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BATTLESTAR GALACTICA’s Edward James Olmos Gave Katee Sackhoff the Best Acting Advice of Her Life

How many people can say Edward James Olmos, he of Battlestar Galactica and Blade Runner and Stand and Deliver, taught them to act? According to his BSG costar Katee Sackhoff, that’s what he did for her—and in a mere half minute.


In a group interview with EW alongside fellow BSG cast members Grace Park (Boomer) and Michael Trucco (Anders), Sackhoff, who played Kara “Starbuck” Thrace, got a quick lesson in cutting the BS and giving an authentic performance between takes on season one’s “Act of Contrition.” During an emotionally charged moment, Starbuck claims responsibility of the death of Commander Adama’s (Olmos) son Zak (Tobias Mehler). As she typically did, Sackhoff was following her mother’s advice of “Fake it until you believe it,” a direction she’d been falling back on for years. And Olmos had noticed.

“I had this one moment with Eddie where I was just joking around…He walked up to me and said, ‘If you tried this much, you’d be so good,” said Sackhoff. The actress was taken aback for a moment, and Olmos went on to explain that to truly deliver in the scene, she’d have to “think about what’s going on instead of being Katee.” Once she could take a moment to think, Olmos assured her, she’d be able to go back to being Katee. Sackhoff accepted his advice and, driving his point home, Olmos told her, “You’re really good at faking it.”


Having heard him loud and clear, Sackhoff approached the scene with fresh eyes. “It was the first time I had lived as another person,” she said, remembering how she had literally sobbed through filming as she internalized her character’s grief over Zak’s death. After that, Olmos concluded, “Now, you can go back to being Katee, because now, you know how to do it.” You might say she had a plan now.

For Sackhoff, it was a lesson in overcoming the fear of vulnerability and how far off-the-cuff advice can go when you’re performing with a legend. And for Park, Trucco, and fans of the show, it was a reminder that Edward James Olmos is every bit as badass as William Adama himself.

What artistic craft do you want to be schooled in by EJO? Let us know in the comments!

Images: SyFy

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