The FoF participated in a conference call interview with Helix star; Jeri Ryan & Executive Producer/Show Owner Steve Maeda. Helix airs on Friday nights @ 10/9c on Syfy.
Question: So Jeri, can you talk about – obviously when we first – because we’ve gotten the screener, when we first see Sutton, she pretends to be kind of this nice you know woman who’s there to help, and which we know isn’t true pretty quickly. Can you talk about playing the more cold calculated side? Like is there anyone that you – particularly a character you got inspiration for? Or how did you kind of you know, become her?
Jeri Ryan: That wouldn’t be a real complimentary thing to say about somebody that’s…
Question: Well I mean another character, not another model, but…
Jeri Ryan: No. She was just fun. This was a really fun role to play because it’s – she’s kind of out there. You know, she’s not subtle, which I love.
Jeri Ryan: So it was fun to just sort of let go and just really play and let her go to those places. It was – that was a treat as an actor.
Steve Maeda: Yes. Sutton for us was someone who put on a very sort of benign and corporate face, which is why she does a lot of corporate speak, but then underneath there’s obviously a lot more going on, and Jeri just ate it up. It was fantastic.
Question: And then my second question, I guess this is more clarification of something maybe, I don’t know. But we see obviously that Julia has the silver eyes and now your character has the silver eyes. I would’ve thought that was supposed to be a result of the cure, so does that mean that possibly she’s had the virus, or is it something else all – completely, entirely different that has nothing to do with the cure? Or, can you not even tell me that?
Steve Maeda: You’re asking all the right questions.
Jeri Ryan: Well that’s part of the mystery isn’t it?
Steve Maeda: Yes. You’re asking all the right questions and answers will be forthcoming, I promise. It’s going to be answered really quickly. But, yes, those are the questions we want you to be wondering about.
Question:: I love you in this role. So what first attracted you to it?
Jeri Ryan: You know, it was fun – well the concept of the show to begin with was sort of intriguing to me. I hadn’t seen any of it at that point because it was just being shot. And, I loved you know the people that were involved in it. So that was all really cool.
And then when I sort of was hearing a little bit more about the character and I was seeing how she was written, then it was fun.
You know what? It’s fun. This is my sort of first foray back into sci-fi in a number of years, so it was nice. It was a lot of fun to get back into it.
Question: How much did you know about it…?
Jeri Ryan: And it’s a fantastic show.
Oh, I knew very little about it because they were – you know, they were just shooting you know the season. Nothing had aired. Nobody had seen anything, so I think I was three or four days into shooting my first episode when they did the screening for the cast and crew of the pilot.
Question: Right. Right. I guess it was then more how secretive were they about what was going to happen with your character?
Jeri Ryan: They were very secretive.
Oh, they were extremely secretive. I was asking really direct questions about what the hell am I and who am I, and they were like, “Oh, I don’t know. It’s really cool. You’ll have to wait.” I was like, “Come on.”
Steve Maeda: Yes. We played a little close to the vest.
Jeri Ryan: They’re very secretive about it. They were holding their cards very close to the vest.
Steve Maeda: And some of it we’re just trying to kind of keep the mysteries in obviously, and we’re trying to help the actors as much as we can while still not revealing everything at the end of the day. And part of it is, you know it’s a work in progress. That’s the thing about a series is you don’t have everything figured out from – you know, even the half way point. We’re still working through things.
And you know, we knew where her character was going, but you know other things came up in the breaking of the show, so we tried to give as much direction as we possibly could.
Question: And Steve I wanted to ask are you completely done with Season 1? Have you finished it in it’s totally out of your hands now?
Steve Maeda: Not totally. We are locking our last episode, Episode 13, today, and then we are actually on the mix stage right now. We are watching a playback – a sound playback of Episode 8, which is the second episode that Jeri is in, and we’re working through those. So that’ll be going on almost until – you know, a couple weeks before we air this last episode.
Question: Right. I guess one of the reasons I’m asking is are you waiting to finalize this finale until after you hear about a Season 2 pickup?
Steve Maeda: You know what? We’re locked into our finale. We don’t have the luxury. So we are cautiously optimistic on a Season 2 pickup and 13 is going to lock today, so we’re crossing our fingers and toes.
Question: That’d be great. Yes, me too.
Jeri Ryan: I’m not cautious. I’m not cautious. I’m going out there. They’re picked up.
