Podcast:Home, Part I
|"Home, Part I" Podcast|
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|Ronald D. Moore|
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DSE: And I'm David S. Eick, I'm normally known as David Eick, but now that he's Ronald D. I've begun going by David S.
RDM: We've introduced a new formality in the podcast
DSE: That's right. (Laughs) That's right.
RDM: This is the podcast for episode six, "Home, Part I", which Mr. Eick wrote, and is, in fact, his first stab at writing a full-blown teleplay.
DSE: Yes, which actually got me a WGA card, which I now throw down on the table every time I have an argument with Ron, as the gauntlet that gets me-
RDM: That's because for- up until then I kept saying, "You can't give me that notice if you don't have a WGA card." (laughs)
DSE: You know, they're really flimsy and crappy-
RDM: They really aren't very good.
DSE: You would think that the WGA would have these great embossed-
RDM: They don't have holograms or-
DSE: No, they're really shitty, actually.
RDM: They just fall out of your pocket. "What's that WGA card I slipped on?"
DSE: (Laughs) The interesting thing, I guess, is this was actually only the first half of the script that I wrote, because when we sent it to Sergio Mimica-Gezzan, who's one of our go-to directors on this show, directed episode five last year and episode three this year- I made him promise me, actually, on the set for episode three that he wouldn't let us get away with something that wasn't great because, obviously, I wanted my first time at bat to be great. He called me on a Saturday and totally took the wind out of my sails. I was on my way to a ball game, Jackson's baseball game, my son, and literally five seconds before we exited the door he called and said, "Well, you wanted me to be honest. I just don't think it works at all. I think it's way, way too many story points to cram into one episode."
So, basically we proceeded to ask the network- we thought he was right. We thought we were trying to cram too much- and we asked the network if we could make it a two-parter. Basically we had enough for one and a half episodes. That'll be the story we'll tell on the next episode, about how we came up with the other half of episode seven. What you're watching now was basically the first two acts of episode six
RDM: And like I mentioned before this, couplet of episodes, now, is really the culmination of all the arcs that began in season one. In a very real sense "Home" I and II is the completion of the entire first season, and what you'll see coming up after the conclusion of "Home, Part II" is you'll see that we begin different stories. There's more self-contained episodes, there's different story arcs begin and in a very real sense this is where it all comes to a conclusion. And it was just too much material to try to wrap up. I think what we kept running into was we could get through the plot, per se, in a one hour script. You could get from here to there, and get to Kobol, go down to the surface, go to the Tomb of Athena, wrap these story lines up, but you were missing all the fun of doing it. You were missing seeing Starbuck and Apollo reunite.
RDM: We were just trying to do too much in one episode, and the network and the studio agreed, so we had enough time to split this into two parts.
DSE: The first draft of this, before we made the split, was 65 pages. We tend to shoot scripts that are about 45 to 47 pages long, and then they come in ten to fifteen minutes long and we have to cut the equivalent of what would have been another ten to fifteen pages out of it, so you would never go into production with a 30 page script because, yeah, you might be on time, but you wouldn't have any way of massaging or improving things because you'd be limited by the amount of footage you had. In a 30 page script, I don't know what that would be. It'd be a trailer for an episode of Battlestar Galactica.
DSE: So, it was always tough to fit it in, as Ron was saying, and it was really, I think, generous of the network to allow us split this into two, because it wasn't an episode of like last year's "Act of Contrition"/"You Can't Go Home Again" that had this very deliberate plot, involving Starbuck crash-landing on a planet and having to jump-start a Cylon Raider to get home. This was more character threads. We had one big story point in that we go to Kobol, but for the most part it's about Adama and his struggle with recuperation, and settling back into being the commander. It's Laura Roslin finally making the big decision to take a portion of the fleet away and going against everything she's been about, which was about bringing everyone together, and now here she is splitting everyone apart. And it's about the plot from Tom Zarek and his guy Meier to assasinate Lee Adama. It's really more character-y and just a litttle bit softer in terms of story. It was really more character-driven, and it was more of an achievement, I think, on that front that we were able to get the network to agree to make something like that a two-parter, because it's tricker to pull that off.
RDM: There was Meier, played by James Remar. We were very excited to get him for this two-parter. I think that David and I both were big fan of his work, going all the way back to the original "48 Hours."
DSE: Yes, although- he was probably one of the best bad guys ever.
RDM: Yeah. Classic bad guy.
DSE: I mean, he probably pigeon-holed himself in some respects. 'Cause I know he got- Anyone who's that great in any one particular thing then of course has to fight off being cast in that thing forever. I think I mentioned we got to know Steve Railsback when we were casting "American Gothic"...
RDM: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
DSE: ...who'd played Charlie Manson. This poor guy never worked again! He did "The Stunt Man", and that was it.
RDM: People don't want to be in the room with him.
DSE: I don't think it's been quite that way for James. What I did discover, however, was that wasn't actually his first role. He was in the movie "Cruising," which-
RDM: With Al Pacino?
