One hundred interviews is quite a milestone for GateWorld co-editor David Read, and he is pleased to make Amanda Tapping his interview for the century mark!
With the character of Helen Magnus in development for three years, Tapping is eagerly paving the way for the role in Season Two of Sanctuary. But as an executive producer for the series she is taking in far more than just Magnus — she is learning what it means to be a show runner.
GateWorld talks about this ongoing journey, as well as Amanda’s recent charity work, the trip to the Arctic for Stargate Continuum, and her hopes of returning as Samantha Carter in the upcoming Stargate movies!
The interview runs 33 minutes, and is available in video, audio, and transcribed below! For the audio version you can listen online at your leisure, or download it to your MP3 player.
GateWorld: Amanda Tapping, decked out as Helen Magnus.
Amanda Tapping: Hello.
GW: Hello. And my 100th solo interview.
AT: Rock star! [High Fives Interviewer] Awesome! Congratulations!
GW: So you want to switch — you want to interview me?
AT: I do! [Laughter] How do you feel? Who’s been your favorite interview so far? What’s the weirdest question you’ve ever asked? What’s the weirdest answer you’ve ever gotten? [Laughter] I would be good and that’s totally on the fly. Imagine if I thought about it.
GW: Was number one with Amanda, too?
GW: Number two was Amanda.
AT: Who was number one?
GW: Number one was Jacqueline Samuda.
AT: Awww, I love her.
GW: I do, too. It was text, though, so … but it still counts.
AT: It still counts.
GW: So 100 — thank you.
AT: I’m thrilled. I’m honored to be your 100th.
GW: So how are things?
AT: Awesome. We are in our second week of shooting season two o’ Sanctuary. We’ve just come back into the studio, we were on location for the first week. We’re here. It’s good. It’s been a long, hard road to get this show going. We don’t have the backing of a major studio and financing is always an issue and trying to get it. It’s been a real education.
In some ways the fact the it’s been so difficult and the fact that we have been through so much crap to get here has made the experience that much sweeter now that we’re here, and certainly has made Damian and Martin and my relationship that much more solid. We literally feel like we’ve been through a war together. But we’re here, it’s good. It’s awesome, it’s awesome. We’re here.
GW: It’s great for you guys.
AT: The show is doing well. I think we’re now in 50 countries around the world.
AT: Yeah. We’re getting amazing ratings in ITV in Britain and amazing ratings on SciFi. CTV in Canada, which is a network as opposed to our cable station TM, that had us before CTV, has now taken on the show so we’ll be on the Space Network which means everyone in Canada can watch it which is great for us, because part of the bummer is that we’re shooting in our own country, a hundred-percent Canadian show, and Canadians don’t get to see it.
GW: Yeah, I know, isn’t that amazing?
AT: So it’s cool. Yeah, and like I said, 50 countries, so…
GW: I will be honest with you, I anticipated that the show would be picked up in a second season and be successful. I did not anticipate that the show would be this successful. Has that blown you away?
AT: Yeah, you know, it’s interesting. It’s redefined my definition of success. We are in many ways — numbers-wise a good success. Financially, we are far from being a success. That’s OK. With a television series it takes a few years to get your momentum.
GW: You’re coming in every morning, and Olivia’s being fed and your bases are being covered there.
AT: We all have jobs. The fact that we were able to turn to our crew and invite them back, much later than we had hoped, once again we were under the gun trying to get the money together, but the fact that we were able to make those phone calls – happiest days for us. We were literally going, “We have a green light. You start Monday.”
GW: So there was a concern for a while?
AT: For sure. There always is. I mean the thing is that, even though we were picked up around the world, we still needed the money to make the show.
GW: Okay, so no studio backing means no money coming in.
AT: Means you have to find somebody to finance that gap.
GW: Private investors?
GW: So that’s how it working? Good for you guys. Wow.
GW: I didn’t know that you could do that.
AT: I think, too, with the financial crisis hitting, Season Two was …
GW: So it hit Sanctuary too?
