Michael Trucco is well known for his role as Sam Anders in the ground breaking Sci Fi re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica and as Cooper Lee in One Tree Hill, and this year it was great to catch up with him at the London Film and Comic Con. He’s been busy of late doing roles in 5 different series here and there as well working with the “Acting Outlaws” (Katee Sackhoff, Tricia Helfer), a charity aimed at addressing the issue of homelessness in Southern California, so he’s not always the easiest guy to get a hold of!
He was very laid back, almost at home with the whole comic con experience, smiling, laughing and joking with everyone, including Katee Sackhoff. We had hoped to interview her too but sadly it wasn’t possible (actually we had hoped to interview Miltos Yerolemou, Ryan Robbins, Michael Trucco and Katee Sackhoff, so three out of four isn’t that bad, but would still love to interview Katee).
Dannii, our resident Battlestar expert, launched into action with her questions for Michael.
Going from teen dramas to comedy, to sci-fi – you were Cooper Lee in One Tree Hill and then you were in an episode of Big Bang Theory. How did each character differ. Was it difficult?
First of all they all looked like me, which is good, thank god I had that similarity! It always differs from genre to genre, particularly going from a drama to a half hour sitcom. It’s a different style and especially when you guest on someone’s show like The Big Bang Theory. This is a well oiled machine and I’ve told people in the past that all I did was show up, shut up and let the funny happen around me. Don’t try to do too much because it’s not about you, it’s not your show, but it was very flattering, it was a gracious invitation. They asked if I wanted to come and do an episode and I jumped at the chance and what a great cast. It was early in their run – they were in their second season when I was on so they knew they had a successful show but it hadn’t reached its peak in popularity it has now. It was kind of fun to watch them in the infancy of that show and when I’d see them years later at conventions and whatnot around town I’d just look at them and be like ‘well done, you guys nailed it.’ They hit the jackpot.
Battlestar nailed it too
Exactly, in a totally different way. In a totally intense one hour drama you have something like Battlestar where the stakes are really high and the tension and drama is palpable, you can cut it with a knife. So we spent a lot of time screwing around offset just to blow off steam. It’s funny because whereas in a comedy I’d feel much more serious between takes because it’s a real art and a real skill, but with the drama we’d go out and do all the drama on film and then between takes everyone was just screwing around, having a good time and blowing off steam. It’s funny to see the juxtaposition of the two styles.
I’ve heard that Jim Parsons and the cast of Big Bang Theory can be a bit erratic at times with corpsing!
I actually thought that Jim was very disciplined because he had massive speeches so remember that this is season two so he might have been given a lot more leeway now. At the time he was letter perfect. He rambles these huge speeches with big, long technical jargon terms and every take he would just nail it, and I thought ‘how’s this kid do this every single take?’ I was so in awe of that because I can’t say the same line twice to save my life. I do something different in every take.
We’ll put a spoiler alert on this one. What did you think of Sam’s storyline by the end of BSG?
Well seeing as he became a – spoiler alert.. look man, after six years if they don’t know I’m a Cylon then it’s way too late. That train left the station a long time ago. There was a time when the show was so still on and I said ‘I don’t want to know’ but now the show’s been off the air for a long time. First of all it was job security – as soon as I got the word I was going to be one of the final five I was like ‘alright, I’m going to be sticking around for a while’. It’s iconic, right? It’s a show that’s really put its mark in the culture of television, and to be part of something as memorable as the final five was a real honour and a gift. I was flattered and I was confused as hell because it didn’t make any sense for the character Sam Anders to be a Cylon because everything I’d done up to that point was as a freedom fighter, trying to fight for the resistance…
(Katee starts singing ‘Here we go Michael?’ )
I… am… in… the midst of something!
We’re being interrupted by Katee
(Katee says sorry)
Let’s go back to the top. *Katee drums on the desk*. Someone just completely f**ked my whole take up
Is she always like this?
