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Q and A with Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne of Syfy’s “Sanctuary”


We can expect an exciting new season of Syfy’s “Sanctuary” as it ventures into the fourth season. The show follows Dr. Helen Magnus (Tapping), a scientist who holds the secrets to a group of frightening beings that live amongst human beings. Her forensic psychiatrist Dr. Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne) and her tech expert Henry (Ryan Robbins) and her daughter Ashley (Emilie Ullerup), Magnus must protect this secret phenomenon. The series also stars Christopher Heyerdahl as villainous John Druitt. The show is created by Damien Kindler (“Stargate SG-1,” “Stargate Atlantis”) and produced in association with Syfy.

“Syfy’s 31 Days of Halloween” kicks off this month, and Sanctuary will be part of this infamous line-up. The season opener “Tempus” finds Dr. Magnus pursuing Adam Worth (Ian Tracey) back to 1898 London as he attempts to save his daughter. Magnus knows if he is successful this will destroy the natural order of history. This series is unique as we are taken to an entirely different world. It’s the first show to shoot on green screen, and there are extraordinary visual effects and amazing virtual sets.

Two of the stars, Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne, took part in a conference call to discuss the series as it delves into the fourth season. Dunne and Magnus are both veterans to the science-fiction genre. Their characters add an extra kick to the show. Dunne and Tapping were tight-lipped about any of Magnus’ secrets. We will find out what makes her tick and why she has made some of the point choices she made in the last two seasons. Magnus has surrounded herself with an elite group. There are quite a few confusing moments that will indeed make sense in the end. Some of the storyline continues from the third season, so Sanctuary fans will not be disappointed.

There is a parade of guest-stars appearing this season. Ian Tracey (Adam Worth), Jonathan Young (Tesla), Peter Wingfield (James Watson), Carlo Rota and Brian Markinson will play a new villain, and Al Sapienza (“The Sopranos”) returns playing Will’s father. Robert Lawrenson also makes a return. Tapping and Dunne describe their guest-stars as being part of their Syfy dysfunctional “Brady Bunch.” They are the awesome version and much bigger, although they look to much better stars than sitcom veterans to play them in flash forwards and flashbacks. Dunne would love for George Clooney to play him in the flash forward scenes, and Tapping would like Dame Helen Mirren to play her mother in the flashback scenes.

There is already talk of season five, and the optimism from Tapping and Dunne is there. The most anticipated episode will be the musical-inspired episode airing Thanksgiving weekend on Friday, November 25th at 10PM ET/PT. The episode finds the two in quite a predicament; they must communicate with a mysterious Abnormal. The only way they can communicate with this unusual villain is through music. Series creator Damien Kindler jumped in with music and lyrics, and composer Andrew Lockington worked his magic.

This episode was a lot of fun for the cast. They were provided with phonics so they could actually hear the songs and sing along with the tracks, but nobody else could hear the song. Dunne said it was fun to be a rock star for just a little bit. They also had to rehearse in the studio for the episode. Tapping was excited, with a real sense of anticipation for her.

The cast does not ever expect anything to stay the same; they are always dealing with something new and fresh. The writers will always toss them a curve ball to mix it up. This is one show that everything from wardrobe to scenery changes. They do not think outside the box, as the box does not exist.

Tapping and Dunne are also part of the Once Upon a Cure gala, working to raise funds for Hunter Syndrome. They have good hearts and their characters reflect that. Dunne believes his character is a lot more involved and jokes that Tapping is at least three feet taller than him, so he would like a “little credit” having to deal with the smart and savvy Dr. Magnus.

Despite her strong demeanor, Tapping does have a little bit of sadness to her character and some loneliness. She is incredibly focused and there is no room for error. If you’re wondering whether Dr. Magnus would have referred to President Kennedy as “Honey,” Tapping said “yes, she would.”

Both Tapping and Dunne credit the social networks and the support of the fans and viewers for the success of “Sanctuary.” They are involved in the social networks and describe it as a weird blessing. They are able to connect with fans and also spread the word about the charities they hold near and dear to their hearts. They have the best fans and feel that they can send out great messages to their fans. Dunne says the fans are incredibly respectful, and it is a great way to keep in touch.

As for who they would both like to see as an Abnormal on “Sanctuary,” Dunne said Hemmingway would be very cool or maybe Elvis Presley, imagine the science-fiction king of Rock-N-Roll. Tapping would like to have Dorothy Parker as an Abnormal. Dunne added David Lee Roth and The Beatles. They weren’t done with the “let’s pretend” aspect, though, as Tapping admitted her superpower of choice would be to be invisible, and Dunne’s choice would be to have “slinky hands.” They are both incredibly interesting choices.

The series mainly follows Dr. Magnus and her crazy adventures she winds up on. With Halloween just around the corner, the series is a perfect Segway for Syfy to add some extra mystery and effects. There is still that intensity that surrounds the show. “Sanctuary” may have gone rogue, but viewers do not have to worry that the series is taking a “Glee” turn. The science-fiction genre is one of the most versatile topics to work with. The new season is alive even more so. Insane creatures, deep dark secrets and a musical or two, what more could you ask for in a show.
Don’t miss out. Make sure to enjoy Syfy’s 31 Days of Halloween as season four of “Sanctuary” returns with thirteen new episodes on Friday, October 7 at 10PM ET/PT.

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