Steve Maeda: Awesome. I like that.
Jeri Ryan: I’m making the prediction right now.
Question: So Steve, whose idea was it to have Constance have to file her teeth down? And did that have anything to do with…
Jeri Ryan: Yes. I want to know that too.
Question: Is it – is that like a – is that a hint that maybe she has to keep doing that otherwise it’ll grow longer and longer?
Steve Maeda: That’s absolutely the hint, and that idea I think that was something that came from Cameron’s original script. It may have actually been in the original pilot. I don’t remember, but it’s something that we always liked because it was so freaking weird. And we just had to put it in. It’s just the best, so yes; it was there originally. It was something that fell out of the pilot I think, and then we ended up finding a nice place for it.
Question: And then as a follow-up, can you – you know, this show can be very tension-filled, and I love the way that you guys break it up either with Alan and Sarah being all unsure of themselves after having sex in this Friday’s episode or the music. The music has been really great. Like Fever being used in this Friday’s episode.
Steve Maeda: Really? Oh, thanks.
Question: So can you talk a little bit about that? Because I know you Lost where music in some places where used to great effect, so can you talk a little bit about that?
Steve Maeda: Sure.
We decided from the get go that we wanted to do some things a little bit differently and be unsettling not only in you know storytelling and how we were shooting the show, but also in post and in how we cut the show and in music. And so part of that came from I think the whole Do You Know the Way to
So it was something we had talked about. When we saw it, we thought it was great, and so that’s why we you know continued to do it. And Fever is the perfect one. That’s probably the best song we’re using in the entire show.
Question: How would you best describe Constance and what motivates her?
Jeri Ryan: She’s kind of a ball-buster.
Steve Maeda: That’s a good question. She is a ball-buster.
Jeri Ryan: I think that’s the best way to describe her, which I love. What motivates her? Well, I can’t – see, I can’t really tell you exactly what motivates her. That you sort of find out.
Steve Maeda: Yes, I mean she’s – but she’s a company employee, and so I would say she is trying to be loyal to – you know, to the corporation and to the folks that she has been working with and been developing this whole plan with. And once she finds out that Hatake has since been working on his own agenda, she gets pretty damn angry about that.
And it’s an interesting thing, which I though Jeri really walked that line really well, that line between the corporate kind of niceties and the polite things that you say versus the things that you actually do. And once the fangs came out, it’s all over. So it was a lot of fun to watch.
Jeri Ryan: It was a lot of fun to play.
And I also love, as you’ll see without trying to give too much away, she’s definitely, as Steve said, in the corporate world, and very much looking out for the best interests of Alaria, but you find out that there’s a little more personal issue for her at stake as well, which I really loved as well.
Steve Maeda: We tried to do with characters even if they seem to be, both with Hatake and with Sutton, even if they seem to be very kind of on point and you know their agenda comes first, we try to infuse them with some emotion down the road so you understand where they’re coming from and it’s not just about money. It’s not just about greed or this sci-fi illness of the show, but there’s an emotional component as well.
Jeri Ryan: And I love that.
Question: What was it like to work on a series that’s sometimes kind of gory and gross?
Jeri Ryan: Oh, I love the gore. Are you kidding me? Oh, God, more gore. I love it. The goo and the guts, and all of it. I love it. So much fun.
Come on. I observed autopsies when I was on Body of Proof. I love this stuff. I love the science of it. I love the gore. I love all of it.
Question: I do want to ask, because you know, the X-Files was very dark and it was you know certainly kind of a pioneer in that sort of vibe, and Helix has a really dark edge. But unlike you know the X-Files, you had at least a little humor in that show with the interplay between Scully and Mulder, but this one is just relentless.
Do you plan to keep up this intensity or are you going to maybe let us breathe every now and then somewhere in the series?
Steve Maeda: No. We want to keep up the intensity. There are light moments coming, but they tend to be kind of in the service of – it’s black humor definitely, and they tend to be in service of keeping everything moving and just sometimes you find those moments you know in the worst situations. So yes, we have 13 episodes and we really want to – our mantra was to keep the show moving, and so we want to have down time, we want to have character time, but we definitely want to keep everything twisting and turning and keep you coming back for more hopefully.
Yes, there is I guess humor in some of the musical irony, so…
Steve Maeda: Yes. There’s definitely.