The problem with Katee Sackoff is just Katee Sackoff in general.
I see you two on twitter and follow both of you
I don’t even know who that person is!
(Katee: “Hostile working environment, isn’t it?”)
Horrible. Absolutely impossible. Most of our stuff was done separately and on green screen. We’d have to shoot our scenes independently, especially the love scenes, we wouldn’t partake!
How hard has it been to find a script as good as BSG? I’ve not seen a sci-fi as good as since.
That’s just it, if you’re talking sci-fi you could argue that Battlestar is as good a script as any. It’s transcends all genres. It’s probably one of the best and most complete stories, best writing.
For me it’s Game of Thrones, Battlestar and Life On Mars are the three.
What great company to be in, right? Even to say the name Battlestar Galactica in the same sentence as those – that’s a real honour.
Where was Firefly in that? Nathan’s a nice guy. He’s fluffy
Let’s be honest, it’s Firefly. They went, what, nine episodes? I’m sorry Nathan! (laughs) It’s funny actually, people always put Firefly in that same way because that also hit this incredible cult status even though it has a short run. How hard is it to find a script like that? You just hope that something like that comes across your desk and when they do you hope that you’re lucky enough to be a part of it. I sometimes, for better words, don’t have the opportunity to pick and choose – sometimes you’re still audtioning, sometimes you get better offers, it depends on what the project is. There is a lot of material and there’s a lot of new media and new entertainment out there so. There are an incredible number of talented writers out there… some of the shows there have been on television in the last five years – Breaking Bad, True Detective and all these amazing projects. Television is in its golden age.
It’s taking over films, big silver screens
Absolutely, because it can broaden horizons and tell stories in long form whereas a movie is confined to ninety minutes to two hours long
Like television has become film, but long form films, There’s some really good writing so I’d say there are certainly shows as good as Battlestar out there and I hope that I’m lucky enough to get to be a part of them.
How did Katee and Tricia twist your arm to do that charity bike ride?
These two, Tricia and Katee, used to come up to me in the trailer on Battlestar asking me a million questions about motorcycling because I’ve been riding since I was sixteen years old. These girls started in season three I think, when they got bitten by the motorcycle bug and they went headfirst and headlong and they took over. They ride so good and Katee’s a natural, Tricia is a natural, they ride fantastic. We go on weekends and just have our little gang of riders. As soon as they organised this ride I was one of the first to sign up, I was like ‘when do we start?’
What do you ride?
I’ve got four bikes now, I just brought a new one
Say one’s a Triumph, please
I have a Ducati
Ducati and Triumph
It’s that one right there actually (points at a photo on the desk).
That’s beautiful! Okay
And right now I have three Harleys but I’m getting rid of two because I just bought one and there’s a limit on how many you can have and my wife isn’t happy about all the bikes in the garage. So two will be folded into one. I know, I really really want.. well the Thruxton is kind of beautiful but just a simple Bonnie. The Bonnevilles, I think they’re fantastic.
They’re made in Leicestershire, where we’re from
That’ll be my next one!
Any projects that you’re working on at the moment?
I just finished an episode of a show called Scandal – I don’t think you guys have that show over here yet.
If you’re limited and can’t say anything, don’t worry – I don’t want to get you in trouble with your publicist or anything
Oh no, I can’t say what I’ve done on it at all. It’s a show that’s very popular in the US and I’ve just finished an episode but I can’t divulge who or what the character is, or the storyline because they keep everything in, and I respect that. It was just one episode and it was a real gift and a treat to get to get to work on it because right now it’s sort of a popular show and I consider myself lucky just to have gotten to play with them for one time, so yeah, it was great.
It was great to meet and interview Michael. We would have liked to have asked more questions on his band Simpleworld, his guitar playing in general, and his desire in the past to have raced cars, but time wouldn’t allow for it. Maybe next time.
We’d like to thank Showmasters and Michael for his time