It’s a good weekend for Tricia Helfer.
Her new Lifetime movie, Dangerous Intuition, premieres tonight and her pilot Killer Women - which she headlines as a Texas Ranger (that has Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara among its producers - was just ordered to series by ABC.
Helfer and I talked a few days before the Killer Women announcement, as she gave me a window into why she connected with the new role, while also touching on the challenges in Dangerous Intuition...
TV Fanatic: The character you play in Dangerous Intuition has more than a little bit of baggage and it’s interesting how it played out since we, the viewer, are not even sure what’s going on in her mind.
Tricia Helfer: In filming it, I knew the outcome and hopefully the audience won’t get it too quickly. We didn’t want to give away the ending too quickly and with the situation it walks the fine line of is she really having a mental breakdown or is she really having these premonitions?
TVF: What was the biggest challenge in the role?
TH: It’s really about finding the relationship with the actors and then trying to bring them onto the screen. David [Cubitt, who plays Kate’s ex] was great to work with. He’s really a fun guy and the little girl, Genea [Charpentier], was a sweetheart and such a professional. I don’t think she complained once, working outside of Vancouver in December and it was very cold and rainy and I never heard her complain once. She was such a trooper.
TVF: You’ve been involved in some big concept shows like Battlestar Galactica and even Dark Blue was an intense cop drama. Where do you naturally fall in terms of the roles you want to play?
TH: That’s one of the reason I did this film is because it’s a character I don’t necessarily get to play very often. In Battlestar or Burn Notice or Dark Blue I played quite strong characters. Kate [in Dangerous Intuition] is strong in her own way but there’s also this vulnerability and she loses control of her life. That was a draw of mine and that’s the goal of most actors to do different things.
It’s like this pilot that I just did for ABC, Killer Women. Again, Molly is a very strong character, she’s a Texas Ranger but at the same time she has a very quirky side and vulnerable side and you want to try to find something that’s not just one note. Luckily, with the characters I’ve done there is another side to them. With Kate, I spend a lot of time in a stripped down kind of state so I hope that doesn’t become too much for the audience.
TVF: What would you like people to take from Dangerous Intuition other than don’t take anti-anxiety pills with vodka?
TH: Is that what you got from the movie? [laughs] I would hope people take away to trust your instincts a little bit more. I think everybody has a bit of instinct or intuition in them but maybe we don’t listen to it enough. I try to listen to my gut instincts as much I can but then your mind clouds it and then you start factoring in all these other factors.
TVF: The description of our character in Killer Women is ‘ballsy and a beautiful badass.’
TH: [laughs] I was drawn immediately to the script. I loved Molly. She’s got something hidden and she’s definitely got some damage hidden. She grew up on a ranch by the local sheriff and there were a lot of parallels to my own life. She’s a tomboy, I grew up on a farm in Alberta, Canada. In the script, Molly was Miss Texas in 1992 and I won the Ford Models’ World in 1992. There’s a photo of my character [in the pilot] but that’s me. All we had to do was add on a crown and a sash.
I just felt a real connection with the character. She is ballsy and it was really fun and it was really fun to meet a real Texas Ranger, who was our tech advisor. It’s a fun, stylized procedural but it’s character driven and it’s about Killer Women, it’s based on [the Argentine series] Mujeres Asesinas. I had a blast playing it and I couldn’t ask for a better cast and crew. It was so fun.
TVF: Marc Blucas is in the series. Does he play your love interest?
TH: Yeah, he plays a DEA agent named Dan and he’s definitely the romantic interest. Molly is getting divorced so she’s a little bit gun shy in many respects.
TVF: And Michael Trucco is playing your brother, which is something of a BSG reunion.
TH: Of course, we worked together on BSG and he’s a good friend of mine personally, he and his wife. It’s great when you look at a friend or a past co-worker and you never think that you look like you would be related but when he got cast in it and we did a scene together and I saw us on the playback I went ‘Man! We actually really look alike.”
We don’t look alike but we look like we could be siblings. He’s a great guy and the scene that we had together…you need to have a closeness and an awareness of each other but knowing each other very well personally helped that. We shot it on the first day so it was nice that Michael and I already had a history that we could draw from and didn’t have to make it up.
TVF: Obviously people have not forgotten Battlestar but does it feel like awhile ago for you or does it still feel fresh?
TH: It personally feels like awhile ago…BBC America just ran the whole series and I get a lot of comments that people are now watching it with their teenagers who were too young when it first aired so there’s a whole new generation of people now watching it. Not just younger people but all those people who have since discovered it. I think sometimes people maybe didn’t watch it initially because they’d say ‘Oh, I’m not into Sci-Fi’ Then years later they say, ‘I’m going to check it out’ and it feels so fresh because of that.
Dangerous Intuition airs tonight on the Lifetime Movie Network at 8 p.m. Killer Women will be seen on ABC this fall.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.