Actress Lili Bordán was living and working in Budapest, Hungary, when she got her first taste of “Battlestar Galactica,” taking note of “what an amazing opportunity it would be for an actor in this series.” With “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome,” she found her opportunity, playing Dr. Beka Kelly, a Graystone Industries scientist who helped improve the Cylons.
Set between the events of “Caprica” and “Battlestar Galactica,” “Blood & Chrome,” which aired on Syfy Feb. 10 and was released earlier this week on DVD and Blu-ray, retells the first mission of rookie pilot William Adama (Luke Pasqualino) at the beginning of the Cylon War. Adama, his new co-pilot Coker (Ben Cotton) and the mysterious Kelly detour from a simple “milk run” into a full-fledged covert operation on a foreign world.
“This planet and this war are uncharted,” Bordán said. “It’s like the jungle. It’s like Vietnam or the beginning of the Afghan war … and we don’t know why we’re there or why anyone is there. As it turns out in the end, even Adama was completely in the dark about the reason he was on this mission. My character was completely blinded to the true nature of the mission because she had her own agenda. Everyone kind of ends up feeling … pricked.”
Bordán was born in New York but returned to her mother’s native Hungary after graduating from Sarah Lawrence College. She worked in theater and film in Europe, though her credits also include appearances on series such as NBC’s esteemed procedural “Law and Order: SVU.” “Blood & Chrome,” though, was an important addition to her calling card.
Beka is a brilliant software engineer who, despite the Cylons’ attack, thinks highly of the man-made machines. She forms an attachment to Adama that turns, for a night, into something more, but her beliefs aside, her main goal is to make sure the war ends. One way or another.
“This was a pretty huge score for me,” Bordán said. “I mean, I’d built a résumé in Europe, but … this was totally based on how much I loved this world and how much I wanted [the role] and how much I understood this character.”
Although fans in Hungary have had an opportunity to view the Ronald D. Moore reboot of the original television series, “Blood & Chrome” hasn’t been telecast there yet. Hungarians might have been able to view the project on YouTube, where it premiered in an episodic form on Machinima.
Bordán sees this method of distribution as a way of the future.
“Marketing-wise, it was the smartest move because we were exposed to so many viewers,” she said. “I think we had 8 million views or something, So, in that sense, it’s great. Storywise, it’s better to watch it as a whole, and I think that’s why the Blu-ray is great. But I think it being an online series gave it a lot of attention, and I think a lot of other series are following suit. We started a trend.”
So far, the actress said she’s been enjoying her forays into the world of genre fandom — she’s been invited to this year’s WonderCon by “Battlestar” stalwart Richard Hatch — but the series, and her character’s future in the series, are cloudy. Certain events would suggest that viewers have seen the last of Dr. Kelly, but as she points out, there’s always room for surprise when it comes to speculative fiction.
“I love this world and I love talking about it,” Bordán said. “Science fiction is the most fascinating genre because it’s so rooted in true human drama.”
— Jevon Phillips
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