Actress Brandy Ledford had hoped to be a part of the Stargate franchise for many years. She was finally granted the opportunity when she won the role of the Tok’ra Zarin in Season Eight’s “Endgame” — but to the dismay of many, the character swiftly expired. Fortunately the powers that be had further plans for her, and invited her to join the cast of Stargate Atlantis for the penultimate episode of Season Two, “Inferno.” This time, she had the chance to play on the side of humor as the Taranian Norina.
In our interview with Brandy, she talks about her brief experience on the set of SG-1, the good time she had with the Atlantis crew, and her thoughts and experiences regarding the innovative 2007 Women of Sci-Fi calendar, developed by SG-1’s own dynamic duo, Michael Shanks and Christopher Judge.
GateWorld’s interview with Brandy Ledford is available in MP3 audio format for easy listening, and is about 13 minutes long. It is also transcribed below. You can also download the interview to your MP3 player and take GateWorld with you!
GateWorld: For GateWorld.net this is David Read and I’m on the phone with the lovely Brandy Ledford. Brandy, how are you, and thank you for being with us.
Brandy Ledford: Hi, David, I’m just great, thank you. It’s nice to be on the air with you.
GW: Thank you. Are you a fan of science fiction?
BL: Yes! Well, I became a fan of science fiction when I started working a lot in sci-fi. Actually, that’s not true. A long time ago, before I became a Christian, I was a model. I modeled with people who were very interested in science fiction. That started me reading Isaac Asimov. I was quite young and often not really with it at the time. I didn’t really understand it, but it fascinated me.
So once I started coming on sci-fi shows it started to interest me a little bit more. My mom is a huge fan. I just started talking to her about what she read and learned, having to deal with everything science fiction including the universe and beyond. My mom really believes in all that stuff, so she was able to talk to me more than any book or script I’ve ever read. But the most study I’ve ever done with sci-fi was all the scripts.
GW: Were you invited to be on SG-1 or was that an audition you pursued?
GW: SG-1. For Season Eight: “Endgame.”
BL: “Endgame” or SG-1?
GW: SG-1’s episode “Endgame.” That’s when you played the Tok’ra Zarin.
BL: Oh, right! I thought you were talking about Atlantis.
GW: Yes, I will get to Atlantis.
BL: OK. [Laughter] I can’t remember. [Laughter] One of them I was offered the role. I believe it was Atlantis. Actually, I did audition for the SG-1 [episode].
GW: What was it that lured you about SG-1? That same science fiction vein.
BL: Well, I’ve been wanting to be on Stargate SG-1 for a long time.
GW: Oh, so you’ve been watching?
BL: Yes. I mean, when they first started … My ex-husband [Martin Cummins] was in Poltergeist [The Legacy] and we did five years on the same lot when Stargate started. And it seemed like such an interesting show. And I could never be on it because I was either having a baby or on a hundred other shows at the time.
Finally a role came along, and there had been a couple of auditions throughout the last — whatever — eight years, nine years, well … ten years now — that I have auditioned for. But none that have actually worked out.
It was this time when this role came along, I thought it would be so fun to play this kind of lord. The problem is the same day I got offered Andromeda, and so they had to shoot all my scenes on Stargate SG-1 the same day. One day. So it was a little less exciting than I had hoped for. I mean, the role was great. It was great fun to work with Christopher Judge. It was great fun to be on the set.
Peter DeLuise has now directed me more than any other director has ever directed me. He directed me in that episode, plus a whole bunch of Andromedas, and then once I did the Atlantis show he directed me in that as well. And plus I had known him from before. Him and a girlfriend of mine used to know each other way back a long time ago in L.A. So there was a bunch of reasons why I wanted to be on the show. And I was really happy to get this part and I’m really happy that I was able to do it.
GW: So you were familiar with the Tok’ra.