DSE: With Al Pacino. In fact he had a big scene with Al Pacino. There's a scene coming up that, when we shot it, we were making fun of him and Richard Hatch, because they're sort of touching each other in a very friendly way...
DSE: ...and we were making fun of them, and James remarked "You know, I was in 'Cruising,' which was all about the homosexual underworld." So that's how I learned that story.
RDM: This return to Kara- of Kara has been a long time coming. This little bit here with Starbuck and Apollo and the hug and the quick kiss and all that was something David- I think you just came up with this in the teleplay-
DSE: Well, the kiss was Jamie's idea.
RDM: Is it?
DSE: Jamie was watching me do a rewrite on the set.
DSE: That's how pathetic this process became.
DSE: I was sitting with my laptop doing rewrites while we were shooting, I think, episode three and- or four, and Jamie read this return scene. I was- literally he was standing over my shoulder reading the return scene and he said, "I should kiss her." Or, "We should kiss." Or something like that. And I went, "Oh my God, that's great." And so I just wrote a version of it and it made it all the way through the process.
RDM: It's a really interesting subtext for the whole piece. The only thing I regret about this whole sequence is that we couldn't afford to actually show the Heavy Raider actually sitting in the docking bay.
RDM: Which kind of sucks.
RDM: Because you only get that exterior shot, and then you see her coming down the corridor, unfortunately. But that's just one of the many things you just have to bite the bullet on producing these shows.
DSE: Ron also educated me a lot, I think, in terms of knowing how to adjust your expectations when you write something that's a little bit different.
DSE: And not that I was in any way disappointed with any of it. I thought Sergio knocked it out of the park. But there were just- when you are producing, I'm very close to material that I don't write. So I'm already very sensitive whenever something doesn't come exactly as I know it was intended, but when you actually write it, that perspective is magnified. So, therefore I'm suddenly struck by things that actually came out like I- exactly as they were intended, and that scene that we just watched was one of- it changed very little, actually, through the process of revisions, and production re-writes. It was early in the show. It was probably one of the earliest things that I put down.
RDM: OK, we're going to have to take a pause here for a second.
DSE: Oh, OK.
Oh, is that how it works? You pause in between each one.
RDM: Yeah, and I signal which- where the act breaks are, because they divide them up on- they can download just act one.
DSE: Oh. Yeah, just wave in my face. "Shut up."
DSE: So, as I was saying, this is one of the few scenes that actually remained intact and was executed pretty much exactly as I hoped and it's just nice when that happens . RDM: It is one of those things that you learn in TV, or, I guess, just writing for anything. You have- when you're writing it you have- you play a movie in your head, at least I do...
RDM: ... You're playing a movie of how you think it's gonna look, almost down to what the shots are...
RDM: ... and as you're writing it and inevitably, if I write that the character is standing, the character will be sitting. If I imagine the character is coming into the frame from left to right, he goes in right to left. It's weird. It's part of the process of giving over this material to other people, who interpret it, to the director and the actors, the crew, help chips in and chimes, and sets that change and you don't anticipate them, and actors come up with things on the set and- there's a cer-
DSE: But you have a different attitude about that than a lot of writer/producers, because I've worked a lot with Shaun Cassidy, as we've talked about, and he's a dear friend and a very talented writer/producer, but he suffers the pain of all that you've talked about very vocally and very clearly.
DSE: It tortures him when he thought he'd be sitting- he wrote in capital letters, "He's sitting," and the guy is standing. From the first time you were looking at dailies on the miniseries, I remember your taking this shockingly zen approach to- "Well, y'know, that's not how I imagined it, but it works really well." I think that's really healthy, especially on a show like this which has a verite style and a very naturalistic apporach to it. You want to encourage ad-libs, you want to encourage interpetive approaches to the material and you don't want to be- you don't want it, necessarily, executed exactly as written if there's something better on the deck.
RDM: Yeah, I mean the thing- the line you try to walk is to give them enough freedom to breathe life into it, and do the unexpected thing that then becomes gold, but then they can't change the story. It has to still service the intent of the scene, 'cause you have other scenes that are following it...
RDM: ...and it still has to marry up with everything else you're doing in the show. And, by and large, we haven't had too many problems in that area, where they've done something down on the set for whatever reason-
DSE: I think the reason is because we're loose about it...
DSE: ...because people know that if they want to do something different there can be a discussion about it. What you don't want is for the inmates to be running the asylum, so to speak...
DSE: ...and for it to be viewed as this forbidden thing you're not supposed to do because, of course, everyone then is encouraged to do it, and especially when you're entering into your second and third seasons and everyone's getting bored with the process anyway. They want something to...
RDM: Yeah. "What can I do now?"
DSE: ...liven things up, just in terms of the boredom of hanging around a set all day. It looks exciting when you watch it, finished, together, but there's probably there's probably no more mind-numbingly boring thing than sitting on a set waiting for your scene, and people come up with all sorts of things to entertain themselves.