Question: And Jeri, I just wanted to ask real quick – I was going to ask you about genre, but you’ve sort of already answered that.
But you got to kind of get rough with Hatake there when you were mad at him. Would you like to maybe explore some more action and physical roles after getting a little taste of that?
Jeri Ryan: Oh, yes. It’s not my first taste of it either. I mean I did Mortal Combat and I’ve done some other roles with a little bit of action here and there. Yes, it’s a lot of fun. I always enjoy those scenes.
But he – I have to tell you, I have to brag about Hiro for a minute. That man is unbelievable. I was in awe of him. I still am in awe of him. He’s – the man is a ninja.
Steve Maeda: He is. Really, yes.
Jeri Ryan: The scene where I had to throw the book at his head, and I have to throw it directly at his face, and there – you know, it’s on me. I can’t like pretend to throw it. I have to wail it at him and he’s standing like six feet away from me.
And I was a wreck shooting the scene. I was so nervous. I was like, “Dude, I have no aim. I can’t.” He was like, “Just throw it. Just do it. Just right at my face. Just go.”
And there’s cameras set up right behind him, and so he has to knock the book away, and we’re worried about hitting the lens and all this expensive equipment. He never even blinked. Never flinched. Never breathed heavy. Nothing. Every take, he just batted it out of the way like it was nothing in the exact spot that it was supposed to land so it didn’t hit any equipment. He is amazing. He is amazing.
Steve Maeda: He pretty much – yes, he pretty didn’t flinch for the entire series.
Jeri Ryan: God. He’s just…
Steve Maeda: It was everything he was asked to do. Yes. He really is amazing. And just – was he dancing on set at all?
Jeri Ryan: No. I didn’t see the dancing.
Steve Maeda: Because the last time I was there, he’s also really graceful. I mean he can dance and sing. It’s unbelievable. He’s really talented.
Jeri Ryan: Yes. He’s amazing.
Question: So, he really is a bad ass and he plays one on TV.
Jeri Ryan: Oh, my God.
Steve Maeda: Oh, yes.
Jeri Ryan: No, honest to God, I am such a fan girl about him. I just like follow him a round. I’m like, “Oh, my God, you’re so cool. You’re so cool.”
Steve Maeda: I’ll tell you a little Hiro story. The first time he did – he does that thing with the gun where he hands the gun over butt first and he does this little flip with it.
Jeri Ryan: Yes.
Steve Maeda: The first time I saw that, because that was not scripted, he just did it, and I was like, “What did he just do?” And I went back and I liked watched it three times because it was so cool, and then sent him an email and said how bad ass that was.
Jeri Ryan: He’s so awesome.
Steve Maeda: Yes.
Question: Jeri, you talked about the fact that you enjoyed playing this part. You talked a lot about sort of what the character does, but could you tell us a little bit – at the end of the day, who is this character? How would you sort of describe this character for those people who are going to see her for the first time this week?
Jeri Ryan: I’m not – trying to tiptoe the line about not giving too much away, but she’s certainly driven, and she definitely has an agenda that she is there to do. Hatake has gone off the rails. He is supposed to be finding them a virus and a cure, and he’s screwed up. He’s messing around and doing his own thing, and that’s not okay, so she’s there to fix it, and whatever she has to do to make that happen is what has to happen.
Steve Maeda: Yes. She’s a fixer.
Steve Maeda: She comes in and she takes care of things. And you know under the guise of corporate benevolence, she really has this very, very clear agenda and you know if Hatake has gone off the rails a little bit, Sutton has not gone off the rails of this. Firmly on the rails and is trying to make sure that everything happens the way it’s supposed to be happening and try to figure out what Hatake’s game is.
Jeri Ryan: Yes.
Question: All right.
And Jeri, you mentioned that this is sort of your return back to sci-fi and you know this kind of a role. Obviously, you know, you’re one of those iconic sci-fi actors. Is that sort of one of the reasons why maybe you’ve shied away from it, or have you just not found you know scripts or material that has really interested you to this point?
Jeri Ryan: In the very beginning when I had first ended Voyager, then yes, that was a conscious decision, because one of my concerns when I signed on to Voyager to begin with was that Star Trek is kind of notorious for its actors getting pigeonholed and not really being able to break out and do other things.
