Q. What did you like about this particular series and what exactly attracted you to it?
Billy Campbell: Well speaking for myself, I was extremely attracted to the genre, the situation. I’m a big fan of both The Thing movies, the you know, the Howard Hawks one and the John Carpenter one, and Andromeda Strain is one of my big favorite films and so I was very attracted to the situation, and of course attracted to the fact that Ron Moore was attached. And not least of which was that we were shooting in Montreal.
Q. When we were down there on the set we went to the cold room. How did you feel about the cold room? Does it make it easier to get in the moment, or do you not like being cold?
Billy Campbell: Well for me it’s just a great deal. I know the crew hated the cold room. First of all, the cold room wasn’t really big enough. It was very limiting as a set. It was pretty small. And there was a lot of stuff flying around in the air, so the crew didn’t really care for it. But they could dress how they wanted, we were dolled up in nine layers of extreme cold weather gear.
So as in the beginning when we didn’t have a cold room, when we were all on the set having to do all this strenuous stuff, we were you know, not to be too graphic about it, but sweating a good deal. And that is more unpleasant than anything I can think of. I’d rather freeze than parboil any day. How about you Jordan?
Jordan Hayes: Well I never had to go into the cold room actually.
Billy Campbell: You didn’t, that’s right you didn’t.
Jordan Hayes: I didn’t, no. But I do remember being in all of our Arctic gear in July, and that was very unpleasant, yes.
Billy Campbell: So unpleasant. So the cold room helped, I think a good deal. But in the end it was kind of untenable, it was awkward to shoot in and everyone hated it. And so by the end of the show we had – we just had left the cold room behind again.
Q. There’s so much right now on the news about the CDC and the flu and everything going around, when you guys first started working on this, reading the script and everything, does any of it ever, you know, freak you out a bit because some of it could actually happen?
Billy Campbell: I think it goes to our most primal fears, you know the thing which you cannot see that will come in the night and kill you from the inside out. And I can’t imagine much of anything creepier than that.
Q. How much were you told about your characters and what was going to happen to them? Like for example, Sarah seems to be hiding something and she has these hand tremors; were you just told to do that Jordan, or were you also told why her hands were shaking?
Jordan Hayes: I was told why I had the hand tremors before we even started shooting. So in that regard I was made aware of that particular plot point. But there were several things that will surface throughout the season that you’ll see that we just weren’t aware of. And I think that that worked in our favor because then we were discovering things in the moment, which was nice because then we weren’t telegraphing things from early on in some of the earlier episodes.
Billy Campbell: Yes. I would have to agree with that. I prefer honestly not to know what’s going on, for the very reason that Jordan brings up.
Q. While you were filming did the cast ever, like at lunch, speculate who was going to be the next to be infected? And was there like any kind of segregation at the lunch tables like, “Get away from me.”
Billy Campbell: There was plenty of speculation I think. I think there was a lot of fun speculation as to who might be next in all of that.
Q. Which were your favorite one or two episodes of this season?
Billy Campbell: I – that’s hard to say honestly. I think the one upcoming might be my favorite. The third one.
Jordan Hayes: Yes, I think the third was my favorite as well.
Billy Campbell: I know. I can’t say why exactly, I haven’t seen it. I haven’t seen really anything. I didn’t even get to watch this weekend.
Q. And what then maybe could you say were your best and most challenging experiences during production?
Billy Campbell: I would say, the whole thing was a great deal of fun. I don’t know what really was challenging. I mean it’s always a bit of a challenge to put yourself – to imagine yourself into the circumstances. But even that was relatively easy because of stellar cast-mates and kind of a wonderfully, creepy set and situation.
Q. You both have done a lot of genre work throughout your careers. Just as fans, do you tend to gravitate toward science fiction and horror personally or is that just sort of how things have turned out in your career?
Billy Campbell: I dig science fiction. It’s kind of my – one of my favorite things, just because – well I don’t know why exactly. I mean I always have, since I was quite young, science fiction and fantasy, possibly as an escape from my – I went to military school for six years when I was quite young. And so it was a big sort of escape for me. And I’ve loved it, I guess I’ve loved it ever since.
Q. How do you feel that working on a network is different than cable? And why do you think that many of the imaginative shows now seem to be shifting to cable from the traditional network model?
Billy Campbell: Well I mean, it’s I think fairly easy to understand why that’s the case; there are simply more options on cable TV for storytelling. I mean as a network you have to please a great many people, and from all parts of the spectrum, and so things necessarily get a bit, you know, watered down. And cable is more aimed at particular niches, and so you can write more specifically and more daringly. And I think that’s the big difference.
Q. Billy, with both Alan’s brother and now potentially his ex-wife turned vector, will Alan be trying to save them or will they be trying to recruit him, or a little of both? How’s that going to work?
Billy Campbell: Well it would be pretty safe to say, I think, that he would be trying to save them. Whether he’s successful and whether they are willing to be saved is another question. And you know, the act of saving them of course is inherently dangerous and who knows what perils lie ahead for Alan and the whole team.