RDM: To entertain themselves. Ah, the famous walnut scene.
RDM: We were talking about this terms of something else, right?
DSE: Yeah, this is one of the last scenes I wrote as a new way to introduce this new charcter, George Birch, named after- loosely after my father-in-law. And we were talking about a completely different episode, episode five, which preceeded this. We were in prep. We were talking to the director about a nightmare scene that had since been- that has now been cut from the episode where Kara wakes up in the hospital...
RDM: Oh, yeah.
DSE: ...and sees Helo just sitting there in the hospital next to her, and Ron- I'm in the back of my mind while we're in this prep meeting, sweating this scene that I know I have to get written before the end of the day, and Ron, in the context of the episode five scene says, offhandedly, "You know, Helo could just be sitting there. He could be doing anything. He could be cracking walnuts." And I was like, "Walnuts. Walnuts. Yes, walnuts, that's what I'll do. Adama will be cracking walnuts." So- (laughs)
RDM: From his hidden stash.
DSE: Yeah, exactly, from his hidden stash of walnuts. None of which he eats, by the way. (laughs)
RDM: I know he doesn't- I noticed that. He doesn't seem to like walnuts.
DSE: So, just-
RDM: Lt. Birch is a very tall man, evidently.
DSE: Yes. (laughs)
RDM: This whole little sequence- this runner of the replacement CAG, went through a lot of internal strife as we tried to wrestle this to the ground. I mean, it's a very untraditional kind of storyline that you're following here. It's not, really, that Adama is facing a crisis back on Galactica. He's not facing down the Cylons. The ship isn't about to explode. He's not really even going through an internal crisis of concious or something. He's trying to move on, and representative of him trying to move on is that somebody has to be the new CAG, and you bring in this guy who seemingly is everything that you want the CAG to be, and he falls short. And I think in earlier versions people got killed, as I recall.
RDM: That was the central change we kept playing back and forth with. How big of a screw-up is Birch, is the question. And it's hard because you want it for dramatic effect. You want him to be as big a screw-up as possible, to really dramatize the idea that Galactica can't- and the rest of them can't get along without the people that they've lost, but then the worse he is, the more of a fuck-up he seems- and you go, "Oh God, this is the best pilot that they have left downstairs? Put Kat in charge, for Christ's sakes."
RDM: So it went back and forth, and I don't even remember how we resolved it- why we resoved it in this fashion. I think it was just a general feeling that once people died, Adama had made such a fundamental judgement- error of judgement that he just couldn't recover.
DSE: Yeah. The pullback became how much do we make Birch's screw-up the definitive motivation for Adama's decision...
DSE: ...that he makes at the end of the episode, and as we continued to explore the story it became clearer and clearer that the Birch screw-up should just be one brick in the wall.
DSE: It shouldn't be the straw that breaks the camel's back, necessarily. And that took the onus off it needing to involve people dying, and it should just be the kind of thing that deeply concerns you...
DSE: ...that makes you start to question. We've all had those experiences, whether it's- you hire a nanny. You leave the house having just met the babysitter for the first time, and your dinner isn't settling very well because there's something just not right about that person, then-
RDM: You can't concentrate.
DSE: Yeah, you can't concentrate. You find yourself rushing home early, and- it didn't really need to be any more than that.
RDM: Adama at the press conference. I think this was always- this scene is virtually untouched, too. Was this notion that Adama's not the guy who likes to deal with the press.
DSE: Takes the microphone at the podium-
RDM: "I'm in charge."
DSE: "I'm in charge," and, 'course, in this same situation it's not about Adama being ill-equipped, although in earlier versions of this had him sweating and stammering-
RDM: Yeah, he fumbled a lot more.
DSE: Yeah, deeply uncomfortable in this position. The scene was much more about Adama's internal struggle to keep it together then, than it ultimately became, but there was still this idea that- here's a guy who's not in his right element here. And it was really just intended to speak to the absence of Laura Roslin. This is what she normally does. And there is still a line, even, from that earlier version that we were able to keep in coming up here where Tigh says- where Adama says, "Don't let me do that again." And Tigh says, "It always looked easy enough when Roslin did it."
DSE: Which I was glad we were able to keep.
RDM: And we're also continuing the tale of the changed Adama since the shooting, and he's just more reactive. He's a little bit more volcanic, in some ways. He's- OK, now he's threatenting to throw them in jail. He's acting out, whereas the old Adama really wouldn't.
DSE: In fact, if you watch Eddie, he continues to play- like right here, his hand on his chest.
DSE: He's maintaining the illness. He's not let go of that reality. He's sort of being helped here by Tigh before he yanks his arm away. Eddie is very deliberate about those things.
RDM: Yeah, he's very committed to the continuity of the characters-
RDM: and what they're about.
DSE: Now this scene I didn't write at all. (laughs) This is-
RDM: Oh, yeah. I remember this scene. I added this scene.
