Battlestar Galactica is now into its third season, and is a bona fide hit. No one could be
happier than actor Jamie Bamber, who plays the intense Commander Lee "Apollo" Adama on the series.
GateWorld caught up with Jamie at the Shore Leave
convention in Baltimore, Maryland. In the interview, the actor talks about the shocker of an ending in Season
Two, and the radical changes that his character faces early in the show's third year. Jamie also discusses
Apollo's relationships with other characters, notably Kara Thrace and his father, Admiral Adama.
GateWorld's interview with Jamie Bamber is available in MP3 audio format for easy listening, and is about 15
minutes long. It is also transcribed below. You can also download the interview to your MP3 player and take
GateWorld with you!
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GateWorld: I know the one thing everyone is talking about is the end of
Season Two. So many episodes took a month, month and a half, days
apart. You talked about how you had a bruise for six weeks and then all of a sudden they go forward a year. It
was a huge shock for some people.
Jamie Bamber: Yeah, absolutely. And it was meant to be. You know the whole thing was a way of shaking
up the show. A different kind of cliffhanger.
On the surface, Season Two ends with a kind of stability. You got people settling the planet, the military
thinking that they're redundant, guarding against the Cylons and you haven't seen them for so long. The year
jump kind of reinforces that. Nothing really happens, apart from people becoming pregnant and fat and things
like that. Kind of character changes.
But it's a huge cliffhanger because, then, of course, the Cylons arrive right at the very end. You don't know
where that's going to go. And there's the huge potential of filling in the year's gap. It's a kind of an
anti-cliffhanger. You're told the conclusion and then you'll want to know how we got there.
Lee Adama's put on 25 pounds. He's looking like a roly-poly version of his dad. He's with Dualla on the
Pegasus. Then Starbuck and Tigh are best friends and they've hated each other to that point. Tyrol and Callie
are together and have a kid. There's these huge changes that have occurred and it piques the question of how.
That's the cliffhanger.
As Season Three opens, an overweight Lee Adama has become comfortable in his quiet life with Dualla on
board the Pegasus.
I wasn't sure about it when I first read it. I thought it was a bit of a gimmick. But the thing that sold me
was a chance to do something different with the character.
GW: And now you've said, eight to nine episodes in, you did think that it was kinda of crazy at the
beginning. And now it's, "Yes, it's a great idea!"
JB: I thought it was a great idea as soon as I read that I had to wear a fat suit. How else will you do
that? Change the physicality of the character, and to suddenly go to a different mental place as well. I
thought it was a really interesting, bold decision from the writers.
We jumped a year -- not even in an act break; it was in mid-scene! We panned out on Baltar and suddenly it was
a year later, just before the season ends. I thought it was really bold, really striking.
GW: You enjoyed the year gap. I've had people wondering does Apollo find Jenny Craig sometime soon, or
does he stay chubby for a while?
JB: He definitely does find Jenny Craig. His weight problem is not a problem. The idea was initially
conceived because Apollo -- I'm going to do my Australian accent because Michael Rymer thought about this and
it was his idea to put on the weight.
[Cue a very decent Australian accent] What happens when people go into sort of long-term relationships? Well,
you know they don't need to work out so much, they get fat and comfortable.
And that's what happens to Lee. He's on the Pegasus. He's the commander now. He's not flying vipers day in and
day out. He's more desk job. He's commanding people, strategizing. And yet there's nobody to fight. There's no
Cylons. He's comfortable with Dualla. They, she's kind of his XO on Pegasus. They have this perfect little
Lee and Dualla find each other late in Season Two. From
But how it actually plays out in the end ... it's not perfect. Lee needs the fight. He needs the challenges.
He rises to becoming a commander and he's born to do it. He realizes that he's more like his dad than he ever
thought. But at the same time, what's the point in becoming the commander when there's no Cylons to fend
He's a little depressed. And he's had this whole bust up with Starbuck that you don't know about, that you're
not told exactly what it's about. And that's really the reason why he's put on weight. It's a psychological
thing. A kind of depression.
