galactica mini-series. Now, five years later, the actress will soon bid farewell to her angst-ridden, emotionally-charged alter ego when the series wraps production on its fourth and final season at the end of June.

When growing up in and around the St Helens, Oregon area, she didn’t even dream that she would one day take on a role that would make her a familiar face around the world. Is there, however, anything about that period of her life that the actress has used to help bring the Starbuck character to life?

Sackhoff recalls, “As a kid, I spent all my time outdoors and running around and playing with my brother. We grew up in a place and at a time when your parents said, ‘Be home by dinner,’ and they let you go. You didn’t have to worry about your kids back then; they came home at dinnertime and it was fine. There was a freedom as well as vulnerability and a sense of security that I had growing up. I was very sheltered, and as a result think that I’m very naïve. So when I first moved to Los Angeles I was like a fish out of water.

“What I’m getting at is, there are a variety of stereotypes from growing up in a small town, which obviously I did, and that I feel directly relate to Starbuck. I think she felt the need to get out of her home environment or the town that she was raised in, so to speak, and where education was never in her forethought. She just kind of went, ‘OK, I’m going to be the best fighter pilot I can possibly be, and that will get me out of here.’ And I think growing up where I did, that was sort of my thing, too. I was like I don’t care what I have to do, but I’m going to get out there in the world. Ultimately, that’s how I became an actor.”

Die-hard fans of the 1978 Galactica series are the first to point out that that show’s Lieutenant Starbuck was male, and played by Dirk Benedict. When the re-imagined version of the character turned out to be female and Sackhoff was cast in the role, many of those same fans were outraged. But ultimately, Sackhoff succeeded in winning over many of those who initially had doubts about her and the re-imagined Starbuck.

“It’s nice to have people identify with a character that you’re playing and appreciate the work you’re doing,” she says. “However, I don’t think I went into this trying to win over the old fans because you can’t ever please everyone. Also, I didn’t want to focus on people who were all ready to, in a sense, spew negative energy at me. So I just kind of did my thing, and it’s great that some people have been converted, and it feels rather gratifying as well. For those who said that the character wouldn’t work with a woman, it feels good to know that, in fact, it did."

by Steven Eramo

Reda the full interview and much, much more on Battlestar Galactica (2000s) in
TV Zone Special #81

Batllestar Galactica © The Sc-Fi Channel
Feature © Visual Imagination 2008. Not for reproduction

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TV Zone Special #81
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