Back when the first half of season 3 ended just prior to Christmas, Sanctuary fans were left with one unbelievable cliffhanger. Thankfully, that will get resolved for fans in the USA on Friday.
In a recent phone conference, scifipulse.net along with other websites and bloggers found out more about the second half of the season from Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne.
When asked for their favorite moments from the second half of the third season, Dunne revealed that he enjoyed doing a time-travel episode, which is perhaps the biggest they’ve ever done.
Robin Dunne: The great thing about the second half of season three is that all the things that the team – the Sanctuary team – Magnus and the Sanctuary team have gotten into in the first half really, really become back to the ramifications they have to deal with in the second half. And it’s really quite a roller coaster ride the second half.
I think if I had to pick a favorite moment, we have an episode coming up that is the biggest episode we’ve ever done scope-wise, story-wise, everything. And it takes place in the past, back in World War II, and it was a really special episode to shoot. It’s quintessential Sanctuary thinking outside the box.
When we were on set shooting those things with tanks driving around, it was really quite an experience. So I guess if I had to pick one, I love every single moment, every waking and sleeping moment that I have on Sanctuary. But if I had to pick one, I think it’d be from that episode.
Amanda Tapping: The episode is called “Normandy,” and there was just something very special. There was an interesting vibe on set when we shot it. And the look is very different, but it’s a really cool episode.
When asked what it is about their respective characters that make them want to come to work every day. Amanda Tapping made an interesting observation in regards to perhaps not completely understanding Magnus.
Amanda Tapping: I find her to be such an enigma. And there’s so many things about the decisions that she makes that I still can’t wrap my head around, and to me that’s fascinating as an actor to try to get inside somebody so complex and so kind of confusing.
So, every time we start up the season, I’m like, “Oh, I’ve got to get back inside this woman’s head.” And it’s so different from the way that I think sometimes, that that’s the challenge for me. And, it’s scary and it’s fun to be scared.
As fans will recall, in the last episode of Sanctuary that aired, our entire team was pretty much hanging dead. When asked about how this was achieved, both Tapping and Dunne revealed that they really were hanging.
Amanda Tapping: It was really uncomfortable. No kidding. It was painful after awhile. We were in these rigs that kind of pulled up your back and stretched you out in this weird way, and then we had to have our hands out to the side holding onto these little wires that were hanging down, and it really hurt. And in between takes, they would run and put apple boxes underneath us so we could take a bit of the pressure off our backs.
Robin Dunne: It’s one of those things where you could — you think about at conception like, how hard could it be? We’ve got harnesses on, we’re hanging, and – but then you actually do it and you’re like, “Wow. This is really tiring.”
When asked about the coolest parts of doing their jobs, Tapping and Dunne both agreed that it was their relationships with work mates that made their jobs fun.
Amanda Tapping: I think the coolest thing is the relationships not just between the characters, but honestly between the people that make this show. We’ve always been the little show that could. And this is going to sound hokie as all can be, but we’ve always been the show that people weren’t sure we could ever get it made. It was this little web series. It’s always been a struggle, and I think through that struggle, the relationships were forged even more strongly. And, there’s a huge amount of trust on this set because we all kind of jumped into the fire holding hands together. And so the coolest thing is coming to work and seeing you know 70 smiling faces who all want to be here, and feeling a collective – I don’t know. A sort of selective conscious to make this show really good.
Robin Dunne: Everyone is committed, and everyone should be committed.
Amanda Tapping: Yes. Definitely.
Robin Dunne: But as an example, yesterday we had the first table read of Season 4. And we’ve been off for a few months, and just to get everybody back in the same room and reading together and instantly picking up where we left off; it’s just such an amazing feeling to — like Amanda says — come to work and work with all your friends every day.
But I mean, also have to put up with Martin Wood and Damien Kindler. But you know, nothing is perfect.
But what about the change back to 13 episodes for the fourth season from the 20 that they got in the third? Tapping revealed that 13 feels like the perfect number for the series, but added that having 20 was a help in some ways in regards to fleshing out the story.
Amanda Tapping: I think 13 is a good number for us. Twenty was really hard. It was a great joy because we were able to flesh things out more. And I think had we been given more lead up to starting our season, although we had a network pickup early, we are the little independent television series that needs to get its financing together. So, we really only had five weeks to prep this entire season. And if we were doing 20, I think we’d all be in an insane asylum by now. Thirteen was like, we can do 13 with five weeks. There’s no way we could’ve been prepared for 20.
Robin Dunne: And the classic thing with Sanctuary is that nobody says we can’t do that. So, the Writing team will come up with these huge episodes and doing these things, and everybody just stands together and gets it done. And we’re not a huge show, so it really is an amazing experience to do these different episodes every week, but it is really tiring.
Some folks may have noticed that Magnus is wearing a red wig in some of the scenes from the forthcoming episode titled “Normandy.” During the chat, she was asked about this, and it turns out to be both a little bit of fun and a homage.
Amanda Tapping: It’s sort of an homage to my grandmother, who grew up in England and lived through two World Wars. She was born in 1901 and lived to the ripe old age of 103-1/2. And her entire life had this red bob haircut and dyed her hair red up until she was like 102 I think. And so, that was in homage to her, but I really liked it.
So who knows? I mean the beauty of this character is she’s old enough and has been around enough that she can kind of do whatever she wants.
Thus far in the series Tapping has directed a number of episodes, but we learned during the conference that Robin Dunne is due to take a stab at the director’s chair during an upcoming episode in the fourth season.
Robin Dunne: Episode 6 of Season 4 I will direct, and I think that completely terrifies everyone involved in the show. But yes, it’s going to be exciting. I plan to show up every day to work in a bathrobe and use a megaphone to shout out my directions. But I think that’ll just be a good way to get everyone’s attention.
Amanda Tapping: He’s going to do a great job. One of the things when Martin, Damien, and I formed our company was we really wanted to foster young talent and mentor people into positions where they might not have had the opportunity before. So, we’ve had a lot of first-time directors on our show. Our camera operator Steve Adelson, Lee Wilson directed for the first time. I’ve been given you know three different shots now.
When talking of their respective characters, both actors revealed that they got to explore a completely different side of their characters in an episode that will air close to the end of the third season.
Amanda Tapping: We had a cool episode towards the end of Season 3 that shows you a different side of our characters, and it’s a rather unexpected view of these two people. Magnus much more vulnerable and kind of freaked out than you’ve ever seen her, and…
Robin Dunne: It’s like many episodes of Sanctuary; kind of unrecognizable but in a very different way. I think you could even say that the characters themselves — Will and Magnus — are – don’t even recognize themselves. And it was a really interesting episode to shoot. Completely different location. The lighting. Everything looked like a totally different show and it was very interesting to shoot.
Odd in a way because you’re playing the same character but in a completely different realm. And yes; it was exciting.
Sanctuary returns to Syfy in the USA later tonight. When the series will return to UK cable and Satellite Channel Watch has not yet been determined.
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By Ian M. Cullen