DSE: This is something that you- that we realized to our horror- (laughs)
RDM: (Laughs) That we had completely- There was no Baltar and Six at all. "Oh!"
DSE: (Laughs) Anywhere in the episode.
RDM: "Oh, yeah!"
RDM: So, this was- And this was one of those scenes that I just started with nothing and decided to make something out of. This little story of him looking on the bridge, looking down at the fish. The only inspiration for it was my wife and I took a trip to Alaska a year ago, and there was a bridge where we stood on and looked down and it was the salmon spawning area...
RDM: ...someplace up in Alaska. Yeah, and it was just- it was very like- one of those really evocative images. We were looking down at a very shallow riverbed, and there were just so many fish you couldn't deal with- it was really bizarre, and strange. Half of them were dying, and spawning. It was just this weird life and death place. From that it was this sense of looking out at this other, this fish that weren't really like you, that had this whole other world going on. I thought it was interesting to suggest that Baltar was moving into a place where he was starting to look at humanity that way. He was starting to look around and go, "I'm not really a part of these guys, anymore."
Yeah, and it's a very- for anyone who's certainly following the show, the series, it's a very provacative scene. But I also like it because even if you happen to be watching the show for the first time, it's still creepy...
DSE: ...and kind of sexy at the same time. And you're certainly aware that this is a guy who's out of touch with people around him, who's got this thing that's obviously an apparition, whispering in his ear, because, of course, there she is not there, and it still works.
DSE: And it was originally an act out, I'd structured it as an act out. I't didn't work well as an act when we saw the cuts, so we were able slide it around and end on this scene, which was a deeply experimental scene to the extent that we've never really shown Laura Roslin this direct and this angry in confronting a Cylon. She's always had a go-between, or been given news from someone else, and this is really the first time we put her in a situation where she was addressing a Cylon face-to-face, and it's really interesting, her body language and the way she maintains this measured tone in her voice, but you can feel the rage underneath it. It's a really unusual scene for Mary.
RDM: And this is mostly a following up to the earlier scene that we didn't talk about. But what I think is really interesting that we're starting to say about Laura is that she's willing to say whatever she has to to the Cylons. She told- again, she promised another Cylon, "Oh, don't worry, if you just do x y and z, you'll be fine."
RDM: (Laughs) And as soon as the guns come down it's like, "Toss her out of the airlock."
RDM: And Mary bridled- bridles a little bit against that, I think, because Mary as a person would never do that.
RDM: That's not who she is.
DSE: No, she's a pacifist.
RDM: She's a pacifist and she's- or at least a liberal, and she's not someone who would lie to your face and then kill you. (laughs)
RDM: And I think she's also concerned that Laura not be protrayed as duplicitous. But it felt right that- again, I think David and I have talked about this in other podcasts. You want your President to do some other things every once in a while. There's a sense that we've elected this person to make decisions for us that, maybe, we're too afraid to make for ourselves.
RDM: Elosha lived and died over and over again in this script and in the story, and...
RDM: ...there were points in which Billy was gonna die in these episodes as well. So there was a running joke around the office of...
RDM: ...who got to die, who's killed- Who we killin'? Are we killing Billy? Are we killing Elosha? Ah, let's kill 'em both. No, they're both gonna live. OK, well now we're just- So, (laughs) it became this absurd thing going on.
DSE: And it's really necessary, in a way...
DSE: ...because you're telling a story about the cost in blood to make- for Laura to have made this decision to go to Kobol and divide the Fleet and if she does it and there's no cost, there's no- there are no ramifications personally for her, then it's like she's gotten away with something.
RDM: Yeah, it's like- it's not so- Yeah. Easy decision for you to make, Laura. It's no big deal, but if you go down and you lose somebody close to you, whether that's Billy or whether that's Elosha, then she really has paid a price, and it felt important for the character that she pay a- that she personally pay a price for leading them on this crusade.
DSE: And because Laura's role is the "prophet" or "seer" and the story is about to reach a conclusion, and spin the character into a different direction, back to a position of governance and back to a position where she's got a more supportive dynamic with Adama, it seemed right that metaphoricaly you would kill the person who represented that chapter of her life. That the priestess who she had depended upon, who'd been her guide through this experience is someone who she's no longer going to have in her life.
RDM: Let's see. This is the- we're starting to lay in all the bricks for the attempted assasination plot. It really doesn't play too strongly in six, it comes more to the fore in episode seven. You'll see that this is a running theme throughout the show, building the Meier/Zarek relationship, and their growing resentment of, not only Laura, but, more in particular, Lee as they deal with things going forward.
DSE: Richard has been in- How many episodes of this season, now? Just two or three.
RDM: Uh, two or three.
DSE: And it's great. You bring Richard into the body of the cast and he just- it just invites another level of intrigue. You know something is up, just when you see him. And that's the great thing about a series, is that you can rely on that a little bit.
DSE: You get the shorthand with the audience, that they are immediately are aware of a subtext that you wouldn't have if it was Joe Blow from Vancouver playing that role.
