Interview: Katee Sackhoff Talks About Her Crazy Brilliant Dangerous Characters

Katee Sackhoff has a busy couple of weeks on the video shelves: on Tuesday, the thriller “Sexy Evil Genius” is out followed by “The Haunting In Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia” on April 16. In both films, the “Battlestar Galactica” and “Bionic Woman” actress plays two very different, very troubled women–one out to get revenge on the lovers who’ve done her wrong, the other a young woman helping her family deal with with a vengeful spirit.

I spoke with the actress recently about her attraction to these sometimes unloved characters, the kinds of horror she’s into, and what it was like working with her “Robot Chicken” co-stars in “Sexy Evil Genius.”

MTV Geek: “Sexy Evil Genius”–what brought you to the role of Nikki in that film?

Katee Sackhoff: David Higgins, the producer, I went to go meet him on a different project about four or five years ago and he brought up “Sexy Evil Genius.” I read it, and I heard about [writer] Scott Lew and his story and jumped on board with just this intense passion to get this film made.

The next step, we brought in Shawn Piller, the director, and the three of us were going to set about the task of getting it cast. And we brought in Seth [Green], and I called Seth and asked “How do you feel about this, have you read it?” He jumped on board with as much passion as I had and he brought in Michelle Trachtenberg. And then Shawn and David brought in Harold [Perrineau] and Billy [Baldwin].

And it all kind of came together, but it really was a passion project. once everyone read the script, every single person jumped on.

Geek: And it was kind of a “Robot Chicken” reunion with Seth and Michelle. What was it like working in this different context with them?

Sackhoff: It’s fun! You know, I love Seth. I have a couple of handfuls of really good friends in this business that I would trust with my life and Seth is one of them. He’s just a phenomenal human being and to be able to work with him in live-action was kind of stunning and really, really fun.

I’d met Michelle once at the “Robot Chicken” studios when we did the commentary for the DVD and she and I have this very similar, disgusting sense of humor. So I was very excited to work with her–really excited.

And I’ve always been a fan of Harold’s from “Lost” and “Oz”–I think he’s brilliant.

And without dating him too much, I’ve loved Billy since I was old enough to watch movies [laughs].

Geek: You talked about being drawn to the intensity of the script–could you tell us a little about what made you want to play Nikki?

Sackhoff: I loved the challenge of being able to take a character who could be thrown away as “crazy” and making her identifiable to the audience–also, to give her a vulnerability that people would cheer for. By the end of the movie, they would understand everything she did and actually respect her.

I thought, what an amazing challenge, to take something that could be played by so many actors in one direction and play it very, very close to the chest for half of the movie.

Geek: Where do you think that comes from? That willingness to throw away that sort of damaged character? I think all of us has met that person or known someone who’s dated that person who may be kind of a lunatic, but they have that hidden depth that peeks through sometimes and surprises you.

Sackhoff: I think that people overlook–I mean obviously, this is generalizing–but I think some of the craziest people I’ve met are some of the most brilliant people. And it’s almost like this world and their brain can not hold how smart they are.

There’s a child-like innocence to Nikki and this part to her that’s incredibly flawed and dangerous and I think that ultimately, she’s full of love–but she doesn’t trust. There’s so many different layers to her.

So I thought, what a great role to be able to try and understand this person and find those moments where if you go back and watch it a second time you’ll see that every single moment in detail was 100% planned. And I thought that this was such a wonderful job, what a great script that Scott Lew has created and how much fun as actors we would have bringing this to life.

Geek: Could you tell us a little about the tone? For those who don’t know what to expect, and given the cast, the title is obviously having a bit of fun with the premise, but it gets kind of dark.

Sackhoff: I think there’s a little bit of everything to this movie, to be honest. I know they make us say that sometimes, but it really does have that.

And this movie could be classified as so many different things and I think the only way to really explain it is that it’s this arthouse movie that has so many different elements to it that ultimately becomes a thriller.


Sackhoff as Sarah Corvus in “Bionic Woman”

Geek: Thinking of Nikki, I kept looking back on your role of Sarah in “Bionic Woman.” Similarly, she had the same kind of intensity, but she was also a woman done wrong by the people she trusted the most in her life.

Sackhoff: I think that was part of the reason I was drawn to “Sexy Evil Genius.” Sarah Corvus in “Bionic Woman” was one of my favorite characters I’ve ever played ever for reasons that are very similar to Nikki in “Sexy Evil Genius.” I felt that that show was taken away from me too soon and I really wanted to dive back into that mind frame again.

Geek: And in a couple of weeks you have “The Haunting in Connecticut 2” coming out. How did that part come about? what was it like following up the fairly successful first film?

Sackhoff: Yeah, the first one was really successful. And I’m marrying the producer [Scott Niemeyer]!

I’ve known of this series of movies for quite a while and I always said to him if “Haunting in Georgia” happened and I was in a place where I brought something to this movie, would they give me a shot at it. He said “That’s a question for a lot more people than me,” but then he said “Katee, I can’t imagine you not getting a shot at this movie.” So I was really blessed to be in the right place at the right time.

And I really like this character. I love playing women–and I think that this is a throughline to a lot of the characters I’ve played–they all have this aspect of being wronged. And I think a lot of the time, the characters are actually wronged by themselves and they find someone else to blame it on.

So I like to be able to play these women who have these different layers who might be played one-dimensionally by a lot of people. And to give them a soul, to give them a vulnerability is so much fun. And to do it in a horror movie is even more fun because you get to scream your head off, which I love.


Sackhoff plays Joyce in “The Haunting In Connecticut 2”

Geek: What kind of horror fan are you? Are you into gore? Slow-burn scares? What do you like?

Sackhoff: I’m more of a thriller-horror fan–things that could really happen. I don’t like scary movies, the “Saw” movies scare the crap out of me–I think I’ve seen two of them and I wanted to go crawl in a hole. So I usually have to watch some “South Park” or something right afterwards [laughs] to kind of take my mind off of it. But I’m more of a psychological horror-type person.

“Sexy Evil Genius” will be available on DVD and VOD April 9 and “The Haunting In Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia” will be available on April 16 on DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD.

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