And so that was a big concern of mine in the beginning, which thank God has turned out to be completely unfounded and you know I’ve been very lucky.
More recently, it’s just because it’s just – you know, the – I go where the – you know, the interesting roles are, and this was the first one that really sort of caught my interest.
Steve Maeda: And we were thrilled, I should add, because we you know were hoping that we could get someone of Jeri’s caliber, but you never know. And when she signed on, we were over the moon.
Question: Yes. And then finally, Steve, what can you tell us about Ikaria?
Steve Maeda: Oh, well they’re a pharmaceutical giant. They are – you know, they do good work and they make lots of drugs and they – you know, they – their public face is actually benevolent. But behind the scenes, there’s a lot more going on than what you might expect.
And I can’t tell too much more than that, but the foundation of Ikaria, the origin story of – you know, and how all that happened and how the company became what it is, is something that we’re going to see over the back half of the season.
Question: Wanted to ask you as far as an arc for her, I guess you haven’t been given too much, but do you – as you shot you shot a few episodes, do you kind of know where she’s going?
Steve Maeda: Oh, yes. We know where she’s going. We know exactly.
No, it was something – Sutton was a character who we knew very early on that we wanted to get into the show, that we wanted to have someone come from the corporation. And then the idea of Sutton was something that we talked about very early on. And then the rest of it just sort of you know came in kind of discussing and breaking stories with her.
Question: Well Jeri, you certainly know how to make an entrance in the first episode. That was really cool.
Jeri Ryan: Yes. That’s actually not subtle.
Question: No. No, she’s not.
And what’s it like that – you’ve obviously worked in ensembles. What’s it like to step into this ensemble cast?
Jeri Ryan: Well, it’s a great group of people. I mean, I’ve been really luck that – because I’ve sort of had to do that a lot. I kind of just that I’m sort of a pinch hitter because I’ve kind of jumped into a lot of shows that they were already in the middle of the run.
And it’s a – I’ve been really lucky to work with great casts, and this is another in a long line of really wonderful, welcoming, warm, just cool people who enjoy being together. Who genuinely enjoy working with each other.
Question: And lastly, have you had a chance to go into the cold room yet?
Jeri Ryan: I did. I only had one brief scene in the cold room. I was lucky. But it is so cool. It’s really, really, really cool.
Question: I have a couple quick questions for both of you. For Steve first, do you ever see what gets posted to Helix’s Access Granted Web site? And how consequential or crucial do you think the content of that site is to understanding what’s going on with the show?
Steve Maeda: It’s not critical to understand the show, but we do try to kind of add some value to that experience. And yes, we – I did not do all that material myself, but I certainly saw all of it and approved it all. But it’s something that you know if you watch the show, if you really like the show, the Access Granted stuff is something that can add a little more insight and give you a little bit of – you know, it’s planting clues and little things.
If you don’t watch it, you’re still going to enjoy the show I think, but if you do, you’ll get other little hints of things and get a little more background.
Question: So it’s more a clues and hints rather than answers directly?
Steve Maeda: Correct. Correct. Yes, the answers will all be in the show.
Question: And will the reason why Hatake’s so obsessed with Walker be fully explained this season, or is that a mystery that might carry over until the next season if there is one.
Steve Maeda: It will be fully explained this season.
Question: Jeri, you mentioned that joining the cast this late, did you bond with or become especially good friends with any particular members of the cast or crew during your time on Helix?
Jeri Ryan: You know what, everybody was great, but I absolutely fell in love with Kyra Zagorsky. She is amazing, and we didn’t get that many scenes together. Actually, we sort of bonded before we even got to technically work together.
She’s amazing, amazing, amazing. So talented. I’m so excited for people to see her in this and discover her, and she’s just the coolest lady in real life as well, so that’s been really fun.
Steve Maeda: Yes, I’ll second that. She’s – yes, we really feel like she was a find in that she had never been a series regular before, and she’s terrific.
Jeri Ryan: Yes.
Question: I agree. She’s a standout.
Jeri Ryan: Actually when we watched the pilot, I was saying that they had screened the pilot for the cast and crew at lunch one day when I was shooting, and I hadn’t met her yet, but I was watching the show, and I was like, “Who is that?” Because you can’t take your eyes off her. She’s just – her performance is so good in this and she’s just kind of mesmerizing. Really impressive.
