It has been almost three years since we’ve had the pleasure of Andee Frizzell’s company. Since that time her role as the Wraith Queen on Stargate Atlantis has expanded to include even more variations.
We caught up with the actress at Creation Entertainment’s 2009 Vancouver Stargate Convention, talking about her latest projects both in and out of acting, weathering the economy, and building the ultimate empire. She also gives us her opinion on Apollonia Vanova’s appearance as the same role in the episode “The Queen.”
This interview runs approximately 12 minutes and is available in video or audio formats. It’s also transcribed below.
Also be sure to visit Andee’s official Web site at AndeeFrizzell.com!
GateWorld: How are you doing?
Andee Frizzell: I’m doing very well, thank you.
GW: What’s been going on lately?
AF: Well, we had a writer’s strike … Oh! You mean …
GW: Financial crisis!
AF: [Laughter] A financial crisis, union bails. Other than that, we had a recession. Oh, you mean…
GW: You personally.
AF: Personally, things have actually been really good for me this year. Unfortunately, not as many productions have been here in the last year. But, because of all those 10 things I just said, I have been working on a few local productions.
What that’s [fewer productions] done for Canadian productions is that the Canadian government is enticed people with grants to create more independent films. I am not working on big budget pictures but I am able to work on those grass-roots productions, which I enjoy a lot. So it gets out of the big budget, sci-fi sort of genre, which I love, and then I get to play mothers and cops. So, it has been fun.
GW: If you go to Wikipedia.com and look up your profile, it says, “best known as the Wraith queen.” Is there ever a fear of you being pigeonholed into the sci-fi market and only being accessible to the sci-fi market?
AF: For me, no. If that would be the case, that would be the best honor ever, because who is the most loyal fan base? I get to go to conventions and get told repeatedly around the world how awesome I am. Who wouldn’t want that? I want to be pigeonholed in sci-fi forever! Please don’t kick me out of the club.
No, not at all. I do find that in Vancouver we shoot a lot of sci-fi, so if there is anything about being pigeonholed it’s not about the sci-fi market itself — more prosthetics. What has happened for me is that people know that I can endure this make-up process. Now, producers are coming up and actually offering parts to my agents based purely on the fact that I can sit in prosthetics.
I wouldn’t say they’re only the horror and that kind of make-up process, but more pigeonholed into that than, say, sci-fi. So I find that a little bit challenging because you can work in productions and people will say, “What have I seen you in? ” I’m like, “have you seen anything scary lately, anything from outer space? That would be me.” I enjoy that very much, I would also enjoy normal-people parts as well.
GW: Or things were people say, “I recognize that face.”
AF: Oh, they recognize me. They just think I am somebody else. Like Tricia Helfer.
GW: That’s even worse Andee.
AF: I remember the motto of last year. My agent actually has it pinned up, “Must book Andee on something her five-year old nephew can watch.” [Laughter] Everything else, my sister won’t let him watch it because she’s like, “He’ll be up for nightmares and nightmares.” So there was a little, “Must book Andee on something …”
GW: Is there anything that you won’t play in that regard. “I have nephew that will eventually see this?” Is there any part that you say to yourself, “I can’t go out for that, that’s against who I am?”
AF: No. I wouldn’t say there is something I would stand against doing. I think, cinema and art. I’ve said before in interviews with you about being one piece of an entire creation. I don’t see that part as something that’s not a creative conglomerate of a lot of different ideas. More so, you look at something and say, “Is that something that I would want to …”
I am totally thinking of a part that was like [screaming] suicide! It was sort of what I thought was a ridiculous concept and it just would have haunted the actor for many years.
GW: Can you give us anymore?
AF: No! All I remember, my agent is like, “they want you to come in,” and I was like “Suicide!” “No way, I’m not doing that. That is actor suicide.” It was just a very “off” show. I don’t even know if it ever did get made. I would turn down those kinds of roles, versus, say, I would take the money, but those kinds of roles are not part of something creative. That’s part of something silly.
GW: It would depend how desperate you are. Are there times where you say to yourself, “I really need the money right now, and I have to go against my [principles]?” Have you ever felt that you had to go against your principles?
