Interview – Tahmoh Penikett

It’s that time of year! The last Oz Comic Con event for Melbourne is hitting town Saturday 10th of December and Sunday 11th of December. As part of the incredible line-up of stars heading to Melbourne is Tahmoh Penikett from Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural and Dollhouse. I was fortunate enough to catch up with Tahmoh to talk about conventions, his fans and some of the shows he has starred in.

Alaisdair : Is this your first time in Australia or are you a seasoned professional? 

Tahmoh : A seasoned professional, been there many many times and I love it every time I go. 

Alaisdair :Is Melbourne a regular stop on your visit?

Tahmoh : It’s definitely one of my favourite cities, it reminds me of Vancouver. I love the way the city embraces art, sidewalk cafe culture, murals, music, really infectious energy in the city. I have worked and met a lot of people from Melbourne who are fantastic people. 

Alaisdair : You’re no stranger to Comic-con events, what is it that keeps you coming back?

Tahmoh : I have been doing it for 20 years now. The exchange is something I’ve grown to love and respect. These fans will support you when times are dry and you haven’t worked for a while. They will always tune in to whatever project you have done, they are incredibly loyal. I play a small role, showing up to these ,taking selfies, panels, just having a fun time. I have learned how to pace myself at these things. Am usually exhausted by the end of it. I personally enjoy the panels, when the fans come up with new questions, I love the challenge. It’s a cool collaborative experience. 

Alaisdair : You have been doing this for 20 years, you’ve been asked every question under the sun

Tahmoh : You would think so, I’m always pleasantly surprised when I get asked a fresh question. That’s usually the case when you have an engaged and passionate audience. They come up with something challenging, it just makes a better experience for all of us. Such a connected experience, it’s up to the fans to bring their energy and be engaged. 

Alaisdair : It’s been 20 years for Battlestar Galactica, how is it still seeing fans react positively after all this time? 

Tahmoh : It’s great. It’s such a testament to the show and the staying power. It’s incredible to be connected to such a piece of art that is still loved and still referenced so much as Battlestar is. I’m forever grateful that I was on the show and played a small part in this beautiful space opera.

Alaisdair : You were in one of my favourite shows of all time Dollhouse, that was such a special show, so many fans, hopefully you know that. Do you still keep in touch with the cast? Is there any talk of a reunion or anything along those lines? 

Tahmoh : I do know there’s a very active fandom. I just started watching Dollhouse for the first time with my partner since it aired. It’s wild going down that blast from the past, that memory lane. There was a lot of things I remembered and some foggy that felt new to me to watch. It was interesting to watch and reflect. I was really impressed with Eliza. That was a huge task. It was such an incredible performance. Everyone did a wonderful job on the show. It made me miss a lot of them. 

Alaisdair : When people come up to you, what’s the main thing they ask about? Supernatural? Battlestar? Dollhouse?

Tahmoh : It depends on where you are and what generation they are. Supernatural is such a hugely successful show with such a loyal and passionate fandom. The funny thing about it is the show started when Battlestar started, so it went for 15 years. It’s been around a long time and different generations. When it went to Netflix, younger generation and college who marathoned the show, they started coming to the conventions. It’s always satisfying to hear the fans of the smaller stuff I have done. 

Supernatural — “King of the Damned” — Image SN921a_0682 — Pictured (L-R): Tahmoh Penikett as Gadreel and Misha Collins as Castiel — Credit: Jack Rowand/The CW — © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Alaisdair : With Supernatural particularly, a lot of people, younger generation as well binged it really quickly. We used to have to wait for a weekly episode and we were a year behind. 

Tahmoh : Don’t you miss those times? We are completely gluttonous. Arguably the best writing ever done is happening now. People marathon these things, these beautiful pieces of art with production, set deck, CGI, the writing, acting and performances. We should sit with it. When you watch an excellent episode, you should sit with it. My partner, I love her to death she is amazing, we are in the habit of trying to catch up on Game of Thrones. She will be like “Let’s watch another!” and I have to reply, This person just died, I just need am minute, it was incredible. That’s a sign of the times too. People need to slow down, and appreciate things for what they are. Shantaram for example, I remember hearing that Johnny Depp had bought the rights, it’s such a great book and I was so happy that Apple made it into a TV show and made everyone wait week to week. 

A massive thank you to Tahmoh Penikett for his answers and time, and thank you to Oz Comic Con for setting up the chat. Oz Comic Con is at the Melbourne Convention Centre Saturday the 10th and Sunday the 11th of December. You can buy tickets here

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