Question: Had you worked with any of this cast before, Jeri?
Jeri Ryan: I did an episode, I think it was Shark actually, with Billy a long time ago, but that was it, so it was my first interaction with everybody else, and it’s a great group and so talented.
Question: And lastly, how would you say playing this character compares to the character of Juliet that you played in Dark Skies? That remains one of my all time favorite shows.
Jeri Ryan: Juliet?
Jeri Ryan: Yes, that was fun.
Yes. Well Juliet was much more – okay, let me say this again. Wait a minute. I got to not get myself in trouble here.
Juliet was a Russian agent who worked with (Majestic). She was a little more cut and dry, her emotion. I mean she kind of hid her emotions, but she certainly had them and they were on the surface, and she was just you know a person who is doing her thing.
There’s a little different situation than what we’ve got on Helix. There’s a little less – well a lot less mystery surrounding Juliet I think.
Question: My first question is how does the other – or how do the other characters react to Sutton’s character?
Steve Maeda: Oh, gosh. I mean you know I think that they are all sort of dismayed in their own – for their own reasons because I think very quickly very early on you discover that Sutton is you know putting on a performance for the gang. And so Hatake certainly knows who she is and where she’s coming from. I think that Daniel has an idea. And I think that Alan and company learn very quickly what’s going on. So it’s – you know, what appears to be you know, “Oh, good, help is here,” is really not help at all.
I mean look, she arrives with you know gun-toting soldiers too.
Question: And will this also kind of shift some of the bad guy image away from Hatake? Because so far he’s sort of seemed like our villain? Will he be teaming up with Billy and things now?
Steve Maeda: Absolutely. We – one of the things we wanted to do was take our characters who seemed to be villains and try to humanize them and create some kind of unlikely pairings. And also, take our characters who seem to be you know on the side of the angles and turn them a little bit and twist them and give them some unsavory motives perhaps. And so yes, we’re trying to find those balances, and I think you’ll see them.
Question: Jeri, I saw the trailer where you come in and say, “Oh, I’m just here to help you,” and then it shows you shooting people. So is it safe to say – shooting someone. I can’t tell who. So is it safe to say that you’re not who you seem to be when you first come on the show?
Jeri Ryan: I think it’s very safe to say that she’s – I mean she certainly is there representing Ikaria Corporation. There’s no question about that. But yes, being there to help is not necessarily…
Steve Maeda: Well help her own interests.
Jeri Ryan: I mean, yes, she’s helping herself. And she certainly wants the cure. That is very sincere.
Steve Maeda: Right.
Question: And so can you tell me do you get to wear any interesting makeup while you’re on the show?
Jeri Ryan: Maybe.
Steve Maeda: Good answer. I like that. Well put.
Question: You saw around my crafty question.
Steve Maeda: Yes. So there could be some interesting makeup.
Jeri Ryan: Yes.
Question: And Steve, can you tell us how is the show being received in terms of the ratings? Is it doing pretty well, or…
Steve Maeda: Yes. I think we’re doing very well. We have a very dedicated fan base I think after airing the first six – or the first five airings, and so far the response has been terrific. We’re – you know, cautiously optimistic on getting a Season 2, but so far the response has really been great. We’re very proud of the show and very happy that the response has been so good.
Question: Mine is similar to the previous question a little bit. This show has been so – evolved quickly into my new favorite obsession. And Tweeting with some of the cast and characters during each episode is just amazing.
How do you feel about the fan reaction that you’re getting you know in social media and online?
Steve Maeda: Oh, I think it’s marvelous. This is the first show I’ve worked on where we are – I’ve had that kind of reaction. I think that – I was on Lost for a season and Twitter was a lot more kind of in its birth stages, so it’s really gratifying. It’s really nice. It’s almost like you know I tend to watch Twitter while the show’s on.
Steve Maeda: And it’s really interesting to see – it’s almost like a live audience type of reaction. It’s like a 30-second delay for the Tweets to hit, but it’s really cool and you get to play along and you see what people like and what they don’t like, and it’s been really fun and interesting.
Jeri Ryan: Yes, social media’s been a game changer for television, I have to say.
Question: Yes, I think so.
Jeri Ryan: In the last few years, the way it’s evolved is amazing.
Steve Maeda: Yes.
Question: Yes. You guys have gave me so – I was shouting at the TV about the frozen monkeys and the rats, and oh…
Steve Maeda: Great.