AT: I mean season one we put a lot of our own money into it, so yeah, of course it did. I mean the people that were financing us last year went, “We don’t know if we can.” And it just became this whole… and they ended up helping and .. gap … and banks … aaah.. la-la-la…
GW: I’m sure as an Executive Producer you sit in on all the story meetings.
GW: Has it been difficult to tell the kinds of stories that you want to tell? I’m mean it’s obviously an intensely visual effects-heavy show.
GW: You know, you guys do landscapes great and backgrounds great. What I’m looking for is — let’s see the animals of Sanctuary and the people of Sanctuary …
AT: You will, oh, you will.
GW: …Fight to defend themselves as a group. Are we approaching things like that?
AT: That’s exactly what’s happening. You seem a lot more…
GW: After watching the finally I was like, “Man, they have to mobilize.”
AT: Absolutely. This season already — Martin just came from the edit suite and was so stoked about what’s going on and that the show’s looking better than it did last year, and we were really proud of what we were able to put together last year, but definitely you’re going to see a lot more creatures this year.
You’re going to see a lot more of the denizens of the Sanctuary and you’re going to see a lot more of the team. All of the character stuff that you expect to start to happen in Season Two. Season One was a lot of information and a lot of introducing of characters and story arcs and Season Two – is going to blow up. It’s great. We’re very excited. The stories are huge this year.
GW: You’ve expanded your writing staff this year – Alan McCullough is in here. It’s nice to have him over.
AT: It’s lovely to have him over — he’s a great guy. And we’ve got Sarah Cooper here and James Thorpe. I mean this is SciFi pedigree, you know? Sarah Cooper’s been writing SciFi for a long time and Alan we love.
GW: He’s definitely proven himself on Atlantis, no problem there. Where do you want this character to go this year? We kind of established who she was last year, her background, why she’s immortal, things like that …
AT: I’m going to be brutally honest about it. When we shot the webisodes, there was a dark, mysterious kind of edge to Magnus and when we brought the show to TV for a lot of different reasons, network concerns.
GW: Yeah, network had a big hand in that.
AT: …had a big hand and rightly so. I felt in some ways like we homogenized Helen a bit and in some ways the pilot. And I think the sort of darker, more mysterious elements are sexier and more interesting, and there are roads that we can travel down. I didn’t want her to be so … “Mary Poppins” esoteric. [Laughter.]. So, by nature of the stories, the stories are really dictating what’s happening to her, but we’re going to see a much darker edge to her.
“Requiem” proved that the character could still go completely black and be interesting and redeem herself. And so I think that proved to the network that there was more to play with with this character. That she didn’t have to be so trying to please everybody.
GW: What about humor, Amanda? I’ll never forget the quote that you said for Sam – “When do I get to be funny? Sam’s not funny, damn her!”
AT: Yeah, that’s true.
GW: What about the humor aspect of Magnus? I’ll be brutally honest with you, I think she’s very serious. The life that she’s had does speak to that, so I’m not saying that she needs to …
AT: There’s a gravitas to her that comes from the fact that she’s as old as she is. There’s a weight to that, there’s a loneliness to that. There’s a swing at the bottom of this character that really … you see her lighten up. Once she becomes more comfortable with Will, you’ll see her sense of humor. You’ll see cheekiness from her.
You see it with Ashley, you’ll see it with Bigfoot, with Henry. Her humor is so sophisticated, and in some ways unsophisticated, because she is very cheeky about it, but I think it right now she’s not that funny. There’s a lot of stuff going on for her, and I don’t think that the humor is as important right now.
You’ll see elements of her warmth, but I don’t think at this point it’s important for her to be that funny. I think the darker edge on her, which when you balance that out with some humor, actually makes the humor more poignant, because you’ve seen her like, [groans].
GW: While this is on my brain, I want to ask this – how can we see Stuck? I have always wanted to see Stuck. Well, I’ve always wanted to ask you that.
AT: They have shown it, I think. Last time I did a GateCon, fans had copies of it.
AT: Yeah. It was a lovely project. It was a lovely experience, as an actor. It was really cool thing to do. We didn’t have the money, we didn’t have the production …we certainly were able to use sets that we shouldn’t have been able to use because we had a great producer that got use into places, and we had a great cast.
