With his lilting British accent and what can only be described as a gentlemanly demeanor, Jamie Bamber isn't much like his troubled character Lee "Apollo" Adama. The sexy actor shared his insights about the new Battlestar Galactica: Razor (Saturday, Nov. 24 at 9 pm/ET, Sci Fi), the two-hour special chronicles the first days of Apollo's command over the starship Pegasus — and, in flashbacks, the experience of its former commander, Admiral Helena Cain (Michelle Forbes), as she and her crew contend with the Cylon attack on the colonies. "Every one of us in the Galactica family has always nurtured a not-so-secret passion to try and make a movie out of the show," says Bamber. "It was great to tell a huge arc and to have a bit more money to throw at it."
New to the cast in Razor is the character of Kendra Shaw (Stephanie Jacobsen), an officer who served under Cain and "represents the old Pegasus that has to be won over," says Bamber. "That's largely what the story is about for Lee — gaining the respect of a crew that's had its own leaders fall."
Razor is a departure from the regular series' storyline, a tangential tale of past events. When the fourth and final season of Battlestar Galactica returns in the spring, it will pick up literally seconds after the shocking end of Season 3. For Bamber, the experience of getting to play out Apollo's first days of commanding his own starship was a welcome change of direction. "I remember it being one of the pivotal moments in playing Lee — that moment where he sort of puts on his father's [Admiral William Adama's] work clothes and takes the helm of the Pegasus in a crisis."
Bamber wasn't always eager about jumping on board with Battlestar Galactica. "I did have reservations about doing sci fi," he says. "In my mind, it had been reduced to sort of post-Star Trek goofiness on TV. I would never, ever watch it, not in a million years." And as for the role itself: "At the beginning, I was a bit intimidated by the name — by Apollo. I was this, you know, British actor suddenly asked to be this Greek-named heroic type." But the script — and Battlestar Galactica's aim to "really make a stink about our own civilization and what we do to ourselves on this planet" — spoke to him immediately.
Apollo — and Bamber himself — has certainly become a fan favorite. Not only that, he's without a doubt one of the sexiest men in sci fi today. "That's not how I think of myself," says Bamber when TVGuide.com points this out to him, "but thanks for reminding me. It's genuinely exhilarating to be reminded that some people do think of me in that way. I find as many men come up to me and go, 'I need you to sign this for my wife' or, 'I want this for my brother. We love the show.' [But] the women tend to have a different angle: They request photos of me without my shirt on and stuff like that. And they get a little bit giggly at times. And the men don't tend to do that so much."
Although it has become both a critics' favorite and popular hit among many sci-fi devotees, when the new iteration of Battlestar Galactica was initially announced, there were plenty of skeptics about the undertaking. Some groaned at the notion of reviving the kitschy '70s franchise, and others didn't want their beloved cult favorite messed with. "To me it was exciting to have so many different opinions flying around," says Bamber. "I had no idea that the mainstream and even sort of high-brow press would really champion it as groundbreaking and thought-provoking television."
And now that the series is approaching its final season, Bamber is starting to feel separation pangs about the show — but he doesn't regret the timing. "The most important thing is to be able to finish this story in a way that is up to the people who create [it], and not up to the audience or up to a network or to the financial criteria of [making] a TV show. Every day that we're up here [shooting] in Vancouver, there is an element of nostalgia about moments passing and little scenes that will never be revisited. I think if there was anything in particular that I would love to take, it's the horrendous green flight suit that we wore in all those cockpit Viper scenes. I would love to have that."
Check out Battlestar Galactica: Razor clips in our Online Video Guide.
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