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Actor Edward James Olmos Explains How Battlestar Galactica Leads to Blade Runner

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The BSG star goes double-duty directing The Plan, a movie depicting the series from the Cylon’s point of view. He describes adding nudity to the franchise, explains how the movie answers lingering questions, and dishes on his role in Green Hornet.

Q: Was directing this Battlestar movie different than directing a normal episode of the series?

A: Oh yeah. This became probably one of the most ambitious pieces of work that’s ever been done for Battlestar, because it became a situation of having to encompass in two hours a span that took two years to create in the front story. The hard part was trying to make one cohesive solid story. It could easily have become a clip show, and just the opposite has happened. It took me almost nine months of editing — it became a real tour-de-force on the part of trying to structure the piece and getting it down to the nuances of the performance.

Q: Some fans complained that Battlestar Galactica didn’t answer all the questions it posed. Will this movie rectify that?

A: In some cases, yes. We answer questions that people are going to sit there and go, “Oh my God!” — things as simple as who told Adama there were only twelve models. But in other cases there are still some questions that are not answered. And that’s OK. Life has a tendency to hit you with that. And nothing that we’re doing is really fictional. Kind of just like waiting for it to be a reality. Rod Serling and Ray Bradbury allowed their imaginations to go, and here we are today living with a lot of peoples’ imaginations gone wild.

Q: So you enjoyed the last scene of the series when Six and Baltar are standing in Times Square.

A: Oh boy. If you take the entire trip and you get to the end and you see the last scene, all you have to do is put in Blade Runner a few years later and you’ve got a complete story! [Laughs] Gaff is a direct descendant of Admiral Adama, and he even looks like him! I can’t even tell you how uncanny that is.

Q: When The Plan DVD comes out, it will be uncensored. What do things like nudity and language add to the experience?

A: Basically, it enhances the reality of the piece. It’s the most authentic piece we’ve done for Battlestar — you’ll see the world that they lived in, and the stark reality is there. In many ways it was in the show also, just not as forthright as it is in The Plan. It wasn’t used to shock — it’s used to augment the situation and bring you inside of what it is we did best, which is create a world where men and women stood by each other and gender had little to do with the time of day.

Q: Do you have any ideas for future BSG movies?

A: Oh are you kidding? I have great thought processes going on as to what is going on 200,000 years ago with humanity and those that arrived on this planet. I think about it constantly, the fact that Adama went on to have to do some things with Colonel Tigh when they find out certain things are going on with the planet due to their arrival — what they have to deal with to save the planet from self-destructing. You put the fixture of humanity and machine with the creatures that were walking around 200,000 years ago, and you’re going to have a real collision of civilizations.

Q: Do you think it will get made?

A: Depending on how The Plan does, yes. Glen Larson’s going back and doing a feature length picture for Universal on the original, but I think the fanbase would really love to continue to understand this world of Battlestar, the way it was reimagined. I’m hoping both have great success — the franchise deserves being elevated.

Q: You’re playing Michael Axford in Green Hornet. Have you perfected your “Sufferin’ Snakes!” exclamation?

A: [Laughs] No. Actually we don’t even use it, that certain phrase, because it’s a trademark of the radio show. It was used a little bit in the 1966 television show too. But I will say I’m having a wonderful time. You gotta watch out for [Axford] — he’s a rogue reporter in every sense. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to him if the franchise continues.

Q: Christoph Waltz recently replaced Nicolas Cage as the movie’s villain. Was that a big change?

A: Nicolas Cage had to go off and do something else, and I think that what happened was an incredible uplifting moment for the entire movie. Not that Nicolas would not have been fantastic — he would have been — but it’s a whole different movie with Christoph. I’m having a wonderful time, and all I can tell you is I hope that Battlestar will create as much work for me in the future as it has in the last few months.

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