RDM: This is one of our- this is the only show where you have a visual effect sequence that we have in the episode. And this went through a lot of work with Gary Hutzel and his visual effects team.
DSE: Even before that I had to- our resident combat experts, who are also terrific writers, on the staff Wed- Thompson and Weddle, David and Bradley. I remember getting to this scene and just stopping and calling them and saying, "OK, guys." (laughs)
DSE: "I've got George Birch up in the sky. I've got a number of situations. I've got a tanker-" or, that's actually later, but we needed to establish what happens later and so it was really thanks to their help and their technological expertise that I was able to struggle through this scene and finally get it working, so that it made sense. And it continued to be a bit of a struggle, because it's an odd idea. You've got Vipers target practicing this asteroid, this hulking rock in space, and something's got to happen to indicate that they're not stupid but that the leader in charge miscalculated.
RDM: Is not (unitelligeable)
DSE: Yeah, and not taking into account that there is difficulty in communicating, and that there's miscommunication and that miscommunication is going to lead to what you're about to see, this very near miss with Kat. And-
RDM: Oh, this is a sequence I tortured the visual effects guys with. Because I kept obsessing on things like their relative distance, and closing speeds, and where they would really be, and you really- In these kinds of things, you're really straddling, once again, you're straddling a line between the reality of the situation and where they would actually be and the actual speeds that they would be going at, versus how to visually tell the story 'cause in a very real sense you can't get them all in the frame at the same time. You want to be able to see what's going on, so that forces you to squash the perspective a bit and put things closer to- put ships closer to one another when they'd really be further apart. And you just have to try to come up with a dramatic compromise so you can tell the story, first and foremost. You worry about the realism of it a close second.
DSE: Paul Leonard- Paul is our Associate Producer for all of last season, and all of this season, and the miniseries as well, and is the guy in cha- the ringleader when it comes to all things; sound, and color correction, and visual effects. He and Gary Hutzel, our visual effects supervisor, work very closely together. I haven't told you this yet, Ron, but Paul has been- typically what happens on these episodes is I go to a dub stage and I hear a playback, I give a lot of notes, we remix certain sections, and that is how the sound is finished on the show. For this one, we did that. That we went way over time because I made a lot of changes and then I asked Paul to send me a DVD, which I got last night, which I gave more notes on, so they're going to go back and remix today-
RDM: And remix again?
DSE: So, this act- this episode will be delivered to the east coast for broadcast less than 24 hours before it's actually being broadcast...
DSE: ...because I have not let go of certain sound effects issues.
RDM: Dave is very popular in post-production.
DSE: (Laughs) Well, on this one I think they've been very generous, they- I think they all- they all kind- you could tell the body languages that everyone had been prepared. They knew this was going to be-
RDM: "Here we go."
DSE: Yeah, this was going to be a tough one to get on time.
DSE: Tricky with Lee and Kara in that they're so happy to see each other and yet, like a brother and sister or like two repressed lovers, pick your-
RDM: Yeah, pick your metaphor.
DSE: -your metaphor, have a hard time being pleasant to one another for any stretch of time before they're bickering about something. Which you just saw there and then in a scene coming up you'll see the reverse is true. This was the scene that inspired my remark to James that about their relationship that got-
RDM: -Oh, them touching each other?-
DSE: -that gave the- I don't think they touch anymore. I think we cut the touch.
RDM: Oh you cut the touch.
DSE: Well, because you've got two guys in leather-
DSE: -who've been prisoners together for years, talking about how close they are.
RDM: In a very sexual relationship.
DSE: Yeah, exactly. How close they are and how they've always gotten each other's backs, as it were. And so it's- just- whatever. But it was, it started to take over the scene and so we had to trim some of that back a little bit.
RDM: I love this leather jacket that they dug up for Tom Zarek. That's such a great little piece of wardrobe that has added quite a bit to his character in some sense. It's almost-
DSE: Yeah, it's so anti-Apollo.
RDM: It's so anti-Apollo. It's vaguely Nazi. You can-
RDM: You put an SS cap on him and it wouldn't look too out of place.
DSE: Well, you know the thing about Richard is that he really is a completely different character in this and-
RDM: And he embraces it. He just totally embraces this character.
DSE: And he's someone who, as many of you know, was very- a very outspoken opponent of the "Reimagining" of this show. And had a th- came full circle and elected to embrace it and it didn't hurt that he was given a very compelling role that started last season to embrace, and I think he's really- You never hea- I mean, this guy shows up. He's the consummate professional. Hits his marks, knows his lines. Takes direction well. He may not be seen again for several episodes. You never hear from his people. You never get complaints. There's never any questions about, "Why aren't in more of them?" I think he understands that- oh, do we have to?
RDM: No, you've got time.
DSE: He understands that, in some respects, a little of his character goes a long way.
DSE: So on to now the big Birch screwup.
RDM: This is where we were gonna have people killed.
