Michelle Forbes interviewed

Ahead of our forthcoming Battlestar Galactica special, we chat to actress Michelle Forbes about Admiral Cain and about her new role in True Blood

Smarten up and salute Cain, people, because we've been talking to Michelle Forbes at Starfury's Battlestar Galactica convention .

Born in Texas in January 1965, Forbes is perhaps best known from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Homicide: Life on the Street. After Battlestar, where she made a brief but important appearance as Admiral Cain, she's now in True Blood. The rest of this interview will be appearing in our amazing Battlestar Galactica-themed special issue, on sale Wednesday 4 March with posters and gifts! But we thought you might like this brief snippet as a little treat to get you in the mood:

SFX: We keep hearing that Battlestar was a great set to work on. You were only on the show for a short while - did you get the impression that it had a great spirit?
Forbes:
"I can tell you that I've worked on a lot of shows and it's 100% genuine that there was great camaraderie on this one. It was a beautiful thing to witness the respect between the actors and writers. That was unusual. I was talking about to James Callis and we agreed it was a very moving experience in that regard. Because if you're round a lot of companies there are politics, and backbiting and nonsense. I'm actually grateful for those opportunities because when you get a company like Battlestar you see this intense love and support and nurturing, you really know that it's truthful and it touches you, and it erases a lot of the cynicism. You think, 'Right! This is how it's supposed to be.'"

SFX: Did you get any souvenirs from Battlestar Galactica?
Forbes:
"I never walk away from shows with any souvenirs. They always try to give you your chair, with the name on the back - but I'm always like, 'What am I going to do with this?!' Put it in the closet, throw it away: I'm not really sentimental about jobs. I didn't mean to, but I was rushing to catch my flight and rushing to get out of my clothes, and I didn't take off my dog tags, so I have them. Although today I have no idea where they are. I wish I did know where they were because in 20 years I'd probably get a lot of money for them [laughs]!"

SFX: Were you a fan of the original 1970s show?
Forbes:
"I was aware of the original Battlestar Galactica but I never really watched it. I remember watching the original Star Trek when I was a child, but I never watched all of Battlestar - although maybe I was aware of the bad hair. Even then I was aware of bad hair [laughs]!"

SFX: And now you're in the excellent True Blood! How's that going?
Forbes:
"It was definitely fun to film. I shot three episodes fairly quickly before leaving for Montreal to do Durham County and soon I start True Blood again so it's all a bit of a blur. I was in the last three episodes of the first season of True Blood before coming on as a regular in the second season. You know, it's not broadcast yet in the UK but it seems like everybody's seen it! [Laughs] I'm so sorry, but how have you all seen it? I don't understand… oh right… shame on you! [Laughs]. In True Blood I play a character named Maryann. I have a lot of backstory, and I have a very odd butler and a strange best friend - and you know I can't say too much because apparently some man in a black cloak comes out and puts a gun to your head - I had to sign all these papers [laughs]. Much more will be revealed in the second season."

"Twilight and True Blood coming up at the same time has really pushed the vampire genre back into the forefront of our minds, and I'm new to it. On some level I've been involved in science fiction for the past 17 years but I never really got it until Battlestar - and the same with vampires. I guess I have to do something before I really get it, and now I'm like, 'Vampires, yeah!' I never really thought about it or explored that, it wasn't my genre area. But you know the show's not just vampires: it's shape shifters and werepanthers, and maenads and fairies, and telepathic waitresses, and a whole bunch of crazy characters in that little town of Bon Temps."

SFX: What sort of response do your characters get at conventions around the world?
Forbes:
"Oh my God! Battlestar is shockingly popular in Germany. In Germany we had 4000 people at a convention. It's amazing how far people travel. People were travelling in from Italy - it blows my mind actually. It's such a universal thing, and Germans are big into science fiction. Turns out Germans and criminals on Death Row were my biggest fans from the Star Trek days. I guess they were running it a lot in Germany. But the Death Row thing… I don't want to get a complex! I used to get a lot of prison letters but that's sort of calmed down. I think it's because of some of the characters I've played I've always had a bit of an interesting fan base."

Don't forget to watch Battlestar Galactica on Sky1 tonight, UK viewers! There's a little interview with fellow actor Nicki Clyne online already here and one with Jen Halley here . True Blood will be coming to the UK later this year, broadcast first on the FX channel and then on Channel 4.

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