Question: Yes. I’ve got moments that’ll never leave because of that. And everybody was screaming online too.
So Jeri, will you be Tweeting on Friday?
Jeri Ryan: I am going to try. I don’t – we have a Valentine’s party that we have to go to, my husband and I, so I’m not sure how much and which time zone and all of that, but I’m going to do my best.
Question: Oh, that’s cool. I look forward to…
Jeri Ryan: The next episode I definitely can, but I’ll do as much Tweeting as I can for this one, but that’s a tough night.
Question: So I’m hearing about this makeup that you may or may not be wearing, so you’re going to be like a human Skittle like Neil? Poor guy.
Jeri Ryan: No. Not necessarily. We don’t know. You guys are just going to have to watch.
Steve Maeda: That’s right.
Jeri Ryan: It could be that. It could be something very, very different.
Question: Oh, that – this show has more twists than a pig’s tail, so it is just amazing. I love it. Thank you so much.
Steve Maeda: Thank you.
Question: I’ve got a few general questions – sci-fi questions for Jeri. As you mentioned a couple of times, it’s your return to science-fiction. (Unintelligible) kind of working on Star Trek Voyager and how does it – what differs to the set of Helix?
Jeri Ryan: Well God, I mean I was there for four years. It was a long time. I mean it was a big difference. There’s a lot of – everything about it is different. The character is very different.
Seven of Nine, you know, her emotions were very internal.
Question: Working on the set as well. I mean is it quite a different experience? I mean with the kind of people that you’re working with and the costumes that you have to wear and the kind of scenes that you had to shoot?
Jeri Ryan: Well yes, I mean they’re completely different shows and you know different groups of people, and the costumes are certainly infinitely more comfortable than they were on Star Trek. There’s no corset involved in this one. So yes, I’d take this costume every day over the other one.
Question: Given your kind of iconic status within the science-fiction world, I’m guessing you get a lot of fan mail and stuff. I was just wondering what was kind of the weirdest or most memorable thing that a science-fiction fan has sent you or asked you to sign?
Jeri Ryan: I’ve had to sign a life-sized statue before, which is a little weird.
Question: Of yourself?
Jeri Ryan: Actually a couple of times I’ve signed one.
They bring in pieces of it. They either bring like the head – they take the head off or they bring the base with like a foot attached or something random.
Steve Maeda: Wow.
Jeri Ryan: It’s a little strange.
Question: That’s great. I presume the statue is of yourself?
Jeri Ryan: Yes. Well of Seven of Nine, yes.
Question: What do you think of science-fiction today though? Are you kind of a science-fiction fan? Do you watch a lot of science-fiction films and…
Jeri Ryan: You know it’s funny, I never – when I started on Voyager I had never ever been interested in science-fiction. I just – it just wasn’t my genre to watch.
And now I’ve – you know, my son grew up loving Star Trek and loving Star Wars and all of that, and I just was never really interested. And now I’ve got a daughter who’s now almost six and so I sort of watching things with her with her big brother showing her Star Wars, for example, and she loves it. She’s obsessed with Star Wars, and I became a big fan of it through her eyes, watching it with her. And I’ve really started to enjoy it, so we have a great time.
And so yes, I’m actually getting into science-fiction now as an adult, which is really kind of crazy at this point in my life to start to be a fan. And all the, you know, Avengers and Iron Man, and all those movies I love, so yes it’s fun. Discovered a new interest.
Question: From kind of starring in Helix and other shows, did you learn like some impressive techno-babble and scientific knowledge that you can impress your friends with?
Jeri Ryan: Well some of the medical knowledge from Body of Proof, not so much from the science-fiction. Science-fiction is a lot of exactly that, techno-babble, which you sort of memorize like you’re memorizing a foreign language. You memorize it (unintelligible) basically. So no, it’s nothing that stuck with me. The science from Body of Proof, which was real science, I learned a lot more about.
Question: I guess a final question is what’s the best action scene you’ve been involved in?
Jeri Ryan: The best action scene?
Jeri Ryan: I don’t know. There’s been some fun ones over the years. I think in Dark Skies was some of the most fun. I got to shoot an AK47, which was a little – which was interesting. Or was it an M16? Now I don’t remember. Whichever the period gun was from that period, that’s what I shot. It was fun.