GW: OK. SG-1 has had countless recurring Tok’ra characters over the years. Were you disappointed to get such a good part only to have Zarin not survive the episode?
BL: You know, if I wouldn’t have — the same day — gotten offered to do Andromeda, I probably would’ve been really disappointed, because it’s such a great character and the kind of character I really like to play. I like to play those women in charge and in power — you know, the man fanning her. [Laughter] But the same day I got offered Andromeda for a whole series, so I can’t really say I was disappointed that I didn’t get to do Stargate longer.
In retrospect, yeah, I wish I was still on it because that show is still going and Andromeda is not!
GW: Would you like to return to SG-1 in the future or do you think Norina has sealed you to Atlantis?
BL: I would much rather return to Atlantis.
BL: I would. Now that I’ve done Atlantis I’m — I loathe to say, but I’m a bigger fan of Atlantis. I like Richard Dean Anderson. I didn’t even get to work with him!
Actually it was nice to be on Stargate but I was quite disappointed for a few reasons. I never got to work with Richard Dean Anderson. So coming over to Atlantis, the chemistry between all these characters … I just want to say this. Joe [Flanigan] and Rachel [Luttrell] and Jason [Momoa] and David [Hewlett] are so incredible. Their chemistry together is fantastic. And it was so fun. And Torri is amazing as well. I love them all.
I would much rather see Norina come back on Atlantis, because of also her role. I got to have a little more equal interactions, whereas Zarin was the lord above all.
GW: She was the “insert Tok’ra” for this episode.
BL: Yeah. [Laughter]
GW: Zarin had to be uptight. She was undercover, pretending to be a Goa’uld, whereas Norina — it was pretty apparent that she had a good sense of humor.
GW: Was it fun to be able to go in that direction on Stargate?
BL: You know, what was fun about it was it was completely unexpected. It was completely unplanned. I actually did not expect it to be that much fun. I really didn’t expect all that chemistry between Joe and I. It wasn’t necessarily written that way. In fact, it wasn’t written that way. But I also didn’t realize that Joe sort of had that thing going on with lots characters every episode — the pretty girls. I didn’t realize he did that thing with the pretty girls a lot. But not knowing it made it even more unexpected.
So I was able to say, “Wouldn’t Norina do this?” And I justified it. “Well, heck yeah. Norina, she’s not just a brainy scientist. She likes to have fun.” So I had a really great time with that.
But the greatest part of that episode, for me, was this one moment — did you get to see it yet?
GW: Yes, I saw “Inferno.” It was great.
BL: Well, there’s a moment, and I’m not sure because I haven’t quite seen it yet, if they put it in there. But there’s a moment where — what’s Jason Momoa’s character’s name?
GW: Ronon Dex.
BL: Ronon. I look at Ronon like, “Hey, I know you.”
BL: Well, and for me that was incredibly fun to do because Jason and I worked on Baywatch together. I’m the maid of honor in his wedding next year because I’m best friends with his fiancée. So for me to get on set and be able to work again with Jason … If there was any fan who had any recognition of the connection between he and I, if there was a moment — I’m not sure if they edited it — but there was a moment where, “Hey, aren’t you …”
GW: I’m going to have to go and check that.
BL: Check it out. But yeah, going back to your question — no, I had a lot of fun working on that.
GW: It definitely came through. It definitely did. Great. Unfortunately we didn’t get to visit the personal feelings of Norina. Do you think she blamed herself for the destruction of Taranis?
BL: Well, no. I don’t think Norina blames herself. Actually, I think she knows a lot. But I don’t think she knows enough. And I don’t think she thinks that’s her fault. I think that’s why she’s so fascinated by David Hewlett’s character, because he just knows so much more. And she was mostly, I would say, disappointed that if she doesn’t come back — if she doesn’t get to see these people again — that she won’t be able to learn what she can learn from him.
But I don’t think she blames herself for the destruction of the planet because she didn’t know. If she could’ve fixed it, she would have.