AF: No. Never. That’s what I was saying. Thank you for putting it in one word while I put it in a paragraph. I put it in an epilogue. I don’t feel that I have had to turn things down based on my principles. I’ve turned them down based on a career move. If I felt it was a stepping-stone forward or 18 slides back. But, no, I have not had to do that.
And when it comes down to finances, I have other things that I do. I am a writer, I teach yoga. So, when you asked how have I been this year, I’m channeling what’s available through those other things that I do. So I never feel cornered or pigeonholed into having to take a job and going against that principle, because I have other facets and ways of making money and other ways of being creative. So [I don’t] necessarily have to pick something for those reasons.
GW: What does the professional career of Andee Frizzell look like in 10 years? What is your ultimate goal?
AF: I have an empire.
AF: Yup. I am building an empire.
GW: Are we talking jewelry, cosmetics, and things like that. Paris Hilton-style.
AF: I’ll be rapping next season, you got to get my CD. No, not only with my Yoga training and teacher training, I am a certified life coach and motivational speaker.
GW: Can you explain that?
AF: A life coach is basically a coach. What a coach would do for a team is that you inspire your athletes, you get them on diet programs, or training programs that are going to get them to be the best athletes they can be. Well, a life coach basically helps enables people to help themselves, empowers people to get the tools that they need to make successes that they feel that they can be. So you coach them along, and you train them. They have a goal, and you coach them up until they meet that goal.
GW: Do you currently have a protégé?
AF: No, not at this time. Like I said, I am focusing on my 10-year empire. So, I am working on smaller, other projects as well. They say this is the year of the bull, where all the seeds you have been planting, your hard work, this is what it all is right now. I see an empire that involves many different facets of creativity.
A thing that draws that all together, part of the life coaching, enabling people, is with acting, getting people confident with public speaking, et cetera, et cetera, being able to go into job interviews. I use the acting in that; it is all a big spaghetti. They are all interlaced in there somehow.
GW: All roads lead to one.
AF: Yeah! And it really does. In my writing, which is sort of essay style, pretty much the stories that I tell, that’s how I write as well. So taking life lessons or things that have happened to me, and then writing them. So I see 10 years this empire of writing, acting, I don’t know.
GW: For us, the Wraith was the big thing for us.
AF: This far.
GW: The last time we saw you, I don’t think “Allies” had even aired.
AF: I think it was second season. We had just filmed it, because you asked me a question and I was like [whistling]. I couldn’t tell you about it. I remember there was a spoiler.
GW: Aside for one episode, you were the Wraith queen every single time.
GW: You were that character’s identity. Did you see the episode where the other character played?
AF: I did see a little bit of it and when I did see it that’s when I made my theory connection about the height — to make that story line believable and the Wraith queen had to look like Teyla as the Wraith queen. That was my theory.
I don’t know if you were in the room when I was talking and someone had asked that question about the last episode (“The Queen”), my theory is that to make that storyline believable, they needed to have a Wraith queen that could be similar to Teyla, so that Teyla could look like she could pass for a Wraith queen. And her and I are [height-wise] very different. It wouldn’t have looked very believable.
GW: There was another queen in that episode with a very distinct face. Very different in terms of shape compared to you.
AF: I’ve seen clips of it. What I did see was the one with Teyla, and again I think they were trying to make it look like there is more than one look of a queen because up until that point we all looked like me, because they were me.
GW: We discovered that they were cloned. There were a couple floating around out there. A couple of models.
AF: Models. That’s just it, right? It had to [be that way] for that storyline to go.
GW: Were you disappointed to hear that the show was cancelled?
GW: Were you hoping to come back again?
AF: I was hoping, well obviously, I love the character so much. But also, I would have liked to see the Wraith develop so much more. You know how the Borg became developed. I really wanted to see the Wraith really get dissected. I thought that’s where the storylines were going. Especially with the birthing chair, and how they were cloned, and how it was telepathy, all that stuff.
I was sad to see the story end because I thought it was the time for the Wraith to start to shine. Also, because of Christopher [Heyerdahl] and his character. We were really starting to come out. So, it was sad to see that.
GW: Well the movie’s on its way.
AF: That’s it exactly.
GW: Have they been in contact with you about that?
AF: No, no. But, like I said there are other projects going on that I have been doing, scheduling stuff. But, no, unfortunately not.
Interview by David Read. Transcript by Avi Zisook.