The director had a really cool idea of how he wanted to do things. I think when it all came together it wasn’t quite the wildly crazy indie that we all wanted it to be, but certainly, in it’s own merit, was a cool exercise.
GW: So, but tough luck any of us wanting to get a chance to see it?
AT: Well, apparently somebody got in touch with the director and was able to get a copy. I don’t even think I have a copy. To be perfectly honest with you. I don’t, yeah.
You know what? I lied. I do. A fan sent me a copy. That’s how you get copies — you got to get to know the fans. Clearly you have no “in” with the fans.
GW: Maybe after this someone interview someone will say “here you go.”
AT: Clearly the fans don’t listen to you guys at all. Apparently it’s just the actors who go on your site to find out what’s going on. [Laughter]
GW: The main that I wanted to talk about with you last year when dragging you into the interview room with no hair and make-up done or anything like that, the USO tour – very special, thank you for that. But we didn’t get to talk about Stargate Continuum. What an experience that must have been and I know you guys have talked about the Arctic again, and again, and again, but I’m going to make you again.
AT: Oh no, I have no problem talking about it. We actually just talked to Barry Campbell. Martin and I —
GW: Isn’t he great guy?
AT: He left me a message from the APLIS camp. So I called the SAT phone and I got the command center, and it was the day that we had arrived two years ago. It was March 23rd.
GW: Was it just coincidence?
AT: No, he called and left a message and I was like “Let’s call him today ‘cause this is the day we got up there.” And so I got the SAT phone, got the “APLIS camp command center” and I said, “It’s Amanda Tapping calling for Barry Campbell. Is he around?” He happened to be in the command hut. “Hey Barry, it’s Amanda!” And put him on speaker phone, “And Martin! Hello!” He’s like “Oh, it’s so wimpy here, it’s only minus 30 here.” I’m like, “You wimps — minus 30 — we shot in minus 58.”
GW: The first day that you got there, that long shoot coming in with the sun in the background — wasn’t that like minus 50 or something, Martin said?
AT: Minus 58.
GW: Man. Fond memories, thinking back on that experience?
AT: Absolutely, from the word go. Absolutely. It was one of those experiences where you had to, a hundred percent, embrace it, otherwise you’re a creep. It was like, “Don’t be a jerk, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You’re going to live on a moving ice flow, in a camp in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. You’re going to see a nuclear submarine crash through the ice, and you’re going to get to go on the nuclear submarine, and the whole time you’re filming a movie. ”
GW: Yeah, you are not going to be able to do that until Continuum 2.
AT: Like, come on … Yeah, exactly! Ben and I were walking along, doing that huge helicopter shot and we were like, “Oh my god!” Nobody has ever walked here before — this is frozen ocean and nobody will ever walk here again. And then it turned out we got the Guinness Book of Records for “the furthest north film shoot ever in the history of…” and that’s cool.
GW: You’d think that National Geographic would’ve done something like that, but no, it’s Stargate frickin Continuum!
AT: Stargate and their darn Guinness World records. Yeah, it was magical. There’s no showers up there, so it’s like, wipes and… But I had to wash my hair because we were filming the next day and I had to. Brenda — our hair dresser — we filled this Hudson sprayer with warm water off the stove.
You go to the kitchen and you boil it, and you’d get ice, and you’d fill it up with ice so that it reaches the right temperature, and you pump it and then you spray… It was crazy. I’d just [look at the camera] and, “Here I am.”
Even that, we just kept pinching ourselves. I kept a journal and I actually read the journal after I talked to Barry. “Aww man.” The flight over and that moment of release where you sort of go, [takes deep breath] OK, here we go. We didn’t know what to expect. Way over-packed, but you have to be prepared for everything.
That we had such a small, amazing crew. Everything about it was special. Brenda and I were just talking about it in the trailer – Brenda who did hair and make-up. We were just talking about it today in the make-up trailer. I mean that’s how profound the experience [was] – two years later we’re still — “Remember when…?”
GW: When you were getting the briefing and people like CJ [Chris Judge] said “No, not for me,” was there ever a part of you that said, that asked yourself, “Am I capable of actually doing this?” It’s like a walkabout — you’re finding yourself.
