‘Battlestar Galactica’: Ben Cotton talks Coker, Adama rapport
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“Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome,” the Web series that will also air as a two-hour uncut premiere on Syfy in February, posted its final two episodes Friday. The story of the first military mission for young William Adama also introduced us to Adama’s first flight partner, Coker Fasjovik. With a stint on “Stargate Atlantis” and even a small role in “Battlestar Galactica: Razor,” actor Ben Cotton is no stranger to science fiction shows. Hero Complex caught up with Cotton to ask a few questions about his “BSG” experience.
HC: Were you a “Battlestar Galactica” fan before signing on to “Blood and Chrome”?
BC: I was a fan of “BSG” when I read for Coker, though I’ll admit, I had some catching up to do. When people mention “BSG” it often comes with the story of having just dedicated two weeks of their lives to watching the series from beginning to end. That, I had not yet done. What I had seen was wonderful, so the prospect of being a part of a prequel was a thrill.
HC: Coker’s weary veteran is kind of the antithesis of Adama’s eyes-wide-open rookie. Did you draw upon anything specific in playing him?
BC: I didn’t really target the weariness in my approach to Coker. I tried to imagine as many parts of his life as I could. There was really very little on Coker aside from what was in the script, so we were able to make it up as we went along. One thing I did was I started writing letters to my wife every night. As Coker I mean, to his wife. I would explain how difficult things were. That I was having a hard time coping, that sort of thing. The idea was to really connect to what Coker was missing in his life. The things and people he loved, the things that war had taken from him… horrific descriptions of battles and the deaths of friends, people he had bonded with, brothers. I wanted to fill in a reluctance to getting close to anyone new, a reason to be so resistant to this cocky kid, Adama. Sometimes they were letters of apology, because I imagined a strained relationship with his wife. Part of that would be as a result of distance, of course, but also, it’s clear that Coker uses alcohol as a coping mechanism. I figured he’d likely have things to apologize for. As we got closer to shooting, I tapered the letters, and then stopped altogether, just as the character had done. All of it added up to a weariness, I think.
HC: What’s the most difficult thing you’ve faced in filming the series/pilot?
BC: It was physically challenging at times to shoot “B&C.” Fighting the creature in the snow was a workout. Especially since on the day, that beast was a green bucket on the end of a stick! When we got to the ice planet, things got dicey. The material used to simulate the snow turned out to be incredibly slippery. I was lucky but I watched a number of people hit the ground pretty hard. I saw David Eick hit the ground so hard I was surprised to see him get up. But we all made it.
HC: Though the series is one mission, and knowing what you do about Adama’s future self, how do you think the Coker-Adama interaction helps shape the character?
BC: I think the relationship between Adama and Coker is great because you get to see where Adama would have learned how to deal with someone like Col. Tigh later on. When I first auditioned for Coker, I was not given the entire script. I was certain that I was actually auditioning to play Tigh, so I went in and did my best Michael Hogan. I thought it was wonderful to have two wildly different perspectives on war represented in these characters.
— Jevon Phillips
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