You would be hard-pressed to be a science fiction fan and not have come across the work of Nicole de Boer in your television viewing. The Canadian actress has made quite a name for herself in the fantasy universe, from portrayals in Star Trek to The Dead Zone to the cult hit Cube.
GateWorld got the chance to catch up with Miss de Boer at the 2008 Comic-Con convention in San Diego, California, where Nicole had recently completed filming of her first appearance in the Stargate universe in the episode “Whispers”, portraying Dr. Alison Porter.
In our interview with the actress, Nicole discusses her involvement, both in the episode and with Dr. Carson Beckett, as well as taking us back through her whirlwind career in science fiction. We also touch on the importance of strong female roles on television and her desire to reach out to her fans.
GateWorld’s interview with Nicole runs over 7 minutes. It’s available in both video and audio formats, and is also transcribed below!
GateWorld: For GateWorld.net, I’m David Read and I’m here at Comic-Con San Diego, the first big day, with Miss Nicole “de Boer?”
Nicole de Boer “de Boer,” yes. Hello, hello! It’s crazy here.
GW: Doctor, I believe, Alison Porter?
NDB: Doctor Alison Porter on Stargate Atlantis.
GW: One episode this year? “Whispers” so far?
NDB: Just one episode so far.
GW: That you’re allowed to tell us.
NDB: No, that’s all I’ve been invited to do so far!
GW: You’re kidding!
NDB: Well, I think the plan is the whole idea that it’s an all-female away team. I think they want to air the episode and see how people feel about the women, and see what the response is. Then they’ll decide from there which women they might invite back.
GW: Kind of like testing the water.
NDB: Yeah. It’s a little test. Yes.
GW: You’ve been involved in so many big science fiction franchises. Obviously Deep Space Nine, which surely you get the most hits about.
NDB: The biggie. The big institution.
GW: But also some quiet cult hits like The Dead Zone. You’ve been on the Outer Limits.
NDB: I have a film, Cube, that did very well.
GW: Cube, yes. Wasn’t that with David Hewlett?
NDB: It was! Yeah, that was the last time, first and last time, that we worked together. We didn’t get to work together on Stargate Atlantis, because our characters didn’t get to meet. But I got to see him on set, and that was fabulous, because I love David. He’s great.
GW: How did they approach you to get in touch with you about this character. Were they talking about a whole female ensemble? What got you interested?
NDB: Yeah, they were. They called me in to read for it. I actually went in for the character of Major Teldy, and I thought, “Well, I don’t know if I’d be right for that or not.” But I liked the character. But then when they watched my tape they decided, “Oh, no, there’s our Porter. We found our Porter.” So I got an offer and I was like, “Oh, OK, interesting. Oh, it’s for Porter!” OK.
GW: How much of Stargate had you seen?
NDB: I haven’t seen a lot of it. I just caught it here and there. But I liked what I saw.
GW: How does Stargate, with the exposure that you’ve had, how does that compare to the other sets, the other sci-fi shows that you’ve worked on? Is it more stressful? Less? What kind of atmosphere?
NDB: I liked the studios that they film at, Bridge in Vancouver. It’s a great place to work. I just thought the cast and crew were fabulous. They were having a really good time, which is nice to see after so many years [of working together]. It can go either way. It can be a family atmosphere or it can be [that] people get grouchy.
But it’s a really great atmosphere that they have over there.
GW: “Whispers,” the episode you’re in in Season Five, has been talked about just a little, and they say that it’s kind of a spooky show. What can you tell us about your involvement?
NDB: Well from what I know it’s a little departure from the usual Atlantis. It’s scary, it’s like a horror kind of episode. It involves a lot of fog and a lot of creepy, scary things. It involves some chicks with machine guns. Big, big guns.
GW: Something tells me Joe Mallozzi was behind that.
NDB: Hmm … Could it be? Hmm … [Laughter] Yes, no, he was there every day on set, plying us with chocolate. Keeping us well fed with chocolate, taking lots of pictures of us. It was a great time. I think — I hope — that the fans are really going to enjoy that episode. I think so.
GW: You spent a lot of time with Paul McGillion. Is he someone you’ve worked with before?
NDB: I haven’t, but we both have Scottish backgrounds so we clicked immediately. He wouldn’t stop hitting on me the entire time. It was a little embarrassing. No, I’m kidding. Yeah, he’s fabulous. My character, and his character, seems to be a little somethin’-somethin’ …
NDB: Winky-winky going on. So we’ll see.
GW: You don’t die by the end of the episode. Are you hoping to return?
NDB: I would love to come back. I would love to return. I like the character. I like to see where things happen with her. So we’ll see. I wouldn’t say no.
GW: May I ask you a Star Trek question?
GW: Ezri is probably the character you’re most known for. Would you have to agree with that?
GW: After all these years, and I’m sure this is one you get asked all the time, does the ever-greenness of this franchise still surprise you? Even though the television series are in a resting period right now, and now J.J. Abrams is coming back aboard, has this experience changed you in any way? The whole Star Trek experience? Even though you were there for just one season?
NDB: When I came on — Hans Beimler — one of the producers said to me, “This is really going to change your world. This is really going to crazy.” And I already had big garbage bags of fan mail on my first day at work waiting for me. So it is crazy, but I really embrace it. I love it. I love the fans.
I’ve always liked the genre. I was a big fan of [Star Trek] Next Generation. So I was pretty excited to be part of all of that. And I think that it’s a great thing. I think the whole J.J. Abrams — gosh, I would loved to have been a part of that movie.
GW: Paul’s in it!
NDB: Yeah, Paul is one of the people! Lucky him, he got to be in it. I think it’s kind of cool for it to just be calm for a while and have a resurgence, and do another show where I would be old enough to be captain. [Laughter] And that would be the plan. And then there’d be all sorts of new special effects that we’d be capable of doing by that time. So give it a few years and make me captain.
GW: You don’t worry about being typecast? You wouldn’t mind coming back to do another Star Trek?
NDB: No, I would totally do it. I really love being in space. It’s been fun to do other things that aren’t space all the time, but I’m quite comfortable in space. I enjoy it. And you know, you end up doing a lot of stronger things as a woman than just playing some guy’s girlfriend or something, if you get guest spots here and there.
A lot of times, non sci-fi it’s not that gratifying a role, necessarily, to just be “the chick.”
GW: Yeah, you’ve got little girls watching you, like Whoopi Goldberg did with Nichelle Nichols. I’m sure you know about that. “There’s a black lady on TV and she ain’t no maid!” You know?
GW: Now we have women astronauts. But the world still needs strong female role models with a strong moral center.
NDB: Yeah. And sci-fi is starting to become more like the main stream. That’s what everybody’s talking about anyway. So I totally embrace it. I love being a part of it.
GW: Yeah, with all the crap in the world, more and more often we need escapism. And that’s got to be very gratifying to be a part of.
NDB: It is.