AT: Absolutely. It’s a bit of a soul search, because it seemed like a good idea — “Let’s go to the Arctic and film a movie,” right? And it’s exciting.
GW: It’s life and death though.
AT: And then all of a sudden, you’re in this briefing, and you go, “Oh, crap. This is way more serious than I thought. This is — oooo.”
Afterwards I remember going home to Alan and saying “Wow, we could fall through the ice. There’s polar bears there, like for real, and they see use as upright seals, I’m a meal.” All the different elements were described, the frostbite … Then when you get up there, after about 18 hours in the camp, you’re so comfortable.
I mean for sure you’re still scanning the horizon for polar bears and you’re still very aware of checking each other. Ben and I were frost bite buddies when we were filming, just to check each other. You’re very aware of that, but you get so comfortable. You figure everything out.
The first night I had my pack on the floor everything froze: my toothbrush, my wipes, everything was frozen, my boots were frozen. And then you realize at night you got to pull every thing up off the floor because it’s just so cold. And before you go for breakfast, you stick hot shots in your boots and you stick them on your bunk so by the time you come back from breakfast you can put your boots on and they’re warm. All the little tricks, that by day three, you’re like old a pro.
GW: It’s like you’ve never been anywhere else.
AT: And then coming back to civilization is like this weird, “Oh, it’s so loud in Anchorage!” [Laughter]
GW: But you get to go home and kiss your baby.
AT: I left the day that Olivia turned two.
GW: I remember e-mailing you back and forth and saying, “Are we going to be able to interview you?” And your saying, “No, I need to be able to spend this time with my kid, because you never know, anything can happen.” That’s why no one shoots that far up north.
AT: Exactly, exactly. But it turned out to be a phenomenal experience.
GW: We got to see the film with you for the first time in the theater – what a great experience that was. What did you think of the final product?
AT: I loved it, I loved it. It was interesting, because the Arctic stuff, I was like, “That’s it? All that time and that’s it?” And yet sometimes I was like, “Wow.” I thought the Arctic stuff went on for a bit too long and then by the same token when it was over I was like, “Oh, oh that’s over.”
But I think the film brought everything in it, you know? There was a really good heartfelt story at the center of it all. The vis-effects blew me away. The ships — holy moley. It looked amazing. And we actually got to see the film again in San Diego at Comic Con.
GW: I was there, too.
AT: Yes. On an aircraft carrier. Which was-
AT: Oh, it was ridiculous. It was a ridiculous experience. And fans! Which was very cool, like 150 fans were there. That was awesome to be able to watch the movie with them. But you’re sitting on an aircraft carrier in the middle of San Diego Harbor and the film is up on, in your … [indicates the screen size]… Pinch me!
GW: The kawoosh was so big it blew out the speakers in the front. [Laughter]
AT: It was amazing, it was an amazing experience. The people that were in it and to have Don [Davis] there. So, it was really special, very special. I have to go to set, I might see you in a bit. [Leaves.]
GW: You guys just started back filming Season Two this past week. What should fans be excited about for this season? And what should viewers who are going to be tuning in for the first time this fall be looking forward to the most? Loaded question, Amanda. Go.
AT: It’s a bit intense a question there, my friend. We ended on something really insane when we finished our first season, so obviously the conclusion to that, which is a big two-parter. Like I said before, Martin has been watching the rough assembly of the scenes so far and it’s bigger and faster and slicker than what we did last year, so I’m excited by that. The conclusion to what happens is pretty intense, and the subsequent fallout from that.
Like we talked about before, meeting more creatures in the sanctuary and from different sanctuaries. And more edge to our characters. A lot of things happen to them in the first few episodes, and it’ll carry through the season.
GW: Damian just told us you guys are going to be taking some risks with the nature of how the characters — not necessarily everyone is safe. The last shot in the first season, “Oh my gosh what’s happened with Ashley?” What’re they going to do with that?
AT: We’re taking some risks for all the characters. In terms of what their journeys are, we’re taking risks and showing a darker side. [Amanda turns away from the interviewer.] No respect, Damian Kindler! Seriously, he’s like a kid.