Question: Actually I did have one very last question. Who’s your favorite science-fiction heroine of all time?
Jeri Ryan: Oh, Lord, well if you’re going to make me stick with a heroine, I guess I got to go with Leia. I would say Darth Vader. He was much cooler. He had a better costume, but we’ll go with Leia.
Question: I wanted to start out with asking you – obviously the X-Files was iconic for the 1990’s, and here we are in 2014, how is the state of the genre – of genre TV changed? To me, it’s almost gone to the point where it’s almost mainstream. Has that been your…
Steve Maeda: Yes. I think it definitely has gone more mainstream, and there’s so much good stuff out there I think both in TV and movies. It’s so great. The thing I’ve done genre shows and shows that are not genre, and I just love these because the storytelling, you get to first off come up with whatever you can imagine and put it out there.
But then also when you do want to you know get a theme in, it’s so much easier to couch that in science-fiction or in genre because it doesn’t – for some reason, it just doesn’t feel as heavy-handed and you can tell stories that are much more – you know, you can layer in something without feeling preachy because you have the genre kind of as your shield and still do a really entertaining, but have something to say. So, it’s a lot of fun. I really enjoy it.
Question: Good. That actually kind of leads me to my next question, which is the theme of Helix – by the way, my husband sometimes – I generally force my husband to watch TV shows with me because I hate watching by myself. And, this is one he actually is really enjoying. “Oh, isn’t it time for Helix?”
Steve Maeda: That’s great.
Question: So, he’s really enjoying it. One of the few he does.
But it leads me to the next question, which is the themes of Helix are very much to me a cautionary tale about where we’re going with genetic research, and medicine, and pharmaceuticals. Where do you guys – where do you mine the science for the show? And I have a specific reason for asking, which I’ll ask after you answer this question. But do you guys have science advisors? Where do you get the science?
Steve Maeda: We do, and we’ve done a lot of research ourselves. We do have an advisor who reads all of our scripts. We have an advisor on set as well, but we have a CDC doctor who reads all our scripts and then comes back to us with, “You know what? It would really be this way guys and not that way,” and we try to take those cues when we can.
Dramatically, we’re always trying to tell the best story, but we also want to be as grounded as possible. And yes, sometimes we take flights of fancy, but in doing so the – it’s something I actually learned on X-Files, which is the more you tie your fantastic story, your science-fiction story into actual science, the easier it is to buy. And so, that’s what we’re trying to do.
You know, we may not hit it all the time, but it’s something we certainly are mindful of.
Question: Dr. Hatake was – obviously stabbed himself, which was shocking. One of the many shocking things that (unintelligible) has happened in the show.
Steve Maeda: Yes.
Question: He stabbed himself, and yet his wound healed really, really quickly. Shockingly so.
Steve Maeda: Yes, it did.
Question: And – yes. And I know that there’s a lot of genetic research in the (unintelligible) of the chromosomes, and the idea of this virus being a delivery system or something genetic leads me to wonder if it has to do with Hatake’s ability to heal quickly and his own chromosomes and what experiments he’s been doing on himself?
Steve Maeda: I would say it very much has something to do with that, without you know giving too much away. It’s part of just who he is and what will be revealed in later episodes. But yes, we you know delved as deeply as we could into (unintelligible) research and into you know trying to take a lot of really arcane science and make it understandable to us, understandable to the audience.
And without dumbing it down too much, to get in as much real stuff as we could.
Question: I have a last question, going back to the idea of social media and Twitter. Is having that kind of access to audience reaction, do you find it at all a double-edged sword?
Steve Maeda: Yes, it is I think, in that you don’t want to ever get to the place where you’re checking yourself or like trying to – I guess the word – you know, you want to please, but at the same time you don’t want to be too reactionary. So I think you have to take it all with a grain of salt because you get very, very strong opinions.
And so I try to take it all as kind of a whole and then kind of toss it away and not think about it when we’re actually sitting there breaking a story. I don’t want, you know, the specter of what someone might think you know kind of clouding you know what – the story we’re trying to tell. But it is definitely nice to get feedback, and especially nice feedback, which we’ve had a lot of on the show.
So it seeps in you know, but you just got – can’t let it seep in too deep.
