Late last week SciFiPulse were fortunate enough to take part on a phone conference with Sanctuary stars Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne.
During the course of this chat, Tapping and Dunne teased Internet bloggers and other members of the online media with a number of hints about the new series of Sanctuary and also touched on some of the character development that has taken place throughout the series.
The transcript I’ve written below is just a round-up of some of the highlights from the chat.
One of the highlights that we can look forward too in the new season of Sanctuary is a musical episode and when asked Amanda Tapping was more than happy reveal a few details about Sanctuary’s musical episode.
Amanda Tapping: Oh, yes, the musical episode is our eighth episode. It’s called Fugue. It was written by Damian Kindler…
Robin Dunne: Directed by Damian Kindler as well.
Amanda Tapping: …and he wrote the lyrics for the music with our composer, Andrew Lockington. And it’s, it’s interesting if, you’re not going to see an episode of Glee. There’s not big production numbers or dancing or anything like that. It’s actually a very organic way of telling a story, and the songs, even though the songs are sung, it’s sort of like you’re hearing a scene.
Robin Dunne: Yes, I think the way that the music and the story are married together, like as Amanda says, it’s very organic and it was an amazing episode to shoot. During a lot of the musical scenes, a lot of the crew were saying that it was like they were just watching a scene, and the singing was sort of secondary, which was kind of interesting.
Amanda Tapping: Yes, but what was cool about it, was the crew really got into the idea of doing a musical, so everyone on set was singing.
You know, “we’re coming up behind you, we’re carrying a ladder,” it was really funny, and it was just a great atmosphere. But it sort of goes with the idea that certain people respond better to frequencies, certain musical frequencies or tonal qualities, than they do to actual voice. So we sort of took that idea and made it a Sanctuary episode.
Robin Dunne: It was also kind of interesting, too. It was a very emotional episode to shoot. Something about the music really brought the emotion out in a lot of people, and not just the actors but, we had like, burly grip guys standing in the back of the room kind of wiping tears away from their eyes, which was kind of interesting.
Amanda Tapping: And we had Pascale Hutton, who plays Abby on our show, figures very prominently in this episode, and we were really lucky to get Jim Byrnes, who plays my dad, who’s an incredibly accomplished blues musician, sing a song for us in the show. So it was a, I don’t know, I think it’s so far outside the box, and yet not, in the way that we presented it.
When it comes to guest stars. This year sees the return of some old favorites as well as a brand new villain that will likely keep us all glued to the screen.
Amanda Tapping: Well Ian Tracey is back as Adam Worth, and Jonathon Young is back as Tesla. Peter Wingfield is back as James Watson.
Robin Dunne: We have a very, kind of cool new villain this year, played by Brian Markinson.
Amanda Tapping: Who’s just a phenomenal actor, and we had him in one episode, and loved him so much that we kept bringing him back. Carlo Rota does a couple of episodes of the show.
Robin Dunne: (Adam Grayson Reed) and Caroline Cave are in the show this year.
Amanda Tapping: Oh, your dad, Al Sapienza.
Robin Dunne: Al Sapienza plays Will’s dad, in a wonderful performance, you know him from the Sopranos.
Amanda Tapping: Robert Lawrenson is back a fair bit, as Declan, which is great. What you’ve seen over the past three seasons, as we build the Sanctuary family, we utilize them a lot. And I think that’s what I love about the show is if you come on and we really dig you and we have, pretty much dug everyone who’s come on the show, and we just keep bringing you back.
So, and (Polly Neegan) is back as Henry’s love interest. So it’s just a real sense of family here. Gil Bellows, actually came and did our last few episodes with us, and he’s phenomenal.
Robin Dunne: The Sanctuary family is growing. Aww, so cute, it’s like the Brady Bunch, but way, way bigger.
Amanda Tapping: Way more dysfunctional, but fun.
One of the big things about Sanctuary over the years has been the exploration of Dr. Helen Magnus’s past, and apparently this season will lift the lid on more secrets from Magnus’s past with the Sanctuary.
Amanda Tapping: Yes, yes you do actually, especially in our first episode. You get a sense of what makes this woman tick, and some of the choices that she’s made and why. The whole season builds to a finale that is quite breathtaking, and it’s not until the very last scene of the finale that you understand why Magnus has aligned herself with the people she’s aligned herself with, why the Sanctuary went rogue from government support worldwide.
But you don’t ever actually figure it out, and I think people will be very surprised when they see the final ending, and what’s happened. But you do, throughout the course of it, there’s things that Magnus does that you go, “what, why would you, huh?”
Robin Dunne: I think more than ever, any other season, I think you’ll see the sort of brilliance of Magnus and the, I think she’s masterminded (unintelligible) season is like, more brilliant than any other time. And again, yes, at times it will be very confusing to the audience as to why she’s doing what she’s doing, but it will all made sense in the end.
In the past few seasons some of the most interesting episodes of Sanctuary have usually been the ones, which centre on Helen Magnus and her relationship with Will, and we’ll likely get to see another episode, which explores their relationship a little further.