Q. Cameron Porsandeh, who was the creator of Helix, is a first time writer/producer. This is his first television series ever and he’s come from a whole different career to do this. Billy and Jordan I’m wondering, what has it been like to bring this newbie to television’s creation to life?
Billy Campbell: It’s been fantastic — really fantastic. Cameron is a very, very talented fellow, as well as a lovely human being. And I have to say it’s been nothing but a deep pleasure to be working with him.
Q. Have you heard any feedback about the choice of music?
Billy Campbell: I haven’t heard much of anything. I’m sort of cocooned down here in San Diego and I suppose will be hearing this week, you know, how the audience liked it. And I have seen a little bit on Twitter, and the response seems to be mainly terrific so far. And I think people loved especially, the crazy use of the – the contrapuntal use of the music.
Q. How do the on-set effects help you as an actor to get into that horror frame of mind?
Billy Campbell: Well goodness, you can just imagine. Well first of all Jordan actually threw up in her helmet. That was a – I’m kidding of course. But you can well imagine opening a body bag and having the goop drip out and having the skeleton there, it was all very, very conducive to that kind of feeling. Am I right Jordan?
Jordan Hayes: Yes, absolutely. And I mean if you look at Peter Farragut who’s played by Neil Napier, if you look at his makeup I mean it’s just terrifying. Our special effects team in Montreal is just unbelievable. They’re just so good.
Q. What sticks out most in both your minds about shooting the pilot episode? Is there either a memorable or especially challenging scene that you can recall from that shoot for both of you?
Billy Campbell: Well I mean for me I think it harkens back to the outside stuff before we had a cold room. I mean we were, in the very first couple or few days we were swaddled in our extreme cold weather gear on a stage with fake snow blowing around and in the middle of summer. And it was horrible. And I think I – in fact I remember I got sick because I ingested so much crap, crud into my lungs I got quite sick for a couple of weeks. So that’s the thing that sticks out to me from the pilot, other than just being so insanely happy to be in Montreal again.
Q. You both have a lot of technical dialogue, how do you – did you get any coaching in that area? And what’s it been like to recite some of that stuff?
Billy Campbell: Well I honestly did not have nearly the technical dialogue that Jordan had and I’m deeply, deeply thankful. And so I’ll pass that along to Jordan.
Q. The hazmat suits, how were they to work in?
Billy Campbell: They were very real. They weren’t built for the show, they were real hazmat suits. And I would have this to say about them; they weren’t as uncomfortable as you might think, because they were ventilated. We had a pack on the back that actually ventilated the helmet. So they were pretty cool to work in.
They were a pain to put on. And unless, you know, you looked like Jordan or Kyra they’re not terribly flattering. So they had that going on for them, or didn’t have that going on for them in my case. So yes, that’s all I’d have to say about those. Jordan?
Jordan Hayes: Well I – just remember one time Billy you – like Billy said, there’s these ventilation packs. The helmets were sealed off so we actually had oxygen being pumped into our helmets. And I can remember at least once, maybe twice Billy, you pulled my hose out of the pack.
So yes, they were fun. Like Billy said, they were difficult to get into. But I really liked them and I think they look really cool on screen. So I think it worked out well.
Billy Campbell: That’s because you look the way you do.
Q. How serialized is the show? Do people need to watch week to week?
Billy Campbell: This will be more along the lines of uncovering a mythology and a sort of a deeper story. So I would say that, watching any one particular episode would be exciting, but you wouldn’t get the full excitement or fulfillment unless you sort of carried on watching all the way through.
Q. Yes, that’s good to know. I like that better, but some people complain.
Billy Campbell: I do too like it better. I don’t see any reason to be – unless you’re a show like, you know, Law & Order or something like that, I don’t see the real reason in being all that episodic. The beauty of the serial form is telling a story over the long-term, developing situations and characters and so forth. The episodic model doesn’t, and really never has, entirely appealed to me.
Q. You mentioned early in the call that we’re going to get to see a little bit more outside the base, and we’ve been told we will get some other guest stars just because hallucinations and all of that. Can you talk at all about that, just tease kind of any of that that we will be seeing?
Billy Campbell: Well sure. I mean what I can say is that the story does open up. And so we are not confined to the base the entire time, and that other characters do make an entrance into the story, into the situation and they change things up in a very big way. So yes, I would say. Jordan do you have anything to add to that?
Jordan Hayes: Yes, I mean I think that we’re allowed to say this because it’s public knowledge, but as you probably know Jeri Ryan comes into the show and that’s just kind of…
Billy Campbell: And kicks ass.
Q. Did you have a favorite part of the set to work with, or was there something on the set that you found particularly creepy?
Billy Campbell: You know what set I really loved was when we did the episode with Jeremiah directing and we go off base, Kyra and I, and we go off to an abandoned listening station. And I can’t tell you what happens, but it was dreadfully, dreadfully creepy. The set folks, the set designers and decorators, did an amazing, amazing job with this place. And what happens there is intensely, intensely creepy. And I think that was one of my favorite sets.