Question: I’ve got a question for Jeri. I was wondering, after Voyager, we didn’t see you in any sci-fi roles. I was wondering if – one, if you got very many offers from the direction of sci-fi? And if you have consciously avoided those because we didn’t see you in any of the shows.
Jeri Ryan: Well I kind of answered that earlier. Someone asked a similar question. Yes, I did in the very beginning after I had just finished Voyager. It was a conscious decision, because one of my concerns when I signed on to Voyager to begin with was getting pigeonholed into that role and not being able to break out and do something else after. That’d been a big concern of mine then.
And so you know, my first several jobs after Voyager were very consciously avoiding science-fiction.
But you know within a very short time, within a couple of years, I realized that it wasn’t a problem and I was very lucky, and it’s just – you know, I’ve just taken the roles that seemed interesting to me at the time, and this is the first sci-fi role that’s really jumped out at me since then. So, it was fun to get back into it. It was a lot of fun.
Question: Also you probably have been to some of the fan conventions, and are you – they are more involved with sci-fi things. Are you looking forward to hit the convention circle maybe once again?
Jeri Ryan: I have been. I didn’t – wasn’t able to do them for a few years because I have stalkers, and so I had security issues. And then Creation Entertainment, who organizes most of the Star Trek conventions got a really great security detail for me, and so I was able to start doing them again, and it’s a lot of fun. That’s a great way to – you know, to see the fans and to meet them. It’s fun. I mean it’s a lot of – it’s a great treat to get to meet the fans. They’re very enthusiastic, very loyal, very passionate group of people, and they’re amazing.
And you know, none of us would be anywhere without the fans. It’s another reason why I love social media so much now.
Question: Thank you.
Jeri Ryan: It’s another way to safely interact with your fans.
Steve Maeda: Yes. I would second that. The sci-fi fans are so passionate. I mean, that’s the really great thing too about the response we’re getting. Science-fiction fans either love you or hate you, and so – but very, very passionate. And you know, going after those fans is – it’s a great fan base.
Question: Hey, have either of you picked up like an unnatural fear of needles as a result of working on this show?
Jeri Ryan: Oh, I’ve always been needle-phobic. Hideously needle-phobic. That’s the one thing that I have a hard time with.
Question: Steve, what about you?
Steve Maeda: No, not so much. Although, you know, it certainly – the show does make you think twice about you know any time there’s a – you know, a new flu strain or anything like that. But no, not overtly I would say, but no; it’s not my favorite thing.
Question: And both of you were speaking earlier about Kyra’s acting on the show, and it really is in some cases like she’s doing a one-woman show. Can you just talk a little bit about that? I mean, Steve, I guess maybe, can you talk a little bit about that?
Steve Maeda: I mean, Kyra very early on, you know brought a really nice humanity I think to Dr. Walker, and to that character and really fleshed her out, and we just started writing toward that because we saw what we had, and it was part of our whole story-writing process to – you know obviously Walker is very central to the story and maybe even more central to than we’re letting on; although, we certainly are hinting at that.
I think that by the end of the season you’ll see just how central, because she’s a very, very important character in the show.
Question: This question is probably more for Jeri. What has been your favorite experience working on Helix?
Jeri Ryan: Well I think again working with Hiro Sanada, he’s just – he’s incredible. This man is such – I mean everybody, the entire cast is fantastic, but he’s just – he’s in another world. He’s not even human. It’s crazy.
Seriously, he is such a professional and he’s so dedicated, and he’s so – he’s just so good, and so connected, and so right there with you in any kind of scene. And whatever you have to do, you just – he’s amazing to act with. You just feel so supported as an actor to work with him.
Steve Maeda: But so – also I think, unlike the Hatake character, when – you know, in person.
Jeri Ryan: Yes. Exactly. He couldn’t be more the antithesis of Hatake in real life.
Steve Maeda: Yes, he’s just charming. Yes.
Question: How many episodes will Constance be appearing in, and will there be a chance for the character returning in future episodes or seasons?
Steve Maeda: This is Syfy, there’s always a chance. Yes. Without giving too much away, she’s – I don’t want to say how many episodes or you know the why or the why not; all that will come to bear, but we love having Jeri and you know she’s in a number of episodes and we’ll just leave it at that.
Special thanks to Syfy and from Helix, Jeri Ryan & Steve Maeda for taking time out of their schedules.
Be sure to tune in to Helix on Friday’s 10/9c