Katee Sackhoff Interview: Getting Jacked for ‘Riddick,’ Loving Sci-Fi and the Superhero She’s Dying to Play
As you can see above, we caught up with the beautiful star of 'Riddick,' Katee Sackhoff recently to talk about her role in the Vin Diesel film. But, we had so much fun talking with Ms. Sackhoff, we sat back down with her once our time on video was over for an extended chat.
Below, you can read even more with Katee including why she would have played a naked hooker in 'Riddick' if Vin asked, her love of sci-fi movies and what superhero she'd "love" to play (hint: lets hope the 'Batman vs. Superman' are reading this).
When you heard about the possibility of staring in a Riddick film, does the role even matter?
[laughs] Had they asked me to play the naked hooker, I might have been like, whatever. Those girls were so sweet; everyone hung out back in Montreal. They were very very sweet. I would have thought twice about it, I probably still would have done it. It's kind of one of those things, would you like me to be a rock or are you going to let me say anything? I'll say anything, just one line.
I'm such a huge fan of 'Pitch Black,' 'Chronicles of Riddick' and then just Vin in general that there's not a whole lot I wouldn't have done in a movie. There aren't a whole lot of characters I wouldn't have played.
Did you have a lot of discussions with David and Vin about how you thought Dahl should be portrayed? Or was most of that in the script?
There was a lot of it in the script. David Twohy is nothing if he isn't incredible detailed. So there was a lot of it that was there. But then there were certain things that he allowed me to play with. The fact that she's the sniper and the fact that she's Boss John's number 2. That's all stuff that we made up. [Co-star] Matt [Nable] and I, this is too this, this is this. I a had a lot of input on the wardrobe. I had gained a lot of muscle and weight for the movie, and the - have you seen the movie yet?
Saw it last night.
That blue outfit that I come out in is incredibly awesome but it's not feminine at all. I was like; you know I have the responsibility and amazing joy of being the only real estrogen in this movie the entire time. We really, she can be tough but there's nothing wrong with a little t--s and ass. DT [David Twohy] said, "You don't have to convince me, what do you have in mind?" I said I'd go talk to wardrobe and see if they had thought of anything. They had thought of some amazing stuff. They had this corset idea in mind from the very beginning if it had gone that direction.
DT and I sat down and he said, "You can do anything you want with the wardrobe as long as it makes sense to you." She and I sat down and talked about what was functional for a sniper, which is what I made up that she was because there was this one scene where she shoots the gun. I went, OK, she's a sniper. He's like, "I guess, if you want her to be one." I was like, awesome! So, we came back and said OK the corset keeps her shoulders back because this gun is so heavy and it's black and she can disappear. The chaps protect her when she has to crawl and take a stance in something that's not comfortable.
It has to match the other crewmembers too, right? There’s a crack in the movie about -
Yes, it had to have functioned to a certain extent; they wanted to use the same materials that had been used in our blue uniforms from the beginning. So, my corset is made from a lot of the same materials that our breastplate and things, the corset is made from the exact same material. So everything is sort of fits still in that world and idea.
Did you any concerns about your character being buried behind the giant wall of testosterone that's in the movie?
Slightly, it's why I decided to gain so much weight for the movie. DT had said the one thing I want you to keep in mind - I wasn't the first person cast, but I was one of the first people that were cast, or at least the first handful and as they started casting these guys I started realizing they're all really big. I think the smallest, Jordi Molla is my size but the rest of the cast, the smallest one is probably 5'10" or 5'11". I'm only 5'5" so I was tiny compared to these guys. So he said the only thing I needed to keep in mind was to look as if you could kill any one of them at any time. I was like, Jesus Christ, these guys are huge. How am I going to do that? So I sat with my trainer and he's like we just have to pack a lot of muscle on you, and fat too.
You were jacked.
He's like; I want you to keep fat on your body because if you look cut you're going to lose your size. So he's like, very little cardio. Maybe 15-20 of sprinting, every other day. Other than that, massive amounts of food and heavy weights. It was crazy. I was big. I was really big.
Were you comfortable with it?
No! I hated it! My arms were massive. My jeans didn't fit because my legs were so big. It was crazy. The boys kept joking, they called me "Dunky" because they were like, "your ass is like a rock, Katee." Of course you're walking around in chaps with 15 guys on set and they're like, your ass just looks really strong. Thanks guys. There’s a part of me that was proud of it but there was another part of me that was like, this is way too much muscle for a woman to have.
So, no competition for you then.
No. Not at all. It's not something - I'm not comfortable with any of it.
How extensive was the weapons and combat training?
For some people, more than others. It's one of the things that DT had said was the deciding factor in why I got the job was they said, "this is a quick schedule for this movie." They didn't have time to teach someone how to do this. We know you're going to come in and anything we throw at you as far as weapons and fighting and things like that, you're going to be OK with. So there were little things, just the way they wanted us to hold the guns and sweep a room differently. Because every military person has a different way of doing it. So, whoever teaches you that day or whoever is your armor is the guy who is going to set the tone. He's going to tell you how he wants you to do it and that's the way it goes.
Then I had to, with the sniper rifle, it was the first time I had to, because we decided she's a sniper, she had to be incredibly proficient at this. She had to be quick and not look at the bullets and just know where things were and that was not easy. Not easy. But I got really fast at it.
I noticed that in the movie, you didn't look, not once, at your ammo. I thought that was cool.
It's just one of those things that I wanted to make sure we got perfect. That this is a person that's better with this gun and this weapon than anyone else in this movie. So she needs to always have it by her, but it's a big gun. It's taller than I am, actually.