GW: Truth be told, you interrupted his interview with Martin Wood last time we were here.
Damian Kindler: Thank you. David. Thank you.
AT: He my best friend. I love him. Everyone has something pretty intense to go through this season.
GW: [To the publicist] Can I ask her when we’re premiering?
AT: Fall is all I’m allowed to say. I thought I had an exact date and I actually said that in an interview, and then somebody said, “No, we don’t know for sure if that’s the exact date,” and I said “OK …” So Fall 2009.
GW: How is Olivia?
AT: She’s awesome. Olivia is awesome. She just turned four.
GW: Wow. Really?
GW: Is that Olivia in the opening?
AT: The 200,000 dollar question. It is. We actually had a situation were they wanted to show a bit of the history of Helen and Ashley and so there was talk about hiring a little girl and doing the photo session with her, and then Martin looked at me and said, “Your daughter looks just like a young Emilie [Ullerup] with white [hair].”
And I said, “Yeah.” He said “How do you feel?” I said, “Well, it’s kind of cool.” It’s a cool thing for her — “I was the kid in the opening of my mom’s show.” A friend of mine took the photo and I happened to have it.
GW: It’s a great shot.
AT: I showed it to the people at Pure in New York, who were doing our opening title sequence — who are awesome — and they said, “Yeah, this is great.” And so my friend, Karen Lehner, who’s one of the trustees of the Waterkeeper Alliance, which is one of the charities I’m heavily involved with, she took that picture. I phoned Karen, “Can we use your picture?” She’s awesome, she was like, “Yeah, absolutely.” So, yeah, that is my daughter Olivia in the opening credits.
GW: Would you be opposed to her at some point playing or appearing as a younger version of Ashley?
AT: We’ve actually talked about that.
GW: It makes sense.
AT: It does make sense. I don’t know. She’s going to be a better actress than I could ever hope to be. She’s already amazing at four. She does accents and she thinks of these characters …
GW: You think this is something she will pursue when she gets older? Follow after mama?
AT: Sadly, I do. Yeah, she’s natural. So, who knows? But I’m not pushing, at all. I’m not going to be one of those moms — “Go… get the Crest commercial.” [Laughter] No, I not going to push it. But we’ll see, I’m open to anything.
GW: Sweet, that’s great. For those fans who may not quite be sold on Sanctuary after Season One —
GW: … I don’t know if any exist,
AT: I don’t know if any exist. I think you’re crazy.
GW: …but theoretically speaking, what would you say Season Two is going to do that Season One maybe did not quite accomplish?
AT: I think that it’s going to bring the edge back that the webisodes have. It’s edger, it’s slicker, we have more money for vis-effects this year. I think already our effects were mind-blowing, but there’s even more money in the budget for that this year.
We started off with so little time to roll out our first season – we were literally getting scripts the week before. We’ve had a bit more time to at least assemble scripts, and so I think there’s a lot more thought into how this season flows out.
GW: Catch your breath a little bit.
AT: Yeah, a little bit. Having said that, we had three and a half weeks to prep up a huge two-parter, which is not enough time. But I think it’s a cool show. I’m really proud of this show and I’m proud of the fact that it’s coming from a place as small as it is, and being as big as it is.
I think Damian’s an amazing writer. All the scripts are going through his typewriter at the end and so it’s going to have more of a singular vision than it did last year. And I think Martin is going to be directing at least half of them again this year. Maybe a bit less. We’ve got a great roster of directors, of which I will be one.
GW: You’re finally going to direct? Have you got a slot yet?
AT: I’m going to be a director. Yeah, I think I’m doing episode six.
GW: It’s about time. That’s my girl.
AT: Yeah, I’m really excited about it. I’m nervous about directing this. I mean Stargate I was really nervous about directing, but this is like, “That’s way too many hats, that’s a lot of balls in the air.”
GW: But just like you said for Stargate, everyone is behind you 100 percent.
AT: Absolutely. I have a great team.
GW: You have a net underneath you.
AT: Absolutely, I do have a safety net. If I do fall flat on my face, there’s somebody there to grab my collar and pull me back up.