GW: He's got an empty command.
JB: Yeah, he's got an empty command and an empty life. Even though, supposedly on the outside, he's
fulfilled and happy.
GW: This Battlestar, like you said in your talk [on stage], is so different from the first one. The
first one was very much -- it was 70s TV, it was a lark, it was fun, it was campy. But this is so much darker,
and in some cases, to some people, so much more real. Is it, would you have, would it be different, are you
enjoying it being dark?
JB: I'm very grateful. When I first read the script, my heart sank when I saw the title. I thought, "Oh
why, why go back and do this again after all this time?" And I got remake-itis. I think as I always do when I
hear of a remake. I think, "Why?" If it was done well the first time, why do it again?
But then there was a manifesto that Ron [Moore] and David [Eick] had come up with at the beginning that was a
mission statement about what we are and what we not. And it was all about reinventing sci-fi on TV and
bringing the drama out and losing the space opera aspect. Having real people and real situations. Making it
look as much like our world as we possibly can, not as different as we possibly can.
I think most television science fictions always try to wow the audience with the otherness and other life
forms. This wasn't a show about aliens at all. Plausible human stories. The Cylons are human-created. They're
artificial intelligence that have developed their own intelligence. Which I'm told is something that computers
are starting to do.
Lee challenges his father's decision to leave the fleet and go back to New Caprica on a hopeless rescue
mission. From "Occupation/Precipice"
The very inception of the show, as Ron came up with it, it's all about our world. And good science fiction is
always about holding a mirror up to the society in which we live now. And by stretching and looking at other
societies we can always say a lot about where we are, and it's a pared-down, dark construct. And the fact that
a holocaust has wiped us all out and we have to start again, it's something we lived with in the 17th and 18th
and the Cold War in a very real sense. A political possibility that a nuclear war could happen and we could
wipe ourselves out.
So, the premise lends itself to the post-9/11 kind of fear of the enemy within, of suicide bombers in your own
community. It happened in London, in my home town a year ago. And those are things we draw from. We are kind
of making The West Wing in space. Or a cross between The West Wing and 24 in space. Or,
you know, it's that kind of show.
And so, yeah, I'm glad -- I don't dumb down to go to work. And that's a privilege to me. To go to work with
something that is expressing ideas that's beyond us and challenge us.
GW: And then you get stuff like "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down," where
you get to throw a little silliness into things.
JB: Yeah, "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down" changes the tone. There's always humor in the darkest situations.
A great World War I play called "Journey's End" by RC Sherriff [is] about the very bleak of the war, and in it
is tons of humor and how we cope with dark situations. We hold on to the sort of rituals we have in life. And
one of those rituals is laughter. "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down" is part of that.
But also, a lot of the characters are humorous and there's humor in there. It's not goofy humor because it's
real humor. The situation is not necessarily hilarious when you watch it. But it's humans interacting in a way
that makes life bearable.
Lee gets himself in trouble while investigating the Colonial fleet's criminal underworld.
From "Black Market"
Someone asked at this convention yesterday, "Does it depress you to make a depressing show?" And I said it's
not depressing. Depression is something that happens to people when -- like Lee Adama -- when they've got
nothing to do. When they're bored and there's nothing to fight for. When you have to fight for survival, you
don't get depressed.
GW: One thing you talked about a little bit are the relationships with Bill and Laura Roslyn and Kara,
and how they've started out as one thing, and then you've seen how low each of them can go to get what they
think is right, or what they want. And are those relationships continuing to change?
JB: Yeah, we're making drama, and it's a pretty stark drama. People are under pressure the whole time.
There aren't that many people around. The ones that are around you have to interact with daily. [They are]
very close relationships. They're always fraught and they always change, and that's what makes them
The father/son relationship never stays the same. I suppose if you can typify it as gradually working out, it
is [Lee's] dad that he comes to blame and hold responsible for the things that he perceives to be wrong with
his family and his life. Kind of like him, they see each other as equals. If they end up commanding they both
respond in the same way to pressure and battle. There's a real, really strong love and respect that grows
between the two. It's not perfect; it never is.
