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Interview: Katee Sackhoff

Not too long ago, the thought of a show getting a second chance after being cancelled was just a silly dream. Once a series was cancelled, that was pretty much all she wrote.

Now with the rise of the internet, social media, cable and streaming services, a show getting a second chance is not as nearly impossible as it used to be. Add to that the current revival craze with shows such as The X-Files, Full House and Twin Peaks; it is the perfect time for a show to get a second chance.

Longmire was one of A&E’s top series and was averaging almost five million viewers per episode, yet in a move that shocked many, the network decided not to renew the series for a fourth season. This cancellation didn’t sit well with the show's rabid fanbase and of course the cast and crew of the series.

In steps streaming service Netflix to save the day and bring the series back for a fourth season. One person who is truly happy to be back is Katee Sackhoff who plays Victoria 'Vic' Moretti.

Today, we sit down with Katee who talks about the series move to Netflix, what the fans mean to her and the series and how she is excited about some of her upcoming projects including Don’t Knock Twice and Girl Flu.

Pop Culture Principle – How good does it feel to be back with another season of Longmire?

Katee Sackhoff – It’s nice to have a job, and it’s nice to have had the fanbase have that validation. Nobody likes when something is pulled away too soon because we all feel a bit short-changed, in a sense. I feel that is how the fanbase felt and rightfully so, because, if the ratings were any indication, we should have been on for five years. But that isn’t the way the business goes. So, we’ve found a new home, and that’s great.

Pop Culture Principle – At the end of Season Three, we find out who was truly behind the death of Walt’s wife and the cliffhanger with Branch and his father. Where does Season Four of Longmire pick up?

Katee Sackhoff – Literally seconds later. You will see that it gets pretty crazy pretty quick.

Pop Culture Principle – In a recent interview, Greer Shepherd said that in the fourth season “Vic is headed for an emotional rollercoaster filled with destabilizing hairpin turns that leave her confused, excited, jealous, raw… and impulsive.” Would you agree with that?

Katee Sackhoff – Absolutely! There is a reason why I do what I do and why Greer does what she does, because she so much more beautifully says that than I say. I was a bit frustrated and went into the office a bunch of times asking what the hell is going on with this character. It just felt very much like Starbuck in Season Three of Battlestar Galactica where you are literally playing another character, and I couldn’t identify with that. It felt as if Vic became untethered because of men, and I thought that was a very weak choice.

But, seeing it now and having seeing the last season, it makes sense and it seems more seamless than it felt on the day. But on the day you are trying to tell me this woman can’t keep herself together because she left her husband and the guy she has a crush on doesn’t want to talk to her, so she can’t get up in the morning? It didn’t make sense to me, and I had a hard time identifying with that aspect of that character. That is the way the business goes; you can’t always play someone you identify with. Who’s to say that I wouldn’t do the same thing? I went through a break-up and chain-smoked for a year and drank a lot of wine, so maybe we just all do it differently. I mean, I don’t even smoke and I chain-smoked and I became the opposite of myself.

So, with that being said, I had to have this blind trust in the producers and writers and that they weren’t going to leave me out there with egg on my face looking like an idiot, and they didn’t.

Pop Culture Principle – Now that you have played Vic for four seasons, as an actor how protective have you become of the character?

Katee Sackhoff – So much so. You have to pick your battles and at the end of the day, I am a hired hand. I am on the show and that’s what I do; I am part of the crew. In my opinion, in television it’s not your place to be difficult to work with on a daily basis and have something to say constantly about what is going on, because we just don’t have the time. This season I had a couple, and one I won and one I lost. One of them was I didn’t think that Vic would allow her house to get that messy or forget to pay her bills. Again, it was really hard for me to understand how that would happen to a person, however you trust where they want you to go until you go there.

The other one was when Walt goes away and leaves Vic for a while in the office. They had it written that she was using his office and it was a complete mess. The office looked like Vic was a hoarder, and I got a bit upset because this is not who this person is. Greer ultimately came in and agreed it looked a lot worse than it did in the photo, and it worked out great. Sometimes you win some and sometimes you lose some, and that’s the job isn’t it?

Pop Culture Principle – Has the style of the show changed any or remained the same with the move to Netflix?

Katee Sackhoff – I don’t think it has changed at all. It’s the same crew and the same writers for the most part. Writers come and go, but basically everyone who wrote the first season is still there. A little bit of the language has changed slightly, although not so much that younger people can’t watch it. I know my nephews watch it, and they have heard worse on the playground in preschool. I do know that it is bothering some people, and you can’t make everyone happy.

For me, it was an opportunity to get back to basics with Vic. Vic, in the books—granted we aren’t making the books per se—but she really has a dirty mouth in the books. She makes me blush, and I talk like a truck driver! So, it was an opportunity to get a little more of what I had fell in love with when I read the first book and signed on to do the series.

Pop Culture Principle – What has been the biggest difference if any shooting a series for cable as opposed to shooting a series for Netflix?

Katee Sackhoff – My wardrobe doesn’t have to be approved by everyone, and that’s a big thing. I can’t tell you how many people seem to care about my hair and my pants! I think that they do that with women on a television show because they think that it’s going to hinge on whether or not her ass looks good. It’s the most interesting thing and that has changed tremendously.

