Katee Sackhoff on Playing 'Herself' in 'Longmire'

By JARETT WIESELMAN

May 31, 2013

Katee Sackhoff has been creating confident, commanding and kick-ass women on television for the last decade, and while she loves that Vic Moretti, Longmire's lawwoman, sometimes loses a fight, the inherent strength Sackhoff's become beloved for is ever-present in Vic's DNA as well.

Last week, Longmire's second season premiered to record ratings, and Katee promises that Sunday's all-new episode is sure to keep fans locked in all year long. I caught up with the effortlessly charming actress to talk about the white-hot A&E series, and also get the skinny on bulking up for her role in the new Riddick movie!

ETonline: What was it originally that attracted you to Vic?
Katee Sackhoff: It's funny, everyone I played before Starbuck was the complete opposite, but I always kind of knew that I would be pigeonholed a bit after Battlestar Galactica. I mean, I don't mind because I love those roles, but there is always the desire to challenge yourself -- and it's always nice to remind people you can act [laughs]. I think sometimes people can forget when you do the same sort of character a lot. With Vic, I thought the character, on paper, was the most like myself I'd ever seen. I mean, there's a fight scene coming up that I actually lose, and that's hard for me because I'm so used to winning fights [laughs]. But I have to remind myself that, in real life, I would lose in a fight. It was hard for me, especially coming from all the roles where I literally beat up guys. I mean, I get my ass kicked by a girl who is three inches shorter than me. It was tough to wrap my brain around. It may look similar to other roles I've played, but she's more normal and real world than anyone I've ever played.

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ETonline: With the first season under your belt, what did you like about Vic's evolution?
Sackhoff: I really liked where they took the character. Normally, when I get cast in something and they see that I'm so good at the physical action, that's what the character suddenly starts doing. I like that they kept her feminine and kept her funny. I also like that we're getting more serialized as a show, I think that keeps audiences coming back -- and they really raise the bar this season.

ETonline: We got a taste of Vic's homelife last season, will we get more of that this year?
Sackhoff: We really do, which is great because I love Michael Mosley who plays my husband. We do have more of that. We have some of Vic's past coming to town and that haunts her in a very real way. I mean, we've alluded to the fact there was a reason Vic left Philadelphia and it wasn't just to follow her husband. This season, we'll find out why she left, the ramifications of her actions and all about the shattered lives she left in her wake. Whether her actions were justifiable and right, there are people who want to do her harm because of what she did in Philadelphia. That's coming into play and I love diving into the past of a character because that really informs so much of who they are today.

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ETonline: Coming in, how much did you know about Vic's past?
Sackhoff: The writers had always told me there was something in her past she was running from, so from that information I created all this crazy backstory about what she was running from and why she did what she did. The reality is nowhere near what I created, but her actions and how I played them do match up. It's really exciting.

ETonline: Your fans are equally excited for Riddick -- how was that experience for you?
Sackhoff: It was amazing. Honestly, it was such a dream come true. I've been a fan of Pitch Black, and Vin Diesel, since it first came out. This is what I love to do; I love running around with a gun that's bigger than I am and playing with the boys. It's what I love to do, but also what I'm really good at.

ETonline: You put on a lot of muscle for the role, right?
Sackhoff: Oh yeah, I was f*cking huge -- you could see veins in my chest. It's just nasty, but that's who I had to be. I mean, almost all the guys in this movie at 6 feet tall and I'm only 5' 5", so I was going to look small regardless, that's why my trainer and I made the decision to not lose fat but just to put on massive, massive muscle. I didn't want to be lean and sinewy and girly -- I wanted to be big.

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ETonline: Was putting it on or taking it off harder?
Sackhoff: It was hard to put that weight on, but losing it was harder. And I started shooting the first season of Longmire three days after I wrapped on Riddick, so you can actually see me getting smaller throughout the season [laughs].

ETonline: Lastly, you're been rumored to be part of an all-female action movie -- dubbed "The Female Expendables" -- for a while. Is that legit or just a fanboy creation?
Sackhoff: It's legit. I think that it's always been a fanboy fantasy to see a bunch of scantily clad women kicking ass but we've never really seen it done right. Well, we had the tongue-in-check aspect with Charlie's Angels movies, which were great, but I think the goal with this is a more realistic, gritty, dirty version of something like that. I just think it's f*cking awesome. I'm very aware that Gina [Carano, her co-star] could kick my ass. If someone put me in a cage with her, I'd cry and try to crawl out. I have no desire to fight for real, but I have already started upping my training with a lot of MMA moves, a lot of krav maga -- I'm working on my sweeping kicks and jumping so I can get my fighting up to where those other girls are.

ETonline: Is there a script or did you all just sign on because of the promise of what the film could be?
Sackhoff: The promise of what it could be is why I signed on. Ultimately no one is tied to it, but I saw what Adi [Shankar, producer] did with The Punisher short and knowing his vision, I told him I'll do. He's got an eye for a youthfulness in film that is very current and relevant right now, but he's got the love of 80's action movies where you know he'll create something really cool.

Longmire airs Mondays at 10 p.m.

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