But anyway, I’m really proud of this team. I’m really proud of Martin and I’m really proud of Damian and I’m proud of the team that we’ve assembled here. And I think the show we’re making is going to be better than last year.
GW: Robin expressed the fact that because of the web series two years ago it feels almost like starting a third season instead of a second season.
AT: In some ways, yeah.
GW: The character of Helen Magnus — are you getting to the point where she feels a bit more lived in?
AT: Yes. Yeah, and it’s interesting, I was talking to Martin about the fact that, you know we were talking about Helen. There’s a weight to her, a gravitas because of her age and what she’s experienced. And I started to feel that as the season was starting and I went, “Oh, why am I feeling so heavy? Why am I … What is this?” I should be so elated and excited, we’re about to start the season. Oh, I’ve got Magnus in me. Magnus has arrived. Here she is.
GW: Well, like you said in Joseph Mallozzi’s blog, once you go home, you have to turn her off, because it’s family time.
AT: Absolutely. Oh, absolutely. Joe did give me a great gift — that was a treat to do that Q&A. That was really fun.
GW: You are wearing the hat of Executive Producer, unlike you did on Stargate. N. John [Smith], and Rob [Cooper] and Brad [Wright] would run through the hoops with the networks. And now you kind of have to do that with SciFi. Is that teaching you a lot of lessons? Are you having a great deal more respect for them? Not that you didn’t have before.
AT: Yeah, and in fact I went up to Brad and Rob and Joe and said “I’m sorry for every stupid question I ever came into your office and asked you when I was an actor. I’m really sorry.”
You’re constantly barraged with questions. And you are dealing with a lot of different factors. I mean on Stargate it was MGM, it was SciFi, it was the Canadian Network, plus the production, plus the cast, plus the crew, plus the everything that’s going on, and you’re writing scripts, and you’re dealing with it creatively How do you get it all done? And your post-production and pre-production and…
So, yeah, I always had a huge amount of respect for them. I just don’t think I quite understood what they did, the full extent of what they did, and now I do and I go, “Ho, wow.”
I mean the phone calls alone — the fact that I don’t think Martin, Damian, and I really ever get lunch because we’re always on a call with the network or a conference call with somebody about something, or where we’re having a concept meeting or a meeting with a department head about the next episode. There’s never a break.
So I have a lot of respect for executive producers. And less respect for actors, surprisingly. [Laughter]
GW: “Rob and Chris, shut up. Get over there and work. We pay your bills, dammit.”
AT: No, we have a great cast, so it’s cool, it’s cool.
GW: What else is 2009 bringing for Amanda Tapping? Your charities? You mentioned Waterkeeper.
AT: Apparently the Board of Trustees is going to invite me to become a board member for the Waterkeepers. It’s an organization that’s hugely important to me, so I’ll be doing work with them.
We finish shooting our season in July and then we’re in post-production. I’ve been offered a film that would shoot in late summer/early fall called “Water’s Edge,” which I’m excited about. And then the Stargate movie is potentially happening late fall, is what I’m hearing.
GW: Can you give us an update on that? Are you planning or expecting to do both the SG-1 and Atlantis movies when they happen?
AT: Dunno. I know for sure I want to do, will be doing the SG-1 movie. Atlantis — Joe had mentioned the possibility of a cameo, but until I’m sitting on the set drinking tea with the crew… it’s not real.
GW: Blonde wig the entire time? Or do you think Sam will dye her hair?
AT: No, I think what I’ll do is lighten it up somewhat for Sam. I think the wig doesn’t really work. And in a film, when you’re that close and it’s that big, I just would not feel comfortable being in a wig.
I finish Helen Magnus. I don’t know what I’ll look like for the movie in between, but in all likelihood I might cut my hair a little bit, and go a bit lighter. I won’t go back to pure blonde because it’s too hard to go back and forth, but I’ll go lighter.
GW: Are you happy with the dark hair?
AT: You know what? I love it. I went lighter through the hiatus, a little bit.
GW: The roots are lighter!