RDM: It was gonna be in this refuelling section. That the ships were going to collide and there was gonna be devastating explosions and people were- bodies everywhere. More of the typical Ron Moore episode.
DSE: That's right.
RDM: And it just di- it just threw you into a different headspace, it really did. Now you'll notice that Dualla is following him in there. I believe that, as scripted, and as shot, this sequence came later, right?
DSE: Well, again, we were planning to have the Birch incident be more violent and so I had this as the straw that broke the camel's back.
RDM: So there's a scene coming up later-
RDM: -you'll see, where Adama is in his quarters with Dualla, and they're having a heart to heart. And that scene was actually he- in this point. At that's why she's following him in to CIC because it- the- it was supposed to be an escalation. He has this heart to heart scene with Dualla and then he goes into CIC and the whole Birch thing blows up and then like David said, that- we didn't really want that to be the straw that broke the camel's back anymore. And it felt better that Dualla, the more heartfelt scene is the one that tips him over the edge, ultimately. So we swapped the scene where- in the editing room.
DSE: My wife, Jenny, is from Texas and has a very, I guess you could say, Texan personality. She's very funny. She's vivacious. She's- and she and I argue a lot, but-
RDM: And she likes to invade countries.
DSE: She likes to invade countries. She's- (chuckles) she and I were arguing about something right before I went into the den to write this scene, and so just that notion of the person who you love and you argue with but you don't just argue with because you disagree or argue with in part 'cause it's fun.
DSE: And it kinda turns you on. And so this went through very little change, as I recall, because it was all about- You actually, I remember, were quite pleased with this.
DSE: This was- it's all about that quality of saying I love you almost by rote-
RDM: -Yeah (unintelligible)-
DSE: - without really thinking about what you mean.
RDM: And it's also great that it's- they're literally playing with a ball. I mean, there's something so schoolyard. Look at the cyclone fence. I mean, it feels really like a schoolyard kind of scene between these two kids who are having issues and difficulty expressing emotions and- it's just really interesting performances by both of them.
DSE: Well I owe a little to Steve McQueen for the ball thing.
RDM: Yeah, the ball's right out of The Great Escape.
RDM: Which we throw around the office (unintelligible)-
DSE: -Yeah, I'm sitting with two of them right now. And, yeah. So Lee blurts out, "I love you," as you might as you're having a heartfelt conversation with someone and-
RDM: And she tortures him about it, which is great. (Laughing.)
DSE: Kara seizes on it. She just decides to make him miserable for having said it.
RDM: Which is such a woman thing to do.
RDM: It's just like, to pluck that out of the air and then just torture you with it mercilessly. It's like, she is a girl after all.
DSE: Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. That she is a girl after all. Now she never did the ending here like I had written it, actually.
RDM: What was the ending?
DSE: I had her say, "Let me get a pen, I want to write that down."
RDM: Oh, yeah.
DSE: And I just loved this little exchange as- Lee actor, Jamie did a great thing over his shoulder here, where he's walking out and he's saying, "Dreamer. You're a dreamer."
RDM: Oh. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
DSE: Like you just know he's hating his life.
RDM: -He's hating and he's like can't believe he said it.
DSE: So- and I was. This was sort of what we were talking about earlier about allowing the actors to experiment a little bit, adlib a little bit, and take advantage of the moment. And it just worked out better here. Right here.
RDM: Yeah. (Laughs.)
DSE: Very good editing, too. So...
RDM: Now Mr. Birch.
DSE: Now Mr. Birch has to continue screwing up. He hasn't finished screwing up, yet. He's only begun.
RDM: (Chuckles.) He's just a slow screwup.
DSE: And I think what's interesting is that you want characters who you recognize and who you can come back to, and so we're finding ourselves in a situation with the gentleman, I'm sorry, his name I don't have the ready, who played George Birch is a local actor in Vancouver and he's got a very specific quality to him. I thought it was perfect for this role. He's a guy who looks like he went to West Point and never really quite measured up to what everyone thought he was gonna be and he's just got that sort of face. It looks like he's well-polished and perfect but maybe not a great leader. And I don't know if we can use him again. He's this guy who you would bring back in any ordinary circumstance, but what're you gonna do?
RDM: -Go ahead.-
DSE: Have people making fun of him in the br-
RDM: Hey CAG...
DSE: Hey CAG. Exactly.
RDM: We'll just mention that he committed suicide in some off-handed way.
DSE: Yeah, exactly.
RDM: "Oh, and Birch kill himself last night."
DSE: "He was eviscerated in a mine shaft accident."
RDM: (Laughs.) Yeah.
DSE: But of course now that you've seen Adama storm out, and again, this was going to be the final straw. And then, but we'll see the Dualla scene later. Here, that's a visual effect, by the way. Pretty good.
RDM: Yeah, pretty good. It really blends in and does well. It's a lot of the subtle visual effects in the show that are the best. Something like that where you're just off of it quickly and you just go, "Oh, yeah, there's a ship over there." You don't even think about it.