There’s not as much hand-holding and the producers are trusted by Netflix. Netflix picked up the show for a reason and they’ve given the trust to Greer and the writers—rightfully so—and they aren’t checking up on her every day. When you are on a network, in my experience in the past, they are constantly present and sometimes it’s great and sometimes it’s bad. I think that there has been a little more freedom for the producers and the ability to breathe, which is great for them.

Pop Culture Principle – The fans definitely made their voices heard when the series was cancelled after three seasons, especially the fan group Longmire Posse. How important are the fans to the series, and would you like to say anything to the fans for their continuing support?

Katee Sackhoff – At the end of the day I have a job because of the fans. That is why we work as actors and continually get work as actors. If you don’t have a fanbase, you don’t get work. It is one of the most important aspects of this business. The goal is to hold on to them, appreciate them and treat them with respect. Once you do that, they follow you anywhere for the most part and that’s always been my goal because, without the fans, I don’t have a career.

Pop Culture Principle – What are your thoughts on the newest season of Longmire being released all at the same time as opposed to waiting each week for a new episode?

Katee Sackhoff – Some people love it and some people don’t. I love it and think it’s a more realistic way to watch television. The days of sitting at home and eagerly anticipating eight o’clock are over, except for Scandal. Listen, there are certain shows where I think, “Thank God you can’t binge it,” because I would never leave my house! I think that it really allows people to do it at their pace and to experience it the way they want, and it gives them a choice.

Pop Culture Principle – Without giving much away, what can fans look forward to with the new season of Longmire?

Katee Sackhoff – It’s a great season and a really fun season to watch. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it as a viewer. You can expect more of the Walt and the Henry relationship. There is a lot more Henry and Henry being torn. Definitely a Lou Diamond Phillips season, and he shines like a bright light bulb. It’s a great season with some new people coming in. We have more of the guest stars that everyone loves, too. A. Martinez is fantastic this season, and Gerald McRaney has one of the best scenes that I have ever seen on television—in episode four, I think. A lot of great guest stars and meaty stories, and I think the fans will love it.

Pop Culture Principle – Obviously the big question is do you think Longmire will be back for a fifth season?

Katee Sackhoff – I try not to think about that stuff. It never works out the way you want it to. It would be nice to go back and end the story. This season ends on a doozy of a cliffhanger, and it would a little cruel to the audience to leave them hanging. I try not to get my hopes up because I thought we’d never get cancelled the first time, and it happened. Then again, I never thought Battlestar would get picked up and we did four seasons. I am not good at this, so that‘s why I don’t gamble. It kills me and I am too emotionally unstable to think about it too much.

Pop Culture Principle – You recently wrapped the film Don’t Knock Twice. What can you tell us about that film and your character?

Katee Sackhoff – I read the script and I said, after doing Oculus, that I wouldn’t do another horror film. In my opinion, Oculus is pretty damn close to what my version of a horror film’s perfection is. I didn’t want to go back there, and it’s exactly why I haven’t done another science fiction television show. You can’t compete so why try?

But then I read Don’t Knock Twice and then watched The Machine. If you haven’t watched that film, it is a really impressive film and when you find out that they made the film with bubblegum and duct tape, it’s even more impressive. So I said, if that guy can do that for that much money, then I will do this one hundred percent.

I love the director Caradog W. James and loved working with Lucy Boynton and Nick Moran. We just had a really great time on that project. Lucy and I were literally together every single day for at least ten weeks. She was a lot of fun and I have met some lasting friends from that crew and can’t say more good things about it. Fingers crossed it comes out great, but that’s another one of those things that I don’t really want to talk about because it freaks me out.

Pop Culture Principle – You also have the film Girl Flu coming out in the near future. What can you tell us about that?

Katee Sackhoff – I’ve seen Girl Flu and I am more proud of that movie, that director, and that performance than anything else in my entire life. I loved every minute of making that movie and loved every minute of watching that movie. My boyfriend watched it and hated my character, and I told him that was a good thing! I think my boyfriend had a hard time seeing me being that unintentionally hurtful.

Jeremy Sisto is hands down brilliant in this film, and fingers crossed that we get into Sundance because I want people to see this movie. It’s fun and I got to do comedy. It was really outside my comfort zone and was a little terrifying, but it was such a wonderful project.

Pop Culture Principle – One really exciting project you are working on is for the science fiction television series Rain, which you created. What can you tell us about that project?

Katee Sackhoff – I didn’t write this project; I just wrote the treatment. We are in the process right now of locking in all of the pieces that need to be locked in. Handing over something that I dreamt up seven years ago is harder than I thought it would be. I’ve been meeting with these amazing writers and I was just thinking, “I can’t”. It’s on its way and we are with a studio already, so we’re good. We are working things out slowly.

We would like to thank Katee for taking the time to sit down with us for this interview. You can watch all four seasons of Longmire on Netflix. For more information on her upcoming projects Don't Knock Twice and Girl Flu along with all her latest news and social media sites, you can visit her official website here.

**Photos courtesy of Lewis Jacobs / Netflix**

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