IGN Interviews Grace Park
We talk one-on-one with Battlestar Galactica's Sharon "Boomer" Valerii.
by Eric Goldman
March 10, 2006 - Grace Park got her first big break on the Canadian teen soap Edgemont, where she starred for five seasons. Guest parts and recurring characters on shows like Dark Angel and Jake 2.0 followed, but she has now gained widespread recognition for her performance on the critically acclaimed Sci Fi Channel series Battlestar Galactica.
As Sharon "Boomer" Valerii, Park's character was central to one of Galactica's first big sucker punches, as we learned that the apparently loyal, beloved Colonial Fleet Raptor pilot was actually a robotic Cylon sleeper agent. For much of the series, Park has in fact played two distinctly different versions of the same Cylon model, complete with different love interests, motivations and agendas. Both of her characters have gone through an astounding amount of plot turns, from pregnancy to death to resurrection, and the question of where both Sharon's loyalties truly lie is a constant one. Recently I conducted an exclusive interview with Park for IGN FilmForce, after she had just taken part in the event honoring Battlestar Galactica at the Museum of Television and Radio's William S. Paley Television Festival in front of a crowd of adoring fans. We discussed what it's like playing multiple characters, the role of gender in Galactica and the tremendous critical response the show has received, among other topics.
IGN FILMFORCE: So during the panel you mentioned you first read for the part of Dee, and then for Starbuck, before you were cast as Sharon.
GRACE PARK: That's right, I read for Dualla. And I remember I went in and it was a really smart scene that we did and I had so much fun with it. Because in Galactica, they have a unisex "head"; a unisex bathroom. And so there was a bit of play with words, because when a civilian like Billy comes in, he doesn't know what's going on. He's like, "Head?" It was really tongue in cheek and slightly sexual and I just had a lot of fun with that. And after that the director said to come back for Starbuck, and if all goes well, I'd be in LA the next week… and I was!IGNFF: Did it feel chaotic coming back to read for all the different parts on the same show?
PARK: Well I only had to read for two; Dualla and Starbuck. It wasn't so chaotic. But after I read for Dualla… Well, I usually don't get coaching for auditions, but I felt like for this one, like I said earlier during the panel, I felt like, "Oooh, recurring! I want to try to get this one!" And then, when I got the switch in the scripts, I was like okay, I'll see the coach again. And I remember doing the whole thing and I felt really stilted and weird and the coach is like, "What are you doing?' And I said, 'I don't know!" And she asked me to tell her the story, because I was still being all stilted and strange. She asked, "What is this?" And I said, "I don't know! Is this a lead?" She said, "I think it is!" So we had to pull it out of me within a half an hour and figure out how to get back on track, because obviously they saw something that they liked, and I had to get back into that. But it wasn't too confusing. Once we redid that, it was fine.
IGNFF: Did you share some of the rest of the casts preconceived notions of what the show would be based on the title?
PARK: I did know the title, but I didn't remember the show. I'm sure I watched it at some point, but I don't actually have any recollection of it. So for me, with the title, I was probably thinking of a different show anyway!
IGNFF: Do you think of them as two different characters when you're playing the different scenes?
PARK: Oh yeah. They are two totally different characters. There's a lot of similarities obviously… well, obviously. [grins]. But the different histories that they've both experienced for the last two years or so, that they don't share, that's what sets them apart.
Read the full interview here: IGN Filmforce.