DSE: It's interesting, too. I always imagined this- that, as I was writing this part of, obviously, was going on in my head is, "Ok. I've been beating up Ron Moore now for the last two years over his scripts. I can't even imagine what this is gonna be like. He's gonna get the first draft. He's gonna rake me over the coals. He's gonna- He's like licking his chops, ready for this thing."
RDM: (Exaggerated laugh.) "Honey, read this."
DSE: Exactly. "Get a load of this." And so the area where I had the least command, for sure, is in all this scripturey-
DSE: -mythos stuff. It's just not my bag. It's not what I pay attention to. And you were least critical of this than anything. You went with Galleon Meadow.
DSE: You went with the whole, and then when we get that (unintelligible)
RDM: See how easy it is?
DSE: And we get to episode s- exactly. When we get to episode seven, all that stuff with the Sagitarrion archer, that's the reason for the arrow. Ron went- I was- yeah, exactly. I was like, "Oh. So basically, this is all just like whatever comes to the top of your head."
RDM: You just play it.
DSE: That worked. Ok. Good. So I mean, we did actually legitimately vet this, eventually but this is pretty close to first draft-
RDM: -It really is pretty close. It all fit. It all worked pretty well.
DSE: But of c- only because I was sweating it. Like I got my assistant researching all these mythological references and trying to- and this so- We had the one visual effects- the one big visual effects sequence earlier, like Ron was saying. Hopefully the audience who's come to Battlestar Galactica for action has hung around long enough for this, because this is really the big action set piece, which-
RDM: "When are they gonna shoot someone?"
DSE: Yeah or- exactly. Finally shooting something.
RDM: "If this was Stargate they would have shot someone by now."
DSE: (Laughs.) "Damn it!"
RDM: Sorry, Stargate.
DSE: Sorry, Stargate. But, yes, the now momentous occasion of Elosha's demise.
RDM: Goodbye Elosha, we hardly knew you. When we weren't gonna kill her, when we talked about not killing her, we talked about a storyline in future episodes where- in the episode before this Laura says, "I'm gonna play the religious card." It's a very calculated political move to get people to rally to her banner. We were g- we had thoughts of Elosha stepping to the fore later and really being manipulative and had a- having an agenda from a religious standpoint and really pushing Laura to institute draconian laws in the Fleet and really- and you'd suddenly realize that there's this whole class of clerics that had their own agenda and their own ideas for how the Fleet should operate.
RDM: I love the fact, in that earlier sequence, that Elosha went flying headfirst into that tree. That's like a great-
DSE: These are actually- people think that these mines were inventions. These were called-
RDM: Oh, yeah. They have a name. They're- B- Boppin' Betty's or something?
RDM: Bouncing- Bouncing Betty's.
DSE: Bouncing Betty's.
RDM: Bouncing Betty's.
DSE: And they were, I think, circa World War II and-
DSE: -they basically expl- yeah, they fly out of the ground and explode on your- in your head.
RDM: Yeah, they like, jump up and they spread shrapnel all across an area-
RDM: -to take out a bunch of different people.
DSE: So it's not- and that shot, by the way, of that bomb flying up is not a visual effects shot.
RDM: No. Which blew me away. I kept looking at it going, well this see-
DSE: It looks a little-
RDM: This looks a little fake. I wanna take the matte lines off it, blah, blah. And they go, "That's not a visual effect." I go, "Really?" "That's just a practical- yeah, it's a practical."
DSE: One of those times where you actually just shoot it.
Ron did make fun of me for this scene when he read the first draft 'cause he said, "I saw that you wrote the scene between Starbuck and Apollo you're always desperate to get, which is the two heroes back to back-"
RDM: Back to back, fighting side by side-
DSE: "-fighting side by side."
RDM: -working like a machine, or something, which is-
DSE: Like a well-oiled machine.
RDM: Like a well-oiled machine. But you'll notice that they're not back to back.
DSE: (Laughs.) They're not back to- Yeah, exactly! It's just that they're not back to back-
RDM: Just when you thought you could write this stuff.
DSE: It's not so much like a well-oiled machine.
RDM: They get out there and they go, "Eh, back to back. That doesn't really work for us."
DSE: Yeah, it doesn't really look good.
RDM: Let's stand against this rock.
DSE: Yeah. So... and you go, "Ok. Well, it still works." I was probably tortured by a lot more of this. You find with time you forget things like that that you thought you were doing. I didn't think this was gonna work out at all like this. I thought the Cylons would be a lot closer, but this is great. I mean, this is great Sergio moment stuff.
RDM: Yeah, I like this.
DSE: There quips in this we left in like Lee's comment here. He says, "You gotta be frakkin' kidding me." And some of the- you play with it editorially. Earlier Kara has a line where she says, "It looks like we missed all the fun."
