Actress Jeri Ryan is no stranger to the sci-fi realm, playing Seven of Nine on the hit series Star Trek: Voyager. She returns to the genre with the Syfy series Helix, portraying Constance Sutton, a fixer for the Alaria corporation brought in when Hatake (Hiroyuki Sanada) "goes off the rails." The character makes her first appearance in a multi-episode arc starting with tonight's episode "Survivor Zero", airing at 10 PM ET. The actress recently held a conference call alongside executive producer Steven Maeda, where she spoke about what first sparked her to taking on the role, her experiences on the set, and much more.
When asked about what first drew her to the project, Jeri Ryan had this to say.
"You know, it was fun - well the concept of the show to begin with was sort of intriguing to me. I hadn't seen any of it at that point because it was just being shot. And, I loved you know the people that were involved in it. So that was all really cool. And then when I sort of was hearing a little bit more about the character and I was seeing how she was written, then it was fun. You know what? It's fun. This is my sort of first foray back into sci-fi in a number of years, so it was nice. It was a lot of fun to get back into it."
She also spoke about how secretive Steven Maeda and the other producers were about the role.
"Oh, they were extremely secretive. I was asking really direct questions about what the hell am I and who am I, and they were like, 'Oh, I don't know. It's really cool. You'll have to wait.' I was like, 'Come on.'"
Steven Maeda revealed they were being so secretive mainly because the show is still a work in progress.
And some of it we're just trying to kind of keep the mysteries in obviously, and we're trying to help the actors as much as we can while still not revealing everything at the end of the day. And part of it is, you know it's a work in progress. That's the thing about a series is you don't have everything figured out from - you know, even the half way point. We're still working through things. And you know, we knew where her character was going, but you know other things came up in the breaking of the show, so we tried to give as much direction as we possibly could."
Constance Sutton is essentially the corporate face of Allaria, but Jeri Ryan explained that she also has a personal agenda to attend to as well.
"She's kind of a ball-buster. I think that's the best way to describe her, which I love. What motivates her? Well, I can't - see, I can't really tell you exactly what motivates her. That you sort of find out.It was a lot of fun to play. And I also love, as you'll see without trying to give too much away, she's definitely, as Steve said, in the corporate world, and very much looking out for the best interests of Alaria, but you find out that there's a little more personal issue for her at stake as well, which I really loved as well. Hatake has gone off the rails. He is supposed to be finding them a virus and a cure, and he's screwed up. He's messing around and doing his own thing, and that's not okay, so she's there to fix it, and whatever she has to do to make that happen is what has to happen."
When asked about the tone of the show, Steven Maeda said he wants to keep it as intense as possible, although there are a few lighter moments coming up.
"We want to keep up the intensity. There are light moments coming, but they tend to be kind of in the service of - it's black humor definitely, and they tend to be in service of keeping everything moving and just sometimes you find those moments you know in the worst situations. So yes, we have 13 episodes and we really want to - our mantra was to keep the show moving, and so we want to have down time, we want to have character time, but we definitely want to keep everything twisting and turning and keep you coming back for more hopefully."
Jeri Ryan also spoke about how she was in awe of co-star Hiroyuki Sanada, describing him as a ninja on the set. Here's what she had to say about one particular scene she was impressed by.
"I have to tell you, I have to brag about Hiro for a minute. That man is unbelievable. I was in awe of him. I still am in awe of him. He's - the man is a ninja.The scene where I had to throw the book at his head, and I have to throw it directly at his face, and there - you know, it's on me. I can't like pretend to throw it. I have to wail it at him and he's standing like six feet away from me. And I was a wreck shooting the scene. I was so nervous. I was like, 'Dude, I have no aim. I can't.' He was like, 'Just throw it. Just do it. Just right at my face. Just go.' And there's cameras set up right behind him, and so he has to knock the book away, and we're worried about hitting the lens and all this expensive equipment. He never even blinked. Never flinched. Never breathed heavy. Nothing. Every take, he just batted it out of the way like it was nothing in the exact spot that it was supposed to land so it didn't hit any equipment. He is amazing. He is amazing."