Q. The show gets really intense, so how do you manage to keep things light and fun on the set while also doing those intense scenes?
Jordan Hayes: How do we manage?
Billy Campbell: Well Jordan is a great prankster and…
Jordan Hayes: No, no, no, Billy is a huge prankster.
Billy Campbell: Don’t try to turn it back on me.
Jordan Hayes: Come on.
Billy Campbell: Don’t even pretend. Everyone knows that Jordan is like -it’s very, very difficult to even get her to, you know, be serious for a scene. It’s – she’s crazy, I don’t know what to say. (laughing)
Jordan Hayes: I mean I think I can’t speak for everyone, but I had such a great time with this cast and this crew. It was very, very easy to keep it light on set.
Billy Campbell: Yes.
Jordan Hayes: Yes, everyone was just very friendly. And yes, we all just really got along together.
Billy Campbell: Yes, yes.
Jordan Hayes: So it was very light and easy on set, yes.
Billy Campbell: It was wonderful. You know there are a lot of sets, when actors aren’t on camera they all scurry back to their individual dressing rooms and never see each other except when they’re in front of the camera. And I don’t think a single one of us ever went to back to our trailers between shots. We all sat as a group on the set…
Jordan Hayes: Yes.
Billy Campbell: …you know, playing games and chit-chatting. And which was, I think, deeply appreciated by the crew, because when they called us to be in front of the camera, there we were in like 8-1/2 seconds.
Jordan Hayes: Yes.
Billy Campbell: So yes. So it was a very special situation that way. And I have to say, I have to also add to that that I that it might have been my favorite crew of all time.
Jordan Hayes: Yes, I have to agree. The crew was really, really spectacular.
Q. Those scenes in the ventilating duct seemed like very claustrophobic just watching. What was it like to deal with that as an actor? Was it as tight as it seemed? And how was that to negotiate as an actor?
Billy Campbell: Well it was, you know, I mean it was pretty tight. It wasn’t as tight as it could have been. It – I mean mainly the pain was getting in and out of them and then scrambling around on your elbows and knees, which you know, would begin to hurt pretty badly after a few minutes.
So it seems more claustrophobic probably in the viewing than it does in the execution because you don’t see that just around the end of course, is the opening. And so you never feel like you’re – I never felt like I was trapped or anything like that. I’m not a particularly claustrophobic person to begin with, but it was less cramped than it appears.
Q. You also have a new Lifetime movie about Lizzie Borden that’s just about to come up. Could tell us a little bit about that? Were you familiar with the case before taking the role? And what was it like to go back in time on such an infamous case?
Billy Campbell: It was a good deal of fun. I don’t have a big role or anything, I play Lizzie Borden’s lawyer. And I knew the director from before, he directed some of The 4400.
And most of all, I was just anxious to go to Halifax, which is a place that is near and dear to heart, and I have many friends there. And I knew the project would be good. And so I went to Halifax.
It was a great deal of fun. I adore Christina Ricci and I think the show will be terrific. And so I had a great time. I had a wonderful time drinking Guinness at one of my favorite pubs in the world.
Q. Billy, could I get your take on Alan’s and Julia’s relationship on the show, and maybe what you enjoyed most about sort of developing that on camera?
Billy Campbell: Well you know, I’m not sure we did all that much about developing it on camera. I mean that’s the – sort of the purview of the writers. They write that stuff, they develop it, and we just, you know, kind of do what they write.
But it wasn’t, you know again, with this cast it wasn’t difficult to have chemistry with anyone. There were no divas, there were no monsters of any kind, except in front of the camera running around with goo coming out of our mouths. It was just a wonderful, wonderful situation. And in that case, it’s really not difficult to develop chemistry with anyone.
You know, the times when it’s hard to have chemistry with someone is when you don’t like them as a person, and then you have to go in front of the camera and pretend to like someone or even be in love with someone that you actively dislike. That can be really difficult. And on this show there was none of that. I actively loved everyone I worked with, which just made it so wonderful to go to work.
Q. Can you both describe your characters in three words?
Billy Campbell: My goodness.
Jordan Hayes: You go first Billy.
Billy Campbell: No wait a minute, this might even be more fun. How about we describe each other’s characters in three words?
Q. Okay, that works.
Jordan Hayes: Okay.
Billy Campbell: No, this is hilarious. This is wonderful. Intelligent, of course. I would say there’s just a little, there’s just a spark of defiance, I would say, “intelligent,” “defiant,” and, well, “sexy.”
Jordan Hayes: Okay, Alan Farragut is commendable. Yes, why not? Standup guy, I know that’s not one word, but yes, standup guy. And…
Billy Campbell: Forthright.
Jordan Hayes: …sensitive. What?
Billy Campbell: I was trying to put your standup guy into one word and I came up with forthright.
Jordan Hayes: Yes and that – yes, that’s the perfect word. And yes, and sensitive.
Billy Campbell: I think that fairly does it, I think that does it pretty well.