The Starbuck relationship is the most brilliant relationship. It's a sibling rivalry but it's incestuous. She
was engaged to his brother and yet there's this unmistakable sexual energy between them. They are colleagues,
CAG and pilot. She's supposedly the best pilot and Lee kind of resents and is a little jealous about that.
She's the kind of talisman and mantra, talisman of the Battlestar. Lee is an ambitious young guy and he does
a good job, maybe not as showily as Starbuck does.
There's so much there that rubs up the wrong way. It's love and hate, all at the same time. The relationships
are what makes the show. It is a soap opera.
Kara and Lee's relationship runs deep, but has been fractured since the settlement on New Caprica. From
GW: At times she's got a suicide streak wider than Lee's.
JB: She's got commitment issues. She can't really let anyone close to her unless it's on her terms,
and there's a possibility that they're going to die, basically. She doesn't open up very well, even to
GW: What's the biggest change in Lee, from the mini-series to where he is now?
JB: His weight. Um, he's put on a little weight! Where he is now, he's lost it again. The biggest
change is he belongs on the Battlestar.
GW: Are there any similarities between you and Lee?
JB: We look alike ... for eight months of the year. And then I put on weight and my hair fades and
goes blond and I grow it out!
No, I think a sense of duty. I think a sense of if there's something expected of you, you don't want to let
them down. I think we both have that.
GW: Good. And you talked about the poker! [Jamie participated in Celebrity Poker -- shown on Bravo and
beat 100:1 odds to lose his hand.]
One last question: If you could do anything for Lee -- any episode, no getting permission from the boss,
dream set, no budget, do anything -- what would be the ultimate fantasy? What would you like to do for
JB: Um, I would like him to make a huge, huge miscalculation. A huge mistake. To really screw up in a
major way. That cost people their lives and for him to have to deal with it. I like it when ... what our show
really does do is problamatize heroism. All the archetypes we think characters are going to be.
Of all the characters, I think Lee is the most conscious, conscience-driven, and he tries to do the right
thing at all times and he thinks about his actions. I think it would be great to have him think he's doing
the right thing but to do something that really, really, really screws up and costs lives, real lives, and to
see how he deals with it.
GW: And have the fallout from that.
Lee Adama has come a long way from the Battlestar Galactica mini-series, especially in
his relationships with others.
JB: Yeah. And I'd also like to have him meet some more skin job Cylons. Cause they're kind of
GW: Has he gotten to meet Six yet?
JB: No. Well, yes, kind of. But not really, but not in any guile effect. He's been in the same scene
as a real Cylon but he's not on the Cylon wanted list in the way Starbuck is, in the way Adama is, in the way
that Tigh seems to be. He hasn't gotten that direct relationship, like Helo. He hasn't gotten that.
GW: It'll be interesting to see Bill then, he'll move up [if Bill Adama dies].
JB: That's another interesting thing we're going to miss out this year. It was kind of an idea of
mine. What does a young, ambitious person do ... it's like the Prince Charles situation. When basically your
opportunity for promotion comes with the death of your dad. And how does that leave you feeling. Where does
an ambitious, vigorous young man find purpose in life with such a diminished humanity? With so few outlets
for that talent and dreams.
I think it's an interesting thing for me. I mean, he's really good at what he does, commanding Battlestars
and being a pilot. But that's not so much, once he's been a CAG for a while and commanded Pegasus, I'm not
going to tell you what happens with Pegasus or the commander. But where do you go when your dad is the
Do you look for new challenges? Do you do something a bit different? Do you try to break out of this constant
fugitive lifestyle? Do you join the Marines and start from scratch again? Do something different.
GW: Do you get the settle-down bug?
JB: I think that would be an interesting angle, something to explore.