Interview with Kandyse McClure

Kandyse McClure plays Erika on the mystery show "Persons Unknown" but she is probably best known for her role Dualla in the highly acclaimed scifi drama "Battlestar Galactica". Kandyse talks about both shows, what drew her to play the mysterious Erika on "Persons Unknown" and what it is like to be a part of the phenomenon that is "Battlestar Galactica".

Foto: Copyright: Kevin Clark
© Kevin Clark

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1. After graduating from high school you planned on pursuing a medical career. What made you change your mind to get started in acting?

I didn't really change my mind as much as had it changed for me. In a way it was not a conscious decision to choose one over the other. Acting just sort of happened while I was dreaming up ways to pay for school. Then school sort of faded into the background at a certain point. I still have a passion for the medical sciences and hope one day to go back to that original dream.

2. In "Higher Ground" you played your first main character in a TV show. Do you still keep in touch with some of your colleagues from that show?

It's amazing to me that the show is still in reruns! It was an incredible introduction to the world of television series. We used to be more in touch but it has been around 10 years since now. I run into a couple of the kids now and again but we aren't as close as we used to be.

3. You play a part in the new NBC show "Persons Unknown". Your character already helped to solve some secrets. How much did you know about that part before getting the job?

I love that character! You get breakdown notes when an audition first comes in... an overview of social, economic and personality traits, but there was a lot of mystery around who she really was and what her role in the series would be. I looked for clues as the scripts came in. She had a lot of potential to shift from script to script.

4. Do you already know what happens in the finale of this first season? Do you think that your viewers will be satisfied?

You never really know what the final edit will be - those decisions often happen very close to the end. And we actors often find out when you do! But I do hope people enjoy the show, definitely. And to want more!

5. Do you already know if the show gets a second season?

I haven't heard anything yet - fingers crossed! I think there is a petition to keep in on the air going around.

6. What made you audition for "Persons Unknown"? Was there something special about the character you play now?

I go in for every opportunity to audition. Unless I know it will conflict with other work or is really not something i want to do - but that's very rarely. You never know what things become so showing up for all auditions is key.
The thing about Erika was that she was someone I had never really had the chance to play. Very raw, very masculine in many ways and quite violent. It was a captivating challenge.

7. "Battlestar Galactica" is one of TV's highly acclaimed character-dramas, certainly the best one in sci-fi. It deals with social criticism and the deepest human emotions. Have you expected the show to be that way?

We all knew from the very start that BSG was going to be something very different from anything we had worked on before and probably will again. Something bigger than us. It was a really palpable feeling during shooting. I am often humbled by how much of an impact on people the show has had. It's incredible.

8. You've been to this year's FedCon in Bonn, Germany. What did you enjoy most about the convention? Did you have a chance to see the fireworks festival "Rhine in Flames" in the Rhine park near the hotel?

I did see the fireworks! We all went up onto the roof of the hotel to watch. It was beautiful. I had an amazing time at the convention - although I don't think I've drank that much beer in my life. I blame Aaron ;-) The fans were really great - passionate and out to have a good time. I also got to have a few fan moments of my own, getting to meet Michael Dorn and Terry Farrell! And as always, any chance I get to hang out with my BSG family is awesome.

9. It seems as if you and Tahmoh Penikett still get along very well. Did the two of you keep in touch after the ending of "Battlestar Galactica" or was it the first time you saw each other again at the FedCon?

Tahmoh and I are very close. He's like the big brother I never had. We see each other as often as we can. I love that kid.

10. At the FedCon Aaron Douglas talked a lot about how "Battlestar Galactica" affected his personal life. Did the show have an impact on your life, too?

Absolutely. The show changed me in very deep and profound ways - both in having to explore my ideas about the subject matter but also how it moved me on a personal level. It often paralleled what I was experiencing in my own life and was sometimes an emotional roller coaster!

11. Aaron, Tahmoh, Lucianna and you seemed to have a lot of fun on stage. Was it like that on set, too? Were there pranks you can tell us about?

We do have a lot of fun when we get together and it was very much like that on set. There weren't many pranks going around though - no time! - but it was like any family dynamic - we always joked around with one another. I think the only thing I did was show up for a scene... walk and talk with Colonel Tigh in the hallway.... wearing a tiara and a feather boa ;-)

12. You said Dualla is one of the tragic characters on "Battlestar". Is it difficult to play these emotions when you just had fun with your fellow actors and when you're surrounded by cameras and the whole crew?

There were certainly a lot of sombre moments on set as well. There were many times when you couldn't help but fall into the story and be swept away by it. Often still feeling very strongly even after the cameras have cut. It was challenging to reconcile the decisions of your character with your own personal feelings sometimes but always rewarding. And to be able to be absorbed by the plot like that made it much easier. The crew was part of the family too so the set was very contained.

13. Are there any new projects coming up for you? Can you tell us something about them?

A film I did with Jennifer Love Hewitt for Lifetime called THE CLIENT LIST aired recently and a sort of grown up Aladdin for SYFY should be out soon as well. There might be a name change in the works but it was THE LAST JINN. Keep an eye out for it!

14. Since myFanbase is an online magazine about TV series, do you have a favorite show?

I am all over "United States of Tara", "Nurse Jackie" and "Gravity" right now. Also "Spartacus Blood and Sand" and "Community". There is so much out there to watch though and find myself doing marathon sessions when I have a break to catch up. Thank goodness for full season DVD's!

Catherine Bühnsack und Nicole Oebel - myFanbase