Syfy Movie Premieres on Saturday, June 4th, on Syfy
By Jim Lavoie
As Danielle Nicolet anxiously awaits the premiere of her television movie, on and by Syfy, “Red Faction: Origins” this Saturday June 4th, she feels that transforming this popular gamer show to film will be well received. “being an avid gamer myself, this feels in sync and just the right fit,” says Nicolet, “talk about synchronicity.”
In the perfect marriage of comedy, misfit, and neurotic woman…on Mars, she stars in the highly anticipated film adaptation of the popular video game series, “Red Faction: Origins”. In it, she plays Tess De La Vega, part Princess Lea, part C3P0 sidekick, to Robert Patrick and Brian J. Smith.
Prior to departing on this latest space mission, Nicolet had established herself as one of the go-to actors. Her career was launched on her amazing ability to make people laugh and as her film stature increased, so too did the caliber of the roles, landing her with the role of Caryn on the mega hit series “3rd Rock From The Sun.” For six seasons she was part of the Emmy winning NBC comedy.
Not content with resting on the show’s laurels or her own, she guest starred on more than 20 different television shows. Most notably, her award-winning appearance as “Reese”, the menace, woman-child and humanity’s foe on “Stargate, SG-1”. Her portrayal of “Paula” in the prime time situation comedy “Second Time Around” in 2005 had Entertainment Weekly calling her a “breakout star.” She then took on the role of “Cheryl” on the hit Fox show “the Bernie Mac Show.”
In 2007, Danielle took a turn to television drama, starring as head ICU nurse “Mary Singletar,” on the tear-jerker “Heartland”, with Treat Williams on TNT. Critics called her, ‘the very heart of Heartland’, and found it impossible not to love the energetic, outspoken and emotionally open character.
I contacted Danielle Nicolet to talk to her about “Red Faction: Origins” and her career overall. I found her to be extremely accommodating with an awesome sense of humor.
Jim: Your athletic background in competitive gymnastics, which has taken you from rural Ohio to California, speaks of the type of competitive drive and discipline you must possess. After a knee injury ended your athletic ambitions and you turned to acting, these traits would have been very beneficial. Ok, so a career path change was in order but were you already predisposed towards acting at that point, were you a joking, wisecracking natural cutup amongst people to begin with?
Danielle: No! I was the opposite. I was a pretty shy kid. I’m still shy as an adult. It’s the work that brings me out of my shell. I always wanted to be an actor, from the earliest age. Even then, I thought of athletics as an avenue to become a performer.
Jim: It is a unique comedic style that you put out there, given that you seem to embrace roles where you dare to be different be it as a misfit/outcast, I love that you jump into the role and go all out. Often, from my observations, beautiful women posture themselves before the comedy, you can be funny and still be beautiful. This is my take on it, but your delivery seems natural be it witty, scattered, physical and I would guess you would rock at Improv. In your career you have worked with many great comedic actors and of course John Lithgow from “3rd Rock From The Sun” comes to mind. You spent six seasons as Caryn on that award winning show, what was it like to work with John and the rest of that talented crew?
Danielle: Wow, thank you. I don’t know that I would call myself beautiful, but I appreciate you saying that. Hmmm, yeah, I have to say that the biggest thing I learned from my years on 3rd Rock, and time working with John Lithgow and Jane Curtain was that being funny has nothing to do with worrying about how you look. The most un-funny thing in the world is a self-conscious girl who’s trying to look perfect. Everyone on that show was a consummate professional, and taught me to value and respect this incredible gift of being paid to do something I love.
Jim: You have walked the walk with some major film powerhouses like Debra Messing, Judy Davis in “Starter Wife”, Cuba Gooding Jr. in “Ticking Clock” and Lucy Lui in the new mini-series “Marry Me”. Working with actors of this caliber must be very special for you but is also a profound nod to both your comedic and dramatic acting abilities. What was it like to work with actors/actresses of this caliber? What do you take away from experiences like that? I understand also that working for and with Paul J.Alessi on his film “Knuckle Draggers” was a cool shoot for you, how so?
Danielle: I have had the honour of working opposite some really amazing actors. I feel blessed to share the screen with them. Most of all, when I begin a new show I focus on what I can learn from someone who has experienced such success. Invariably, it’s the best of someone that makes them successful, and that’s what I come away with…and hopefully a new friend as well! I know that when I worked with Paul, I got paid twice: a salary and some amazing friendships to last a lifetime. I think that the friendships that were the basis of “Knuckle Draggers” worked so well because of the connection we all have in real life.
Jim: I have seen references to you being an active gamer and that you have an affinity to the one-on-one aspect of gaming. It seems you just might also have a thing for Sci-Fi and space shows as well. You have appeared on “Stargate G-1”, were an alien on “3rd Rock From The Sun” and now your new film “Red Faction-Origins.” Could Goddess to all things Geek be that far off? But seriously this new film which will be broadcast on SYFY is derived from the video game of the same name?
Danielle: Ha ha! Believe me when I say, nothing would make me happier than to be a Goddess to all things Geek! I am a geek at heart, and making this movie was like being a kid in a candy store. “Red Faction: Origins” is based on the video game series, and takes place in the period between Red Faction: Guerilla and Armageddon. As a result, we were able to make a film that stands on it’s own, independent of the games. At the same time, it gives character history and rounds out the whole trans-media experience for the existing fans.
Jim: “Red Faction: Origins” – In this you play Tess De La Vega who is described as part Princess Lea and part CP30 (of Star Wars fame) and neurotic woman living on Mars. Can you give us the 101 on the plot and I understand there are some space heavyweight types amongst the cast? The film has its world premiere on Syfy, Saturday, June 4th at 9pm?
Danielle: Yes, the movie airs on Syfy, Saturday, June 4th at 9:00/8c! It is the story of Jake Mason (Brian J. Smith, from Stargate Universe), as he tries to find his long missing sister (Tamzin Merchant, from The Tudors), and bring her home to their father (Robert Patrick). I play his reluctant sidekick, who realizes that the fate of Mars and its colonists may be at stake and together we try to save Mars!
For sure this is a cast full of SyFy favorites. The incredible Kate Vernon (Battlestar Gallactica) also stars along with Garreth David Lloyd (Torchwood), Devon Graye (Dexter) and Gordon Kennedy (Robin Hood).
Jim: Comedy, drama, make them laugh, make them cry, which is the more satisfying genre for you or is the perfect vehicle perhaps a combination of both?
Danielle: It’s a tough one to answer because I enjoy them both so much. How about a cop-out answer that is also the truth?… I’d love to do a really great horror movie!
Jim’s Final Words:
It is almost impossible to be on the net and not see something about this talented actress, check out her feature with Wendy Shepherd at Officially Plugged In (OPI)
SPEAKING Syfy:”LOST GIRL,” Starring Anna Silk Now Part of the Syfy Stable!
September 4th, 2011, The Number one scripted drama in Canada, Specialty Channels. “Lost Girl” is back but this time with a world wide audience. Anna Silk returns as “BO”, the red hot Succubus, with a growing taste for the truth….. I will be talking with Anna Silk soon on my blog at Bulldog publicity.