AT: “My blonde roots are showing, crap!” And it’s interesting, when you do get really dark hair, if you’re not used to it, you sort of feel a little sad at first. And every time I look in the mirror and I’m like … But then there’s a part that makes me feel kind of sexy. You can tell by the way I’m sitting.
GW: No, I first saw you for the first time on the Midway, and it was like, “Wow.”
AT: Yeah, there’s a totally different feeling to it.
GW: When I first heard you were going dark, it was like, “No, I don’t think so.” And then it was it works.
AT: Got lucky, I can tell you guys.
GW: Especially if you can wear this outfit all the time.
GW: It’s pretty sharp, man. You were standing next to me and I could smell the leather and, wow.
AT: So, busy. That pretty much takes me to Christmas. And I’m doing a few convention appearances. I’ll be doing GABIT again in England in November, praying that the movie and GABIT work out, and raising some money there for Waterkeepers and for the Hearing Dogs [for Deaf People] again, so, yeah, I’m busy.
Did I say I’m starting a charitable foundation? I’m starting a non-for-profit organization this year — “Sanctuary for Kids.” I don’t know if that’s the official name yet, but the idea is that it will be working with a bunch of smaller charities for children. Kamil, who runs my Web site, was recently in Nepal and worked with a Nepal orphan fund and worked in an orphanage and just him coming back so inspired.
“Well, there’s probably a charity that doesn’t get a lot of funding, because not a lot of people have access to Nepal and what’s going on there.” And unless it’s in front of people’s eyes, it’s not something they think about, so that’s definitely something we’ll be raising money for. So far, as it’s rolling out, I’m getting a lot of support.
GW: So the idea is an organization that helps get funds to other organizations?
AT: It’s a not-for-profit organization, basically just a funnel. I’ll raise money through different events and then that money will be disbursed around the world to smaller charities. The ultimate idea for Kamil and I is to have the Web site as a connective tissue for people who …
You, for example you may know of a really great charity in your area, write into the Web site and say, “If you’re in the New Jersey area, then this is a great organization.” And so people hear about small organizations. I mean, we all know about the big ones and they get a huge amount of press, as they should, but the smaller ones don’t often.
And in this current economic climate, the chances of those smaller charities raising the kind of money they need to raise, which is part of what precipitated this, was it becomes impossible. Funding is impossible. And so if I can, in a small way, help. In Nepal for example, $80 helps one girl for a year. It’s ridiculous. It’s kind of a no-brainer.
GW: What you did with the Montessori school …
AT: I was blown away. We raised $25,000. That was crazy. And that was a template, that was the idea in doing that was as a template for fundraising for other organizations. And so now it looks like it’ll be a not-for-profit organization and we’ll fan out.
But it’s the idea of letting people know about the smaller charities and giving people an opportunity to come to us. And for the fans interact on a different level. “Hey, I’m in Australia and and I run a small charity that gets used baby clothing for mothers who don’t have a lot of money.” “Hey, I’m in Britain and I do the same thing!” “Oh hey, I’m in South Africa, and I do the same thing and what kind of resources…?” And maybe people can start talking — that kind of thing. So it’s just a connective tissue is the idea that Kamil and I have kind of talked about. And I’m working with a woman, Jill Bodie, who’s helping me roll out the not-for-profit idea.
GW: Very cool. So your plate is kind of full for the next year.
AT: A little bit full. Plus being a Mummy. [Laughs.]
GW: So I can’t ask you out for dinner …
AT: And of course at the top of that whole big pyramid of stuff is Alan and Olivia. And George, the dog.
GW: And George. How big is George now?
AT: He’s 110 pounds now.
GW: [Laughter] The Bouvier. Oh man!
AT: He’s like almost three times the size of Olivia.
AT: He’s a good boy.
GW: I bet he’s just a love. I know young kinds who have big dogs in their lives and then a little dog comes, and they go, “Oh my God, a little dog. It’s going to [freak me out]!”
AT: And then she gets freaked out by the little dog. She does. Big dog she’s like, “Hey, how’s it going?!”
GW: Thank you Amanda.
AT: Thank you. And thank you!
Interview by David Read. Transcript by Nora Allstedt.