GW: Yes, exactly. Do you think this character will be recurring? Have you been told that there’s a possibility we may see her again, say in Season Three? Hopefully, hopefully!
BL: You’re so sweet! You know what, I would love to see Norina come back. It did seem that way to me. I didn’t audition for this role at the time, but there was a script I had read I think weeks prior to that that I had read for. And it seemed like a similar character. And that one was recurring. So I’m not really sure. They haven’t come back to production quite yet.
GW: Nope. February 20.
BL: OK. And that was the last episode that they were filming. I don’t think it’s the last episode of the season but it’s the last one they were filming.
So there was really no talk about it. I would be more than honored to come back as a recurring part on the show. But I don’t know how it works with Atlantis. I don’t know how often they get there.
What I would like to see — I would like to see the reveal [that] Norina came with them when they left. Wouldn’t that be neat? I think that would be great to see Norina there right by David Hewlett’s side and learning. And I’m having that fun chemistry with Joe — I’m sorry, I don’t know their character names right now. I know them personally! Plus I did a movie with David Hewlett which was also a long time ago, but really fun to see him again.
GW: Well, last time we saw her she was on the Orion. Now I don’t know how it turns out in “Allies,” but maybe she’ll be on the Orion as a crew member.
BL: Well, that’s what I’m saying. It’s possible. I’m available. I am doing another series right now but I’m not exclusive to them. It’s not a sci-fi series, so I don’t know if you’ll be interested in it. But it’s a really good show.
GW: Well, you’re in it.
GW: Which of the boys do you think you’ll hook up with if you come back? Because David was talking about “Yeah, yeah, Norina, we’re planning dinner.”
BL: Oh, right. No, Norina wants to learn from David. She considers him an equal, but I’m pretty sure she likes the higher species. I’m pretty sure she would be very, very interested in Joe’s character.
GW: Before I let you go, I have to ask about the Women of Sci-Fi calendar.
BL: [Gasp] Have you seen it?
GW: I haven’t seen it yet but the video clips, you are definitely in it. How was that experience?
BL: So great. Actually, I cannot wait for that calendar and the DVD behind the scenes to come out. I mean, I want everybody to buy that because it’s so much fun. We all had such a great time —
GW: — I think it’s sold out.
BL: I know! Well, I think I have to make more because it was so fun to shoot it. I love Christopher Judge. I loved shooting with him. He’s amazing. I think the pictures are brilliant. The behind the scenes DVD is so great. Erica Durance is the hottest thing since sliced bread. If I was a guy, she’d be the girl. [Laughter] She’s so unbelievably beautiful and she decorates the calendar so nicely with her face.
I really had the greatest time. I have nothing but great things to say about that calendar because it was so much fun. It’s so innovative. It’s the smartest thing any actors have done in a long time to merchandise ourselves. It was all Chris and Michael’s [Shanks] idea. But I’m really proud to be a part of it.
I think the Web site is phenomenal. The guys who did the Web site did a really great job. And I’m really excited for 2007.
GW: Yeah, why didn’t it come out this year?
BL: You know what, really it’s a good reason. The distributors don’t buy it — they start buying right now for next year.
GW: Oh, I get it.
BL: Because we all thought it would be 2006 but right now is when everybody’s buying their 2007 calendars. But that calendar was a lot of fun. I love the behind-the-scenes DVD. I think it’s a great idea. And I hope everyone likes the pictures. Have you seen the Web site?
GW: I’ve taken a look at the Web site. They’ve done a very good job with it.
BL: It’s really fun. They have a dichotomy — light and dark, good and bad. Just different, a couple different pictures of everybody.
GW: Well, I can’t wait to see it.
BL: Thank you.
GW: Brandy, thank you so much for taking time to talk with us. I really appreciate talking to you. I’ve been looking forward to this for a very long time, I have to say.
BL: I’m so glad you contacted me. Thank you so much.