What is it about the sci-fi genre that attracts you so much to it? Is it because it's so versatile and there are so many themes you can have?
Yeah, it's a couple of different reasons. I grew up watching science fiction with my dad. It was kind of - I don't know, my brother and he had it too. It was this father daughter bonding time when he would show me 'Predator' when I was 6 and "don't tell you mother." [laughs] Little things like that. I grew up having an appreciation for science fiction and action movies and TV shows.
Maybe that's a dad thing. My dad did that with me too. Pretty much the only time we'd watch TV together was for 'Star Trek' or -
Me too, we constantly watched 'Star Trek.' I guess that peppered the senses of the things I'm kind of interested in. But also, I think some of the strongest and most well rounded interesting women and story lines happen in science fiction. I don’t think I noticed this as much until 'Battlestar Galactica,' but everything can be dismissed by anybody who ever has a problem with what you've done by saying it's science fiction. It's not real.
So you can run around and kill babies and you can have the good guys be the suicide bombers and talk about political issues that are so incredibly sensitive and that people have so much passion over and dismiss all of it because it's not real. So you really get to talk about some heavy stuff and people seem to accept it because it's not real, which I love. I love that. I love that you can, you can have a show that has, you know, every single religion in the world represented on it and not offend one of them. It’s great.
Did you have heroes as a kid? On screen heroes?
Um, yeah. I mean, but they were like Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sly, and guys like that. But Sigourney Weaver, like Linda Hamilton, you know, these women that, um, I think because I’ve always been scared of everything. I think it was something that, that I kind of grew up, um, with a healthy fear of every single situation that I was in, I always wanted to be stronger than I was. And so I think that, um, I kind of found, um, I don’t know, like a sense of, like strength when I get to play these women. Um, and, and learn from them as well, you know, I mean, like [cough], Starbuck was my age, so it was a 22-year-old girl going through all these different emotions.
And I was doing the same thing, I mean, I was, you know, I, I’ve gone through a lot. I haven’t, you know, I was never 14 on television, but I was 17. And, so I’ve kind of gone through those awkward years of, maybe not the awkward well, yeah, there were some [laugh]. It may have been not the awkward looking, but yeah there were a lot of those, but um, that kind of like, that coming of age; a woman grows a lot between 20 and 30 and I did all of that on television, and I got to, um, um, make a lot of mistakes as Starbuck. And it was weird, um, so I got to, you know, kind of, grow up and learn who I was through playing these women. Which has been really cool.
Are you looking forward to looking back on that, say 10 years from now?
It’s so weird ‘cause I look now at the pilot. I saw a picture of myself on the pilot of Battlestar, and I was like, “Oh my God, I have like, baby fat on my face.” Like, I was young. I, I didn’t realize, like, like 21 is like, young. You know, I was a, I was a kid. Um, and um, it was a weird thing to be in because I was a kid, but I was also one of the, one of the actors from the show who had been working the longest, as far as the younger actors, obviously not Eddy and Mary, and Michael Hogan, but, um, um, of everybody under them, I was like the old work horse.
And so it was, it was very, um, um, Tricia Helfer and I bonded over this stuff, because she would, um, she would come to me and say, “What do you think about this?” And I was like, “This is so crazy.” Like, and like, looking up to this woman because I, I want to be Tricia when I grow up, and she’s asking me for advice. And, I just, it was, it was an interesting time in my life.
As I was watching 'Riddick' last night, something kept going through my head. I was thinking, this looks like it was an exhausting shoot.
[laughs] Yeah, it was, it was really exhausting. It was exhausting. It was, um, it was dirty. I mean, you would go home every night and we would wrap at like 5:00 in the morning, 6:00 in the morning, and normally I don’t shower after work, ‘cause you’re exhausted, like, “What does it matter, I’m just gonna go to bed and shower in the morning.” On this job you’d have to ‘cause you’re covered in this dust. I mean, and it was just, I mean, your hair felt like you had hairspray in it, and it was just, you were covered in it. Um, we all had coughs. We all had, you know, like, chest things, like, it was just, you know, I mean, we, it was minus 40 outside, and then 75 inside, and dusty and windy. And then it started raining.
So it was, um, I love that s---. I love it. I think some of the best, and most fun, and easiest acting you can do is when it starts to rain on you, because you can’t help but, like, be in the moment. You know what I mean? [laugh] It’s like, I mean, basically you’ve just been hit in the face with your motivation, so, um, & I love that. So, uh, but it was exhausting, yeah. I mean, for sure, I think I was on antibiotics the entire time. So, DT makes fun of me because everyday I come into work and be like, “This hurts today.” He was like, “Stop your bitching.” I’m like, “I’m a girl. Everyone’s forgot that I’m a girl.” Like, I have to, you know, I have to, to do the, uh, the whining and bitching about being dirty for our, for every girl that could potentially be in the movie. [Laughs].
One last question. If you could play one superhero, who would it be?
Oh God. You know.
You look like a Power Girl.
Everybody says that to me, but I don’t like, I mean, Power Girl, whatever. I get, anything with “Girl” after it, kind of disappoints me. Um, you know, I’d love to play Miss Marvel. I’d love to play Harley Quinn. I’d love to play Harley Quinn. You know, people talk about the fact that [cough] I’m aging my way out of it & I just say that, “if Jack Nicholson can play Joker, I can play Harley Quinn.” So, totally. Yeah, I mean, & that’s like a dream come true. You know? I, um, yeah. I mean, you know, there’s so many interesting characters that I just loved, yeah. But, those two for sure.
'Riddick' opens in theaters on September 6.