DSE: Sometimes on paper it cer- it feels quippy or you're not sure how it's gonna work and sometimes tonally- You got an episode like this which is, by and large, pretty heavy and you're killing Elosha, Adama's upset, and it's just-
RDM: It's just enough to-
DSE: Yeah, to give you some lightness. 'Cause- Now this was the- one of the last scenes written, actually, because we had, as I recall, this was done after we had decided to split the episode in two.
DSE: And I wrote this on my couch in Vancouver where we were- we had moved into triage mode because when we got the network to approve the two-parter, Ron and I went and had dinner and basically broke what the second half of episode seven would be and then there was this backwards domino effect of things that had to change in episode six to make it work as its own episode. And this was a scene that we needed and- or we needed some scene. We didn't know what it was. And so I was in Vancouver having- I was now experiencing the real writer experience, where it's not fun. You're just under deadline. You've got four days. I'm sleeping three hours on my couch, rolling onto the computer, rolling back to the couch.
RDM: Write something.
DSE: Write something quick. Or you b- I guess you play the games with yourself where you, "I can have a muffin after I finish act one."
RDM: (Chuckles.) I don't even do that.
DSE: But- something about that three o'clock in the morning, no filters on, you can't be self-critical 'cause you can't think straight nine times out of ten results in something that sucks and is unreadable. But this was the one time out of ten where it actually worked out. And this was- I was very happy with how Sergio shot this, too, because it was, I thought, pretty faithful the way it was written and really seemed to get the shock of the idea that Dualla's the one in the room that he's confessing to.
RDM: Which I think is interesting 'cause it- we've been playing it, bit by bit, that Dualla is a special person within the family. That she's not just the telephone operator. They all communicate through and with her all the time, and as a result I think there's a certain trust, a certain intimacy that they have with Dualla. She's not just a faceless person up there in CIC. She's somebody special to all of them and she's constantly giving paperwork to whoever the commander is, usually Adama, was Tigh, and there's just a lot of interaction. And I think, in a weird way, they listen to her and her opinion is not directly elicited that often but I think- Here it is and then she doesn't really want to let it go at that. Which I think is the best part of the scene. That she doesn't just leave when he says, "Ok. Thanks. That's enough." She toughs it out and keeps going and it's a brave thing. 'Cause if you've ever been around, you probably haven't, but if you've ever been around Edward James Olmos when he wants you to leave, you should probably leave.
DSE: Well this little bit that, further of what you were saying, that Sergio got, which was her grabbing his hand and stopping him from continuing to paint and-
RDM: Oh yeah.
DSE: -Eddie's whole vibe, which is that he doesn't make eye contact with you, until he makes eye contact with you. And so it has this very startling quality to it and the intimidation is very real. And Kandyse was amazing in that scene. She was sick as a dog when she did it, too.
DSE: Yeah, she had a horrible flu.
RDM: Ah, Elosha, we hardly knew ya.
DSE: We hardly (chuckles.)
RDM: I'm grateful that we made a cut. There was a cut we had to make in "Home, Part II" just for time, that I'm glad we did, 'cause I realized much, much, much too much later that it was a continuity error. But they leave her here. It's like, "Ok. We gotta go. Pick up the scriptures. Let's go. Sorry. *Weep. Weep. Cry. Cry.*" And you walk away. But in "Part II", there was a scene that we wrote sho- where Adama and Billy, they come up and they find her grave. It's like, "Oh. Yeah. This was Elosha. How sad." And you're like, "Well. Didn't they- how did they?"
DSE: "How did she get buried?"
RDM: "Oh my God! The Cylons buried Elosha!" I was like, "How'd she get buried?" Oh, dear. So... but, not to fear, we cut that scene. That won't happen now.
DSE: Now I hope this works. This was one of the products of forcing the sound mixers to reconceive things was to reprise a music cue that we used one time last season and hadn't used at all this season, which is this Irish brogue from episode ten.
RDM: Oh yeah.
DSE: And it seemed to me much, much too late in the process, of course, that it would be useful to do a simplified version of that starting here. So where you start with the drums and you start to hear the men humming, and I just wanted this very masculine quality to his decision, because it is a magical thing we're doing. We're saying Adama, of his own volition, arrives at this very profound conclusion about what they're gonna do. And so it felt like it had earned the right to have some-
RDM: Yeah, some martial theme.
DSE: Yeah. Yeah, some martial theme to it. So I- I don't think it's too much. It seems like we've earned the right to go this far with it and on the closing images here you- seems to work emotionally in a legitimate way.
RDM: And we're gonna go put the family back together. You can see Gaeta's still wearing his headset (unintelligble) 'cause this used to be in the earlier sequence.
RDM: It used to be Adama just left CIC after the Birch thing and then came back in and said, "Ok."
DSE: Yeah. "Just kidding."
RDM: "Fuck it."
RDM: And that's it for "Home, Part I". And I assume we'll s- we'll be seeing all of you pretty, lovely folks around for "Home, Part II".
RDM: And we'll talk to you again then. Thank you very much, and goodnight.