Amanda Tapping: Yes, in fact, one in particular, called The (Depth), which is our typical Magnus and Will two-hander that we do every season, and of course it involves a lot of water. So I don’t know what that is, I don’t know why the writers feel like they need to do that to us every year, but…
Robin Dunne: Torture, they hate us.
Amanda Tapping: They hate us and torture us, so there is one that is actually, it’s an incredibly intense episode, but so much comes up during the course of this episode, past lives, past transgressions, and it’s…
Robin Dunne: It’s a very brutally truthful episode between the two characters, and the result of it is that all of these things have happened over the course of the season, even previous seasons, and then the repercussions kind of go right into the end of, into the season finale.
Amanda Tapping: Yes, there’s a massive ripple effect from that episode.
When it comes to having a wish list of guest stars that they’d like to see on the series both Tapping and Dunne don’t pull punches and reveal a pretty impressive wish list for guests.
Robin Dunne: George Clooney.
Amanda Tapping: Helen Mirren, I would like Helen Mirren to play my mom, in flashback scenes, and…
Robin Dunne: I would like George Clooney to play Will in like in flash forward scenes.
Amanda Tapping: You just want to meet George Clooney.
Robin Dunne: No I don’t.
Amanda Tapping: Robin has a crush on George Clooney.
Robin Dunne: No I don’t, shut up.
When it comes to the journey that the character’s will undergo this season. It has been described as both a roller coaster and dark journey.
Robin Dunne: I would say it’s the darkest kind of journey we’ve been on. I mean, we’ve been in some dark places, but I think this season there is some real friction and real ugly truths that come out.
Amanda Tapping: Yes and it feels like every relationship this season is tested, and thankfully survived, but there’s a difference at the end of it, in the way that the characters deal with each other. Magnus has a big episode with Tesla, and it changes the course of their relationship somewhat.
Will and Magnus are on this incredible, you know, she’s still lying to him and they’re at loggerheads a lot, but you can tell at the heart of it all, there’s incredible love between the two characters, and incredible respect. But it, I think Robin put it right, this is a bit of a darker season.
It’s not without its crazy humor, because it wouldn’t be Sanctuary without it, but it’s a much darker season, and I think the best way to say it is that the relationships are all tested.
When it comes to plot twists the new season will likely have quite a few, but sadly both actors couldn’t reveal to much, but what was revealed was intriguing and has potential to throw the audience for a loop.
Amanda Tapping: Yes, what’s the thing they would be most surprised at, probably the friction between Magnus and Will.
Robin Dunne: Yes, the audience is going to be shocked by some of the interactions between Magnus and Will this season. And also I think things like Fugue, are really, really going to be really momentous moments.
Amanda Tapping: Yes, I think even our first couple of episodes, like Tempus that, the fact that it takes place entirely in Victorian era England, in such a bizarre set of circumstances is, it’s going to launch the season, I think, quite incredibly.
When asked about the season premier, which will hit in the USA on Friday 7 October. Both Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne were very excited to talk about it.
Amanda Tapping: Well the season premiere, again, takes place in Victorian era England. It’s almost a direct cut from how we ended Season 3. So we actually have, the first two episodes of the season are the conclusion to our season finale last year. And we had initially discussed doing them, sort of flashing back and forth between the two storylines, one in Victorian era England and one, what’s happening in current day.
And we just realized that in order to service both stories properly, they needed to be separate. There needed to be not, you know, you would need to jog the audience back and forth. So Tempus is Magnus stuck in Victorian era England, trying to hide from her past self, trying to stop Ian Tracey’s character Adam Worth from altering the timeline.
And the second episode, Uprising, is basically how Will and Henry and Kate and Bigfoot are trying to quell the rebellion that’s happening from the insurgents from Hollow Earth. So that’s how we launch. We launch the season in such a big way. We were kind of exhausted by the end of the first two, where we were like, oh God, how do we keep this up?
But we take you everywhere. We take you to a remote island off the coast of Africa in an episode called Monsoon. Robin directed an episode called Homecoming, in which we meet his dad, there’s a series of flashbacks with his father, and it’s a really poignant and beautiful episode. We take you to an icebreaker in the middle of the Bering Sea, a musical episode, we take you into a virtual Sanctuary, which is kind a, one of our cool episodes called Chimera.
And we take you into a cave system in the Andes with Will and Magnus. I mean, we’re all over the place. We’re literally all over the world. And we’re dealing, the whole time, the through-line is dealing with the fallout of going rogue, and separating ourselves from the World Government. So it’s an intense roller coaster ride, but again, not without its humor.
And then the ending, I wish I could say more about our season ender, our two-parter that Damian directed. But it’s, I don’t even want to give you a word, for fear that it will give too much away. It’s incredible, and the way that it ends, I mean, we were shocked when we read the script.
Robin Dunne: It’s going to be cool.
Amanda Tapping: Which means Season 5, fingers crossed, is going to be even cooler.
Sanctuary returns to Syfy Channel on Friday 7 October.
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By Ian M. Cullen